Tuesday, December 13, 2011


I'll fly over phone lines, interstates, state lines, barricades. Anywhere you need to be safe.
-Charlie Hardin

If you think I've given up on you you're crazy 
And if you think I don't love you well then you're just wrong 
In time you might take to feeling better 
Time is the beauty of the road being long 

I know that now you feel no consolation 
But maybe if I told you and informed you out loud 
I say this without fear of hesitation 
I can honestly tell you that you make me proud 
-Blues Traveler

The last few weeks have been difficult and very stressful.  I'm under investigation by the FAA.  There were some reports that I was flying lower than I was supposed to be and the FAA has to investigate those reports.  I wasn't low, and I have proof of that in the form of voice recordings from Air Traffic Control.  However, I don't trust the FAA. They write the rules and then enforce them.  The whole system is under their control.  Everyone says they can't do anything and have nothing to go on, but I can't shake the feeling that they can do anything they want and I know from earlier experience that they aren't always concerned about whats right or fair.  They are only concerned with what they can do, and they can suspend my license.  I've been sick about it for weeks.  

This is the kind of thing you put yourself through when you forget who you are in Christ.  I probably won't loose my license over this, but if I did it wouldn't change who I am or how God values me.  My problem is that I believe what the world says about me.  I believe what the church says about me.  I loose sight of Jesus and believe what I say about me.  My worth is not found in jobs or licenses or small group attendance or what kind of husband and father I am.  I hope I get to keep flying, and attend every small group we ever have, and do right by my wife and kids.  I'm going to give those things the best I have.  I love all of those things so much and they are all very clearly gifts God is willing and happy to give.  They are great things, but they are not where my identity or value is found.  My life is wholly owned by Christ and my value is found under the cover of his blood and grace.  

Thousands of years ago God walked in a new world of his creation.  A creation alive with every kind of plant and animal that we know, and probably many that we don't.  A creation new and good.  Paradise, yet something was missing.  I'm not sure what form God took as he walked the face of his new creation and I don't really understand how the trinity plays out that way.  I imagine God the Father on earth must have looked a lot like Jesus, I've been told I look like my dad and that Carter looks a lot like me. I imagine God walking through the fresh morning mist admiring his new creation and thinking.  Thinking about what was to come and what it would cost.  I can see him squat down and fill his hands with new dust.  As his hand closes around it the future flashes before all knowing eyes.  I believe he saw me then, I believe he saw you.  He saw the heartache and death and hell we would bring to his new creation.  I see him sigh as he sees it, ordains it. And then the voice of his son from heaven, "Dad, I'll go.  I'll pay it.  They will bring you joy and glory.  I will make the way."  Through the blood of his son God sees us.  He sees that we are good.  Redeemed.  From the beginning he knew.  He chose.  He chose me and he chose you.  With unstoppable love and overwhelming grace God lifts that hand full of dust and squeezes his own image into it.  And then he raises it to his mouth and breathes.  Breaths his life into you and me.  

Years later religious leaders bring a woman caught in adultery to Jesus.  They asks him what should be done with her. She had sinned and the penalty for her sin was death.  What would Jesus do?  In John 8 we see God again reach down and get his hands dirty.  I don't know what Jesus wrote or drew in the sand, but I know he remembered that morning in the beginning when, with a hand full of dirt, the Father had set a plan in motion.  In Jesus' first words to the woman, I believe, we see the results of that plan.  "Neither do I condemn you."  She had value.  It wasn't found in her actions or social standing.  I was rooted in a hand full of dirt that God squeezed his image and breathed his life into.  It found its completion in the God before her whose love for her would drive him to the cross.  

I love the story because it is mine.  It is ours.  We are caught in our sin.  We are clearly guilty.  We expect the stoning because we know we deserve it.  This story is powerful because it reminds us that Jesus is not in the stoning business.  He's in the redeeming business.  Things are only worth what someone is willing to pay for them.  You see really ugly paintings sell for millions because they are valued by someone.  The fact that anyone is willing to buy it gives it value and that value is exactly equal to the price that is paid.  In light of what Jesus did do buy you back, what would say your value is?