Freedom


I am planning a new series in July, on freedom.

John 15:5-8 from The Message:

“I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing. Anyone who separates from me is deadwood, gathered up and thrown on the bonfire. But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon. This is how my Father shows who he is—when you produce grapes, when you mature as my disciples.

On the Path

Free of Self-Concern

I would be free of my own nothingness.
There is new freedom and everything of God.
Oh, for a relationship intimate and organic,
productive, mature.
Here are my hopes; bless them.
My aspirations are deep in this journal; bless them.
My plans are organized in this ledger; bless them.
My abilities are deep within me; bless me.
My future, so clear, is lost in me; bless me.
All my resources, not really mine, to be blessed again,
take into your hands!
May I be free of my own concerns, or will
they continue to anchor me?
Bless me.
I surrender all this.
Bless me to be a blessing.
Will I stay in prayer today?
Will I be in missions today?
Let my day flow from the love of Christ.
Bless me.
Free me.
Keep me.

(c) Tom Bolton, 28 April 2013, Milwaukee

Posted in Poetry, Reflecting on Scripture | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Peace Yet found


From a long walk in 2014:
On reading 2 Peter 3:11-14

Empty72813-2-051

We Know When there is Peace Yet Found

Upon morning routines and walks here and there,
upon reading words open and inviting,
we seek this holy place.
How long shall we search for peace not known?
Have we known it somewhere in lives yet to live?
With new blemishes seen, we seek our place.
We seek the peace of Christ,
exhorted to a holy life.
There may be heavens here,
places scarcely known or imagined.
We seek this home here.
We seek this home where we know it may be.
Here we seek a home of peace.

(c) Tom Bolton, Bay View, 8 July 2014

Posted in Poetry, Reflecting on Scripture | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

In the Quiet


(Again, I’m reflecting on Galatians and reading Bonhoeffer still.)

Today I look in a mirror, and I see there
Brother Dietrich behind me at ten o’clock,
and I’m learning to listen, and
I’m joyous in this community–even when disappointed in us–
and I see too John Wesley and
others who teach me now and across time.
Solomon teaches me too and I wonder if he had the lessons deep inside him, and outwardly he taught us in sound bites.
Was the kingdom firmly in his grasp?
In silence, I listen, and now my friends
question my silence.
Walking beside those who hunger and ache,
I listen, and briefly boost them up.
They seek answers from me, but I have
only a few answers, and I am simple.
Paul is by me too, and he has polished his arguments.
I am simply here, simple in argument.
Like those around me, I love the carols;
all through each year, I love these carols.
God worked extraordinary miracles through Paul.
He spoke extraordinary truths through
these around me, and through Jeremiah and Job.
I do little:
I listen,
and I sing praises of God all my life.
He upholds the oppressed and the lonely
all the time.
He feeds the hungry and visits the prisoners.
How many kinds of prisoners may we find here?
With Teresa, he teaches us to smile
and to give blessings to the blind and hurting.
He loves the lonely, the poorest of the poor.
He is with us in these lowly places, preaching on a mount.
God blesses us in our silence and our listening.
God blesses His servants!
He offers us grace and peace when we listen.
Grace and peace:
Are there any better gifts?
If I were trying to please neighbors,
I would no longer be Christ’s servant.
Let me listen and serve in this
community, this blessed community, this day.
In my fogged mirror, let me see still those who
guide me, and listen and serve.

(c) June 28, 2012, Milwaukee

Posted in Poetry, Reflecting on Scripture | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Yet Struggles


fish

Are There Yet Struggles?

It sounded easy at one time.
Filled with hope, I knew it would be.
My struggles over, my face glowed.
And yet the battles with my flesh showed.
Peace behind me, and peace ahead,
my life seemed ready for new ease.
Did I know fully the direction of my life?
Did I know new ease and freedom from strife?
Sin crowds in sometimes,
countered in a constant battle.
Faith leads us to glorious hope,
but doesn’t end life struggles–Nope!

(c) Tom Bolton, Milwaukee, 17 June 2014

 

Posted in Poetry, Reflecting on Scripture | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

In That Week


Another Repeat
Quadruple combination opened to the Book of Is...

In that One Week, in the World

In that one week,
there was an anniversary party,
with 60 years remembered and celebrated and re-lived,
and friends found and met and recalled.
There was cake and movies and photos.
There were children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren too.
There was joy.
We were sent there, and Christ filled us.
We celebrated parents.
In the world, with all that is there,
we were filled with Christ.
Dinner and hugs, laughter and audio squeals,
chances for stress and moments for what-ifs,
We were awed by the love.
In that one week,
there was Billy in the park,
sober and thinking of coming in,
in appreciation and thoughtful,
hugging us.
There was solemn joy there too.
We were sent into the world,
and Christ filled us in that week too.
In that one week,
we texted a missionary in Michigan,
and he texted back, and he inspired us.
We shared words from Isaiah, and
domestic, routine words too.
In that one week, I connected with a son,
And Christ was there.
In that one week, we shared pillars at work,
and heard each other and calmed each other,
and Cared for each other,
and Christ filled us when junk crept into us.
In that one week,
we shared what we could.
We shared cash and Spirit-filled fruits too.
In that one week, we saw that we
were sent into the world,
and we shared with servants planning and supporting
Head Start.
We knew at each turn,
We are sent into the world.
Christ filled us at each turn,
And there was room for no more.

© Tom Bolton, Milwaukee, 2 July 2013

John 17:18 New English Translation (NET)

Just as you sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world.

1 John 2:16 The Message (MSG)

15-17 Don’t love the world’s ways. Don’t love the world’s goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world—wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important—has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out—but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity.

Posted in Poetry, Reflecting on Scripture | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

On Surgery Times


Last year I had surgery to have a tumor removed from my right kidney. I have been blessed that it was found early, and I had a top-notch surgeon. I was doubly blessed that many friends and members of Christ’s body were praying for me. I believe in the power of prayer.  Recently I have had lots of tests and radiology scans as one-year follow-up to my treatment.  Good news:  The cancer is all gone and there is no metastasizing.  There was a new diagnosis related to my thyroid, but that is being cared for, and it has actually led to better treatment for my diabetes.

Most of my thoughts and discoveries are the same as when I was preparing for surgery in May 2014:

I am thankful that I have a wonderful wife who supports me and looks out for me;  she and I both need to work on the treats that we like to share–the sweets and rich foods are not good rewards;

I don’t fear death, but I do fear the idea of having no control while I’m laying in the hospital;  I still fear the lack of control, but found that there was less of that than I expected;

I learned over the past year that I am really ready for death and do not have fear;

I hate anesthesia and worry about it, and I think it was helpful that I had that discussion with the anesthesiologist;

I did not hear voices while I was out, and I do not in any other circumstances; in dreams I have some lively conversations, but I rarely remember dreams after I am out of bed:

I am happy to report I was a good patient–I followed directions and did everything well to recover;

I did not do well after my recovery to lose weight and build back my old strength.  I thought I would be highly motivated to lose weight and get stronger, but as time passes, I let it go too easily;

It was easy to return to work in 3 weeks, but I found that I was really tired at the end of each day, and I still am tired at the end of most work days;

I identified many more steps to include in my last instructions, and I need to fully document these items;

Light Streaming Through the Crown of a Tree

I am most fully convinced that God is good!

Posted in About Tom | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

On Revivival, from 2013


I originally wrote this in 2013 after attending a Revival at Solomon Community Temple, dove-holy-spiritand I am thinking about it as I prepare for a Wesleyan Revival class at my Church this summer.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kfL7Xf4SJMA

Time to Come Clean–John 13:9

We sang a different arrangement of “I am on the Battlefield” last night at the 2 Night Life Changing Revival at Solomon Community Temple, but it was just as good!
Preaching by Rev. Dennis Oglesby Jr. was awesome.
“The modern English word revival descends from the Latin word, revivere, which means to live again. In the context of Christian revivalism, which initially found expression in America during the First and Second Great Awakenings (circa 1730-1740 and 1800- 1840), revival related to repentance and conversion.

“Churches conduct revival services in myriad ways. From tent settings to the traditional sanctuary venue, churches host worship services geared at shifting the mood, activity, and commitment of congregants, leaders and cities. Revivals energize the community…”
I love the energizing.
Thank you Solomon Community Temple for hosting this revival.

  • Revival (gttaylor0780.wordpress.com)
Posted in Disciplines, Poetry, Reflecting on Scripture | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment