What do you think?

Brace yourself.

For the first time in a while, I’m making some time to write something somewhat meaningful here.

It’s strange. Although these past couple of weeks have had me busier than ever (lots of driving back and forth between Greensboro and Creedmoor and working really hard to get up to speed at work, plus focussing a little bit more on church stuff), I seem to be experiencing more clarity than I have in a while.

I don’t know. Maybe it’s just ’cause of the John Mayer song. Actually, I hope not. (Isn’t the point of that song that as soon as you realize that you’re having a moment of clarity it’s too late, because that realization will take away the clarity?)

But I digress…

To be honest, it’s not nearly that complicated. I think the bottom line is that I’ve had at least 2 1/2 hours a day to sit in a car and think and listen to some fantastic teaching from guys like Mark Driscoll and Francis Chan. And at least equally importantly, God has been doing some amazing things in Stephanie’s life too. She might not even realize it, but she’s more beautiful than ever — in every way. I feel more encouraged and supported than ever, and that makes more difference than any woman will ever understand.

So, all that rambling because I want to ask for some feedback. I had a rare moment this week when a Bible story became completely new to me — the meaning and value for my life right now came through in a way it never has before.

In our ‘Spiritual Gifts’ Bible study that our men’s group is studying through at work, the author makes a point using the life of Moses, and he focusses specifically on the story from early in Moses’ life where he kills the Egyptian. The author challenged me to consider the question: “Why did Moses kill the Egyptian?”

It seems like a simple enough question, but the answer is powerful for me: I think Moses killed him because he was beginning to get a grip on God’s calling for his life. God put in Moses’ heart a burden for His people. Moses felt God’s compassion and righteous anger towards the conditions of the Israelites.

And before he probably realized that God had put this in his heart, and certainly before he consulted God about it, he did something rash and chalked it up to passion.

The result: a man died, and Moses spent 40 years hiding out in the wilderness.

And I got to thinking: Did it really have to be that way? If Moses had realized that his passion came from God, and asked God for direction on how to act, and then waited, could it have played out better? What if God was ready and willing to lead the people out in 1 year? What if those 40 extra years of toil and death that God’s people experienced weren’t necessary?

But then again, God is sovereign. Someone in our discussion put it this way: What if God planned for everything to happen just the way it did? What if He wanted Moses to go out to the wilderness so that He could mold him into the redeemer of His people that He wanted him to be?

This definitely seems reasonable. Think about all the people who spent time in the wilderness before God really fulfilled His calling in their lives. There’s Moses, David, Paul, John the Baptist… even Jesus it seems to some extent.

So all that leaves me in a funny place because I have such an overwhelming passion for God’s church. I seriously feel the Gospel like fire in my bones and everything in me screams to give my whole life to see the world changed by the Gospel. I want to spend my life being poured out for the Bride of Christ in America until She is a true reflection of Him, and truly cares about His bride around the world. And I try to wrap my head around the story about Moses, and how God seems to send His servants into long seasons of waiting where He prepares them, and I try to think about how that applies to me, and I just don’t know what to take away.

In the sermon I listened to this morning from Francis Chan, he said that in Uganda alone (I think — that part wasn’t clear), 43,000 children are orphaned every day, and 29,000 orphans die every day.

Every day.

Part of me fights God about that.

“What can You teach me in 5 or 10 years that is worth so many wasted lives?”

I know. It’s an audacious question to ask the Creator. I ask it respectfully. I know that I have so much to learn that I don’t even know how much I have to learn.

But what’s the balance in the meantime? How do I stir up the passions God has put in me and take full advantage of what’s available for me to do in THIS season, while simultaneously resting in God’s sovereignty and just waiting for His leadership?

I guess I already know what I would tell someone if they asked me those questions… but all the same, what do you think?

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Is this true?

I’ve read on three blogs (here, here, and here) that Louie Giglio and Chris Tomlin will be starting a church fellowship together.

Human3rror reports:

It’s true.  Chris Tomlin announced today, in a partners/members meeting after the 9:30am service, that he is planning to leave the Austin Stone Community Church to pursue God’s calling to start up a new church with long time friend and partner Louie Giglio in the Atlanta, Georgia area.

Has anybody else heard this?

I’m skeptical, but really excited!

What’s been happening…

Money got really tight for us around Christmas time. We put a few gift purchases on our credit cards, and fully expected that when our tax refund came, we would pay down our credit card bills and put a little money in the bank, and start with a positive financial momentum in 2008.
Trouble was, we came up owing almost $1,000 on our taxes. I re-did the numbers twice, and yet Turbo Tax was insistent: we owed the IRS money we didn’t have.
So much for a positive momentum…
But then it got worse.

Continue reading

What’s your brand?

I came across this today.

I like the idea of it, because we often wear our faith as a brand — as if we’re in the ‘christian fish ‘ club, and that makes us better than people in the ‘Buddha’ club or the ‘Rainbow’ club or the ‘Liberal’ club…

And what’s heartbreaking about that is that many of us wear that ‘christian’ brand as the extent of our faith… it doesn’t go any farther than a bumper sticker and a trip to church every week (the club meeting) — and when that’s the case, it usually leads to the judgmental attitude that christians are often known for.

But…

I do choose to wear a brand. I am branded by Jesus. He is my Creator, my Author, my Artist. He created me and branded me with His name. Then He pursued me, ransomed me, and signed me with His blood. His brand on me means that I am the least of the least in this world. I am nothing. I am called to be a fool. I am called to love to a degree that is impossible in human power. I am called to be compassionate, and to look up to everyone — from my knees — because I’ve seen the cross, and I know Who is was that gave His life there… and I know He did it because of my junk.

The Jesus brand means that I am adopted as a child of the Most High.

It means that I am not home yet.

It means that YOU are my neighbor, and I am responsible for your well-being.

It means that I have a purpose.

Am I in the small-c ‘christian’ club? Not the way most people think of it.

But I gladly wear a brand: Jesus Christ

For Stephen and Mike D.

This will get you thinking…

Commic about what real love is

Admittedly, most of us wouldn’t be this honest. But if we were…. well…

I believe the guy on the right represents a LOT of the people we encounter every day.

What do you think?

New Stuff From Louie

Steph already mentioned today that when I go to a christian bookstore, I can be a little like a kid in a candy store. That isn’t to say that I like everything they sell in those places. In fact, I’d say at least 50% of it outright unbiblical… but even the unbiblical stuff engages me because it helps to think through what I believe and why I believe it…

So, this weekend, the stars lined up: we were at a christian bookstore AND had a few extra dollars

…And that’s when I cam across this DVD from Louie Giglio.

As far as I know, this is the ONLY DVD from Louie that I haven’t listened to at least once. And what makes it even more exciting is that there are tons of people in my life right now who could really use some hope, and I could really use a good tool to help point them at the one True Hope.

So we snatched it up and we’re looking forward to watching it tonight. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Here’s the description from the 268 store:

Life isn’t easy. We experience problems and setbacks every day. But during the hardest parts of life, when the bottom seems to fall out, where do we turn for peace? Although God doesn’t offer any easy solutions, He does offer Himself and His cross as an anchor of hope no matter what we face in life. And more than simply enduring suffering, the hope we find in Him allows us to leverage our darkest moments for His fame. When life hurts most, the world listens most intently to our message, allowing us to broadcast through our pain the goodness of the One who loves us the most.