Tag Archives: Religion

Messy Stories

Faith is a never ending messy story of how we live out our relationship with God.

Tonight, I taught a class on how to live your life on mission, as part of our joining our church. Last week was part one. Tonight, was part two and we talked a lot about our faith story.

I shared with the class my faith story and how my story hasn’t ended. I told them that I still don’t have it all together. I still don’t have all the answers.

One of things I look forward to most is hearing everyone that’s in the class share their story with each other. They share in small groups where God has brought them from and what God is doing in their lives right now.

It’s amazing to hear God at work in people’s lives. At work in families. At work in messy situations.

I was reminded last night of how messy our journey is. I was reminded of a few quotes from “Messy Spirituality” by Mike Yaconelli

“Spirituality isn’t about being finished and perfect; spirituality is about trusting God in our unfinishedness.”

“…it turns out that what disqualifies you and me from “spirituality” – the mess of our lives and our crippledness – is what most qualifies us to be chosen by Jesus… Some of us actually believe that until we choose the correct way to live, we aren’t chooseable, that until we clean up the mess, Jesus won’t have anything to do with us. The opposite is true.Until we admit we are a mess, Jesus won’t have anything to do with us.”

The power of our story is that our story is a beautiful mess. A mess that is filled with real people, real situations, and real questions. A mess that is beautiful because it is filled with real people, real situations, and real faith.

As we talked tonight, I was reminded of how messy my faith journey has been…and of how it’s not missed yet.

I’m so thankful for my journey and where God has led me too.

I’m so thankful for the church I am in that allows people to lead a beautifully messy journey as they discover how to follow Jesus.

I Refuse

I refuse to be a part of this kingdom for I serve another King and another Kingdom.

I refuse to dream small dreams for I believe in the impossible.

I refuse to accept the status quo for I believe in hope and truth.

I refuse to hate those who hate me even when it’s convenient for I believe in love.

I refuse to be a part of this kingdom for I serve another King and another Kingdom.

I refuse to give in to cheap thrills and low living for I believe in joy and peace.

I refuse to bow to my insecurities and fears for I believe in my Creator and my God.

I refuse to trust my pride for I believe in self-control.

I refuse to sit by while others have their homes, souls, and lives destroyed for I believe in redemption.

I refuse to be a part of this kingdom for I serve another King and another Kingdom.

I refuse to buy, sell, and trade people for things, position, and stuff for I believe in the Image of God.

I refuse to be part of the system that holds others down and exalts the good enoughs, the rich enoughs, and the already got its…for I am part of a different system that lifts up the weak, the battered, and the naked.

I refuse to be a part of this kingdom for I serve another King and another Kingdom.

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.

Best Song Of All Time

First Dates and Sushi

I love sushi.

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A little over 4 years ago (May 27th,2005) I went on my first date  with my future wife here to Fishbones. We talked, held hands, and ate some great seafood (she got sushi). We dated for 8 months and got married July 14th, 2006. She is my best friend. I am so glad I went to Fishbones that night because for 4 years my life has been richer, deeper, and more beautiful than I could imagine.

I remember my first date (and lots of others as well). I even remember some of the food we ate.

sushi-bar-close-up.JPGOn our honeymoon in Ft. Lauderdale,FL we discovered our favorite sushi place called RA Sushi. The sushi was some of the most amazing we’d ever had (we went twice while there) and loved the design of the restaurant.

I used to hate sushi.

The first time I tried it, it almost made me throw up.

Some of my favorite memories take place around a table. First dates, honeymoon sushi, birthday celebration, and holidays all take place around a table.

The table  and food are one of the most central themes in scripture.

Communion. Feasts. Kosher. Love Feasts.

The table and food are not one of the central themes in most of our lives.

Not just eating food. We do that very well in America. But the table. The place where no one sits higher or lower than anyone, where everyone takes and shares, and the place where laughter, love, and life happens at its best.

When is the last time you can down with a group of people for a real meal?

Think Thanksgiving on steroids. Think Christmas ham. Think Easter dinner.

Why only then? Why not tonight?

A New Way to Be Human

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Stop.

Go read Genesis 6-8.

The Midrash, a collection of Rabbi’s teaching from mostly the 3rd century, speaks of how heart-broken over the violence of humanity God was. Launching from Cain and Abel to Noah (covering over 1600 years) was death, murder, exploitation, hate, and it had polluted the earth. They believed that the ultimate insult to God was to do violence to another (other than idolatry).

  • Is there a difference between the violence on the earth thousands of years ago, hundreds of years ago, sixty years ago, or 5 years ago?
  • Whether it takes place in the day of Noah or in the day of Kevin-violence is the opposite of God.  Time doesn’t discriminate. Hate and exploitation can be seen across the timeline of history; it crosses race, religion, time, and location.

Possibly one of the most amazing statements in the entire Bible happens next in the story of Noah, and continues throughout the rest of the story of scripture. I’m sorry that I made them.” BUT the LORD was pleased with Noah.

BUT

There was a difference between Noah and the rest of the humanity. There was a difference between the way he lived and the way the rest of humanity lived. He wasn’t among the violent.

In fact, God was pleased with Noah…because he lived differently.

The writer of Genesis, Moses, some hundreds of years later, retells the story to a group of wandering slaves in the middle of a desert.

Moses spent the first 40 years of his life in the best of times…then killed someone.

The next 40 years he spent in the ‘backside’ of the desert…a wasteland, herding sheep.

Then at 80, God told him to lead his native people out of Egypt into a new place God was taking them. So he did. He led them out of Egypt, through a parted sea, and to a mountain where God spoke to them.

But the Jewish people had no identity. They had been slaves so long they didn’t know how to live life God’s way.

Their past was marked by violence, hate, and persecution. They were slaves, used and abused by the powers that be.

What’s he trying to tell the Jewish people in this story?

He’s telling them to be like Noah.

He’s telling them that they can be saved like Noah.

Imagine the thoughts they had as they sat by the Red Sea as the haters and the violent drown. God just saved them through water…like Noah.

He’s telling these people who have been rescued (like Noah was rescued) to be a Noah in the land God was leading them to.

That even when they are surrounded, like Noah was, by people living the wrong way to live blameless and right.

Noah became the ‘new humanity’…not perfect (he’s the first drunk and flasher a few chapters later) but a new humanity not based on violence but a promise.

A promise of rescue. A promise of provision. A promise of a new start.

I’m going to live in the new humanity.

Broken Heart

Broken_heart_by_fabu.jpgArt by Fabu

I got a phone call yesterday.

It was someone I wanted to meet with, so we planned to meet a few hours later.

It was great to be able to hear from this person since I haven’t gotten to talk to them for a while. We talked causally for a few moments and then they broke down.

They told me about how wrecked their life was.

How one moment seemed to erase years of hope and joy.

How someone stole from them their innocence, their purity, and their peace.

I don’t plan for days like yesterday.

(I can barely finish typing this blog because of the tears streaming down my face)

Why?

How?

I don’t have most of the answers. My heart is broken for my friend. My heart is broken for people like my friend who have had their innocence, purity, hope, and joy stolen from them.

But…

Because I believe and live in the kingdom of God, I have hope for a better way of life and of a better way.

I have this great hope that people who’ve been broken by others will be restored.

I have this great hope that people who’ve been exploited and used will be remedied.

I have this great hope that people who exploit and break others will be redeemed.

For now I pray.

Will you pray with me, for this kingdom, for this healing, for this hope.