(This was written to be read allowed as a devotional for ADD listeners like myself.)
A friend asked how I was doing the other morning and I responded “I’m here… I am human”. I was training for a race and my feet hurt. I had been doing too much on every level. Real life stuff, here. I guess I could have just said that I was “doing great!”. But it wasn’t that type of friend and besides, I’m becoming more and more comfortable with the status of my humanity.
For seemingly well intended reasons we find all kinds of reasons to remain reserved when interacting with one another. Even in some of our most intimate relationships we still don’t feel safe enough to share some of our true feelings and perspectives. Surely this is a problem.
Sharing all of our inner workings is an error, of course. In fact that can be a different problem all together. More important is the way in which we live so very isolated among plenty of people and find ourselves feeling lonely.
Jesus taught us to call God our Father which was vastly different from the religious teachings of his time. One of the most unique facets of Christianity when compared to the varied strands of philosophy and religion is the right to “become children of God”. This was one of the most unique things Christ brought to our attention: creator, all-powerful, brooding over the darkness, hand spanning across the universe God is our daddy. It was on this point that the religious of Jesus’ day had such a hard time.Continue reading “Being Human”
History has the ability to haunt us. Be it our personal history, family history, or the history of our nation. Yet, the future has a way of bringing us hope, optimism, perseverance, and a bold joy that breaks down the structures of evil.
In recent weeks and months, we have all been reminded as a nation of the extended struggle we’ve had with racial injustice. Although we’ve made gigantic strides ahead throughout the last century, in recent months we’ve witnessed grave injustices in our law enforcement, the tragedy in Charleston, the hate crimes towards local churches and their congregants, and numerous other incidents. It seems that with each of these instances a corporate shudder strikes in us and is a reminder of our painful and shameful past; A past that some choose to use to fuel hatred and bitterness. But for most of us, this past is a very real bruise from which we’re trying to recover. (I think it would be wise to add here that no two of us have had the exact same experiences that would allow any other person to bring complete resolution or speak exactly where we all are. Only God has that capability.)
It seems that no matter how hard we try to outlive our past, with the grave infractions perpetrated by a very small percentage of our population, we are seemingly brought back to square one. I say “seems” because we are so susceptible to allowing the events of the past to dictate our lives. But that does not have to be the case. Continue reading “From the Future”
To say my ambition is dead sounds a little morbid. And an exaggeration. My dreams and visions have had time to reign in my life and for the most part those things had their day. I’ve accomplished things in my life–things that others haven’t; things to be proud of. But the effort to tame and steer those ferrel dreams has become too much for me. In my pursuit of them I’ve realized that my dreams and how I want them realized are akin to mirages. They seem to be great in the planning and development, but the fulfillment has left me feeling just as empty and dissatisfied as I did when they were unfulfilled.
It seems to me that many, if not all, of those dreams for my life and the people that I envisioned being in them were good and God given. Plans to help others, plans to nurture people and to lay down my life in the process. The thing is–when it comes to participating in God’s Kingdom only Christ’s dream can being fulfilled and it is meticulous and perfect. As much as we, in certain glimpses of time, try and capture the essence of how everything works by making estimations and conclusions, it’s only a matter of time before the proverbial kaleidoscope of time shifts and we find ourselves attempting to make sense of the absolute mayhem that ensued as a result of our decisions. From my estimation most people are in one of 2 stages: the figuring out and controlling stage, or in the stage of becoming aware of how random and seemingly untame this life really is.Continue reading “Progressive Surrender”
Being a righteous person and being perceived as a righteous person are not always synonymous. Being righteous sometimes causes people to perceive you as wicked. And being perceived as righteous sometimes requires a person to do wicked things to maintain that perception. The difference is in the secret motive of a person’s heart. Take the Christ for example – the only perfect Person ever. Misunderstood, rejected, crucified and killed. Righteous.
A Friend: What wicked thing can be done with a Christian motivation? Me : Is the word Christian an adjective or a noun?
After listening to a sermon the other day I posted on Facebook a very strong opinion about how preachers should do their preaching. The specific preacher I was listening to at the time was circling round and round a point for what seemed way too long, never really saying much. Being entertaining, but not communicating the point he had set out to make. I was fed up, as I am with most preaching, and spoke my mind in public.
Most people loved what I had to say. Many people have never been on the underside of ministry like I have, nor have the perspective of church things like I do. And they seem to act giddy when someone is willing to speak the truth, even about the church.
The truth that I’ve found and that is central to my message to the Church is that Christ is the One who has earned ultimate authority over man kind and it is our job as the Church to point others unto the glory that is completely His. So that they may begin to walk uprightly with God through the life and presence of Jesus Christ… and in and amongst those who call themselves church.
Faith when rightly approached develops into the most stable relationship man can ever know. And relationships are based on interactions. Conversations with warm fuzzies, tough talks with ultimatums, fights, silent treatments, romance, cudd…les, emotions, commitments, promises, love sickness, etc. etc.
Soooo, it might be best if we quit faking the funk. Some days are hard. Even for the best of us on the best of days.
Maybe if we quit pretending to portray things that we’re not we might be able to be honest enough to live rightly as the love struck Bride of Christ, revealing the goodness and active engagement of God. Revealing the eternal dance that we’re involved in. And hang up the robot act; religious, stoic, unmoved, “happy”, and seemingly disinterested in reality.
People who live in an active pursuit of relationship with God may find themselves directly or indirectly associated with a set of doctrines, a denomination, or a sect. By proximity.
Yet the embrace of a religion, a set of beliefs, a sect …or a denomination does not necessarily put us in proximity of relationship with God.
Sometimes it does exactly the opposite.
Relationship with God must be the most central target of our spiritual unction. When that is primary God can and will take care of all the other minor details. As well as put us in harmony with the people He is calling us to love.
My friend Kelsey once introduced me to her dad as her pastor, a title I both love and hate. It’s a biblical term and one that I am called to. I love pastoring and shepherding people, helping them to get disentangled from the evil that seeks to entrap them. Much to my surprise, Kelsey told me after the fact that I had a funny facial expression when she introduced me. I had no idea at the time but I do know that I have a hard time hiding the way I’m feeling so it made sense.
My knee jerk reaction when that title was publicly awarded me has some association with what our culture interprets when they hear the word “pastor”. Nine times out of ten it isn’t good. The other ten percent seems to be a title that people give one another when they have ducked out of their responsibility to walk with God as individuals and rely upon others to represent God for them.