Shattered and Broken

Life is complicated.

The answers that humanity gives us are often complicated too, leaving us confused, without any real sense that we’re any closer to truth. The simple platitudes and cliches we hear betray us in that, despite the temporary warmth they provide, we know there’s more. More that’s required of us, more that has to happen, more that we still aren’t understanding.

Don’t worry, be happy.

Look on the bright side.

They’re in a better place now.

God is Love.

Be Holy as I am Holy.

So many.

Granted that the last two are quotes from the Bible and so are absolutely true, they are both tossed around by people, good, well-meaning people, to say things about God and life that are absolutely not true.

Does God demand that we come to Him through the cross of Jesus Christ? That, though He is love, His holiness requires a compensation that none of us can afford?

And does His holiness require a level of holiness, perfection, spiritual enlightenment from us before He can use us, before He can really be a part of our everyday life?

I think, if we’re honest, and we say yes to the first question, we must say no to the second.

And, just so we’re clear, yes is the correct answer to the first question. Which means the payment for us was paid and we are given a choice to have a relationship with God, or not. And that choice has eternal ramifications.

But, to my point, can we ever say that we have reached a point where God can and should use us?

The best of us are shattered and broken. The stories we love to hear, the legends, often cover the humanity we are embarrassed by. And when the humanity is revealed, we become angry and disillusioned. Anything good that was done or said is destroyed, discredited.

Can we not take joy, comfort, peace, strength, boldness from knowing that God is using us, is speaking through us, is shining out of our broken and shattered lives? Can’t we silence the lies of our enemy with the truth that it is never about us, never for our glory, only about Him? His mercy. His grace. His glory.

P.S. I love this video for the song itself but also for all the long-haired, tattoo covered, weird and crazy people I see singing in honor of my King and letting me know I’m not alone.


Too Loud

I married a girl who leans toward the shy. I grew up in a family that talks loud, argues loud, laughs loud. The only time I’m quiet is when I’m really angry (or I’m asleep).

Over the years, one of her chief complaints is that I talk too loud.

Bear that in mind with the following:

As the world becomes more fractured and divided against itself, we need to be louder.

And be prepared, as the voice of love, the voices of truth and grace and joy in the middle of trouble speak out, the world will say it’s too loud. They will want you to join their voices of hatred and anger and condemnation.

They may even tell you to be quiet or face the consequences.

Jesus said we were to, “be of good cheer,” because He overcame the world. And we overcome, “by the blood of the Lamb (Jesus) and the word of our testimony.” Revelations 12:11

I’m tired of the rhetoric. I’m sick of the way it eats at me.

And I live for the King.

Too loud?

‘Bout to get louder!

Amazing Grace

The holiness of Jesus Christ is one of the strongest evidences of the magnitude of His love.

I walk through so many days knowing my sin, bearing the weight of guilt and shame.  I FEEL so unloved.  And, in all of this, I continue to do wrong things, bad things, stupid things.

Enter the HERO!

His holiness speaks to His purity, His sinlessness, how much He is just other than us.  But, like a prince on his steed, He galloped through the fire of hell, cutting down the lies that surround me, shouting my name across eternity.  In the cross He completed His holiness, fulfilling the requirements of a Holy, Pure God.  But in that act, He shot passed those things that would separate us, and reached out to me.

He still does this.


So I stand, not trying to measure myself by Him or others.  I stand in His love for me.  I dance in the downpour, soaked to the skin, to the soul in His amazing grace.

The thoughts that tell me I am unworthy are true.

I don’t have to be.

I am made holy in Him.  I am made beautiful, old and chubby as I am, in the light of His eyes.  I am loved because He says that I am.

What else do I need?

More Than A Song

As worship leaders, as worshipers, we do the songs over and over.  We practice and perform and, though the words still mean something to us, we no longer submit to them.

“I am free to run…”

Do we run in Him?  Do we dance?  Do we see the blind healed, the dead rise?

“My foes are many, they rise against me, but I will hold my ground…”

Do we hold our ground in the face of attacks from the enemy?  Do we fight fearlessly against the war that he brings?  Do we take the fight to him?

I don’t want to sing the songs and not live the life.  I don’t want to call people to the feet of Jesus and stand at a distance unmoved.  My heart needs set on fire.  My life needs to change, to grow.

I want to believe, to know that nothing compares to His grace.  I want to be humbled by His majesty.  I want to have all I need in His unending love.

Is That the Best You Can Do?

It feels like I want to just be alone now. It feels like I don’t want to hear one more criticism, see one more condescending stare, sense one more moment where I just wasn’t good enough. The problem is that I can’t get away from it by being alone. I don’t measure up to my own expectations.

So often, the things that I write come from a place of resentment, a place of criticism, of others, their weaknesses, their failings. I see the holes in their logic, the flaws in their ideas, and I want to point them out. It has been a way to come out from underneath the unbearable weight of all the stupidity I have displayed.

I’m grateful to all who have read and commented on my posts. It appears that there are other like-minded people. And so, I will say to you what I believe God is saying to me.

You are good enough. You, as Christians, are accepted under the purifying blood of Jesus. You are holy and wholly loved, just like you are.

John 3:17 says that God didn’t come to condemn us, though He knows every human and every blackness that our hearts contain. He has every right to be disappointed in us, but He isn’t. It is freeing to know that His expectations for us are perfect. He can’t be surprised or shocked by how we perform.

This should not allow us to give in to our sinfulness but, if taken to heart, to free us to function under His grace, His love, His peace.

I need that now. Maybe you do, too.

The Sons of Leah

The unloved one, the one that didn’t count, that wasn’t worth the price.  Not the beauty, not the favorite, not the one with value.  That is how Leah is pictured.  Yet, she had more, gave more than any of Jacob’s other wives.

Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar and Zebulun were the sons that she had (half the tribes of Israel) and, interestingly, her daughter (Dinah) is the only girl mentioned from the beginnings of the nation of Israel.

But let’s not get distracted by the girls again.

The bible tells us that Leah only got married to Jacob (Israel was his later name) through deceit.  Rachel was the girl he loved and worked for.  Fourteen years of his life were sacrificed so that he could marry the younger daughter of Laban.  But in the midst of this, Leah is pawned off on him with almost the feeling of getting rid of her.

Her father didn’t love her.  Her husband didn’t love her.

God did.

Leah is sort of passed over by many of the people I’ve heard over the years but she’s one of my favorites.  Her story goes way past her marriage to Jacob.  It shows a greater hand at work, surrounding her, holding her.

Notice the two middle sons, Levi and Judah.

Those unfamiliar with Hebrew culture may not realize it but, of all the tribes of Israel, Levi and Judah are the greatest.  Levi was the tribe of the priests from which Moses and Aaron come.  Judah was the tribe of the kings.  The Davidic line comes from Judah which follows all the way down to Jesus.

Leah’s path took her from wanting her husband to love her to finding her fulfillment in God.  We see this in the names of her children.

Reuben – God has seen my misery

Simeon – God has heard of my suffering

Levi – He will join

Judah – Thankful praise

Two things stand out, she took her problems to God and she gave up what she sought as she came to understand what God was doing.  God sees and hears all that I’m going through.  He joins in my situation and joins me to my dreams.  And I am left with the only legitimate response that I can offer, praise, worship for the God who loves.

I’m tired this morning and sense that my words are cold, intellectual.  But, hear me in this.  All of history and life may forget about you, tell you that you aren’t worth anything.  But God sees, He hears, He joins with you, with me.  And out of our faithfulness in pursuit of Him, He can bring children, a legacy of faith.  He can bring life that pours out on millions that we will never know.  Out of our hearts, He can bless others with Jesus, the Jesus that lives inside of us.

Unloved?  Not favored?  I don’t think so.

My Grace is Sufficient

When Paul penned these words I often wonder what He meant.  We don’t know what the “messenger from Satan” was.  We don’t know why God left it there, didn’t remove it.  God just says, “My grace is sufficient.”  And how does this apply to our existence?

We infer from the fact that the problem was not removed that and the use of the word sufficient that God is saying something to the effect that, “my grace will be enough.  Just enough but you’ll make it through.”  We assume, drawing from our own experiences, that God does not make it so that we can live triumphant lives but lives that will keep us from Hell, lives that will, some how, some way, bring Him some measure of Glory.  Is that what Paul was talking about?  I think not.

The point of our existence has never been, nor will it ever be to show our greatness, our perfection.  So why do we think that we must attain holiness to be worth scrutiny?  We hide our lives because of imperfection and feel shame at all our mistakes.  We hear and take to heart every story where God’s name is dragged through the mud by some leader’s indiscretion, the revelation of some human’s poor living.

“My grace is sufficient,” tells me that we are known to be insufficient.  His perfection made perfect in my weakness tells me that I am weak (shocker).  So I say, look at my life.  Dissect my attitudes and incompetencies.  In them you will find revealed a Lord and Savior that is “sufficient” beyond our wildest dreams and hopes.  He is enough to bring triumph from despair.  He is enough to bring wholeness where only brokeness can exist.  He is gracious enough to LOVE what is unlovable.  HE IS GOD!!