Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Love. We all want it; we all have it in some degree, but we still want more. Living downtown has taught me this of us. We long to be cared for, mostly because we see ourselves as the greatest thing the world has yet to see.

I was talking with a homeless man about another homeless man. The latter had come through the church a few times but never stuck and gave me the chills. When I asked this particular homeless guy about him he said, “O, man he’s crazy.” Which struck me funny.

Another man, arguably in the same situation mentally calling another man crazy, is this irony? Or is this man so diluted that even the others in his situation don’t want to be around him.

Yet my mind kept spinning, I imagined a story and it went like this:

A couple walked down a snow packed sidewalk. They’d just come from a party in some darker side of town. The booze had been flowing and the crack had been lined so neatly.

The inebriated couple turns the corner and headed toward a clunker car. The light of the street lamp reveals the woman to be heavily pregnant.

A few weeks later she gives birth to a small baby boy. He’s quickly taken away by the S.R.S. to be placed in better living conditions. The mother could’ve cared less where he went she was too bent over in pain from the withdrawals of being without her precious substances for the time it took to be in labor.

The boy is given to his grandma, an elderly woman whose fragility is only kept whole by the strength of her love.

At the age of five the boy’s grandma dies. He is once again handed over to the system to see what ought to be done with him. Foster home after foster home turns him away because, “He’s just too much.”

When he’s 11 he’s standing in a church in an ill-fitting suit looking into a casket with some tiny meth addict inside it. His mom. He’d always known who she was, but she was never around. They’d found her in the basement of a meth house, the needle still between her toes.

By the age of 14 he’d been arrested twice and by that same age he’d tried his first hit of meth.

Once he hit the ‘responsible’ age of 18 he’s living on the streets with a mind fried beyond aid…

And now, another homeless man is calling him crazy.

All this story in an instant; my mind trying to answer the question of how someone ended up like this. The lack of love, the absence of parents, compounded onto the unwanted crack-baby born. It’s a sad story, all tragedy and no comedy.

Love. We all want it. Yet a redeeming love, a love that transcends to such depths as this, is only found in Jesus. For no man or woman or child or mother or father could love one to salvation, only Jesus can.

Monday, November 28, 2011


“I am a whore I do confess, I put you on just like a wedding dress and run down the isle. I’m a prodigal with no way home I put you on just like a ring of gold and I run down the isle to you. So could you love this bastard child, though I don’t trust you to provide?” ~Derek Webb


Writers write of the ‘loss of innocence.’ Singers sing of it. People speak of it to their friends. But we’ve never been innocent.

If we believe Scripture to be true and foundational, there was never a time in our lives when we were pure, when we were right, when we were good (Isa 64:6; Rom 3:9-18). We’ve always been deserving of hell.

I know, this is a happy Monday post, right?

But we have hope, that tiny yet beautiful word, hope. We can be expectant of our Savior to be enough. Clinging to this hope. We hope on hope that our hope will not be put to shame.

It’s faith really, faith in the unseen. For how can we hope in what we see? How can we have faith in the things we know break or fail?

“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Friday, November 25, 2011

An American's America

Reading by the candlelight, The Civil Wars playing in the background, sipping on some apple cider by all accounts relaxing. In and of itself is nothing to write home about or to blog about, but when compared to what the rest of the world gets, the ability to relax, to completely chill is profound.

But we whine about our small plights, or poor selves. Yet ironically enough the day after we give thanks for all we have we forego all sleep to buy more stuff. Who are we? What are we? A contradictory statement: having everything but needing more.

As Americans we’re free, right? Yet we’re still enslaved to stuff, and not our stuff, we’re enslaved to other people’s stuff. We want what they have. We’re a country of adulterous idolaters. Claiming to love One yet all the while going to bed with anything else.

What freedom is there in our society? The reply might be, “Freedom to do what we want,” freedom to be ruled by our animal self and all the longings of what we see? That’s not freedom. We’re still enslaved the difference is we just ‘like’ our master.

Don’t get me wrong I love my country, I’ve seen the world and I love living here. But a hundred years ago men worked to bring home the necessities and when they had no money they went without. It appears as though we’ve lost our reason (and by ‘reason’ I mean sense, ability to think clearly).

Self-satisfaction is the god, which rules our hearts. Self-appreciation is the worship song we sing. Self-worth is the highest possible virtue…

But we won’t change that. The master whipping our backs and sinking us into debt is what we call ‘freedom’ but freedom also means no hindrance of restraint, but we’re restrained by what we see in other’s hands, we’re restrained by the debt-collector. We’re locked up nicely in our plush cells – but their cell is nicer.

Stuff is nice, but if we have not a healthy perspective on stuff, stuff will kill us.

Bankruptcy, riots, and more because, “I want what they have, now.”

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thankful Gratitude

I’m usually opposed to writing about trending topics, but this Thanksgiving I’m making exception cause writing about being thankful makes me more thankful.

So here they are (order has nothing to do here) some things I’m thankful for:

1. The new/focused job. I went from Elder to Deacon, From Community Pastor to Communication/Connection Pastor, and I’m stoked about this. Someday there’ll be a series of posts chronicling the exact reasons for this change.

2. Family. If you’ve met my family you know why I’m thankful for them, their odd, quirky and deeply in love with Jesus. Plus they all speak fluent sarcasm (well… my sister may not, but she’s becoming, “culturally relevant.”)

3. Literature. Dracula > me (I couldn’t do it, too scary for my lil self. And reading scury stuff before bed was not a good idea) The Three Musketeers = Amazing (so far).

4) Writing. Having a blog is dang therapeutic for me.

5) Scripture. Without it there is no message, there is nothing to proclaim. For in it we know of Jesus and his Gospel.

6) Music. Yes, Taylor Swift is a favorite of mine. Her words get to me. And she is seems to be a rather classy woman.

7) Words. Without them I have nothing to say, nothing to write and no way of relaying my deepest passions. Shoot, I couldn’t even say ‘hello.’ Which means I should watch how I use words.

8) Friends. Who listen and care. Who stand beside me and proclaim truth with me.

There was a thought recently, one, which has continued to reoccur in my mind. In this thought I am an old man sitting near a fire recounting the life I’ve lived. Thinking back and being able to say, ‘I’ve done that.’ Not from a proud perspective, but from a humbled view. To be unworthy of the capability of doing what was done.

But, I suppose, the catch should be this: in our thankfulness and in our doings there should be little obligation but much gratitude. For none of this is deserved. Because God rains down mercy, for now.

Monday, November 21, 2011

A Coffee Shop Scene

Their chairs were moved close, their eyes and attention where at and with each other. He held her hand, gently, their knees were touching as they sipped their coffees and chatted, infatuated with each other. His camouflage was in stark contrast to her jeans, his tan boots were immovable near her feet.

One would speculate he’d just returned from a far land, a war-zone, protecting this woman whose hand he now held. Putting life and liberty, pain and suffering on the line for her, not for the others in the coffee shop, not for the baristas or the infant in his mother’s arms, but for her, his love. The businessman in his suit and the pastor reading his Bible sat doing their mutual duties, but this warrior sat holding his love’s hand.

Doing a duty he was glad to shoulder, doing an obligation with such gratitude and such joy that to call it a duty would be to do harm to the image, for his love was for this woman, for her and her alone. It is no duty, it is, indeed love in the most real sense of the word.

The quote on the board read, “As we express gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. J.F.K” Sure, this solider had told his love of his gratitude, sure he’d expressed it a million times as he approached the plane to take him to war, sure, he’d said the necessary, but he now lives the gratitude. Expressing it with unwavering attention and the gentleness of holding her hand.

This has happened for us.

The Warrior came and fought the forces of the foe. He crushed the serpent’s head. He put to death, death. And now, he unwaveringly intercedes on our behalf. The love with which he loved us was immense enough so as to take him to the worst possible death.

The love for His Church, his bride was a reason for the death he died and the life he now lives. The Warrior triumphed and will one day soon gently hold the hand of his bride.

A List for Monday

1) I want to watch/read ALL The Lord of the Rings again (really, mostly this is an all-the-time feeling).

2) Twilight fans: watch this he has better reasons for not liking it than me.

3) "How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes the only God?" John 5:44

4) As a single dude, I think being a loving father and loving one (1) woman for all of life is a thousand times more noble & honorable than gun fights, sword fights & church leading.

5) Thanksgiving! I will spend most of my days off reading this scary book... I have to read it when the sun is up.

6) I was bored half way through the latest Transformer movie. Like real bored.

7) New location for Journey the Way was *ahem* Saweet!

8) Literature is, for me, a gift of God to my over active mind.

9) I now have curtains at my house & if I do say so myself, they look wonderful. (I also steamed them to get the wrinkles out, does that make me odd?)

10) Coffee + pumkiny goodies with cream cheese iceing = heavenly.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Pre-Thanksgiving Thoughts:

1) We had Thanksgiving dinner at my community group last night.

2) Said dinner was wonderful & the 14lb bird was "decimated."

3) My house only holds so many people before it starts to feel like a sauna.

4) More turkey & stuffing next week? Yes, please.

5) Martin Luther is currently punching me in the face.

6) I think these are stupid cute.

7) The difference between Christianity & any other religion is Jesus. Read this.

8) NEEDTOBREATHE is always playing in my head.

9) Taylor Swift is usually right in the mix next to them (go ahead judge, I'm ok with it).

10) Coffee.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Luther's Words for All Now

"Here then, I see, you suppose that the truth and the utility of the Scriptures are to be weighed and judged of according to the opinion of men, nay, of men the most impious; so that, what pleases them or seems bearable, should be deemed true, divine, and wholesome: and what has the contrary effect upon them, should at once be deemed useless, false, and pernicious.

"What else do you mean by all this, than that the words of God should depend on,

stand on,

and fall by,

the will and authority of men? Whereas the Sctripture, on the contrary saith, that all things stand and fall by the will and authority of God: and in a word, that "all the earth keeps silence before the face of the Lord." (Hab 2:20)

"He who could talk as you do, must imagine that the living God is nothing but a kind of trifling and inconsiderate pettifogger decalaiming on a certain rostrum, whos words you may if you be disposed, interpret, understand, and refute as you please, because He merely spoke as He saw a set of impious men to be moved and affected." ~Martin Luther

To overlook orthodoxy is to place Scripture in subjection to what one wants.

It is to misunderstand the Gospel.

It is to misunderstand God.

Just a Moment

You know those moments when multiple people are just silent in awe of a sight or a sound? When the beauty of a thing is palpable or so thick you can grasp hold of it? Those are wonderful moments.

Last night was one of those moments. The bar was silent, the singer sang his heart out and played his guitar with such gusto and passion, all were quiet, all were seemingly in a trance with the words he sang and the tune he played.

Now for the really Christian questions: Have you ever had that feeling with God?

They don’t come often, when you’re washed by the beauty of who he is, and they don’t stay long. Yet in the moment, the rapturous moment there is a solidity of eternity, quite literally a peace surpassing all understanding.

But mostly we try to run to these grandeurs, looking, searching in every place possible for the feeling. But a feeling searched for is faux. For how can a manufactured feeling replace what is real?

Thus we study and work and wait for God to move in our hearts to reveal the light of the knowledge of himself in the face of Christ Jesus our Lord.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Professional Worrying

“Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:5-8

We are society of professionals when it comes to the game of worrying. In fact it’s possible to worry us right into the hospital (which many people do). Whether it is our job, friends, boyfriend/girlfriend, TV show or gas prices (or all of the above) we can, and do, worry about it.

There are a couple meanings, which I think would be beneficial to know about the word ‘anxious.’ It’s first and most simplistic definition is: “greatly worried,” however there is a second meaning which I believe is just as important and necessary of knowing as the first: “earnestly desirous; eager.”

We earnestly desire to see something besides God’s glory as true.

We are eager to look at small plights and see them as more dangerous than our sin.

This, in my opinion, describes our sin life to a T.

Rather than being satisfied by the Controller of the Universe (The Creator and Destroyer of everything) we’d like to live in the fantasy of faux control. Eagerly thinking us the captain of our own demise, the leader of our own life, the champion of whatever cause we deem worthy – but this is a far cry from belief and faith.

“… In everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

In Jesus we are hidden and safe, we are guarded from a pitiful and unreasonable worry (it’d be safe to call worry ‘stupid’). It is the reason our salvation is described as a helmet and our righteousness as a breastplate in Ephesians 6, Jesus is our salvation and as such is capable of protecting our minds, he is our righteousness and will guard our hearts.

Thus, we, you and I both, need and should and must eagerly desire to see our Savior as capable of seeing us through these hard times, these small worries.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Deism is not Christian. This is something I’m rather forceful about. Deism is not Christian. The happy-clappy huffy-fluffy religion associated with Christianity is not Christian. Let me explain the main major difference between what most would call “Christian” and what actually is Christian.

Deism has nothing to do with Jesus. That is the difference. Deism is the idea of a god creating all things and then actively (or passively) having no part of it. But somehow this idea of deism has been married with Christianity and there are many who don't realize that deism has absolutely no power to save.

Christians stake their hope on Jesus, not a list of good morals or the therapeutic idea of one’s own worth (moralistic deism).

Christians understand this life will be a continually war against their own natural depravity, not thinking themselves as naturally good people (thereapuetic deism).

Christians know God who is present in failure as well as victory, not some god who is disinterested in the lives of his creation (deism).

Christianity is nothing like deism. In Christianity God is vastly more beautiful and powerful than the apathetic god of the deist.

So what am I saying? I’m saying this heresy of moralistic therapeutic deism should be done away with. I’ll agree with Martin Luther, “I feel indignation against the matter also, that such unworthy stuff should be borne about in ornaments of eloquence so rare; which is as if rubbish, or dung, should be carried in vessels of gold or silver." So do away with speaking of a god who has no strength, grace or mercy and come to know the God who is devestatingly exqusite.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Monday Notions

1) What you do with Jesus is the difference between life & death, paganism & belief.

2)How you know you're a Pharisee: when you hear truth are your first thoughts, "______ needs to hear this." or, "I wish ______ was here to hear this."? If they are, you're a white-washed tomb.

3)Does what I teach line up with my life?

4)The Gospel will always need to be applied to yourself.

5) Don't color people by their sin.

6) If He is worthy of "living for" than surely you think he's worthy of dying for (right?)

7) Monday... Monday.

Friday, November 4, 2011

A Little Spilled Coffee

She had spilled a little of her coffee on his computer - but he was drunk so he could’ve cared less. He was more infatuated with the gospel music piping out of its speakers than the little bit of coffee on the corner.

Gingerly she cleared away the coffee with the sleeve of her yellow cardigan and went a little further to clean a portion of the screen where there was no coffee, just a smudge. He just sat there in his drunken stupor, seemingly unaware she was even there. She patted his knee and left. He remained intoxicated by both the alcohol and the music.

Everyone else walked by and stared, everyone else sat around and wished he’d turn down the sound. But she stopped and stooped to care just a little more than what was necessary.

She came back a little later, he still in his stupor, with a pair of headphones. Plugging them in and with the same gentleness she had cleaned his computer with handed the headphones to him. He took them, no gratitude or second thought; no hesitation or wonder, just took them.

As time wore on still more, a cup of coffee came and a breakfast sandwich appeared; this woman had bought him breakfast as well as given her headphones up and not a word of thanks was said just that he wanted to smoke a cigarette.

Compelled by who-knows-what she served a man who could’ve cared less. She loved one most considered unlovable, one whom most passed by and judged she considered and she stopped. To call her a believer or un-believer is not a judgment to be made, but to see her example and do similarly to the glory of God is no wrong thing.

The sick and destitute, the broken and forgotten of society are still creations of God, and still in need of being loved. Though it is not evangelism to clean a screen and spend a little money it is still loving to do so. Though it won’t save a man from drunken debauchery or hell it will, by the grace of God teach others to love those of the hideous underbelly of the world who live on our streets.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Cloudy Day Thoughts

1) Driving with my headlights on during the day makes me feel nifty… so do suspenders.

2) I was asked to speak about Calvinism at my old high school (hahaha).

3) I want to read Dracula.

4) I like jackets but I hate cold.

5) Cloudy day music = Elbow

6) My generation talks in events, older generations talk in ages.

7) I’m glad I have a perma-scarf on my face (beard).

8) Matter of fact scarves mess up my beard-doo.

9) I want a Seeing Eye dog… So I can walk into restaurants and have him with me… I just want a dog, a big dog, like an Irish wolfhound.

10) I might love London’s weather if it’s cloudy a lot.