Sunday, May 27, 2012

Acts of Mercy

Hello again.

In the constant, nearly obsessive conversations my husband and I have about how to serve the people here, not just at Holy Cross, but also in our Valley, a very simple truth dawned on us: where are the acts of mercy?

Think about it. Why do churches stand out these days? They have the excellent, dynamic preacher who writes books (or a blog.. hehe) and an incredible worship band or choir or Sunday School program or incredible elementary school, or a singles ministry, or a GORGEOUS sanctuary, or they host conferences or concerts, or rent out their space to different organizations (boy scouts, girl scouts, german school, another smaller church, etc.), or they have uber cool graphics and power point presentations during worship... you get the point.

But what is generally, across the board, across all denominations, missing from what a congregation is known for? In my opinion it's acts of mercy.

Lots of churches feed the homeless occasionally or regularly like us, but how many can say they know these people by name, see them around town and give them rides, or share their own homes with them? We do that here. That's really neat. I'm not saying, "Oh, yeah! We're freaking awesome!" But I think our experience with our homeless community has opened my own eyes to a greater gift and mission missing from our and the church: acts of mercy.

Okay, I'm about to get a little controversial here, but everyone stay calm and hear me out. You're totally allowed to disagree, just hear me out and don't be too nasty in the comments section.

This past Lent there was a forty days of life campaign arranged by a politically active woman in our community. Basically, they stood outside of Planned Parenthood for 40 days and tried to save the lives of unborn infants. Stop right here: Of course I am for saving unborn baby's lives. OF COURSE I AM.

Beginning again: they managed to save over 100 unborn babies (I'm not sure if that was total in the 40 days of life movement or just in our community. It seems a little excessive to be only in our community, but what do I know, right?) Praise God for 100 more babies being born!!!

Here's my issue: where are we when those babies are actually born? We fight so intentionally and aggressively to allow them to live, but when they're born, where are we? Everyone has seen those befuddled faces in a congregation when a visitor shows up with a baby without a ring on her finger. People become bum-fuzzled and don't know what to do (it gets even worse when people think they may be in the presence of a gay man). Well, friends, that child is the one you saved by standing outside of planned parenthood - welcome he or she into the fold! Why don't we take it upon ourselves to make sure they have a safe living environment, health care, child care if necessary, education, a secure church home? We want them so badly to live, but then we don't follow through with their quality of life. And by the way, none of this has to be political. No matter who is in the White House, there's only one Man on the Throne and he taught compassion, love, forgiveness, reconciliation, and loving your neighbor as yourself. So then, where are these things? Where are our acts of mercy?

How many churches support orphans or unwed mothers in their own communities, not just those on the other side of the world? If you can't love the neighbors you have seen and touched, how can you love those you've never met? (Check out I John) How many churches have prison ministries? How many churches reach out to the gay community without an agenda? How many churches have ministries to aides victims? How many churches decide to learn a different language so they can communicate with their community instead of complaining about how their community can't communicate with them? How many churches spend countless hours brainstorming about how their five year strategic plan needs to include joining the global fight against human trafficking? (Seriously, you who sit on church leadership boards, have you had that conversation yet?)  Some do, absolutely! They are out there! But, in general, is the church, or your church, or my church known for these things? Are we known for our acts of mercy? If not, shouldn't we be?

I truly believe that any group of people are not judged by how they treat the "normal people" among them, but how they treat the least of those among them. It was said of the early church, "Oh, how they love!" We should definitely bring that statement back into legitimacy. And it's not a "we have to" kind of ministry. It's a "we get to" kind of ministry.

If I have any future agenda at my own church, it's to constantly be looking for opportunities to show mercy to those around us. I would be so very, very glad if Holy Cross became known as "the little church who loves." But I'd be even more glad if The Church regained that reputation as well.

I know we're sinners and the good we want to do, we don't do and the bad we don't want to do we keep on doing. (Romans 7) I know that. But that same author also said we have been set free from sin as well and have been freed to become slaves to Christ (All over Romans and many of the epistles). Simultaneously sinner and saint, as it were. So often when we fail, or worse yet, don't even try, we fall back on the "we're sinners" part. Anybody out there want to start giving equal wait to the "saint" part with me? We are both of them after all, right? I know as Lutherans we are scared to death of preaching a type of "works righteousness." I am, too. Acts of mercy don't earn our salvation, but they do tell our neighbor about who our Daddy is. Remember, we're "pushing our lawn mowers" because that's what our Daddy does and we just think He's so dang cool that we want to be just like Him. (If this reference confuses you, check out my very first post.)

Alright, I'll stop blabbering. You get my point. :-)

Peace, ya'll.

Enjoy the three day weekend.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Let the "AMEN" Sound from His People Again!

So, my hubby has his own blog as well. He writes about all kinds of things: missing the existence of record stores, the church's view on gay marriage, our homeless friend, Steve, what it's like being an angry teenager, etc. But this past week he wrote a post about our situation here in Glenwood Springs, Colorado.

You see, he is pastor and I am "pastor's wife" of a very small congregation here in the mountains. We have 30 members on the books, but average only about 18 a Sunday (up from six a Sunday when he first got here). On paper, the church runs out of money in a year.


Nothing left to even keep the lights on.

It's been a struggle.

We live in a small mountain town, so even if the church did grow in numbers, it would be limited growth simply because we live in a valley at 5800 feet with a limited amount of space for people. It's not Orange County or New York.

Past members don't want to come back because of all that happened before Scott got here, and other churches in the area are, for lack of a better term, very "trendy." They have the contemporary praise band and the visual aides and contemporary graphics. They have the coffee bar with coffee from around the world brewed fresh and ready to consume as you walk in. They have sermon series on how to be a better father, mother, child, student, entrepreneur, you name it. They fly in speakers and hold workshops and do mass mailings to attract even more people to their congregation. They have hundreds in worship on Sunday mornings, not 10-30.

I have to be honest in that I grew up in a very large congregation with many resources and talented, gifted people. I come from a tradition of excellent music in worship (both contemporary and traditional), with choir concerts with live orchestras and handbells and adult choirs and children's choirs and connections with the local University and a fully double graded elementary school with called workers and a counseling center and the list just goes on...

...and I thought for a really long time that, that was the "right" way to do ministry.

I don't feel that way anymore.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not at all about to bash the church I grew up in or somehow condemn them. I am so happy they have the gifts and resources they do. It makes worship incredibly uplifting. It offers opportunities for people to come together and thank God for His goodness. That's not where I'm going with this.

Here's where I am going with this:

Scott and I have no guarantee that a year from now either one of us will have a source of income. We have no guarantee we'll be able to make our mortgage payments, student loan payments, car payments, insurance payments, and the list goes on (like everyone else). We have no guarantee of security, and yet, we are not afraid. Nervous? Anxious? Absolutely. But afraid? No.

Sometimes the greatest thing God can let His people do is to lose everything. When we have nothing else to find our hope, comfort, or security in, we find ourselves in a place where we realize we need God because no one and nothing else can help us. We call on Him in our day of trouble, and He hears us. When we are weak, then we are strong. God calls things that are not, as though they are.

A year from now, we may need to sell the house we just bought and all the contents therein. We may need to live in Scott's office at the church or live in our tent at a camp ground to have a place to stay (don't worry, we've learned well from Steve, so we'll be more than okay). We may need to sell our cars, computers, and anything else we can think of. We may need to sell the property these people have worshipped on for over 50 years and have church in someone's home. Scott may need to become a worker-priest and have one full time job and one full time call. We're ready for whatever is coming. And, again, we're not afraid.

You see, if I'm really being honest, all of these "bottom of the barrel" options used to be "beneath" me. I'd used to think "how embarrassing" or "what would my friends and family think if we did that?" I thought that these kinds of situations would reflect only failure on the part of the pastor and would be something to be ashamed of.

I don't think that way anymore.

I remember my first Good Friday service here. There were like 5 people in church, we sang to a recording, and our lights can't gradually fade or flicker, so we were either sitting in entire light or entire darkness. The theatrical, big-church girl in me was bursting inside with thoughts of "how it should be done" and "oh the potential for this and that" and all that stuff. I was always thinking of how we could make it "better."

This past Good Friday service, there were more people in church, but not many more, and it was very similar to the previous year's service.


I loved it. I was moved. I cried. It wasn't because we had live music - because we didn't have live music. It wasn't because it was a packed church - because it certainly wasn't a packed church. It wasn't because we installed a new, updated lighting system that allowed us to dim the lights every time we removed a candle from the altar - because we still have the lighting system that is original to the building. I was moved because in that year of time I stopped looking at what wasn't there and started looking at what was there: a faithful remnant coming together to remember their Lord's death.

We have this elderly couple in our church - he has cancer and she's on oxygen. Every Sunday they help each other out of the car, up the stairs, and into the sanctuary. When they go up for communion, we have another member who faithfully waits for them at the bottom of the altar so she can help them with the one step they need to climb to get to the communion rail. We have a family of three who have been our church's faithful musicians for God knows how long by pressing "play" and "pause" and "stop" on their ipod so we have music to sing along to. We have this incredible woman who bakes the most delicious everything you can think of from scratch and brings something for the congregation every Sunday to enjoy during bible study. She also cuts her own roses from her garden to make arrangements for our altar. We have people who fix windows and door hinges just because they can, people who mow the lawn because it needs to be mowed, and people who refused to leave their congregation even when it seemed like it was the smartest decision to make.

We have a faithful remnant.

We're all quirky and weird and loud and small and full of history and sin and grace and hatred and love. And yet, we come, just as we are, week after week, and day after day. We are stripped to the core. We have nothing fancy to distract and entertain you with, no musician to make your heart swell.  Instead we have 20ish people singing louder and louder every week with one voice to the simple recorded music played on a sound system about ready to blow.

We're potentially looking at what could be the end of something, but what also could be just the beginning of something else entirely. We're trying to be faithful to the call of Christ. That doesn't always look or sound attractive - and it very well may change every single aspect of our lives - but being broken, being beggars, and needing a Savior is a great place to be.

It reminds me of the final verse to "Praise to the Lord, The Almighty."

Praise to the Lord, O let all that is in me adore Him
All that hath life and breath
Come now with praises before Him
Let the 'amen' sound from His people again
Gladly forever adore Him!

We're small and we're broke. But we're still His people and we're still sounding the "Amen!" Come and see us in a year - we'll be here.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Tell It To Go To Hell

I went hunting through some old thoughts I had written down. This is from nearly five years ago. I can't exactly remember what was wrong, but I do remember the moment in my hallway...

We’ve all seen it – those old war movies where the battle is raging, people are dying, intense, heart felt music is sweeping our emotions into a frenzy, the camera pans over to the general leading the charge, a moment of sincere thought is captured upon his face, and then he bellows the words of defeat, “Retreat!” Suddenly horns and trumpets are sounding, trying to get the signal out to everyone in the brigade to fall back and find safety somewhere.. so they do.. and leave their dead on the bloodied field of battle.. and run away in a scurried panic as they long for sanctuary.. and this is all a metaphor for life, no?

I don’t know about y’all, but I’m ready to shout, “Retreat!” in my own life right now. I want to run and bury my face in a rabbit hole or maybe just completely fall of the face of the earth entirely and be forgotten for a moment. Not to be noticed. To feel a sense of escape. To literally not exist just for a little while. Ever felt that way before?

Sometimes the absolute ridiculous nature of what life throws at us can make us want to be done. To be finished. To literally say, “to hell with it all” and then just keep walking. And, my friends, today that is exactly what I propose we do. I propose that we stare in the face of the crap, the confusion, the hurt, the waiting, the insecurity, the lack of direction, the hopelessness and we tell all of it to go to hell. Because that’s where it belongs. The things of this world are mere distractions to keep us from focusing on the One who went to hell for us, looked Satan in the face, and said, “You can’t have them. They’re mine.”

As I came home from church today, I was ready to find a hole to dive into. But then the sweetest and yet most painful words came to my mind, “Becca, I did not give you a spirit of timidity, but of power.” 

Damn it! 

He’s right. 

He’s always right. 

And so literally in the middle of my hallway, I remembered myself. I remembered who I am and what I’m about, and that yes – it hurts right now. There are unanswered prayers and questions. And yes, it seems like there is no direction or plan, but Becca, you walk by faith, not by sight. So, yes, sweetheart, look at everything that burdens you, that worries you, that hurts you, that confuses you – everything you have that cannot be solved by thinking too much about it – and tell it to go to hell. 


Keep your eyes up and keep walking.

So yes, life, love – all of it – can be a battlefield (southpark reference anyone?). And sometimes we will retreat, badly injured - because if we stay, we’ll die - but here’s the thing – in the movies, those who retreated lived to fight another day. And in MY movie, they may lose the battle, but they win the war – because I know the director personally, and I know He intends victory for me. :) *cheesiness* 

So, forgetting what is behind me, I will press on towards the goal for which Christ has called me heavenward; I will run my race with perseverance, but I really hope you’re running with me – because I’m going to need your help and encouragement, and you’re going to need mine. Because we’re all one big messed up family in this Body of Christ.. and we need each other. And you know what? That ain’t so bad.

So if any of this even made sense.. hold tight, hang in there, keep your eyes up, and keep walking.. for the God of the Universe goes before us to prepare our way...


When I wrote that, I had no idea where life was going. Presently, I cannot explain how grateful I am for what the Lord has given me. I don't expect serenity and calm forever and ever, but I am no longer afraid of what may come in life. Jesus reigns. Bring it. 

All the Single Ladies! (All the Single Ladies!)

So, I was at a friend's house last night and we were channel surfing the deep catacombs of late night TV when we fell upon a show about being a teenage mother. Here are all these young women in relationships with idiots. Sorry, that's as generous as I can be. These men have had children with these young women and refuse to pay for them, help out, or be there for their birthdays. Seriously? WTF is the best I can do here.

Now, if you think I'm about to go off in a "blame the men; all men are jerks" direction, well, you're wrong. It's time to address the ladies.

Women: Do you know how precious you are?! Do you know how dearly loved you are?! Do you know you are the most valuable thing on this earth? That God Himself ended all creation with YOU, and then created no more because FINALLY creation became "VERY GOOD" and not just "Good."? You have been made royalty by the blood of Christ Jesus himself. You are Queens and Princesses - and that's a fact, not an analogy or metaphor - because GOD HIMSELF has said it is so.

I know, I know.. "but if I stick up for what I believe in, or ask to be treated a certain way, people call me a bitch. And that hurts."

"But if I don't, he won't love me anymore.. and I need to be loved. Because not being loved is scary. I don't want to be alone."

"If I'm not with someone, even someone who's not that good to me, then there's something wrong with me. Why else would I be alone?"

"Sex isn't a big deal. Everybody has it. Besides, that's when he's the sweetest to me. And we're gonna get married, so it's okay."

"I feel like I can change him. I feel like God is calling me to help him see the light."

"If I walk away, what happens? Will anyone ever love me again? Is this my only chance at finding someone to share my life with?"

"I have spent so much time, effort, blood, sweat, tears, and my own money in this relationship. If I leave, I have to admit to myself that I knew from the very beginning it wasn't love."
My dear, sweet, beloved sisters in Christ: Jesus said that the man is the head of the woman just as Christ is head of the church. And what did Christ do for the church? He gave up His life for her, so that they could be reunited forever. THAT is God's definition of a man. How could you not LOVE that man?? You are worth waiting for THAT type of man - because they ARE out there. Yes, even cute ones. Not all good men are ugly or nerdy or socially awkward.

Has the man in your life given his life up for you? Let's get specific: is he patient with you or does he get angry when you disagree? Is he capable of sincerely apologizing? Does he protect you.. even from his own family and friends? Does he talk down to you? When you go out, does he make you feel like a burden? Does he like to help people or complain about people? Is he proactive, or does he claim to always be the victim? Does he respect your wishes or requests? Are the things that are important to you (family, friends, job, hobby, religion, taking care of ailing parents, etc.) important to him? Does he make YOU a priority? When you go out, how many times has he paid for you? Does it bother him when you pay for him? Does he insist upon providing for you, or insist you provide for him? (I'm totally aware of people's different financial situations, but you get my point.) Does he insult you or does he encourage you and build you up? Has he ever asked you to leave everything that is important to you without first offering to do the same on his end? How do you feel when you're with him? Peaceful? Calm? Nervous? Anxious? Loved and cherished? Like you're an obligation rather than a blessing? Does he allow you to be who you are and encourage that growth, or does he get frustrated and defensive when who you are challenges him? Does he treat you like the greatest gift he's ever received, or like he could take or leave you?

Sisters, it's okay to expect to be treated with dignity and respect.. in fact, it's the RIGHT way to treat yourself. Have standards. Turn down those who do not meet them. Say no - it will be okay. I know you want to be loved. I know you want to be cherished. I know you want to wake up every morning to a man you can't imagine living without. I wanted those things, too. But our fear of being alone cannot dictate the men we choose to occupy our time with.

You will find as you begin to expect different things from men, you will get them. And if you don't, the man will leave because he won't want to work that hard, be that honorable, sacrifice that much, etc. And that is a reflection upon HIM, not YOU. When that happens, thank God that He simply made the path a little clearer for the right guy to walk down.

Now, I'm not saying men and women aren't equal, or that women can't provide for themselves, or that all men are dogs - because they're not. I cannot stress enough that there are FANTASTIC men out there! I'm just saying that if you're 16 and pregnant and the father of your child doesn't want to help with anything, he's not one of them. All people make mistakes or encounter events that they never imagined would happen to them.. you're not going to find any condemnation or judgement from me on those matters. Lord knows, I'm guilty of just as many mistakes. Let's just speak the TRUTH to each other!

Me and my hubby hiking up Shrine mountain.
Look at it, my friends.
Look at it. 

I have been married for one year to a true MAN. This man loves how I look without makeup more than how I look with makeup. He opens my doors, goes ahead of me on shaky ground, speaks highly of me to his friends and family, and protects me because I am his wife and he needs no other reason. He looks forward to the day I'm big, fat and pregnant so he can talk to my belly. He appreciates what I do for him at home and at work. He doesn't see "his" life and "her" life, he sees "our" life. He flew to California to meet my whole family at once and ask my father for my hand in marriage. He is generous with me. He listens to me. When he doesn't understand, yes, he gets frustrated, but he always comes back and tries again. He thinks I'm smarter than he is. He honors me. He makes up silly songs about me to sing to me in the morning to help get me out of bed. He would swim the seven seas if I asked him to. He serves other people and recognizes the importance of doing so. He supports me in my new adventures (like blogging and becoming organic and crunchy) and is definitely my biggest fan. He prays with me every night before we fall asleep. And I can say, hailing from Yonkers, New York, if anyone tried to "mess" with me, it would take 50+ guys to hold him back and keep him from setting them straight. My six foot three, random, book reading, hiking loving, socially unique, New York Hardcore Kid, homeless people-loving man has made me feel more like a woman than I ever did before. And, ladies, it is not hard AT ALL to love him and all his quirks because I know I am his. He daily lays down his life for mine - without flinching. 





Ladies, if you're not being loved the way you deserve to be loved, leave now. It will hurt and be scary for a little while, but you will never regret it.

Be the beautiful creation God made you to be and wait for the absolutely breathtaking and truly loving, life-laying down men that ARE out there. It will be worth it.

You ARE beautiful. You ARE precious. You ARE smart. You ARE kind. You ARE valuable. You ARE worthy. You ARE supposed to be treasured. 






Anyone telling you anything else is lying.

Hang on to Your Brothers and Sisters and Look at Bugsby


Oh, Sarah. 

Sarah is the type of girl who by her own amazingness makes you proud to also be a girl. She's incredibly intelligent, honest, quirky, weird, cute, organized, capable, and just downright inspiring. Sarah is in real life what I dream about being in my fantasy world.  Sarah pretty much kicks butt.

Growing up, her father was the mayor of their small town in Wisconsin, so his schedule varied from week to week as to how busy he was. Her mother was a doctor who pretty much had the same type of scheduling. Sometimes it was busy, sometimes it wasn't. 

Because of this, her parents got to spend a considerable amount of time with she and her two siblings. They were a very connected family. One of her prize possessions was a little bear her parents bought for her. She named him "Bugsby". When they gave it to her they said, "Whenever you see Bugsby remember how much we love you and that we always will."

Well, one winter her parents had to go away for a few days and she and her siblings stayed with some friends in town. Sarah missed her parents terribly, but wanted to put on a brave face for her siblings, so she didn't let on to her suffering. When her parents called to check in on them, she got on the phone, had a pleasant conversation with both of them (trying to be very brave), and then, at the very end, choking back her tears, she finally said, "I miss you, Mommy."

Her mother became emotional at the sound of her little girl revealing her true feelings. She composed herself, thought for a moment and then said, "Put down the phone and go get Bugsby." Sarah did as she was told. She came back, Bugsby in tow and picked up the phone again. 

"Okay, I have him." she said.

"Okay. Do you remember what Daddy and I said when we gave Bugsby to you?"


"We told you to look at Bugsby and remember how much we love you and that we will always love you. Now, Daddy and I are gone for a little bit, but we're coming back. And until we do I want you to hang on to your brothers and sisters and look at Bugsby, okay?"


"Alright, baby. Momma loves you."

"I love you, too, Momma." 

It's a precious story, but I have to admit I think there is so much more going on there than a simple parent/child anecdote. 

There is a cry deep, deep within the soul of a person. A cry that cannot be explained, written about, blogged about, or even prayed away. It's a cry for comfort. It's a cry for mercy. It's a cry for justice; a cry yearning for the only person who can do something about it to DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. It's a cry for protection. It's a cry of desperation. It's really the most honest cry I can think of because it admits that there's nothing we can do to save ourselves, protect ourselves, or provide for ourselves. It's simply a cry of "please."

You know what I'm talking about because your soul has cried that way before, too. 

There are times in this life when we shall suffer. We will miss. We will long-for. We will ache for. We will regret. We will wonder. We will wonder, "why?" We will be angry. We will feel helpless. We will be helpless. We will never be the same again. 

You know what I'm talking about.

Honestly? This is the best I've got:

In these moments, I think Sarah's mom was on to something. I think she told her daughter exactly what Yahweh tells us, "Hang on to your brothers and sisters and look at Bugsby - look at Jesus. Look at the cross. Look at the empty tomb. Hang on. He's coming." 

Hang on. 

He's coming. 


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast

"Jesus replied, "What is impossible with men is possible with God.'" - Luke 18:27

I see Christ imagery everywhere. Many people in my life call this an over-active imagination, or that I stretch something to mean or look like something that it doesn't, but I'm okay with that. :-) I like seeing Jesus everywhere.

A while ago my sister wanted to go see the new "Alice in Wonderland" film by Tim Burton. Now, I'm always up for a movie, so we called a few more people and went to the show. If you're not familiar with the new film, it's kinda like a sequel to the original story. In this film Alice is going back to Wonderland to fulfill their ancient "Frabjous Day" prophecy.. only she doesn't realize it's not a dream. She thinks wonderland is this dream she's been having since she was little.

The film continues on, and she finds herself encountering the same characters she did once before when she journeyed there as a child. And the funny thing is, only the white rabbit and the Mad Hatter are certain that she's the same Alice as before - the rest of the characters don't believe it's the same girl. They don't recognize her. She seems somehow "less" than before. In fact, the Hatter looks right at her and says, "You've lost your muchness. You aren't as much as you were before."

So, the whole plot is Alice denying that she's the girl prophesied about on the scroll and her running away from her "calling" if you will. Finally, on the night before the big battle between she and the Jabberwocky, she realizes that this world IS real and that she is a crucial part of it. Then there's this great shot of her riding into frame on the back of the Bandersnatch, wearing brilliant armor and carrying the Vorpal Sword (armor of God, anyone??).

Now, as a child, she and her father would sit and talk about impossible things. In fact, it was their custom to try and think of six impossible things before breakfast - and then set out to accomplish them. So, as she takes the battlefield and is staring the Jabberwocky in the face, she speaks to herself, "Come on, Alice. Think of six impossible things." And as she begins to do battle, she comes up with five impossible things, the sixth being a very powerful and defiant, "I can slay the Jabberwocky." The music swells, the battle rages, and sure enough, she slays the Jabberwocky in true dramatic style. Well done, Tim Burton.

Brothers and sisters, we have a God who makes the impossible, possible. He causes a virgin to be with child. He causes the deaf to hear and the blind to see. He calms the wind and the waves with His words. He changes water into wine. He feeds thousands of people with barely any food! He raises the dead, dies and rises on the third day, and even makes it possible for sinners to live with Yahweh eternally. Nothing is impossible with God.

Beloved, this is not just a poetic device - this is true. Whatever your Jabberwocky may be, He will slay it for you. He may slay it now, or He may slay it in the life to come, but make no mistake, it's going to happen. I know that can almost be scary to hear. I think we tend to spiritualize Yahweh's promises to us because it helps us cope with our current reality. When we're in pain, confusion, angst, feeling lost - it's difficult to put our hope in anything that might disappoint us because we feel like we can't take anymore discouragement. Jesus knows this. He understands. 

At one point in His ministry, Christ came upon a widow in a town called Nain. She had just lost her son - her only son - and was broken hearted about it. The text in Luke 7 says "When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, "Don't cry."' In the Greek, "his heart went out to her" could be more literally translated as "he was hit in the gut with emotion." He looked at this woman's pain and it socked Him in the stomach with sadness. So, how does He respond? He walks up to the coffin carrying the dead son and tells him to get up. He raises the dead son and gives him back to his mother. 


Take that, Death!
When you are in pain, our Lord is socked in the stomach with emotion for you, but it doesn't end there! He not only feels for you, He does something about it. He heals you. He frees you. He saves you. He brings you back from the dead. He slays your Jabberwocky.

The world would tell us that faith is impossible; hope is impossible; healing is impossible. But NOTHING is impossible with Yahweh. You can hope in that, believe in that, remain in that, find rest in that. Our hope in Christ does not disappoint us. So you get to thinking about six impossible things before breakfast everyday - and then sit back and watch what Yahweh does with them. Christ told His disciples they would do even greater things than Him - and that includes you and me.

The impossible has been made possible through the very blood of Christ. 

Take heart. 

He's slaying your Jabberwocky, both now and forevermore. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Keeping Pushing Your Lawn Mower

"Pushing a lawn mower."

Yup, that's my URL thingamajig for this blog.

I had a great theology professor in grad school who used to live in Austin, Texas. One fine, 104 degree, 1000% humidity summer day he arrived at home and pulled his car into his driveway. Upon exiting, he turned and noticed his neighbor mowing his lawn in the very heat of the day. He began to think to himself about how hot and uncomfortable his neighbor must be, doing such a chore in the extreme heat, when his neighbor mowed all the way to the bottom of his property and turned, revealing his little son following right behind him pushing his own tricked-out toy lawn mower right behind and just like his daddy. My professor stopped and thought to himself, "That's it, right there."

That little boy was happy to be out in the monstrous heat "mowing" the lawn simply because his daddy was doing it first - and he wants to be just like his daddy.

Faith in Jesus is incredibly foolish. It's stupid, really. It causes you to do things like make friends with crazy, homeless people (I'll post pictures soon) and have them stay with you at your house as a member of the family. It causes you to believe that impossible things are possible (like rebuilding a church that runs out of money in a year). It causes you to love people who have hurt you, slandered you, and picked on you just for sport. It causes you to look at your ever dwindling bank account and have no fear. Faith in Jesus causes you to look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come in such a way as to say to the world that you expect it to happen - and you don't flinch in surprise when it does. Faith in Jesus causes you to meet Death and yet declare victory.

So, why do we act that way? Why do we make fools of ourselves and believe unbelievable things? Why do we give ten percent of our income to a church that looks like it's dying? Why do we let that homeless guy smell up the bed in our house and eat our food and cost us money? Why don't we tell that  whore to please go to someone else's church? Why in the world do we continue to listen to that pathetic liar time and time again? Why the heck do we mow the lawn in 104 degree weather when we could be inside the air-conditioned house sipping homemade lemonade???

We do it because our Daddy did it first - and we can't help but want to be just like Him. We love because He first loved us.

So here's to our Daddy. May we continue to be more and more like Him everyday, even when it makes us look stupid.