Sunday, May 12, 2013


Have you ever wanted something so bad you can feel it down to your bones? Has there ever been an unknown in your life you constantly and persistently focus on? Have you ever lost sleep over something that isn't in your control at all, but no matter how hard you try you can't give it up?

If you said yes to any of these questions, this blog post is for you.

Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD! (Psalm 27)

What does patience mean? What does waiting on the LORD mean? I'm currently in the thick of finding out exactly what the answer to these questions is.

You see, six months ago I decided to fast something very important to me for a year to get closer to Christ. Though this sounds incredible in writing, truthfully it has been the hardest thing I've ever had to go through in my entire life.

I've noticed that when I fast, and I assume this is consistent with others, it brings out in me the desires and sins that pull me away from God. When you decide to give up something, your true heart behind that something is exposed. When you decide to fast food (no pun intended) for a period of time, you find out how much weight you give to those meals (again, no pun intended) and how much you rely on them for satisfaction, and in essence saving. If you love food too much, as you fast you can't stop thinking about that juicy cheeseburger, and as a result idols are brought to the surface you may not even have noticed were there.

Additionally, your trust is chained by that desire for your next meal. "God, if you just tell me that my next meal is happening on time and the way that I want it to, I'll trust you in these next couple hours to provide for me." Haven't we all thought something along those same lines before?

As a result, what started out as a worship commitment to Christ has turned into the catalyst for the repeal of your heart back to yourself and your own provision. "God, I know this is what will be my satisfaction, and as soon as I get it I will be able to worship you, but until then I'm going to give this my attention." Sound familiar?

My biggest issue through this fast has been trust. "Are you REALLY going to provide exactly what I need LORD, or should I rely on my own strength and wit to ensure that next meal? Can you just show me the plate, or even the menu so I can feel better about this? One french fry, that's all I need..."

The answer is: we don't walk by sight, we walk by faith.

This doesn't necessarily mean what we desire in our heart won't be the end result, it just means that as we walk by trusting Him and waiting on Him, we can let his perfect timing unfold into something more spectacular than what we have imagined. I so badly want that cheeseburger that I'm too nervous to trust Him for it, not knowing what he has for me is a three course steak dinner.

So I'll end with this: we are so used to seeing strength and courage within huge muscles and a six pack, a go-getum attitude, and a raw instinct to do it yourself, right? What God is saying to us is sometimes the strongest most courageous thing you can do, is to do nothing at all. For where does strength come from anyways? - "The LORD is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him." Psalm 28:7

Monday, May 6, 2013

Ready For Love? PART 2

I found out this week that this show has been cancelled. If I'm honest, this makes me happy ha!

But, that isn't the point of PART 2. So, we shall move on.

I had a post for you guys, but I think I'd much rather you read this. This pretty much blows anything I could write out of the water:

Rich and Christy's story - excerpt from 'Boy Meets Girl' by Joshua Harris

After you read this, try thinking about what love really is.

In one of my favorite movies called Anchor Man (if you haven't seen it do it right now), in a hysterical scene a character named Brick names off things in an office that he loves. "I love lamp." THAT is the famous quote I use almost too much.

Hopefully without ruining the comedy of the movie, I think that is how we often approach love. It's objectified. We don't take the time to really experience true, romantic, engaging to the core love; instead, we settle for the simple lamp type of love that is fleeting and selfishly motivated, and in the end doesn't mean what we are saying. It wasn't designed that way, but in our sinfulness we have made it that way. Not always, but I have seen this pattern often.

So, should we pursue the "I love lamp" kind of love, or should we pursue the "I will do anything and everything to serve you for the rest of our lives" kind of love? I'm gonna say the second one.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

The Storm I Need PART 2

"In God's design for our trials there is a place for real, authentic grieving and distress. But this experience is fundamentally altered from the way the world experiences these things. We see a design in it all. And so our root stays planted even though the branches thrash in the wind. And the leaves remain green and the fruit keeps growing because our roots go down by the stream of God's sovereign grace - and we trust him for a good design."

- John Piper, sermon

How often would you say that when you go through some sort of trial that the minute you ask God to "take this away" he snaps his fingers and you're home free?

For me, I'd say not often at all. And, for that I am truly grateful... sound crazy to you too?

My favorite story in the bible comes a few chapters after our first water experience with Jesus. In Matthew 14:22, the disciples again find themselves in a boat, in the middle of the sea, being "beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them" (14:24). They had been battling the wind and waves for a while because it says, "in the fourth watch of the night he (Jesus) came to them, walking on the sea." This freaked them out because they thought he was a ghost so they "cried out in fear"; understandable. I see a dude walking on water in a storm coming straight at the boat after hours of no sleep and physical exertion trying to stay afloat, I'd probably be thinking something along those same lines.

"Immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, 'take heart; it is I, Do not be afraid. (14:27)'" Then Peter asks Jesus to command him to come, walking on water, to where Jesus was standing. And Jesus said "come." So Peter got out of the boat, walked over to Jesus, but then saw the wind and the waves and started to sink into the water. "Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him 'O you of little faith, why did you doubt? (14:33)'" So Jesus walked Peter back to the boat, they got in, and then the wind and waves ceased.

The disciples spent 3 watches of the night beating waves back from the boat and wrestling the sea before Jesus came to them; 3 long, exhausting watches. What should that say about God in the midst of our trials? My first observation of this passage is this: God allows us to go through trials and suffering. If we believe what the good book says about an all-knowing all-capable God, then we should understand that Christ knew exactly what was happening out there and he could have easily stepped in right away, or even rebuked the storm at the first hint of a breeze so the disciples wouldn't have been tossed around.

But James 1:2 tells us to "count it all joy, my brothers (and sisters), when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness." God allows us to endure trials knowing that in the end, we will be all the more steadfast in faith, and that will bring the most glory to the Father which is the ultimate goal in our walk.

May I quickly point out that God wasn't absent in their 3 watches; God provided the strength for each row, each deep gasp of breath, and kept them afloat safely above the water. Don't ever forget that!

My second observation is what happened to Peter as he was walking toward's Jesus. As his eyes were fixed upon his savior, he was stepping firm on top of the water. But, the minute he took his eyes off of Jesus and focused on the wind and waves he started to sink and cried out, "Lord save me!" (Matt 14:30). As long as we fix our eyes on the one who saves, we can be assured that we are safe no matter the circumstance.

But let's continue digging: Peter started to sink and cried out, "Lord save me!". What is interesting is that he had enough time to say that whole phrase without going head under. What this has to mean is that Jesus was allowing Peter to sink SLOWLY! If that doesn't blow your mind right away, take a few minutes and think about it - the physics of walking on water, and the metaphors surrounding the entire event. Why did Christ allow him to sink slowly instead of letting him submerge instantly? I'm betting that it was a way to show Peter, in a trial-filled situation, how much Christ was actually in control. Sinking inevitably lead Peter to cry out knowing full well that Christ was the only one who could save him.

Sometimes we are called to walk on water in the middle of a storm. As we do, we can either focus on the one calling us understanding he has the power to see us through to the end, or we can become distracted by the wind and waves around us and start to sink.

•   •   •

We can be assured that we will see trials and sufferings of various kinds in this life, we were never promised the easy road (Matthew 7:14). But, we can be encouraged that every trial is designed by God himself, and that through our suffering we are molded and shaped by his hands so we can better endure, through steadfastness, a faith in Christ. Count every trial as a blessing, because it means God loves you and is interested in creating a more complete you through your suffering.

Steel is refined by the fire.