Category Archives: Faith

Dichotomy

I sat up later than normal last night watching a live broadcast of a man I admire.

Since I last saw and heard him he has met with multiple calamities. Among the more significant, his wife of 30+ years died a horrible death due to cancer and he is now fighting cancer himself. He has lost weight, seemed frail and was much grayer. As he came up on the podium, he was actually assisted so he wouldn’t stumble.

The moment he opened his mouth I realized that appearances can be deceiving.

He opened up a portal to heaven.

He was always a powerful speaker previously. Now, though frail in appearance, I knew he’d been in the presence of the God-of-the-Angel-Armies. As he stated, “I understand now that the thin veil which separates us from the heavenly realms is indeed thin. I am ready to part it but He wants me to stay a while longer.”

He became a giant-killer, transformed into a man thirty years younger, and spoke with such power and angelic presence that I was transfixed to my little screen. He wove a tapestry of a Being so immense that we can’t even fathom, who is desperately in love with us and pines like a lover awaiting his love to come to him. That love is surrounded and interwoven with imagery of peace, war, desire, accomplishment and fulfillment. He aches to transport us to His lap.

Oh, that I might experience His presence in that manner…

Me? You’re kidding?

I’m always amazed at the things God expects me to do.

I know he uses people to do amazing things. I have a list of “heroes” who are doing the almost impossible and the impossible; I get a vicarious thrill from watching their successes, and failures. On many occasions I’ve found myself wishing that my life could be as significant as theirs.

I find it very easy to think that God will use someone else to accomplish his purpose. I have great difficulty thinking that the “someone” he has in mind is me. I’m not as qualified, as visionary, as courageous, as smart, as well-backed financially, as [you fill in the blank] as so-and-so is. It’s obvious, and makes good sense, why God would use that someone to do great things; it isn’t obvious, nor makes good sense, why he would even consider using me.

Then I make the mistake of reading something like this:

It was the month of Nisan in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king. At the hour for serving wine I brought it in and gave it to the king. I had never been hangdog in his presence before, so he asked me, “Why the long face? You’re not sick are you? Or are you depressed?” That made me all the more agitated. I said, “Long live the king! And why shouldn’t I be depressed when the city, the city where all my family is buried, is in ruins and the city gates have been reduced to cinders?”

The king then asked me, “So what do you want?” Praying under my breath to the God-of-Heaven, I said, “If it please the king, and if the king thinks well of me, send me to Judah, to the city where my family is buried, so that I can rebuild it.”

The king, with the queen sitting alongside him, said, “How long will your work take and when would you expect to return?”

I gave him a time, and the king gave his approval to send me.

This fellow was a waiter. In a very nice establishment, granted, but still a waiter. He became the individual God would use in an incredible manner. He would experience terrific risk and danger; he would see the impossible unfold before his eyes and under his hands; he would become bold, courageous and powerful… but he didn’t know that on that particular day. He was merely a waiter serving the President and given an opportunity to become who he had always dreamt he might be.

The God I’ve met likes to do that. He enjoys putting you at the threshold of the incredible and giving you a shove. He thrills at placing the impossible in your hands and telling you to make it a reality.

He knows you are the hero and wants to make it a reality.

Yeah, you…

Tough choice

The invisible and the non-existent look very much alike.
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx–Delos McKown

Intellectual Arrogance

I’m coming across authors who wrote some pretty good stuff.

The interesting thing is that they wrote it when I was in grad school and they weren’t much older than I at the time (I suppose they still aren’t much older than I now). I even vaguely remember hearing their names while in school and in full-time ministry but simply dismissing them because they weren’t in my “politically correct” (“church correct” is more appropriate) circles that I followed, read or associated with.

Now, almost 30-something years later, their writings and ideas have finally found my desk again. This time, I’m listening.

What’s irritating is that this is really good stuff. It is having a profound impact on me. Had my brain not been so full of mush way back then, how might these ideas have influenced me over the three decades that have passed? How might I have been able to influence, help and encourage countless others during that time?

I’m not crying over spilt milk; I am upset at my intellectual arrogance. I thought I had it all figured out and that caused me to tune out the very folks who could have propelled me forward in significant ways. Instead, I took the intellectual equivalence of sticking my head in the toilet and flushing. Not a good thing. Not only did I suffer, but I robbed others as well.

In a day when the internet is full of innuendos and attacks on people’s character and gossip is traded as a legitimate currency of truth, it is my desire to not stick my head in that toilet and flush. There is no place for arrogance, ever.

God of the Angel Armies

David’s stride became longer, his embrace larger—yes, God-of-the-Angel-Armies was with him!

I read this and immediately I wanted it!

Friday night I went to an Afro-American church in Bolton. We definitely had raised eyes glancing in our direction when we walked in. Imagine the surprise of everyone present when the visiting pastor stopping preaching, pointed at me standing in the back and boomed, “You, sir, in the white shirt! Every head in the place, well over 400 by my calculations, turned and stared at me and my little queen.

There I was, in jeans and white shirt; everyone else was in suits. The minor detail that I and my wife were the only whites in the joint didn’t escape my attention, either. I was neither embarrassed nor taken aback. I’d actually expected it.

I stood to attention, looked at him and simply stated, “At your service, sir. Tell me the message.”

For a moment there was no one else present in that crowded building, just he and I. Our eyes were locked, he raised his right hand and pointed at me. He said:

The presence of the Lord Almighty is on you! You, sir, are walking and will walk in a grand manner in the Kingdom, followed and surrounded by supernatural power. The Lord of Hosts has been waiting for you.

The moment was over. We left several minutes later.

I dreamed dreams of the Kingdom. When I woke, the verse above found it’s way before my eyes.

Yeah, I want it…

Rewriting history

In September of 1981 I stepped off an airplane in Fortaleza, Brazil. This was to be my new home and I was full of confidence of the change I was about to be an agent in bringing about.

Last night, cruising the internet, I came across a description of the work I helped to plant. It was biased, incorrect and totally lacking in historical fact. Reading what was written, I wondered what place the author was referencing; it wasn’t the reality that I had lived. It made me mad and sad.

It showed me how easy it is to rewrite history. The last man standing’s version becomes the official record.

This is exactly what our Enemy does with us in our lives. He rewrites reality, distorts the truth and makes us believe that we are mistaken when we attempt to see ourselves as Jesus does.

It’s all a lie, a rewriting of history. The truth?

So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture…

Faith in a box

Ever been here with your faith?

Faithless

John the Baptist, who was in prison, heard about all the things the Messiah was doing. So he sent his disciples to ask Jesus,  “Are you the Messiah we’ve been expecting, or should we keep looking for someone else?”

Jesus told them, “Go back to John and tell him what you have heard and seen—the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor. And tell him, ‘God blesses those who do not turn away because of me. — Matthew

John knew who Jesus was but his circumstances had robbed him of his certainty. Jesus gave him the proof, again.

Funny how the record can mimic our reality, isn’t it?

Smashed

I’m getting my little, neat religious world rocked back on it’s heels these days.

Many years ago, so many that it actually startles me, when I was in graduate school, I remember being overwhelmed at the material I was discovering. My tidy little world view was smashed into thousands of pieces as I was exposed to the wonders and intricacies of of original biblical languages, textual criticism, exegesis, archeology and biblical history.

It was heady stuff. Liberating in some ways, awe inspiring in others and deliciously destructive in yet others.

Much water under the bridge since then. Innocence, tom-foolery and reason long gone.

These days there seems to be a whole new “awakening” greeting me.

This is going to be interesting…

Tweet-le-dee

A younger friend of mine yesterday posted a tweet yesterday that described me to a tee. My response to him cajoled a chuckle.

I was serious.twitter

First, a “tweet” is what you do in “Twitter.” Twitter is an online service where you have 140 characters to describe what you’re doing, thinking, etc. You can access it on your computer or on your phone. I’ve found it to be an amazing tool and quite entertaining.

That brings me to second: thanks @wes_rose! (That’s the way of addressing folks who’ve “tweeted” on “Twitter;” funny, huh?!

Now back to the tweet:

Is it bad that as a 23-year-old I still feel like a boy ready to take over the world?

My response:

Is it bad that a 50-something still feels like a boy ready to take over the world?

Does life really begin when your age equals the speed limit?