07-20-2008 Collision


Faith :: Life

Today Jason preached about being in Christ. So often we get caught up in the do's and the do-not's that we tend to miss the bigger overall picture. I know as a kid I was always told that Jesus lived in my heart- but what if instead, I am supposed to live in Him? It makes me think of the new song Identity by Phil Stacey.

Marvelous Light - Charlie Hall - E
Holy is the Lord = Chris Tomlin - E
Jesus Messiah - Chris Tomlin -B
God of Wonders - Caedmon's Call - B


How do I believe?

Most of you who read this feel some sense of calling to the works of the Lord. For some of you that calling may be a whisper whereas for others it may be loudly and clearly spread out. We hear stories of ministerial legends who never intended to be doing what they're doing, but somehow are fulfilling the heart of God for His people. Regardless of our history or our background in this salivating drop of time that falls into the overflowing arc of eternity, we are all on the same page of wonderment that falls into this work called, "life." So, as we all, in this moment, come to the table together with empty hands and open hearts we can ask of the Lord what it is that he is saying to us- to our hearts.

The issue I am struggling most with right now is my belief system. By that, I don't mean in so much that I am warring with my faith in Christianity, but rather how I believe Christianity. I fought for a long time to come to Christ in my logic and I was insufficient in trying. I remember vividly being 13 years old. I was awkward and uncomfortable in my own skin. Although I had heard the hope of Christ 2 years prior, my thoughts were consumed as I sought to make Christianity fit inside my mind. I was like the child trying to fit the square peg in the round hole, only in a much grander spectrum. What I wanted was already encompassing me, I just couldn't figure out how to make it run through me.

It was summer time and sleeping in was a hot commodity. Angry to have been awakened at the wee hour of 9 am- my life was changed forever as my sister pounded on my bedroom door. Now, please understand that up to this point the greatest tragedy I had experienced in my life was when the school bus driver ran over Butterscotch, the beloved feline, right before my very eyes. I hollered a groggy, "come in," as she flew through the door responding that, "Grandpa is dead."

For the last four years I had woken up nearly every Saturday morning to my grandfather, casting mulch softly against the glass of my bedroom window, so that I could drive is 1991 Dodge Caravan and go to the local flea market. My world turned to chaos and a few days after his funeral I left for summer camp with my youth group. I had a long summer and the next year returned in about the same place emotionally, to work there for the summer. Upon arrival I was aching within to make sense of God. I was angry at the circumstances of my life and as I stood on the soggy gravel as a steady rain fell from the sky- an old friend quoted me scripture in an attempt to settle the battle in my heart. Through tears mixed with rain I told her, "that doesn't help me." And with her Bible school education she turned in the rain and walked away, with no idea what to say to me.

Through time and love I have built a more healthy relationship with God but even still, not that the "if I believe" is settled, what about the "how I believe?" Paul says to the Corinthians that above faith and hope is love. Jesus tells us in Matthew 5 to go the second mile and to love our enemies. In Mark 9 he says if our hand offends us, then cut it off. James tells us that pure religion is to care for the orphans and the widows. How does my life communicate that I believe this?

When people believe things whole-hearted, they ignite change. Mother Teresa believed in selflessness and changed the world. Martin Luther King Jr. believed in equality and rocked the foundations of western society and changed the world for the better. Of course you have Fred Phelps on the opposite end of the spectrum who protests at military funerals because he believes God kills soldiers for defending a country that harbors homosexuality. He spends thousands of dollars a year traveling the country boasting signs that read, "God hates fags" but as far as I can tell he isn't making anything any better.

I am being challenged to believe differently- that maybe when Jesus told us to love, He was saying to help the needy because of that love and not because we feel sorry for them; or because we need to affirm ourselves by proving that we are capable of helping those with "less" by the world's standards. I ask you to consider the commands of the Bible to love, help, and serve. The call to be meek and to walk in humility. If we took Jesus seriously in this moment, on this page of wonderment, in this chapter of seeking, in this work entitled, "life" ... how would that rewrite the novel of this world?


Appetite, Influence, and the iPhone 3G

So last Friday, June 11- I did it. I waited in line for the newly released iPhone 3G. As I was standing in line waiting it was interesting to me as I observed the other eager consumers that made up the line around me. It was fascinating to watch these people. The guys in front of me were on their first generation iPhones begging a girlfriend to bring them beer in to-go cups from the restaurant where she worked nearby. The gentleman three in front of me kept stepping out of line to take business calls (or at least calls that he made us believe were important) and was never in line when the apple geniuses came by to give their shpeel (urban dictionary confirmed that as the correct spelling), which was most unfortunate because two hours later when he reached the front of the line, he didn't have the correct information and required further assistance than the apple store could offer. He left without a new phone. Then, there was the young father who was far more focused on his upcoming purchase than his three year old daughter who was cruising the sidewalk and dragging her American Girl Doll across the front of someone's, who was clearly no where near us, Cadillac XTS. One of the beer requesters was actually an AT&T rep, which was interesting because he acted put off at all the questions and comments he was receiving- but guessing by his age, I'm imagining that he dressed himself. Perhaps he thought it would grant him some favor in the mile-long line and then was frustrated that his plan had not prevailed.

I think the most amazing part of all this to me was the large number of diverse people that had an extra $250-$500 to drop on a luxurious entertainment device named cell phone. In my defense- I saved some of my graduation money in anticipation of this purchase. I keep hearing what bad shape our economy is in and how people want to blame those who are driving up the oil prices. However, I am beginning to wonder if our own spending habits aren't becoming the demise of our country's financial situation. I think it began about 5-6 years ago when mortgage lenders began offering adjustable rate mortgages to people who either had no business owning a house, financially speaking, or people who were just too ignorant to understand the connotation of their purchase. Now all of those misfortunate spenders are drowning in payments they can't afford which is causing them to use credit cards for all their other expenses so they can make their mortgage payment. So now you have overextended lenders who are never going to collect on their "investment," which is making it more difficult for credible and qualified people to get financing.

I'll be honest- I really don't watch the news much or read the paper all that often. I'm not up on what the latest analysts are saying, I'm just sharing my observations and I realize that they are probably entirely unfounded. However, I can't help but believe that the financial situation in America is a reflection and result of Americans. I think our "want it now" mentality is biting us in the butt. I am often disgusted by how frustrated I get when I have to wait for something. I hear stories of children in Malawi, Africa, who have to walk 7 miles to get clean water, only for most of it to leak out before they return the 7 miles to their home- and I'm hacked off if I have to pull forward and wait on my food in a drive through. There's something really wrong with that picture. We get so focused on what we want that we can't hear the rational logic around us and we can't see our children acting out in an effort to grasp our attention. We are chasing dollar signs and desires, excusing it as the American Dream- but I think this is a nightmare that we better wake from in a hurry. To all those who bought their new iPhone 3G's instead of paying rent this month- I hope it works out for you, but more than that, I hope this nation will begin to see the effects of their desires.


07-13-2008 Collision


When Love Bends Down

This morning Missy climbed a ladder and preached about the woman caught in adultery and how Christ met her where she was. The Bible tells of how Christ bent down and wrote in the sand- Missy proposed that he wrote "love."

Worship Set:
Here is Our King - David Crowder - G
Not to Us - Chris Tomlin - E
Enough - Chris Tomlin - E
You Are My King - Passion - E



So I have tried my hand at this blogging thing before and the truth of it is, I am not that interesting and I begin forgetting to attend to it. However, I am hoping that if in this attempt my focus is on the movement of God and what he is doing in my life- it will be interesting and I will remember! I am excited about all of the new things that are rising up around me. I feel like I can hear the echo of the footsteps but I don't see the footprint just yet.

God has been whispering a simple truth to me: The passion of a group is never greater than the passion of their leaders.

I don't say that to place myself or anyone else on a pedastool, but simply to say this has been a wakeup call for me. I once had a good friend (a pastor who I led worship for) look me in the eye and say, "You can't lead people by pointing and saying 'it's over there, walk that direction and you will find what you are looking for.' You lead people by saying, 'come on, I've been there- I know where to find what you are searching for.' You can't lead people to a place you've never been."

I don't know where that truth came from originally, but that person was pretty smart- because it is true. I wouldn't follow someone across the indigenous terrain of an unfamiliar environment without knowing they had been there before. I am reminded of my trip to Germany in 2005. I traveled all over the country not knowing a lick of Deutsch or European geography- but the person I was with knew the language and knew the country. However- perhaps even more important than knowing the destination, that person knew me.

People don't follow strangers, at least not by common practice. In the world of politics I suppose people widely follow strangers, but the media makes it feel as though they've been sitting in your living room talking with you. We must be willing to invest in people, to know their names and their passions- then, if they can see that we have already been to the desitination and know Him well- they will follow.