Fill In The Blank

neon

Anyone else tired of the ordinary? Anyone else feel like you are stuck in the mundane? Have you ever sat down and just pondered what your purpose is on this big spinning piece of real estate called earth? I know so many people that are praying for “Gods will for their life”. You can count me in that group too. Maybe it’s Rick Warren’s fault for teaching us all to live the Purpose Driven Life….

If you answered “yes” to any of the questions above, then this might help. I know it gave me perspective and, even if for a moment, purpose. While this song by Rachael Lampa was written about Mary, I wonder if we can’t fill our own name in that blank too. You see, each one that has accepted Christ as their Savior, has also been filled with the Holy Spirit. It is that Spirit which calls us to a purpose. A purpose of introducing this world to a Savior and a King. No matter your title, your occupation, your neighborhood or place of worship, each of us has this purpose.

Imagine for a moment you received a letter from your Heavenly Father. Listen to the song and fill in the blanks below with your name. I wonder if it wouldn’t read something like this….

“I Choose You” by Racheal Lampa

When everyone around you sees
an ordinary life
Fit for nothing more than common dreams
I can see the stars of heaven
shining in your eyes
Soon the world will hear the angels sing
(Insert Name Here) I know it’s hard to understand
You hold the light of the world in your hands

(Chorus)
I choose you
To bring the world a savior
I choose you
To bring the world a king
I choose you
To be the arms of love that hold the answer
For the world to see my promises come true
I choose you

I know there are many questions
Weighing on your mind
What is becomming of your life
Just remember why I’ve called you
To leave your fears behind
To walk by faith and not by sight
(Insert Name Here) I know
It’s all a mystery
My hand is leading if you’ll only believe

(Chorus)

And he shall be called
Emanuel
Wonderfull prince of peace

I choose you
to bring the world a savior
I choose you
to bring the world a king

(Chorus)

For the world to see my promises come true
For the world to see my love come shinning through
I choose you

I Am

This is a re-post of sorts. Lots of “stuff” going on all around us isn’t there? Sometimes it makes you wonder if God is still in control. The requests are real. The requests are important. The requests are for friends, loved ones and people we don’t even know. We need assurance don’t we? We need something to hold onto. We need peace and a place to stand when the waters ahead appear rough. Anyone that holds a Bible has it. It’s found throughout scripture, but I think my favorite one is in Genesis 3:14:

God said to Moses, “I am who I am . [a] This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ “

These two words are more valuable than anything. They are bigger than every request. To those that believe, they are everything.

“Lord, I have a medical test coming up and I am scared. I know you know what’s best for me but”….I AM.

“Lord, I pray for my freind as he continues to battle his medical journey. I pray that”…I AM.

“Lord I have a friend that needs your direction and guidance as he”..I AM.

“Lord, I really messed up. No matter how hard I try”…I AM.

“Lord. I don’t know how we’re going to “….I AM.

“Lord, We need your”….I AM.

“Lord, I”….I AM.

“Lord,”….I AM.

I AM.

I Am” by Nichole Nordeman

*Originally posted August 2008

An Anchor

ancorFor several days now I have tried to wrap my head and words around those times and questions that we have for a God that created this universe. I have wrestled with anger, frustration, sadness, pain and as odd as it sounds, hope. I end each thought process at a place where I find myself searching for an anchor and something we can grab hold of. I get so tangled up in trying to understand how a loving God allows the unthinkable to happen. Yet the very next breathe is thanking a loving God for conquering the grave and the hope of eternal life.

For days I have tried to put this all into some words of encouragement for anyone and everyone that is a part of the journey with our dear friend. While trying to do this for this blog and anyone that reads it, I guess I am looking for the answers myself too. Friends, I don’t have them. The only wisdom and encouragement that I can offer comes in two very simple things that I have learned in my 38 years.

1. God is God.

2. It’s never how we draw it up

Steven Curtis Chapman so perfectly captured the simplistic thought that says that “God is God and I am not”. Our finite minds wrestle with trying to understand an infinite God. Our understanding of today prevents us from seeing the entire picture. We are only getting a glimpse of a masterpiece that God is creating. How many of us can connect the dots of our past to see that a much larger story was taking place? God is God.

So often I think I’ve got a perfect plan as to how my life should go. In my mind, it seems to make perfect sense. Yet when I stop long enough to reflect on the past I see how my plan would have gone radically different. In almost each case, it would have been a mess. Gods grace, mercy and perfect plan have saved me from myself more times then I can count. His wisdom and knowledge are to be trusted. I say, with a thankful heart, that it is never how we draw it up.

So what is our anchor? What is our hope? What are the words that make situations and circumstances beyond our understanding seem to make sense? Friends, this side of heaven, I am not sure we have those answers. I know I don’t.  I know that God is God and I am not. I know that God is still on his throne. I know that the creator of this universe is in complete control. I know that his ways are perfect. I know that he has a plan far greater than my understanding. I know that he makes all things beautiful in his time. I know that he can restore what was once broken. I know that he can provide comfort to the hurting and peace in the storm.

Max Lucado once wrote that “God doesn’t always still the storm, but he will calm the sailor“. That’s my anchor and what I am grabbing hold of.

God is God” by Steven Curtis Chapman

No Words

I sit here this evening with no words. All day I have pondered, prayed and tried to wrap my finite mind around the ways and wonders of an infinite God. My friends, I don’t have the words. I wish I could be a source of encouragement to you today, particularly those of us that are working through the emotions, thoughts and feelings for our dear friend and his family. What I have come to is this…God is still on his throne.

One of my favorite moments of the day and this life is when my children climb up in my lap. To rest my chin upon the top of their head and just feel them near is to know peace. In those moments of silence, the last thing we need are words. The closeness of the moment covers them all. Our Heavenly Father longs for these moments too. He longs to have us climb up in his lap and seek his grace, his wisdom, his peace and his strength. A time where we can be still. Even when there are no words…

Be Still” by Story Side B

What are YOU waiting for?

wait

I swear this song is haunting me. Then again, it might not be the song, it might be the waiting that is actually haunting me. The song is just incredibly appropriate. I first heard it well over a year and a half ago and have somewhat forgotten about it until recently. The song is “While I’m Waiting” by one of my personal favorites, John Waller. It was also featured in the film “Fireproof” at a very appropriate part of the movie.

All of that to say that I almost titled this post “Charlotte Update”. As to not set the world and grapevine into motion, I decided to go with a different title. Our home is not for sale and as of this moment, we have no plans to even visit North Carolina anytime soon. God really shook up our basket a few months ago and yet Heather and I continue to wait. We both know that God was and is up to something in our lives. It was so crystal clear at the time of the call. It was almost audible. In the same breathe I would say that we are confident that not moving was the right thing to do. So we wait.

I know so many people that are also “waiting”. Jobs, homes for sale, ministries, relationships, futures, health, wealth, debt, fears and expectations. My prayer list is full of people that are “waiting”. If you know me at all, you know that my weakness is…well…waiting. I am blessed with no attention span and no patience. So the Lord making me wait is a prime example of refining in my life. He went right to the place that I am the weakest and we are pretty well camped out there. So we wait.

I think the point of this entire post is that while we are all “waiting” there is work to do. For so long I sat on the sidelines and “waited” for God to make that move. I waited for the sign, the time, the crystal clear moment. That may or may not come but we can, as John Waller says, worship, serve and run the race while we’re waiting. If you’re like me and “waiting” on God to bring clairty to something in your life, take a few minutes and listen to this song by John Waller. If nothing else, know that we are waiting together.

The Remedy

What a week it has been. I have always had a rule to leave politics out of my blog. I’m not going to change any of that now. Yet I sit here today with such a mixed bag of emotions. Reading articles and comments on blogs, facebook and twitter has been quite an experience. I go from inspired to disappointed. I go from angered to completely perplexed. All of these emotions have nothing to do with the election. They are all based on the posts and responses leading up to and following the election from Christian brothers and sisters.

I have tried to approach each commentary with an understanding and allowing that each has the freedom to say or do what they feel appropriate. But today I believe what saddened me the most is that we have allowed an election process to drive walls and bitterness between believers. At a time when those of faith should unite for a cause much greater than who is in the White House, we are fighting amongst ourselves. At a time when the nation needs to see the love of Jesus we cannot allow circumstances to take us from what we are here to do. Are we advancing his kingdom or setting it back?

The reality is that this world is hurting. It was in that state before last night and it will be in that state when the new President takes the office. The hurts are real. People are hungry, homeless, poor, broken and need the hope of Jesus Christ more than ever before. Are we expressing that message or doing it damage? Are we doing our part to usher in His kingdom?

The most important thing that I have tried to remember in this entire process is that there is only One man, and one Remedy for all that we seek. It is not John McCain. It is not Barack Obama. It is Jesus Christ. If the celebration in Chicago last night was anything, imagine the day when every knee will bow and every tongue will confess. Imagine the acceptance speech when the one that suffered for all of the sin in the world takes his rightful place on the throne!

Now that is change we can believe in. That is the hope we seek. That is the day I long for.

Remedy” by David Crowder Band

Day Eight – Persecuted

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven –Matthew 5:10

Well here we are at the end of this eight day series. I’m not sure how many of you have followed along, or worked through the beatitudes the past eight days too. I know that studying and researching these key verses has challenged me to look at several areas of my journey. There is still much work to do. I guess if it was up to me, I would close on a higher note than that of persecution.

Persecution brings such negative images to mind. The thought of being persecuted for our faith almost doesn’t seem fair. A loving God that allows persecution just doesn’t seem to make sense to our finite minds. To be honest, I am not sure I understand it, let alone can explain it. After studying it, I don’t know that there is any real way to present it that makes it something to look forward to. If we can accept that persecution (in whatever form that means) can and will happen, then maybe, just maybe, we can understand how to approach it.

To close this series, I bring in a guy that is much more qualified than I. Mark Driscoll is one of my favorite Pastors. I have lost count of the amount of times I have watched this video clip. So often I don’t understand how to pray when the requests are difficult. I don’t know how I would begin to pray under persecution. May this clip help each of us as we understand and anticipate persecution.

Don’t get me out of it, get me through it. – Mark Driscoll

Day Seven – Peacemakers

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. – Matthew 5:9

In this high charged political season it is hard to imagine being a “peacemaker”. The words “fundamental difference” rang very loud to me as I tried to think about how you could make peace between two enemies. Yet there is a charge to each of us in this beatitude. We’re called to be coffee beans….

I wrote a post a little over a year ago called “Carrots, Eggs and Coffee Beans“. Actually, I was just sharing a story I had found. I can’t take credit for it as it is a great analogy and a real picture of how you and I can be peacemakers. In short, it’s what happens when you boil carrots, eggs and coffee beans.

When you boil carrots, they become soft. The heat of the water changed the carrot from being strong to being soft and weak. The egg was fragile when it was exposed to the hot water, but became hardened on the inside. What about the coffee beans you ask? They changed the water around them. Although they were exposed to the same elements, they did not differ, they did not change, they changed the water around them.

Being a peacemaker takes place in two ways. We begin by living a life at peace with others. Our challenge is to create environments where conflict can be resolved. As we create these environments, we can change those around us. Our example of lives lived as peacemakers can also encourage others around us and create environments where peace can be achieved. Even when we have “fundamental differences”.

Day Eight: Persecuted

Day Six – Pure in Heart

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. –Matthew 5:8

In order to best understand pure in heart, I think I needed to set a baseline to work from. For me this was explained in one commentary as, “purity of heart is a work in progress in which both God and man share responsibility”. They also stated that “We will never be pure as God is pure in this life. Our purity is at best only in part.” So to best understand pure in heart we need to understand that Gods definition of purity is a lofty goal. The process by which we get there is the key to being pure in heart.

I once heard Mark Driscoll discuss this process as two pedals on a bicycle. God initiates things in our lives by pushing one pedal, our response is to accept the change and push the pedal down on our side. God initiates, we respond. God initiates, we respond. The day-to-day sinful nature challenges even the strongest Christians to sustain their purity. It is through the process of God initiating and us responding that we can cleanse our hearts to be pure. It is not an easy process, but one which must be followed.

I close with these questions from one of my resources. It is a process of self-examination regarding being pure in heart.

1. Are our work and service done from selfless motives or from a desire for self-display?

2. Is our church-going a sincere attempt to meet God or merely fulfilling a respectable habit?

3. Are our prayers and Bible study a heartfelt desire to commune with God, or do we pursue them because they make us feel pleasantly superior?

4. Is our life lived with a conscious need of God, or are we merely seeking comfort in our piety?

Coming Thursday: Peacemakers

Day Five – Merciful

Blessed are the Merciful, for they will be shown mercy – Matthew 5:7

A little different approach for Day Five. My study pointed out several very interesting points regarding mercy. There is the websters version which we are probably more suited to approach and think of as Mercy. However Jesus is calling us to something different.

1. The first four beatitudes were inwardly focused. The second four beatitudes are externally focused. Ideally the first four should lead to our behavior on the second four.

2. We understand mercy as a result of a warm and close relationship with God.

3. Mercy can best be understood and defined when we experience things together with the other person.

The final point is what leads me to today’s example of being merciful. I recently received a copy of Bebo Norman’s self titled CD (which is a great CD by the way) from the kind people at Overture-Media.com to review. The first time I heard the song “Britney” I had an instant respect for Bebo Norman. Here was a man that is in the machine that is the recording industry. While he may not sell the millions upon millions that Britney Spears does, he understands fame. For this man to reach out to Britney Spears as the rest of the world watched her fall apart was honorable. For this man to share the message of hope and Jesus Christ was merciful. He identified with point number three above.

While we can all cast judgment on Britney for her choices, lifestyle and fall, at the feet of the cross, we are all Britney Spears. She is our neighbor, our daughter, our sister, our brother, our friend. She is every one of us. To look past her life and see the person within is to understand what it means to be merciful. Below is Bebo Normans song. Take a few minutes today and think about who you may know that is “Britney Spears”. Think about who you can show the kind of mercy that Bebo showed in this song.

Coming Wednesday: Pure in Heart

Day Four – Hunger and Thirst

“Blessed are they those that hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. -Matthew 5:6

What is the hungriest you have ever been? How about thirsty? That question is obviously relative. Many of us have never really known what it means to be hungry. One statistic I read said that every 3.6 seconds, someone dies of hunger. That means by the time I finish writing this post, roughly 167 people died of hunger. What an alarming and sad statistic. It’s one that I am not sure I can get my head around. So I had to bring it closer to home.

Have you ever noticed the lines at Starbucks and Tim Hortons in the morning for coffee? I’m not a coffee drinker so I am always amused when I pass by. That is not to say that I’m not without my vices. If I don’t get a Diet Coke and spoonful of Peanut Butter or Pop Tart in the morning, you don’t want to be near me. I can safely say that I hunger and thirst for these things before all others in the morning. Sadly, they come before devotions and even a simple prayer to say “thanks for one more day”.

The hunger that Jesus was referring to was priority one. It is an urgency. It is a vital to life kind of hunger. The same hunger he referred to when he said to “Seek ye FIRST” (Matthew 6:33). What are we to hunger after? One resource I read said that righteousness can be defined as “nature of God, justice, truth, mercy, love”. 7 words with huge impact. Imagine beginning all things, all situations, all opportunities by seeking the nature of God, justice, truth, mercy and love. Imagine what life would be like if we filtered everything through this list of righteousness.

One final thought. Note that Jesus said “those who hunger and thirst” and not “those that have achieved”. We’re still on the journey. We’re still striving and being refined to be like Christ and achieve righteousness. Jesus understood that and encouraged us to stay the course. Stay hungry. Stay Thirsty.

Dependence on God = Poor in spirit
Grief for fallen condition = Those who mourn
Approach God with humility = The meek
Desire to be transformed = Hunger and Thirst

Tomorrow: Blessed are the Merciful

Day Three – Blessed are the Meek

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth
-Matthew 5:5

Like I said in earlier posts, this is just my crazy finite minds interpretation of the beatitudes as I reflect on them. That being said, as I read commentaries and resources on Matthew 5:5, one quote kept coming to mind. It comes from none other than the movie “Spider-man”.

With great power comes great responsibility -Aunt Mae

Since it kept coming back to me, I figured I would run with that. To be honest it helped me in my understanding. When you think of most Super Heroes, they are mild mannered. Their alter egos are usually, dare I say, “meek”. Within them is great power. Yet to the world that knows them, they are simple, average, humble, everyday people. They don’t flaunt their power, they are as human as everyone around them. They are not proud or arrogant about it. They use it when it is needed and do so for good. They help those in need and the less fortunate. Their power is used with great responsibility.

From what I read, Jesus was not calling us to be doormats. He wasn’t asking that we allow people to walk all over us and for Christianity to become a weakness. I think Christ was calling us to an understanding that “with great power comes great responsibility”. What power? How about joint heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17) for one. Being a joint heir with our Savior is certainly great power. Yet understanding the responsibility that comes with this inheritance is key to being meek.

Understand we did (and can do) nothing to gain this position (poor in spirit)

Understand that without God we are forever separated (those who mourn)

Understanding that we are powerless, separated, and submit to Gods will (meek)

Superman harnessed his power by becoming the meek Clark Kent. Spider-man became a news paper photographer named Peter Parker. Though they had incredible power within them, they lived humble lives understanding the strength under control. We have the power of Christ within us. We have the guidance of the Holy Spirit to change the lives of those around us. Being meek is treating this power with great responsibility.

Coming Monday: Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness

Day Two – Those Who Mourn

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted
-Matthew 5:4

Here I was all ready to post something about funerals and how we can find comfort. I am sad to say that I have said goodbye to far too many friends already in my life. I have no doubt mourned. In time, I would say I have found comfort. Yet that is not what my study of Matthew 5:4 was about. It’s about mourning and, in some way, things that have died. However this spotlight is internal and not external. In each of the resources that I read, there is another kind of mourning that Jesus might have been referring to.

When I was 14, I started working in a shoe store. I made $27 a week and saved every penny of it. By the time I was 15 a neighbor and I had agreed that when I was 16, I would purchase the 1971 Mach 1 Mustang that was sitting in his backyard. It was a classic and I couldn’t wait. Then one day I had a little “fender bender” in the church parking lot with my parents car. Did I mention I was STILL only 15? Did I mention the other car I hit was only 2 weeks old? Thankfully we settled out of court but bye-bye bank account, bye-bye Mach 1. I still “mourn” whenever I see one of those cars.

I think my parents rejoiced when the Mach 1 deal fell through. Not because I wasn’t getting it, but because it meant they could sleep at night. That car was more than any 16 year old could handle. I couldn’t even handle the church parking lot, let alone what was the definition of a muscle car! While I mourn the loss of that car, I think deep down I know it is what was best for me. While that dream died, I find comfort in knowing how God turned that loss into so much more. I see the whole story now.

What I learned in this passage is that mourning can include those times in our lives when we don’t get what we so desperately want. Think of it as those times when God says “no” to our prayers. We can mourn a job we didn’t get, a relationship that didn’t work out, old friendships, our sinful nature or an area of sin that we have justified and God won’t honor. When we reflect on those things, we are amazed to know what we know now. We even find comfort in knowing it didn’t go how we had planned. We see it through Gods plan and not our own.  1971 Mach 1 Mustang’s included.

Tomorrow: Blessed are the Meek

Day One – Poor in Spirit

As I kick off this 8 days of looking at the beatitudes, I should warn you all that I am not a bible scholar. I didn’t attend seminary and am not a Pastor. I am just giving my common, everyday, finite mind application of what these key verses say to me the next 8 days. It is my hope that those that read along will join with me Wed-Friday this week and Monday – Friday next week to apply one per day. If you are joining in, feel free to comment on your reflections as well.

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
-Matthew 5:3

About 8 years ago, several families from our church decided to rent a house in Virginia Beach for a weeks vacation. One day while we were on the beach, a friend named John Ballenger asked me what I thought about leading a small group. The look on my face probably said it all. “Shock and Awe” comes to mind now that I think of it. I had no training. I had no idea how to lead a small group. As I said, I’m not a Pastor, Bible Scholar and had actually never read the bible cover to cover (not that it is a requirement of leading a small group). I know I was thinking “you’ve got the wrong guy“.

From the commentaries I read, being poor in spirit is admitting our complete helplessness. It is, as John Piper called it, “the paralysis of low self esteem”. Examples of poor in spirit from the bible would include David, Moses, Abraham and Jacob. Most of them told God “you’ve got the wrong guy“. God didn’t fix their low-self esteem, he advanced his kingdom through it. He didn’t build up them up, he took the area that they felt they were “poor” and recognized it was exactly what he (and they) needed for great things.

Moses didn’t say “it’s about time. I’m the best speaker and leader you’ve got and I’m counting sheep man”. He said “you’ve got the wrong guy”. Had he not been “poor in spirit”, he would not have been just the man for the job. His emptiness, low self esteem and reliance on God was the picture of being poor in spirit.

I mentioned that encounter on the beach because what John Ballenger saw in me I didn’t see in myself. Reluctantly, I accepted the opportunity. While I have led small groups, I don’t think I will ever be the model small group leader, but I know it drove me into the word. I sent me searching, reading, studying, listening and called me to a deeper faith. It created a thirst that, to this day is still unquenchable. If that one area of my life could create all of those things, imagine if I really got serious about the many areas that I am poor in spirit.

How about you? What is the area that you feel completely inadequate when it comes to your faith? What is the place that you hope no one asks you about? Speaking? Leading? Praying? Serving? Your Past? It might just be the area that you are poor in spirit. It might also be the place where God is about to do something amazing.

For further examples, watch this video from Kirk Franklin.

Tomorrow: Those who mourn

Presence

About 3 weeks ago, I started running again. That is an entirely different post for a different day. One of my favorite “treadmill songs” is “Presence” by Newsboys. There is just something about that song that makes me feel like I am requesting Gods presence even in the midst of gasping for air and sweating like crazy.

Over the past week or so, my youngest daughter (3 years old) has started to do something during my treadmill time that is really special to me. While I am running, she comes with toys, a game, or something to occupy her time and just sits beside the treadmill. I noted this morning how wonderful it is that she is just there, in my presence. Maybe she just wants that too.

What moved me this morning is that I think that is all that God asks of each of us. He just wants to be in our presence. Like my daughter in the morning, we don’t need to be engaged in serious conversation, I just like to see her there. Watching her play makes me happy. Seeing her be who she is in my presence brings joy to my life. If we talk during that time it is great, but there is something about her just being there that is wonderful.

I was reminded this morning that our Heavenly Father just wants us to be in his presence as well. Whatever we are doing, he wants us to invite him in so he can be near and enjoy our activity as well. He wants our activities to bring him glory and his presence to encourage us. Even if its nothing more than time on a treadmill.

Presence” by Newsboys

8 Days

We’re all on a journey. We’re all a “work in progress”. If someone were to ask me to give them two songs that define where I am on my journey and what God is doing in my life, I would give them “I Wonder What Life Would be Like” by Big Daddy Weave and “Give Me Your Eyes” by Brandon Heath. I am challenged in my journey to give more (on several levels) and to answer the question:

I wonder what life would be like if we let Jesus live through you and me….

We need to see people through his eyes. We need to approach situations as he would approach them. We need to pray as he prayed, live as he lived, love as he loved and lead as he led. That is why those two songs go hand in hand.

I have been thinking about it for awhile now, but next week I will begin a series of posts where I reflect on each of the beatitudes. You’re welcome to join me on that journey of reflecting on and hopefully applying one per day for 8 days. Maybe then we would know the answer to what life would be like if we let Jesus live through you and me.

The Difference A Father Makes

While at the All Pro Dad Experience, we were all given a gift bag with several items in it. Arguably the most valuable thing was a book entitled “The Difference A Father Makes” by Ed Tandy McGlasson. I sat down yesterday to read it and was caught by something I read.

An involved father can make all the difference in a child’s life. His love and care can be the deciding factor in helping a young one become who he or she was created to be. When our hearts are filled with security and trust in a dad who loves us we stop living for our father’s approval and begin to live from his approval. Out of our assurance of his unending love and commitment, we’re enabled to become the person we were created to be and, in the process, bring pleasure to our dad.

I was captured by that in two aspects. First, it was a reminder that I must create a culture in our home where my children believe and know they are living from my approval and not for it. They had my love and security the day they were born. Secondly, I need to live from that approval with regards to our Heavenly Father. As Ed said, it would enable me to become the person I was created to be.

One other quote from this insightful book I had to share. So often we sit in the stands and cheer our kids on. They seek that approval and need to know that we are cheering as loud in their failures as we are in their success. With that in mind, I close with a question from the book:

“When you are on the field of life, who are you looking for in the stands?”

Encouragement for Wednesday

Tonight I sat down to write a post and I just can’t find the words. I wanted to do something about some very heavy prayer requests. I was going to explain that I believe we should “approach the throne of grace with confidence” (Hebrews 4:16) yet so often my finite understanding of an infinite God gets in the way. My struggle to make sense of everything hinders my ability to ask for anything.

In my search through scripture and various authors, musicians, videos and speakers, I found this. Many have probably seen the incredible Laminin video by Louie Giglio. This is not the same video. Louie goes even further. I post it today to anyone that is going through the storm. I post it for those that know someone going through a storm so we know how to pray. May this encourage us all….

A Gift?

If you’ve been following, you probably noted that I was fortunate enough to get an iPod Touch last week for free. Due to my employer changing our Corporate Credit Card procedure for next year, we had to use up our points or lose them. I chose the iPod and was beyond excited when it arrived last week. I practically attacked the DHL guy when he finally showed up with it. I even ran out and got a special case as to take the best possible care of said gift. It cost me nothing which makes it even more valuable to me.

Today it hit me…

Several years ago I received the gift of salvation. It was purchased with a price for which I did not pay. I had to wonder today if I was as excited that day or even all these years later, about that gift. Have I cared enough to protect that gift? Do I cherish the gift of my eternal salvation as much as something that will one day break and fade away? Would I watch for the delivery man with the same excitement if the gift he was delivering wasn’t a new toy, but rather determined my eternity?

While I appreciate the iPod touch more than I can say, I’m not sure I’ll look at it the same knowing what it made me consider today….

I’m A Jerk

I usually keep my Friday posts pretty fun but this one captured me today. I was surfing YouTube for something totally different and got caught up watching clips of “The Jerk”. While this movie was wildly funny, this clip left me feeling pretty guilty. At the beginning I was laughing. At the end I was sole searching. Funny how you can find inspiration in the most unlikely of places.

As to not take anything away from the clip, I’ll just frame it for you. When I think of the disciples, they are usually brought into the story by “leaving all they had” or “leaving their nets and followed him”. There was no hesitation. There was no carry-on bag for the trip. They left it all. Jesus himself said “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also“.

What hit me about this clip was how in the beginning he was willing to give it all up. But as he walked away, his “stuff” got more appealing. I had to laugh and wonder if this isn’t what I look like to God sometimes. “Lord, I don’t need this stuff…well, except that…that’s all I need to follow you”. This was a gut check for me. It was a reminder that following Jesus requires giving up everything, even the little things. I realized today that when God watches my “obedience” to give up my “stuff” to follow him….I probably look like a jerk.

I'm A Jerk

I usually keep my Friday posts pretty fun but this one captured me today. I was surfing YouTube for something totally different and got caught up watching clips of “The Jerk”. While this movie was wildly funny, this clip left me feeling pretty guilty. At the beginning I was laughing. At the end I was sole searching. Funny how you can find inspiration in the most unlikely of places.

As to not take anything away from the clip, I’ll just frame it for you. When I think of the disciples, they are usually brought into the story by “leaving all they had” or “leaving their nets and followed him”. There was no hesitation. There was no carry-on bag for the trip. They left it all. Jesus himself said “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also“.

What hit me about this clip was how in the beginning he was willing to give it all up. But as he walked away, his “stuff” got more appealing. I had to laugh and wonder if this isn’t what I look like to God sometimes. “Lord, I don’t need this stuff…well, except that…that’s all I need to follow you”. This was a gut check for me. It was a reminder that following Jesus requires giving up everything, even the little things. I realized today that when God watches my “obedience” to give up my “stuff” to follow him….I probably look like a jerk.

Damaged

“My heart’s so low, I’m so much to manage. I think you should know that I’ve been damaged” – TLC

I once read the book “To Own a Dragon” by Donald Miller. I really like Donald Miller’s writing. In this book, he told stories of portions of his life that left him “damaged”.

I have to admit that I am damaged too. I would also admit that in the course of my life, I’ve done plenty of damage. What is dangerous is there are times when I will re-visit those “damaged” times in my memory. It’s even more dangerous when you stay there. It can be defeating. Living life looking backwards is no way to live.

In some form or another, aren’t we all “damaged”? As John Ortberg said “we all have an as is tag”. We’ve all made a wrong turn, wrong choice, run with the wrong crowd and suffered the consequences. Maybe it wasn’t even our choices, but those of another that caused the damage. Here’s the key, our God is a God of second chances. He’s a God of restoration and healing. He’s a God that will one day right every wrong. He can and will repair our damage.

We are all damaged. The question today is have we allowed God to heal, to restore and to mend it? If so, what is our response?

Dear Eliot

Kleenex Alert!!! While you will need some tissues, don’t miss this video today. It will leave you thankful for your blessings and amazed at the strength and courage of this family.

One Day Closer

No doubt it’s Monday. I’m not a fan of Monday’s. If you’re like me, the start of the week is nowhere near as exciting as the end of the week. With that in mind, I thought I would share something someone said to me yesterday morning at church. I said “How you doing?” and he responded “I’m one day closer to glory“. Since I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed, I said “what glory?”. Nice….

He then told me about the glory that awaits us on the other side of this life. It was such a simple phrase, but a complete shift from the everyday thinking. So if you’ve got a case of the Monday’s today, just remember you are officially “one day closer to glory”.

What's Next?

Now that we are officially staying, my mind has been running in overdrive. What are we going to do next? What will that look like? Who’s on first? The answers to these and many other questions will be forthcoming in the next few weeks. I can, with certainty, report that the items below are just a few of the many things that I plan to jump into 100% in the coming weeks.

1. All Pro Dad (First Saturday of every month @ Chick-Fil-A)

2. Sunday Night L.I.F.E. Group (Starts Sunday)

3. 80’s party at our house as a House Warming (Again) Party

4. Mars Hill Underground (It’s going to happen and it’s going to be HUGE).

5. Open Invitation Guys Monday Night Football at our house (52″ HDTV)

6. Movie night on the lawn in our backyard. (Probably something 80’s)

Stay tuned. Many, many more details to come. If any of the above interested you, drop me an email at auncfan@gmail.com and I’ll run my ideas by you.

What’s Next?

Now that we are officially staying, my mind has been running in overdrive. What are we going to do next? What will that look like? Who’s on first? The answers to these and many other questions will be forthcoming in the next few weeks. I can, with certainty, report that the items below are just a few of the many things that I plan to jump into 100% in the coming weeks.

1. All Pro Dad (First Saturday of every month @ Chick-Fil-A)

2. Sunday Night L.I.F.E. Group (Starts Sunday)

3. 80’s party at our house as a House Warming (Again) Party

4. Mars Hill Underground (It’s going to happen and it’s going to be HUGE).

5. Open Invitation Guys Monday Night Football at our house (52″ HDTV)

6. Movie night on the lawn in our backyard. (Probably something 80’s)

Stay tuned. Many, many more details to come. If any of the above interested you, drop me an email at auncfan@gmail.com and I’ll run my ideas by you.

And The Winner Is…

As promised, I would like to announce the winner in my Chris Tomlin “Hello Love” CD giveaway. After all of the comments, there was one that received votes from others and made me laugh out loud when I read it. Probably because I too have been there, done that. Without further ado..I give you the winner of the Hello Love CD Giveaway….

Joni Ruhs!

Joni – If you will email your information to me at auncfan@gmail.com I will get it over to my friends at wiredforsound and EMI to get your prize out to you. To everyone else that took part, keep your eyes open for more contests in the future. So far we have given away two Tobymac CD’s and the new Chris Tomlin! I’d like to again thank my friends at Wiredforsound for making this possible. I wish I had one to give all of you.

To wrap this up, I thought I would post my favorite song from the CD. You can check out Chris’s explaination behind the song here, but this is an incredible worship song that is sure to fill churches and hearts wherever it is heard. Here’s “I Will Rise“.

Strong Enough To Bend

Back in the day Tanya Tucker had a song called “Strong Enough To Bend”. There are many thoughts and analogies from the remnants of Hurricane Ike that visited Columbus, Ohio over the weekend. Now that I have power back in our home, I can finally get a few of them to the web. I thought of that song this morning as I looked out my window and drove through town to see the numerous trees that had split, broken, been uprooted and those that stood strong.

What intrigued me the most is that some of the strongest trees cracked and broke in the storm. Out my window I can see a very small tree which was just planted last summer which withstood the wind and storm. I am amazed at how trees with roots so deep can fall while trees that were strong enough to bend could withstand the storm and stand tall today.

I was reminded this morning that often our faith can be like these trees. I know there are times when I think “I know it all” and my roots are strong enough to handle any storm. Then the wind comes and I crack. The storm hits and my faith isn’t strong enough to bend. We see new believers in their faith take on the largest storms and wind and stand firm on simple child like faith. I wonder if I don’t over think God sometimes. I wonder if I don’t expect too much, want too much, demand so much that my faith becomes rigid in the storm.

Lord grant me the flexibilty to be strong enough to bend when the storms come. Grant me the wisdom to understand the winds will come and my strongest act of obedience is to be flexible as your plan unfolds.

What’s Your Isaac?

Somewhere along the road of this “journey to nowhere” (Charlotte), my good friend and mentor Denny said something I have not forgotten. When we were discussing what all of this could be about, he said;

“Aaron you have to be willing to lay down your Isaac. Maybe God is asking you to give Him your Isaac. You need to determine what that is and be willing to give it to Him.”

What Denny was referring to was Genesis 22:1-15 where Abraham showed God he was obedient by laying his son on an altar. At the last moment, God provided a ram as the sacrifice and Isaac’s life was spared. I’ve often wondered if there weren’t some father-son issues after that moment. I wonder if Isaac didn’t say “dude..what was THAT all about”? But Abraham knew. Abraham was following what he believed and being obedient. In the end, God provided another way.

Over the past several months, I’ve been in search of my Isaac. Leaving Columbus was going to be hard. This is our community. This is our home. These are our friends, mentors, brothers, sisters. This is where “iron sharpens iron” and people have poured into our lives. Yet God wanted to know if we were willing to give it up. Were we willing to go as far as Charlotte to commit ourselves to his call? At the last moment, He provided a ram (not ramses the UNC mascot either!).

So my question is this…”what is your Isaac”? Are you willing to give up the thing that you treasure most in obedience to God? Are you willing to get to that final moment when it looks completely out of your control to prove just that? To prove that we are not the one in control? Give it up. Give up your Isaac today and God will prove faithful. He always does.

What’s Your Isaac?

What's Your Isaac?

Somewhere along the road of this “journey to nowhere” (Charlotte), my good friend and mentor Denny said something I have not forgotten. When we were discussing what all of this could be about, he said;

“Aaron you have to be willing to lay down your Isaac. Maybe God is asking you to give Him your Isaac. You need to determine what that is and be willing to give it to Him.”

What Denny was referring to was Genesis 22:1-15 where Abraham showed God he was obedient by laying his son on an altar. At the last moment, God provided a ram as the sacrifice and Isaac’s life was spared. I’ve often wondered if there weren’t some father-son issues after that moment. I wonder if Isaac didn’t say “dude..what was THAT all about”? But Abraham knew. Abraham was following what he believed and being obedient. In the end, God provided another way.

Over the past several months, I’ve been in search of my Isaac. Leaving Columbus was going to be hard. This is our community. This is our home. These are our friends, mentors, brothers, sisters. This is where “iron sharpens iron” and people have poured into our lives. Yet God wanted to know if we were willing to give it up. Were we willing to go as far as Charlotte to commit ourselves to his call? At the last moment, He provided a ram (not ramses the UNC mascot either!).

So my question is this…”what is your Isaac”? Are you willing to give up the thing that you treasure most in obedience to God? Are you willing to get to that final moment when it looks completely out of your control to prove just that? To prove that we are not the one in control? Give it up. Give up your Isaac today and God will prove faithful. He always does.

What’s Your Isaac?

Why We’re Staying

Rather than fumble over words I can’t begin to explain, I’ll let someone much more qualified explain why we are not going to Charlotte. I have a peace this morning (even in the midst of the pending craziness) that I have not had in a long, long time. Amen?

Why We're Staying

Rather than fumble over words I can’t begin to explain, I’ll let someone much more qualified explain why we are not going to Charlotte. I have a peace this morning (even in the midst of the pending craziness) that I have not had in a long, long time. Amen?

Something Even BIGGER

Well friends, we’re back from a whirlwind 72 hour tour of Charlotte, North Carolina. Some of you may be looking at that picture and saying…”that looks like Columbus, Ohio”. If you did, you’re right. It is. On the heels of the big announcement from Friday, I have an even more wild and crazy one.

The Conrad Family is STAYING in Columbus, Ohio!

The details will be coming in future posts, but to give you an idea of what the next week to two weeks holds. I’m off to Denver Colorado on Tuesday and Wednesday. I’m in Indianapolis on Thursday. We’re still scheduled to close on our house on the 19th. You read that correctly. As of the writing of this post, we are bound by our contract and due to sell our existing home. We could use a miracle on that minor detail.

If no miracles happen, we’re combing Hilliard for available homes which we can relocate to. Again, the details are crazy right now, but this is our “home” and we believe God wants us here. Even after the sale of our home and the prospect of being “homeless” in 2 short weeks.

I told you to buckle up. Much, much, much more to come!

“Crazy” by MercyMe

Teachable Tuesday

I’m off to Cleveland the next few days for an event at Jacobs Progressive Field. In my absense, I’m going to let Mark Hall take over the blog today with another teaching video. A great reminder as I head off to do another presentation in another location, that my job is not why I am going. I’ve got a much greater purpose for driving to Cleveland. I have a much larger goal than delivering another speech.

Something Big

 

In March of this year, we began a journey that took a BIG turn yesterday. Huge. In reviewing that post tonight. I recalled quoting the lyrics of John Waller when he sang:

“Something so big, it’s destined to fail without you Lord”

Friends, readers and those that may be visiting for the first time, I have an announcement to make….

In a little over two weeks, the Conrad family will become official residence of Charlotte, North Carolina.

Yes, you read that correctly. TWO WEEKS! I told you it was big. As late as Tuesday evening, I was just telling Heather that “if God wants us in Charlotte, He is going to make it pretty obvious”. In the category of “Be careful what you wish for” I got a call from our Realtor and friend Steve this morning to inform me that there was an offer on the table. Never expected that. While the offer was less than we were asking (common practice), it was in no way insulting and certainly within bargaining room. It also had a qualifier. Our potential buyer wanted to close by September 19th. They also wanted an answer by 8pm today.

We met at 6pm and prepared our counter offer knowing we might only get one shot at it. Knowing we might need to be house shopping in Charlotte this weekend, we requested their response by 10am. 30 minutes after leaving our home, our Realtor called and said:

“I’ve got good news and bad news. The bad news is Missy and I are going to really miss you guys. The good news is that you just sold your home.”

Just like that, in the matter of 8 hours the kite has officially been launched in the hurricane (Hannah to be exact). We’re headed to Charlotte tomorrow afternoon and will be barnstorm house shopping on Saturday and Church visiting on Sunday. There is much more to come on this story, but if I could ask your prayers for direction, discernment and wisdom this weekend they would sure be appreciated. We’re excited about chasing daylight while placing our trust in much greater hands.

I’m sure I’ll post some updates to Twitter and Facebook throughout the weekend. Thank you all for your prayers and sharing the journey so far. Buckle up friends…it’s going to be a wild ride!

“Something Big” by John Waller

Give Me Your Eyes

There is no other song that lyrically describes where my head is right now. You might have noted that in posts like this one, this one, and this one. Or maybe here, here and even here. I guess the point is that God has been working on this area of my life for several weeks. To hear and see this video this morning was right on time. Again, lyrically, it sums it up. I couldn’t help but note that it takes place in an airport. Many of those posts come from my time in the same places.

It doesn’t matter if it’s Charlotte, Columbus, or places in between, at the end of the day, this is my hearts desire. I’m really digging Brandon Heath’s latest CD.

In A Day

I need to apologize for a third straight day of Youtube posting, but this is too rich to not pass along. As I read the continued  fallout about the writer of the song “Healer”, I was reminded of the words in the Casting Crowns song “Slow Fade”. Quite simply stated “people never crumble in a day“. Mark Hall does a great job in a very brief video of explaining the process by which this can happen.

Caught In The Middle

Man I love this song. Always appropriate. Always challenging.

With eyes wide open to the differences
The God we want and the God who is
Will we trade our dreams for his
Or are we caught in the middle? – Casting Crowns

Love Thy Neighbor

I wrote a post called “Thy Neighbor” back in January of 2007. You would think I would have learned from my post and my lesson at the time. Once again it is so easy to be the model of perfection behind the keyboard but when it comes to application…not so much.

Last night we had another house showing. When we arrived back at the house, one of our neighbors was outside and said she spoke with the potential buyers. It turns out that they had some questions about the home which is directly behind ours (seen above). Particularly, they wanted to know “what was going on with THAT house”. The picture quality is poor, but the backyard of that house is in very bad shape. Sadly, it is a direct reflection of what happened to the family that used to live there. The weeds are waist high and the trampoline and home have long since been deserted.

Here’s the point…I’m not upset about their yard. I’m not upset about the condition of their home. I’m not even upset that a potential buyer might have changed their mind over what they saw. What bothered me last night and this morning is that we didn’t “love thy neighbor”. I don’t know their story (and don’t need to), but what I know of them was that they were in the midst of a very ugly divorce. I am troubled that we never got to know them. We never shared a cookout, invited them over, or swapped stories over our fences. We never “loved our neighbor”.

Would we have been able to save their marriage? We can’t, but Jesus can. Would we have been able to be accountability friends and somehow help pour into their relationship and lives? We don’t know but Jesus can. Would their home be restored to a beauty like their family could too because we loved on them? I don’t know but Jesus can.

Maybe that is what he meant when He said to “Love thy neighbor“….

Love Them Like Jesus” by Casting Crowns

Foxholes

I’m sure you have heard it too, but there is a quote which says that “there are no atheists in foxholes“. Tonight I was returning from my trip to Norfolk and had the absolute blessing of the view that you see in the picture above. I wonder if you could say that there are “no atheists in airplanes”. That is probably a stretch, but it was my thought at the time. As Rob Bell said in “Velvet Elvis”,

“Something holds all of this together”

While this picture will never give the moment justice, I can’t express the beauty in it all. To feel the warmth of the setting sun on my face as I looked out that tiny window into a field of clouds was stunning. I couldn’t help but think of Isaiah’s Commision in Isaiah 6:1-8. I probably should have taken my shoes off too.

I was reminded that our journey is so much like this picture. There are times when the sun shines and things are right, safe, comfortable. Yet not long after this picture, we entered one of those clouds and it got a bit rough. You couldn’t see the destination. You felt the weight of the moment and the storm of the cloud. Yet we continued on knowing we would soon break from it. We broke through the clouds and the view was once again clear and our mission was ahead. The destination still unchanged.

I know they say there’s not atheists in foxholes. I wonder if there are atheists on airplanes….

What You Believe

“You can say what you think, but you will live what you believe”Mark Hall

I flew Southwest Airlines home from Chicago tonight. If you’re familiar with Southwest they have what is called an “open seating” policy. In other words, it’s first come-first serve when you board the plane. Luckily I had a low number so I found a prime aisle seat and was nestled in for the flight home. That’s when it happened. The voice over the loud speaker said (to the almost full plane):

“Ladies and Gentleman, for anyone with an open seat between them (me among others) we have a young mother and her infant child that need 2 seats together. Would anyone be willing to accommodate them?”

Being an evening flight full of weary travelers, you can imagine that not one hand went up. That would include mine. As I sat there looking into the eyes of this mother, the words of Rob Bell and my post earlier this week began to creep into my mind and soul. Louder and louder until I couldn’t ignore it any longer “Live what you say…Live what you believe”! Yet I sat there frozen in my comfort. Waiting on someone else to do what everyone on the plane should have been willing to.

Needless to say, after what felt like an eternity, I offered my seat and we were able to accommodate the young mother and her child. Please don’t misunderstand this post, I am NOT looking for glory. I’m not asking for applause. I’m actually confessing to a weakness. Why the thought process? Why the pause? If I would live what I believe the reality is I wouldn’t even have a post to write. Which is the way it should have been. It should have been a non-story and just another event in an otherwise uneventful day.

Heaven help me.

Healer

Update: If you came looking for the song “Healer” by Hillsong it has been pulled from YouTube. If you’re wondering why it has been pulled from YouTube, that story is (HERE). What an absolutely sad and disappointing report today. Let’s pray for Mike Guglielmucci. We’re all guilty of making the wrong choices at times in our life. Clearly Mike has made a very bad choice in this case too. I pray Gods mercy and the mercy of those that will be critical of his decision.

Don’t let this story deter you from purchasing the Hillsong “This is Our God” CD. It is one of my favorite this year and “Healer” continues to be a song of encouragemnt and strength to those that have heard it.

I’m still getting my “travel on” this week. Off to Chicago in the morning (you can still follow the mobile randomness on Twitter). In my absence, I thought I would get something that is LONG overdue to the web. This falls under the “in case you missed it” category because it has been all over the blog world. In the off-chance you have not seen it yet, don’t miss this today. This is an incredible song called “Healer” by the amazing Hillsong. First, check out the story behind the song.

Now for the song:

Take a few minutes to visit healer.integritymusic.com. It is a site that Hillsong has set up to accept and share requests and praises. What an absolutely powerful song and ministry. Take a few minutes and let the words and the story sink in. It will change your day, your week and possibly even your approach to your journey.

Way To Live

I brought “Velvet Elvis” with me on this trip to re-read. It’s been about a year or so since I read it, so I thought I would run through it again. It only took a few pages to remind me why it is one of my favorite books. Check this out:

“I’m convinced being generous is a better way to live.

I’m convinced forgiving people and not carrying around bitterness is a better way to live.

I’m convinced having compassion is a better way to live.

I’m convinced pursuing peace in every situation is a better way to live.

I’m convinced listening to the wisdom of others is a better way to live.

I’m convinced being honest with people is a better way to live.

This way of thinking isn’t weird or strange; it is simply acknowledging that everybody follows somebody, and I’m trying to follow Jesus.”

-Rob Bell

The Now and The Not Yet

I’m probably aging myself a bit here, but way back in the day Amy Grant had a song that came to mind today. Maybe it is because if I had to give an assessment of where I am right now, it best describes the location, the feeling and the situation. Quite simply, I am at the intersection of “The Now and the Not Yet”. I’m interested to see if I am the only one that is standing at that intersection, or if we should build one of those “roundabouts” that have become so popular in the town I currently reside in. I could be wrong, but I have a feeling that we’re all living in a moment and searching for a time that is yet to come. Is it just me?

But Im caught in between
The now and the not yet;
Sometimes it seems like
Forever and ever,
That Ive been reaching to be
All that I am,
But Im only a few steps nearer,
Yet Im nearer…. (Amy Grant)

I have talked to so many people the past few weeks that are on a Journey. Some are selling a home with the intention of moving to a new place. Some are simply being obedient to a call they feel on their lives. Yet we wait. It has often been said that God answers prayer in three ways; “Yes”, “No” and “Wait”. It’s the third one that is the hardest to understand because it is not definitive. It is the third response that leaves us standing at the intersection of “The Now and The Not Yet”. It’s the place where we must discern our every response, activity and commitment since we don’t know what tomorrow will bring.

To quote Amy Grant again…”I’m only a few steps nearer, yet I’m nearer”. I’m nearer to the not yet, but living in the now….

Follow Up Moment

In order to understand this post, you probably will want to read the one before it entitled “I Missed My Moment“. I did take the opportunity to go and visit the man I mentioned in my previous post today. His name is Mike and I’d like to introduce you to him.

Mike is a Vietnam Vet who is suffering from Multiple Sclerosis. He was diagnosed in 1995 with the disease but believes it started at least 10 years prior to that. He is married to his 5th wife who recently had her Gall Bladder removed as well. She has been diagnosed with the disease Lupus. Mike’s 4th wife died in 2003 of a heart attack. He was the one that had to give the approval to remove her from life support. He was being discharged today to go to rehabilitation to gain strength.

While Mike’s story might seem tough, I am blessed to have spent some time with him today. It turns out that Mike’s brothers are Pastors. Mike told me the story of the day he was diagnosed with M.S. He said the doctor informed him of the news and he “prayed to God as soon as he found out”. He told me that the Doctor said he had never, in all his years of medicine, seen anyone react that way when told of this news. Mike prayed and explained that God allows things into our lives for a purpose.

Before I left, I asked Mike if I could pray with him. He said we could and we did. I don’t know that I will ever see Mike again this side of Heaven. I’d like to ask you to join me in praying for Mike and his wife Lori. They could sure use our prayers in their battles. I’m glad that God allowed me the opportunity to make amends for missing my moment yesterday. I hope you all get to meet Mike one day as well.

Your Will Be Done

Great stuff from Mark Driscoll. Been a while since I have caught up with anything from Mars Hill Seattle. Check this out today while I’m still on the mend.  I’ll be back to the blog soon.

I Am

I had to laugh this morning when I reflected on the excitement of last weekend. I was amused by how excited we can get when another person signs their name on a piece of paper. While that individual might have special gifts or talents, they are just as human as you and I. In retrospect, I am challenged by what little regard I seem to hold for the greatest signature of all. Anyone that holds a Bible has it. It’s found throughout scripture, but I think my favorite one is in Genesis 3:14:

God said to Moses, “I am who I am . [a] This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ “

You see this signature is more valuable than anything on Ebay. It’s bigger than a card, t-shirt or photo. To those that believe, it is everything.

“Lord, you’re calling us to Charlotte. We’ve got to sell our home in a tough market. I pray that you would”….I AM.

“Lord, I pray for my freind as he continues to battle his medical journey. I pray that”…I AM.

“Lord I have a friend that needs your direction and guidance as he”..I AM.

“Lord, I really messed up. No matter how hard I try”…I AM.

“Lord. I don’t know how we’re going to “….I AM.

“Lord, We need your”….I AM.

“Lord, I”….I AM.

“Lord,”….I AM.

I AM.

I Am” by Nichole Nordeman

White Rocking Chairs

I am amused by the amount of friends that send me a text message when they are on a lay over in Charlotte (most recently “D-Rich” and “T-Plant”). I don’t even live there yet, but they know enough to know where my head and my heart are. I usually give the same advice, “Make your way down the concourse to the white rocking chairs and get comfortable”. I’ve had to wait in Charlotte enough to know the best seats in the house are the white rocking chairs. They seem to take away the stress of the long wait. thanks to US AIR.

I guess what I am getting at here is the fact that when we “wait” we learn. I have “waited” enough to know that it is NEVER how I drew it up. It is MUCH better that way. In most cases, if I had full knowledge of how things would unfold in order to get the desires of my heart, I would have said “no thanks”. If I understood how long the wait would be and what it would look like, I’d choose door #2. In both cases, I would be wrong.

I am reminded that waiting on God’s plan helps me remember that this is not about me. It is a daily reminder that I am still so dependent on Him. If I wasn’t and everything went as I planned, then I fear that He would not receive the credit He is due once this all unfolds. So the longer I wait, the more I am reminded of just how little I control. Which is just fine with me. I’ve “controlled” enough in my life to know I’m in better hands when I have no control at all.

“I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope” (Psalm 130:5)

Waiting on God for your next steps? Grab a white rocking chair next to me and we’ll wait together.

What Are You Praying For?

These are heavy days aren’t they? I don’t know that I have ever said “I’ll be praying for you” more often then now. Unfortunately, I often make that statement and don’t do the job that I should of following what I said I would do. For that reason, I thought I would make a public offering. There is so much power in prayer. When we enter Gods presence and intercede for one another, we do so believing Gods word to us in 2 Chronicles 7:14:

“if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

This post is for anyone and everyone that would like to share a prayer request. For those that read and don’t often comment, it as simple as entering a name (can be anything if you’d like it to remain private) and an email address (which won’t be shared). What are you praying for? How can we pray for one another? Here is what I am praying for:

1. Our pending move to Charlotte. We’re specifically praying over Matthews, NC now.

2. For a friend in Phoenix that is seeking where God would have him work.

3. For our friend Stef as he recovers from surgery and gains his strength.

How can we pray for you?

"Yours"

While I was checking the RSS feeds tonight I read something I just had to share. All of this is credit to the guys at StereoTruth.net. They posted the news tonight that Steven Curtis Chapman will be touring with Michael W. Smith this fall. While that is incredible, it was the next part of their post that struck me tonight. According to their post, Steven has added an additional verse to his new song “Yours” (Coming August 1st to radio). You can read the entire story on the StereoTruth.net site.

When I first heard SCC’s new CD, I was captured by two songs. The first was obviously “Cinderella”. The second was the song “Yours”. There was something in the lyrics about claiming that everywhere and everything belongs to God that hit home with me. Which brings me to their post and the additional lyrics that Steven has added.

I’ve walked the valley of death’s shadow
So deep and dark that I could barely breathe
I’ve had to let go of more than I could bear
And questioned everything that I believe
But still even here
in this great darkness
A comfort and hope come breaking through
As I can say in life or death
God we belong to you.

Knowing what we know, I am not sure how I can read that and not be moved. To say that “the streets of London” or “every child in Africa is yours” seems easy. But to face what Steven and his family have faced and say “it’s yours” is beyond a testimony. It’s beyond my understanding and leaves me evaluating each and everything I count as “mine”.

Lord grant me your grace. I ask your patience as I release anything and everything as yours.

[ht/stereotruth.net]