Weak one

I finished the first week of my new job.  I work as a custodian for my church and am so blessed to be there.  It is a dream come true and just the tip of the iceberg for what God wants to do in and through me.

Not all fun and games though.  I heard no angel voices.  I sweated a lot and got pretty dirty through it all.  We did not sit around in worship and prayer.  We actually had to work.  You would be amazed at how much prayer and worship can happen when you’re kneeling in front of a toilet.

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭12:9-10‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I have not found myself growing stronger in this process.  I see clearly and feel keenly the sins that have hindered me over the years.  I know that I am nothing without Jesus.  I sense the pride and selfishness that seems to hide around every corner.

But there is joy in living for Him.  There is contentment in knowing that I no longer have resources but His are inexhaustible.  There is strength in knowing that I have decided to follow Jesus.

“Strength made perfect in weakness…”

“When I am weak, then I am strong.”

All for the glory of God.

Advertisements

God’s Not Dead

My wife and I were watching the movie again.  I love the picture of a young man standing strong in the face of great opposition, defending God, believing no matter what.

I don’t find myself liking the movie very much.

Yep, I’m still a Christian.

The scene that kills it for me is the final argument between the mean, atheistic professor and the noble protagonist.  He asks the villain, “why do you hate God?”  And when he finally gets his answer, he finishes off his foe with one fell swoop.

We see him as standing against an intellectual Goliath.  I see him as winning an argument against a twelve year old boy who lost his mother to cancer.  And, I think Jesus would have handled it differently.

I also am bothered by the fact that the end is summed up by our hero receiving the praise he is due, being lauded from the stage by both a big name band and a video from Willie Robertson.  Now my appreciation of the Robertsons and the News Boys should not be diminished by the fact that this is simply not how it normally happens.

When we stand for Jesus, we stand alone.  The movie producers caught that part.  What they didn’t catch is that we fail our classes too.  We are mocked and shamed and no one stands with us in the end.  We die in the arena.  We are beaten, burned, broken.

It is the blood of Jesus that flows through our veins and pours out on the ground that stands as our witness to a dying world.  It is our life given up that gives life to those around us.

And we shouldn’t expect anything else.

Please don’t miss the blessing of what God would do because you’re waiting for man to tell you, “well done.”

God’s not dead.  But we are crucified.

You Are Chosen

In follow up to my last blog, I want to share something with you.

The world may call you worthless and say that you aren’t enough.  Your credentials may be weak, your heart may quaver, you may be downright homely, you may be caught in addiction, ashamed, forsaken, alone.

God is choosing you!

The God that created the universe, put planets in orbit, developed each strand of DNA and breathes life into every creature invaded earth and died, rising again to destroy the work of sin and hopelessness.

He then looked forward into time to make sure that you were on the other end of this post and reading words of hope, maybe for the first time.  Some of you already know this and believe in Jesus.  Some of you are not so sure.  Jesus is too far out there, to far removed by history and religion.

But He isn’t.  He’s right here, right now speaking to you.

You are chosen.  No one else may believe in you or give you and opportunity to live.  Not just be alive, but LIVE!

He wants your life, your dreams, your heart, everything.  He calls you to be a living sacrifice, to give your strength and love to others in serving, in giving.  But not to destroy you, to steal what little you have left.

He takes our broken to make it whole.  He takes are ruined to make it new.  He takes our falling, our failure to make us stand.  He takes what is dead and buried to make it rise again!

He has chosen you.

Will you choose Him?

I would love the opportunity to come and speak to your small group, church or organization about what God has done in my life and what He can do in yours.  As I seek to raise the remainder of the support for the mission trip to Nicaragua, please consider having me come and meet with you.  We’ll sing and share and pray together.

Get Up!

You’ve fallen.

Get up!

You’re hurt and broken.

Get up!

You’re afraid.  You’re trapped!  There’s no way out, no hope.

Get up!

The voice of your past, the guilt that you carry, the sinister voice of satan would all tell you to stay down, to never try again.

Get up!

I don’t mean the callous, clichéd words of “get over it, buck up, suck it up.”  I know you’re hurt.  I know you’re overwhelmed by a life that never seems to turn out right, by struggles that constantly remind you how frail and useless you are.

But I also know there is a God in heaven.  I know that He loves you.  I know that He believes in you.

I also know that people are counting on you.  I know there are battles yet to fight.  I know that your heart, yielded to Jesus Christ, is the thing satan fears more than any other earthly thing.  He fears it more than angels, more than religion, more than world peace.

So get up!  Put on your armor!  Lift the sword of the Spirit!  Pray!

Oh my soul, love again!

Casting Your Net

“Staring at the shoreline, wishing for some hope, the weight of empty fishing nets is more than twisted rope.”

These lines from a band called “Five Iron Frenzy” came back to me just in time yesterday.  It speaks of a time after Jesus was crucified when the disciples were all but despairing.

I have been there.  I am there right now.

They thought that God had called them to something great.  They had argued about who would sit at Jesus right hand in His kingdom, who would be the greatest.  And then they watched Him die.

But then He rose, after all their failures and betrayals, he came back.  No discussions of self-importance, no more grand ideas.  They had messed up and they knew it.

So they returned to fishing.  I’m never going to be great.  I will never be anything.

And then, they fail at that too.

“See the figure on the shore, He speaks as plain men sing.  His hands they still have holes in them, Glory to the King!”

Then Jesus, THEN JESUS, my hero, my King…

“Try one more time.”

“But I’ve been trying.  Everything and everyone is telling me how I’ve failed you, how much a mess I’ve made of my life.”

“Trust me.”

“I hear they’ll hang you upside down, stretched across their boards, for hearing distant voices and crossing to the Lord.”

Peter ended up hung on a cross too.  But we’ve got to see beyond this.  He lived a life, found a love worth dying for.  In casting out his net one more time, he found what he had always, unknowingly, hoped for.

I’m tired.  I don’t know how to keep trying some days.  Maybe you can relate.

Don’t give up.  A life worth dying for is just on the other side.

Itty Bitty

Because I have never held a staff position at a church, I seem to be constantly wrestling with the idea of fulfilling my purpose.  Now, I probably would still wrestle if I was a pastor, but that’s my golden chalice, my “dweam wiffin a dweam”.  Part of me wants to accept my low position.  Part of me knows that I was meant for something more, something great.

Now, I know, I am just one guy.  I am not amazing or even noticeable.  But, somehow, as I go through my days, I see that with Jesus living in me, with the Holy Spirit flowing through me, I could do something amazing.

I think that is why I write.  It provides that chance for God to inspire, to infiltrate my words and make them something that lifts others up, alters their view a little, brightens their day, maybe inspires them to dare greatly.

We live in a time where children are told that if you believe in yourself, you can do anything.  Conversely, as adults we are given constant reminders of our insignificance.  It seems that often even God wants us to know how small we are.

I question this.

When I look at the stars, do I not sense a calling out, a pull to see beyond?  When I look at the oceans, doesn’t a sense of adventure rise up in me?  Don’t the crashing waves beckon me to dive in, the cliffs to try to fly.

He designed us with greatness inside.  Sin humbles us, tells us what failures we are.  But, oh hear me!  BUT, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.”

Christ lives in me!

CHRIST LIVES IN ME!

You Don’t Deserve It

I recently listened to a man singing along with a patriotic country song.  Knowing firsthand some of the character and attributes of this person, my first thought was, “you don’t deserve the sacrifice they gave.”

Not very Christ-like was I.

It got me thinking.

Who has the gall to say that they deserve to have someone else sacrifice their life for them?  Can the president of a country truthfully say that the lowest scum should die in his place?  Can a movie star say that of a prostitute?  Can a CEO say that of a drug addict?

No.  Though some might, no one ever should.

And who would have the audacity to say to a mother, “your son died for me but I don’t like it.  I want your other son to die for me.”

Don’t we just accept that we don’t deserve to have a soldier die for our freedom?  Don’t we intuitively know that what they’ve done can never be repaid, should never be taken for granted?

Then I hear the argument about a loving God making it so difficult to come into His kingdom.  “Why can’t there be multiple paths to God?”

The gall!  The audacity!

We don’t deserve what He did.  I don’t.

I certainly don’t want to ask Him for some greater sacrifice, some greater display of His love for me.

There isn’t one, by the way.  And I don’t want to stand in front of Him one day with the temerity to say He should have done better.

Hell will be justified.