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Prayer, Plain and Simple

An earthquake with a magnitude of 3.8 hit rumbled through the suburbs of Chicago, the windy city, this morning. Damage was minimal; fear was not.

While there are many more ominous disasters of note in the world today, the fear and even panic sparked by even a small earthquake is a very real thing. And fear, whether from a warranted danger or not exacts a price on us. Pause with me and pray for the millions of people who felt a spike of fear as this earthquake hit Midwest.

“God, we pray for all those who experienced fear and panic this morning as a result of the Chicago earthquake. We thank you that it was not worse than it was. But we also ask that you comfort those who felt a spike of panic as a result. Recover their emotions. Guard them now against further fear. Bring peace where there was trauma. In Jesus…”

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Alex Ness is a writer, poet, and social critic. Recently Alex interviewed me (Mark Herringshaw) about my book, “The Karma of Jesus.” Here is another excerpt:

AN: People use the word “Karma” in many ways. What does it actually mean, in your frame of reference?

MH: Karma is an ancient Hindu word; the complete concept is very complex. Most religions, including Judaism and Christianity include some tenet similar to the concept of Karma. When we experience trouble, we imagine there must be some cause. A shattered relationship, financial struggles, health problems, family strife – Why? What’s the reason? We also want to know if there is a way out? It’s almost instinctive to explain our troubles by saying, “We reap what we sow,” or “The piper has to be paid,” or “The chickens always come home to roost.” We seem to understand that if we act well, blessings come back to us; if we act badly, problems come back to us. This, in its simplest form is “Karma.” Again, I know it’s much more nuanced than this for those who spend a lifetime exploring the depths. But in a popular sense, this is what I mean when I use the word.

AN: Why is our culture so fascinated with Karma?

MH: The word “karma” is chic. It seems to explain everything, I suppose. And more, it promises me some control over my own destiny. Karma gives me a kind of roadmap for mastery. It may take me a eons, but at least it gives me direction. We like this. Google “karma” and you could get 106 million results. Not bad for an arcane word coined 4,000 years ago to describe a concept almost impossible for westerners to fully grasp. Now alongside belief in a God who communicates, cares, makes choices and prefers one thing over another, many have added faith in “Karma” – a belief in the sovereignty of cause and effect. In order to communicate the gospel in this environment, we have to take into account the belief in Karma and go from there. Again, I’m starting here and using this as a bridge to talk about – and hopefully better understand – Jesus. That’s the essence behind my book “The Karma of Jesus,” and the website www.dumpyourkarma.com.  

 

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February 10, 2010

Day 41

Weight: 199 lbs

Weight lost: -7 lbs

I love chocolate. I like coffee. I prefer to drink my coffee with a “shot” of chocolate. This morning I’ve parked at my butt at Caribou Coffee to plow through a procrastinated stack of emails… and to add this post to my blog. This morning Caribou is brewing a French roast dark. I ordered a cup and to make a good thing better, I added a package of raw sugar, some half and half and – confessions – three squares of a bar of dark chocolate I smuggled in just for the occasion. Ambrosia!

Chocolate must be divine. I admit my fetish. There is clearly something powerful about the stuff. And coupled with a fresh roasted cup of coffee, it carries a punch of near glory. I’m admitting it here: not all foods are created equal. Some – and I put chocolate at the top of this list – have more provocative, even seductive power than others. Real vanilla ice cream, t-bone steak, new potatoes with cream sauce and fresh peas, and semi-sweet dark chocolate… Powerful desires…

Today, I’m aware of the powerful way hunger and cravings drive my choices. I get something in my head, an urge that begins in my stomach, and I move heaven and earth to get it… I’m aware of this – and here’s the confession – because this morning I went way out of my way – literally – get hold of my chocolate. I actually drove one mile to my office before driving to Caribou because I’d stashed a chocolate bar in my office… I grabbed it, then headed to the coffee shop. Is that nuts?

How much do I desire God? Am I as addicted to him as I am to chocolate? It’s an almost silly, simplistic question, but I wonder.

“God, possess my hunger and drive my cravings. As much as I love chocolate, deepen my root desire for you. Make me obsessed with tasting you, with the sweetness of your presence, with consuming your goodness. As I take communion today, satisfy me, but also dissatisfy me! Make me long for more. Fill me, but make me aware of my infinite emptiness without you. Drive me to drive toward you. I want to be a addict for glory and grace! In Jesus…”

“The Eucharist Diet” adventure is my six month experiment taking daily communion and tracking and posting the results in my personal life, relationships, health, and body fat percentage.

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A few weeks ago, we posted an update on David Hames, the Compassion International volunteer who was buried under the rubble of the Hotel Montana following the massive earthquake in Haiti. It is with a heavy heart that we provide you with the following update about David. It is my hope that after reading this and even before, you would put yourself in a position of prayer to intercede on behalf of the family and friends of David Hames.

From a statement released by Vanguard Church  on Tuesday, February 9, 2010:

“The death of one that belongs to him is precious to the Lord.” (Ps. 116:15)

The remains of David Hames were identified by the State Department this morning, and Renee and her boys are grieving the loss of their husband and father. We know that our dear brother and friend is in heaven, but even so, Renee is grieving the loss of the man she loved with all her heart.

Our faith in God is not shaken by this terrible tragedy, but we still mourn the loss of this adoring husband, amazing daddy, and faithful friend. We all know David loved Jesus, and we know that he is safe today, at home with our Heavenly Father. Now we will band together to care for his sweet wife and their two young boys. I will post again soon about a memorial service at Vanguard Church in Colorado Springs as well as additional ways to support Renee, Aidan, and Zander.

Please join us in prayer for the family and friends of David Hames, a servant of the Lord, who we pray is now present with Him.

Heavenly Father,

We thank you for the life of David Hames, a man who thought it not robbery to serve your people as a Compassion International worker. We thank you for the wonderful father he was to Aidan and Zander and the wonderful husband he was to Renee. In this time of mourning we pray that you would help them to remember the times that they had with him on this earth. May they cherish those moments. We pray for a special covering over Renee as she deals with the loss of the love of her life. May you comfort her and send her all the love she needs. Be in the midst of their children, Aidan and Zander, reminding them of your great and affectionate love for them. Bless and protect all the family and friends of David Hames. May they all come together on one accord to remember David, to encourage one another and to build one another up. May all turn their hearts toward prayer and positive thoughts for David’s family and friends. May God meet every need those spoken and unspoken. May wailing be turned into dancing, sorrow turned into joy and beauty be turned to ashes in God’s perfect timing. May it all be well with your souls Renee, Aidan, Zander and other family and friends. Rest in peace David.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen  

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