tales2apoint

…stories and poetry to touch, teach, & turn the heart toward truth.


4 Comments

Lunch at the Lake House

Malcolm walked into the large room and lowered onto a brown, cushioned chair. He was here now. The hardest part should be over.

To this point, Malcolm had avoided eye contact, but had chanced a few unheeded glances at the backs of people’s heads. This alone provided a glimpse into the kinds of people he was among. It was the usual demographic he was growing to expect in this small mid-western town.

Malcolm hadn’t attended church many times before, but in the empty silence of his home he’d convinced himself that this would be a good way to do some networking. His other option was the bar, and that wasn’t quite the kind of networking he sought.

He hated first impressions—mainly because he usually left others in confusion. He was shy, but self-assured; deep, but self-conscious about how others saw him. In short, he didn’t fit well into society’s molds, and he wasn’t confident enough to embrace it. For these reasons, he could simultaneously appear kind, vulnerable, awkward, and aloof. When making new acquaintances he even confused himself sometimes, so he rarely wondered why others seemed awkward when trying to visit with him.

People-watching was one of his favorite pastimes, but in a small community like this it was hard to do without seeming like a creep. There were enough creeps in the world; he didn’t need to add to their numbers. Malcolm had selected his seat on the edge of the room to provide him with a view of those around him. This way he could attempt to decipher the social structure and predict who might be good to reach out to in conversation after the worship hour.

The songs were all new to him, so he mainly just read the poetry of the lyrics, listened to the melodies, and picked out the talented singers sitting around him. Much of what was spoken from the pulpit was confusing, but listening to the preacher was easy enough. Slightly over middle age, he seemed genuine about what he taught—like what he said mattered. Malcolm respected that. Many religious people—especially leaders—seemed pretty disconnected from their message. Predictably, their message remained disconnected from their lives too.

After thinking about it for a while, Malcolm guessed that being a pastor—with all of its social expectations and misconceptions—would be a challenging position. People would expect you to be approachable, yet separate. Many people go to pastors for encouragement, but Malcolm found himself wondering who pastors go to when they need encouragement or advice. Then again, he reasoned, what spiritual leader wants to feel like he needs someone else to be a leader to him?

That question occupied Malcolm for several minutes, until he made eye contact with the preacher for a brief instant and realized that he’d been staring blankly up at him for several minutes. Awkwardly, Malcolm blinked and nodded slightly to acknowledge the man. Recovered and back to the present, he turned his head to observe the rest of the crowd.

A sophisticated lady in a crimson dress sat a row ahead of Malcolm and several feet to his right. She seemed to be connecting with what the pastor was saying, and was taking notes on an iPad. Malcolm found that intriguing and wondered what she was writing. He tried to tune in to the preaching again, by realized quickly that it was futile. If he didn’t get the beginning, he would never understand the end. He would have to concentrate more in the future. If he made it through medical school, he was sure he could figure out a Sunday sermon. He was just really distracted by his own thoughts today. He told himself it was because of the move and being in a new place.

From her appearance, Malcolm guessed the lady to be some sort of businesswoman. She wasn’t wearing any rings on her left hand, but there was a large emerald on her right ring finger. Maybe she had a serious boyfriend. Her attire suggested that she had a generous income, and he wondered why she was living in such a humble community. He tried to guess where she might work in town, and decided she probably commuted to one of the larger cities nearby. He reasoned that she may have grown up here and enjoyed living near family and away from the competitive pretenses of city life. If such was the case, he couldn’t blame her.

Malcolm had just begun employment at a local medical clinic. He specialized in alternative treatment styles which sought to use natural means of medicating illnesses largely through diet, exercise, and natural supplementation. At first, he’d been surprised that such a rural community would be interested in his somewhat unconventional methods. They were beginning to catch on in certain health-conscientious urban settings, but mainstream, symptom-masking medicine was predominate everywhere.

As he’d pondered the reason for his being hired in this rural community, he’d begun a theory. He was learning that modern medicine, with its long lists of side-effects and the need to often increase dosage with longevity, was becoming trusted less and less—especially in conservative rural settings. He would be the first to admit that some ailments are only minimally affected by natural treatment methods. Much of his treatment was designed to be preventative, and only in specific cases was he able to actively combat an aggressive illness. With time and study, though, Malcolm was increasing his aptitude at understanding many of the diseases most affecting western society. When subjects were willing to work with him, he was seeing some incredible, naturally attained results.

Noticing the iPad again, he thought of his smartphone and reached for it to check his emails. Just as he placed his hand on it, though, music began playing from the front of the room and he realized it was time for a closing song. This one he recognized from some funerals he’d attended. It was an upbeat, modernized version of  “His Eye Is on the Sparrow.” It was a fun melody change, and he’d always found the words encouraging.

As the song hummed to a close, all were dismissed and the congregation began to disperse and converse with warm gusto. He enjoyed watching how much people seemed to appreciate the fellowship. That’s why he’d come in the first place. As he stood up, a few couples near his seat welcomed him and shook his hand. He thought he’d seen one of the women at the grocery earlier that week, but he wasn’t sure.

After a few more brief introductions, Malcolm decided he was hungry. Not much in the mood for more small-talk, he started for the front doors. About half-way there, a husband and wife that reminded him of his parents stopped to greet him. To his surprise, they invited him to join them for lunch at their lake cottage. They acted so calm and friendly, that he accepted their invitation before he’d really even thought about it.

Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed the attractive crimson-dressed lady walking toward them. She had a boy with her, who was maybe four or five. Malcolm hadn’t been around kids enough to know for sure. She made eye-contact with him, and smiled. She had deep brown eyes that gazed kindly into his. He smiled in return, as she and the boy walked right up to where he was visiting with the older couple.

The older woman introduced her as their daughter—confirming his prediction about her living near family, though he hadn’t expected the child—and he learned that her name was Rita. The boy’s name was Blake. Embarrassed, Malcolm looked back at Rita’s parents and apologized that he couldn’t remember their names. Brenda Sutton refreshed his memory, accepting his apology with a dismissive wave of her hand, and her husband, Garrett, asked Malcolm where he worked.

He gave a basic description, knowing they could discuss it more over lunch if interested. At a small lull, Rita turned to her parents and asked what their plans were for lunch. Malcolm could tell they were close, and she probably ate Sunday lunch with them regularly. He was about to uninvite himself, so they could enjoy time together as a family, but when Rita heard about Malcolm she exclaimed, “Great! May Blake and I join?”

“The more the merrier!” the Suttons declared, and before Malcolm knew it, he had lunch plans with one of the most beautiful women he’d ever met. He had no idea what to expect from this afternoon, but regardless he wanted to make a good impression.

The Suttons were two of the warmest and trusting people Malcolm had met, and their roomy lake house was welcoming and tasteful. Rita and Blake were kind and close. Rita had been a single mother since Blake was born, and the child had never met his father. Rita worked as a senior marketing manager at a large corporation in a nearby city, so Blake stayed with his grandparents on weekdays while she was at work. Malcolm was stunned to see how close knit they all were and how special their grandson was to them. No one would ever have guessed that Blake was a single-parent child.

Malcolm had never expected to meet such a genuine and friendly family on his first weekend in town, but they made it clear how much they wanted people to feel welcome in their church. That’s why they were so quick to welcome him for dinner. Their love for each other and even for him was openly apparent, and Malcolm found himself wondering if he had more to gain from a church like this than a simple networking opportunity. These were the kind of people you share life with and learn from; they were real.

A strange twinge brought out a longing in Malcolm. Whatever it was they had, he wanted.

Why hadn’t he ever felt like this before? This morning he would have described his life as no different from anyone else’s. Now, he was beginning to sense an emptiness in himself that he hadn’t previously allowed to surface. The most confusing part was the fact that he had absolutely no idea what to do about it.

Soaking in the sun on their large patio overlooking the lake, he looked around at the Sutton family and asked solemnly, “What is so different about you all? On the outside you’re just a normal family, but inside there’s something about you that I’ve never seen before.”

They all looked at each other with a knowing smile, and Garrett said, “Let me start at the beginning…”

Advertisements


6 Comments

The Propitiator

I step across a line unknown

And find your deepest fears fulfilled

In this land of questions stilled

I bring an answer yet unshown

The line I cross was drawn at Fall

And holds unmoved by passing time

A stronger mix than sand and lime

Arranged by death in tempter’s crawl

 …

I leave a path of softest green

And cross into a darker realm

A ship with evil-driven helm

A land where sin has lost its sheen

 …

From farthest east, to west, then back

This haunted line the earth encircles

And to each wand’rer deftly calls

To those who greater wisdom lack

 …

But I, in turn, cross not as fool

I hasten here by noblest means

To show the world that justice leans

Toward the just, against the cruel

Some call me Love, some call me God

I AM WHO I AM, and I’ve been sent

To free the dead who shall repent

To grant true faith by grace-filled nod

For further meditation:

He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. II Corinthians 5:21

By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. I John 4:9-11

Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit. I Peter 3:18

Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You, even as You gave Him authority over all flesh, that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life. This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do. Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was. John 17:1-5

“Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” Now an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him. And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground. Luke 22:42-44

Now from the sixth hour darkness fell upon all the land until the [w]ninth hour. About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” Matthew 27:45-46

He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit. John 19:30

It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour, because the sun was obscured; and the veil of the temple was torn in two. And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.” Having said this, He breathed His last. Luke 23:44-46

But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore it says, “When He ascended on high, He led captive a host of captives, And He gave gifts to men.” (Now this expression, “He ascended,” what does it mean except that He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, so that He might fill all things.) Ephesians 4:7-10

Romans 5


2 Comments

Everything You Want

The God you need

Is everything you want

What you find in Him

Is what you have been seeking

Unfailing Love

Unspeakable Joy

Perfect Peace

Comforting Papa

Eternal Patience

Eternal Life

The kindest Goodness

The noblest King

Fulfilling Faith,

Faithful Fulfillment

Gentleness, Justice

Self-Control

Freedom from failures

Freedom to live

See the clouds parting

from His dwelling place

Repent and be humbled

Accept this brilliant gift

Ascend the hopeful heights

That rise into God’s glory

Begin where you stand now

He’ll join you in the valley

Rightness is an upward slope

With crevices between

Fear death no more

Embrace life fully

The God you need

Is everything you want

What you find in Him

Is what you have been seeking


2 Comments

The Heart & Mind Connection

There is a direct

correlation between

your heart and mind.

What we allow

into our minds

is what we desire.

Do you desire

what you know

is wrong and unholy?

There is a reason

for this dilemma

of conflicting priorities.

If we want

to change

our hearts’ output,

We must first

make changes

to the input.

A heart

transformed

by Christ’s salvation

Will be a mind

conformed

to beautiful holiness.


2 Comments

Pelisca and the Little, Grey Horse: A Modern Parable for Children

I would like to tell you about a special, little lady named Pelisca and a day she will always remember; but first, I must tell you how Pelisca got such a special, little name.

While Pelisca’s mother was waiting for her to be born, she was playing a word scramble game. There on the page were the letters, “P-E-L-I-S-C-A.” When her mother unscrambled the letters, she found that they spelled the word “SPECIAL.” Pelisca’s mother liked that very much, and decided that P-E-L-I-S-C-A would make an excellent little name for her own special, little daughter. From the day she was born, everyone knew that Pelisca was to be a special, little lady indeed.

Now, many years later, Pelisca had a special, little day. It went something like this…

It was on the first, little day of the special, new week when Pelisca woke up early in her special, little periwinkle-blue house. She jumped up, cleaned up, and put on the same special outfit that she wore every Monday: a chocolate-brown business skirt and a bright-orange blazer. She loved to start the week off looking sharp.

After a special little breakfast of eggs and grapefruit, Pelisca drove carefully through the especially busy town of Littleton—waving at friends along the way. Just in time, she entered her special place of work and went straight to her own little office. In her office, on a special, little periwinkle-blue shelf, were perched several nifty, little statues.

While her periwinkle-blue computer got warmed up for a busy day of work, Pelisca made herself a fresh, little pot of coffee and poured it into her special, periwinkle-blue mug. Then she carefully dusted her special, little collection of trinkets on the shelf.

This little collection was her very favorite part of her very special, little office, and she took time each day to admire and appreciate each one. First was a little, pink pig, munching on an old ear of corn. Second, was a little, golden-brown statue of a squirrel with BIG blue eyes that seemed to smile right at her. Next, sat a special, little black-and-white cow with a yummy mouthful of hay in her cud. She had a big, red collar around her neck with a special, little yellow bell hanging from it. There was also a little, pale-pink bunny sniffing a pretty, purple flower, and a…

Pelisca gasped! A statue was missing! And she knew exactly which one it was: a special, little gray horse with a long, curly tail and a sleek, black saddle.

Pelisca was very worried that it was missing, and she searched quickly all over her special, little office for it. No matter how hard she looked, though, she just COULDN’T find it! Saddened, little Pelisca slumped into her periwinkle-blue desk chair and tried to work on her computer. Only two minutes passed, though, before Pelisca wadded up a piece of periwinkle-blue paper and, discouraged, tossed it into the periwinkle-blue garbage can beneath the partly-empty shelf.

That’s when Pelisca got an especially nifty idea…the trash! Her special, little horse statue must have been knocked by accident into the garbage can and taken away by the cleaning man. She had to find it and rescue it!

First, Pelisca grabbed for her periwinkle blue telephone and called the maintenance man, but he didn’t answer. She left a special, little message on his phone, then sat back down and tried to work while she waited for him to call her back.

She waited, and waited, and waited…but he just didn’t call!

Flustered, little Pelisca made a BIG decision; she was going to go and find her special statue all by her own little self!

She jumped up from her chair, marched outside, rolled up her bright-orange sleeves, and climbed right into the STINKY, little dumpster! She dug around in the trash searching for her special, little horse statue—hoping very much that she would find it without stepping on it first.

Pelisca dug in the dumpster for nearly twenty minutes and was about to give up in distress, when she found a periwinkle-blue scrap of paper in a clear garbage bag. It had to be from her trash can! She searched frantically through the bag.

In her haste and excitement, she didn’t even notice digging past an old banana peel that she’d eaten last Tuesday, or the mushy corn flakes that she had forgotten to finish on Friday. By now, her bright orange blazer was covered in chocolate brown smudges to match her skirt, and she smelled like last week’s strawberry yogurt…YUCK!

Finally, after what seemed to be an eternity, Pelisca’s finger brushed against something little, cold, and grey. She’d found it! Quickly, Pelisca snatched up her special, little horse statue, jumped out of the stinky and NOT-very-special dumpster, and ran inside to tell all of her friends & co-workers what she’d found.

Later that week, she even took special, little periwinkle-blue cookies and blue Kool-aid to work to celebrate her special, little adventure! She had learned a special, little lesson about how God rejoices when one of His special, little creations repents and gets found by His love.

Based loosely on the parable of the lost coin in Matthew 15:8-10


Leave a comment

Don’t Dismiss What You Misunderstand…

nature-1

Anyone brash enough

to deny the existence of God,

either in the explicitness of tongue

or in the implicity of lifestyle

–or both–,

has not yet defined

–or at least accurately defined–

Who God is.

Any lucid human being

who has allowed himself

to fully encounter

the true definition of all that God is

–much of which is self-evident–

has little choice

but to admit his human insufficiencies

in comparison to God

and his need

–longing even–

for God’s divine workings

to grant unto him

the staggering freedom he desires

from a mortality

which plagues each heart

indefinitely and persistently.

The existence of God

is not only written on each heart,

but also is the desire

for that which God’s grace is prepared

to endow upon those humble enough to accept it

—forgiveness and reconciliation

with a relational,

eternal,

loving,

and just God

(Father,

Friend,

and Intimate Companion).