Love Has Power

There is only one thing that has power completely, and that is love. Because when a man loves he seeks no power and therefore he has power.-Alan Paton (‘Cry, The Beloved Country’)

Love has power.

Complete power.

Because when a man/woman loves they seek need no power.

When was the last time you sought to give up CONTROL to someone else. When was the last time you gave up your RIGHTS to someone else. When was the last time you stopped forcing your opinion and life on someone else.

To give up power.

To Love. To surrender.

They are connected.

The hope of this kind of love is that no one is in control, no one has the right, and no one forces. No one is better than the other. No one is in charge.

Love is the rule.

Love is what we base our decisions on.

Life would look different if we based our decisions on love.

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Getting Busy and Cheating

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Being busy always makes life more complicated.

No matter if it’s extra hours at work, or more than usual amount homework being busy tends give us bad attitudes, bad priorities, and bad habits.

When I am busy I start to procrastinate on the important things of life for what seems important in the immediate. When I am busy I start to pull away from what really matters to spend time on what is fleeting.

When I am busy I start to focus on to do list’s rather than on people.

When I am busy I forget. When I am busy I ignore. When I am busy I miss out.

It’s not that all the things I am doing that make me busy are bad, in fact, many of them are noble and good things. But many times in my hectic schedules and over worked life I forget what really matters.

Getting good grades is important, but not at the cost of loving others or loving God.

Working out everyday is important, but not at the cost of spending time with my wife.

Working hard is important, but not at the cost of my soul.

I don’t want to lose my wife, my love, and soul in the midst of my busy life. I refuse to allow schedules, due dates, and time restrictions to rob me of what matters most!

I guess…I’d rather cheat on work, school, and fitness than my wife, my God, and my soul.

Hiding With The Baggage

hiding

There’s a story in 1 Samuel.

It’s a story about when Saul is announced as King of Israel.

When he’s announced…they can’t find him. He’s hiding among the baggage.

The first king of Israel. He stood head and shoulder above every other man in Israel. He was a giant in his own right.

But he was hiding.

Leaders who start off hiding never really come out from behind the baggage.

Whether its  hiding among them baggage, consulting witches, or offering sacrifices when he wasn’t supposed to, Saul couldn’t seem to get away from the baggage of his insecurities and fears.

When are leader is controlled by insecurity and fear, they will always hide because of their fears and insecurities. It even looks like leadership sometimes. They will make decisons, people will follow them…but all along fear and insecurity will run their lives.

Get rid of the baggage!

Get rid of the fear and insecurity!

Stop hiding! Embrace transparency!

The sooner we stop hiding, the sooner our lives begin to find fulfillment.

Shut Up!

shut_up

Shut up!

Now.

No.

Really, you probably need to.

I talk to much. I do a lot of mind -talking. I plan constantly, even right now as I write this, I’m still thinking about what else I need to do.

It happens when I pray. It happens when I read the Bible, or when I read books.

I like the idea of shutting up. I know I need to stop and be still.

But it’s hard work being still.

Shut up.

Do it! Stop waiting for God to hold you by the hand.

Shut up, before he makes you shut up.

He’s got something to speak with you about…but, in our busyness and multitasking we’ve cut our relationship with God down to what we have to say to him.

True spirituality is more listening than speaking.

More quiet than noise.

More still than busy.

Maybe then he’ll start speaking…

Stuff. Sex. Power. Money

(Warning: long post ahead!)

I read a story a few weeks ago. I shared it with our group in Belfast.

Genesis 11:1-9…At one time, the whole Earth spoke the same language. It so happened that as they moved out of the east, they came upon a plain in the land of Shinar and settled down. They said to one another, “Come, let’s make bricks and fire them well.” They used brick for stone and tar for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let’s build ourselves a city and a tower that reaches Heaven. Let’s make ourselves famous so we won’t be scattered here and there across the Earth.” God came down to look over the city and the tower those people had built. God took one look and said, “One people, one language; why, this is only a first step. No telling what they’ll come up with next—they’ll stop at nothing! Come, we’ll go down and garble their speech so they won’t understand each other.” Then God scattered them from there all over the world. And they had to quit building the city. That’s how it came to be called Babel, because there God turned their language into “babble.” From there God scattered them all over the world.

This seems like kind of a weird story to include in the thing Moses was telling to some wandering slaves. The clue to this story actually comes to us in the chapter before.

Genesis 10:7-10…The sons of Cush: Seba, Havilah, Sabtah, Raamah, Sabteca. 
The sons of Raamah: Sheba, Dedan. Cush also had Nimrod. He was the first great warrior on Earth. He was a great hunter before God. There was a saying, “Like Nimrod, a great hunter before God.”His kingdom got its start with Babel; then Erech, Akkad, and Calneh in the country of Shinar.

Ancient rabbis said that Nimrod name comes from a Hebrew verb meaning “let us revolt.” He was said to be a mighty hunter in the sight of the Lord, but the language has a dark meaning.

A warrior king.

Kings were hunters. In a world where civilization is scarce and animal threats are real, people who can organize hunting parties and defend people are leaders.

Ancient rabbis write in the Midrash, that the tower was to be the pinnacle of achievement for a tyrannical leader who instilled in his people a set of disturbing values.

This ruler, Nimrod, had achieved his position of worldwide dictator through might and violence. He wanted to build the tower so that he, rather than God, could have total control of Heaven and Earth.

The construction of this tower reflected a distorted value system: it was said that if a worker fell off the tower, people hardly noticed, but if a brick fell, everyone wept.

So intent were they upon accomplishing their purpose that they would not permit a woman to interrupt her work of brick making when the hour of birth came upon her. Molding bricks, she gave birth to her child, and tying it round her body in a sheet, she went on molding bricks.

As Moses recount the story of the Tower of Babel, these wandering slaves can’t help but remember Egypt.

In Egypt, they made bricks.

In Egypt, they were expected to care more about finishing the job then others.

In Egypt, they were slaves.

In Egypt, there was a tyrant.

In Egypt, they built towers to reach the heavens.

As they remembered Egypt, Moses would speak of a new city and of a new way of life.

Well Babel was one city; the Moses spoke of a place where God lived among the people. He told them that they could be different. They didn’t have to be slaves any more. Later Jewish writers continued to write about this city…

They spoke of a place where the lion would lay down with the lamb.

They spoke of a place where the nations gathered not to war but to feasts.

They spoke of a city where justice won.

They spoke of a city where life not death was found.

They spoke of a city without tyrants and bullies.

Jesus, thousands of years after the story of Babel is told to these traveling Jews, begins to speak of a different kingdom. In fact, he traveled around telling people a new kingdom had arrived. His original message according to Mark was “Repent, for the Kingdom of God is here”. He used parables and all different kinds of opportunities to explain to people what this kingdom was like.

“The kingdom of God is a revolutionary, countercultural movement proclaiming a ceaseless rebellion against the tyrannical trinity of money, sex, and power.”-Brian McLaren

A kingdom of money, sex, and power//

//Or a kingdom of generosity, self-control, and of humility.

We live in a world that constantly devalues humanity.

We sell sex (mostly online). We buy sex (mostly on tv and in pop culture).

We kill people (mostly with our words).We pass laws that make it easier to kill people.

We rob people. We cheat people. We buy into our cultures values.

Stuff. Sex. Power. Money.

    Mission Trips and Planes

    “Missions doesn’t end the moment you get on the plane, it just changes locations.”-@kmattison

    Mission trips tend to be spiritually high moments. We see God work in ways we’ve never imagined. We see God use ordinary people like us to do the extraordinary. Sometimes these experiences can lead us to question our faith or even the purpose of mission.

    But.

    Maybe mission trips, like the one we just were on, is supposed to be a launching pad rather than a week long trip where we eat weird food.

    Maybe what mission teaches us most is that ‘I’ am not the center of the universe. Maybe it teaches a that God can use ordinary people to do the extraordinary no matter where they are.

    My prayer is that Belfast becomes a launching pad to unleashing God’s love and hope into Butler.

    May we always believe in a God who uses ordinary people to see the extraordinary happen. May we continue to practice a faith that launches us into a mission that costs us self but unleashes hope and love.

    Group Pic at Giants Causeway