Pierce our December 

Two thousand years ago
A star pierced the darkness
Our world today
Has become dark again

A volcano of violence
Spews darkness day and night
Ashes of hate rain down
Darkening our world

And the light is preoccupied
Distracted by temporal and the self
It refuses to pierce
Instead it tries to delight
It fights to be right
And becomes caked with the world
Clouded and dimmed the light grows dark

Pierce our world again
Pierce our nation
Pierce our fiefdoms
Pierce our comfort
Pierce our safety
Pierce our hearts

The Promises of God

We had a discussion today at church about “unfulfilled” promises of God that brought back a lot of memories.

Five years ago (which seems like an amazingly long and short time ago) my Dad was in the hospital in a drug induced coma. And a friend came by to see him. This friend, a serious man of God, prophesied over my sleeping Dad that he would walk out of the hospital. A little over a day later my Dad passed away.

Was this friend off his rocker? Or did God break his promise? Logically it would have to be one of these questions. But that is looking at the situation only in the physical, a very limited scope when considering a God who is Spirit.

I believe, his prophecy was accurate and God kept his promise. My Dad, walked, ran, sprinted, and danced out of that hospital and into the presence of his King. I know how much he loved God and how much joy he would have finally getting to see his face.

The point here is that God is faithful to his word. But he does not always do things in ways that we expect or can see immediately.

Remember

On days like this
It’s good to remember

To remember that
The good outweighed the bad

To remember that
To have known and loved
Is greater than having lost

To remember that
Death is a teacher
And it has taught us what is really important

To remember that
Our victory is found in Christ
And that death is not the end
But the beginning of a greater journey

Remember
Chazak, Chazak

Around the corner

I’m here
And around every corner
I expect you to be too

How can you not be here
With the people you loved
Worshipping the God you loved

Yet
In every handshake and smile
In every note sung and foot stomped
You are here

Your legacy is alive and well
Love is your legacy
Love for one another and love for God

And what a rich legacy it is
One that I’m proud to pass on
To the next generation

A generation you never met
But a generation your life
Will definitely touch

I missed you today
Missed your love
Missed your joy

In the midst of the pain
I know that God is planting new life
That my heart is fertile soil
And in time He and I will reap 100 fold

mourning

i know this feeling
i’ve been here before
the heart is quiet, the mind is racing
the soul trudges on hurt and broken

i know the feeling
i’ve mourned before
trying to understand loss
trying to understand hope

what is death but the loss of relationship
a bond broken, a love lost
the mighty heart laid low
by something it doesn’t understand

the search for peace begins anew
the rocky path leads to an all familiar place
a hill, a cross, an empty grave
reminders of our source of hope

wounded, beaten, bloody
wounded he healed us
wounded we share our healing
restored, renewed, we rejoice

Shovels

words had been spoken
memories had been shared
tears had flowed
and flowers had been laid
love was poured out
in the greatest way
only one act left undone
the final act of love

a shovel of dirt for my rebellion,
and a rock for your wisdom

a shovel of dirt for my depression,
and a rock for your joy

a shovel of dirt for my pride,
and a rock for your love

dirt wasn’t all that was left behind that day
and sadness wasn’t all that was taken away
beneath the dirt lies regret
and on my heart hope
because two people died that day
one was you
the other me

How things change

It’s funny how things change. Other night I was reminded how much my taste in music have changed in only a few years. Three years ago if you had asked me who my favorite band was, I would have rattled off a rather length list of hard rock (Disturbed, Godsmack, and Avenged Sevenfold). Today if you were to ask me that the results couldn’t be more different (DecembeRadio, Rick Pino, and etc).

That’s quite a change, and it got me thinking about why I liked those former bands to begin with. What came to mind was chaos, the reason I liked those bands was because when I listened to them they drowned out the mess that was in my own mind. For a few mins their music quieted the storm that was inside of me. Inside I was lonely, depressed, and angry, and listening to this kind of music provided me with an outlet to release or assuage those emotions. But it was never enough the music did little to comfort me when it was off and in reality it was a vicious cycle, of feeding those emotions and the chaos inside.

Today things are different, Glory to God! There’s still chaos at times in my life, but what has changed is how I deal, rather than try to drown it out, I let it go and give it to God. I seek him, for answers to my questions, for clarity in the fog of life. And remarkably the He answers not always in my timing or the way I expect, but He is faithfully by my side even when I am stubbornly doing my own thing.

My Heart

I was thinking about a post my friend Marc put up on his blog about defining your dream, and then pursuing it. And it hit me that I really haven’t sat down and written about what God has put on my heart. Hopefully writing about it will help me work with a clear mind and not be as easily swayed by the things going on around me.

This mishmash desires and feelings are what currently compromise my heart:

  • Continue building my relationship with my Lord/Savior/Helper/Friend always seeking to go deeper, to more clearly hear his voice. While remaining humble and real (in the world but not of it, in other words losing the holier-than-thou act).
  • Continue building my relationship with my Wife/BFF/Lover/Sweetheart. Remembering to put Her and her needs before me and mine.
  • Living in a God centered Family and Community. Continually working to be a better husband and father, and knowing that I’ll never be perfect… Being the spiritual leader of my home. Honoring my Pastors and Spiritual Fathers/Mothers through word, deed, and sowing back into their life. Be an anchor in my community that God has called me to be.
  • Missions, bringing living water to the thirsty around us and making disciples as I myself am being discipled. Specifically I feel that God has called me to support missions financially. I need to write more on this later to flush out these thoughts and better explain why and how.
  • Strong desire to see Godly men built up desiring discipleship and be the King, Priest, and Prophet that God has called them to be. I really feel like it’s important to be involved in mentoring the next generation of guys especially those who’s fathers are not around.
  • Love for Israel and the Jewish people and to see them on fire for God in crazy and radical ways.
  • Change, begin to see my faith in action less of a in my head thing and more of outward flow (implementation of the above). Be a blessing to others in my own quiet way. Change from the old way that we used to do church, pew warming, to a way that pleases God and carries his light to every aspect of my life and the lives of those around me.

Anchored

Hebrews 6:19 – This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.

Two images beautifully combined:

(1)The soul is the ship: the world the sea: the bliss beyond the world, the distant coast; the hope resting on faith, the anchor which prevents the vessel being tossed to and fro; the encouraging consolation through the promise and oath of God, the cable connecting the ship and anchor.

(2) The world is the fore-court: heaven, the Holy of Holies; Christ, the High Priest going before us, so as to enable us, after Him, and through Him, to enter within the veil.

Estius explains, As the anchor does not stay in the waters, but enters the ground hidden beneath the waters, and fastens itself in it, so hope, our anchor of the soul, is not satisfied with merely coming to the vestibule, that is, is not content with merely earthly and visible goods, but penetrates even to those which are within the veil, namely, to the Holy of Holies, where it lays hold on God Himself, and heavenly goods, and fastens on them.

“Hope, entering within heaven, hath made us already to be in the things promised to us, even while we are still below, and have not yet received them; such strength hope has, as to make those that are earthly to become heavenly.”

“The soul clings, as one in fear of shipwreck to an anchor, and sees not whither the cable of the anchor runs-where it is fastened: but she knows that it is fastened behind the veil which hides the future glory.”

Via Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

Redefining Radical

I grew up the son of a Pastor, a true shepherd. I grew up honoring my earthly father by learning all I could about God. I could quote scripture and had sound theology. And I really thought that’s all there was to being a Christian. I had lots of knowledge about God, but very little relationship with him. I could sit through my Dad’s best sermon, leave feeling great about myself, and then head out into the world and live a life that didn’t reflect the things that I learned. I was comfortable, comfortable with my life in the world. I enjoyed the things of the world and desired them above all else.

And I think that this defines the modern day church. We know what we should be doing, but desire the things of the world more than the things of God. We want the hottest car, the biggest houses, and the coolest clothes. Not that these things themselves are evil, but desiring them more than God is. We desire the shiny trinkets of this world rather than the beautiful jewels of the Kingdom of God.

We watch the same movies and tv shows as the rest of the world. Our eyes are filled with sex and violence. We listen to the same music as the rest of the world. Our ears are filled with language that curses our God or that would embarrass sailors of previous generations. We allow these types of media to shape our world view, and then wonder why our world seems to be so hopeless.

We fill spare time on Facebook telling the world about our last trip to the grocery store or our dog’s last bowel movement instead of sharing the miracles God has been doing in our lives, or encouraging one another.

We (I’m including myself here) are in LOVE with the WORLD.

We are in LOVE with ourselves, and can not get enough!

But there’s emptiness, there are holes in our hearts that entertainment, alcohol, or women (or men) cannot fill. Sure entertainment might distract us, alcohol may numb the pain, and women will comfort us, but these things will only work for so long. Their effects are not permanent or lasting longer than a blink of an eye. If these are the things you are using to self medicate, it won’t be long before their effect wears off. You’ll need more and more, but the holes are never filled, only made larger.

I’m not saying this to condemn you, but to beg and plead with you to WAKE UP!

My heart’s cry is to be radical, to shake off the scales that this comfortable life has put on my eyes to keep me from seeing my wonderful and loving God in all his glory and splendor. When I say that word, what comes to mind? Do you think of some guy in Time Square with a sign that says “The end is near”, how about a monk, or some fire and brimstone preacher who thinks that you and your dog are going to hell?

What I’m trying to say is that knowledge of God is good, but it will never save you or me. Jesus came so that never again would there have to be an intermediary between God and His people. But still so many of us want our pastors to become this intermediary so that we can go about our lives like Jesus never came. Let the pastor do the praying, let the pastor feed the poor, let the pastor do the evangelism. Let’s break down this barrier we’ve self imposed to save our comfortable lives.

So what is the new definition of radical? To me it is seeking a personal relationship with Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior! Laying down our comfortableness with this world and seeking to be uncomfortable in the Kingdom of God. Seeking to hear God’s voice! Seeking to see God’s face. Seeking to be a sign and a miracle to the people around, your co-workers and friends. Give till it hurts, rest secure in the provision of God. Give to the poor, feed the hungry, get discipled, and begin to disciple.

This isn’t easy; the world has brought us up believing the lie that we are to live for ourselves. Today we need to make the conscious decision to die to ourselves, to stop seeking the “deadly addiction of esteem”. Live the radical life that Jesus called us to. The world has permeated us in ways we are not even aware of, but the Lord can restore us. He can re-kindle the fire in us, to be brighter than ever before. He can do more than heal our hearts; he can (and does) give us brand spanking new ones. He will renew our minds cleansing out the junk we have put in.

Break out of the cultural norms, break out of the Christian norms, and let your heart’s cry be “Come Lord Jesus”. Develop the personal relationship with God that he so desires, love him with all our hearts. Let’s pick up our cross and follow after him.