I used to tell myself, “I’m spoiled for the ordinary. I’m going to do big things for God. I’m not going to be a nobody. I’m going to be a somebody.”
Forget this place. I’m going somewhere important.
So this small town farm boy left to make a big impact on the world. Like the prodigal son, I spit in the face of my father, mocked the success of this hard work. I might not have lived in “sin,” and I certainly didn’t fortune on prostitutes, but what I chased after could be counted as nothing less that “reckless living.”
I had bought a lie. The lie was that real faith looked more like short-term mission trips and religious stunts than picking up rocks in the field, mowing lawns, and teaching kindergarteners during Sunday school.
Those weren’t big or flashy. They didn’t get me stamps on my passport or souvenirs for my office.
Today I’m a pastor in an unknown church in an unknown community. In the past year, we’ve experienced heartbreak and scandal of people leaving our church and staff needing to be let go. We’ve offended some by suggesting to remove pews. Our giving is down. A high schooler got pregnant. Some single adults are living together. Others have blamed us for not providing a community for their family to invest and feel loved in. I preached my heart out last Sunday, but I don’t think anyone new came to faith, nor will we likely see a boost in our numbers next week.
We’re a mess.
We’re God’s mess.
I believe that in an instant he could call hundreds to faith in his name. I believe God could double our attendance.
He hasn’t done either of those things yet for purposes that are still unclear to me. Will I stay and work this soil? Will I get up every day to work to pick up these rocks that damage our community? Will I love people even if they turn their backs on our church and seek the new hotter ministry and church in the town next door?
Will I be faithful to this beautiful ordinary were God is playing the long game and not the short? Or will I run?
Jesus knew the time was coming.
The salvation of many.
Yet, his heart was in agony. The physical, emotional, and spiritual torment that he was going to experience was greater than any pain ever experienced. And he prayed to his Father.
“My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me…”
If it be possible. Please let it be possible. Let there be another way.
…nevertheless, not as I will but as you will.”
Father, I ultimately trust you. It’s not about what I want. It’s about what you want. It’s about who you love.
“My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.”
If there is no other way, I will drink this cup. I will bear the sins of the world on my shoulders. If you really love them that much, I will walk this road. I will bear this cross. I will wear this crown.
God’s love for us made it impossible for him not to die for us.
Matthew 26 (ESV)
Matthew 5:14 (TR) 14 Ὑμεῖς ἐστε τὸ φῶς τοῦ κόσμου οὐ δύναται πόλις κρυβῆναι ἐπάνω ὄρους κειμένη
14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.
I’ve been slowly working my way through the Sermon on the Mount recently, trying to use the fading minuscule knowledge I have left of the Biblical Greek I’d learned in seminary. It’s funny how fast it can slip out of your mind once you leave school. Read More…
What does it mean to be human?
It’s the once clever but now tired question of the zombie-killer drama. The wildly successful Walking Dead series has cashed in on this trope time and time again. At the genre’s best it asks us to ponder not only are the undead still human, but are the survivors? After doing everything and anything to survive– from robbing to murdering and in extreme cases resorting to cannibalism– The zombie drama asks: What line is a line too far to cross? When do we go from being a human to being a monster?
I was prepared to be bored before the game even started. How many cheap clichés could I expect? Has the government fallen apart? Check. Has society descended into anarchy? Check. Is survival as much about scrounging resources than fighting zombies? Check.
At first, Last of Us seemed as if it were going to be lost to the warehouse shelves of used Gamestop* games. But then, surprisingly, Last of Us was about something more. Read More…
Proceed at your own risk, spoilers below
Recently I finished “Gone Home”–a video game that has been quite the buzz of the industry since its release in 2013. Much of it’s success has been propelled by it’s unconventional subject matter and play style. There are no baddies to shoot, no races to win, no escort missions(whew) no enemies to defeat. Instead, perhaps the closest game that I can relate it to is Myst–an exploration game where you may need to solve puzzles to progress to the next room.
The game is all about the story and your experience in uncovering its secrets–so rather than being an adrenaline driven experience, the game is much more akin to reading a novel or watching a movie.
In the story you play the role of Kaitlin Greenbriar–a recent high school graduate.The year is 1995, and you have just returned home from a year-long backpacking style trip to Europe. While you were away, your family moved to a new house. But when you walk through the front door, no one is there to greet you. Rather, the house is mysteriously empty.
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’ve seen quite a bit of rage and Christian drama recently. First, the U.S. branch of World Vision (a Christian charity) in the span of two days publicly announced that they were going to hire individuals in homosexual marriages–only to rescind the decision to days later in an outpouring of Christian leaders, bloggers, and financial supporters going up at arms. You can read the Christianity Today announcements of both decisions here.
Second, the Hollywood Blockbuster “Noah” recently hit the big screen. And the Christian community erupted again. Some Christians loved the artful telling of the story, while others raged that it strayed too far from the Biblical account. They labeled it “evil”.