Month: January 2013

just thought i’d post this


INVITATION-by Shel Silverstein

 

If you are a dreamer, come in.
If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar,
A hope-er, a pray-er, a magic bean buyer . . .
If you’re a pretender, come sit by my fire,
For we have some flax golden tales to spin.
Come in!
Come in!

that is the definition of community to me. it reminds me of my recreator friends who have gathered in Nashville and Austin the last few years to commune and diffuse great thoughts and ideas. to dream big dreams. they have been my brothers and sisters through great turmoil and minor victories.

i have fond memories of pizza, cigars and amazing beers

heartfelt discussions that often led to tears

singing loud to Gungor as we raised a sound

praying with Ian Cron as communion was found

life long brothers with Louis, Jim and JVo

creating amazing moments with Erik, David and Joe

so as recreate13 kicks off this year

i will miss you my tribe, live with no fear

 

so the invitation to create was afforded to me for a few years and i am truly thankful for the opportunity to be a part. thanks 

 

one month down…


11 to go.

don’t we think of things that way, or maybe you are bemoaning that fact that January blew by so fast and you didn’t realize it. 

i wrote a few days ago that a person who is living by the Holy Spirit is living in the present, while having objectivity about the past and hope for the future.

i think so often we are just drawn to the past because that’s where something bad happened and we continue to dwell on it. i know in my own life, i tell that story over and over again. guess what, it’s not going to change what happened, but i can do something today to change the ending. i can live for today.

Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and then all these things will be given to you too. So do not worry about tomorrow. Let tomorrow worry about itself. Living faithfully is a large enough task for today.  Matthew 6:33-34 the Voice

 

so often i’m so stuck in the past or caught up in what may happen that i forget to see what is right in front of me for today. i miss opportunities and people. i plan to achieve the wrong goals and i don’t trust God with my dreams and hopes. 

so don’t miss it today. instead of 1 down 11 to go, or oh my goodness there are only 11 left, let’s reframe to the idea of today is the day, and i won’t waste it.

not really much to write about today


but i told myself that i would write. that i needed to write. that writing is healthy for me. that putting my thoughts down on paper and on this blog would clarify things for me. so that is what i’m trying to do.

i could write about the dismal performance of the US Men’s Soccer National Team last night in a draw with Canada. glad i didn’t waste the money to drive down to Houston for that one. here is hoping that next week in their first world cup qualifier that they get things ironed out or we won’t see the Yanks playing in Brazil in 2014.

i could write about the devotional i read this morning and the verses that accompanied it. it evens out to the greatest thing you can do is love. when you don’t know what to do, you can always default to love.

i could write about lots of things, but my mind just won’t settle on any one thing, so i will start my day with coffee and a shower and maybe something will hit me later that i do want to wax philosophical on. 

that being said, i hope that those of you who read this have an amazing day. i hope i haven’t wasted your time. i hope that you find a way to love others today. to give and not take. to believe and not fear. to have hope and not despair. i hope that you have something to be passionate about.

most of all i hope that you know or come to a realization that God loves you, and even if i don’t know you personally, that i love you too.

and to quote Kid President “But what if there really were two paths? I want the one that leads to awesome!”

Be awesome!!

what are you producing


yesterday i talked about a passage out of Galatians 5. it’s typically known as the deeds of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit. i used the Message because i thought it very plainly put what the deeds and the fruit are. i’ve always thought about those ideas being two trees, one with nothing but dead, shriveled fruit on it, and the other green and leafy with lots of amazing fruit,

but i got to thinking about it, and the tree with the deeds of the flesh probably looks amazing too, until you bite into the fruit. it’s deceptive. it’s the tree of knowledge of good and evil while the Spirit’s tree is the tree of life. the fruits of the Spirit are grown by the Holy Spirit and the deeds of the flesh are manifestations of the spirit of death. the passage says that those that practice these things will not be a part of the kingdom of God. when the spirit of death overcomes us we can’t live an abundant life in the kingdom.

so what does this look like in our life? i attend a ministry called Living Waters. it’s for people who have broken relational problems (which is everyone). we read a book by Jonathan Hunter called Breaking Free from the Spirit of Death. i’m going to share his comparisons of the Holy Spirit and the spirit of death.

the Holy Spirit brings truth and the spirit of death brings lies or a distorted truth. the Holy Spirit brings worship, freedom and self-control. the spirit of death brings introspection, compulsion and bondage. the Holy Spirit brings hope, compassion and joy. the spirit of death brings despair, narcissism, and depression.

now all of those are pretty opposite and easy to see, but sometimes it’s a little more deceptive.

the Holy Spirit helps us to be Christ conscious, serving others as God directs. the spirit of death is self absorbed, sometimes codependent. a person who is living by the Holy Spirit lives in the present, while having objectivity about the past and hope for the future. if you live by the spirit of death, you live in the past and future and your memory is skewed towards the negative.

if living by the Holy Spirit we know acceptance and worth.we are valued because of God’s love. if the spirit of death is running the show we feel rejected and worthless, valued because of what we do or have.

a person who is living by the Holy Spirit takes responsibility for mistakes, but doesn’t get stuck there. a person who is overwhelmed by the spirit of death blames themselves and others for situations and reruns offenses and disappointments.

these are just a few ideas and are intended to point out where we might dwell. it’s not for us to continue to beat ourselves up and continue to stay in a life that is not full. God wants us to live. He wants us to dwell in His space. believe His truth. trust in His way. He wants to restore us and grow us. question is will we let Him? or are we going to go on eating fruit that looks good on the surface, but is rotten underneath?

some thoughts


after reading two separate blog posts on marriage today, one that was pretty well thought out, and one that was in my opinion written by a guy who has very little experience on which to rate his “expertise”, i was just thinking that i someday want to be married again.

now, i in no way want to rush God in his plan for my life, but i do want someone to share my life with, and i’m not getting any younger. and i like sex. there, i said it. but i want to have purity in my life and enjoy it in the boundaries of marriage. i’m not getting any younger either.

i tried the dating websites and have realized they are really not for me. the paid ones didn’t give any better results than free ones. most of the women who were my type were either agnostic or atheist. on the Christian sites, there were a few women i liked, but typically it was too much. i’ve tried the possibility of dating women that i already knew, and that hasn’t worked oh so bueno either.

so i guess my question is, where can i meet a nice Christian woman who likes a lot of the same things i like?

i’ve heard people say church. my church (which just launched in October) has about 40 people. i’m on staff so the reality of me dating someone there is probably not a good idea. besides i hate the thought of the church as a singles treasure trove.

i’ve heard people say the grocery store. i really don’t feel comfortable trolling the HEB for women.

i’ve had friends say find a co-ed outdoor activity. i would like to play soccer, so that is a possibility.

but lets face it, it’s not easy to meet someone when you are single again after all these years. we bring a lot more hurt and baggage to the table than we did when we were 23. and it’s not like we go to school together where we see each other all the time. this really is a hard reality for men and women who are divorced. especially if you have trust and hurt issues from your previous relationships.

i know that i need to be patient, but the fact is i’m not. i would like to be. i certainly don’t want to mess this up yet again. i know there is no perfect woman and no perfect relationship, but it would be nice to know there is an imperfect one out there somewhere. sometimes i just think i’ll be alone forever, and sometimes i think maybe that’s what i deserve for the way i’ve handled some of my acquaintances and relationships. but you know what? i think everyone needs to love and be loved and that’s my hope.

i know that seeking after Christ is my first thing, but it’s not a formula and i’ve heard all of the cliches. frankly that stuff makes single people want to throw up, because we mostly hear that crap from married people. you see i know that God created marriage to make us holy. to be a picture that we could understand that demonstrated our relationship as the bride and Christ as the groom. and that is what i really want.

now this is just me puking up my feelings, so i don’t really need or want a lot of advice unless you know a lady in the greater Austin area who is a smokin hot, artist/rockstar with tattoos who is looking for a tall bald guy. in that case, comment away.

alright. carry on.

what am i leaving as a legacy


yesterday we were meeting and Pastor Michael challenged us to write a list of things that we would want said at our funeral. his point was for us to be intentional about how we wanted to be remembered. he coupled it with these verses out of Galatians 5

It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community. I could go on.

This isn’t the first time I have warned you, you know. If you use your freedom this way, you will not inherit God’s kingdom.

Galatians 5:19-21 the message

we are free people, but if we live that way, we won’t have many people who speak kindly of us after we are gone.

the passage goes onto say in the next segment

But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.

Galatians 5:22-23 the message

i find that last phrase interesting. not needing to force our way in life. the first list is about force. it’s about accumulating, using and taking. it’s how we live our lives when we are in charge, but the second list is about allowing God to live through us. it is about sharing, loving and giving.

so i wrote my list. it may change, but it gives me something to be intentional about.

1) i want my children to say that i showed and taught them how to live for Christ.

2) i want people to say that i lived with great joy.

3) i want people to remember that i was kind and generous to those who were far from God.

4) i want people to know that i loved well.

5) i want people to have valued my character over my ability.

6) i want to be remembered as a ground breaker.

what would you want people to say? what are you leaving as your legacy? selfish things that you are forcing and taking for yourself? or the way of God where He brings great gifts to others through you?

rejection


i’ve been thinking a lot about that. 

there have been many instances of rejection in my life and especially the last few weeks. one of the things i’m really good at was shot down and not recognized. i’ve seen some rejection in relationships that i wanted to work, and i’ve just felt an overall sense of rejection from lots of forces in my life. 

i used to always say that i’d rather you hate me for who i really am than have you like me for someone that i’m not. 

but i can’t fundamentally change who i am, so i lie. i exchange who i am for approval. i try to be all things to all people. i try to morph who i am to fit who they want me to be because i would rather not be myself than let people down or have them reject me. the feeling is overwhelming and it is depressing.

i realized how foolish that was this week when i panicked over a few situations where rejection was just inevitable. i was willing to trade who i am for an outcome. 

why the fear. why am i afraid of what people who i don’t even know or who have no investment in my life think? 

i used to think that i was afraid of rejection coupled with betrayal. that is where the greatest hurts in my life have come from. but as of late, i’m so afraid of being discarded that i shut down the real me.

Galatians 1:10 says

Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.

so i have the wrong goal. my goal has been not to be rejected. to win approval, but my goal should be to be Christ’s servant. 

there is this deep longing in my heart, a holy discontent with who i have become. i know Christ has so much more for me and i can’t seem to grasp it. it seems distant and out of reach, but that is not how our God operates. He doesn’t dangle a carrot out in front of us that we can never get. He also approves of me. He redeemed me. He loves me. He will never leave or reject me. 

so my prayer is that i would shift my focus away from pleasing others, and pleasing myself (that’s a whole other post) and move towards pleasing Him. doing what He has already told me to do and living in a bold faith to believe what He has already made me to be.

 

don’t believe the lie…


i learned a few new things last night.

i see that there is a spirit of death that can control our lives. God wants His Spirit to be able to work in us, but we allow death to take over and rule us.

let me be very clear when i say that we (by we i mean i) believe this lie. we hate despair, fear, and lust, but we continue to return to them because they are comfortable. they also make us miserable, but at least we are in control (so we think). i hate being in the death zone , but at least i’m lulled into the idea of i can control those things and i am at home there. i mean to trust God is a risk. i don’t know what He is going to do next and i’m scared, but the one mitigating factor is that He is Father and He loves us. i don’t allow my children to be fearful and remain in a situation of death. i want the very best for my kids and push for them to see excellence and believe in themselves, and i’m just human, i make mistakes. God isn’t like me. He is the perfect Father.

it all goes back to the lie.

He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies. John 8:44 NLT

that last phrase from the original Greek says “he is a liar and the father of IT”

the enemy is the father of THE lie. the lie that says “if God really loved you, He would let you have what you want”

the enemy who brings this spirit of death whispers in our ears that we don’t need God. he told it to Eve in the garden and he continues to tell it today.

but we have a choice. we can continue to go back to the place of death, or we can trust in our Father and live life. the sad thing is, that’s the life i’ve always wanted to live, but fear has crippled me so often. so i’m praying for you today that you would be bold. that you would stop believing the lie. that you would pass from death to life. would you believe with me that God has a better life for us that we can control ourselves? that’s my great hope.

don’t run the wrong way…


i’ve been running. i thought i was running to something, but the last week i’ve figured out that i’ve been running from.

up until a few years ago, my life had been moderately successful. i was good at what i did, and was appreciated and loved by the communities that i was a part of. i had some hardship, but not too many. i would say that i lived a good average American life.

then it seems that all hell broke loose. i knew that there was more than that life. i knew that God wanted me to risk and dare to live something better. but i didn’t know how. i tried to follow this calling in me.  but every time i tried it seems i got sidetracked or shot down. fear of failure became the new norm. why even try if you are just going to fail. that became commonplace for me.

let me tell you that is a hard place to dig out of. i can’t do it. there is a lot of truth to the passage that says He pulled me out of the mirey clay and set my feet on solid ground. and David should know what he is talking about. i sit here and complain about 4-5 years of what i consider trouble. Saul chased David for 17 years trying to KILL HIM. maybe i don’t have it that bad. Joseph was a slave for 13 years and in prison for 2. what am i complaining for.

it seems maybe i am searching for peace and joy in the wrong place.

James 1:2-4

Don’t run from tests and hardships, brothers and sisters. As difficult as they are, you will ultimately find joy in them; if you embrace them, your faith will blossom under pressure and teach you true patience as you endure. And true patience brought on by endurance will equip you to complete the long journey and cross the finish line-mature, complete, and wanting nothing.

well that pretty much says it. i’ve been running from trouble. i don’t want it, i panic when it appears and i say how long Lord will you let this go on? as long as it takes until i embrace who i am and embrace the joy to be found in Him through the hardship. and that is where i need to run to.

contemplating


the trouble that i’ve experienced in the past few years, months, weeks even. when i was 25 i wouldn’t have dared asked God why. that would have been weak and faithless. i mean i had ALL the answers…right?

but today at 41, i ask Him why all the time. He hasn’t revealed the exact purpose of anything, but I know He is forming me into His image, so that has to be enough.

but as i was contemplating these thoughts, i ran across this passage.

2 Corinthians 4:6-12

The God who spoke light into existence, saying, “Let light shine from the darkness,” is the very One who sets our hearts ablaze to shed light on the knowledge of God’s glory revealed in the face of Jesus, the Liberating King.

But this beautiful treasure is contained in us-cracked pots made of earth and clay-so that the transcendent character of this power will be clearly seen as coming from God and not from us. We are dented and dinged on all sides from our afflictions, but we are not crushed by them. We are greeted with pain at every turn, but we are not trampled or defeated. We are bewildered at times, but we do not give into despair. We are persecuted, but we have not been abandoned. We have been knocked down, but we are not destroyed. We always carry around in our bodies the reality of the brutal death and suffering of Jesus. As a result His resurrection life rises and reveals its wondrous power in our bodies as well. For while we live, we are constantly handed over to death on account of Jesus so that His life may be revealed even in our mortal bodies of flesh. So death is constantly at work in us, but life is working in you. The Voice

when you read that you think man, i’m a big baby. those people had it a lot worse. but there is a lot we can learn from that passage.

1) we will have trouble. we will be greeted with pain at every turn.

2) we won’t be defeated. Jesus life will rise up in us

3) the power comes from Him. but the treasure of His glory is contained in us.

so i will still contemplate the why, but i know that i won’t be crushed or abandoned, and i’ll try not to despair even though running and panicking is the easiest thing to do sometimes. i mean there are some cracks in the pot.