Cycling: Cool Ride

miraclehillIt’s been a really long time since my feet got cold on a bike ride. I left at around 10AM with temperatures around 45°F (7C). The morning fog was almost gone and the sky was just slightly clouded. The actual ambient air temperature wasn’t so cold, but the southerly winds were pretty high, so I went out to Draper Lake. That way I could have a tailwind coming home. However, thick overcast rolled in while I was making my way around the lake.

I packed a lunch and ate on Miracle Hill. I’m probably the only person who calls it that. It’s odd how I was dressed okay for the conditions, but by the time I got home I had that wiped-out, light-headed feeling with my cold face and feet. Not enough to make me dizzy, but just enough that it was hard to focus my conscious energy on anything but riding and controlling the bike by the time I got home.

Which is just about appropriate because stuff is happening so fast my head is spinning. I really needed that time out on the hill and riding in the cool winds. All the while the repeating drumbeat in my heart is that I’m on the right path, my brain is floundering. The only thing that seems clear in my head right now is the boundless desire for one more mission in meat space. Just one more time, Lord, let me take this faith among folks who have never seen it but need to. That prayer was uppermost in my mind the whole ride.

I took the Sooner Road corridor outbound: cut through the neighborhood south of my apartment, come out next to Applebee’s, cross Air Depot and zigzag between parking lots until I get to Eddie Drive. Drop west and then south on Sandra Drive. That runs all the way down several blocks until I turn right on Foster Place. This dead ends at the edge of Rose State, but the barriers offer a pedestrian cut through big enough I can walk the bike past it. Then I just zigzag around the campus on Adair Boulevard and turn south again on Hudiburg Drive. This takes me up over I-40 and I can run down the service road all the way to Sooner Road. A couple of weeks ago I brought a cutting tool so I could remove the tree limbs blocking the path on the edge of the bridge. Now I can ride the margin against the traffic safely until I can cross the street. From there it’s bike route all the way out to the lake. I seldom face much traffic, but it’s nine miles one way.

Parks and Recreation had a crew out in a crew-cab pickup riding the main roads around the lake. They stopped now and then to pick up obvious litter along the roadside, but then the high winds just yanked it back out of the open pickup bed. Brilliant, guys. I was surprised by the number of motor vehicles taking the lake drive today, including an old Jaguar XKE circa late 1960s. Motorists are never a problem because everyone knows bikes have the right of way. Of course, no one else was riding today. Still, I’m trying to get all the saddle time I can handle with a major cold front heading our way this week. Tomorrow will be a little cooler with winds more northerly. Tomorrow night we go just below freezing. Next day is cooler still than the day before, and at night the bottom falls out, way below freezing. It will be like that a few days, then we expect to come up out of the freezer. When it’s like that I just don’t ride that much. I can walk, but it’s not the same.

Meanwhile, stuff keeps happening: The Keystone XL Pipeline may have to take another route away from the Sioux burial grounds; Italy voted against a radical change in their constitution and frustrating the EU; another VIP raped and murdered in Germany by a refugee; lots of crazy stuff locally here in the OKC Metro… sheesh. I’m just watching and waiting for my Lord’s call.

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More Political Blather

You don’t have to read this; it’s not essential to our parish business. It’s just me. I’m trying to avoid sounding cryptic, but it would probably take a small book to explain what I see. Nobody has to remind you that I could be wrong, but if I don’t reveal what I believe is in my heart, I’ll be a liar for sure.

The business of Jill Stein demanding recounts in three states is funded by major Clinton supporters. It’s purpose is not to actually try to see if a recount can change the electoral votes; it’s to tie up those three states in legal challenges so that they aren’t allowed to cast their electoral votes at all. The Electoral College vote on December 19 is only two weeks away. Choking these three states like this would trim back Trump’s electoral lead by a margin where it’s just about possible that unfaithful electors in some other states might change the final outcome. But it’s not cheating because at this point it’s all a matter of law.

It’s also a lot of senseless drama. Should this masked Clinton plot succeed, we will have our civil war, far worse than if Clinton had won outright. I’m not saying it will be troops in the streets, but the systemic convulsions will quite likely destroy the nation. In other words, no human can predict the outcome, but it won’t be pleasant for anyone. The legal system that would allow Clinton to hijack things would no longer be there to protect her or allow her to keep what she imagines she’ll gain. And while the Clinton camp refuses to see this, there are plenty of other folks who do, and I am convinced they’ll prevent it going that way. Maybe I can’t suggest who those folks might be, but I have confidence that My Father isn’t playing games.

I have confidence that my Father has brought me to the point that I can see at least some portion of what He’s doing. In my own limited understanding, this has all been consistent going back several years, though the picture has gotten steadily more complete. Even if you take seriously my blather about a shift in reality, it’s still consistent with God’s moral character, so far as I can see, and that’s the basis for my chatter here. So you need to check your own heart as you read this to see if you recognize what I write as trustworthy. Don’t just swallow what I say.

Instead of one huge global apocalypse, we are now going to see a lot of smaller dramatic changes that will seem consistent only to those who see with the heart. The net result in the long run will be the same either way, but we now have a rich opportunity to stay alive and spread this heart-led message under less traumatic conditions. God is being merciful to His people.

I’ve watched this bogus left-right, Republican-Democrat conflict for a long time and it’s always been one big lie. Back a couple of decades ago when the Republicans claimed their “Contract with America” would change things once and for all, it failed on two primary issues. One is that the Republicans were a mix of nationalists and neocon imperialists. The latter infiltrated this big movement and gutted it when the hard moments came. Two is that those who were serious about the changes weren’t actually ready to do what it took, weren’t willing to rip the rug out from under the globalists or imperialists when they could have. The window was small and closed before they realized what it would take. They weren’t willing to pay the awful price, having too much to lose.

Well that’s all changed now. Trump has nothing to lose and he can stomach the nastiness it will take. Where do you think the majority of globalist power rests? In government-funded institutions that they control. Trump plans to de-fund all of them. Further, some of his allies are altogether willing to go after folks like Soros and strip them through various means to seize their wealth, tying it up or confiscating it. He’s willing to bend the rules to the maximum. At some point he’ll probably change the rules.

Once things start down that road, there’s no going back. I’m hardly cheering this on; it’s going to be very messy. It will be harder for us than it is now, but not so hard as it would be if Clinton won. Keep your eye on the nature of the propaganda war, particularly the hacking and “doxing” that exposes even more secrets. This will be a war of leveraging the Internet, and the globalists are already at a deep disadvantage. They don’t understand how their old games of deception and manipulation are going to come apart, because the Net is hostile to secrecy.

To the degree the neocons cling to deception and manipulation, they will struggle, too, but they’ve been working longer at the sneaky business of infiltrating the various public forums on the Net. They will eventually face trouble for entirely different reasons: their dependence on contracted commercial software. They aren’t building their own weapons, so they don’t control some of the critical factors of their strategy.

In the midst of this we need to find our place and speak the truth about Our Father and His revelation. Exploit the situation for His glory. Let people see your serenity in the storm so that some will question their own sanity and start asking how you handle the madness.

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Kiln blog: Psalm 119 — Kaph

(Reposted from the Kiln blog due to brevity; original post.)

This octet offers us Hope in the Darkness. The Hebrew culture viewed time altogether differently than Westerners do today. The psalmist is fully aware that a part of the Curse of the Fall was locking our human awareness into a time-space constraint that blinds us to God’s perspective on things. So for the Hebrew folks, a part of redemption is learning that the key to understanding the passage of time was in the image of ripeness: Things in Creation come when they are ripe. It’s a struggle to learn that, and it’s a lesson the bears repeating often. Western thinking never bothers struggling toward redemption, but assumes that time-space constraints are universal and builds a culture based on measuring time in precise increments, as if reality ran along some ineluctable track. Meanwhile, we treat as genius someone able to think in the long term, and as saintly those who can joyfully wait on the hand of God. Hebrew people thought of this as the norm.

So the first couplet begins with the psalmist lamenting his moral weakness, and how quickly his fleshly awareness obsesses over how slow some things move. His words are more dramatic than most English translations indicate for his state of mind: “Lord, I’m dying here waiting for Your rescue!” Yet the state of his heart is not so frantic as the mind, for his faith remains fixed on the promise of justice in God’s Word. Still, his mind does not learn easily, for his brain searches with desperation for some clue, some lever or trick he can use to move God at his own convenience. We are all in good company.

Like a skin bladder for liquids, the psalmist complains he’s been too close to the fire for too long and now he feels brittle and leaky. But that’s just the fleshly part of him; his heart knows that the promises of God endure beyond his life. Indeed, his mortality is never far from his consciousness, so will he die before God judges those who hound him?

Everywhere he turns there are pitfalls. Yet these traps presume a reality different from what God says. He subtly hints that his commitment to God’s justice has kept his eyes open to these temptations seeking to take advantage of character flaws. No, despite their relentless persecution, God’s promises are faithful and he knows his cry for help is does not fall on deaf ears.

While he very nearly fell into at least one trap that would have destroyed his life, his convictions would not let him forsake God’s revelation. As he considers this, his faith rises again to ask for God to restore his sense of peace by letting him see clearly divine mercy for what it is. In the end, he knows this will give him the sense of confidence to promote what God has said.

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Cycling: Working NE 122nd

03openroadI knew it was going to rain all day today, so I rode yesterday with the intent to overdo it just a bit. It wasn’t anything fancy, just a straight hard ride in low winds.

01ncan-122ndIn fact, I almost didn’t bother posting the images, but it shows the degree of drought before the rain came. I took my usual back route through the Alliance Midwest Hospital area and connecting streets to Midwest Boulevard. It was a straight shot northward all the way to Hefner Road. Turning right, I rolled up to Douglas Boulevard; there was a good bit of dump-truck traffic at the sand and gravel mine there. I turned left because I wanted to see that lovely horse ranch up on NE 122nd. Right again on NE 122nd I crossed an expanse of flat farmland. The one farmhouse where last year’s storm blew over a massive tree now had the spot properly refilled and grass growing over it. The view from the bridge (above left) was peaceful and called for a moment of quiet prayer.

I couldn’t figure out how to capture the image of a cottonwood that had grown in the bank near the water, but bent over completely, practically lying on the downward slope into the water. While it’s not so terribly uncommon for such trees to lie down and prosper, this one had spent way too much time underwater and was dying slowly at only a moderate size.

02ncan-hefnerFrom there I followed the only route open to traffic: a hard right south on Westminster Road. Once I climbed back up to Hefner Road, I decided to avoid a troublesome dog I know that guards its domain too zealously further south on Westminster, and turned right again to begin the return leg. The bridge here on Hefner offered a slightly more dramatic view. Just under the bridge I spotted evidence of someone having a long stay on the end of a sandbar close to the water. There was the deep imprint of a very substantial ice chest and some other less identifiable impressions in the sand, plus a few empty containers that likely held fishing bait. However, in the picture I took you can just glimpse buried under silt the remains of the previous bridge, beams of the older steel truss design. And while the large sandbar has seen substantial off-road vehicle use, I suspect today that’s all under water.

So aside from two brief stops where the silence called to me, I road steadily and at a decent pace for 26 miles.

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Head in a Different World

(Note: To give you some perspective, Gary S. Paxton is most famous for writing the song, “Monster Mash.”)

There is a significant behavioral clinical literature on “conversion experience.” It’s a well established phenomena in psychology. It’s used in all sorts of ways, not least in hostile interrogations. Everyone has a breaking point; you just have to find it. Oddly, you’d be surprised how many churches use the data in their evangelism training. It’s well known that if this conversion rests on experience and reason, it’s always reversible. To the degree it rests on emotion, it’s just a little trickier. Yet any good behavioral scientist will tell you there are some folks who can’t be converted because their loyalties rest on something totally out of reach.

When you come to a place where you are aware that something stakes a claim on your soul, it’s typical for this to manifest itself in a conversion experience. I’ve been watching the broader reaction from folks who commune with us here and discover that the heart-led existence requires some hard work. It undermines everything you previously believed, because it shatters the ground on which your life was previously built. Once your heart makes its voice known in your mind, the same logical process of the mind makes entirely new and radical demands. We don’t aim to convert you in our parish, but we are fully aware it’s a typical result that comes with shifting your center of awareness from your head into your heart.

In the pastoral sense, some of you have called on me, needing help to evaluate the competing demands that arise during that process. At a minimum, it will change your relationships with those around you because it changes your relationship with God and His Creation. Sadly, most of you are living very close to folks who don’t hear that call to the heart-led life, and they don’t find your changes easy to understand, and maybe they don’t tolerate it well. But somewhere down the road, you figure out once again who you are and what’s real, what matters. You get a grip on the conflicts and find peace with where God placed you. Maybe some relationships are permanently broken, but more often you simply come to terms with things. That’s what I’m seeing when you folks talk to me about it.

We teach that Creation is alive, sentient and willfully acting by God’s moral character. That’s the language used in Scripture and we take it seriously. We teach that heart-led living pulls you into this moral realm of reality, a place where your heart speaks in terms of moral convictions that inevitably reflect how reality actually works. You’ll never quite reach the end of new discoveries, things that you have to unlearn and face in a different light, but at some point you will find yourself feeling entirely solid, planted again in the Garden of Eden. You are at peace with this existence. You know you belong in the Spirit Realm with God, but are content to live here in accordance with His divine justice until your witness to His glory is complete.

That is our evangelism. We live and breathe that full connection with Creation and Creator. God uses this to speak to hearts now and then, and you’ll be called on to explain. Some way, some how, your calling includes some means of expressing what makes your life so different from theirs. I’m doing my best to offer a frame of reference so that the verbal explanation is within your reach.

But a critical element in our witness is also offering some measure of healing to people who suffer. There is almost zero probability that anyone you encounter doesn’t have some kind of gripe with the world as it is. And most of them aren’t handling it according to the reality revealed to us in our hearts. So we have whiners, activists, warriors of all stripes trying to change the world, directly or by provoking others, so it makes more sense to them. But as long as they are not living in their hearts, nothing actually possible will satisfy that sense that something is broken. We talk about how most of humanity lives in a fantasy world; they just know for sure what the answer is, but they can’t seem to get everyone else to go along. And we can’t avoid wanting to help them understand, but we also know they have to hit that teachable moment before they’ll listen.

That’s how it was with each of us, too. But once we unlearned enough lies and made significant strides in walking heart-led, we find ourselves always ready and able to offer something they need to hear. Even if it’s not part of our education and training, we find God steps in and puts the words on our tongues. It happens to me just about daily, some days several times. And if not the words, then it’s some other means of expressing and demonstrating what they cannot see for themselves.

Further, it’s entirely natural that, if you can get used to heart-mind “logic,” you discover you can see beyond the boundaries of time and space. That is, some part of you simply knows what’s at the other end of some path that people choose. Many of you will be reluctant at first to discuss what you see, but if you wrestle and patiently wait through enough times, you’ll see that your premonition was accurate enough and you’ll be more confident about it. Or maybe you’ve built up a load of bad habits about what you think could happen and it takes a while to clear that out before you can see more accurately. But it’s entirely normal for heart-led folks to sense the end result of a human endeavor because we sense God’s moral character directly. God reveals some measure of His plans through our convictions and calling, and we eventually get used to how that all fits together so that we become somewhat prophetic. I assure you it can be more common than you know.

And then, who can imagine what other miraculous gifts He will bestow upon you? It’s entirely natural that, upon making that conscious shift of awareness to the heart-mind, that you suddenly realize your communion with nature in itself brings a host of surprise abilities that lay dormant and out of reach of the intellect.

I’ve already mentioned that we are in a time of tribulation. Prophetically I can tell you that the globalists, feminists and other social lefties are going to catch hell in the coming years. A lot of what they believe they have accomplished will go down the tubes; their strongholds will be torn down. Since we are outside of the entire left-right political dispute and eschew Western Civilization in the first place, we can avoid the appearance of choosing sides. Sure, we have to agree that the lefties are trying to respond to some very real problems, but they are trapped in a worldview that’s just as false as those on the right, and don’t really understand the nature of the problems they see. Westerners as a whole confuse symptoms with causes. Stay out of their disputes. It might be hard to get to them to understand that what they consider morality is just heathen mythology, but we can at least point out that we see from an entirely different perspective.

Speak the truth from a neutral point outside their system. Leave it to God whether they can embrace it.

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Cycling: Old Bridges

01fallcolorsWith the delayed arrival of cooler temperatures here, I tend to start my rides later in the day. That also means shorter rides. Today I felt the urge to visit that old rail bridge I noted crossing the Oklahoma River not far from Western Avenue. The foundation says it was built in 1966, making it fifty years old. I suppose it’s current state shows the lack of resolve — and lack of funding — in the once popular idea of turning abandoned railbeds into fitness trails. (As always, click on any image to see it full-sized. CTRL-click will open the image in a separate browser tab.)

02formerrailbridgeThe rail line used to run up from the southwest across the suburbs and through some industrial facilities, then across the river and through the edge of downtown. The downtown part was gone long ago, buried under several renovations of I-40 Crosstown, so the rails were pulled up long ago. But as the removal went southwesterly, it stopped near Stockyards City because it runs into a still active rail line that runs across the south side of the Metro. I’ve read about the way the process of deciding which lines to keep and which to abandon has gone back and forth and made commitments to conversion difficult or even impossible.03half-wayacross Anyway, this bridge is sturdy but hard to use. The gap between the ties is too wide for us old guys to ride across comfortably, so it needs a deck of some kind, and side rails would really be a good idea.

Still, I walked my bike across as I contemplated some things. I had ridden out westward from home, zigzagging through some quiet neighborhood streets until I was forced to use Reno to get to Eagle Lake. Where the Eagle Lake Trail runs out at Eastern Avenue, I took my usual diversion along the south riverbank where there has been some, but very little, activity starting back to work on the Indian Heritage Center.04treechorus Down where the dirt road dips under I-35, some guy was sitting on his pickup tailgate fishing in the rowing area. He can get away with it because there’s no training activity and no one’s paying attention to the south bank. I had the bike trails to myself all the way down to the railroad bridge. Once across, it was the same story heading back toward Bricktown on the north bank. But of course, auditory silence is not the same as heart silence. This last image shows the choir that greets me every time I ride by here.

This is the stretch between the very active rail bridge that runs into the OKC rail yard, and the entryway for the tourist dock at the Chesapeake Boathouse. On this part of the bike trail stands a thicket of mixed native trees. You might not hear a thing, but whenever I ride through here it sounds in my soul like the chatter of junior-high kids welcoming me like I’m some kind of hero. How many thousands of folks walk, jog or ride past here without using their sensory hearts? There’s a lot of pent-up emotion from those “standing people” in that silent language of the heart.

I followed the bike path into the boathouse inlet and around the monuments into the parking lot. It’s all interconnected with the parking lots of restaurants, entertainment venues and hotels that dominate Bricktown. Straight north from one of the hotels is a street that changes names once or twice in just a few blocks, but it takes me to NW 4th and that’s my ticket home. The yuppie lofts stop at the underpass for I-235. I run through the south end of the hospital district which is slowly replacing the ancient structures of the forgotten part of “Deep Deuce” and hit the old park that seldom sees many guests. The alleged “bike trail” that starts there is a standard sidewalk that often has too many pedestrians for me to ride safely, so I stick to the road until I’m almost to ML King Boulevard. While the little golf course is on the north side after that, it’s gritty oilfield suppliers on the south side of the street. Over the hump at I-35 and it’s rough road that becomes even rougher road along the tar and blacktop plants before the railroad crossing near Cherry Creek. Just another two miles and I’m home.

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Virtual Missionaries

I am the elder.

By way of reminder, I am the acting pastor of this virtual parish. Those two titles signify the current labels for the ancient offices of the Two Witnesses of God’s revelation, typically translated as king and priest, though “king” is closer to “head of household” — in our case, a covenant household of faith. This division of labor is entirely a product of the Ancient Near Eastern (ANE) feudal way of life. It has always met with hostility in Western Civilization, so it’s no surprise that our current social context sees the two offices wrongly merged, making the pastor a magisterial manager of the church institution, which in turn is more like a corporation headed by an entertainer.

Fortunately, most of the ceremonial duties of the priestly role simply cannot be manifest in our virtual setting. Those require a physical presence to have any meaning. Each of us has to work on that in our respective meat-space contexts. I hope that someday in the future, the Lord will restore to His people the lost heritage ditched by Israel long before His Son was born, but it won’t look the same. It needs only restore the elements that answer our true design. Meanwhile, what’s left to me as elder and acting pastor is a lot of territory where the two roles overlap.

And you can still call me “pastor” in the colloquial sense; this isn’t a lesson in sacred terminology with the trappings of orthodoxy. But you should be aware that the role of elder is more fatherly, more of the shepherd of practical matters of life. If I get into the abstract academic territory once in awhile, it’s only because I want you to see what’s behind the guidance I try to offer. I want very much for you to take an active part in evaluating for your own life whether my suggestions match your context. The only sword of authority I have in the first place is in your own heart. If my work here doesn’t grab the handle of that blade, what I offer is not for you. But the final answer has always been inside of you.

Again, that’s the background for what follows.

A lot of voices are clamoring for your attention, particularly on the Net. For example, here’s one that explains The Real Reasons Why Another American Civil War Is Possible. Granted, Brandon Smith makes a very strong case; he explains clearly the nature of the political left. However, he probably conflates some noisy activity that isn’t leftist vengeance against Trump’s victory (like the pipeline protest in North Dakota) with the dramatic protests right after the election. Has anybody noticed how they have dwindled through November? Wikipedia is tracking this; scroll down a little way and you’ll see the timeline. By mid-November it was tapering off and now it’s about dead. You can only buy so much of that before weather and other things reduce their enthusiasm.

Now, were it to restart in the spring after Trump’s inauguration, you’ll see some perfectly legal crackdowns under a new law labeling some forms of protest “economic terrorism.” That’s just a small sample of the right-wing backlash. It becomes an excuse to take a bite out of Soros and his ilk. It’s likely we’ll see similar efforts actually come into play, but it would be a mere distraction.

A real revolt with millions in the streets and scaring the powers that be costs too much. They didn’t see it coming. We certainly don’t have a resident population riled and ready, trained to engage in genuine resistance, so it would have to be purchased outright, and it’s just not possible. No, the real civil war is entirely confined to propaganda. I truly believe the globalists have already lost this one. Not that they won’t make some belated effort to counterattack, and it would surely include some dramatic computer hacking, but it’s already too late. The corporate media companies are already taking a big hit, and their allies like Facebook, Twitter and such will suffer accordingly.

Why does this matter to you or me? First, as previously noted here, this will provoke a big shift in the social media landscape. Did you know that Diaspora, a sort of free and open alternative to Facebook, is viable now? It almost died when the developers handed the project over to some folks who at first didn’t want to support free server space for user accounts. It meant users would have to host their own full software implementation to join the community, but now volunteers have stepped in and quite a few “nodes” have been created around the world where you can join without such a burden. I dropped out like a lot of other folks, but I’m considering trying it again now. You can bet I’ll be more assertive about having no political alignment.

While it’s not immediately likely Facebook will go away, since Zuckerberg is frankly worried about losing all that advertising money if membership declines, I think Twitter has already shot itself in the foot, and is turning the gun on its head. The issue with Twitter is the obvious double standard, where leftist thugs can verbally abuse everyone and get away with it, to include race war threats against whites, but Trump and his supporters are labeled “racist bigots” before they even say a word about anyone.

But for us what this means is that our message will have more room. You still need very much to live your heart-led existence in your meat-space context or what we splash on the Net means nothing. Indeed, in our social context of ears callused by ceaseless propaganda, along with activist harassment, we dare not say much at all until someone asks about our visible demonstration of faith. So our words belong on the Net, and we have to be among the most skilled at using that medium. You need not keep your eyes glued to some electronic display all day long; it’s not a question of time investment in bulk. It’s a question of exploiting the new reality for His glory. This is our best shot at delivering the gospel of heart-led faith.

We are all called in different ways to varying missions, but at least a significant portion of us will be called to evangelism — a form of evangelism the world has not yet seen. We need to invade all of the new social media landscape and claim it for Our Lord. We need a voice in every place where there might be hearts ready for awakening. There’s still a place for missionaries crossing the face of the earth, but now there’s a much bigger place for virtual missionaries.

We aren’t trying to solve the problems of this world; we cannot. We are trying to draw people out of this world and into the moral realm of the heart. We want people to reconnect to Creation, but we have to go where they are to make that happen. Instead of grousing about all the horrendous bad social habits of the cellphone generation, let’s find out why they do that stuff and meet them there with redemption. Don’t scold; call to their hearts.

If you commit to this mission, God will show you where to go and what to do. It will be obvious when you get there; your heart already knows. This is your virtual ordination ceremony; I lay my hands on you and commission you to the mission.

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