I have driven the same car for the past thirteen years. It died yesterday.
The father of my one of my oldest and dearest friends is dying.
Dreams die. Hope dies.
If we let it, life can be about death. It can be caught up in what is wrong, what is evil, what hurts and destroys.
Lamentations 3 talks about bitterness and gall. I think it is referring to when the bad weighs us down so much that we no longer can trust, we no longer can love. We are dying ourselves from the poison of dwelling on the negative, living in fear.
“Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed. His compassions never fail.”
We can and must move and live within His love, His mercy. We should dwell on what is good, the promises He keeps, the blessings He gives. That is where our courage lies. That is where strength and beauty, compassion and forgiveness come from. That is where we find love, real love.
Dedicated to the Waardenburg family. See you on the other side Frank.
Not just trying to be self-deprecating, it’s just the truth.
Yesterday, I was talking with God. Praying for my wife, for healing and life, to be blessed, and out of the blue, he speaks to me.
“You know that a marriage that is whole can not help but be a ministry.”
I’ve spent so many years, knowing I was called to full-time ministry. I was frustrated and angry because I couldn’t get a church job of any sort, let alone one as a worship pastor. And you can guess who bore the brunt of my accusations and bitterness. Between God and my beautiful wife, i didn’t know who to blame more.
I started this blog as a reaction to the voices I heard, angry and bitter at the church, senior pastors, the commercialism of modern worship. Some of those voices were inside of me. Some of the voices are saying some accurate things.
But what can I do about it? How can I stem this tide?
I think a good place to start is to let go of what you want. Start by being grateful for what you have. Start by unifying with your God given spouse and seeking Him together for whatever He would want to do.
Out of that will flow ministry. Out of that will flow love and peace, for you and those around you.
On the table, staring up at me, was the horrible visage of a skull with bloodshot eyes. I couldn’t leave, nor did I feel it right to scribble it out (petty, childish). So for twelve hours I looked at it, and it looked at me. And it bothered me.
I’m into the music scene and so have seen a lot of this over the years. Rob Zombie, Metallica, Ozzie, and a slew of others have used fearful evil images for album covers. All they really succeed in doing to me is they anger me.
What they are trying to say is how powerful, how insurmountable evil is. If a demon-possessed skeleton were to walk into the room right now, what could you do? Of course, you would run in fear, hope to find some weapon that would kill it, and try to survive the nightmare.
But what is real? Asking these questions is on a par with asking what would I do if a “Lord of the Rings” type Orc walked into the room. They aren’t real. The fear that is created in us is the only thing of power we face. And the only way to face it is to put on God’s armor, fill up with Holy Spirit power and love.
Good Christian people will watch a scary movie and walk away wondering what they would do given similar circumstances. All the while the demons of Hades and satan himself, are hoping we never see ourselves as God sees us. They are blustering and showing off their “strength” in the hope that you and I never carry the name of Jesus into their world.
That’s when real power shows up.
Not meaning this to step on people’s toes, but why do we choose sin?
Understand, I am a sinner too. I do bad things.
Here’s my question. Why do we hold onto sin? What I see is a clutching, tight-fisted handhold on habits of sin. I don’t want to let go. I don’t want to be free. I like my sins.
We pick on addicts, consider ourselves so much better than them, but in the end, we all lean toward addiction. Porn that destroys our marriages, our families, is no better than heroin. TV, that steals our time and fills our minds with so much garbage, is no better than ecstasy or meth. Romance novels, with their false relationships and perfect endings, are no better than whiskey.
And we would choose all these rather than find the freedom that Jesus Christ so freely gives us.
When I was a practicing addict, I would never listen, never truly hear the voices of those who claimed there was freedom, real freedom from anything. So maybe I’m just wasting my time. I don’t think so. I think there is someone out there, right now that wants to believe they don’t have to continue living a life of death. They are hoping that they don’t have to be a slave to what hates them, what wants them dead.
To them I say, “If the Son sets you free, you can, you will be free indeed.”
The bible talks about a widow who kept bugging a judge until he gave her justice. Jesus said we were to pray like that. “Keep bugging God until He gives you what you’ve asked for,” would seem to be the message.
Why do we need to bug Him? He knows our needs. He is preparing an answer before we even ask. Why should we treat Him like someone who doesn’t want to help us?
I have never understood this.
I’ve never been a great salesman when I was the product. When I represented a company or product that I believed in, I did just fine. But I never had confidence to say, “trust me, I will come through.” So my pitches left people guarded, irritated really.
My wife, on the other hand, sells herself very well. There is an attitude in voice, in presentation that lets people know that you are more a friend than a salesman. People like talking with her about things.
Now we know that God will come through. He never lets us down. But do we let Him down? When we ask for something, are we really saying, “do this or I will walk away. I want my way. I want my will.” Or do we approach the throne of of God with an attitude that says, “I am not going anywhere. Whatever Your answer, I will be right here.”
Maybe the message isn’t about driving God crazy but about our pursuit of Him. Maybe He wants to know we’re not going to abandon Him. His love for us is not the question. Our love for Him is more tenuous.
Yes,keep hammering! Let Him know that you have no where else to go. Because you DON’T!
Tomorrow, my grandkids and daughter are moving back to Mexico. They have endured the governmental red tape, the greed of lawyers and the slow passage of time and want to be reunited while they wait for approval to come back. We are praying for them to be back for Christmas.
But right now, they will be gone. The wriggling, noisy, ill-tempered two year old will have his meltdowns far away from us. No more will I be slimed by the drooling, gross kisses of the baby. And I can’t quit crying over it.
My sons have all but left. The one who still lives with us is hardly ever here. And I am realizing that my time with them is drawing to a close. I am still their dad. I still can speak life into them. But their need for me is vastly different than it has been. Now, they are placed firmly in the hands of their King.
What a good place to be! What a time to be a part of! God is so good!
What will God do now? Where will He take us? It is His adventure that we are drawn into. It is the wild ride of life in Him that we are called to.
I’m all in, Lord. Whatever You have in store, whatever You want me to do, that’s what I want to. Hold me and my wife together. Keep us sane and unified.
We joyfully trust in You.
I listened to the music from across the parking lot and thought it sounded pretty cool. The more I listened, the more I was intrigued. So I approached the obvious high schoolers and asked about it.
“I’m sorry. I don’t understand.”
It took a while. They laughed at me.
I’ve never been considered cool, popular, accepted. I’ve always been a nerd, geek, outsider. I don’t think I ever cared that much. I was comfortable with being me. I saw so much sadness in the ones who were lauded.
The ones I met in the parking lot were probably a lot like me. Hoobastank has a following of fringe people. Why could they not see our kindred spirits?
We tend to walk around with tinted glasses.
He’s older, he must be…
She’s gay which means she’s ….
They’re kids, they must be…
I’m a sinner, so that means…
The cry of today’s “tolerance ” is to let everyone do what they want. The cry of God’s love is different.
“You are accepted. You can be healed. You can find hope. You are loved.”
It doesn’t matter how old you are. It doesn’t matter what struggles you have.
You may even listen to Hoobastank.