May 28, 2009

The Big Red Snoz Reorientation

"Snoz" is slang for "nose", but of course if you remember Jimmy Durante you would know that. His nasal capacity was capable of hiding small warships. But he turned his snoz into a big part of his fame.

Currently my SNOZ is Durante size, "Rudolph" red, flaking like mom's pie crust, and as ugly as an old horse's backside.

I look in the mirror and say, "Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the biggest snoze of all?" and my mirror cackles back in glee, "You are oh great olfactory one".

The other day my wife said, "Stop being so nosy, Larry." She actually meant, "Can't you do anything with your snoz?"

The problem is I have been rubbing chemo creme on my facial appendage both morning and night. It has swollen and redden and dried my nose beyond recognition.

Small children now point at my snoz while running in terror to their mothers.

I used to be the guy who gets stopped on Rodeo Drive and asked for my autograph..."Richard Gere, can we have your autograph" (Of course I sign it, take pictures, before saying, "My real name is Larry").

But not any more. I walked through Nordstrom's and all 12 fragrance models refused to squirt me with their smell good juice! You know you are looking ragged, when that happens.

But it has been good for me (in a kind of masochistic manner of speaking). My pride in my looks has been replaced with empathy for those who get "looked" at everyday... those who have ailments, disfigurements, abnormalities, that cause people to do a double take before trying to look like they aren't still looking.

It's reorienting me. It's challenging how much of my confidence is in how I look...or how much of my self-value is in how others look at me. I want to call out, "hey wait! Get to know me before you dismiss me because I look like a Rudolph stand in!"

My value and security are in how Christ views me...not in the views that others have of me.

The Snoz joked his way to Hollywood fame...I don't know if that's because he was secure and could laugh at his snoze size or because he was insecure and had to joke to hide his pain.

I want my temporary snoz to do permanent work in my heart. "Oh God may I be so secure in you that, my appearance does not affect my all out living for you! Reorient me to your opinion alone!"

May 25, 2009

Islamic Demographics

Because I so frequently minister in Islamic regions (I leave for Jimma Ethiopia in 4 weeks...Jimma is the Al Queda headquarters of Ethiopia) I wanted to share a blog by a fellow pastor\leader that is a BALANCED understanding and response to Islamic Demographics.

James Emery White writes:
The Challenge of Muslim Demographics
You may be among the over six million, to date, which has viewed the startling video on YouTube titled Muslim Demographics. If not, you will soon. It is spreading virally with blinding speed. The link is offered below.

Here’s the short version: the birth rate of non-Muslims, compared to Muslims – coupled with immigration – will result in Muslims taking over the planet. We’d better start having babies, and amp up our evangelism. And, if I got it right, probably in that order.

It is a disturbing video. It is designed to alarm, and it does its job well. As you would imagine, the video has already been taken to task for fear-mongering and truth-distortion, and to a degree, rightfully so. But it does raise a significant cultural challenge: Islam is on the rise, and its rise is a challenge for Christians throughout the world.

There are two equally mistaken reactions to the relationship between the cross and the crescent.

The first is to panic over Islam’s muscular, aggressive growth. We’ve been panicking about this since the crusades. Some of it is certainly warranted, as Islam has expanded by force at various times and places throughout its history, and as Samuel Huntington has written, there is clearly a clash of civilizations taking place between Islam and the West. Huntington even predicts that Islam will come out on top due to its willingness to be aggressive and even militant in exporting its views. Yet the danger of giving in to panic is that the relationship between Christians and Muslims becomes one of us vs. them, good guys vs. bad guys, white hats vs. black hats. In short, they become the enemy.

The second reaction, equally mistaken, is to say “peace, peace,…when there is no peace” (Jer. 6:14). There are some who seem so intent on making up for the widespread post-9/11 caricature of an entire religious population that there is little, if any, acknowledgment of the deep differences between Christianity and Islam, and the need to robustly convey the distinctive message of Christ to the world.

As Timothy George has posed, “Is the Father of Jesus the God of Muhammad?” The answer, George writes, is surely Yes and No. Yes, in the sense that the Father of Jesus is the only God there is. He is the Creator and Sovereign Lord of Muhammad, Buddha, Confucius, and of every person who has ever lived. But the answer is also No, for Muslim theology rejects the divinity of Christ and the personhood of the Holy Spirit - both essential components of the Christian understanding of God.

Yes, the world is changing. Islam is growing while Christianity, in many quarters, is waning. The best response is to neither demonize Muslims nor deny the differences between Christianity and Islam. The best response is to know what we believe, why we believe it, and then carry that message to the world.

And maybe have some more babies.
To watch the “Muslim Demographics” video:

May 18, 2009

168 Hours and Our Orphans

168 hours ago, one week was very different.

Most weeks in my life are somewhat exciting. I choose a life of adventure instead of routine. I create opportunities to bust ruts and blaze paths.

But this week was new in a unique way. We inherited two orphans, at least for a time. Two wonderful inner city teens suddenly lost their only guardians. Mom, a friend of ours had a heart attack and died. She was only 45. Earlier her husband had been killed by a drunk driver. Alex and Anjelica are with us now.

Our home has been filled with comforting the heartbroken, and scaling the rock wall of social services, death certificates, and memorial details.

We love our new kids and life is very different now. Back to helping with homework, enforcing chores, monitoring internet, and laughing with "our kids".

As Christians we do not know what the Lord may ask us to do next. Solomon knew what he was talking about when he said, In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps. (Prov 16:9)

If we live with a "YES to ANYTHING YOU ASK, LORD" attitude, you never know what 168 hours will bring! Ask Job, ask Paul, ask Abraham, ask Joseph... LIFE IS NOT A LAP DOG TO BE CODDLED, BUT A LION WITH A TAIL TO HANG ON TO!

May 10, 2009

She Held Him Close (A Mother's Day Poem)

She Held Him Close

She held him close,
her living breathing miracle baby,
His wailing softened, his face relaxed, peaceful sleep came,
Finally she wrapped him in linen clothes
And tenderly laid him in the feed trough

She held him close,
her rambunctious, energetic toddler,
He clung to her and his tears from his scraped knee began to dry
Finally she kissed his owie, washed it off
And gently laid him in his bed.

She held him close,
her growing, school boy
He hugged her and his heaviness began to lift
The boys who had called him names began to fade in his mind.
Finally she squeezed him one more time
And lovingly led him to his room to nap.

She held him close,
her strapping teenage son.
His muscles rippled as he hugged her back
It was the brief hug of a teenage boy but a strong hug nonetheless
Finally she let him go
And laid out a large plate of figs and nuts.

She held him close,
her carpenter man.
His sweaty robe was no offense to her
He held her tight in a Mother’s day hug,
Finally he let her go because she could not let go,
And headed out on his Father’s dangerous mission.

She held him close,
her crucified boy
His wounds gaped open, but his eyes were closed.
Her tears washed his bloodied face
Finally she let him go
And carefully she laid him in the clothes of the grave.

She held him close,
her glorified savior
His wounds visible but transformed
His mission accomplished, His smile a mile wide,
Finally her old, weary arms let him go
And carefully he laid her down
Soon to see her again face to face
Where he would forever hold her close

- Larry j. Walkemeyer (all rights reserved)

May 08, 2009

Which Way is Forward?

Which way is forward? 

I saw my friend Neil today. Neil is the most influential leader in America in the house church movement. 

Yesterday I talked with my friend Dwight, a mega, mega church pastor. 

Both are tremendous men of God and both have a very different approach to ministry. 

Which way is forward? 

I talked with a highly influential friend today, her heart is foreign missions because America has so many social programs that can help the poor. 

Yesterday I was with a contractor whose heart is helping locally because God has planted him here and he wants to address the brokenness in his own city. 

Which way is forward? 

One of my friends is full on into evangelism believing God will keep those who respond to salvation. 

Another of my friends believes that evangelism is irresponsible without intense discipleship to ensure that the convert survives and grows. 

Which way is forward? 

A close brother of mine believes you influence by holding small relational training groups that multiply. 

My other brother believes you influence by holding conferences for 1000's who catch the excitment for ministry. 

Which way is forward? 

One friend says, improve the current denominational system. 

The other friend says, blow up the denominational system and start over with the pieces. 

Which way is forward? 

Forward is listening to heaven and responding from who I am and where I am. 
Forward is opening UPWARD to all that God is saying by His Spirit to my heart. 
Forward is focusing UPWARD to keep the eyes of all who follow me gazing at His face. 

May 04, 2009


After a long blog hiatus I am back to the blogosphere

I have pretty much lost my voice...again. Overuse. It's frustrating to have thoughts and feelings and ideas and have to sit there silently because talking is so difficult or even impossible at times.

As I was sitting silently this morning I thought of all those in the world who don't have a voice. Who would like to speak up but can not. Who have ideas, and thoughts, and input, and dreams, and insights but they are so disempowered or oppressed that they live in silence. 

Stephen Covey, the famous author of "7 Habits of Highly Effective People", wrote a book entitled, "The 8th Habit" and simply stated that habit is to "Find our voice and inspire others to find theirs". I personally think it's a good book and great quest. 

If Ephesians 2:10 is true, "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared long ago for us to do" then every person was created to have a voice. To contribute, to make a difference, to add their voice to the creative choir of praise that God has assembled through humanity. 

Those who have been so abused, oppressed, ignored, deceived, or ridiculed that they have lost their voice MUST have help discovering it and using it. What a worthy mission to use our voice to help others find theirs. 

God, I want to spend my life in the voice development department! When each person finds their unique part and begins to sing unabashedly what a glorious choir that will be! 

Ira Sankey, the great song leader for the Dwight Moody crusades, awoke one Easter morning with no voice. Someone said, "It must be terrible not to be able to sing God's praises this glorious day." Sankey wrote a reply, "Yes, but much more tragic to have a voice but no desire to sing." God give people a voice but especially a heart to sing!