Plans

December 18, 2010

By God’s grace, for the last 6 months or so, I have made getting into the Word part of my everyday routine…almost everyday, anyway.

When I am honest with myself and with him, this time typically results in a heart change.

He speaks to me; I respond.

I love that about him.

I know it sounds cliche, but it really does seem that whatever I’m reading on any given morning is just what I need in that particular moment…seriously.

Take the craziness of my life for example.

At this point in my life, I am working through a slew of transitions.

I was telling my friend the other day that it’s not like I’m approaching one big crossroad on a journey, but rather like I’ve gone through one, am coming up to another one and can already see yet another waiting for me in the distance.

Crossroad after crossroad:

I’ve just entered the working force at a quick pace; to say that it’s been overwhelming doesn’t do the word “understatement” justice. 

I’m getting married in 6 months; I’m super excited, but, like any other guy’s, my mind is swimming with all sorts of anticipatory anxiousness.

I’m pursuing professional production for my music career; it’s a huge investment, and I’m left wondering how all the pieces are going to fit together with everything else coming up.

In short, I have plans, and I don’t know how they are going to all come to fruition.

But, God spoke this word over my doubtful heart this morning:

“Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.”-Proverbs 16:3

I stopped reading right there. In that one sentence, God spoke volumes to my heart.

Therefore, I will commit everything I do to God, not as a means to get what I want, but because he deserves the fruit of whatever comes through this branch.

The Weight of Love

October 28, 2010

Don’t you ever want to go back to that moment?

You know that moment:

that moment when you had your first real encounter with the Creator, with Grace, with Love.

Maybe you cried; maybe you wept; maybe you shouted for joy.

My moment came in a little Methodist church on a Sunday morning when I was 13, and my life was never the same…literally.

As I was thinking about that moment tonight, about where I was in my young life when He touched me, I became aware of the unfortunate reality that I’m sure a lot of us share: I am jaded.

You know what I mean?

We’ve gotten so used to the lingo, the Christian language, the way we do “church,” that we’ve forgotten where we all began. We’ve forgotten the dirty rags we shed. We’ve forgotten our lowliness.

If we’ve been at this whole “Christian” thing for a while, the impact and wonder of God’s grace often becomes lost in the dross of our now-familiar faith.

We’re settled in;

We’re comfortable;

We’re numb.

I was 13. I mean, in the world’s eyes, I couldn’t have done anything that was that bad:

Some curse words here and there; dirty movies at my friends’ houses on weekends; the typical middle-school hypocrisy.

When I was confronted with God’s grace, though, my 13-year-old sins felt like cement blocks on my shoulders.

I cried; I shook; I blew snot all over the altar.

But, at the same time that I felt the weight of all my sins upon my chunky middle-schooler back, I felt God chipping away at those blocks, and I swear I heard the pieces fall to the floor.

Conviction and freedom…simultaneously. That was my first encounter with the Creator.

I have a feeling it was similar for all of us.

What’s awesome to me, though, is that God works backwards.

I didn’t come to that point because I felt God pointing out all the faults in me; I recognized my faults in the face of a Love that looked past them.

When you encounter that kind of love, the only possible response is self-reflection, and in my case, sincere repentance.

God’s kindness brought me to repentance. (Romans 2:4)

It wasn’t a barrage of judgment that did it; it was kindness.

I say that to say this: let’s model ourselves after God.

We’re not going to lead people to the Cross by pointing out their faults, thinking they are unaware of them and that we’re doing them a favor.

Our job is never to convict; that duty belongs to the Holy Spirit.

We are called to love.

And if we do that well, the only thing people can do in the face of that kind of love is examine themselves for themselves.

And I hope that we, as people who have experienced God’s grace, always hope for others to experience it as well.

Faith and Fascination

October 24, 2010

I heard Shane Claiborne say something the other day that really inspired me:

“The Gospel spreads best not through force, but through fascination.”

He said this after talking about Jesus’s response to John the Baptist’s disciples after they asked Him if he was the “one” they had been waiting for.

In typical son-of-God fashion, Jesus didn’t just answer their question with a cut-and-dry response; he told them to decide for themselves based on what they saw.

“Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor.” Matthew 11: 4-5

In a way, he threw the question back on them, asking, “What do you think?”

Shane used this passage of scripture to ask a probing question. Could respond in the same way? If someone asked me if I were a Christian, would I be able to humbly ask, “Well, what do you think?”

“The Gospel spreads best not through force, but through fascination.”

That little quotation brought a lot of different images to my mind:

Bible thumpers on the intersections near my Church screaming at cars on Saturdays;

evangelism technique books on Christian bookstore shelves that teach Christians how to construct a conversation with an unbeliever instead of how to cultivate a relationship with one;

zealous Christian kids in my college classes who grew bitter and militant when their faith was challenged;

The politically zealous I’ve encountered who think that “Christian” politicians will cure all the ungodliness in our country;

my failures and hang-ups that act as a lampshade for the fire that burns inside of me.

What does that quotation bring to your mind?

Let’s have a conversation here.