Patmos Isle

The life of a Pastor, one who has been beaten and left to die by his own kind.

Name:
Location: Texas, United States

I consider myself as one that has seen the dark side of humanity and has lived to speak of it.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Just a quote

"I have spent the greater part of the season pretending to feel something I didn't feel. I have preached when (sometimes) I should have been, if not silent, then less eloquent. I have spoken falsely (and unpersuasively, I know) about inspiration when I should have admitted that there was none." "Listening For God" ~ Renita J. Weems

She speaks for me today.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

My Lord & My God

I have come to a place, I believe it is the table that He has prepared in the midst of my enemies. I think I have stumbled upon it by mistake. Mistake, yes a mistake, for you see I have never come upon this table so quickly.

I feel this wind at my feet, this breeze, this soft gentle moving of air. I can't help but wonder, I can't help but think to myself, is a new season coming? I don't want to get my hope up, yet I don't want to miss something that the Lord has for me.

I have asked of the Lord that I be given strength to be His vessel this Lord day, that I have a greater strength and even more so, a Holy voice. I have preached so many times with just words of man, yet I long for His voice again to speak through me. I wonder, maybe this wind, maybe it is His hearing my cry, maybe He has moved His hand that was holding back His presence from me.

I wonder, oh how I wonder, as the stone was rolled back, if my Christ felt this same wind around His feet? Or was the stone removed for His sake or mine? I think I preached once that it was for my sake, yet now I don't recall.

My hands are dry, they use to catch the tears when I would kneel in prayer, now all they feel is the cold breath that comes from me as I pray. What is strange is that I have taken scripture to comfort me during this season. I know you are thinking, what is so strange about that? Well I have taken comfort from the words that can be found in Revelation 3:15 ~ "I know thy works, that thou art neither cold or hot; I would thou wert cold or hot." I remind Him and let Him know that me being cold is pleasing to Him according to His Word. I know you have had this cold chill go down your back as I said that, yet, right now, it is easier just to tell Him where I am at, than to ask Him to change it.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

A stone at Easter

"Prayer and love are really learned in the hour when prayer becomes impossible and your heart turns to stone." Thomas Merton

I apologize in advance to you who might think I use too much Merton, yet it never fails. Everytime I look for a friend, there he is.

Tomorrow is the big day "Easter Sunday". I bought the new tie, got some new socks and was sure to have the dress shirt pressed (heavy starch on the collar, light on the body) No doubt my new cologne will please the crowd. The sermon has been sitting on the back burner all week, and it is ready to proclaim He is Risen!!!

My prayer for tomorrow is that once again a people will see me as their Pastor, and not as one who sits in the crowd wondering if that guy behind the pulpit really believes everything he is about to say.

Now before you go thinking I have turned athiest, well, I have not! Yes, I believe He is risen. Yes, I believe He sits at the right hand of the Father. Yes, I believe that He will come again for His church. Yet, what about the now? I have asked myself... Did you sign up just for the end? I have told others that He has brought to us life and peace, and the joy that cannot be measured by the worlds standard. So as I laid in bed this week recovering from some health issues I begin to ask myself.... What has happened to those things He promised? Or better yet, the things that I promised to others that He promised.

I wonder now as I look back, do the people I tell this too, do they just pretend to have what I speak about so that I will feel better about myself? Or did they actually tap into this source and find what I cannot seem to find. Did I miss the turn, or did I tap into the source at the wrong place and maybe I missed it, or maybe it just has not gotten here yet.

Well, I guess we will understand it when it comes, or just accept the fact that I missed it.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Lovest Thou Me?

"Christianity is a religion of love. Christian morality is a morality of love. Love is impossible without obedience that unites the wills of the lover and the one loved. Love is destroyed by a union of wills that is forced rather than spontaneous. The man who obeys God because he is compelled to do so, does not really love Him. God does not want the worship of compulsion, but worship that is free, spontaneous, sincere, "in spirit and in truth" Thomas Merton

I read these words often to remind me that where I am at and where God is at, is ok. There is nothing better to do in my life than to worship the living God, yet there are times my silence is of greater worship than the fruit of flesh upon my lips.

More and more I am coming to the place that my silence to God is of greater worth, than something I can repeat out of repition because I was brought up a certain way. I am not saying that I want it to stay this way, I am just saying, I would rather have His silence and be trusted with it, than just have Him speak to me, because I needed to feel something.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

This Graveyard

"What you do in darkness, I see, What you say to the shadows I hear, what you hide in secret, I find, you are exposed to me as brightly as the day."

I come across this the other day, I am not sure who the author might be, yet it is a simple truth, but oh so powerful.

I have sat down this last month and considered my ways, considered the things that have happened in my life and how I have let them change me, for either the good or the bad. It is difficult to assume that ALL things work together for good, for them that loved the Lord. Yet I tell you the truth today, if allowed, truly even the most difficult and the most painful situations can come out for our good.

This fog that I dwell in, like a burning house, so thick that one must stay close to the ground, has even worked for my good. Humility is it's fruit. I realize how weak I am, and how strong He is becoming. I have realized once again, that I cannot do this on my own, that as strong and wise that I think I am, I still must submit to this one who is ALL powerful. I was reminded of something Tozer said. "In Him, is all power for the weak, yet after giving strength to the weary, He has not lost any power." So many times, I have felt as if I was tapping into someone that would limit it's power to me, so that others might recieve power.

I would like to believe that my fog is lifting, I would like to believe that my journey into the city of the dead is almost over, yet I can still feel the cold damp air and no ability to see further than that which is before me. Yet today, I fear nothing, I no longer fear what might come upon me without me knowing. I feel protected, I feel safe, I feel as if this is working together for my good.

Do I still have questions of why I must journey here? Yes I do question, yet I do not question why I am here, I question what is thy will for me, while I am here. I do believe that the purpose of my being here is not necassirly for me, but for all of them that know of where I sit. I think to myself, what truth can I learn that I can bring with me when I walk out of this place. What ointment can I find hidden among the stones that will bring comfort to one that I stumble across even on my way out of here.

I guess I am finished with my thought for today.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Please Forgive Me!!

Sitting in my office today, I was enjoying the great work of yo - yo Ma "Vivaldi's Cello". When I have some visitors. Although lately I would rather be left alone, I welcomed them and offered them a cup of coffee. When out of nowhere I get this look of "How could you?" From one of them that were standing there, then the others picked up on what the other lady was hearing.

"Why would you listen to such?" Was the voice of one? The look on my face quickly told those that had come by, I had NO clue of what they were talking about. She said.... "That Music" "Why in the world would you listen to that?"

I responded with this look of dismay and then from somewhere I still have no clue of where it could have come from... I said... Let me ask you, what did you watch on t.v. last night? Do you have cable? Do you rent movies? Do you even entertain a t.v. in your home? Do you go shopping? Or do you have all your groceries and supplies brought to you house? She said, well my life is not in question here, I would think you would be more careful of what you entertain as our leader.

They left today, having caught a glimpse I am afraid of what this great darkness is doing to my spirit. I would have just smiled and said jokingly... Oh you know me, the heathen that I am. Yet it was like I wanted them to know, I am not controlled by you, nor am I conquered by you. I am sure that they will have a thing to say in our next meeting, yet, I welcome the day. I just hope that my darkness does not spill out into rage.

Monday, March 14, 2005

City of the dead

No doubt I have crossed over once again. You know I said, it would never happen again, I promised myself.... You will never go that far again, you will do something, say something, go somewhere, get some help.

Why can't I just snap out of this, why can't I just wake up? I have entered the city of the dead, the city where no man lives. The city that conquers all of mans dreams and visions, the city where life is sucked from the bones of mortal man.

I remember these stones, I remember throwing myself upon them, thinking if I could just be crushed, then I could heal. If something would just break, then it could mend. Amazing how these rocks bruise but never crush, how these rocks bring pain but never break.

I know I am not alone in this city, I can hear the faint cries of them that are hidden by this fog of sorrow. I know this sounds evil, but I am thankful to know, that I am not alone. It is not that I rejoice in the sorrow of others, it's just comforting to know that this graveyard is not as lonely as it seems to be. Hey, maybe we will stumble upon each other, then again, maybe we will fall into a hole.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

The Hand of one

I have found that in life you never know what to expect. You find yourself running in the field of happiness barefoot and without knowing it you step on a rock. I did not say you stumble on a rock, yet you step on a rock. You realize sometime later that this one step will cause you to walk differently for sometime.

The bruise of a rock, is amazing, you see nothing, you can't point it out to others for their sympathy, you can get stiches or even a band aid. Yet you know it is there. It is like that of a broken toe, "nothing" can be done. Now I find that hard to believe, I mean, we can cut open the hearts and heads of man and make robots out of them, yet we cannot do anything for a broken toe...... Someone is holding back here.

You see really the only sympathy you get from a rock bruise is from the hand of one that knows exactly where you are at. They know that others cannot see it, they know that others cannot feel anything, yet they know, how painful it is to walk upon it.

I have found in my darkness something more powerful than the switch that could cause darkness to vanish, I have found in my darkness the amazing light of a candle. I sit in my office today, and my lights are on, yet I still suffer from the coldness. Yet I can sit in my office and turn off it's light and place a candle for my brightness and it will also bring warmth to me as I place my hands over it.

Those of you that know how it is to sit in darkness, would you please, please, PLEASE, be the hand of one, that will be a candle. We who sit in darkness today, although the light shining would be nice, we would just settle for the hand of one that can bring just warmth to us.

May all the goodness of man, arise this cold day, and bring to the hearts of darkness the warmth of just one.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

The Painful Silence

This June will mark 15 years of full-time ministry for me, and I am still just a kid.

This entry today is not about the Silence of God, although I could write a book on that. It is a much deeper pain, a more painful search of ones heart. You see when God becomes silent in my life, I search to see what has separated us, He is pretty quick to show me if there is anything and yet if I cannot find anything then I realize His desire is just to sit with me and not speak with me.

So the pain of silence that I speak of is that of the silence of friendship. Let me again clear something up here. I not speak of the absence of a friend, or when one who we use to talk with everyday is no longer around or they might be around, but they just stop talking with you. No doubt it is painful, you search your heart, search your words, search your actions, wondering what have you done to cause the silence, the absence.

The pain that I speak of today is that pain that goes into the depth of ones bones, and it becomes this ache, this torment, this evil that consumes even the most holy and righteous thoughts of man. You see I have been on the sharp end of a friends tongue when he/she chose to cut me, to mutilate me. Even then I find myself forgiving them, find myself making an excuse for their ignorance.

The pain that I speak of today is that pain that comes from the one that knows to speak good and yet does not speak it. The pain of a silent friend. The pain that comes from him/her that listens to all manner of evil against you, and yet they say nothing to protect you, to guard you, to redeem you. I realize in life that I am going to disappoint someone and they are going to turn on me, they are going to reject me, yet those that say they love me, why not speak for me? Your silence is like fertilizer upon the flowering weed, although it seems harmless, it chokes from me life, it robs from me, it does me much more harm than that which was spoken.

I wrestle more today with those that chose to be silent, than those that chose to speak evil.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

I almost had a feeling...

Going to the "party" last night was almost a very good thing. Yet my mind took over my emotions and ruined the whole thing.

I went to a banquet last night, I would rather call it a party, so maybe someone will think that I have a life. So at this party, it is your usual..."Smile and really look like you are having a good time" In fact your last root canal has better memories.

However, this party was different, my hero's were there, men and women that I think are the greatest. Missionaries!! I have grown to love these people, I know each of them that were there, very well and yet none of them know my suffering. One of them knows me very well and knows the horror of what another Christian can do to their Pastor, he kind of saw 1st hand everything that took place in my life a year ago.

Last night as I walked into the room, I just kept my head down, I did not want to be there, I did not want to see anyone, I did not want to even be noticed. Yet looking up to find my table, I saw my friend, he was talking to probably one of the most "powerful" men among us, a man of great respect and his words carry much weight. You are lucky to even smell his breath. As I look up, he looks over and sees me, without even a thought, he turns to the "mighty one" and I read his lips,
"My friend is here, I need to go" He walks over to me, throws his arms around me and pulls me unto him and holds me, saying, I sure do love you!!! I sure do love you!! I sure do love you!!!

I almost said it, but I kept myself from saying it, I almost said, I love you too. Yet, at that moment, I knew I could be real, I knew I could not say anything and he would understand, I knew I did not have to lie to him. Now please understand, I love this brother, well I guess I do. I just don't have any feelings right now for really anyone. No sense of love or compassion, no sense of feeling or direction. He grabs me, says to me, please sit with me, please join my table tonight. "I can't, I have others here with me, that expect me to be with them."
I almost had this feeling, that someone actually loved me. That someone actually had a feeling for me. That someone would actually look for me if I turned up gone.

The rest of the night I sat in this numbness as I sipped my coffee and had my chocolate cake, sitting at a table surrounded by them that smell so righteous, and laugh on cue, and say their amen, and give their nods of approval, sitting there, sipping on this cup of cheap coffee, wishing, thinking, daring myself to move to the other table, yet I kept telling myself, it is just easier to not feel, than to feel and then not feel again.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Answers to David Rattigan

Well for those reading this today, David Rattigan of Grace Pages....



Well he is doing this GREAT thing of asking one 5 questions and you get to answer them. I think it is just great!!! Thank You David for doing such a wonderful thing.

So below you will find my 5 questions and the answers. Don't laugh!!

1) Tell me about one moment of joy from the past of your life. Falling in love with my wife all over again. We have been through so much together, so much heartache, so much emotional pain. Everything that can be tested in our marriage has been tested, everything that can be shaken has been shaken. So many have tried to ruin us, to destroy us, and what they meant for evil, the Lord has turned for good. Instead of allowing the power of evil to push us apart, we allowed it to push us together. Several weeks ago, taking a nap during the day, I looked at my wife and this overwhelming love come upon me, it was like the 1st time I saw her, her beauty was just a glow and I allowed myself to be overtaken by her magical powers :) It was the greatest moment of joy and just about the only moment of joy that I have had in the last year.

2) On your blog you name Titanic and ET the two worst films you've seen. Which film has most deeply moved you, and why? Let me begin with saying, I am actually honored David that you have read my blogs, to have someone like you read them, I count that as wonderful gift. I am not a big movie watcher, never have been really, I always found myself when a movie was going on reading or at the coffee place enjoying a nice cup. I know as a minister I should say the Passion of the Christ moved me and then explain why, and it did, deeply move me. Yet the movie I speak of today is one that I don't even know the name of. I was at the Dallas Museum a few years back, with some friends. There was in their theater thing an artistic piece of film that captured me. It was filmed in India and the whole thing consist of this one woman, this lady that had this one look upon her face. It was the look that I had seen so many times as I glared into a mirror. The haunted look of void, the look of someone that was just a shell, an empty piece of workmanship. The whole movie was just this lady walking or standing still in the city, dressed in a white garment, just wandering from one building to the next. It brought me to a place of complete attention. I sat there for an hour, my eyes fixed to this screen. It was as if I had found a friend.

3) What three things make you totally and utterly unique among all the people in the world? a)Compassionate, my heart never ceases to break. I think I have come to a place that I cannot be moved anymore. Yet I find myself weeping again. Even towards those that have crucified me, my heart breaks for them.
b)Chameleon, not because I have funky eyes. I am gifted to be able to fit in anywhere at anytime. I can go from having a very elite personality to this common person who can relate to any social status at any given time. c)no sene of direction, now I am not talking for my life, but in everyday life. On a very good day, I can point you in the direction of up. I get lost no matter where or what I am doing. I live by landmarks in life, and a night, someone else needs to be driving. I have no way of getting someone from point a to point b.

4) If you could have been present at one event recorded in the gospels, which would it be, what part would you play and why? You just had to get spiritual!! I already know you are going to crucify me with what I am going to say. I would be that lady, as her ear was near to the ground, heard as one by one the rocks begin to make their loud thud against the earth. Hearing this man in whom others proclaimed to be the Messiah saying, You who are without sin, cast your stone. Then hearing as each stone, begin to fall. That moment when man had removed the cover that hid her shame, now was again covered by the rocks of them that wanted to expose her. Then hearing from the one who could have judged her and condemned her and told the world of her shame, say to me, Where are they that accuse you?

5) What are the greatest hopes for your life in five years time? In five years I want to be known as that friend. That my phone will ring at 3 a.m. and on the other end be this Pastor, who is sitting in his office, wanting to pack,wanting to vanish not just from ministry, but from life and he can hear the voice of one who can say... I know how dark it is. That friend that can sit across the table of a cup of chai and a blackberry muffin and say to other, I know how deep and how long it is going to take for that wound to heal, and I will be here to continually pour out the oil and the wine. I want to be that friend that a brother or sister can say, I cannot, I cannot, I cannot go any further, and I place my hand upon them and say, then sit here for awhile, I will go for you. I want to be that friend that helps to hold that bitter cup of ministry and say, you do not drink alone, I'm here. I want in 5 years to hear those words.... "This is my friend"

David..... Wow, you are the greatest, you are real man, keep up the awesome work and let me know if I can ever do anything for you.

http://gracepages.blogspot.com/

Friday, March 04, 2005

Did I mention?

The void is endless. The depth is bottomless. The darkness is eternal.

I feel as if I have become this vessel that has been emptied of it's water, remaining only to be filled with dust and debree and the spider web of nature.

It was not long ago that I complained because all I could manage to produce was water in this vessel, what ever happened to this water being turned into the richness of wine I would say. Now as I feel the void of water, who could even care about the wine?

What amazes me about this, is that the only thing people notice is the vessel, not the content (or the lack of). Everyone stands from a distance, as if we have become a museum of artifacts and treasures.

Thomas Merton writes "The more our faculties are emptied of their desire and their tension toward created things, and the more they collect themselves into peace and interior silence and reach into the darkness where God is present to their deepest hunger, the more they feel a pure, burning impatience to be free and rid of all the last obstacles and attachments that still stand between them and the emptiness that will be capable of being filled with God."

I say, then fill me already!

Thursday, March 03, 2005

good cup of chai

It seems in days like this, that even the simple things seem to mean so much more.

I drink a cup of Chai every day, well ok, no everyday but on average, every day. :)
Yet tonight in this lonely, dark, cold office, it seems to have a richer taste, it seems to bring a deeper warmth to my body.

Recieved a call from a "friend" today, on the other end... "Hey, how are you? I was just thinking about you and praying for you, how are you doing?" (Could it be? Could it be? Could it be, that someone was going for the switch, just give me a flicker of the light, I don't need much, just the glow of that bulb for a split second, I will take anything.) "Oh, hey Jim, well things are going ok." "Well good, hey let me ask you something." (I knew then, this was not about me) (Just sit back and listen now) The next 45 minutes, I was yet again this Pastor, this one who had all the answers (if he only knew of how I searched for these answers in the dark, on my hands and knees, as if the house is on fire, the heat is so great, the smoke is so thick, that one falls to their knees and grope along the wall for an answer)

"Well I took enough of your time, so glad things are going good." Good!! Good!!! Good!!!! Who said anything about things going good, my word was ok, not good!!!

Hanging up the phone, I made note to myself, just because one comes with a siren and lights flashing, does not mean he/she does not know how to put out a fire. So just stay close to the ground, and breathe only when necessary.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Vain!

I have laboured in vain, I have spent my strength for naught and in vain.

My mind is like this thick fog, and in the distance I hear the faint sound of a lighthouse, men who say that a light house has no noise, then you have not stood in the darkness and listened to the power of light as it cuts through. I hear it's sound but I cannot see it's saving power.

I cry aloud thinking someone will just whisper back, yet the silence robs me of my hope, I shrink back, so that I might not taste that bitter empty void upon my lips. So I sit in this thickness, I sit in this void, I remain, hoping that someone might stumble upon me. Even if they killed me, even if they robbed from me, just that someone see me, just that someone recognize me in this darkness, they can have their way with me, they can have their pleasure with me, just touch me in this void, just let me hear the rage in your voice, let me just know that this night is not empty.