Wednesday, December 17, 2008
I came for your questions of what you don’t know
But you can’t see the answers unless I go
So give me your hatred and give your diseased
Give me your tired and I’ll take them with me
It is a difficult time for my family. We find ourselves in a situation where money is tight and about to get much, much tighter. My first thought is that we won't be able to make it - I'm not sure how you get from where we are to where we have to go. Right now we are frustrated and stressed out in ways I'd never have imagined. I am stressed to the point of psychical exhaustion. I've begun to doubt - to worry.
It seems to me you can handle these types of situations three ways: loose yourself in activity so you forget, try to work harder in order to earn your way out, or open the word and hit your knees. I've done all three. In that order. It's odd to me that the last thing I try is the thing that seems to have the best success rate.
I heard the Jon Mclaughlin song today and it made me wonder how true those words really are. There is a lot of hatred and disease in the world and I am very, very tired. Is Jesus taking us with him? Did he really take those things on himself and rid us of them? A lot of times it feels like he didn't. There are certainly times when I experience love, and healing, and rest. However, right now, in the day to day, I don't feel those things and He seems far away.
Someone I love very much wrote a beautiful blog about Emmanuel - God is with us. She talks about God being involved in every aspect of our lives and how she (we) often miss it. There have been so many moments where I have experienced God. I have seen the earth from 6000ft - I know he is creator. I am sitting in a comfortable home - I know he is provider. I am well - I know he is healer. I have community, friends, and family - I know he is good. He is love. He is Father. I have a hard time with Emmanuel. It's in the tiny moments between moments that we discover if He is with us. The world is loud and these moments often go unnoticed. In times like these the question for me is not, do I experience Emmanuel? Because I don't - I'm missing it. The question for me now is, do I believe Emmanuel?
Thursday, December 4, 2008
I've been struggling lately. I feel like I'm right on the edge of a great move of God in my life, but the anticipation and resulting restlessness and silence are suffocating. As long as I've lived in the silence - as much time as I've spent waiting - I still don't handle it well. Lately I've thought I've done everything possible to get close to God. I've been intentional about creating time and space for him. I took a long flight last night for that express purpose. I was alone at 6000 ft - waiting. I took my ipod and listened to Christian music - I created the environment, He didn't show. I went to bed last night feeling like I'd done everything I could. Sometimes God shows up and sometimes he doesn't. He's the wind. Right?
As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. 2 Timothy 4:5I read 2 Timothy tonight. I read pretty fast and tonight I was reading just to say I did it and kind of skipped over the first few chapters, but 4:5 caught my attention. This is what I've been feeling lately. I have to do something. I don't know what, but I really feel like I need to be more actively following Christ. I really think I've got the sober-minded thing ok and I know I've endured some suffering, it's the last parts I'm on now. Do the work of an evangelist - I have no idea what that would look like in my life, I'm sure I'm not called to be a vocational minister. So how do I fulfill my ministry? How do I know what my ministry is? This verse is comforting because it confirms that I do have a ministry - the desire to fulfill it is there. I just don't know what it is. After this verse grabbed my attention I went back and re-read the verses preceding it. I found two things:
1. What I don't want to be but fear I am fairly often.
For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4 treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power... 7 always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth... they will not get very far. 2 Timothy 3
Way too much of that sounds like me. In this moment it's the part about always learning but never arriving at knowledge of the truth that scares me. I think that's exactly the question I've been asking myself. With all of the reading and meditating - with the time and space I've created - why am I not getting it?
2. I haven't been reading the right things.
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3I read some really great blogs and some really powerful books written by some brilliant and gifted people, but I don't loose myself in the word of God. The last place I think to look is the one place with ALL the answers. I need to be taught - trained. The middle of this passage points directly at the two things I want most to be: A man of God - competent. That's right, competent. I would like to be great, famous and wealthy. I would love to be respected and remembered, but at my core - in the distant places of my heart - I want most passionately to just be enough. I can think of nothing grander than to be a competent man of God. I want, so completely, to do every good work- to be equipped - to fulfill my ministry. When I take time to read the Bible it always points to one place to find those things. I need to be close enough to God to be consumed by his breath - to be lost in his word.
Monday, December 1, 2008
I just can't shake this felling that I need to be doing something. I've spent so much of the last six years in cruise control - waiting. That has to stop now. I think it has or is beginning to. I do think flying is a step in the right direction for me. I'm doing something, finally. I'm really excited about it, and kind of proud of it, but I'm finding it difficult to be satisfied with just doing.
Mark 13.33-37: “But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his slaves in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. Therefore, keep awake– for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly. And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.
This is a pretty well know little piece of scripture, I can't tell you how many Sunday School lessons I sat through on it growing up in church. We talk a lot about being ready, we sings songs and write books about being left behind. We want to make sure everyone is saved. I'm all for that, please don't misunderstand, nothing excites me more that seeing people come to Jesus, but I sometimes feel like we leave it at that. Like once you're saved you're ready and you can kind of take it easy. I'm not sure I'm ok with that. Recently the phrase in these verses that stands out most to me is, "each with his work." I just can't shake the feeling that I've got to be doing something.
Matthew 25.14-19: ”For it is just like a man about to go on a journey, who called his own slaves and entrusted his possessions to them. To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey. Immediately the one who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and gained five more talents. In the same manner the one who had received the two talents gained two more. But he who received the one talent went away, and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.”
Every time I read these verses I want to quantify. It seems natural to me that the guy with ten is better than the guy with one. Ten is better than one, it seems so simple. It's not. It seems to me that maybe the issue isn't how many points they finished with, maybe the point is whether or not they were willing to play the game. We know the master gave out the talents according to ability, he knew the third servant wasn't going to be able to do much. I wonder if the master would have been angry if the third servant lost his talent in the market. I don't think he would have. He knew the servant had limited ability, I don't he would have been surprised to find him with nothing. I think the master was angry because the servant didn't risk anything. He should have taken what he had and used it to engage a world desperate for the master's influence.
My all time favorite Christmas song is The Little Drummer Boy. I love it. It may be my favorite thing about Christmas. I have about a dozen versions of it on my Ipod and around this time of year I can always blame it on FM radio if someone catches me cranking it in my truck. I love that song. So much of it appeals to me, I feel like a little boy most of the time - I never have anything fit to bring - I consistently find myself lost in the loving smile of our Savior. I'm convinced that's the point. You may not have much - no resources - very little ability, but you've simply got to engage in any way you can. It's our calling and our command to play our best for Him. Pa rum pum pum pum.