Mike's Life

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Category: Faith and Prayer

Simply

I no longer need the complex, shiny things.
Rather, I jettison the clumsy details and shallow idolatry;
Greedily gathered and hoarded while in fear.
Simple life is what I need – all I need,

But living simply need not mean a colorless, flavorless existence.
On the contrary – being saturated in God’s love,
And armed with the absolute beauty and strength of who I am in Christ,
I am now more alive than ever before!

A small swirling stream will do nicely now.
Mountains; real or dreamed, or once seen,
Majestic peaks stacked and tiered,
With fading hues of blues and green.

Simple is not plain, rather it is pure:
Filled with beauty, love, and purpose.
Just as my life, now simplified,
Is richly textured with the purity of God’s creation,
And filled with awesome purpose.

If only then I knew,
That all I had to do during times of darkness,
Was to step out of the shadow of my own flesh,
And into the light of grace and ever-warming love of our sovereign Father.

Thank you God!

Mike Griffith
11-5-11

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Midwives Deliver Babies in Pacific Ocean Garbage Patch

I recently purchased a small Oxford notebook. I think its pages may someday soon end up swirling about in the Texas-sized Pacific Ocean garbage patch of plastic bits and other slow-to-biodegrade refuse. The paper of this notebook is unlike any I’ve experienced. As you write with a ballpoint pen the paper gives and flexes, very much like it is slightly but uniformly damp. Instead of tearing crisply like ordinary paper these pages stretch first and then more break than rip. It appears that the paper has a polymer component – maybe recycled plastic mixed with paper pulp. The soft paper in my notebook may not actually contain any plastic at all but it got me thinking about how things are changing – and how they’re not changing. Many of the things in our lives represent a shift from God-furnished resources to man-made materials. Plant based clear plastic-like water bottles and eco-friendly “green” cars are (presently, at least) more consumer directed marketing strategy and less real-solution. We humans have path-of-least-resistance inertia and a move from center track is only made when a pothole of substantial size is encountered, or in time of personal or national disaster, or in time of last resort. The movement of social, environmental, and economic change needs to be an urgent, proactive, preemptive, community-centered, across all boundaries action. Instead, the current movement (the current movement of change can only be referred to loosely as such because it’s hardly a movement in terms of what’s actually needed) is big-business profits driven with most people having no real agreement on how to best enact enduring global change that will save our planet from our own indulgences. Current transformative activity amounts to little more than a blurry vibration of minimal consequence on a global level. It’s time to stop with the baby-steps and plate-shift jerk forward… or just face the music and recede painfully and destructively into what will amount to a future archaeological discovery for the not so distant ancestors of the resilient few who might survive our collective irresponsibility.

Mike 7-19-2011

Note about this writing: You may find this to be a strange piece of blathering babble, and I suppose that it kind of is just that. It is so weird how my brain works. If someone told me that they would pay me to write something I seriously doubt I could complete anything at all. On the other hand, I can be spontaneously inspired to document an idea, an image, or a ‘something’ with words or photographs – and then stay hyper-focused on it until completion.

Light Surrounds Me as Darkness is Smothered Once Again

I. . . c a n n o t — t h i n k — w e l l, — o r — c l e a r l y. . .
Fuzzy, foggy, heavy,
Cloudy, muddy, shackled.

Fight it hard – battle back,
Lift up high – on attack,
But not with fists or kicks,
Not with anger, sarcasm, or spite,
Not with false courage, revenge, or hate.

Instead, choose quiet surrender,
Armed with the word of God,
Open all the rooms of your heart,
So He may strengthen within and work throughout,

Then go to battle not alone,
But be hand in hand with your brothers in Christ.
By reaching out to Him,
You are reaching out to love,
And reaching victory!

Thank you God!
Mike Griffith
6-2-11

Symmetry & Flow

Orderly flowing slopes and soft depths.
Receding planes in odd perspective colored by contrasts of light.
Escher-esque designs and pseudo-static loads of b.s.
Integrals and derivatives give way
to imagery via words and neat doodles,
and the air is afloat with melancholic notes from speakers.
Strategic chess that’s only 4 moves deep
still beats ninety percent of those claiming to know the game.
Finally, with His word in my hand and Him in my heart
I understand that “Emotional Being” doesn’t have to mean “being emotional”.

Inevitable Togetherness

Rain, I quiver as you gather,
and when we’re together,
I thank God for connecting us.
Rain, inundate as you may –
I am inspired by your power,
by your solidarity.
You arrive separated, seemingly, from each other,
but even as you fall over square mile vastness,
you still find one another through effortless attraction.

You simply follow God’s paths – to reunite in fellowship.
It is  impossible for you to isolate from one another –
For even when you fall far away from each other, 
God’s great plan rekindles your togetherness in short order.
Regrouping, congregating, pooling, flowing, seeping,
and then cycling back to His atmospheres – to become close once again.
The inevitable togetherness, just as God intended, is beautiful.
Lord – I am so very blessed by your teaching.
Amen
Mike G

Dear Michael

Michael,

Don’t be afraid – of the waves,

as they come and they come,

as they grow and consume

all that surrounds you.

Simply let go – of your control,

and float and believe,

and have faith that the current,

which is filled with His love,

will deliver you somewhere,

to a place with purpose,

with safety,

with surprise and delight.

MMG 11-16-09

You’re invited… No, I beg you to come

From the Heavens flow your amazing love,

Straight into me from Your kingdom above.

Now I surrender and unlock each door –

Giving all to You regardless how poor,

So that the darkness within me can be lighted.

You are invited… No, I beg…

Please enter each room of my life,

and do as you will, with all your might.

I accept your love and I need your grace,

so please envelope me now because I fear –

that my rooms may shut for another year.

The “Go” of Renunciation – from Oswald Chambers, September 27

re⋅nun⋅ci⋅a⋅tion / Spelled Pronunciation [ri-nuhn-see-ey-shuhn] noun.
An act or instance of relinquishing, abandoning, repudiating, or sacrificing something, as a right, title, person, or ambition: the king’s renunciation of the throne.

Being the person God intended (instead of only praying for arms and legs)

Being the person God intended (instead of only praying for arms and legs)

By Mike Griffith ~ prepared for our Band of Brothers meeting ~ 7-13-09

Last Sunday night I was hustling to find the 3 DVDs I needed to return to the video store so I could avoid the late fees. It was nearly midnight and I was just beating the deadline. I parked, left the car running with door ajar and started a clumsy dash to drop the videos into the return slot. Instead of a smooth delivery, my foot hit the curb and I launched onto the cement awkwardly. The videos flew from one hand, my keys from the other. I picked myself up and assured onlookers that I was okay. When I was back in the safety of my car I said a silent prayer for healing of my knee but the rumination had already begun. I knew right away that I had hurt my already injured knee and I was angry. 

When I arrived home Beth was surprised to see me limping and bloodied. Despite her helpfulness I was pouting in full force. After getting ice for my knee, Beth said to me: “I know you’re frustrated but let’s see what God has in mind for you and how God might use this.” I thought this would be a big setback for me so, at first, I took her comments as being overly optimistic niceness. However, her words sank in and I realized she was correct (she very often is, really).

Why did I have to view this situation so negatively? I was having a pity party! She snapped me out of it by sharing how she was positively impacted by Nick Vujicic’s presentation the preceding Sunday at Bay Pointe. We had attended separate services and apparently the 3 presentations were somewhat different from each other.

She described, in her words, Nick Vujicic speaking about how, in waiting for answered prayer, God’s glory can be shown to more people in our waiting (suffering and struggle) than in us just getting what we want and having our needs met.  What if God had answered Nick’s prayers for arms and legs?  After all, God has really been working through Nick just the way Nick is right now – without arms or legs. God’s time is the real time! A good question to ask yourself is: Would you rather God answer your prayer right now or,  if more people could come to Christ in your waiting, would you wait? I got the point and my knee injury became a “Wow” moment.  I think it is so very easy to make God small in our lives and to keep ourselves inflated. 


 I’d like to examine this further using some excerpts from other sources (references at the bottom):

Do people go to the Grand Canyon to increase their self-esteem? Probably not. This is, at least, a hint that the deepest joys in life come not from savoring the self, but from seeing splendor. And in the end even the Grand Canyon will not do. We were made to enjoy God. 1

  •  Dave Dravecky’s story is one of hope, courage and perseverance in the midst of dark and overwhelming uncertainty. Dave was first thrust into the public spotlight when his career took off as a major league baseball pitcher, a “southpaw” for the San Francisco Giants. Shortly after realizing his lifelong dream, Dave was diagnosed with cancer, a desmoid tumor, in the deltoid muscle of his pitching arm. The next years were a whirlwind of surgery, radiation, pain and depression. Eventually, Dave’s arm was amputated to stop the spread of the cancer and save his life. Through his personal experience, he addresses loss and suffering, faith, encouragement and hope, reaching out to others, and saying goodbye to the past. 3
    •  “My arm caught the attention of the entire school, when, as a teenager, I pitched my first no hitter…(Later) my ability to provide for my family was not based on how smart I was or how hard I worked. It was based solely on what my arm could do on game day. When people talked with me, it was the center of conversation. ‘How’s the arm today, Dave? Is your arm ready for tonight?’ My arm was to me what hands are to a concert pianist, what feet are to a marathon runner. It’s what made me valuable, what gave me worth in the eyes of the world. Then suddenly my arm was gone.” 3

 We are all bent to believe that we are central in the universe. How shall we be cured of this joy-destroying disease? 1

  •  Nick Vujicic’s authentic love of Christ shines through him so penetratingly that people are literally captivated and disarmed by the fact he can genuinely rejoice in his circumstances. Almost without realizing it, they discover that they want desperately that same factor that they see so clearly displayed in Nick’s life and messages, in their own lives. That factor that they desire for themselves is, of course, Christ…living in him, and working through him. 2
    •  “God has used me to let people know in countless schools, churches, prisons, orphanages, hospitals, stadiums and in face-to-face encounters with individuals how very precious they are to God. Secondly, it’s my pleasure to assure them that God does have a plan for their lives that is purposeful. For God took my life, one that others might disregard as having any significance and filled me with His purpose and showed me His plans to move hearts and lives toward Him. Understanding this, though faced with struggles, you can overcome too.” 2

The cure for this bondage (self-centeredness) is to see that God is the one being in the universe for whom self-exaltation is the most loving act. In exalting himself – Grand Canyon-like – he gets the glory and we get the joy.

The greatest news in all the world is that there is no final conflict between my passion for joy and God’s passion for his glory. The knot that ties these together is the truth that God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him. Jesus Christ died and rose again to forgive the treason of our souls, which have turned from savoring God to savoring self.

In the cross of Christ, God rescues us from the house of mirrors and leads us out to the mountains and canyons of his majesty. Nothing satisfies us – or magnifies him – more. 1 

Questions / Discussion

  • What might the impact be to us and to others of NOT fully living the life that God intended for us, right in this moment, and in the next moment, and in the next day, and always?

 

  • Conversely: Through you, how far reaching could God’s love become if you stayed focused on God’s vision for you?

  

  • We often keep God small and try to keep ourselves big. How can we keep God big and us small?

  

  • How can we stay more “God-centric” in each moment – so that God can fully work through us, and so that we can fully experience his love and share that love.

  

  • Do you have a “Dave Dravecky arm?” – A part of you or a part of your life that defines you more than it should?

 

  • Would you rather God answered your prayer right now, or if more people could come to Christ in your waiting, would you wait?

 

  • How can God use your pain/discomfort/loss?

 

  •  How has God already worked through you?  

 


  References: 

1 The full John Piper article titled The Goal of God’s Love May Not Be What You Think It Is can be found here:  http://www.lifewithoutlimbs.org/passionate-articles-details.php?articlesID=17 

 2 The information on Nick Vujicic came from his website: http://www.lifewithoutlimbs.org 

3 The information on Dave Dravecky came from his website: http://www.davedravecky.com 


Some things need no prayer

I am currently reading Wild Goose Chase by Mark Batterson. Just finished chapter 2. The book, to this point, has offered ideas at how to follow the Holy Sprit’s lead in our lives. In chapter 2 the author talks about believing that there are some things that need no prayer, and other things that we can stop praying about. He explains that in discovering our “God-ordained passion”, prayer is certainly vital but that at some point we need to quit praying and start doing. I agree with that. At the end of chapter 2 he asks the reader: “What do you need to stop praying about, and what do you need to start doing?” So, I asked myself the question and my first thought was that I need to stop praying for strength and just be strong. A little too visceral of an answer I think, not that my initial thought was wrong. Not at all. I feel there is definitely something valid about that, I just need to go deeper with it. Unfortunately, it is the “going deeper” part that makes my brain hurt. Okay… think, think, think… “stop praying for strength and just be strong”. Yea, I think can live with that answer for now. Discussing this at our Band of Brothers group tonight helped me see through the soup. I often have to verbalize before I gain clarity. Talk it out. I really need to follow that advice because I have had so many “ah-ha” moments when I speak the words and hear the words. Not sure why it makes such a difference. It’s the synaptical wiring or something. Anyhow, back to “seeing through the soup” – talking about it helped the sediment to clear away and allowed me to see it differently. I need to stop praying for strength because I have strength, I’ve shown strength, I’ve been strong, I’ve bent, I’ve twisted, I’ve been down, but I’ve never broken. God has seen to it that I haven’t broken. It is like Aesop’s fable about the oak and the reeds. The story says that the mighty oak stood tall, proud, and strong (and alone) and proclaimed: “No storm can break me, but look at you reeds down there, bending over at the slightest wind, twisting and flopping all over the place. You are not strong.” The reeds responded to the oak simply: “Someday you will learn.” Someday did come. It was a day in which a fierce storm came. A storm not just with forceful gusts but a storm with sustained strong winds and exceptional gusts. The oak did stand tall and strong, at first, but then his roots were pulled violently from the earth by the storm’s fury and down he came, crashing alongside the graceful reeds. The reeds looked at the oak, broken and dying: “You see”, they said, “you stood strong and proud, refusing to bend, but that very refusal is what has killed you. We survived, however, and flourish still because our strength is that we do bend.”  The reeds continued: ” The winds were indeed fierce, but today those storms have receded, and as the morning breaks across the land we rejoice, for now we are even stronger.” So, I am saying that instead of praying for strength, I need to use my strength, act on my strength, enjoy my strenth, and love my strength. I need to pray for God to help me apply my strength, and even then I might not need to pray on it for very long. I realize now that in knowing where my strength is, I know that my passion lies nearby. And in defining my passion, I’ll also discover my God-ordained calling. THAT is what I need to pray on.

God, my sovereign Father, I pray to you now and give thanks that you have blessed me with incredible strength. God, I know that I am strong, and I ask for guidance and discernment to help me live my life with that strength, and by your design, and to be filled with the passion you have crafted just for me. I pray to be so filled with that passion that it pours out of me and into the world around me. I pray that the passion you have gifted to me can be my map, and I open all of myself to you Lord so that you may work in me, and through me. I pray to you now that my God-ordained passion, my calling, my path, will be lighted by you. I know that my strength is growing, and that my love is growing,  and I know, regardless of  how clearly I see it, that I am truly on that path right now – I am so incredibly thankful for that.   Amen.