Tag Archives: Spirituality

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.

Redeeming Prison

prison

“God has a process. As an addict, the only thing I could think about was getting high. I had no process. It took 2 years, 9 months, and 9 days for me to discover God and his process.”

Last night I sat with a few guys. One of them just got out of jail.

He told me about how he ended up there and how he never wants to go back. He told me about how seeing the homeless in New York City called him back to God.

He told me he dreamed about going back there and telling them of God’s deep love for them. He told me he dreamed about going back there and telling inmates that they didn’t have to fall into the cycle. He told me he dreamed of handing out Bible and food to the homeless.

12 days out of jail and  he  was dreaming bigger and deeper then most Christ-followers would ever will.

I don’t know it was the silence of prison, or the length of his time, or the reality of prison that affected him.

But as I drove home last night I couldn’t help but believe.

I choose to believe in God’s power to heal and restore and redeem. I choose to believe that a broken system does not hinder a God bigger than the system.

I’m reading a book that tells me I can believe in redemption…not just for my soul but for my world.

Our church is starting a partnership with the local prison. Because we believe. We believe in redemption and restoration.

Do you?

A Quad Espresso and A Man Hug

I walked into a coffee shop a few moments ago and got a man hug from one of the baristas.

This is the first time I’ve eve been here. It’s a pretty cool place.

Soft chairs. Good espresso. Free wifi.

But I don’t want to come back because of any of this things. I know of other soft seats and other places with good coffee. I have wifi at home.

I will come back because I got a hug. A man hug.

I’ve been here once//but I feel like I belong here.

I’ve known the barista since I moved here almost 2 years ago. I never got hugs back then. But he learned my name. Learned about my job and my wife.

When I came in today we asked me about all those.

I will come back because HE CARES!

I will come back because HE LISTENS!

I will come back because HE HUGS!

That’s how I want my ministry and life to be.

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…

Best Song Of All Time

Nudity and The New Humanity

gn09_18-19

Genesis 9:18-29…The sons of Noah who came out of the ship were Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Ham was the father of Canaan. These are the three sons of Noah; from these three the whole Earth was populated. Noah, a farmer, was the first to plant a vineyard. He drank from its wine, got drunk and passed out, naked in his tent. Ham, the father of Canaan, saw that his father was naked and told his two brothers who were outside the tent. Shem and Japheth took a cloak, held it between them from their shoulders, walked backwards and covered their father’s nakedness, keeping their faces turned away so they did not see their father’s exposed body. When Noah woke up with his hangover, he learned what his youngest son had done. He said, 
Cursed be Canaan! A slave of slaves, 
a slave to his brothers! Blessed be God, the God of Shem, 
but Canaan shall be his slave.  God prosper Japheth, 
living spaciously in the tents of Shem. 
But Canaan shall be his slave. Noah lived another 350 years following the flood. He lived a total of 950 years. And he died.

Noah is known most as the man who saved the world from the flood. But what happens next is kind of an odd way for the author to conclude the story of Noah.

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

Why this story?

Why speak of a drunken Noah and naked Noah, if they were to be like Noah?

This story really isn’t even about Noah if you look a little deeper than the surface. This story is really about Ham and his two brothers.

It’s a story about the way God intends people to treat those around us and the result of the way we treat the people around us.

Nudity

The Jewish people believe that modesty is the foundation of Jewish values and is one of the fundamental underpinnings of the Jewish family. Tz’ni’ut is the Hebrew word for modesty (meaning simplicity, a touch of bashfulness, and reserve). But perhaps above these, it signifies privacy. It is the hallmark of Jewish marriage, and the rabbis refer to it as the specific quality to look for in the ideal mate.

Tz’ni’ut also means discreet habits, quiet speech, and infers the avoidance of grossness, raucous behavior, and even “loud” ornaments. This is not merely a series of behavioral niceties, a sort of Bible’s guide to etiquette, but a philosophy of life.

The idea of Tz’ni’ut was intended to preserve the sanctity of the human being from assault by the coarseness of daily life.

The problem comes when Ham does nothing about his Father lack of Tz’ni’ut. Instead, he just goes and tells his brothers.

Shem and Japheth take action. They grab a sheet, walk backwards, and cover their father. The Israelites are descendants of Shem.

There is more going on here than drinking and nudity. More than too much wine.

The New Humanity

Remember Moses, the author.

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

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

Don’t be like Ham.

Deuteronomy 10:12-19…Israel, what does the LORD your God want you to do? He wants you to fear him, follow all his directions, love him, and worship him with all your heart and with all your soul. 13 The LORD wants you to obey his commands and laws that I’m giving you today for your own good. 14 Remember that the sky, the highest heaven, the earth and everything it contains belong to the LORD your God. 15 The LORD set his heart on your ancestors and loved them. Because of this, today he chooses you, their descendants, out of all the people of the world. 16 So circumcise your uncircumcised hearts, and don’t be impossible to deal with any longer. 17 The LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, powerful, and awe-inspiring God. He never plays favorites and never takes a bribe. 18 He makes sure orphans and widows receive justice. He loves foreigners and gives them food and clothes. 19 So you should love foreigners, because you were foreigners living in Egypt.

Don’t be like Ham. Don’t be like Egypt.

Don’t walk away from those in need.

Dare to preserve human dignity at all costs.

Care of orphans and widows. Make justice happen. Give to foreigners.