Tag Archives: God

A BBQed Prayer

Sometimes I write prayers…

Dear Jesus,
Thank you for this day. Thank you for bringing the sun up this morning. Thank you for waking us up this morning. Thank you for sharing this beautiful day you’ve made with us. Thank you for loving us enough to come down from heaven and be with us. Thank you for forgiving us for the terrible things we have done and keep doing out of our struggle and brokenness and unwilling selfishness. Thank you for choosing to reach out to us with your loving arms and welcoming us into your great embrace every day. Thank you for this food you’ve made and given to us. Thank you for the hunger pangs in our bellies right now that remind us of how much we need the food that you’ve given us. Thank you for adopting all of us who turn to you as sons and daughters. Thank you for creating around us, right here, right now, today and every Saturday and often throughout our days and weeks and lonely nights a loving family of adopted brothers and sisters. Together we get to be your sons and daughters. Your treasured little kids. Thank you Lord for adopting me, for forgiving me, for taking me in and making something beautiful out of the mess I’ve created with they life you’ve given me. Thank you Lord for your love.
Let it be so. Amen.

Calling, Sacrifice, Reward

Every calling is a gift. Every gift requires sacrifice. Every sacrifice brings a reward. Every reward is only gained by giving the gift, making the sacrifice, chasing the calling that God has given. The greater the calling, the greater the gift. The greater the sacrifice, the greater the reward. The greater the reward, the more worth every ounce of sacrifice it took to get there.

God the Father paid the ultimate sacrifice. He asked His Son to make a sacrifice for every one of us. His Son begged to get out of it. But God did not give in. Despite His Son begging so intensely as to sweat tears of blood, God stayed the course and directed His Son to go through agony for a time.

There is nothing that could relieve or lighten the agony of sacrifice that had to be endured. Jesus came from heaven and was born into a cave amongst peasants. He worked hard as a carpenter’s son for 30 years. Then, for three years he roamed homeless teaching and healing people. People were constantly trying to kill him from his birth throughout his ministry life. Jesus did not merely suffer three days. He gave up heaven to come here. Every day was painful sacrifice, culminating in the ultimate death. But the calling on Jesus from God was never about the sacrifice of pain, toil or death. The calling was to bring HEALING to all people, reaching them with the love of the Father.

Every person has a calling. The greater the person, the greater the calling. The greater the calling, the greater the sacrifice. We’re not promised for life to be easy. We’re promised difficulty. But we’re promised that God has a plan and will, eventually, use every bit of sacrifice along the way for His good purposes. We often cannot see or fathom any good that could possibly come of the pain of sacrifice along the way. But it happens every time.

My favorite quote from Mother Theresa is: “I know God will never give me more than I can handle, but sometimes I wish He didn’t trust me so much.”

The strength of Jesus or any of us is not displayed by us not struggling, not begging for relief, not asking questions and demanding answers, not questioning if this is all worth it or necessary. No. The strength of Jesus and every one of us comes from feeling and struggling through all of that and somehow pressing on. We may sometimes only move forward in a crawl, we may sometimes miss a step, we may sometimes not see the next step in front of us, but to keep plodding onward. This is the display of courage and strength.

The picture of Jesus’s strength isn’t in His resurrection. The picture of His strength is in walking forward on Palm Sunday, walking forward into Gethsemane, walking forward carrying His cross through the streets to Galgotha, all the while knowing what’s to come and the horrible sacrifice it will be. He struggled, He cried, He begged for it to not happen, but He did it anyway. His mom watched in horror as her oldest child went through agony. His brothers, friends and disciples watched in horror. They were torn apart, heartbroken, terrified for his life and their own. Jesus begged for relief for himself and those he loved. But the calling was greater than the sacrifice. The sacrifice always hurts us and those we love. But the calling is worth the sacrifice. The calling is always worth the sacrifice. That’s the promise of Hope we have from Him.

Telling God What He Should Do

For a few days I keep thinking of how I think things should go in my life, I keep thinking (somewhat seriously, somewhat tongue in cheek), “If God would just do what I think he should do, all of this could be so worth it and so much better.” But I’m then reminded that, the only time I believe that, is when I don’t trust him.

“In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.”

Proverbs 16:9 NIV

http://bible.com/111/pro.16.9.niv

Leading, Following and Changing the World

Acts 16:9-10 NIV
During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.
http://bible.com/111/act.16.10.niv

What would it look like if we as church leaders followed the Spirit with this kind of sensitivity and obedience? And what would it look like if we as church members followed our church leadership with this kind of trust and humility?

Redemption

“If redemption could be reversed, it wouldn’t be redemption.”

Clip a coupon. Go to the store. Redeem the coupon. Buy something. Take it home. Go back to the store. Return the item and try to get the coupon back.

Can you return the item? Yes. Usually.
Can you get your money back? Sometimes.
Can you get your coupon back? No. It’s been redeemed. It’s finished.

When Christ died he declared, “It is finished.” When we accept His sacrifice on our behalf, we allow him to redeem us. “It is finished.” (John 19:30)

The same is true for us. If we could be plucked from His hand, then being in His hand wouldn’t be a source of hope, love, grace or life. It would merely be a temporary relief filled with anxiety and fear of the inevitably impending end of such relief and the return of the pain, uncertainty and Hell that exists everywhere outside of God’s hand. (John 10:28-30)

And so redemption cannot be lost. There are many things that can be lost. We may lose keys, wallets, loved ones, talents, youth, health and even life itself. But alas redemption cannot be lost. It cannot be reversed, it cannot be shaken, it cannot be shirked. Lest it not be redemption.

Redemption. Forgiveness. Forever. Thank God.

Adventure of Love

When considering the evil that runs freely rampant in my mind I am reminded and shown how much work the Spirit has left to do in transforming it. And I take courage and joy from the grief this causes my heart. For if thus is the life I have with my brother Christ now, with such corruption and double mindedness yet holding fast within me, how much greater is the journey yet to come as my transformation furthers and I may begin to actually reflect his basic tenant to simply love all freely?!

Like John, Paul and so many others, may I face each day with the bold, courageous and taunting phrase, “Lord, lead me on.” May I never falter or tire of the adventure of peace and love in a world so hungry for all three. And may I live and love all others as myself evermore and myself as relentlessly and fully as my Father Creator God.

Yes truly, the past has been good. The best is yet to come. I am yours, Papa. Amen.

Giving Back

Dynamite:

“Giving back means giving all; any inferior definition is pure deception. Our money, our resources, our gifts, our time, our dreams, our selfish ambitions, our comfort — these we give back in their entirety. Anything less is not discipleship at all. It is simply a clever substitution by a crafty enemy who has figured out how to use our own weaknesses against us, rocking us to complacent sleep with a consumer version of the gospel and knowing all the while he is making goats out of sheep.” – Brandon Hatmaker (Barefoot Church, pg. 113)

Boom.