Saturday, December 29, 2007

Say What You Mean...

Ever have those days where you wonder if you really love God? I know that sounds odd, but sometimes I question my love for God. I guess it is because I sin against him so much. There is this one thing I keep doing, and over and over again I ask for forgiveness long after I have been forgiven, and I tell myself "I won't do it again, God lend me your help this time." In actuality, he is already helping, I just chose not to listen. Which brings me back to the first question, do I really love God?

I suppose, that is really a rhetorical question more than anything, because I know that deep down I love God and not only that I NEED Him, more than life itself. Shoot, he IS life. So that is just something I have been thinking about, I know the truth behind it, but sometimes I can't help but wonder. Because I know there is absolutely nothing I can do to earn His love, and He knows that I cannot always succeed, in fact, I'm pretty sure he expects us to fail, but I guess that is just one of those things that makes his grace amazing. Hurray for the Ragamuffins who live in this life, and even more of a huzzah for an Awesome God.

I guess I don't really have anything else to say on this topic. Haha, it took less time to get my thoughts out than I thought... (no pun intended).

On a completely different side note.

I am not bitter about my stay in Clarksville, (I've had a few people tell me that they wish I wasn't bitter) I promise. In fact, I wouldn't trade my time their for anything. It was good for me, it taught me a lot, and I still respect Jerry very much. When I left, there was no anger, or any other type of negative emotion, if anything I think I am the one who did the hurting, but I cannot change the past, nor do I want to, and thus life moves on. So, stop assuming stuff, k?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Black Roses

So after two (or is it three) weeks with nothing to post, I finally have something of interest (to me at least).

Christmas is just such an interesting time of year. It's the time when people go all out to buy gifts that someone will use maybe once or twice (usually) or at least, until the new "thing" comes out. Sadly I have been sucked into this too. I'm not sure if it's just because it's an American thing, or if it's just the people I'm with, or whatever, but I really want to get something for my family this year. Which is why some are getting scarfs, and other gift cards.

The problem with getting gifts is that, at least with me, there are so many people I want to buy gifts for that I can't, and so I always feel bad when only a few people get the gifts I intended for them, and not just some ghetto home made card that says, "Merry Christmas". I'm sure people might appreciate it, but it's not what I want to do for them. So, this year I actually get to do what I want for Christmas (in the sense of getting the gifts I want to get for others), which makes me happy.

But, Erik pointed out something today at Invert that I had never really considered before. It's not that I didn't care, it was just that I never really considered it. The Advent Conspiracy.... "what would happen if we spent less on people who have plenty, and gave more to those who have none?" was essentially the question. It was really profound for me though. Despite going out of country multiple times, I still haven't seemed to understand that there are so many people in need, and Christians can lead the way into reformation. To love others so much that we give with grateful hearts, and give generously. To think... God will count our lack of generosity as a sin... intriguing, and yet, so much like the God I have come to know and love, though I'm sure I don't show it near as much as I would love to. This Christmas = yet another paradigm shift. (they seem to be happening a lot lately).

This post isn't just about Christmas... it feels so long since I left Clarksville, but in reality it has only been two to two and a half weeks. I have been so busy lately though, that I feel like I have been gone a year. I wish things didn't have to end with so much tension, but it is in the past, there is nothing I can do to change it. I don't regret my decisions, I know in my heart they were the right ones, despite what some may say or think. Even if these decisions were wrong, it was far better than dawdling around in my fear and waiting for a sign from God that was not going to come. I know He wanted me to make a decision, and so I did. That, is that, and I move on. Black Roses.

I know I'm being cryptic about that, but you will just have to get over it... I'm not explaining my life via an expanse of internet gossip known as blogging.

There is still so much for me to learn, so many things to see, and so many dreams I want to achieve... but the one thing that takes precedence in my life is God, and He holds it all together. Altruism, Theology, Doctrine, Wisdom, Knowledge, Success, Failure, it's all for nothing without God in the middle.

And so it seems like I'll be ending this year the same way I started it. Alone, with nothing to hold onto except Christ.


p.s. Happy Birthday Jesus, whenever the actual day may be.

Friday, December 7, 2007

What is your dream?

"We each have a dream, a vision of life that corresponds to our convictions, embodies our uniqueness, and expresses what is life-giving within us. Whether altruistic or ignoble, the dream gives definition to our lives, influences the decisions we make, the steps we take, and the words we speak. Daily we make choices that are either consistent or contrary to our vision. A life of integrity is born of fidelity to the dream."
~Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel

Monday, December 3, 2007


So I drove all the way down to Elberta, AL today, w00t me... but that has nothing to do with this post really...

So, Sunday morning, I wake up from yet another interesting dream. Would you like to hear about it? Too bad, I am not sharing this one, however I am going to share one of the things that stuck out to me the most. If you haven't noticed by now, all my dreams have some kind of key phrase that I seem to hone in on (for the most part anyway, there are a few exceptions). Anywho, this phrase took me a while to process it all. "Christians are self-conscious for the sake of others."

Now when I look at this phrase my initial reaction is like, "I don't think we should be self-conscious at all" but I was thinking more along the lines of self-esteem. We shouldn't be so self-conscious that it prevents us from doing the ministry God set out for us, but that is neither here nor there. After thinking on this phrase a while long I have come to the conclusion on how I view this phrase.

We as Christians are called to love and be loved. To be in a community, and know that our theology is really only the beginning to understand a God who is ever greater than we; a Living Word that constantly teaches us new things as we grow closer to obtaining the "shalom" God wants for us. For those reasons we should be self-conscious. We should be conscious of our actions affecting others: How we dress, what we say, our attitudes, our opinions, our use of our talents, everything, it all points toward one thing or the other: Self or Christ. Do we present ourselves in such a way that says "I care"?

I think this could really play in to what Paul talks about in 1 Corinthians (I think) when he talks about eating food served to idols. He doesn't want to be a stumbling block to his brother, so he chooses not to take advantage of that liberty he has to eat those foods. I think in the same way, out of a love for people, we should be willing to mold aspects of ourselves into the things that encourage others towards Christ, rather than inhibit them from Christ. Paul really says it best, "I became all things, to all men, in the hopes that I may reach some with the Gospel." (probably not verbatim, get over it).

There is a lot of "fluff" in this institution known as Christianity and it's buildings we call "church". Christians seem so intent on looking better than they are, but we need to accept the fact that we are only ragamuffins, and that is all we will ever be. That is what makes the Gospel so sweet, so addictive. It reflects the furious love God has for a bunch of broken down, beat up, and burnt out people; and in reaction to that love we follow the commands laid out to us. It IS a Gospel of Grace.

Though we are ragamuffins, that doesn't mean we have to look like slobs. Sure we be authentic about how we feel, but we need to present ourselves in a way that shows we are capable of love. How can you love someone else if you cannot love yourself? If our presentation of self (use of talents, way we dress, speech, etc.) doesn't reflect a love of self, how can we expect others to accept the love we offer, however trivial it may seem?

Perhaps, I am jumping all over a topic that I'm trying to hit; perhaps, I am just rambling on like a loony who just got out of Arkham; or maybe, just freakishly maybe, I am on to something here, and a paradigm shift is on it's way.

I think Kutless said it best:
"Why can't you see, that freedom is sometimes just simply another perspective away.
Who could you be? If your lens was changed for a moment could you still be the same?"

Now I'm off to bed, big day tomorrow. Laters!