Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Stuff Christians Like

I'm reading an absolutely hysterical piece of literature right now called "Stuff Christians Like" by Jonathan Acuff, and I have to say, I LOVE the sarcasm and tongue in cheek look into the culture of Christendom here in the 21st century. There are such insights as how to break up with your small group, the four "positions" of worship, how to properly administer a side hug, etc...

This book got me laughing and it also got me thinking: Why can't we look at ourselves every once in awhile and realize that just like the rest of the world, we can be ridiculous, judgmental, quirky, humorous and sometimes just devoid of self awareness? I look at my life a lot more with each passing day and I realize that I'm extremely flawed, and that God loves me in spite of that. I gaze into society and I see a people that are for the most part trying to do the right thing, and that in itself isn't bad at all. In fact, sometimes society tends to be way more loving, compassionate and honest than the Christian world, but the only difference is WHO.

WHO are you living for? I would say that our culture promotes that we should live for ourselves and our own self worth and happiness, and that's a VERY attractive idea, but honestly, I want to live for something MUCH BIGGER than me. I want to passionately pursue the calling of God so that hopefully when I look at my life in retrospect, I see a messy, quirky, sometimes ridiculous guy that was at least TRYING to follow the call of God in his life.

We need to take a look at ourselves, church, and realize that we don't have it l together, and that we are missing a vast amount of answers, but the remedy and the answer to a society that is questioning is sincerity and most importantly love!!! It's good to take a fun, honest, even sarcastic look into our own lives to see how the world really does view us, because it gives us a vantage point and a clarity that can help us be more loving and compassionate!!



Tuesday, April 13, 2010


"How high-how wide-no matter where I am
Healing is in Your hands!
How deep-how strong-now by Your grace I stand
Healing is in Your hands!"-Christy Nockels

Today is a good day-it really is:) It's a day I celebrate the birth of my brother, which also makes it bittersweet. I find that farther away from his passing that it gets, the more I realize that the wound of losing him hasn't really healed at all. In fact it's still very bruised and tender, but I'm learning to realize that that in itself is a GREAT thing! It means that Shane was such an amazing man and that our bond was close and deep. It means that our relationship as brothers was real and that he changed my life. If it didn't hurt, that would mean that we weren't that close or that my memories of him were not fond ones. It hurts because Shane was everything he was advertised to be: a great father, a great husband, a great brother, a great son-a GREAT MAN of God!

Whats been constantly helping me is the fact that God's grace is sufficient for me. It's sufficient for all of us. SO when I'm emotionally exhausted and can't cry any more due to lack of tears, God is there reassuring me that He is with me in this brokenness and in this pain. That's the big misconception about being a Christ follower: I hear a lot of people preach that once you become a Christian life is easier, and that's simply not true. Life is life friends, and we are a fallen people, God never promises that things will be easy or that life will be full of sunshine-He promises that no matter what He's there right by our side, hurting with us, crying with us, breathing with us and loving us! That's the healing power of Christ!!! It's knowing that no matter what life throws our way, God is there with us and we can rely on Him. God's not a cosmic vending machine Whom we can just ask and He will give us whatever we want, He's our FATHER. My dad loves me and let me tell you something, he didn't give me a lot of things that I thought I had to have, he gave me what I needed and loved me thats it!!! I wouldn't trade him for anything and that's how we need to picture God.

He is a healer of the brokenhearted and a friend to the mourning and He is comfort in a world full of pain. SO if youre going through something rough right now, just remember this-God isn't abandoning you, he's drawing closer to you!



Friday, April 9, 2010

Lions and Tigers and Bear...really?

Having gone to college in the state of Kansas, I can't escape the comments that are directly related to "The Wizard of Oz." Yes, it gets old, but when you've lived in Kansas, everyone seems to think a Dorothy or Toto comment is plausibly needed at any time. If it snows I can almost bet on hearing this statement: "Not in Kansas anymore are you Dorothy-haha." It's really not that funny, but to each their own. I've seen the movie WAY too many times and there is one thing that annoys me but also brings to life something that I think is very awesome!!!

What annoys me is that they are scared of lions and tigers and bears, and not 5 minutes earlier, the TREES WERE TALKING AND THROWING THINGS AT THEM!!! Personal opinion: That would scare me way worse than normal carnivores. At least with lions and tigers and bears you have a puncher's chance to survive, but when the trees start attacking you, it's over because there are WAY more trees in OZ than animals(I don't count flying monkeys because that's just creepy).

Here's the REALLY cool thing about the trees: they are supposedly inanimate objects and they are speaking and full of action!!! I find this fascinating because quite often I find myself looking at the beautiful western Colroado stars and I sense that they are talking. They are proclaiming the beauty of their Maker and they are speaking of God's infinite greatness:)

"Tonight the stars speak of your infinite love, and it serves to remind me, that what I am means nothing at all compared to your glory!"-Glorious Unseen-

This isn't a new concept we read in the Bible that the heavens declare His glory, but I have recently tried to be more aware of my surroundings and I can tell you that the entire planet is speaking. It's crying out, practically screaming to how good God is. I see my pregnant wife and the beauty and anticipation overwhelms me with how blessed I am. I see the massive amounts of snow that are still on the mountains and I see the majesty of God as well as the idea that all things are in His timing not mine. I see windswept trees that are still standing, and I see the raw power of God and a picture of encouragement that whatever life throws at me I can sustain it through His power. I hear the birds chirping PERFECT melodies and I realize that God will take care of me because he lavishes them with need. I see flowers that are so beautiful that nothing man can design can match the beauty, and I see God's beautiful attention to detail and passionate pursuit of us!!!

I know you might find this incredibly dorky, but that's who I am! I know some of you don't believe in a Creator and I want you to know that's ok:) We all have to find our own path and own beliefs, and my personal belief that something comes from something, not something from nothing. At the beginning of the inception of this galaxy I choose to believe that God spoke it into being and we are an offspring of divine intervention. I believe we came from somewhere:) I'm not dogging other theories, I promise, my fault with other theories is that something came from nothing which happens no other place in the scientific realm. So it's a question of faith, and it's a beautiful thing that we get to choose. I choose to place my faith in God, and some people place their faith in other theories, either way faith is involved, and I think that's powerful if we can all realize that faith is unavoidable. We all have faith-I have faith that my car will get me from point A to point B safely, and it usually happens, it's only when I drive wreckless or someone else drives wreckless that that faith is tested:)

I want to challenge you to be aware to your surroundings, I think you just might catch a glimpse of the Savior's handiwork and it can change your life:)



Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Space Between...

Many of you know I'm an absolutely HUGE Dave Matthews Band fan. I appreciate the complexity of his music and the uniqueness of his sound, and I find myself listening to his stuff whenever I need to chill or when I need a spark of creativity. One of my favorite tunes by DMB is "The Space Between" because it portrays relationships and people for that matter as fallible and flawed. I very much like the honesty in characterizing us, as a human race, as imperfect people who are hopefully trying to make things work!

"All we can do, my love-is hope we don't take this ship down"

GREAT LINE!!! There's a kind of insecure hope that's dripping from those lines. It's optimistic, yet at the same time is aware of the circumstances and whats going on around them.

In my faith, I hope I portray this authentic kind of truth and transparency. I think we as Christ-followers should not live in shame or fear, but we should also not live in a forced utopia where everything is alright. We should live in the space between:) A space that shows compassion and mercy to the world, knowing full well that we need that same compassion and mercy in our own lives. A space where we don't have to pretend that everything is alright or that we even knows what's going on for that matter, rather we live in authentic optimism of what life could be like. A space that realizes our own limitations and weaknesses and doesn't try to portray our lives as put together or figured it. You can't fake life, all that leads to is emptiness and a hollow soul.

I want people to know "ME" not a version of me that I'm manufacturing to make myself look better or holier than thou. Many people who have walked away from Christianity have done so because what they see is either a masquerade or its a person hypocritically telling them how to live their life. Being genuine isn't something to shy away from, rather something to aspire to. When we understand that we are ALL in this world together and that our insecurities and our fears and our scars and our mistakes are what makes life beautifully chaotic, we finally realize and can grasp the life changing grace that's offered to us.

I very much love the life in the space between perfection and fallen. It's a place where reality can occur and we can daily rely on Christ and realize that none of us has all the answers nor do we need to. It's a place of beautiful brokenness:)



Wednesday, April 7, 2010


It's incredibly frustrating to live in a small town when it comes to having late evening eating habits-haha. I enjoy the occasional 9pm dinner due to circumstances of working late, tennis practice, rehearsals, etc... It limits your options when you live in a small town because you essentially have to settle for fast food, which isn't always bad, but I like having options-Make sense? Case in point, I had some dear friends in town a few weeks ago and I wanted to treat them to a late dinner at a great Italian food joint here in town, but to my sadness we approached the doors at 9:03 and they were closed:(

This DIRECTLY correlates to our Christian faith friends!!! How often are we closed because something that God might be calling us to do is not fitting in with our schedule or routine? The consequences can be severe when we do this because just like food options in a small town late at night people have to settle. They go to whomever is"open" and that can be scary. Working on a church staff has really helped me develop this discipline of ALWAYS being open to being used. Sometimes you get a call at 2 in the morning and that's when you forsake yourself and your EXTREME desire to curl up in the blankets and say "We're Closed!!!" Instead, you put on mismatched socks and you go to the hospital to be a calming, peaceful-half-asleep presence, or you go to grieve with a family thats lost a loved one.

We are all called to this not just pastors-haha. We are a "Priesthood of saints" according to God's word, and one thing I can tell you as a "pastor" is that I'm just as flawed if not more so than those who don't consider themselves pastors. We are ALL called to compassion, and to love. That's the beauty of reading the New Testament, and about reading of who Jesus was. It's not only a picture of our salvation, its a blurring of that and also showing us a picture of how to live. In Jesus' kindness and compassion and love and forgiveness, we see not only a way to live but also we catch a glimpse of who God is.

When you catch just a tiny glimpse of God's goodness, you can't help but to be changed!!! We tend to be closed to the beauty of God and as a result we tend to be closed to the world. We barricade ourselves in fear of the world because it may not share our same beliefs-Thats absolutely opposite of what Jesus called us to. He was not of the world but He was DEFINITELY in the world. He was showing compassion and grace and mercy on a daily basis to a world that desperately needed to be loved. Has anything changed? This world is seeking to be loved and I would argue that this time and this place is a world that really does care about life and they look to the church to co-opt with them and all they get in return is venom spewed at them by a people living in fear of actually making a difference.

We're too closed church. It's time to open the doors of compassion and forgiveness and grace and beauty!!! Jesus changed the world and modelled it for us, and I'm afraid to say that we are doing the exact opposite by creating segregated country clubs of faith and refusing to share the mind blowing, life altering power of Christ's love!!!

Stop being closed church. I BEG you to open up. I dare you to love!



Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Be a dork!!!:)

It has recently come to my attention that I'm a "dork"-at least thats what my nieces love to call me, and quite honestly, its not a recent thing at all. I don't think it's genetics or anything quite that complicated, I actually think it's a sign of being comfortable with who God makes you to be. Now I'm not saying God formed me in the womb and and said"One day, my son, you will be a dork!"
What I am saying is that God made me the way I am and however the world wants to perceive me is totally fine by me because I am not defined by things of this world-NOR ARE YOU!

"As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of the world.....But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive through Christ."-Eph. 2:1-4-

When we are confined to this world's view of thinking we tend to be labeled and placed in a certain social status or Caste, and if that's what the world wants to do then by all means continue your subtle social judgmentalism. This world cannot define me or you because it CANNOT CONFINE GOD who is our ultimate salvation, redemption and definition!

Why would we ever in the church choose to label or judge other people for who they are and their indiscretions when we ourselves are jaded, messy, and stained. It blows me away that the church is represented by people who are blatantly judgemental and they are the people that get press and television airtime. Let me make this clear, there are only two people who have any authority to speak for me: Myself, and more importantly God!!! I think the world is tired of politically charged men masking themselves in Christianity and claiming that they know what God wants for the world. It's amazing to me that what God wants is apparently for these human, fallen people just like the rest of us to have power and sustain massive amounts of wealth-thats quite interesting that their view of God makes them rich and famous.

Thats not the same God I read about in the Scriptures, I read of a life of persecution and outcast. One might even say a life of a "dork." The hysterically misguided Christian media does not speak for God-you do! Your actions and your compassion and your everyday life of worship is what challenges the world to see a glimpse of God. SO be a dork, be a geek, be a drama queen, be a princess, be a son, be a daughter-JUST make sure you are being who God called you to be and created you to be!!!

I'm a dork, and I'm so thankful for that everyday. Because finally trying to be who God called me to be and not who the world wants to define me as has been incredibly liberating, and on a personal note-I love my wife and she digs dorks!!!