Get Back On

I don’t want to make excuses.  This season has just been tough.  September 10th will be forever etched in my memory.

So much of what has been in me has been sadness and hurt.  So much of what I write has been depression and anger.

Are you in a difficult time?  Has the world come unraveled?

Yeah, I get that.

My dear people, my friends, can you see God’s goodness?

A while ago, I saw the movie “Saving Private Ryan”.  In the beginning they show, in very realistic ways, what it was like when the Allies attacked the beaches of Normandy.  The chaos, the death, the horror.

The thing that has amazed me ever since is the overwhelming question of how?  How do you run off a boat into that hell?  How do you run toward gunfire that is ripping people apart around you.  Once you find a spot where you aren’t being shot, how do you move from that relative safety?  How could you, how could any sane person do what they did?

I have no idea.

But they did.

And we are called to also.

I fear for my country and what the future holds.  And in this season, I’m a bit gun shy.  I don’t want to get up.  I don’t want to move.  But I have to.  You have to.

Get up.  Move.

In Jesus name, take the hurt and fear that you carry and lay it on the cross.  Take the pain that you’ve been through and rush the guns of satan that have destroyed so much.  Stand!  Pray!

We will stand together, you and me.  And through it all, we will find again, that God has been good all along.

I Pledge Allegiance 

All these players taking a knee during the national anthem has riled me up and got me thinking.  Why do we stand for the Anthem?  Why do we place our hands over our hearts?  Why can’t we just “sit it out” because of the problems we see in our country today?

Well, as a soldier in the United States Army, I will tell you one thing.

We fought and sacrificed, some laying down their lives, literally pouring out their blood, so that you could.

We stood and swore an oath, life long and binding, that we would, “defend the constitution of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic…”  The freedom that we believe in is that this country will allow for freedom of speech, religion, the press, the right to bear arms and protect ourselves, rights against illegal search and seizure, the list goes on.  Our constitution is an amazing document that provides for the greatest level of freedom ever experienced by any nation in the history of mankind.

And it is the document that continues to stand against tyranny, and so many other evils in the world.

And the symbol of this great nation is a Flag.

And the song we sing in honor of a nation that has flaws, make mistakes, has evil within its borders at multiple levels, in multiple forms, is the Star Spangled Banner.  

Some will protest to raise questions about social injustice.  Some will speak out and angry words may be spoken.  Some will stand and honor this country.  Others will not.

It is part of the process.  It is what should be done in any great relationship.  Argue, disagree, get mad, forgive, find equal ground, give a little, live together.  Love will win the day.

If you don’t believe that, believe in it, you are serving the enemy.  If you do believe that, if you will sacrifice, pour out your blood, sweat and tears, then I don’t care what color your skin is, what uniform you wear or don’t wear.  Whether you stand, sit or do the fandango.

We can not lose.

I Stand Up Front

We were brand new to the church.  None of us knew anybody, none of us had ever been inside before.

“Where do we sit?” Came the whispered question.

I don’t know what possessed me, what inspired me, but it was life-defining.  In the second that passed between the question and my answer, I made a decision.  I would never be one to sit in the back.  I did not ever want to be one that let others be the example while I played at church.  I would be one to let people see, I meander really see me.

There has never been a thing of pride in it.  I already knew my addictions, my failures, my issues.  I was not standing up front so that people would see my attempts at perfection.  I only knew that I was going to be fully invested in the one who died to save me.

Since that time, I have not stood up front on many occasions.  The shame of who I am, the mistakes I’ve made, takes its toll.  I have desired a place where no one would ever see me again.

Ah, but my King, my glorious one, He calls me out.  He stands with a hand outstretched, beckoning.  “Join me, live the adventure.”

So once again, I stand up.  I move to the front where I am undistracted by the eyes that might see me, the ears that might hear me.  I am focused on the one I came to meet with, the one I came to worship.  

And maybe, just maybe, someone will see a slightly chubby, old man, and they’ll think about how silly I look, how lame my dancing is.  They’ll listen for ever every off-key note I hit.

Or, they’ll not see me at all.  They’ll sense the Spirit I invite, the Spirit we all invite, and they will be set free.

I Make My Stand

i had to write.  I had to write, right now.  I was sitting in church and God broke through and I just had to tell you.

In the military, they refer to “taking a hill”.  There are strategic advantages to being on a hill, particularly specific hills in a given terrain.  The problem is that if a strong enough force comes against you, they can surround the hill and there is no way to escape.  It may cost some lives but the enemy doesn’t care because, once the hill is taken, they have the advantage.  

That is what I saw this morning during worship.

I haven’t been able to do what I thought I would do.  I haven’t experienced some things that I wanted to.  But right now, on the hill of kid’s ministry, at Radiant Church, in Richland, MI, my hill is surrounded.  My kids are facing the divorce of their parents, pressures from school, the world shouting messages of compromise and fear and hate.  My kids are wondering if Jesus is real, whether there really is hope, a future.

And, just like the military, sometimes we don’t pick the hill, the hill is picked for us.  Running from the hill seems like an option, but it’s not.  The enemy will take you prisoner, the enemy will hurt you.

So I make my stand.  I am here now.  This is the fight that was brought to me.

Does this speak to anyone else?  Do you find yourself in a place of frustration, unfulfilled dreams?  Can you hear me in this struggle if I tell you to fight where you are?  Dreamers look to the future, they look for possibilities and opportunities, but miss what is often right in front of them.  Keep dreaming!  Keep believing!

But stand!  Pray!  Fast!  Speak the truth!  Love!  Worship!  Yield to Jesus!

STAND!

http://youtu.be/cAQ61KH7qRc