Here is a video that perfectly summarizes my post from last night…
Thursday, July 7, 2011
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Each of us is broken. Each of us has pain. Each of us has learned how to hide our brokenness from others…or so we believe. We have become good at the shallow answers to shallow questions. I mean really, how many people really want to know the truth when they ask how you are? What would they think if they knew the truth, would they still like us? Do they even really have the time or care to hear about our broken places let alone share in our pain.
Sure, trust takes time…but it takes honesty first. Our society has taught too well the lie that others don’t really care. Deep down each of us was designed to care. We were created to love one another, to share life with others…authentically. This is a scary thing to do and we simply don’t stop and take time to get to know those around us, yet there is an inner part of us that longs to share our pain and brokenness with another who will care.
There is also a Master Deceiver…who has done a phenomenal job of making us think our brokenness has disqualified us from the best of life and from the best that God has to offer. Satan has gotten so many to believe that their brokenness can never be healed let alone be forgiven. This same lie is what locks so many in their “secret place” with that thing which temporarily numbs our brokenness. For some that “secret place” is filled with food, alcohol, drugs, sex, pornography, self manipulation, cutting and self mutilation. Yes…these are all very real things going on around both you and me. There are people crying out in their “secret place” for someone to care, someone to rescue them from the “life” that has ensnared them. There is NO age barriers for those battling any of these things. It’s easy to judge these people and give them a verse or two. Maybe its giving them a 3 step, 5 step or 10 step plan…but that is not what they really need. They need people who won’t judge them yet will love them with genuine love. Unconditional love. And yes…genuine unconditional love is risky. You may get hurt…more than once. But genuine unconditional love sees who the person can be and was created to be…and fights to free that person. Fight to bring freedom and life! Fight for their heart…which is the riskiest fight of all.
As my family and I face a new chapter in our life, we are leaving all that we have known for the past 20+ years. We are leaving the lives and relationships we have forged with time…yet I am burdened for those who still need to be freed from the prisons they have created. I know that there are those in Texas who need to be fought for as well, and we have accepted that call. But my challenge to each one of us is to stop and take time to truly get to know those around us. No matter what they look like on the outside, we all carry a broken pieces of our heart and life wrapped up inside a cloth tucked deep within us…hoping that someday we can put the pieces back together again.
Jesus came to seek and save that which was lost. HE came to set us Free and give us Life. He has also called US to go and carry this message of life to others.
Not sure where this message has come from…but it has been brewing in my heart for the past couple of days. If this was for you, please send me a message and let me know.
Friday, June 17, 2011
It has taken over two weeks to work through getting this post completed. It has been difficult with many distractions leveraging for my time and attention. The journey has made little sense to me, maybe because I am in the midst of the trail. Walk by faith..okay, but I would really like to know where the trail is going on this journey. But I guess that’s not faith. A little over seven years ago I began what I thought at the time was the most difficult journey in faith…but through it I could describe it as “peace wrapped with anxiety”. The journey has had some really good times and some really tough times. The past few months have been difficult in a new way that I have never experienced. But through the past few months there is one verse that has stuck with me even though I have tried hard to walk away from it and ignore it…but I can’t.
The lord had said to Abram, "Go from your country, your people and your father's household to the land I will show you.
Have you ever really thought about this verse and the whole conversation that God was having with Abraham? I mean really…if this was me…I don’t believe I would have heard anything else God said from this point on. I know that I would have gotten stuck right there. My mind would be racing trying to analyze all of the possibilities and ramifications of this last statement…I mean, did I just misunderstand what He just said? Did God really just tell me to leave EVERYTHING…AND go to a place that…What, Wait…a place that He is not even going to tell me where it is just yet! Leave everything I know and go to the unknown? Ugh! Is this faith or stupidity? I mean, I know that it’s faith but from all human logic…this isn’t wise.
It’s one thing to risk it all when your just risking yourself, but God didn’t say that to Abraham (Abram at this point still). God said to take his family too! Not just his immediate family but all of his family. The risk was not just one life but the lives of many many people.
I understand this. Probably better than I would have chosen, but the choice is not mine. My choice is to follow or not to follow, to obey or disobey. God’s choice is whatever He wants…
The journey of our family has lead us to Amarillo, Texas. Leaving everything we have known and loved for the past 20+ years and going to a place which appears to be a polar opposite…EXCEPT that God is there too and is doing really cool stuff through His people there who love Him. For those who are close enough to know us and know our journey of the past few years, you know that there is no place we would rather be than to be where God wants us to be serving others.
Please continue to pray for us through this transition. It doesn’t appear to be easy but this is where we are supposed to be and this is where we are committed to be. We are excited to be a part of what God is doing through the people and ministry of Hillside Christian Church.
When God asked…do you trust Me? I said yes and our family said yes. When He asks you…what will you say?
Monday, May 30, 2011
As a father there have been times when my kids have wanted to really really do something. It would be fun to do it, but they just aren’t ready. It’s something they have seen others do or maybe it’s something they have dreamed up. Jumping from the second or third step…and I’m supposed to catch them. Even better…remember the “High Dive” at the pool?
It really doesn’t look that high. All of the other kids are doing it. They day comes when you finally get the courage to climb the ladder to the high dive…wow! There are 20 other kids waiting in line as well. Everyone is anxious to get their turn. The air is hot and sticky with the smell of chlorine. As you approach the ladder…there is only one person between you and the biggest adventure of your life. As the board clears it’s time to mount the ladder and begin the ascent. With each step upward your heart pounds harder. The questions begin to flood your mind “what if I slip”, “what if the board breaks”, “what if I slip off the edge while walking on the board”, “WHY AM I DOING THIS?” Each step higher fear begins to squeeze a little tighter. There are only two steps left…but the concrete is SO far below that surely you will die if you fall. Each step is a conscious decision because EVERYTHING within says don’t do it…just make up an excuse and quit. As you cross off the last step onto the board you can hardly breath. Your legs just don’t want to bend. You can’t even stand up straight. Now you are starting to hear the voices from below, some encouraging you and others laughing and jeering at you. “Can everyone see how afraid I am? Can they hear my heart pounding all the way down there?” Your fighting not just your body but your mind too. The water is “hundreds” of feet below. Though it feels like time is standing still…really you are the only one standing still, and it’s now been over five minutes you have been standing there on the board….still clutching to the railing. You have to let go and go to the edge of the board. This very moment has been experienced by most of us and captured so well by Norman Rockwell…
Remember this? It’s while we are in this point of panic and fear that tears begin to well up in our eyes…”I just can’t do it”. Amid all of the voices now yelling and laughing…you hear a voice penetrating through the others…you can do this. As you contemplate crawling back to the ladder and going down you hear the voice continue…you can do this…trust me. It’s not as high as it looks. You continue the fight within but there seems to be a bit of confidence building. The voice sounds like Dad but you haven’t seen him in a while. You don’t even know where he is now and he certainly didn’t come to the pool with you. Yet the voice persistently and gently continues. You can feel the strength rising with each word…you can do this…trust me, you have what it takes. The time is now exceeding the 10 minute mark on your journey and the voices are getting louder. The lifeguard is now just as frustrated with you as the line of people waiting below.
It’s a point of decision…but wait, each step has been a point of decision. Each step has been a step of faith into the unknown ~ more accurately a step into the yet to be experienced!
You say a prayer and inch closer to the edge of the board. As you move forward you realize that you have come to the edge of the rail…and you MUST let go to move any farther forward. But that rail is the last piece of security you can hold on to. You close your eyes, say another prayer and begin to mentally pry your fingers off of the rail. Your hands are now free but your feet don’t want to raise off the board to move forward. “What if I lose my balance as I walk?” So you decide to simply shuffle your feet forward so as to not lift either one from the board. You feel the sandy grit of the non-slip paint on the board and find some comfort in the scratches on your feet. Suddenly you feel nothing on your toes…you freeze. As you barely open one eye you realize that there is no more board in front of you.
…you can do this…trust me…you have what it takes…I am here with you…
“But what if I hit my head on the board when I jump off?” The voices within intensify their battle till suddenly you realize that your counting down in your head to the point of next great decision. As you reach “ONE” you gasp for the biggest breath ever and jump forward into the space yet to be experienced. You feel the rushing wind as you fall downward. It seems like an eternity…”should I take one last breath before I hit the water?” Then SMACK you hit the water and feel as the cool water envelops you. You did it…YOU REALLY DID IT!
You feel the thud of the bottom of the pool and the natural reaction begins to take over as you start to swim toward the surface. You open your eyes to realize that it looks like forever to get to the top. You begin to feel the burn in your lungs for fresh air. You fight the urge to take a breath because you know there is no air where you are. The voices inside begin again telling you that you won’t make it. You fight the panic by swimming harder toward the surface…this feels like forever! As you approach the surface you can start to hear the distorted voices of those around the pool. Almost there…
As you break the surface…gasping for air…the voice inside of you is screaming…I DID IT! I REALLY DID IT AND LIVED!
Suddenly all of the battles, panic and fear are gone. As the weight of the accomplishment set in the tone of the voices change. I did it. Why did it take me so long to get up the guts to do that. It was awesome! I want to do this again.
Do you find pieces of your life story here…I do.
~ This is part 1 of this post ~
Sunday, May 22, 2011
The lyrics to this song say everything that needs to be said…
Worthy is the, Lamb who was slain
Holy, Holy, is He
Sing a new song, to Him who sits on
Heaven's Mercy Seat
Holy, Holy, Holy Is the Lord God Almighty
Who was, and is, and is to come
With all creation I sing: Praise to the King of Kings!
You are my everything, And I will adore You…! Yeah!
Clothed in rainbows, of living color
Flashes of lightning, rolls of thunder
Blessing and honor, strength and
Glory and power be To You the Only Wise King, Yeah
Filled with wonder, Awestruck wonder
At the mention of Your Name
Jesus, Your Name is Power
Breath, and Living Water
Such a marvelous mystery Yeah...
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Does your life ever feel a bit parched? Do you sometimes struggle with the daily routine to the point you feel totally drained each and every day? Is there a time of thirsting for something more? As we continue to be consumed and controlled by the Spirit of this Age (busyness) we become delirious with time. Our thirst for more in life or more of life continues to grow to the point that our taste for life begins to choke us. Just as a person suffering from extreme dehydration begins to feel panic as their tongue swells, breathing becomes difficult. Panic begins to set in and the reality around becomes twisted causing irrational decisions. These decisions can quickly become life threatening.
Wow…another parallel with the life we are living?
How do we get here? The abundant life filled with fragrance and color. The life we once knew. The life filled with laughter and joy that we have dreamed of. What is it that transforms the parched desert into the beautiful plains?
Everything changes in the desert when it is touched by the life giving water. So it is true with our life, no matter how dark and dry things seem. When we are struggling for air because we are so dehydrated, we need to stop and find a cool spot…and rehydrate our life.
When we pause to rehydrate we can once again make wise decisions. We can think clearly and evaluate the actual reality around us. The obstacles of life don’t seem so big when we are walking refreshed and renewed.
So what is it that refreshes you? What renews your energy? What is it that helps bring focus back to your life?
- A long walk in the woods?
- Playing in the rain and jumping in puddles? (I know, your too mature for this…)
- A swim in the pool or a long bike ride?
- Watching the dawn break and the morning mist rise from the river while you dance with the trout with the fly rod in your hand?
- A quiet spot on the beach with the waves rolling on your feet and dolphins playing in the distance?
- Attending an encouraging and inspiring leadership conference?
- Time alone in your “quiet place” with God?
- Your favorite worship album on your iPod and nobody around so you can sing as loud as you want?
- A great cup of coffee and time with your personal journal and your worn out favorite Bible?
But the real question is….When was the last time you stopped to rehydrate your life?
When we stop to rehydrate our life…we can be refreshed and filled. We need to intentionally rehydrate our body, our soul and our spirit. When we are filled we can flow out to those around us. Just as Jesus offered Living Water to all those who were thirsty…we can share that Living Water with others. Living Water that brings LIFE. Living Water is ESSENTIAL to experiencing True Life. Make sure that it is part of your diet.
This past week I had the opportunity to attend the Chick-fil-a Leadercast in Atlanta. It was refreshing. It also helped me realize just how dehydrated I had become in life. The speakers poured into the lives of 85,000+ people who were watching and attending. For those who listened and soaked in the teaching and encouragement that was shared, they have been energized and hydrated to go and share with others.
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
This morning I have been wrestling with a question that you might find interesting to ponder for yourself. It will require some honesty within your spirit as you press through this…
Which is it that draws you to people…them or their potential?
Is it people we love or their potential?
The quick answer of course it that we are drawn to people…and it’s the people that we love. But now peel back a few layers.
If you are like me, there are some people that I am drawn to and strike it off well from the beginning. I enjoy being with them because of who they are (or are posing to be…yes, I just said that). I take them at face value and enjoy all the attributes about them.
Now there are others when we meet they are not so impressive. Their poser masks are so heavy they are slipping off their face. They really don’t want anyone to see inside them and begin to see who they really are…because they know, and they don’t like it. Fear of rejection, betrayal, being used, being hurt yet one more time….these are the glue that keeps those masks on. Yet, if we take time, we begin to see glimpses of who that real person it. Their glory if you will, begins to peak out and we get excited about who this person really is and can be if they were to take off the layers of masks. We begin to see the incredible potential this person has if they will just step into their glory and be all that God created them to be.
But wait…this is also where the flesh begins to fight to take over. When we begin to see the potential this person holds. The potential to help us make money. The potential to introduce us to someone we want to meet. The potential to get us into a place we have always wanted to go. The potential to get something from them…the potential for this person to help satisfy our own selfish desires…
3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. 5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
I now circle back to my original question…what is it that draws you to people…the person or their potential? What is it that draws me to people?
I believe that it is both…the person and their potential. When Christ came to earth to begin His physical journey of redemption, He saw us for who we were….and died for all that we can become! He came to seek and save that which was lost. He came to give us life…and give us life abundantly! He came to save us from our sins where we are but came to set us free from our masks so that we can become all that He created us to be!
Today…I will try to look at people differently. To see them with a pure heart and not a selfish heart. To accept them for who they are and help them to unlock and see all that they can become…