Thursday, December 2, 2010

Why I've Been Gone

I haven't posted in a while, thought it might help to write out why.

A few weeks ago, my youth pastor (the one who shows no interest in forming a relationship with anyone) talked about how he believes in predestination, and how predestination is part of the Southern Baptist Convention thing. And I've had alot of issues with that.

IF it is true, that means it wasnt' someone's choice to go to hell; it was God's. My YP says he's not sending people to hell because we're already going there, and in his love and mercy he's saving some people. The way I see it, though, if HE'S the one choosing: if you have the power to save everyone, or let them choose, and you don't, what's the difference? You are, in essence, damning them.

I get a picture in my head of someone being given a list of names and being told, "All of these people are about to be burned at the stake. However, any of them that you circle will get out. There's no limits, no rules; as long as you circle their name, they live." And then the person leaves the paper in his hamster's cage and whatever names the hamster peed on, you circle. You could have circled every single name.

But you didn't.

The Bible isn't incredibly clear about this, if I'm interpreting it correctly. I guess it's not too hard to imagine a God like that.

But . . .

how do you love him?

Friday, August 20, 2010

To the Christian Flag

I went to summer Bible camp a couple of weeks ago. There was a pseudo-large debate. Well, it was large in the minds of me and . . . well, yeah, it was probably just me. The debate was about the pledge. Every morning, we would pledge to the American flag, to the Christian flag, and to the Bible. The pledge the leaders knew, and that I grew up with, is this.

I pledge allegiance
To the Christian flag
And to the Savior
For whose kingdom it stands.
One Savior,
Risen, and coming again,
With life and liberty to all who believe.

And then there’s the newer version:

I pledge allegiance
To the Christian flag
And to the Savior
For whose kingdom it stands.
One brotherhood,
Uniting all Christians
In service and love.

Maybe you can’t see the big deal. I mean, it sounds really nice, right? We are a brotherhood, we should be united, we should be serving and loving the people around us. (We're not, but that's not the point.) If this was the first pledge ever written for the Christian flag, I don't think I'd have a problem with it. But it's not. There was one. And they changed it.
I think it’s just a sign of a bigger problem in the church. Look closely. The first one talks about a Savior. The second, about the followers of the Savior. Here’s the problem: it’s not about the followers.
This is just my opinion, which has frequently been wrong, but it seems to me that Christianity has become far too much about us. The Christians. As individuals, and as a group. Ain’t we just so cute. We get together and have sweet little socials. We work hard to support ourselves, keep ourselves going, and entirely neglect the God we are supposed to serve, and the broken people He loves. ‘Cause we’re just cool like that.
Christianity is not about the Christians. It never has been. Which is hard to say, because that means it’s not about us. At all. It’s about God. That’s it. Just God. Which, surprisingly, or entirely unsurprising, actually, is enough.

Monday, August 9, 2010


I am a loner.
I just am.
Usually I'm fine with it.
But sometimes
I get lonely.
And sometimes
I want help.
Help I can't get on my own.
I only have about
50 million questions.
About God.
About theology.
About His will.
About who I am,
and about who I am in God.
So, for the past couple of years,
I've been praying,
praying desperately,
for God to send me someone.
Someone who knows
what it is to long to burn
for Him.
Someone who wants to set our community
on FIRE.
Someone who understands
that I have doubts
and questions
and weaknesses
that I want to overcome.
Someone who can help me answer my questions.
Someone who can help me when I'm struggling,
and smack me in the face when I'm not where I'm supposed to be.
Someone who hungers for knowledge,
and truth,
and passion,
and GOD.
For the past two years,
I've gone to a church
with an interim youth pastor.
He didn't talk to me.
But that was fine.
He was just for now.
Soon we would get a real youth pastor.
He would talk to me.
He would help me.
We have a new youth pastor.
He doesn't talk to me.
Doesn't appear to have any interest in getting to know me.
Or anyone.

I'm still praying.
that God will send me

That God will send me someone
that He will make it
so that He
is enough.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Kill the Spider

Awesome post from musician Carlos Whittaker


I suffer with anxiety.
Like right now for instance.
My heart is beating really fast and I’m dizzy.
My hands are a bit numb and so is my face.
I fear that I will lose control.

The truth is I won’t lose control.
That’s because I am not in control.
So I don’t have it to lose.
I only think I am.

You have your thing.
You are fighting so hard to maintain control of it.
It might not take the form of anxiety.
But it takes the form of something.
Something that you take “control” of that belongs to God.

The manifestation is not the sin.
My anxiety symptoms are not the sin.
Your depression symptoms is not the sin.
Your constant focus on the problem is not the sin.
They are symptoms of the sin.
The sin of wanting to be God in your life instead of letting God be God.

So instead of praying for God to clean the cobwebs out of your life.
Just ask God to kill the spider.

Friday, March 26, 2010

By Your Side

I just now watched the story behind By Your Side.


And I'm shaking.
Literally shaking.
he said
has been eating away at my soul.

Not a perfect person.


Feeling screwed up.


Wanting to fix myself first.


Fighting my leash.

BIG check on that one.

And it's the exact
I've been learning for the past couple of months.
But it's still so hard to believe,
so hard to understand,
to wrap my mind around this
incredible, irrational love.
This reckless love that picks me up when I fall.
And loves me.
While I am yet a sinner.


I was going to
and wonder
and question.
I've found it's already been said.
by Mike Donehey.
And it sums up
I wanted to say
and more.

“Satisfy me in the morning with your unfailing love.”
-Psalm 90:14

We want it. We run after it. And yet, somehow
it always seems to elude us.
What’s our problem?
What went wrong?
I mean, we buy what the commercials tell us to buy.
We’re caught up on Lost and American Idol.
We see all the movies our friends tell us will change our lives.
We flip through the magazines, we buy all the right clothes,
listen to all the right music,
we’ve got over a thousand friends on facebook, twitter, and a girlfriend/boyfriend
who must be perfect because we met them on, and yet,
somehow that old nagging feeling just won’t go away.

Why is that?
Why did the Rolling Stones sing, “I can’t get no satisfaction?”
Why did Brittany go crazy?
Why did Tiger go running around with all those women?
And why, if we’re honest,
are we still tempted to do the very things we hate?

Well, by no means do I think I can cure that unquenchable longing in our
hearts with a simple journal entry, but I do think I might be able to shed some light
on the subject.
First and foremost, we have to come to terms with the fact that we’re not home yet.
I mean, do we know that? Do we consider that when the tv tells us what we need?
Do we think about that when we start going down that road for pleasure that we swore we’d never get on?
C.S. Lewis said,
“If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy,
the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”

Sometimes, I think we put way too much stock into this world.
We have these amazing moments, we experience these unbelievable foretastes of glory,
and so we think, “This is it! This is what I’ve been waiting for!” This game, this music, this romance, etc.
We make the mistake of deifying the good things God has given us to enjoy, and end up doing terrible
things for pleasure that we never thought we’d do.
To quote Tim Keller, “We make the good things ultimate things,” and the irony is, that’s when we can’t
really enjoy them at all.
This is a silly example but let’s say you eat a bowl of ice cream at dinner tonight, and it’s bar none, the
most exquisite edible delight you’ve ever tasted. We’ll you’re now faced with two options,
you can either simply thank God for the wonderful gift of dessert and go on with your day,
or you can start to believe that this ice cream is the very thing you’ve been waiting for all your life.
You think, somehow, this tasty treat will fill my soul with joy and rescue me from my discontentment.
This creamy deliciousness was meant to save me from my misery.
So you then go to fantastic lengths to secure yourself a lifetime supply of it.
You buy truck loads of it, eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner,
only to die a month later from clogged arteries and horrendous brain freeze.

Like I said, it’s silly, but this is in effect what we do with all sorts of things.
Yeah, probably not ice cream but maybe
a band, a friend, a team, a city, a tv show, a lover…
We set all kinds of things and people up as our Saviour, and when they disappoint us,
we don’t know where to turn.
But here’s the deal. If we first understand that our soul is longing for far more than this world can offer
then we can learn to expect and manage a certain level of discontentment in our soul, as we walk this earth.
And yeah, that might sound depressing, but it’s also incredibly freeing.
To quote Jon Foreman,
“It was a beautiful letdown, the day I knew, that all the riches this world had to offer me, will never do.”

You see, when your spouse or sports team or favorite food or music no longer has to be the thing that
satisfies the deepest longing in your heart, you can actually enjoy them more.
Suddenly, the pressure’s off.

Have you ever read the story in Genesis about Jacob and his two wives?
It’s quite depressing and wonderfully relevant to what we’re thinking about here.
If you haven’t read it, basically, this kid named Jacob is in trouble with his brother and father,
so he runs away to his Uncle Laban.
And when he gets there he falls in love with Laban’s daughter Rachel.
So much so, that he makes this ridiculous offer of working seven years for her hand in marriage.
Well, Laban recognizes right away that Jacob has a serious love infatuation and decides to cash in.
Laban has another daughter named Leah, who’s “weak in the eyes,” which is a nice Biblical way of
saying, “She was uuuugggglllllyyy!” And so, when the time comes for Jacob to marry Rachel,
Laban, knowing he’s gonna have a hard time getting a guy to buy Leah off his hands, gives Jacob
Leah instead. And I guess there must have been a lot of veils and wine involved,
because the text says it wasn’t til the next morning that Jacob wakes up and “Behold! It was Leah!”
Yeah, that’s disturbing huh? I mean, how did he not know that it was Leah?
Well, we’re not exactly told, but we are shown something terribly intriguing.
Later on in the story, Jacob ends up marrying Rachel too, and you see all sorts of pandemonium break loose.
Jacob loves Rachel more than Leah, and so Leah starts naming her children things like,
“Now my husband will see me” and crazy stuff like that.
But you also see Rachel jealous of Leah because Leah can have kids and she can’t.
So Rachel is giving her hand maid to Jacob to sleep with.
You also see Laban running after Jacob because he wants to keep getting money from him, etc etc etc.
Let’s just say, their family would make quite an entertaining Jerry Springer show.

But here’s the deal.
That phrase, that one single phrase,
when Jacob wakes up after marrying the wrong sister, says so much.
“And behold, it was Leah.”
You see, that isn’t just for Jacob, it’s for us.
This is the disillusionment that we all live in.
How could Jacob not know it was Leah?
Because he was blind.
Blind by what?
Hmmmm. Sound like anyone you know?
It sounds impossible that Jacob could not have known who he was marrying,
but isn’t the same for us?
We think this one person, this one thing, this one job,
this one house or car or cell phone or whatever is going to finally do it.
This will satisfy.
And so we spend all our money on buying, wooing, and getting that one thing we have our heart set on,
and when we finally win them or buy them or whatever; what happens?
“And behold it was Leah.”

I’ve always loved this David Wilcox song called, “Break in the Cup.”
In the song he likens all of us to cups with cracks.
Yeah yeah, ha ha, we all have cracks. I can almost hear the middle schoolers snickering in the back.
In any case, he says that we all have a crack in the cup that holds love inside us, and no matter how much
we try to get other people to fill us, the crack in our cup lets the love run out.
I suppose we could call the crack sin, and the cup is our heart.
Well, in the bridge, after trying desperately to get his cup filled and coming up empty he sings,
“we cannot trade empty for empty, we must go to the waterfall,
for there’s a break in the cup that holds love, inside us all.”

Did you catch that?
“We must go to the waterfall.”
Sometimes, our relationships with other people are so miserable because we think they’re on this
earth to make us happy. They need to fill our cup and make us feel complete, and when they can’t,
we get angry. We get upset.
But how much more could we enjoy each other if instead of trying to get them
to fill us we walked with each other toward the waterfall?

Cause you know,
not only do we have a crack in our cup that lets the love out,
but we actually have a cup that’s too big for anyone or anything to fill.
I liken it to a little grand canyon in our hearts, which yes, is ironic, because it’s a grand canyon and it’s little,
but you know what I’m saying.
We have this canyon inside us and it’s so big, that try as we may
to throw facebook and myspace and twitter and
Twilight and romance pebbles in there, it just won’t get full.
Consider Augustine’s words with me for a moment.
“Our hearts are made for Thee O God, and our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee.”

Do you know that?
Do you know that your heart is too big for this world?
Have you rested in God as the source of your heart’s longing?
Or are you still clinging to the lie that your soul is small enough to be satisfied by this world?
Have you considered Moses’ prayer in Psalm 90,
“Satisfy me in the morning with your unfailing love?”

I love that prayer, because it shows us that Moses knew his own heart.
He knew how much joy He was made for, and He knew that if He didn’t get God
to come and pour into the canyon of his heart first thing in the morning, that he would
go running after pebble like substitutes.
Satisfy me in the morning! In the morning!
And then, and this is the hard part,
if you don’t feel satisfied, don’t go running after substitutes.
Just wait.
Sit right there, content in your discontentment, and say to God,
“Alright look. I don’t feel satisfied by you right now, but one thing I know,
no matter what else I run to, it’s not gonna do it for me anyway, so I’m gonna wait for you.
Teach me O Lord, to know deeply that I’m not home here,
Teach me that all this world offers, and all the good things you’ve given us to enjoy,
they may be good, but they’re not the ultimate.
They’re not you.
Only you can satisfy.

“Taste and see the Lord is good.
How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him.”
-Psalm 34:8

Thursday, March 18, 2010

How long

I want
for God to come back
right now.
I want to see Him,
to feel Him
wrap His amazing
unconditional love
around me.

And, yet,
at the same time,
I want Him to never come.
I never want to know
I will never again
be able to reach someone.
Because when He comes
it's game over
for everyone else,
and it breaks my heart.
I want
to save
the world.

here I am
caught in beween two worlds.
And I guess I'll just have to
that He knows the best time.
until then
I'll keep reaching
as best I can
and get as many
to come with me.