Archive for October, 2014

Been There, Done That…

Posted: October 20, 2014 in Faith

“Though our iniquities testify against us,
act, O Lord, for your name’s sake;
for our backslidings are many;
we have sinned against you.
(Jeremiah 14:7)

Throughout the Old Testament I see these kinds of cries, and pleas for mercy. Perhaps I am wrong, but the tone of these cries is strikes me as one of not only desperation but uncertainty. I get the sense that the supplicant is not entirely certain if the Death Angel will pass over him or not. This sense of uncertainty has, I think, been carried over into our New Testament communities as well.

We pay lip service to justification by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, but too often sermons are on various ways to be a better person, or be live a fulfilled life, or… whatever. Take a look at any Christian book store and it seems there’s a “Christian” version of just about everything, including “self-help”.

If we are ever struck by our sinfulness, we cry along with Jeremiah, pleading for God to have mercy on us. Have we forgotten the famous John 3:16 passage which talks about how much God loved the world? Or if the world is too impersonal, how ’bout Romans 5:8 which states, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

I see Jesus standing there saying something to the affect, “Dear children, I got that covered. Already took care of it. Been there, done that, got the scars.”

Why can we not simply bask in the awesomeness of Jesus’ love?

When I do my daily bible reading I like to also hear it read and so listen to MP3 or online audio files of the chapters. This morning as I was reading and listening to the scripture Ming Ming (age 8) came in and asked, “Why do you still read the bible, and why is the computer reading it to you?”

I explained that the Bible is God’s word to us. It is primarily through scripture that God talks to us, so we need to constantly be reading the Bible.

“Imagine if we still lived in the same house, but we never talked again,” I said. “How would that be?”

“The would be horrible!” she exclaimed.

“Well,” I began, “God is all around us. If we stop reading the Bible and praying then we stop talking with God and that would just be weird.”

She seemed to give that some serious thought and to understand it.

I love conversations like these and am so thankful to God for stirring an interest in my daughter’s heart. Both she and her younger brother are starting to ask more questions about faith.

Two Thorns

Posted: October 11, 2014 in Faith, Life
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Upon further reflection I think I may have two “thorns in the flesh.” One is my frequent headaches. The other is my constant anger. It seems to be always bubbling just beneath the surface (and has for as much of my life as I can remember).

“Father, please do not allow me to be controlled by either. When my anger does get the better of me, please give me the courage and humility to beg forgiveness of those whom I wrong.”

To Dream, but Which Dream?

Posted: October 10, 2014 in Church, Faith, Life
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Here are some excerpts from the Switchfoot song “American Dream” which have resonated within me:

When success is equated with excess
When we’re fighting for the Beamer, the Lexus
As the heart and soul breath in the company goals
Where success is equated with excess

I want out of this machine
It doesn’t feel like freedom

This ain’t my American dream
I want to live and die for bigger things
I’m tired of fighting for just me
This ain’t my American dream

As a bi-vocational minister I struggle between working for myself and working to be able to minister. It’s a constant struggle tugging and pulling at my heart and my mind.

The Altar and the Door

Posted: October 4, 2014 in Faith, Life

A set of lyrics which has impacted recently:

Careless, I am reckless
I’m a wrong-way-travelin’-slowly-unraveling shell of a man
Burnt out, I’m so numb now
That the fire’s just an ember way down in the corner of my cold, cold heart (more…)