Sunday, December 26, 2010
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Monday, December 13, 2010
Sunday, December 5, 2010
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Saturday, November 6, 2010
Monday, November 1, 2010
Friday, October 22, 2010
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Thursday, September 23, 2010
and we'll all be up there together, God chasers, awake and giddy with that specific combination of excitement and relief that comes from waking up from a dream - no matter how good or bad. and like all dreams do, maybe our times on this version of earth will fade from memory and all that will be left is the lessons we took away. the lessons in love and mercy, kindness and joy. forgiveness and patience. the kind of lessons that cs lewis says will make us "more solid, more suitable for heaven".
Monday, September 20, 2010
Who believes what we've heard and seen? Who would have thought God's saving power would look like this?
The servant grew up before God—a scrawny seedling, a scrubby plant in a parched field. There was nothing attractive about him, nothing to cause us to take a second look. He was looked down on and passed over, a man who suffered, who knew pain firsthand. One look at him and people turned away. We looked down on him, thought he was scum. But the fact is, it was our pains he carried—our disfigurements, all the things wrong with us. We thought he brought it on himself, that God was punishing him for his own failures.
But it was our sins that did that to him, that ripped and tore and crushed him—our sins! He took the punishment, and that made us whole.
Through his bruises we get healed. We're all like sheep who've wandered off and gotten lost. We've all done our own thing, gone our own way. And God has piled all our sins, everything we've done wrong, on him, on him.
He was beaten, he was tortured, but he didn't say a word. Like a lamb taken to be slaughtered and like a sheep being sheared, he took it all in silence. Justice miscarried, and he was led off—and did anyone really know what was happening? He died without a thought for his own welfare, beaten bloody for the sins of my people. They buried him with the wicked, threw him in a grave with a rich man, Even though he'd never hurt a soul or said one word that wasn't true.
Still, it's what God had in mind all along, to crush him with pain. The plan was that he give himself as an offering for sin so that he'd see life come from it—life, life, and more life. And God's plan will deeply prosper through him.
Out of that terrible travail of soul, he'll see that it's worth it and be glad he did it. Through what he experienced, my righteous one, my servant, will make many "righteous ones,” as he himself carries the burden of their sins.
Therefore I'll reward him extravagantly—the best of everything, the highest honors— Because he looked death in the face and didn't flinch, because he embraced the company of the lowest. He took on his own shoulders the sin of the many, he took up the cause of all the black sheep.
Sunday, September 5, 2010
I recently spent a few days fasting, which, to me, is an intense form of discipline. Discipline is not my strong suit, whereas food is, so to say I was nervous would be putting it lightly. I was prepped and warned that every time I got hungry or my stomach growled, to pray or read the Bible. Easy enough.
I was hungry EVERY SECOND. It sounds obvious now that the hunger would be constant, but I had never experienced that before. I stay pretty consistently satisfied on my diet of Taco Bell and pita chips and hummus.
The hunger dominates you.
But that’s when the most is revealed. When I was the hungriest and the most uncomfortable and without what I needed, I saw how spiritually undisciplined I am, how little consistent time I make for God, how often I go to my friends for my spiritual needs before I go to my knees, how little I serve. I found myself with plenty of time to clearly answer the questions of what being spiritually disciplined looks like to me and how to apply these things once I brought food back into my life.
The only thing that took my mind off the hunger was thinking about God. Praying. Knowing other people were praying. Reading His Word. Reading other people’s words. When something essential was taken away from me, the only way to survive was on a higher dependency.
There’s something about the dependency during a fast that we don’t get everyday. It’s incredible. We go through life comfortable and satisfied, getting what we want and calling on God when we need it. When we’re consumed with worldly things, we push God a little further away.. whether we mean to or not. Being uncomfortable is when I think we learn the most. Becoming desperate to live by God’s Word is when we grow the most.
I'll be honest: fasting was one of the hardest things I've ever done. It was so challenging. The days felt like 80 hours instead of 24 and Big Macs looked like heaven on a plate (yes frenchpressedfridays). I was close to passing out during a mandatory intern luncheon: Jersey Mike's never looked so good.
But what's growth without a challenge?
And the coolest part of my fast? The things that were revealed to me were not the reasons I began my fast in the first place. They were just an added bonus! The fear over my future that I was letting consume my life was replaced with peace AND I was given the opportunity to see and pray over these new realizations that were revealed. I love the way God works.
I was watching the movie "The Book of Eli" last night and I couldn't help but think about my fast. I’m still wading through my thoughts from this movie and the verdict is still out on whether I liked it or not, but this part I love:
Denzel is in possession and is the protector of the last remaining Bible on Earth. He reads it every day and won’t let anyone else touch it. He’s got the whole thing memorized. People thirst for it and hunt him down just to get their hands on it. Food and water are precious commodities. Lives are dismal and dark and evil and there's a desperation for truth. There are people who would do anything to get their hands on that Bible. They’re desperate.
That kind of desperation reminded me of my fast. Knowing that drawing close to Christ was my only option made me practically not do anything else but read the Bible. I wasn't content doing anything else. I couldn't wait. That kind of desperation didn't exist when I was full and satisfied. That kind of desperation made me disciplined.
I pray to always be that desperate for the Bible, for truth to be revealed, even when my stomach is filled with chalupas. I pray to be disciplined for dependency.. because what’s the point of living for Christ if we’re not going to recognize our need for that higher dependency? I pray to not sink back into my undisciplined, do-it-myself ways. I pray that comfort will no longer satisfy me. I pray to want more than my complacency and to never come to a conclusion on seeking and desiring Christ.
I'm back cruising the T.B. drive thru, but I feel a little more disciplined this time. To leave my fears behind, to seek Christ first before I seek my corner, to selflessly serve, and to realize that a #6 is not the real food of life.
What wonderful disciplines.
Friday, August 27, 2010
i just spent the past three hours at barnes and noble by myself: reading, writing, and people watching. mm that's what i love the most.
i was thinking about picking up a trashy People magazine with elin nordegren on the cover after about two and a half hours.. but i wandered over to the christian inspiration section instead and picked up rob bell's 'drops like stars.' it's the only rob book i haven't read and it's short enough.. so i found a comfy chair and started reading.
it's a weird little book, pretty unconventional. he writes a lot about suffering and references art quite a bit. but one section he writes about stripping away things in life.. and he quotes mark twain as saying,
if i'd had more time, i would have said less.
that blew me away.
because for me, it's just the opposite. if i could do things over again, i would have said more. if i'd had more time, i wouldn't stop talking.
that's when it hit me.
it's not about what we say. it's never about what we say.
IT'S ABOUT CHRIST.
it seems so obvious now. why would i ever think it was about what i say?? what i do?? of course i can't be a good anything.. duh. everything i do is inadequate if it is done without Christ.
i keep forgetting that and over and over again i'm reminded of how thankful i am for His grace.
and then rob bell writes about going to a counselor and how every time he mentions the word 'mistake' or 'failure' or 'sin,' his counselor says:
the God who wastes nothing.
He wastes nothing! nothing is failure! even the failed pieces are essential. rob bell writes that it isn't just a failure, it's an opportunity.
to be bitter or better.
closed or open.
more ignorant or more aware.
more or less tuned in to what God is doing.
we have a CHOICE to make, a CHOICE on how to react when we mess up. there are two ways to see things, two ways to respond, and we have a choice on how we are going to let things unfold from this point on. will we humbly admit where we've wanted control, where things have veered, where we can learn and grow? will we become more aware of God's presence and be open to how He's shaping us? will we rebuke satan by the fact that we're loved and secure in Christ's blood? will we accept the reality that we're forgiven?
there's a choice.
(and when i read rob bell, i start to write in sentences instead of paragraphs).
and then it reminds me of francis chan and forgotten god and this big lesson of discipline i've been learning in this season of my life.
it all comes down to discipline.
if i'm not disciplined in seeking God first, then none of my life makes sense. if i'm not disciplined in getting on my knees and asking for help, then i invite God to take part in my life, to see and approve of what i'm doing, instead of willingly asking to be a part of what He's doing.
sometimes i get on these 'freedom highs' and feel so pumped to be free.. but what kind of freedom am i living if i'm not being disciplined? a lazy, unorganized, unmotivated, me-seeking kind of freedom. a freedom that fits God in.
and i'm left with realizing that it's not all about what i do or say, but about what Christ does or says through me. i can't be a good anything if i'm not actively pursuing the Spirit and if i'm not humbly abandoning myself.
there are a lot more thoughts still brewing on francis and discipline..