Wednesday, February 10, 2010

June 28, 2008

the nature of goats and the meaning of life

Hey, guys. Sorry I haven't posted in a while. There's been alot going on and it's been hard to find time. It's getting back to normal though.

But anyways. A little aside about myself, if I may. I know my girlfriend better than anyone, (this is what she tells me) and she knows me best, too. At the same time, I don't even pretend to understand her. It's not that she keeps secrets or hides who she is. We tell each other just about everything, I think. Maybe you've heard the comparison to an ant trying to understand humans. They walk around carrying tiny pieces of bread ( I think it's bread) and couldn't possibly understand us. She's a woman and that puts her beyond my capacity to understand. Her complexity and mystery are amazing. I love it! I'll spend the rest of my life getting to know her, not trying to explain her.

God doesn't want us to explain Him with some cold mathematics either. He wants us to know Him. He created us to know Him and love Him; to be known and loved by Him. Did I just answer the "meaning of life" question without so much as an exclamation mark? Basically, yes. We exist to know and love, to be known and loved by God. It sounds too simple, doesn't it? A little hippyish maybe? Let me explain it a little better.

I'm not here to make an argument against aetheism (although I'd love to if anyone wants to start one) so we'll start with God. We have an all wise, all powerful God who created the universe and everything in it. Everything He made works exactly like it was made to work. The sun's gravity holds us at just the right distance, the water supply has cycled for 6000 years without failing, goats never cease to.... okay, I haven't figured out that one yet, but I'm trying not to let it bother me. The point is that God doesn't make mistakes and what He creates is able to do what it was made to do.

What did God make us for? What are we capable of? The defining characteristic of people is that we have a choice whether or not we do the right thing. Planets orbit, water recycles, goat things. They just do. We have choices. We have free will. God didn't make us robots that would always do the right thing. Why do you think that is? He wants us to make the right choices doesn't He? Well, there's one choice in this world that only counts if it's freely chosen. Love. Love is only real if it's given by choice. You can force someone to be nice to you or even marry you, but you can not force someone to love you. In fact, the more you try, the less likely they are to love you.

God doesn't force. He gives us freedom to make the choice we were created to make. God loves you so much! And contrary to popular belief God doesn't love all of us. He loves each of us. It's not a blanket policy. He knows your name. He knows your heart. He watches you sleep at night and He smiles. And He doesn't love you because He has to. A lot of people think that that's true. I used to think that too, I guess. But love only counts if it's given by choice, right? God invented love and any rules that govern it are because that's how God does it. God loves us by choice. That would be easier to believe if there were a few people He didn't love, right? Well, the reason He loves everyone is that He made everyone and He made us for that reason; to love us. Our freedom to choose is the evidence that our purpose is to know and love God and allow His love to effect us.


Saturday, January 30, 2010

July 30, 2008

The Value of Us

Do you know how much the "Mona Lisa" is worth? Davinci's painting is the most popular exibit at the Louvre museum in Paris and it was appraised at $100 million dollars way back in 1962. With inflation that would be about $670 million now. (I don't think she's that pretty. Maybe some people do but she's not my type, I guess.) It's also one of the most duplicated paintings in the world, by art students (besides that bowl of oranges).

I found a store, online, that sells hand painted, full-size reproductions; seven hundred and fifty bucks with free shipping. That's more than I'll be spending on a painting but not exactly $670 million. They're good paintings too! They're not so different from the original. We all understand the difference though, right? The original is valued because it's the original. Not because it has a certificate of authenticity (Sorry, but your beany babies are not the same kind of "original".) but because it was painted by the artist's own hand. That sounds fair to me.

Do you know how much a person is worth? Be completely honest with yourself. Think of three people: one who you like very much, one you barely know, and one you dislike just as much. Which of these people do you think is worth the most? Is it hard to answer that honestly and not feel like a jerk? Does it change things if no one likes the third person? How about if no one really knows the second person? Do you know where people get their value? From the artist who created them. Everyone in the world is valuable because they were created by God Himself.

We are resposible for how we live our lives but none of our choices make us more or less valuable. I'm going to borrow something from existentialist philosophy here.....just the name, I don't really like the rest of it and I could barely stand to read through the Wikipedia entry. Our existence is proof of our value. Let me show you what I mean.

We were created by God. God is all knowing. (He knew how He was making you and no part of you was accidental.) God has full creative power. (If He wanted to make you differently He could have.) That means that God is able to set His standards as high as He wants them and create you to meet those standards. The very fact that you are alive today proves that you are up to the standards of the greatest artist. You are who the artist wanted you to be. That doesn't mean that your actions are what they should be. You make mistakes and you sin (that's on purpose) but who you are is approved by God. He loves who you are! You are valuable.

Look in the mirror and see the value of that person. Now look over your shoulder at all the people around you. They all get their value from the same source.

In "The Weight of Glory" C.S. Lewis said "There are no mere mortals". We're all eternal creations made by the hands of God. Maybe this is a challenge. I guess it's just something to think about and be aware of how you see yourself and others. If you have any thoughts on this feel free to comment, that's why we're here. "

Monday, January 25, 2010

July 13, 2008

Save a Life

Love is nothing, if it's not given. We've said this before, right? It's important, though. If you say you love people, because it's your philosophy of life or your religion, but you don't actually do anything for the people around you then your love has no value. Jesus said that if you see a hungry person, without clothes, and you tell him that you care and you'll pray for him, but you don't give him food or clothing, then you don't really love him.

We start today. We need to reach out to people. It may be someone at work that no one talks to or someone at school that gets laughed at. Maybe it's someone who physically needs something and can't afford it. It starts with little things like eye contact and a few kind words. You'd be amazed what you can do with words. They may be the only good thing someone hears all day. Maybe just a hug or not being scared to touch someone's hand who no one else will touch.

Don't be afraid how someone will react. "Perfect love casts out all fear." Take a risk and care about someone in a relevant way. Do it today, just once. Love fiercely. Save a life.
January 8, 2009

be perfect right now

Did you find that title a little harsh? Unrealistic, maybe? Does anyone even read the titles on these things? Heck, I sure don't.

Just a quick word for you guys. This is something God was telling me on the way home. We talk alot about baby-steps in our culture. There are seven steps to anything; 3 easy payments. In our Christian walk we would all like to be one step closer to who God wants us to be today.

God spoke a different view of it to me. Be perfect today. Be exactly who God wants you to be today. That doesn't mean it may not take time to grow. What it does mean is that we have hope. We CAN be exactly where we are meant to be right now. Do you wanna be closer to God? Don't be a little more like God wants you to be. Be who He wants you to be. Today He wants you to be a child who is growing. The place you find yourself on that path is the perfect place for you today. Seeking, growing, healing. This is the goal today. Today you're growing. If you're moving at God's pace, in God's direction, you are where you need to be.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

January 22, 2009

The truth

We all know what fear feels like. Despair and hopelessness are pretty familiar, too. It's one of the biggest challenges in life. There's a situation in my life right now that's been full of fear and despair. It's not like we invited it in, at least I don't remember doing it. But, we have to remember that this is a war. God asks for an invitation; satan doesn't. So fear comes. Sometimes it comes in an overwhelming rush, something like a huge wave. Other times it's more like a leak in a pipe. It just seeps out behind the walls and rots away at the structure. And it always seems so real. What is it about fear that always feels final? One would expect this to go away when you become a Christian, but it usually gets stronger. We still live in a broken world and now the enemy is mad at us. Turns out the only difference between a walk with God and a walk alone, is knowing the truth. I'm playing with you a little here. It's a big difference.

The lie

Revelation 12:17 tells us that satan is at war with us. We don't really believe Revelation 12:17. Not most days, anyway. We believe that one day satan will be at war with humanity, and we'll try not to get involved. Not today though; this is Wednesday. That's an awefully mundane name for a day that we're fighting the devil. But the fact is that he's at war with us NOW. Every day! Doesn't that make some sense of the days that just feel like a fight? I hope this will help it to make sense of the fear, too. God calls satan the "father of lies"(John 8:44) and prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2. His power is in lies... They are his primary weapon. Most of the fear we feel is a lie! I'm afraid to juggle torches and so should you be. That's not the fear I mean. I'm talking about the sick feeling in your stomach that makes you feel like you have no hope. The kind of fear that first steals your joy and then comes after your future. There's a reason he operates in lies. John 10:28 says that He (God) has given us eternal life and no one will snatch us out of His hand. The devil doesn't usually attack you directly because he can't. If he could kill you he would. The best chance he has to get you out of God's hand is to make you jump out.

The answer

Have you ever watched those shark shows on Discovery? If you have, then you know about the cages. Researchers dive into the water, in a steel cage, in the middle of a school of feeding sharks. I'm guessing they're pretty safe. I get that from the same logic I use to evaluate rollercoasters: If people died often.....I'm sure they'd build the things differently. So we have safe divers in cages. I have to imagine you still feel like you're about to die everytime a shark hits the cage. At least until you've come to trust that it really is protecting you. The kingdom of God is alot like a shark cage. We live in a broken world. In the middle of that broken world there are things and people submitted to the Kingdom (domain of the king) of God. He asks permission, remember? Also, remember that anything in God's hand can't be taken. If you want me, you can try to take me from God. I don't like your chances. The reality of the kingdom of God is that we are safe. Sometimes, what we see is far less real than we think. But the sharks keep hitting the cage, jaws open and hungry. That fear comes in an overwhelming way. Lies are a lot like those sharks. Satan's goal is to get you to leave the cage and swim for the surface; to believe that you are no longer safe where God put you and try to find something safer. We must never forget that fear can't change your safety; only your perception. We have authority to rebuke and bind the thoughts in our heads, and the lies that are being thrown at us. One of the hardest but most rewarding tests of faith is to trust that God is keeping us alive no matter how dead we feel. Bind the lies and the fear in your life. Stay in the cage.
February 11, 2009

freely give

Today I just want to make a simple point from this passage. God revealed something to me here. Maybe it'll be elegant or profound because it's short; certainly because it's God's word. Either way it will be short.

" you go, preach, saying,'The kingdom of heaven is at hand.' Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give." Matthew 10:7-8

Jesus told His disciples what He wanted them to do alongside of Him and carry on doing when He left. Preach, work miracles, and walk in authority as sons and daughters of God. He told His disciples; that's us. However you've understood this verse, make room for something. "Freely you have received, freely give." We have freely received salvation and power from the Spirit of the living God. Freely! What does that mean? It means that God is no respecter of men. He doesn't give to one and withhold from another. God gives these freely to anyone who is willing to receive it. That's how we're expected to give; "freely give". If you think only some people are supposed to move in power, only some people are supposed to pray and intercede for the sick and the broken, only some people are allowed to speak and hear prophetically from God, read this passage again. I challenge your thinking. God challenges your thinking.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

March 7, 2009

the gate of heaven

"And Jacob awakened out of his sleep, and he said, "Surely the Lord is in this place and I knew it not.". Genesis 28:16

We awake out of our sleep and see that God was here all along. We see the purpose of life and the will of God "in this place". If we will open our eyes we will see that His kingdom exists right here, right now.

...." (Jacob) took the stone he had put for his pillow and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil on top of it." Gen. 28:18

The place he had lived his life and laid his head became worship at the altar. When he awoke, the place he had slept and eaten day to day became no less than the "house of God (beth-el) and this is the gate of heaven"(verse 17)

God is waking us up to turn our lives and our worlds into His kingdom. The stones we set down as pillows will be set up as pillars. A change in perspective and an opening of eyes changes everything. Life is turned upside down and the Kingdom of God is poured out "in this place" when we awake out of our sleep.

God bless