Sunday, July 31, 2011

psalm 46:10

be still and know that i am god.
be still and know that i am.
be still and know.
be still.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

the power of words

if you didn't know, i really like to read. and there are times when i'm reading where i will literally, out loud, say, "whoa" and just stop and rest in what i just read. last night was one of those instances.

currently, i'm reading "god never blinks" by regina brett. it's not bad. but here's what caused me to "whoa"

background: the author is talking about a movie she saw, chalk talk. in the movie, the host tells stories about people in recovery. he tells a story, "about a woman who had come to him in tears after her drunken husband called her a whore."

"would you be upset if he called you a chair?" he asked her.
"of course not," she said.
"why not?" he asked.
"i know i'm not a chair," she said.
"don't you know that you aren't a whore?" he asked.

it doesn't matter what people call you...

god is love, nothing is impossible.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

boundless compassion

i've heard it said that if you don't slow down, god will find a way to slow you down. that doesn't make a whole lotta sense when i think theologically but it sure makes sense in my current situation. besides a few basic errands, i haven't been able to leave the house much since gettin back from tennessee. one trip i did make was to the doctor...apparently I have it...or just know it's a stomach parasite that causes really bad cramps/pains and diarrhea (yeah, I know, TMI).

i had a lot planned for the nine days between tennessee and my trip to

guatemala, it's just how i roll...i'm always doing something. in fact, a few of my friends recently started calling me the energizer bunny...ha. anyways, somewhere buried in my to-do list was learning how to "slow down" and build "margin" in my life (thanks to my pastor, stephen redden, and a spiritual life class i'm helping teach this summer). whatta coincidence, huh?

probably because there's no better way for me to learn then through experience, i've been forced to slow down. and during this time i've done a lot of reflecting and reading. its been an amazing experience that has brought so much to the surface...and i was able to finish reading "abba's child" by brennan manning. it's really good, you should read it. here's an excerpt that really stood out to me (pages 128-129):

"upon being told by her sister martha that jesus had arrived in bethany and wanted to see her, mary got up quickly and went to him (john 11:29).

mary of magdalene is heartbroken and tearful when she finds the tomb empty. at the moment of recognition when jesus calls her name, she clung to him--"do not cling to me, because i have not yet ascended to the father" (20:17).

as soon as peter and john receive word of the empty tomb, they ran together to the garden, but the other disciple, runner faster then peter, reached the tomb first (20:3-4).

peter, the denier of jesus, a failure as a friend in the hour of crisis, a coward in his soul before the servant-girl in the courtyard, jumped into the water almost naked once john told him jesus was on shore. "at these words 'it is the lord,' simon peter, who had practically nothing on, wrapped his cloak round him and jumped into the water" (21:7). john notes that the boat was about a hundred yards offshore.

these biblical characters, however clean or tawdry their personal histories may
have been, are not paralyzed by the past in their present response to jesus. tossing aside self-consciousness they ran, clung, jumped, and raced to him. peter denied him and deserted him, but he was not afraid of him.

suppose for a moment that in a flash of insight you discovered that all your motives for ministry were essentially egocentric, or suppose that last night you got drunk and committed adultery, or suppose that you failed to respond to a cry for help and the person committed suicide. what would you do?

would guilt, self-condemnation, and self-hatred consume you, or would you jump into the water and swim a hundred yards at breakneck speed towards jesus? haunted by the feelings of unworthiness, would you allow the darkness to overcome you or would you let jesus be who he is--a saviour of boundless compassion and infinite patience, a lover who keeps no score of our wrongs?"

so, what will you do?

god is love, nothing is impossible.

Monday, July 11, 2011


what do you notice most about the above picture? the black spot? yup, me too. it's kinda hard not to, right? but what about the rest of the picture? the part that takes up most of the page. the white part. oh yeah, i didn't even think about that...or notice it.

sometimes i think the hardest part about the christian walk is how often i spend time focusing on the black dot. you know, the areas where i fall short of god, the parts of my life i wish i could re-do, the bad parts. sometimes i spend a whole lot of time thinking about the bad parts. in fact, just recently, i was thinking about the black dot and i thought, "man, if i wasn't christian i wouldn't care about the black would be so much easier." i went on thinking something like, "before i was a christian my life was a lot more simple...i just didn't care." however, i'm a firm believer in the fact that there are consequences to our reckless'll eventually catch up to us (or at least they caught up to me).

but the black dot isn't what this christian life is about, it's about the white part...the part we often neglect...the good areas of our life, the areas where god has blessed us richly...that's the part we should spend our time focusing on, the white part. the amazing thing that i am constantly reminded of is how god sent jesus to be beaten, bloodied, tortured, and crucified on a cross for you and for me...and how three days later jesus rose from the grave to defeat death. why? so we can rest in the white part, knowing that we're forgiven and that each day our black spot grows less significant.

so if you're like me and find yourself focusing on the black parts, let me offer this advice:

stop. and then think about our god and all the amazingly good things he has given you...and the forgiveness that is available through his son, jesus christ...the hope for everyone. and then start making a list of the things you're thankful that you can get in the habit of focusing on the white part of your page.

god is love, nothing is impossible.

*this post (and the white page concept) was inspired by the book "good and beautiful god" by james bryan smith. it is fantastic.