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
April 12, 2009


Happy Easter guys. I think this is my favorite holiday. Not the greeting card holiday, but the real meaning. I apologize in advance if you're wrong, but peeps are terrible! Nasty marshmallows aside, the truth of Easter is amazing! Even Christmas is just a set up for what Easter would be. Easter is the resurrection of humanity, the day that Jesus overcame death, the "firstborn among many". As we celebrate the holiday today I just want us to remember one thing: God wants us to be alive, to be okay , to be with Him now and always. It's a day for God to repair us and for us to be restored to our place with Him. If you haven't talked to Him for a long time (or never) make it today. If you're broken, let this be the day you ask God to heal you and really trust Him to.
May 11, 2009

more important things

Trees. Do you know about trees? I'm a big fan. I'm all about saving the trees. I have a box of paper in the car ready to be recycled. Whales are nice too. The thing is, I think we have something a lot more important to be hippies about. I wanna save the kids. I wanna save the hearts. I wanna be a love hippie: love people, plant seeds in their lives, kind words. There are a lot of lonely people in the world, many of whom you would never notice were particularly lonely. Do something that matters to someone's heart today. Just once a day 'til you get better at it. I think the church (anyone who follows Jesus) should be the ones to do this. I think if we want to do the thing that's the most like what Jesus did, this would be it. Be a love hippie; He was. You don't have to hug a stranger (unless you can really tell they need a hug). Be unafraid to look someone in the eye, to say a kind word, to really honestly care about someone and let them know it. It can't be that hard. Where I live, recycling is is love.
May 18, 2009

we ran away from home

Someone told me recently that when you really love someone, fear goes away. You just don't care because it's more important to tell that person what they need to hear. Whether it sounds weird or not, I really do love you guys. So I want to tell you all what I believe is important. If you don't believe the same, I still love you guys. I still want you to come and read blogs and to post comments.

I've been reading a book called "The Shack" which is pretty sweet. I don't know if you've read it or not but it's been reminding me of some things, and, that not everyone knows these things.

No matter where you're at right now, God cares about you. He's not mad. He's always intended that we would actually know Him the same way we know people in our lives and He's been doing everything possible to restore that ever since it was lost. That's what Jesus is all about. That's why God got down on His knees and lived as a human for our sake and lived like the most amazing human that ever lived, but still died like a criminal. He died to bring us back.

It's a little bit like we've run away from home, except that if we had, we would remember the parents we ran away from. We would know what we had run away from. But maybe our parents or our grandparents ran away from God and we don't even remember what He was like. It's time for us to find out who our God is again so we know what He's asking us to come home to. He didn't mess up like our own dad's might have. We just ran away because we were confused and we didn't know what we were giving up. He wants to talk to us and tell us who He is for real and who we are too.

I'd like to know what you guys think about God. What's been your experience. I'm not talking about church, just God.

Monday, January 18, 2010

September 11th

Today is September 11th. For eight years that date has meant something new to us. Today we have unity. Today, with our flags at half-mast, we understand loss. This day also means something else; something about loss. September 11th is World Suicide Prevention Day. This is a day for half-mast flags not only for America but the human race. We've lost so many...we've lost so much. On this day we stand together against suicide. It isn't held back by the borders of stereotypes. You know someone who's been affected by depression and suicide. You probably know many people who have.

There is hope in this world that many people don't know. There is beauty and life and love that's stronger than death. Please remember today that this world needs that love. Please don't assume that someone else will give it. Shine a light in the darkness. Give someone a smile, a hug, a kind word, and speak a prayer for the ones who may not get a kind word today. If you're reading this and you need hope, reach out to someone, drop us a message.

Today is September 11th, and love is stronger than death.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

August 22, 2009

Silky banners

"It's not a religion, it's a relationship." That's a very true statement that's become a catch-phrase for Christians. It's true, but it irritates me. Partly, I'm sure, because it's cliche. Almost any good song goes bad if you hear it on the radio too much. More likely it irritates me because you usually see it on bumper stickers and those silky banners they hang up in church. Jesus marketing 101. It's embarrassing! I'm writing this as much for me as anyone, because it IS true and belongs somewhere besides the silky banners. Someone somewhere makes those things for a living and I don't know how they sleep at night.

It is a relationship and, quite frankly, mine sucks. I don't always sleep so well at night either. Maybe I should chat at night with the silky banner guy. No sense in us both being up for nothing. Maybe we can help each other remember what this relationship is supposed to look like. I had a thought last night about what it is NOT supposed to look like and I wanted to share it.

We cheat on God. I don't think it's so much the way a husband would cheat on a wife as it is that we aren't like husband and wife at all. We find ourselves acting more like God is our employer. Whenever He's "not around", not in our awareness, we don't worry so much about the things He told us the last time we saw Him. We can act, more or less, the way we want to as long as it's not around God. We're always around God, of course, but I hope you know what I mean. It becomes about what we can get away with. I can get away with an awful lot lately. I'm in a new town with a new schedule and I'm not often required to remember. It seems like the boss doesn't check my work at all.

It's different with my wife. I've never had a closer friend in my life. I live for her whether or not she checks my work. I spend time with her because I want to. I do what's best for her because I love her. What flows between us is beautiful because, for each of us, it's always about other. It's relationship. This is what God wants. This is where the banners were right.

"Jesus, help me. Come into this place and sit with me. I want to know you like this. Lord, help us to spend time with you and know who you really are, only for the sake of knowing. I love you, Jesus. "

Thursday, January 14, 2010

September 5, 2009

Man executed in Jerusalem.

2000 years ago a man named Yeshua was executed outside of Jerusalem. Unlike most people who were sentenced to death, He died because He chose to. He gave up everything so that we wouldn't have to die too. He died to give us life. Why would someone have to die for us to have life? Because somewhere way back at the beginning we were broken.

When this man, Yeshua, breathed His last breath the veil in the temple tore from top to bottom (Matthew 27:50-51). The temple veil had more in common with the curtain that covers a stage than the ones on your windows. It was about 60 feet tall and woven together layer on layer so that no light could pass through. It separated the Jewish people in the temple from the Holy Place where God's presence stood. It tore because He took the brokenness so we could come home again.

Coming home is a two way street. Most of us have our own veil inside. We've been broken and glued together so many times that our hearts look like a paper mache of blood and bandages. Now, we know that we can come back to God, but it's up to us to decide if He can come in or not. We may have thrown a curtain over some secret in our life that we don't want to get rid of, but don't want anyone to see. Maybe more than anything, we hang a curtain around all the pain. Everything that people told us, we believed, and everything they called us, we owned. The bandages are soaked through and they stick.

If you hurt, there's a man here who wants to treat your wounds. Someone broke you, but not this Man. He's knocking patiently on your door to come in and see you. There's blood dripping from His hands but it's not yours. He knows all about pain. It's time for the curtain to tear. It's time for a fresh start. Our God is the God of new beginnings.


It's almost Christmas again. It really doesn't feel like it to me because it's my first Christmas in Texas. It was 70 yesterday and even though it's pretending to snow right now, it's not really going to last on the ground.

This is a very passionate day. It's lost so much in our minds but it's the day we celebrate God invading Earth to rescue his broken children. It's much less tame than we usually think. If we're going to be like Him then we need to know what He meant by coming. Jesus came passionately, chasing after broken hearts. He wasn't willing to stand back and watch how things turned out.

Christmas is a very hard time for alot of people. A time that's based around family is that much lonelier for someone who is alone, hurt or struggling with depression. This is the time for us to chase passionately after broken hearts too. Be deliberate about love. Smile, share, offer a kind word. Live freely, love fiercely, and never close your arms.

(written Dec. 24, 2009)