Thanks like Jesus

“The process of spiritual formation in Christ is one of progressively replacing… destructive images and ideas with the images and the ideas that filled the mind of Jesus himself… Spiritual formatting in Christ moves toward a total interchange of our ideas and images for his.”  ~Dallas Willard (as quoted by James Bryan Smith, The Good and Beautiful God)

And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant…”  Matt. 26:27

When Jesus raised the cup and declared it his blood, he knew how it would end.  Nails and spears. Thorns and gall.  Mockery and a set of dice.  He was listening to the executioner’s song that night.

And he gave thanks for the cup.

When he chose the twelve, he knew he was choosing them for death.  So when he raised his glass and the disciples smiled “cheers,”...

***Continue reading at Deeper Story.

There And Back Again: Music And Silence

This post is part of The High Calling's community building project, there and Back Again (see below), and was inspired in part by Ann Kroeker's post, Slow-Down Fast: Music and Silence. _______________________________________

I drove into the heart of the Ouachita Mountains this evening.  The giants, those “great sleeping Adams,” stuck up out the Arkansas valley like junior Rockies.  They told me that God created them every bit as majestic, just not quite as craggy.  One time a geologist argued that the Ouchitas and Bostons are actually older than the Rockies, said that Father Time had weathered them more, made them more hunch-backed.  “Maybe,” I said.  “Or maybe they’re just more humble, more God fearing.”

This evening I drove in silence, inspired by a Hoosier to seek God in the stillness of an Arkansas highway.  There was this field outside of Y City; it’s greening up quite nicely this time of year.  A calf, only weeks old I guessed, leaped and turned circles around a young red bud tree.  I heard whispers of Malachi 4 so I eased up on the gas and coasted through the valley.  Freedom and mercy sneak up on you sometimes, but other times you have to slow down to catch them.

As I rounded the bend and turned out of the valley, I left all that nuance in my rear-view mirror.  I reached for my iPod, scrolled through some selections, found that hymn I was humming, and pressed play.

This is my Father’s World.

 I am glad for the roads that cut through it.


This part post is part of Charity Singleton's community-building project for The High Calling, “There & Back Again.”

I went to member Ann Kroeker's blog and read her post "Slow-Down Fast: Music And Silence," which inspired me to write something of my own.

Each Thursday, consider going “There and Back Again” yourself. It’s simple.

Here are Charity’s steps:

  1. Choose another High Calling Blogger to visit. It can be someone you have “met” before, or do what I do, and work your way through the “Member Posts” section of to meet someone new.
  2. Visit his blog, digesting the message until it becomes something that you can write about.
  3. Go back to your blog and write about it, being sure to link to the post that gave you the idea so that your readers can visit, too.
  4. Add the button to your blog so your readers know you are participating in “There and Back Again.”
  5. Go back to the Network blog and leave a comment so your new friend can feel the link love!
  6. Complete the journey by returning here, to Wide Open Spaces, and enter your link so that we all can benefit from the new High Calling connection you have made.


Sometimes, there is little to say. There are those who seem to paint word pictures, stories into which you crawl and find that missing piece. I think it's a gift really, one that each reader pretends was wrapped especially for him.

There are others that don't pretend to care extra for the hurting, the poor, or the sick. They just do. The good ones, the ones we all know, they build railcars and pack us in for the ride. We want to give them our hands and share in the work. We want to be hoboes singing Woody Guthrie or Bob Dylan together.

I know a song-writer who drags me into the Spirit. Sometimes I kick and scream. Other times I go peacefully, willingly. We always end up in the same place, though, and there I am surrounded by congregants and saints. Folks who made the same journey. It's difficult to be that vulnerable in the middle of someone else's art.

Standing mute, I examine people like these and wonder at the common threads of their uncommon lives. I find consistency in the fabric, each putting aside so much of themselves to serve something they believe to be far greater.

The great writer once said, "start writing, even if you don't know how it will end. Let the stories tell themselves." In all humility she believes that a grander story is using her as a vehicle.

The orphan care advocate didn't tell me how many children he rescued. Instead, he told me individual stories of those needing to find rescue and redemption. "This Land is Your Land," he would say.

The song writer is slow and steady. He is imbued with harmony that he counts as blessing. His quietness speaks so loudly.

The lives of the living saints, the really good ones, speak to us if we will listen.

That Which is Spoken-The Bread of Life

On Fridays, I want to post scripture readings from those spending time on the collective. If you have a text you'd like to share, record it and send it to me (uploaded YouTube link will work nicely, as will any video format file). This week, because it seems to have been the theme, I read about the Bread of Life. The passage is John 6:47-58.


Send any reading submissions to seth.m.haines at