Thursday, July 31, 2003

"Turning the other cheek means showing our enemies that they can only be our enemies while supposing that we are anxiously clinging to our private property, whatever it is: our knowledge, our good name, our land, our money, or the many objects we have collected around us. But who will be our robber when everything he wants to steal from us becomes our gift to him? Who can lie to us, when only the truth will serve him well? Who wants to sneak into our back door, when our front door is wide open?" -- Henri J. Nouwen, "Reaching Out" pg. 103

"In short, learned ignorance makes one able to receive the word from others and the Other with great attention. That is the poverty of mind ... A voluntary poverty of mind makes professionals open to receive constantly new knowledge and insight from those who ask for help." -- Henri J. Nouwen, "Reaching Out" pg.105

"But when we are willing to detach ourselves from making our own limited experience the criterion for our approach to others, we may be able to see that life is greater than our life, history is greater than our history, experience greater than our experience and God greater than our God." -- Henri J. Nouwen, "Reaching Out" pg. 107

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

The movement from hostility to hospitality cannot be thought of without a constant inner connection with the movement from loneliness to solitude. As long as we are lonely, we cannot be hospitable because as lonely people we cannot create free space. Our own need to still our inner cravings of loneliness makes us cling to others instead of creating space for them. -- Henri J. Nouwen, "Reaching Out" pg. 101
"Few things have the power to make us feel as sorry for ourselves as loneliness. We feel marooned, cheated. Everyone else in the world seems to have somewhere to go, someone to be with, something to enjoy. We alone have been excluded. We simply want to wallow." -- Elizabeth Eliot, "Passion & Purity" pg. 115

"I wanted to marry a man prepared to swim against the tide. I took it for granted that there must be a few men left in the world who had that kind of strength. I assumed that those men would alsobe looking for women of principle. I did not want to be among the marked-down goods on the bargain table, cheap because they'd because they'd been pawed over. Crowds collect there. It is only the few who will pay full price. 'You get what you pay for.'" -- Elizabeth Eliot, "Passion & Purity pg. 129

"If your goal is purity of heart, be prepared to be thought very odd." - -- Elizabeth Eliot, "Passion & Purity pg. 130

"A word of warning here. It is not a good idea to go into caves or to sit by driftwood fires in lonely places if you are not yet sure of God. Paul advised the young Timothy to 'turn from the wayward impulses of youth..' Don't walk straight into them and blame God if the temptation is too great for you." -- Elizabeth Eliot, "Passion & Purity pg. 140

"When I was a youngster, all the progressive people were saying, "Why all this prudery? Let us treat sex just as we treat our other impulses." I was simple-minded enough to believe they meant what they said. I have since discoverd that they meant exactly the opposite. They meant that sex was to be treated as no other impulse in our nature has ever been treated by civilized people. All the others, we admit, have to be bridled...But every unkindness and breach of faith seems to be condoned provided that the object aimed at is "four bare legs in a bed." It is like having a morality in which stealing fruit is considered wrong---unless you steal nectarines." C.S. Lewis

"I'm glad that last is still ahead. Glad I'm not jaded by nights in bed with you, as married couples are. They can bear to sit at opposite sides of the car. I'm glad I till can't quite keep my hands off you, still must be warned not to 'muss you up.' I have you now unravished, and that is just how I need you now. The schoolboy in me still wonders and is awakward--we've not had "experience'--which takes the edge off. We will, I suppose, get used to each other, the feel and smell and look of one another, but I am glad it is not so now. As I never felt before, I feel now that I must keep myself for you. God knows it is a stay to purity, and He knows how many shakings to purity are ahead." -- Jim Eliot, "Passion & Purity pg. 156

"There is no ongoing spiritual life without this process of letting go. At the precise point where we refuse, growth stops. If we hold tightly to anything given to us, unwilling to let it go when the time comes to let it go or unwilling to allow to be used as the Giver means it to be used, we stunt the growth of the soul." -- Elizabeth Eliot, "Passion & Purity pg. 163

"We are always held in the love of God. We are never wholly at the mercy of other people--they are only "second causes," and no matter how many second or third or fifieth causes seem to be in control of what happens to us, it is God who is in charge, He who holds the keys, He who casts the lot finally into the lap. Trusting Him, then, requires that I leave some things to be decided by others. I must learn to relinquish the control I might wield over somebody else if the decision properly belongs to him. I must resist my urge to manipulate him, needle and prod and pester unter he capitulates. I must trust God in him, trust God to do for both us better than I know." -- Elizabeth Eliot, "Passion & Purity pg. 170

"Being in love, is a good thing, but it is not the best thing. There are also things above it. You cannot make it the basis of a whole life. It is a noble feeling, but it is still a feeling. Now no feeling can be relied on to last in its full intensity, or even to last at all ... In fact, the state of being in love usually does not last ... But of course ceasing to be 'in love' need not mean ceasing to love. Love ... is a deep unity, maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit, reinforced by the grace which both partners ask and receive from God ... They can retain this love even when each would easily, if they allowed themselves, be 'in love' with someone else. 'Being in love first moved them to promised fiedlity: this quieter love enables them to keep their promise. It is on this love that the engine of marriage is run: being in love was the explosion that started it." -- C.S. Lewis "Mere Christianity"

"Charity says 'I grant you your rights. I do not insist on mine. I give myself to you; I do not insist that you give yourself to me.'" -- Elizabeth Eliot, "Passion & Purity pg. 183

Haha ok ... Passion & Purity is by far the definitive work on relationships. By no means, an "end-all" book, but certainly takes the prize for hitting the dot most completely. Joshua Harris can't touch this. :) There have been times where I have truly questioned God's timing as far as relationships are concerned ... this book has definitely imparted peace and revelation on the matter. There is nothing to ruminate, I just need to read this again and pray that the truth in these pages would be found in my heart.

Ironically, I find myself drawn to read the Songs of Solomon. =P


The temptation is always to sell yourself "short" ... not so much like, jumping out and dating the first eligible girl you see, but selling yourself short on God's timing. If there's one thing I have learned about relationships, its that even if you DO find that pimplicious, ideal, wonderful significant other ... it don't mean SQUAT if its not on God's timing. And here I was thinking that I need to find that perfect girl ... whoops :). That's only half of it; its not even about the stars in her eyes, her stunning physical features, or amazing character ... its whether you have hit that divine timing. Feelings fade, and being in love don't mean squat ... because if you said "I do" .. you're going to have to learn to love this girl even if you realize that she farts and burps with the best of the guys, squeezes the toothpast from the middle instead of the bottom, or is a complete neat freak.

Here's a quote from the movie High Fidelity (the book I still have to read ...):

Rob: Hi.
Laura: Drinking lunch on a school day? That's a nice surprise. Are you nervous about tomorrow night?
Rob: Not really, no.
Laura: Well, um, are you going to talk to me or should I get my paper out?
Rob: No, no, I'm going to talk to you.
Laura: Right. What are you going to talk to me about?
Rob: I'm going to talk to you about whether or not you want to get married to me.
Laura: (laughing)
Rob: I'm serious.
Laura: Yes, I know.
Rob: Well, thanks a freakin' bunch!
Laura: I'm sorry, but two days ago you were making tapes for that girl from the Reader.
Rob: Yeah.
Laura: Well forgive me if I don't think of you as the world's safest bet.
Rob: Would you marry me if I was?
Laura: What brought all this on?
Rob: I don't know. I'm just sick of thinking about it all the time.
Laura: About what?
Rob: This stuff. Love and settling down and marriage you know - I wanna think about something else.
Laura: I changed my mind. That's the most romantic thing I've ever heard. I do. I will.
Rob: Just shut up, please, I'm trying to explain, okay? That other girl, or other women, whatever, I was thinking that they're just fantasies, you know, and they always seem really great because they're never any problems, and if there are they're cute problems like we bought each other the same Christmas present or she wants to go see a movie I've already seen, you know? And then I come home and you and I have real problems and you don't want to see the movie I wanna see, period. There's no lingerie...
Laura: I have lingerie!
Rob: Yes you do. You have great lingerie but you also have cotton underwear that's been washed a thousand times and its hanging on the thing and ... and they have it too just I don't have to see it because it's not the fantasy ... do you understand? I'm tired of the fantasy because it doesn't really exist and there are never really any surprises and it never really...
Laura: Delivers?
Rob: Delivers. Right. And I'm tired of it and I'm tired of everything else for that matter but you'll never see me get tired of you ...

I always forget that. Fantasy never delivers. God does.

You are the one real thing.-- Skillet

Friday, July 25, 2003

That's your problem, Benson, you keep on saying "if we only had..." The fact remains that we don't have that, and you just have to work with what we got.

So it appears even at work, I have made a career out of being disatisfied with what I have been given. Will I always be discontent? Complaining? Disgruntled with the status quo? God, is it possible to be disatisfied yet content? Desiring more yet still enjoying what I have been given?


Things feel like they're in limbo again; what seemed so sure and sturdy a couple days ago seems like shaky ground. If this is a test; I hope I pass.

Sunday, July 20, 2003

Update: cell phone's fine. :-D
Apparently its impossible to write a bad song that's entitled "Take Me Higher" or "Take Me Away" or anything of that sort. Cool beans

Benson, you possess an interesting balance of hemispheric and sensory characteristics, with a slight right-brain dominance and a slight preference for visual processing.

Since neither of these is completely centered, you lack the indecision and second-guessing associated with other patterns. You have a distinct preference for creativity and intuition with seemingly sufficient verbal skills to be able to translate in any meaningful way to yourself and others.

You tend to see things in "wholes" without surrendering the ability to attend to details. You can give them sufficient notice to be able to utitlize and incorporate them as part of an overall pattern.

In the same way, while you are active and process information simultaneously, you demonstrate a capacity for sequencing as well as reflection which allows for some "inner dialogue."

All in all, you are likely to be quite content with yourself and your style although at times it will not necessarily be appreciated by others. You have sufficient confidence to not second-guess yourself, but rather to use your critical faculties in a way that enhances, rather than limits, your creativity.

You can learn in either mode although far more efficiently within the visual mode. It is likely that in listening to conversations or lecture materials you simultaneously translate into pictures which enhance and elaborate on the meaning.

It is most likely that you will gravitate towards those endeavors which are predominantly visual but include some logic or structuring. You may either work particularly hard at cultivating your auditory skills or risk "missing out" on being able to efficiently process what you learn. Your own intuitive skills will at times interfere with your capacity to listen to others, which is something else you may need to take into account.


Saturday, July 19, 2003

"...but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the
ministry of the word."...Then the word of God spread, and the
number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a
great many of the priests were obedient to the faith.
--Acts 6:4,7

The church is afflicted by dry rot. This is best explained when
the psychology of nonexpectation takes over and spiritual rigidity
sets in, which is an inability to visualize anything better, a
lack of desire for improvement.

There are many who respond by arguing, "I know lots of evangelical
churches that would like to grow, and they do their best to get the
crowds in. They want to grow and have contests to make their Sunday
school larger." That is true, but they are trying to get people to
come and share their rut. They want people to help them celebrate
the rote and finally join in the rot. Because the Holy Spirit is not
given a chance to work in our services, nobody is repenting, nobody
is seeking God, nobody is spending a day in quiet waiting on God
with open Bible seeking to mend his or her ways. Nobody is doing it--
we just want more people. But more people for what? More people to
come and repeat our dead services without feeling, without meaning,
without wonder, without surprise? More people to join us in the
bondage to the rote? For the most part, spiritual rigidity that
cannot bend is too weak to know just how weak it is. Rut, Rot or
Revival: The Condition of the Church, 8,9. -- A.W. Tozer
So ... I kind of dropped my cell phone in the washer. And yeah, it was probably one of the more brilliant things that I've done in a while. What was I thinking, wondering if my cell phone would perhaps like to take a dip in the washing machine ... boo. Praise God anyway. Amazing how not having a cell phone, computer, or the Internet can make you irritable, lonely, and downright pissy.

I'm current reading Henri J. M. Nouwen's book "Reaching Out." I'm so thankful I happened to run across this book when Stef was cleaning out to leave for the East Coast. I don't think she reads this ... but thanks! Wowsers ... its an awesome book. You know when you read and this in-the-zone feeling just hits you; where you and the author are one, as if the author looked at your brain, your thoughts and explained why it's been functioning the way it has in words? It's really quite an exhilirating experience, knowing that someone truly understands and resonates with your struggles or victories.

The language we use suggests anything but loneliness. "Please come in, it is so good to see you ... It was so great to talk to you and to have a chance to visit you ... I dearly hope we will meet again. Know that you are always welcome and don't hesitate to bring a friend ... Come back soon." It is a language that reveals the desire to be close and receptive but that in our society sadly fails to heal the pains of our loneliness, because the real pain is felt where we can hardly allow anyone to enter. pg. 26

It is the most basic human loneliness that threatens us and is so hard to face. Too often we will do everything possible to avoid the confrontation with the experience of being alone, and sometimes we are able to create the most ingenious devices to prevent ourselves from being reminded of this condition. Our culture has become most sophisticated in the avoidance of pain, not only our physical pain but our emotional and mental pain as well. We not only bury our dead as if they were still alive, but we also bury our pains as if they were not really there. We have become so used to this state of anesthesia, that we panic when there is nothing or nobody left to distract us. When we have no project to finish, no friend to visit, no book to read, no television to watch or no record to play, and when we are left all alone by ourselves we are brought so close to the revelation of our basic human aloneness and are so afraid of experiencing an all-pervasive sense of loneliness that we will do anything to get us busy again and continue the game which makes us believe that everything is fine after all. pg. 26-27

Gosh, are the things we do in life just a big distraction? Man, that's depressing :) ... stay tuned for the resolution!

Friday, July 18, 2003

Maybe I have lived in this fallen world so long that I have forgotten that there ever was an Eden, that there really is One who loves me without condition, even when I eat too much, or when I burn the spaghetti, or have an incredibly arrogant thought, or fail to love my neighbor. When I�m not dreaming, I�ve become a Christian on a mission to be �real.� I mock Christian lingo. I roll my eyes if I have to hear one more time about what �God�s doing� in someone�s life or how �awesome� someone�s time of prayer was this morning. But I�m not real. I�m just calloused. I�m just calloused because I am afraid. I�m afraid to find out what it means to take God at His word, to believe that if I delight myself in Him, He will be faithful to give me the desires of my heart.

Maybe we�re all like Carol, just scared of being dumped on. Maybe I just keep missing the message of the Gospel, which is above all else the story of a Creator who made a perfect place for a creation that would reject it. The story of a Creator who still hasn�t given up on Eden, who is still restoring me, despite my resistance. The story of a Creator who loves me, who would teach me to delight in Him, if I could just believe.
-- Relevant Article, "Scared of Being Dumped On"

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

Yesterday was the longest day I have seen
But tomorrow could be longer maybe
Indecision risin' up like steam
From an early mornin highway

If things were different
Everything might work itself out fine
I'd like to
See right through the windows in your mind
I know that everyone's got something up their sleeve
So what have you got for me

I'm gonna give it up
I think I've had enough
I'm praying for a revelation
Could you set me free
Cause this is killing me
Just begging for a revelation

Twenty-one and the lifeboat's starting to sink
Yeah the water's rushing over my faith
Growing tired of living life on my knees
Still I'm begging for some mercy

If things were different
Everything might work itself out fine
I'd like to
See right through the windows in your mind
I know that everyone's got something up their sleeve
So what have you got for me

I'm gonna give it up
I think I've had enough
I'm begging for a revelation
Could you set me free
Cause this is killing me
I'm praying for a revelation
And I know that you know the way

- "Relevation," Dakona
I repost:

-"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28

- "Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:8-10

- So my daily fight isn't so much against my sinful nature or the lies of Satan, but struggling to clothe myself with the mind of Christ and to remember his promises.
"Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven." Luke 6:37

Its time to retire from the business of critical hearts, minds, and of words of judgment and bitterness. Lord, warn me before I speak or think.

Wednesday, July 09, 2003

-"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28

- "Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:8-10

- I'm really only a band-aid Christian.

- Its been a really an interesting couple of weeks, mainly because things have been so relatively uneventful. (Like on a scale of 1-10 where 1 is boredom and 10 is just crazy-go-nuts tension and excitement, we've flattened out at 5. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but its been a surprising challenge to really take advantage of the chillaxing level. I feel a bit tensed, a bit rushed, that perhaps, in any moment, my life might be ratcheted up to a level 10.)

- Humility, trials, sufferings, perseverance, endurance.

- Life appears to move in cycles; and in moments where things are bearable, those are the moments of preparation.

- I'm really struggling here God, please pull me through.

Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers,
not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly,
nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples
to the flock.
--1 Peter 5:2,3

"I believe that it might be accepted as a fairly reliable rule of
thumb that the man who is ambitious to lead is disqualified as a
leader. The Church of the Firstborn is no place for the demagogue or
the petty religious dictator. The true leader will have no wish to
lord it over God's heritage, but will be humble, gentle, self-
sacrificing, and altogether as ready to follow as to lead when the
Spirit makes it plain to him that a wiser and more gifted man than
himself has appeared."

"It is undoubtedly true, as I have said so often, that the church is
languishing not for leaders but for the right kind of leaders; for
the wrong kind is worse than none at all. Better to stand still than
to follow a blind man over a precipice. History will show that the
church has prospered most when blessed with strong leaders and
suffered the greatest decline when her leaders were weak and time
serving. The sheep rarely go much farther than the Shepherd. The
Warfare of the Spirit, 191,192." - A.W. Tozer

Monday, July 07, 2003

In March, 2003, an Iraqi minister of information hurled lie after lie through the airwaves of Baghdad, igniting a disinformation campaign which captured the attention of the world. Even as coalition forces were beginning to penetrate the gates of Baghdad, he denied their presence in the country. Continuing his disinformation campaign, he told of the assurance of Iraqi victory. This only hours before coalition forces secured of the defeat of Saddam�s regime, toppling his images through the land. So too the enemy of our souls has initiated and maintained a campaign of disinformation, hurling lie upon lie on generation after generation. This generation says "ENOUGH! We don�t believe you anymore. We have crossed your borders, and penetrated your defenses. Now we say, '�give us back our cities�our inheritances from the Lord.'" We are an army of young radical revival revolutionaries. We care nothing of our own names and reputations. We are recklessly abandoned to the King. We are infected with a holy madness, bent on reflecting the image of God and enforcing His righteous judgments around the globe. We are an army comprised of Special Forces, units prepared by God to scale the walls of cities, tear down the strongholds within, and release His kingdom in unprecedented fashion. God is unleashing us, His Wild Ones, lightning rods of His glory and splendor; a nameless faceless army, flaming coals of fire, set ablaze at the altars of God.

This summer we ride�a Special Forces unit under heavenly command� City to city we will go throughout the country , carrying the torch of revival through prophetic worship and intercession. We will travel by buses, motor homes and cars, giving birth to and maintaining a 24 hour mobile prayer tabernacle to ignite the fires of revival and revolution as we go. We are asking for prophetic intercessors to cover us. We are asking for a tribe of fathers to embrace us. We need relationship, association, and connection� The disinformation campaign is over! We are not defeated. Our cities are not lost. Soon we will be called �Sought After, a city no longer forsaken.�
- Nameless and Faceless

Thursday, July 03, 2003

Is it possible that one can be frustrated of the shortcomings of the present yet so paralyzed by possibilities of the future and the mistakes of the past?

I have to move. I simply must.

Wednesday, July 02, 2003

This time all I want is you / There is no one else / Who can take your place / This time you burned me with your eyes / You see past all the lies / You take it all away

I've seen it all / And it's never enough / It keeps leaving me needing you

Take me away / Take me away / I've got nothing left to say / Just take me away

I try to make my way to you / But still I feel so lost / I don't know what else I can do

I've seen it all / And it's never enough / It keeps leaving me needing you

Take me away / Take me away / I've got nothing left to say / Just take me away

Don't give up on me yet / Don't forget who I am / I know I'm not there yet / But don't let me stay here alone

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

Source: A Good Nap May Help You Learn

June 27, 2003 - Taking a nap after learning a difficult task might help you perform better. A new study shows that a 60-90 minute daytime nap can provide the same sleep-related benefits in learning new things as an entire night's sleep.

Previous studies have already found that naps can improve alertness, productivity, and mood, but researchers say less is known about how daytime naps affect learning.

Researchers say that learning perceptual skills -- such as quickly picking out a target amid other distracting images -- has been shown to depend on a good night's sleep afterwards. For example, prior studies have shown that people improve their reaction times in the first few minutes of training at a new task, but further significant improvement occurs only after several nights' sleep.

But the study, published in Nature Neuroscience, found that the same level of improvement can also be achieved following a 60-90 minute daytime nap, as long as the napper experiences both slow-wave sleep and rapid eye movement (REM), which are sleep stages associated with deep sleep.

Researchers trained a group of adults on a visual task that required them to quickly pick out a target among other distracting images. The subjects were trained at 9 a.m. and subsequently tested on their skills at 7 p.m. that evening and again the next morning.

The study found the participants who took a 60-90 minute nap between learning the task and the evening test showed significant improvement compared to those who did not nap or those who napped but didn't experience both slow-wave sleep and REM.

Researcher Sara Mednick, of the psychology department of Harvard University, and colleagues say the degree of learning and performance improvement the power nappers gained from as little as one hour of sleep was equal to the gains found after a full night's sleep (eight hours).

But they say the effects were specific to the visual task at hand, so more research is needed before a midday power nap can be justified as "learning on the job."