Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Broken Beautiful?

Before I get too deep into this, I'd like to make a preface.

This entry is for broken people. It's for people with brokeness of all kinds. Maybe what broke you was a relationship, a death, a divorce, losing your kids, depression, loss...maybe it still breaks you, but whatever it is, this entry is for you. And what I'm going to type here on this bright little screen in a big dark room isn't meant to say you aren't beautiful, because you are. It's to say.....well, lemme just get into it.

Broken Beautiful?

Over the past couple years I've heard several songs on the Christian radio (and I'm sure this KISS FM's play these too) that talk about brokeness, and that somehow desperation is more beautiful than a hallelujah. Or I've heard that the way we fall apart is beautiful. Or that we're broken and beautiful. Or yada yada yada yada fill in the blank...you get my drift?

Before I say the big punch in the face to all of these poorly thought out and philosophically unsound songs, let me say that I understand their point. I understand it's for irony's sake. I understand that their goal is to remind you of your value and beauty that's sustained because of who you are, not how you are. I'll be the first to admit that I've needed one of these songs before...

But my friends....it's a lie.

A big fat lie.

Because your brokeness isn't beautiful...your brokeness sucks. It sucks to wake every morning with an ache in your heart so deep that words can't even describe it. It sucks to have that person you lost on your mind every moment of every day all the while knowing you'll never be with him or her ever again. It sucks to help your dad move into an apartment with his new girlfriend. It's painful to wake up everyday already tired before you even get out of bed.

It's even worse to feel tears stream down your face like razorblades onto your pillow every night. And my dear friends...

That is NOT beautiful.

I refuse to believe in a God who would want us in that place. I refuse to believe in a God who would desire for us to suffer sleepless nights and bloodless wounds for the rest of our days on this earth. I refuse to believe that a good Dad wants that for His children.

In fact...here's what I believe.

I believe in a Jesus who took all of our brokenness, sin, pain, suffering, and death upon Himself so that we wouldn't have to bear that punishment and weight. I believe in a Jesus who walks next to me every single day even when I think I'm alone. I believe in a Jesus who loves to see His friends smile. I believe in a Jesus who saves; I believe in a Jesus who doesn't create ashes, but who takes our ashes and sprinkles them on the dirt so that something beautiful could grow because of them.

So is your brokeness beautiful? No. But what God makes out of it is.

I believe in a Father who's in the business of mending wounded souls, in a Father who's arms are wide open and warm for His beloved children. I believe in a Father who can intervene at any moment and turn our storms into peace.

But I don't believe in a Father who thinks the storms are peaceful, or who thinks our fallen state is desirable, or who wants us to  be broken.

And so my friends, you are beautiful because you are made in His image, His likeness...you are fearfully and wonderfully and beautifully made. But don't think that God wants you to stay broken. He sent His Son so that you could be healed, delivered, restored, redeemed, joyful, whole, and free.

Your friend,


Sunday, July 21, 2013


Pain is like a river. Though it can sway left and right, it always carries you down. Sure you can fight it, swim against the tide, conquer the impossible for a little while. But eventually you will get exhausted and end up going the same direction you would have gone in the first place- to bigger and greater waters...

Unfortunately pain is not a gentle river. You can't grab a canoe and gracefully row down and down. Pain isn't even a clean river. This river has sharp twists and turns, fish, algae, and dirt swirling about. It's a quick fall in some parts, and a shallow one in others. But one thing is for certain-those who endure it always arrive somewhere better.

But my hope for you this morning isn't simply to let you know that there's an end to your pain. After all some rivers are much longer than others, and who knows how long yours will be? But my comfort to you this morning is to let you know that you are not paddling alone- there are others who, though in different rivers, are also paddling and enduring. Though we may not be together in location, we are together in experience...and to me, it is a nice thought to know I am not alone.

And lastly, above all this, there's a mighty God, who in mercy just as great, got in your boat and He paddles with you. No, His promise isn't to take you out of the river to dry land. And no, His promise isn't to do all of the paddling alone. But He does make a much greater promise, and that is to be with you the whole way, to be some one you can talk to, some one you can confide in, some one you can trust. Through this pain, He will always prove Himself.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

At the Seams

A darkness has been revealing itself in the world for some time now, but especially in the last few years. We as communities of people and countries and government have seen the horror that men of twisted and perverse doctrine can bring. We have seen it in the murder of innocent children at Sandy Hooks Elementary. We have seen it at a movie theater shooting in Colorado. We have seen it in a bombing at a marathon in Boston. And we have found that this darkness is truly deep and black. We have found that it shows no mercy and seemingly no end except death. We have found that even the atheists and secular media will turn to religious explanation and spiritual direction in these times.

But we have also seen that as we tear the seams of humanities fabric good people do exist and light can shine and overcome the darkness. We have seen that at the core of our very nature there is a tendency to destroy, but also a tendency to heal and help. I have watched in wonderful astonishment how God weaves our broken world back together everytime we shred it, and I am so in love with how He loves us. I have seen that His principles of unity and benevolence can stand strong even in the face of bleeding wounds and blasted limbs.

It is a lovely thought to think that people will come together when what really matters- what we all agree matters, which is life, love, children, healing- is being made to seem fragile and falling apart. I love that people will turn to God in their need, even if they are turning to different gods. I love that hope will rise out of the chaos, and that politics though messy and entangled are fought over for the sake of the lost, wounded, and oppressed. I love that though we have a tendency to run from God and break His law, He has a tendency to chase us and even shine His light through us. He is the God of light. Of life. Of hope.

In conclusion, I am happy not because of the losses we have endured and the bombs we have triggered, but I am happy because of the hope I have seen and the unity I have watched come out of it. I am happy because God is still moving to rescue us, and we are in such need of rescue.

Saturday, April 6, 2013


Faith. Faith is how we walk, and that through which we are saved.

Love. Love is the pressing on and the reason we press on. Love is the movement. Love is the sacrifice.

But hope? Well hope is born of the other two. See, without faith in a good God above it all- faith in His benevolence and intervention- there is no hope at all. Who else has the words of eternal life? who else is perfectly pure and omnipotent?

Without love we have a flawed God whom we cannot have faith in.

Without love there is no intimacy, no passion, no trust.

Love is what we all hope for most. The longing to be fully known and utterly cherished is bred into all of us.

But oh how we have fallen. How we have twisted and turned and broken all good things. We have turned sex into a bargain or a short term contract. We have turned money into the dependable- into a savior of sorts. We have prized our prizes over each other.

We have turned kindness into manipulation and humility into weakness.

Is there any hope at all? Is there hope for the rich sinner basking in his lusts? Is there hope for the addict who can only wish it's the last time but knows it isn't? Is there hope for the poor and powerless? For the widows and orphans?

My friends, our system has not worked. We have fought for high places, but some one must end up low. We have seeked pleasure over commitment. I too am guilty of this.

There is not a righteous man on earth who always does what is right and never sins. So where is hope? Is it in rulers & kings? In government and contract? Is it in good men? Is it in wealth that hungers and pierces? I would believe a resounding no.

But...there is hope. There is hope of a brighter day when Love will come and wipe all tears away.When Light will shine in even the darkest deepest places. When captives will be set free and the weary will have rest.

And even now Love is moving deeper still, making wrongs right and turning wounds into memories.

Love is in our words and compliments. Love is the story of an autistic child being caught from an air conditioner by a bus driver, and a seal nudging a desperate man to the shore, and red and blue buying shoes for a homeless man. Love is in the students donating thousands to save thousands.

Love is in the colors of the sunrise and the taste of sugar on our tongues.

Hope is here, and His name is Jesus.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Any Hope at All

Dear God,

If there is any hope at all, let it be found in you. Please don't let my eyes simply see it, but let my heart feel it.

If there is any hope at all, let it be beautiful and passionate as you are beautiful and passionate. Let the light shine so bright that we ache in our repentance.

If there is any hope at all, please use me as strength for the weak and food for the hungry. Please be my strength.

If there is any hope at all, speak that we may hear it, and love so that we may send it. Move so that life is here, and break us until life is found.

If there is any hope at all, may Your voice grow louder and all the others grow softer. May Your words be heard and all others forgotten. May You be the path we follow.

And dear Healer, if there is any hope at all, heal the broken hearts and mend the broken spirits.

And dear Redeemer, if there is any hope at all, save us from our own selves. Save us from our sinful and twisted ways.

And dear Father, who is our hope, let there be peace and comfort found in Your presence, and draw us into You.

And dear God, if there is any hope at all, hear my prayer and move in power. Your love is everlasting. Amen.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Ground

            What if what we are is what we came from? Dirt. Earth. Ground. And perhaps we are naturally only that- filthy, dirty, and trampled on. Yet worse, we are dry dirt in the desert, fruitless and empty. What if we are plain? What if we are lifeless? What then will we do?
            This is me. This is how I am. My flesh is lifeless and deathful. It is full of the unhealthy, crusty and brittle pieces that give it no meaning at all. If anything would grow here, it certainly wouldn’t be called bountiful. The growth would be weeds, which perhaps take more life than they give. The growth would be incessant and wholly undesirable, except by the ground that is so innately desperate to give life to something.
            What if the best we can be is broken? Is that all we can be? I know that if I were a hoping land, I would want more. I would want water and life. I would want the roots of great trees to come out of me. I would want trees that bear much fruit. I would want the flutter of butterflies and the sound of rain drops to encompass the life that flows out of me. I would long for animals to step on me and feel safe and firm. I would want rivers to saturate my soil and hope to burst into growth all around me. I would want love.
            Perhaps this is all possible. Perhaps all we need is a man greater than our earthly fragments to come and nurture us. We need Him to rescue us from our dry and dreary position and bring water. We need Him to bring seeds. We need Him to bring even hope. But more than all these things, we need Him to have a desire for us. Now I’m not talking about a man is after self gain and temporary things. We need a man who will come and stay, and ensure we don’t return to our old fruitless selves. We need a man who would want to make us His.
            But who would want such a thing? Who would put in all of this work? Who would care to rescue us in our worthless state?
            There is but one Man, and He not only came to rescue but came to stay. His name is Jesus. He, in great goodness and kindness, loves us and desires to save us. He desires to heal us and give us all that we should need. The greatest news of all is that this Man hasn’t come just to reap a harvest, but He has come for our benefit, and He has promised that under His hand we will have all that we long for.
            I believe in this Man. I believe that He is faithful and true to all His words. He is worth inviting and loving because He is so inviting and loving. Our brokenness is healed by His blood. Our sins are forgiven by His love. Our uselessness is changed by His power. Our souls are loved by His heart.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Heart's Longing

     The longing for greatness. The longing for glory. The longing for more. The longing for our longing to be fullfilled, and our hearts to rest. These are the longings I speak of today. These are the longings we're all aware of...and they're also the longings we see filled and removed oh so rarely.

     But this isn't a new thing. Don't be fooled. Since the very first fall of man, we have had these longings in greater abundance, and since the first seeds we have turned to all the wrong answers. Your struggle, my struggle, our struggle, it is not new. It is an old struggle with an old solution...and one I fear we've all but forgotten.

     We have this strange paradox in which we long to be great ourselves, and yet long to be part of something- or some one- greater than simply ourselves. That if I alone were great, I would be alone, and loneliness and contentedness never come together nor stay together. We long for unity. For unity in ourselves yes, but also for unity with others. Unity with some one who desires us, some one who accepts us, and some one who adds to us. Not some one who would steal our strength and fruit, but some one who would willingly add theirs to ours.

     How deeply we do long for change. We know that how we are operating is not working, yet we find no other solutions. I believe, however, that somewhere deep inside we all know the answer. Why then? Why do we not search it out? Well I propose that we are fearful. I am fearful. To search this Solution out is to go into the unknown. It's to admit there is somewhere and some one with whom I will gain much freedom and yet lose much freedom. It's to admit that I am in fact broken. It's to be courageous. This is rare yet powerful virtue.

     But I will tell you my friends that our Solution is desperate for us. He is altogether receiving and forgiving. He is clothed in glory and greatness and eager to place Himself into us. He is seeking the humble and courageous. He is seeking to share more of Himself with the world- not because He's egocentric or proud, but because He wants us to have the best...and He knows that He Himself is the best. He is love. He is abundance. He is rest. He is the fulfillment of our hopes. He is the Solution.

     I pray for your peace and rest, and that this hope that daily finds me will daily find you, and that as we seek in return, the glory of God will not simply be shown but be spread. I pray that broken hearts will be healed. I pray that chains will be broken. I pray that hope rises.