Wednesday, February 29, 2012

the responsibility

i am currently reading a book entitled christianity and liberalism. the book offers a clear picture of the ideas that are beginning to form in the modern church, and even our current state of "church". this book was written in 1921 by j. gresham machen. even in that day there were men who recognized a shifting tide in the doctrine of what previous centuries had always been made a standard of the local church. he speaks to this shift and calls it "modern liberalism." it has taken me a while to get through it because i have been actively engaged in it while highlighting to be sure and not miss out on revelation. here is one of the most recent highlights that struck a chord in my heart:

the christian way of salvation is narrow only so long as the church chooses to let it remain narrow. the name of jesus is strangely adapted to men of every race and of every kind of previous education. and the church has ample means, with promise of god's spirit, to bring the name of jesus to all. if therefore, this name of salvation is not offered to all, it is not the fault of salvation itself, but the fault of those who fail to use the means that god has placed in their hands.

i think this struck me so hard because i am living in a country where christianity has painted the landscape so many times, the canvas is completely raw and beginning to tear (if not already torn). it has been preached and preached again. the pervasive spirit of the anti-christ has made a rubble of the divine marriage. certainly this is not the case amongst all the communities of faith. i love that god has entrusted me with a responsibility that runs deeper than my immediate family and it overflows into the community. like a pot that is filled to the brim with the cleansing and rejuvenating water of the word his spirit boils me causing it to splash all around me.

get filled with the word

pray with fervency for the spirit to boil your pot

splash on your community the riches of the personal impression the most personal god has given you

Monday, February 27, 2012

i need my mommy

this has been two weeks where i wish i had my mom around. most definitely one of the biggest perks of having family close to where you live is the occasions where the primary caregivers (liz and myself) are not at their most optimal level and passing them off to another trusted member of the extended family is a sure relief...everytime. even so, my family is better than that. they would change plans 5 minutes before anything just so that i could drop my children off for whatever reason i needed.

titus has been sick the last month or so which we recently found a new tooth so some of the infirmity is due to the whole biology of getting a new tooth for children (fevers, runny noses, and those little nuances that accompany whiney children). for some strange reason a head cold thought it best to make a grand appearance as well. so we have a 2 year old who is spending a good 4 hours a night, in total, hacking a lung up, whining about the snot that is pouring from his nasal cavity, and absolutely relentless in wanting mommy to sleep in his bed with him. because i am such a great husband i have given up my side of the bed to this little ball of bacteria. this allows liz to, at least, get sleep in the comfort of her own bed. otherwise, she is sharing a bed with a thrashing, snot nosed, lung hacking, 101 fevered chunk on a bed no wider than a brief case. me?...i am on the couch. and i want MY mommy!!!

dutch, he has been a perfect angel. it seems when he is sick it usually consists of him doing ab-so-lute-ly NOTHING. he just sits on the couch and watches movies. this is great in my opinion. he doesn't whine, he doesn't throw fits about his nose, he falls asleep randomly but the only bad thing is he will not take medicine, of ANY kind. he too has been sick this last week. coughing in the middle of the night and a few days with fevers off and on. he is most definitely my favorite to take care of when he is sick. last week he was on holiday from school but had to spend a few days home doing nothing because he was sick. i don't need my mommy as bad when i am dealing with dutch.

liz, besides being pregnant, is suffering for jesus in a 9-5 job. except the equivalency of her 9-5 is 7am-6.30pm (public transportation). but as of the last few days she too has come down with something. today she is running a fever and her body is aching. all this after a massive cleaning weekend. she diligently cleaned the apt. i would have helped but had an explosive ministry weekend (friday speaking engagement, saturday all day prep for explosion gathering, sunday morning helping lead worship at the local church and afternoon 9th hr staff mtg). what this girl really needs is a night out on the town with yours truly. and for a night on the town...i need my mommy (thanks to my best friend al, i can substitute her for this weekend).

even as i write this i know that if my mom had the funds she would have been here last week. i would even put money on her applying for citizenship behind my back just to be close right this very second. i could never be as good a mother as she is. but for some strange reason i am forced, at this particular moment in my existence, to try and fulfill that role in my family.

if only i felt the release to share my most intimate feelings about the last month in my house. maybe one day you will be able to peruse through my personal journal without me knowing, or maybe my son will get a hold of it during his teenage years and post them on facebook as a way to get back at me. all in all i am walking in a great awareness of the lords patience. even when i have my words with him in the middle of the night as titus sounds like his throat is spewing out a hairball. i always think of that scene in the movie the apostle when he is frustrated and angry at the lord. i have had those very sessions (usually with tears) this month quite frequently. but i always, ALWAYS have a peace after those moments. i have never been frustrated, angry, or disappointed while talking with the lord and then not have his spirit comfort me the rest of the day. just so we are clear though, i am every bit as unyielding with what pertains to my selfishness and pride as i am to what i ask god to do for my circumstances. i hope that the prayers of the saints can be more willing for god to change their perspective/attitude than they would want him to change their circumstances. i am incredibly selfish and so much of my need is god changing my perspective.

just a thought for the month of love.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

the dutchman

it is really bittersweet. your offspring growing exactly the way they should and yet you don't want them growing too fast. i guess it is a desire i have to see that his innocence is not lost. dutch is getting so mature and independent. he is learning so much so quickly and his expressions are becoming more and more grown-up like. he is imitating characters he sees on movies and when he plays with his toys he role-plays while acting out scenarios. his french vocabulary is growing and progressing rapidly. consequently, he has been teaching titus a few words, which now titus is using quite regularly. he wants to do the dishes and make pancakes...though not in that order. every time we go to school he is ready to take on the class and won't cling to my leg like he used to at the beginning last year. he is like a train (which he would ride all day long if we let him) on a one way track to adulthood.

i think i see a teacher in him.

i wonder what tomorrow brings?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

throw me a lifeline will you

i love that joke about the guy who is floating along in a lifeboat because his boat had sunk in the middle of the ocean and he is asking god to rescue him. have you heard this one? he asks god to help him, well, low-and-behold a ship comes by, a cruise liner with tons of room, and the lone stranded captain of the lifeboat says, "no thanks, god will save me." another ship comes sailing along, this one an oil tanker, and the man again says, "no thanks, my god is big enough to save me." the man prays again, "lord save me from this circumstance." another boat comes cruising by, this one a cargo ship, and the man says again, "no thank you, my faith tells me that god will supply my need of rescuing." well, the guy drowns. i know sad story. he goes to heaven and is frustrated with god and asks him, "why didn't you save me, i prayed and prayed for rescue?!?!" gods response is simply, "you dummy i sent three large vessels to go by you and you didn't get on any of them!"

i am sure god wouldn't call anyone a dummy whatever the case. but i like this joke because it describes me far too often. maybe that is why i think about it more than most jokes. i am definitely the kind of person that will not ask for help and then get mad at you for not helping.

here is the logic in my head:

you should notice the need before i should have to ask.

this gets me into trouble because it shows that i am really wanting people to pay attention to me more than they should. i like to think that i watch out for others needs and that i attend to them even if they don't ask. but the truth is i don't pay attention as much as i think i do. many times i feel like i am stretching far more than anyone else is and especially when i am without everyday commodities that others have taken for granted. part of me takes pride in a "suffering for jesus" kind of mentality; and there it is again, that word, "pride." it is really hard to take pride in suffering for jesus if no one will notice how hard i am suffering. all that to say thank you lord for continuing to teach me humility because no one should be impressed with my suffering for your names sake.

all of this leads to a grumbling and complaining spirit. comparing what you have to others and possibly exhibiting jealous outbursts. you may still be able to get things done but not as quickly nor with the same amount of fervor as if you had just let god do what god does instead of trying to play god yourself. if this ideology is in your worldview then it really messes with you. when encountering others who genuinely struggle with generosity your worldview of you should know my needs will really not blend well with that individual.

and we begin to ask...
where is my provision,
where is my break through,
where is my blessing and ultimately
where is my JUSTICE?

uh-oh, justice, JUSTICE!?!?!? yes this has been my deduction. i am looking forward to teaching my son fairness/justice. i think he is getting it and who knows maybe i won't have to teach him that lesson. but ultimately i have to look at "the word" and because i am a sinner what i deserve is hell. thank god i don't have to receive that. so with everything else that pertains to what god gives and what he is providing, i must look and measure, according to the cross of christ, my actions and not the deeds of others.

my conclusion is that i have freely been given, therefore too i must freely give away. the measure of generosity received is proportionate to the generosity given. this is just one more of those axioms that seem to clash with how the real world operates. jesus was constantly asking and doing, i might add most sublimely, what he saw as an exact demonstration and operation of the kingdom of heaven. but this should not be of any surprise because he is the radiance of his glory and the exact representation of his nature (hebrews 1:3).

finally brethren rejoice, be made complete, be comforted, be like-minded, live in peace; and the god of love and peace shall be with you (2 cor. 13:11).

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

this was the year...

i am trying to find this balance. i like balance, i think it is healthy, i see balance in some of the most fundamental elements of creation and humanity in general. obviously there is a steady dose of imbalance; the daily news presents that message quite clear. but i am trying to look past that, consequently, looking past the loudest message (which is not always god) is an ever important task of walking according to the spirit. the created order, however, does illustrate a brilliant picture of balance according to our heavenly father: just enough light, just enough darkness; just enough oxygen, just enough carbon dioxide; just enough acid, just enough alkali; just enough regularity to make life somewhat predictable, just enough surprises to make life unpredictable. "in this way, god makes a unique environment in which each one of us is ideally capable of making the spiritual progress each of us is called to make" (bread and water, wine and oil). it is a my grace is sufficient kind of mentality.

my worldview has been shaped with this idea that i have to look outside myself for answers to certain questions. my experience is limited, so i ask someone else, older and wiser, but likewise, their experience is also limited; better than mine but still limited. i need the authority of the word of god in my life.

conventional wisdom is a teacher and lectures me on many things: don't touch the stove, dress appropriately for weddings, don't drink red bull at 9pm when i should be winding down. conventional wisdom instructs more on the bigger issues of life as well: don't marry a witch, teach my children the concept of sharing and giving, etc.

so with conventional wisdom is their a balance? i guess more so along the lines of conventional wisdom and faith. are these two things going to line up always? are they mutually exclusive? i struggle sometimes with the balance of conventional wisdom and faith. my mind wants to separate them. not that i will make them enemies of each other but i will struggle at times to decide whether a certain decision is wisdom, faith, or just plain lunacy. because wisdom tells me that right now is not a good time to venture into the borders of iran. it would take an incredible amount of faith to go. and reading the great testimonies of our biblical heroes sometimes doesn't help either. but then i come to a part where a man who, while in captivity, will not defile himself with the kings choice foods and as a consequence, he flourishes; testifying to wisdom and faith in harmony.

around this time last year, liz and i received the news, from her body, that she was pregnant. it was shocking, surprising, and a little scary. we certainly did not plan on getting pregnant, it just happened. a few weeks later we realized she must have had a miscarriage because again, her body told us. my spirit at that time, in all honesty had a sigh of relief. i wasn't ready to do the parent thing again. i kind of feel bad for even saying that i had a sigh of relief. well a few weeks ago her body spoke up again...she right now is 12 weeks pregnant!

well, when liz told me i could tell she was a little excited about this. me?...well, i am ok now but it is stretching me. and here is why...

this was the year we would be potty training titus and no more diapers (parents know this landmark is monumental)

this was the year both of them would start school and the house would be empty

this was the year my work day would be open for me to start pursuing and building projects within ministry

this was the year my wife was going to finally be free from a 9-5 job and be by my side IN the ministry daily

this was the year the ministry we had envisioned before we moved would take a clearer form

i am not at all upset about a child, having to love something else, or the gift of a life. these things don't shake me. in fact, i am the type of person who is not concerned with introducing a new and unexperienced life into a world that is so teeming with wickedness. that challenge doesn't bother me. the criticism i might receive from those who look at the actual ability to get pregnant and look at the glass half full optimism is not what this is about, so you can save that comment.

we honestly were doing almost everything we could to ensure a pregnancy would not happen. yet despite our efforts to guarantee it wouldn't happen, it did. i know that is not coincidence but god. it's funny because i still feel "this was the year..." and my faith tells me that this year is not over, but my conventional wisdom says something completely different. so, yeah, balance...

Friday, February 3, 2012

a new song in my mouth

i am just now realizing how much guitar playing i am doing.

sunday mornings at christian center



explosion (renaissance)


ravi zacharias event

explosion (explosion band)

when this sort of thing begins to happen, not because i have to as much as i want to, my heart becomes overwhelmed with what the lord has given me and the means he has provided to reach an end. i delight in giving back praise and honor through music to my creator who has given me such talent to begin with.