Monday, November 17, 2014

The Real Reason

My first and only luge trip was quite an adventure! While the story ended with me hitting the ice for a few runs, it began with fear! Quite a bit of it too! High speeds and just having to trust that the track will do its job ... and not kill me in the meantime! It ... was ... fast! Perhaps not as fast as it could have been, as I wasn't exactly showing perfect form, but it was plenty fast enough for me!

At first, I decided that being a spectator would be far more enjoyable than being a participant ... :)

However, after some pressure from friends (and my son!) I managed to find my courage and get to that staircase. As I finally made my way up, I tried not to think too much about it. I laid down on the sled, wondered what in the world I was doing, and pushed off!

What a rush!

I will admit I did have the lingering feeling that I was going to die! Perhaps heart attack, perhaps tumbling around on the ice at 900 mph, or perhaps I was going to launch off the track into the woods and down the hill. Perhaps I was never going to stop; however that managed not to be the case surprisingly enough. Thankfully at that speed the thoughts of death didn't linger too much as I got to the end pretty quickly, and alive to boot!

Fear can stop us from a lot. For me, it would have been an amazing luge experience with my son. For others, the fear can stop us from things far more critical ...
"Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in [Jesus], but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue" (John 12:42 ESV, emphasis added)
Fear kept them away from the Savior of the World. Fear about being put out of the synagogue was driving their decisions. Fear was containing them, restraining them, and paralyzing them.

Powerful indeed ... but in this case, that's really not the true reason.

No? What is then?

Well, just like life I think the real reasons often lie deeper. Fear is a reaction to something, not a cause. I wasn't fearful because the luge was fast ... I was fearful because I wasn't in control.

If you want to know what the real reason is in this passage, you need not look further than the very next verse ...
"for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God." (John 12:43 ESV)
This isn't an issue about church membership, social status, money, or security. It's certainly not about Truth or belief, as that's already been made clear. Additionally, it's not even about fear. It's about something far more profound. Far more damaging. Far more soul destroying.

Pride. Love of self.

It can sneak up on each one of us in an instant. Get alone with God. Examine yourself. Purge that pride at all costs as it's a cancer of the soul ... it goes before destruction ...

In Jesus name, may you and I find freedom from this wicked weapon of the enemy.

Oh sweet Grace ...

Stay strong and true to Him,

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Less, More; More Less?

Just taking a few of my privileges, blessings, and opportunities as an example for a discussion.

  • We have a nice small, warm, and cozy home (complete with a lovely fireplace) in a safe neighborhood. This provides more than enough for our needs.
  • We serve His body at a local church that has strengthened us and helped us bear and share His fruit, individually, as a couple, and as a family.
  • We hold classical season tickets to the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. This provides my wife and I time to connect as a husband and wife to help keep our relationship aflame.
  • I have a job that respects my family life and pays enough to support it and we never struggle with putting food on our table.
  • We have the blessing and opportunity to educate and direct our children, including giving them an opportunity to expand in artistic ways with dance and music.
  • We have a camper to make memories with as a family (our home away from home). This provides us some time to vacation away (affordable) from home and explore more of His amazing creation. Plenty for us as a family to experience this world, grow closer together, and simply pull away to have some "fun".

If all I ever had was that, I should be forever content.

Yet I still have so much more. Other material possessions, opportunities, more hobbies and gadgets than I have time to fully enjoy, reliable vehicles, a basement filled with toys, board games, and other stuff that seems to at times become forgotten. A garage filled with outdoor games, bikes, model rockets, fishing gear, hunting gear, and tools to tinker around the house. I have enough electronic gadgets to make the most focused person struggle with attention deficit issues, and countless other random 'things' ...

These are not bad things. There are just so many of them ...

Then with all these things, what do I sometimes struggle with? Balance. Balancing to find the time to jam all these things into my life. It almost sounds insane.

I don't need more time, more money, or more things to do; I need less things and use my time to focus on them more.

I don't need to impress my children, wife, friends, or even myself with accomplishments, travel check-boxes, impressive gifts, acquiring more things so my kids don't 'get bored', arranging play time, activities, and constant business so that it divides our family. I need to fan into flame a spirit of contentment in me and my family with what we have. Wash them with the Word, love, encouragement, and let them experience in a busy, crazy, and chaotic world that less indeed is more.

It's not about being lazy; hardly. It's about seeking where we are called and investing our time in those things. Enjoy the occasional distraction and getaway, but dive into our gifts, passions, and talents. Share them for His glory, and we will be blessed in return. It's not about devoting hours of our lives a week to our favorite team, show, book series, or video game. If you think it's enjoyable to sit down and watch TV for 3 hours in the evening, I advise you to sit and ponder your gifts, talents, and passion ... find where they intersect and do whatever that ends up being. Then if you give 3 hours to that instead? Wow. Lasting joy with happiness to boot ... you won't miss your show my friend.

Too tired? That's just a lie you are being told keeping you from growth ...

Join me on a journey to simplify and power up our lives with Purpose.


(Side note: I know some of my friends struggle with work in particular. A job that seems to demand 14 hours a day, 6/7 days a week and leaves you utterly exhausted, and this post is almost impossible to shape with your life. However, I wish I could speak into that as well, but alas I can't at this moment. I'd love to chat over coffee and give you my ear. But in the meantime I pray that you find some relief, rest, and time for Him along the way. May it pass soon ... )

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Our Feet Get Dirty

My wife and I were conversing this morning over a passage in John 13 when Jesus washed the disciples' feet. Many conversations have I heard on servitude and humility around this passage. So much is to be seen and learned from this passage. However I was reminded of another Truth when Jesus looked at Simon Peter and said:
“The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean ...” (John 13:10 ESV)
Jesus wasn't having a teachable moment on obvious sanitary practices, but He was and is always teaching for those who have ears to hear. Jesus was not simply informing him ... He was reminding him that he was already transformed.

We stand righteous and blameless before the Creator of the universe; not by our doing, but only through the Blood of Jesus Christ are we made clean.

However ... our feet get dirty.

  • Moments of Anger and Rage
  • Judgmental Words or Thoughts
  • Sexual Sins of so Many Types
  • Greed, Want, and Selfishness
  • Lying, Lust, and Envy
  • Theft, Gossip, Gluttony
  • Apathy ...
The list goes on ... so ... much ... dirt ...

We walk in a world that is no longer our own. We have fled from our father the devil into our Heavenly father's arms, yet we still tread on this earth corrupted by evil. So much of His glory and beauty surrounds us each day, yet it is tainted by sin. So much joy, peace, and a life full of blessing, while at the same time the battle goes on for our souls. 

This gift of life should bring a smile to our face ... but our feet ... get dirty.

This is why salvation comes, and sanctification continues. This is why we come to the cross on our knees, but need to keep finding them daily. We wash in the waters of baptism from death to life, but we walk on the dust of this earth as soon as we rise.

Our feet ... get dirty.

I am simply reminded to come to Him daily and have Him wash my feet. He's already made me clean, may I never doubt that and my salvation. Yet may I never forget how dirty my feet can get walking in this world ... 

Pull up a chair, give Him your feet, and may he prepare you for yet another day in His service.

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