Monday, November 28, 2011


What will make us happy? Well it’s not more stuff- that’s for sure. The ironic thing is that even though most of you will probably agree with me, you will still find yourself having a thought “I wish I had this” within a day after reading this.
I’d like to make the claim that we’re designed (now, on earth, in our broken state) to be unsatisfied. I’m sure that a lot of Christians would like to argue with me at first, but let me further explain before we do. Your argument (I’m guessing) would be that God is satisfying. While that’s true, it also is momentary. If you’re one of the people who knows that God ought to be satisfying but don’t truly experience his fullfifllment, I encourage you to not lie to yourself by telling yourself that your fulfilled because you’re supposed to be. Bring your empty and thirsty heart to Him, and experience His joy, then come back and talk to me. To those who truly are satisfied, I ask you “what is a day without Christ like?” If your answer is “unbearable,” you have just proven me right. You’ve proven that you need Him daily, and without His daily bread you would be unsatisfied.
The more important question though is not whether we’re designed to be fulfilled or not, but what are we trying to fill ourselves with?
When we fill ourselves with the wrong things or thrills (the newest phone, newest relationship, or more money), we experience a small dose of satisfaction or euphoria. I won’t deny that new and shiny things usually make us happy for a little while. The problem is that shortly after that happiness we’re left with an even bigger awareness of how empty and needy we still are. Oddly enough, our usual response is to try and fill ourselves with the same thing again. It really is a rather foolish thing to do. After enough time, even that small thrill will fade away and we either look to some other small thrill and repeat the process, or just remain empty and sad.
Those who are without Christ (not meaning they aren’t saved, but they aren’t walking with God) but seem to be content have done one of two things as far as I can tell. They may have reduced their expectations and become used to being more satisfied by the same small satisfaction. I.e. They have a gallon bucket that needs to be filled, but only have a cup of water. Instead of finding more water, they get a smaller bucket. Even if they do experience some level of fulfillment, it will do them no good in the next life, and it will be nothing compared to how they could be living in this life. Think also of a hungry man. If you give him an old cookie, he may no longer be hungry. If you repeat the process, he may become used to having old cookies. However, if you give him a fresh cinnamon roll, how much happier will he be? And that is the fulfillment of man’s creation versus God’s self.
The other group are those who’ve accepted that there is no great fulfillment. They’ve forced themselves to be happy not because they feel it, but because they convince themselves of it. They can’t face the fact that they aren’t as happy- especially when everyone else seems to be so happy. Being content with being discontent is no good way to live. They either stay this way of fall into the first category.
God is my joy, and can be yours as well. Before you commit to it, know and realize that you will need Him and experience Him each and every day at every minute of every hour. When you make Him the center of your life and start to fill your heart with what is in His heart, you’ll find that He not only satisfied but is more than enough. Be blessed.

Saturday, November 26, 2011


Last night I watched the movie “Twighlight: Breaking Dawn Part 1” and was actually somewhat impressed. I didn’t like every aspect of it of course, but it was a decent movie and I liked it more than I thought I would (and it was FREEJ. As a disclaimer, the honeymoon scenes are pretty inappropriate and certainly excessive.
What bothers me most about the movie is not the partial nudity or the baby delivery. What bothers me most is the portrayal of love and relationships. My first instinct was to be disappointed because we’re teaching young children and teenagers that this is what love is, but after more consideration I realized that we, as a society, have been teaching and have thought that this is what love is for a far longer time than 1 week. Here’s what I mean.
If I were to ask you (I’m guessing most of you) what the perfect picture of love is, the first thing you’d want to tell me is a healthy marriage or a fluffy date or sex. I’ll be the first to admit that I’d probably be guilty of it too. I’m not trying to preach from a soapbox here, but the reality is that most of television, commercials, friends, and perhaps to some extent, even the church has told us that a marriage is the greatest thing in the world; that it is the greatest fulfillment of the greatest need we have, which is love. I agree that healthy marriages and fluffy dates and sex are all in the realm of love, but I don’t think they’re the top out.
The reality is that those who are most in love with Jesus would not answer the question the way that you and I perhaps would. Yes, I’m sure you love God and as do I. I’m not asking if you love Him at all, but asking if He is your everything. Is He who you like to talk to in your down time? Is He the most important person to you? Is a relationship with Him the epitome of what love is and ought to be? Those who are most in love with Jesus already know that nothing and no one else could compare to the love we find in Christ; I don’t know about you but that’s who I want to be. That’s how I want to live.
The good news is that if you’re reading this, you’re alive. If you’re alive, there’s still hope. There’s still hope to change our perspective on love. When we change the height of love from being Jesus Christ to being a spouse, we do what we want with it. Fortunately love doesn’t work that way. God is not who you want Him to be. You cannot change Him, and even if you could, anything you would change Him into would be less than what He actually is. The people with the happiest marriages are those in which both people are in love with Christ more than they are in love with each other.
Through daily meditation on the things of God (and I am not limiting it to the bible. While the bible is certainly important and useful, God is greater than what can be contained in that book, because He is everywhere), developing a desire to be closer to Him, spending time with Him actively, sacrificing what you want most now to the One you wish to want most, and everyday speaking with Him and hearing His voice, we will find that He is far greater than this world’s idea of love. He is far greater than we have imagined.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Fire is not cautious. It is not contained nor subtle. The thing about fire is that it does not "kind of" burn something; it consumes it. You will never catch on fire because you're looking at it or just barely get close enough to feel the heat. You will catch on fire by stepping into it.

When we catch the fire of the spirit, it will not be because we looked at it or experimented with it; it certainly will not be because we looked at a distance at some one else who had it. We will catch the fire by walking into it and choosing it, by sacrificing ourselves and being sold out.

God will not do the miraculous through soem one who learns about it. The reality is that the great things of God are incomprehensible for us. He will not and perhaps could not use the lukewarm to do the actions of the burning. He can only use those who believe in the impossible to do the impossible. We must give our lives to Christi with no less of an extent than He gave us His.

If you don't want to be sold out yet, that's alright. God won't love you any less. If you're just pondering on it and dipping your feet in the water, I tell you to be hot or cold. God  will respond best when you are open and  honest with Him about where you are. He does not care for lies. If you are sold out, I encourage you to spread the fire, to be a leader as you follow Christ, and continue in love.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

In Love

Being in love is like this. When the person you’re in love with walks in the room, you’re automatically more excited and happier, even if you’ve been arguing lately. It’s like no matter what you just can’t hardly resist loving them (not to exclude the “love is a choice” idea). When this person is about to come over, you want to show them your best, act your best, and give them your best. Even talking about this person excites you, and you can’t help but do it all the time. When asked to describe how much you love this person, you would answer with a thousand words and still not have reached the right way to describe him or her. That’s what being in love is like. You have the thought “if we ever do argue or fight, we’ll make it through it and only grow closer from it” as well as “I don’t want to fight with this person because I don’t want to be farther away, but closer.” You want this person to know that they don’t have to trust you with everything, but they certainly can. You want to be a safe place for him or her. On top of all of this, you will love this person regardless of what anyone says to you. Even if the person is a terrible and awful person, you’ll still look over and past that because love isn’t based on what he or she does but who he or she is.
Now ask yourself this. “Is that how I feel about Jesus?” Then, after some consideration, tell yourself this. “That’s how Jesus feels about me.” When is comes down to it love is a very crazy and almost stupid idea. Love says “even if you’ve killed my son, I’ll still forgive you, hope for you, and accept you.” Love says “I don’t care what you’ve done, I don’t care how you are, and I have the highest hopes for who you will be.” Love is crazy and it’s the word God uses to describe how he feels about you. The more you sin, the more grace He will give you to cover your sin. The farther you run away, the farther He will run to catch you. It really is preposterous to think that a perfect God with all power and sustainment is seeking to know and be with you, and that’s precisely what makes the truth of it all the more amazing. When God looks at you, He doesn’t see sin; He sees Jesus’ beauty covering your sin. Therefore there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ. That is why those who are not in Christ will go to hell- because Christ is not covering their sin. It’s also why no matter how much you sin or how terrible the sin is, God can still love you and keep you and deliver you.
Being in love causes you to do things that are more irrational than any other emotion and movement will cause. You would not abandon your life to find and kill some one you hated (unless it were for revenge or justice). You would not sacrifice your son just to make some one else pay attention to you. But love knows no bounds. People will travel thousands of miles or build thousands of roads or swim thousands of oceans to be with the one they love. Furthermore, love is what we’re more interested in than anything else. Why is that? Because it’s full extent is unknowable, and we thrive on adventure and mystery. Fortunately for us God is limitless, and walking with Him is always full of adventure and mystery.
If and when you shift your focus to loving God as much as you love that special someone, you will not only find fulfillment, but you’ll also find that He loves you even more than that. Those who seek Him find Him. Drawing near to Him in love will cause Him to draw near to you. Unlike all people, God is completely committed to keeping His promises; He is faithful. Jesus loves you.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Bloody Jesus

When I ask you to picture Jesus, what do you see? What’s His personality like? Of course He’s perfect, but that’s not really telling us anything about Him. To say He is perfect is like saying “perfection is perfect” or “goodness is good.” Do you see a strong Jesus? One with power and authority over things? The one who can calm seas, move mountains, heal the sick, and let the blind see? Or do you see a common Jesus? One who is simply a great teacher and a prophet, who has good ideas but little more? The carpenter Jesus perhaps. Do you picture a broken Jesus? One hanging on the cross with blood pouring out of His side and a crown of thorns on His head? Maybe you see this bloody Jesus who, even if He did exist, clearly didn’t have the power to save Himself.
When I ask you this, I’m not asking for the correct answer; rather, I’m asking for the honest answer. It’s a completely different thing to think of Jesus as perfect and powerful and to actually experience Jesus in perfection and power. It’s similar to the difference in believing God exists and believing what God says. It’s much easier for us to just have a great “idea” of who God is than it is for us to actually live under this thing called grace, to actually walk in the presence and with the spirit. Unfortunately a good idea only requires intuition and imagination, not belief and faith. Belief and faith are what God has called us to walk in and to uphold. I don’t know about you but I’m tired of having a wild and radical imagination while having a boring and slow moving life.
Change is real. Power is real. Grace is real. What have you done to deserve them? Nothing. In fact, I’d say it’s an insult to God when you try to earn Him because you’re saying His death and even His life wasn’t and isn’t enough- as though His gift of salvation and a fulfilled life is somehow lacking. The reality is that grace is given to the humble, and salvation requires an act of humility. It requires saying “I’m broken, please fix me because only you can. I can’t do this alone anymore.” The reality is that faith is manifested in those who believe. I say all this to say that change and growth are not dependant upon what you can do and can’t do, they are dependant upon what He has done and is doing. All you need to do is believe.
We will never see the world be changed by a God we don’t believe in, or a God we think wrongly of, like a weak and helpless Jesus. We will never be impressed nor follow a God who is reduced to only a good man because we already have good men, and as admirable as they may be, they’re messed up just like we are. We will see the world changed by a God who is powerful and glorified, who gives us grace and shows us mercy, who flows not only around us but through us. Once we start to believe in this Jesus of power and authority, and we begin to walk in the same power and authority, then and only then will lives be saved and captives set free. I encourage you my friends to cast your eyes to heaven, and to no longer doubt or be influenced by fear, but to believe in and receive from this God of infinite splendor and glory.