Sunday, December 30, 2012

Starting a trip thoughts

1. I think I packed enough underwear.

2. This is the first time I've been to the same overseas place for a second time.

3. 48 hours of traveling & 12.5 hours time difference. Fun.

 4. Bacon & beef for dinner before the trip, good planning on my part.

5. 2 weeks of not seeing my nephews. Poo.

6. Pray no one gets sick. Cause that would suck. Any and all prayers would be appreciated.

 7. I'll need a job when I get back. Would love any and all recommendations.

8. "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."

9. Tons of curry and tylenolPM. Mmmmhmmm.

10. I don't doubt that Taylor Swift will be comfort music. 

Thursday, December 27, 2012


1) Birdy can sing. Straight up.

2) Saw Les Miserables. Thought about crying. So good.

3) Writing the next series of blog posts. These should be good and interesting. Prieview: "The aim, or the end, of Christian living – the goal, if you will - is not to be the pastor or even a pastor."

4) Leaving for India on Monday!

5) Because I'm leaving on Monday it may be a couple weeks before the series gets posted. Maybe.

6) I have a mantel clock. It's beautiful and chimes and tick-tocks. The chimes are three hours off.

7) Kat has to know I'm leaving soon, she is getting super cuddly.

8) Taylor Swift and I should grab coffee.

9) Job hunting. If you have recommendations let me know. Por favor.

10) Thinking about changing the name of the blog anyone have any suggestions?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Having a Cold Thoughts

These are the thoughts every bearded man has had to think at one point or another. This could be a perspective changer for some folk.

  1. The mustache part of my beard is filled with snot
  2. Everytime I blow my nose I need four kleenex.
  3. I washed my beard today... then sneezed and washed it again.
  4. Waking up in the morning can reveal interesting beard-omenon.
  5. My facial hair covers up the kleenex rash - for the most part.
  6. If I take a shower I won't need a kleenex for a few minutes and my beard is cleaned too.
  7. If I shove these two kleenex up my nostrils then I won't need to blow my nose and can avoid point #2.

Here are some normal people cold thoughts:
  1. Vitamin-C and toothpaste don't mix well.
  2. I'm sure I'm producing enough snot to fuel my car - someone should harness this energy.
  3. Cough drops give me a distinct slur.
  4. Sleep aids = from God.
  5. Water, water, water, water... pee.
  6. If I lay a certain way at night my nose won't leek everywhere.
  7. I feel like a zombie.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

This God of the Mundane

I finally got my copy of The God of the Mundane in the mail on Friday. Theoretically I should be done reading its 73 pages by now – but I’m not. There’s too much to it. To read this tiny book quickly would be to miss the point.

I remember a time in my life when I would read at least three books a week, and we’re talking 200-300 page puppies. Then came the first short little book that took my life wrapped it around a tree and sent it in another direction, Henry Scougal’s The Life of God in the Soul of Man.

This book now, this God of the Mundane book, is compiling thoughts, conversations, and personel wrestles that have been warring in my soul for some 18 months and making them spoken, no, making them written - which is more solid than the fleeting fluttering words of the mouth. And others are reading these words too.

My dad and I have a saying about good books, that their introductions are usually worth the price of the book - that's the case here.

Here’s a snippet,
“So many pastors today, famous and otherwise, are asking young people and everyone else if they are willing to give it all and go overseas as a missionary. It’s not a bad question to ask. There is no question in my mind that this question needs to be out there. But they – or someone – also needs to ask, ‘Are you willing to be numbered among the nameless believers in history who lived in obscurity? Do you have the courage to be forgotten by everyone but God and the heavenly host? Are you willing to be found only by God as faithful right where you are? Are you willing to have no one write a book about you and what you did in the name of Christ? Are you willing to live and believe – in stark contrast to the world around you – there is a God of the Mundane?’”
Rich Mullins is playing the background; I made cookie dough tonight; and there is a God of this mundane moment where I’m just another broken hearted kid aiming at loving that God of the mundane and extraordinary with all this little heart can bare. So I’ll go read Lord of the Rings and pray for my future family because God is here.

Friday, December 14, 2012

When Children Are Killed

My phone lit up this morning with a notification about the CT shooting. An elementary school, really? Oh no... Innocent kids, the ones men should stand up to protect gunned down by a "guardian." There are no stories or realities more tragic than little children murdered.

First my mind rushed to hate & anger. Then it scurried to attempting to imagine a parent's pain. Then to thinking about my nephews - I'd kill to keep them safe. Last my mind ran to sin.

One time in lit class we watched Othello, something about that Shakespearian play terrified me. How Iago plots and plans for the death of his closest friend (who he considers to be his bitter enemy). It's conniving, it's cruel, it's sinful. What scared, and still scares me is knowing the same beast lives in me, I'm capable of such wanton cruelty.

The sinfulness of others - no matter how shocking, evil, or twisted - is the same sinfulness that dwells in each of us. I'm not saying we've all killed children, I am saying we've all hated (which Jesus says is just as damnable); I'm not saying we're all whores, I'm saying we've all lusted (which Jesus equates to adultery).

At the bottom of this all what I am saying is that we are all sin filled.

Yes, the actions done today are atrocious; yes, I feel an intense anger towards the man who kills kids (or any man who isn't a man); yes, I want to see justice done in this life & the next upon him; and yes, this is a devastatingly terrible thing (it's fitting today is cloudy & rainy in Wichita). But this should be a call to repentance from our own personal sins. The beast that dwelt in the gunman dwells in us all, we're all affected by the fall, sin is in us all.

So what now? After trying to understand the depravity of us (you, me, we), where do we go? To the only One who has always been free of sin, to God. To the center of history, to Jesus. To Him who fought the beast in us all and won, won for all who call him Lord. That's where we go today, the day when children were recklessly murdered.

Friday's Thoughts

1) The Hobbit! I saw it!

2) There were tons of young ones there, I was shocked. Maybe I'm getting older?

3) Took Lil Loren to the Zoo yesterday. We ran all around cause no one was there (well he only ran around for half the time before his tiny legs got tired). And saw the tiger *rawr*

4) I finished classes and promptly slept for 10 hours.

5) Does anyone else use the armrest as a coaster rather than an armrest?

6) Going to India in a couple weeks. This trip could not be timed better. Adventure!

7) I've not been this chill in a long time.

8) I'm in that love-is-fake part of the break up stage... My cynicism loves it.

9) Continually relearning this, "O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord." I doubt I'll ever get too far past this, if at all.

10) It's nice to know everyone knows about the resignation, no more guessing or tip-toeing around. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Two Weeks of Thinking

It’s been a little over two weeks since all my responsibilities at the church ended. Sure the announcement was just this last Sunday but it was a scheduled announcement so there was a bit of waiting around not being able to say anything for a while. In other words, I’ve had a bit of time to digest this stuff – to think about what should be said, how to say it, and what’s the safe way to communicate the problems encountered…

In the end it’s just fine to talk about weaknesses; to discuss the realities of depression – the need for a medication and a counselor; to talk about the constant wear of attempting to function in an area of gifting you’re not gifted with; to be real about the pain of singleness in the ministry and the damned desire to be helped and cared for.

In the end it’s safe to honestly open up about the constant drudge of being barely able to have the faith of salvation let alone the apparently necessary overt faith of a pastor, to say that I can’t run off someone else’s passion any longer.

In the end it’s okay to tell people that the only way it was possible to fall asleep at night was to try to remember what it was like in another land, when war raged all around; to listen to mix CD’s from years ago while clinging to your Bible and weeping for want of a returned hope.

In the end… In the end it’ll be right to say that the darkness was necessary and the sun shown more brightly; to remember the sting of losses and know them for what they really are - bits that had to be pruned.

Sure there’s a plan and a hope for the future, but the plan can’t be the hope. Yes, there’s a past full of wishes for something different, but wishes don’t change the past just like my future shouldn’t change my hope.

So when the time comes to bid the Shadowland goodbye, it shouldn’t be from desires for a different life or from the failed dreams I once held, but it should be from the standpoint of knowing my hope-filled-anchor to be hidden with Christ on high and thus my hope is my future and my present and my past – that is to mean in weakness, and drudgery, and fear cling to Him who does cling to you.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Pastoral Resignation

This morning I read a letter to the church I worked at and help start over the past three years. In that letter I announced my resignation from being a pastor. It was and has been a difficult time for me to process through much of the weight, emotions, frustrations, and worries that have come with and been a part of this decision – a decision that has been developing over the past six months.

In short it is time for me to rest.To remember the gospel which for the past six years of my life has been either a semi-professional or professional job for me. But the gospel isn’t a professional calling. No, it’s so much more and less than that. It’s more because it’s what doctors and lawyers and bankers and moms and dads and college students and grad students and nurses alike cling to for hope and joy and peace. And it’s less because it’s the simplicity of child like faith and awe; because its burden is easy and yoke is light; because it’s the symphony of grace and mercy. The gospel isn’t some ware to be pervade or sold; it is the treasure in the field for which we sell all out of joy.

Many sleepless nights and desperate cries to the darkness (and my steering wheel) have filled my life these past months. Talks with family, friends, a counselor, my doctor, and the elders as well as the impressing leading of God have brought me to this grueling decision. It hurts to – for this next season - lay down the pastoral role. Do I still feel a deep and abiding calling? No, I feel a deep and abiding passion for proclaiming the gospel. Callings are good, they give a sense of direction, but it’d be better put to feel a burning passion for the gospel rather than a call for ministry. While a call to vocational ministry is desired, before any of that who-haw can be true there must be a love for the gospel of grace of which I am a partaker and chiefly in need of. That though my sins be great, my God is greater. That while my treachery runs deep, His love runs deeper. That in the midst of loss Jesus is my comforter.

            Thus I am no longer a pastor at a church.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Friday's Thoughts

1) Go buy this book. My former boss wrote it. It's good. You need it.

2) Finals are almost over! 1 more paper due next week then sleeeeeeeeep.

3) Played with torches on Wednesday night after building a fire then had a churchy-talk while sitting by a lake watching the stars. Fire, torches, churchy-talk only thing missing was beer then it could've been just like the reformation... okay maybe not, they were all in pubs.

4) Le house is decorated for Christmas. But it doesn't smell like it yet. Must needs cinnamon.

5) Seriously have been considering playing a show. You know singing and strumming the guitar in front of real people, not the fake ones in my head or the Kat.

6) A week from now my mind will have exploded from seeing The Hobbit.

7) I'm now the proud owner of a scarf that has the family plaid on it! Time to eat some haggis and throw a tree - a real little tree, maybe just a twig or two.

8) I've taken to leaving my phone in the kitchen at night. The lil tart can't wake me up now.

9) "When all around my soul gives way he then is all my hope and stay." Yea, that's easy to write and say. Maybe I'll believe it more when I'm older? Fight to believe it now.

10) If I get one more request to play farmville on Facebook I'm gonna call up Mark Zuckerberg and word-punch him. Stupid game.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Kinda Nostalgic

I started The Lord of the Rings again this last Saturday. It's like walking down an old familiar path from my youth, in a way nostalgic and in another remindful - remindful about the person I once was and who I am now, which is revealing of the changes that've taken place.

Do you remember the things you got excited about as a kid? For me it was Star Wars for a little while then it was Lord of the Rings. I had action figures of both - the Lord of the Rings ones are still in my closet at my parent's house, I gave the Star Wars ones away. Remember the way we'd get caught up in our fantasy worlds of wherever we'd imagined?

Part of it was innocence and part of it was ignorance. Innocence in that we'd never lost love before, never been betrayed before and never known uncertainty. Ignorance in that we didn't know how the wide world operated, we didn't know the time demands or the way our dreams would be warped or killed.

But at the same time growing up has been an experience I don't want to trade for anyone else's. The lost loves, the time demands, the way my dreams have been shifted or changed or even killed (I suck at math therefore the dream of astronaut was a lil far fetched) it's all served a purpose, a plan, to bring me to where I am today. Does that mean it's all figured out? Definitely not. Does that mean every aspect of my life is the way it should be? No. It just means that I'm content with the adventures God has placed in my life - even though some feel daunting.

I underlined this in my book yesterday,
"I wish it need not have happened in my time," said Frodo.
"So do I," said Gandalf, "and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to do is decide what to do with the time that is given us. And already, Frodo, our time is beginning to look black. The enemy is fast becoming strong. His plans are far from ripe, I think, but they are ripening. We shall be hard put to it. We should be very hard put to it, even if it were not for this dreadful chance."