Monday, May 28, 2012

Here, Now

Church has many seasons
of varying lengths and observance:
Advent’s four weeks the foundation
for Christmas’ gift and twelve days.

Lent’s forty days + Sundays
grounds us in reality of Passion.
Easter’s fifty days roots us
in resurrections transformative power.

Two holy events, however,
rate only a single day
on Church’s schedule of events:
Epiphany and Pentecost.

Did you ever wonder why?
Is eureka of messiah’s identity
too difficult to contemplate
for more than a day?

Holy Spirit’s seed-opening flame
too intense for institutional religion
to bear beyond twenty-four hours?
How would our lives, world differ if

Epiphanies were our daily expectation,
Spirit’s revelation our daily anticipation?
Maybe that’s what Jesus meant by,
“The kingdom is in your midst.” (Luke 17:21)

© 2012 Todd Jenkins

Friday, May 25, 2012

Risking Pentecost

When the resurrected Christ ascended,
the disciples went into organization mode,
promptly replacing Judas as a first order of business.

And the Holy Spirit broke out,
like end-of-game fireworks
accidentally unleashed in the fifth inning.

The institutional church has roped off
a tidy little section for Pentecost,
with red balloons, streamers, and pinwheels.

And the Holy Spirit laughs
to keep from crying,
exploding everywhere, noticed or not.

Bushes aren’t the only thing burning;
hearts and lives overflow daily
with forgiveness, love, and grace.

Give us courage, O God,
to risk our lives and selves
to your daily Pentecosts!

© 2012 Todd Jenkins

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Honoring Sacred Gifts

In the generational cycle and course of human events, when groups and nations have behaved in ways far less than you, our Creator, intended; and war has become the tool through which protection and/or resolution is sought, it is a burden borne directly on the shoulders of young men and women. Throughout the history of our nation, human beings have served on the front lines, from the war for independence out of which our nation was formed, to the conflicts in the Middle East today, and numerous wars and conflicts in-between. First, young men; and for a number of years now, both young men and young women have been drafted or have volunteered to place themselves in the line of fire on our behalf, as directed by the leaders of our nation and our military.

This weekend, O God, marks our nation's annual remembrance and thanksgiving for all who have given their lives in military service to our country. So now we pause, remembering both those soldiers who were near and dear to us, and those whose family ties and neighborly bonds are elsewhere.
We also remember the families they left and leave behind: wives, husbands, brothers, sisters, parents, children, uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews, cousins.

We pray, O God, that you would teach us how best to honor the sacred gift of their lives; how to live and govern ourselves in ways that will lessen the duration and intensity of existing wars and conflicts; how to tread softly on your planet; and, as beings given life by you and created in your image, how to become fountains of dignity and respect through which your promised peace, which knows no borders, may one day overflow, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

© 2012 Todd Jenkins

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


The only way to change
the world is
change yourself.

We are seduced by
cultural illusion that
change occurs by
grasping, obtaining.

Holding on creates,
not change, but baggage,
entrenchment, inflexibility.

If someone else tells you
what to give up, forces you
to give something up,
you’re not moving toward change;

but being controlled and/or enslaved.
Only way to change yourself:
voluntarily relinquish

what you value to
someone or something else.
It’s a beautiful, scary cycle.
Do you dare?

© 2012 Todd Jenkins
First Presbyterian Church
Fayetteville, Tennessee

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Fear, Faith

Fear runs, faith waits.
Fear hides, faith reveals.
Fear anesthetizes, faith feels.
Fear indoctrinates, faith educates.

Faith questions, fear assures.
Fear loses, faith finds.
Fear loosens, faith binds.
Fear escapes, faith endures.

© 2012 Todd Jenkins

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


Faith without shadows
lacks depth; it is  
flatly domesticated representation

of wildly multidimensional mystery.
Shadows are natural result
of light approaching darkness.

Both are part of our reality.
Instead of denying
shadows in your life,

try acknowledging them
in midst of light.
Shadows are still with you,

but light beckons you
to path where life is possible.
Grace is in the shadows.

© 2012 Todd Jenkins

Sunday, May 13, 2012

LCWF 8 of 8

John 4:10 (NIV) Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water."

Just as there is a large tank at the beginning of the system, there needs to be one at the end.  This is the place where water is safely stored after having been through the entire cleaning process.  It is also the tank from which distribution bottles are filled.

Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well, recorded in the fourth chapter of John’s gospel, is one of the scriptural connections/inspirations for Living Waters for the World.  As you near the end of this part of your journey, ask God to alert you to the people and conversations throughout you day where you might participate in the giving and receiving of Living Water.

© 2012 Todd Jenkins

Saturday, May 12, 2012

LCWF 7 of 8

 Matthew 13:33 (NIV) He told them still another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked all through the dough."

The 30+ feet of zigzagging pipe at the top of the LWW Standard Ozone board is called a churn.  Its primary purpose is to make sure that as much of the surface of the filtered water as possible comes into contact with the bubbling Ozone.  This is where Ozone, in its gaseous state, is given the opportunity to “dance” with the filtered water. Both the length and the twists and turns of the churn allow the Ozone to dance with ALL of the water. Without the churn’s length and undulation, many of the harmful microorganisms in the filtered water would likely escape with their lives, and thereby continue to weaken and shorten the lives of people in the communities where clean water is in short supply. 

All of the practices associated with our faith serve as a churn of sorts, giving us ample opportunity for every nook and cranny of our lives to be exposed to the life-giving bubbles of God’s grace.  As you dance along this part of the path today, ask God to guard the twists and turns of your life, exposing you sufficiently to the power of grace and love.

© 2012 Todd Jenkins

Friday, May 11, 2012

LCWF 6 of 8

Mark 1:12 (NIV) At once the Spirit sent him out into the desert…

The simple red valve between the ozonator and the 30+ feet of PVC in zigzag fashion is called a venturi. It has one simple, but essential task: to pull freshly created Ozone into the filtered water.  Many teams choose to install a transparent piece of PVC in the system immediately beyond the venturi, so that its operation can be visually assured.  When the venturi is functioning properly, lots of bubbles are clearly visible in the clear pipe. 

While the presence of bubbles indicates the venturi’s proper functioning, it does not guarantee that the bubbles contain Ozone.  There are two basic ways to verify Ozone in the bubbles.  The first is to use an Ozone test-strip.  This is fool-proof, though time-consuming and somewhat expensive.  The second means of verification requires the use of the human olfactory system. 

Ozone has a distinct odor.  When it is being properly pulled through the venturi, an operator can develop a discriminatory nose that readily detects its presence.  Ozone was named for the Greek word for smell (Ozein). It smells like the scent of freshness that permeates the air after lightning strikes (because lightning strikes produce Ozone).  In their 1972 gospel refrain “There’s Something about That Name”, Bill and Gloria Gaither use the phrase “like the fragrance after the rain” to describe the glory and peculiarity of Jesus’ name.  It seems serendipitous that this bacteria-destroying molecule is associated with both the powerful natural phenomenon of lightning as well as with the name the Christian Bible gives to the Messiah.  As you seek your way along today’s path, ask God to keep you alert to the places where you can smell God’s life-transforming presence.

© 2012 Todd Jenkins

Thursday, May 10, 2012

LCWF 5 of 8

Psalm 104:25 (NIV) There is the sea, vast and spacious, teeming with creatures beyond number— living things both large and small.

Most of the things you read about Ozone have to do with the protective layer of these molecules in the stratosphere.  The Ozone associated with LWW filtration systems has neither helpful nor harmful effect on the environment because it breaks down within a very short time.

One LWW standard filtration board uses a device called an Ozonator, containing UV light bulbs, to create Ozone. UV light temporarily splits and recombines oxygen molecules.  Elemental Oxygen usually takes the form of O2—that is, two atoms of Oxygen attached to each other.  Ozone is created when these ordinary pairs of Oxygen atoms are split, and individual Oxygen atoms temporarily bond with elemental Oxygen molecules, creating O3—Ozone—or molecules composed of 3-atoms of oxygen. 

Why is this important?  Because the highly energized, unstable (i.e. breaking down after a short time) O3 destroys algae, viruses, and bacteria on contact by oxidizing (breaking down) their cell walls.  Unlike other disinfectants and germ-killing compounds, Ozone’s germ-killing activity produces no harmful byproducts.  Ozone (O3) has very different properties than its cousin, Oxygen.  Instead of fueling the existence of harmful algae, viruses, and bacteria like O2 would, O3 destroys them. With their three atoms of Oxygen, Ozone molecules are capable of ridding water of virtually all of the things that create illness and even death, making Ozone a powerful tool within the LWW filtration system. 

As you proceed along the steps of this journey, ask God to give life-giving oxygenation and focus to your spirit and endeavors. Pray that you will be moved to split any constricting alliances and reconfigure your relationships so that you join with others in ways that empower you to rid the universe of the invisible forces of destruction and negativity that continually weaken and destroy life as God intends.
© 2012 Todd Jenkins

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

LCWF 4 of 8

Psalm 51:7 (NIV) 
Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; 
       wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

The 5 micron and .5 micron carbon filters, known as “Big Blues”, are the beginning stages for serious water filtration.  They remove a considerable amount of the things that can cause harm to the human digestive system.  In properly functioning municipal systems of developed communities, these two would probably suffice to produce life-nourishing water.

Carbon is a key element in sustaining life as we know it.  Human beings are sometimes referred to as “carbon-based life forms.”  This refers to carbon’s capacity to chemically bond with oxygen, hydrogen, and nitrogen, creating life’s basic building blocks.  Ironically, it is carbon’s propensity for bonding that makes it a key element of basic water filtration.  Positively charged carbon particles are embedded in Big Blue’s filter fiber, allowing the carbon to attract and remove many water contaminants, which are negatively charged.

In the ancient Middle East, the branch of the hyssop tree was a symbolic filter of sorts.  Cleansing fluid (water or blood) was sprinkled on animals or people with a hyssop branch to purify them.  What are the symbolic means that you use to remind yourself of God’s capacity to make you whole and holy?  Through the Eucharist’s wine/blood, Christians understand that Christ’s sacrifice effects our wholeness and eternal life.  As you proceed along this journey, ask God to positively charge your life-form that you may become a conduit for God’s Big Blue cleansing in the lives of those you encounter as well as your own.

© 2012 Todd Jenkins

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

LCWF 3 of 8

Psalm 37:30-31 (MSG) 
Righteous chews on wisdom like a dog on a bone, 
      rolls virtue around on his tongue.
   His heart pumps God's Word like blood through his veins;
      his feet are as sure as a cat's.

Electricity is converted to directional energy in the pump.  Water, both clean and dirty, is pulled and pushed throughout the entire system.  The day after we installed our first system in Guastatoya, Guatemala, our LWW team eagerly returned to the site to observe the Operating Partners’ processing of the second batch of filtered water.  Five minutes into the process, the entire town’s supply of electricity was interrupted.  Without an operational pump, we were “dead in the water.”  Unable to effect an alternate electrical supply, we could only wait and hope.  Nearly three hours later, still powerless, we left, praying that we had sufficiently shared system information and understanding, so that our Operating Partners could effectively produce clean water for batches two and beyond. 

Where do you find the “pump source” for your life? Christians identify the Holy Spirit as their life/energy source. As you proceed into this portion of your day, ask God to keep the Holy Spirit pumping you with energy and enthusiasm, so that your tasks may be accomplished.

© 2012 Todd Jenkins

Monday, May 7, 2012

LCWF 2 of 8

Devotional #2

Proverbs 30:12 (NRSV) There are those who are pure in their own eyes yet are not cleansed of their filthiness.

The water with which a LWW team begins is from a less-than-clean source.  Many times, in addition to invisible microscopic and viral contaminants, it also contains visible debris and trash.  The first step is to remove the large, visible debris.  The trash filter, or sediment filter, traps these large particles of contaminant, so that they do not proceed further into the system, where they pose a system-clogging threat.

Our lives often mirror this part of the system in their need for initial filtration of visible, obvious temptations and threats.  There are places and circumstances which pose a very real threat, and even people who pose a hazard to our health and wholeness.  As you proceed along this part of life’s journey, ask God to give you both wisdom and courage to recognize and separate yourself from all of the things that would stand between you and faithful living.

 © 2012 Todd Jenkins

Sunday, May 6, 2012

LCWF 1 of 8

I just finished another great week at Clean Water U, Living Waters for the World’s educational component that trains and equips teams to share the gift of clean water with partners around the world. For the next 8 days, I’m posting brief devotionals on components of the LWW Standard Ozone Filtration System.

Devotional 1 of 8

Proverbs 5:15-16(MSG) Do you know the saying,
"Drink from your own rain barrel,
   draw water from your own spring-fed well"?
It's true. Otherwise, you may one day come home
   and find your barrel empty and your well polluted.

In order for a LWW system to be installed, there must be a source of water.  Whatever the source, the beginning process toward Living Water is collection.  There must be a method to store sufficient water to run each batch. 

Our lives are not really different from this.  We, too, must have a source from which to draw.  Christians find their source and their re-source for life in and through a relationship with the living Messiah.  As you begin each day of your participation in CWU or with a LWW team, make some time for quiet reading, reflection, and prayer, asking God to fill your tank for the tasks and day ahead.

© 2012 Todd Jenkins