Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Returning to the Place of Failure (Joshua 8)

To the ladies of Route 56.

Ugh! Do you ever get that feeling in the pit of your stomach when you stumble upon the memory, person, or place of a previous failure? Even if you try to navigate the situation in a godly way, you can still see your failure face-to-face. In those moments anger, bitterness, or hoplessness can get the better of us--it hits where it hurts. And why does it hurt? Maybe because as much as someone else may have failed, we've failed, too. And so we face up to the fact that God often lets us return to the place of our failures. (And sometimes, when we are without fault, God lets us return to a place of pain for healing.)

I've lately been wondering, and honestly confused, how to navigate my mind around this familiar place. It seems like the same place I've been before. I seem to have the same shortcomings. But I know God has allowed me here. And the result doesn't have to be the same. He has changed me and taught me, so I'm not locked into my past failures. Through grace I get another chance. What seems like the "same old" is really a new opportunity for faith and the extension of the gospel into daily life.

In Joshua 8, that's what God did to the Israelites. The sin of Achan caused the whole Israelite army to flee like squealing girls the first time they faced Ai in battle. Then, fresh after that nasty (and humiliating) beating, God commanded them to return courageously for another try.

Do you notice that God's not questioning the outcome (v.1)? He's confident of what He's chosen to happen to this city. God knows where our hearts need to be, and He leads us there. As we return with Him to the place of our failure, He's not rubbing our face in the mud. We can have courage because He's teaching our hearts to change.

Maybe what looks despairing or frustratingly familiar, or what brings back all the old emotions we once felt, isn't really the same place. God may be helping you navigate through it differently this time--stronger, more sure of the truth, practicing righteousness, etc.

Only you can choose to make the same failure twice. Why not courageously embrace or learn what God would call you to this time? Returning to a place of failure is an opportunity for deeper dependence on the grace you have freely been given through Christ. Let's act on it!

(c) 2010 by Kendra Hinkle.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

The Really BIG Little Moments - Joshua 5

To the ladies of Route 56.

Sometimes a little moment is so BIG that you enter into it carefully. Respectfully. Almost fearfully. You approach. Take a breath. Walk away--but not completely. Pause. If you're in, you're all in. Time to reapproach....and dive in. Let the moment swallow you whole. You know the cost, but the value of what's ahead is even greater. This is a really BIG little moment.

I can't help but wonder if the Israelites in Joshua 5 understood the bigness of their little moment after crossing the Jordan River. This is a new generation! Why not storm ahead into the Promised Land and take what God has given?!

But God didn't choose to display his magnitude in this moment by physical might or zeal. Instead, he humbled Israel to a place of remembrance and dependence. An unclean, foreign prostitute (Rahab) enabled them to spy out the land safely. The Ark of the Covenant, held by priests - not valiant soldiers, led them across the flooded Jordan River into their new homeland. Once across, the mighty men were weakened by circumcision and healing.

They needed to be weakened. The generation before them, unbelieving in God's ability to accomplish what He promised Abraham (Gen. 12, 15), failed to circumcise their children. This new generation taking hold of the Promised Land did not have the sign of the covenant God required. Their hearts had been prepared by growing up as wanderers in the desert, but they needed to be circumcised according to God's command. A new generation needs to look back in order to remember the how and where ahead of them.

These few chapters hinge Israelite history: the expectation of the past is connected to the realization of God's promise. To grasp the overwhelming success of God's plan, Israel must connect their hands and their hearts together. Faith and action are to be wed. That's what's happening in this moment. And God confirms His pleasure with their action (circumcision) by revealing that His angelic army are present and ready to fight alongside them. The angel raises His sword, a hand and heart in unison.

So, what about you? Can you see what God may be calling your generation to do, connecting your hearts and hands together?

Our really BIG little moment is now. What are you going to do with it?

(c) 2010 by Kendra Hinkle.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

On the Holy Spirit (Poem 1.1.3. De Spiritu Sancto)

an excerpt by Gregory Nazianzus

He was a man, but God. David’s offspring, but Adam’s Maker.

A bearer of flesh, but, even so, beyond all body.

From a mother, but she a virgin.

Comprehensible, but immeasurable.

And a manger received him, while a star led the Magi,

who so came bearing gifts, and fell on bended knee.

As a man he entered the arena, but he prevailed, as indomitable,

over the tempter in three bouts.

Food was set before him, but he fed thousands, and changed the water into wine.

He got baptized, but he washed sins clean,

but he was proclaimed by the Spirit, in a voice of thunder, to be the Son of the One


As a man he took rest, and as God he put to rest the sea.

His knees were wearied, but he bolstered the strength and knees of the lame.

He prayed, but who was it who heard the petitions of the feeble?

He was the sacrifice, but the high priest: making an offering, but himself God.

He dedicated his blood to God, and cleansed the entire world.

And a cross carried him up, while the bolts nailed fast sin.

But what’s it for me to say these things? He had company with the dead,

But he rose from the dead, and the dead, the bygone, he raised up:

There a mortal’s poverty, here the incorporeal’s wealth.

Don’t you dishonor, then, his divinity on account of his human things,

but, for the divine’s sake, hold in renown the earthly form

into which, thougthful towards you, he formed himself, the incorruptible Son.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Those Scandalous Christians!

"It is interesting to find that outside of the New Testament, the earliest response to singing among the Christians comes not from one of their own number, but from a Roman official. In the year 109 A.D., during the reign of the Emperor Trajan, and not long after the death of the Apostle John, Pliny the Younger was appointed governor of the province of Bithynia in Asia Minor. In one of his first reports he told the emperor of his contact with the curious sect of the Christians, and of how he had been solemnly assured that their worst offense was in gathering before dawn on an appointed day--no doubt Sunday--to sing in responsive fashion hymns to Christ as God."

by Edward S. Ninde, D.D. in Nineteen Centuries of Christian Song (MCMXXXVIII)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Garden - week 3

This is one of our square foot garden boxes. We've also got a "Three Sisters" mound. Everything except the cantaloupe is growing!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

With God as Your Reward

Rise up and take your place.
God is your great reward.
No one will ever satisfy
Like Him who make you whole.

He called you in the night
And spoke to your deaf ears.
Christ so worthy redeemed your soul,
Restored the locust's years.

To whom now do you turn?
Has one man loved you more
Than He who set your life ablaze
Amid the winter storm?

How far has he removed
Your punishment from you.
How purely white you have been cleansed
And washed with grace anew.

Rise, O, rise, child of God
To take your place and lead
A faithful generation home
With God the one you please.

(c) 2010 by Kendra Hinkle.

Definitely has some rough spots....not my favorite....but rewarding to write.

Love and Justice

God's justice satisfied at last
On Christ the Son wrath poured.
God's perfect love and just demand
Reveal His nature pure.

He raised from Adam's curse of death
Our everlasting King.
Almighty God in grace procured
A righteous gathering.

Through faith desire commenced within
Now our affections rise.
Completed He what we could not
And opened blinded eyes.

All hail the King of wondrous works
Whose body bears the scars.
True love's sacrificial gift
And heaven's full reward.

(c) 2010 by Kendra Hinkle.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Born Country

My friend Marcy just posted a country video on her blog. It brought back some memories...

Saturday, March 20, 2010

No Chairs Inside

The holy priests in garments white
Unending work, no chairs inside
For who could rest from sin's effect
Unceasing flow of blood to let

Sufficient grace, Christ's offering
One final priest and last Lamb slain
His work completed once-for-all
He sat to rule and stayed the Law

Death passed by me, forgiveness mine
All glory to the risen King!
In stone no more God's precepts writ
For on my heart reads truth divine.

No chairs inside this heart so changed
I stand to meet the Christ I love
My will with His, my passions raised
And eyes so fixed on Him enthroned.

(c) 2010 by Kendra Hinkle. Inspiration from Hebrews 10.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Could I But Earn My Savior's Love

Could I but earn my Savior's love
by striving to repay?
Could I preserve eternal robes
so well His favor swayed?

My inner lot shall not redeem
Salvation's costly gain.
Nor will I buy the right man's eye
For holiness to feign.

I can't dismiss my ransom paid,
Eternal Son came down.
His flesh for mine, perfection slain,
My guilt in Him atoned.

(c) 2010 by Kendra Hinkle.

To Harbor Safe


Angels sing of glory,
While earth in labor waits.
Christ's melody of faithful love
Guides ships to harbor safe.

Though the sky is empty
And evil takes its stand,
My eyes hold to the cloudless sky
To see the Son of Man.

I will wait for Glory.
Yes, I will watch for Him.
My heart beholds salvific love
Secured by gracious winds.

(c) 2010 by Kendra Hinkle.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Words to Speak - In what do you delight?

What will our words earn us
Before the throne of God?
Will not the grand and certain boast
Deserve the wrathful flood?

Words of deepest marrow
Let spill from open lips.
Confession tunes our hearts to God
And quickens willful steps.

Leave your chains of safety.
Delight in God most high.
He pours His praise on faithful men
And hears their rightful cry.

(c) 2010 by Kendra Hinkle.

Part of this Psalm was written in response to my thinking on Psalm 37.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Revive Me

Revive me, O God, revive.
Let these empty bones live.
In lovingkindness keep me,
My feet secure from whim.

To You, O Lord, I listen.
Your words embody truth.
What other voice would I trust
For wisdom's good rebuke?

With weakness in this vessel,
My feet are prone to run.
But let your Word still my heart
And tune my ears to One.

(c) 2010 by Kendra Hinkle.

Inspiration from Psalm 138.

God Pomp

Arise and sing to natures King,
Our hope and Lord of Glory.
To Him be praise for world so raised.
With gleaming pride adore Him.

Shine forth your worth with image birthed,
O man you are a wonder.
For purest Light breathed forth man's life.
Exalt the great Creator.

But Adam fell and bent t'ward Hell,
Despising God Almighty.
Imputed sin indebted men,
Not one escapes the jury.

Yet Christ redeemed with death so pleased,
The spotless Lamb forsaken.
His stately tree from bended knee
Invites the weak and broken.

Renown exceeds His gentle deed.
No idol wins such honor.
All hail the King of Victory,
Jesus alone our Savior.

(c) 2010 by Kendra Hinkle.

The Eyes of God


The eyes of God that see the heart
In righteousness prevail.
Yea man sees not the soul's great worth
And reckons man to fail.

But neither sin or scoff will part
God's vow of selfless love.
For sure behind the christened lot
He veils His holy Dove.

Complain we not for His name's sake
All laud belongs to Him.
Each one we came with empty hands
No payment for our sin.

All kin by faith, beloved throng,
Pronounce the sacred head.
We are the church who stands as one
Through resurrection wed.

(C) 2010 by Kendra Hinkle.

God humbled me recently through a brother's brokenness. My response to his weakness contrasted the frustration I sometimes feel. Philippians 2:14-16 brought conviction about my attitude of self-righteousness. Disunity has no place in the church of Christ. When I judge according to my sinful attitude, I look past the child of God and to the failure I assume is his. As the church, we need God's Word to bring us truth in the midst of relational difficulties.

The Road to Zion

Shadows fall long on this dry, dusty road.
Pathway to Zion its mystery holds.
Highest of mountains before and behind
Carve the valley of weeping, O faith's night!

Long is the path, but soon will be the day
Our rising Redeemer will end night's stay.
His promise of grace enables our eyes.
From strength to strength His ready might supplied.

Now is the day through storms to persevere.
One day before the throne we will appear.
Praise with hope the Father, Spirit and Son,
For our feet on the path that's wrought with love.

(C) 2010 by Kendra Hinkle.

This song has been birthed as I slowly emerge from my own valley of weeping. Psalm 84 ministered to my heart so strongly, and propelled me to consider the Lord's place with me during this time. I will arrive at Zion in strength.

A Song for the Martyrs

Below is one stanza from Martin Luther's song "Flung to the Heedless Winds." Luther started the reformation, which split the protestant church from the Catholic church in the 16th-17th centuries. Many people died taking a stand for salvation through faith apart from works, the place of Scripture as the church's authority, etc. It's amazing to read as you place yourself in the shoes of someone who said goodbye to a faithful saint.

Stanza #9
Flung to the heedless winds
Or on the waters cast,
The martyrs' ashes watched,
Shall gathered be at last.
And from that scattered dust,
Around us and abroad,
Shall spring a plenteous seed
Of witnesses for God.

The Father hath received
Their latest living breath,
And vain is Satan's boast
Of vict'ry in their death.
Still, still, tho' dead, they speak,
And, trumpet-tongued, proclaim
To many a wak'ning land
The one availing Name.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

God Verbs (2)

God lives forever holy.
God speaks forever true.
God creates out of nothing.
God breathes life into you.

God sees every sinful heart.
God knows the lives we lead.
God stepped down from heaven's throne.
God imposed, so take heed.

God hung on a Roman cross.
Gos prayed, "Father, forgive."
God reached wide to give His life.
God saved so you might live.

God calls you by His Spirit.
God seals you with His name.
God anoints every worker.
God heals from Satan's game.

God holds you close as a son.
God names you with His own.
God loves you for glory's sake.
God fits you with a crown.

God sends you out to harvest.
God serves you with His pray'r.
God binds you with believers.
God endures with great care.

(c) 2010 by Kendra Hinkle.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Yes, Faith

Yes, faith has been required

Since God awakened man.

The heavenly lights raise their voice-

Allude to Glory's hand.

Yes, faith God smiled upon,

Through fallen man foretold.

The promised and anointed One

A King, Messiah, Son.

Yes, faith is our answer.

We watch for Christ again.

The perfect One raised to His throne,

A sacrificial Lamb.

Yes, faith God requires

To blanket earth with grace.

He sends the saints, in Spirit laced,

To boast salvation's song.

(c) 2010 by Kendra Hinkle.

Format is in Short Meter. Scriptural influence from Ps. 19 with Ps. 2, Ro. 1 & 10. See also discussion at (Feb. 5, 2010).

Monday, January 18, 2010

Exponential Creativity

Creative desire and potential may show up as a loner, but creative products, results, outgrowth, or any masterpiece is borne of teamwork. Many people sense that something new needs to be done in ministry, but only a few step up and volunteer. Together we make things happen. Never underestimate the power of your neighbor!

p. xvi, Color Outside the Lines by Howard G. Hendricks (a.k.a. "Prof")

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Old Running Shoes, Old Habits

Only a snob would overlook such quality. Torn mesh. Caked in mud. Worn smooth tread. These lads faithfully served my feet for several years and through half marathon training. But unfortunately, they served their purpose and are on the downhill stride. My feet wore the inside of the heels down through the lining, through the comfy shoe innards, leaving only the hard stuff that shapes the heel.

My degenerated running shoes remind me of old habits. Faithful to us, aren't they? We put certain thoughts into actions. And those actions get regular priority because they serve us in some way. Repeated again and again, we hard-wire our neural pathways into habits. Seems beneficial right? But unfortunately those old habits don't leave on their own. When habits cause us harm spiritually, emotionally, or relationally, we find ourselves facing a choice between God's best or our chosen habit.

If you're like me, life has included some very bad habits - the kind that lead you to the spiritual pit. Those habits can take years upon years to break and replace. I'd love to paint a pretty picture of turning away from sin, but the road out of the pit isn't paved, it's gravel. Each step takes balance and strength. Unpredictable strides. And you can bet that at several points you're going to bite it, taking a rest while you dig gravel bits out of your skin.

But you can get up and keep going.

You're not alone. Step back into stride. And keep your eyes focused on the glory of Christ ahead of you. The God who saved your life from the wages of sin enabled you to get out of this pit. The essence of victory lives in you through the gift of the Holy Spirit. One day you will look back, amazed at how far you've come. Even your own mind will change the way it works. New neural pathways. A renewed heart. God will accomplish it in you, with you, giving you confidence to turn away from old, sinful habits.

Are you troubled by the reality of your sin? Good. That's what Christ died for. That reality will always trouble you, but instead of discouragement a song of redemption will rise in you on that road out of the pit. So as you struggle today, remember that you can do this. You can climb out with God's help. And there will be rejoicing along the way.

Sing a song of redemption today, because it is yours through Jesus Christ's life, death and resurrection.

How blessed is the man whose strength is in You,
In whose heart are the highways to Zion!
Passing through the valley of weeping [Baca] they make it a spring;
The early rain also covers it with blessings.
They go from strength to strength,
Every one of them appears before God in Zion.

Psalm 84:5-7, NASB

(C) 2010 by Kendra Hinkle.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Was David a real King?

New archaelogical finding of Elah fortress (between Gath of the Philistines and Jerusalem) during the time of David evidences a kingdom that is little known about outside of the Bible!

New York Times reports: