Monday, April 24, 2017

What's the Next Step?

This weekend we had a huge rally all over the world in the name of science. Tens of thousands marched in over 600 cities in six continents. All to bring to voice their opinion and let the world know how they feel about science and its role in government.

That's great. What's next?

Don't get me wrong, I think that in any movement, be it a world changing claim to a personal improvement the first step is always awareness. But it can't stop there. Awareness can generate action but in and of itself is not action. Just because I'm aware there is slavery in Africa over chocolate doesn't in any way help one of the children in the fields picking cocoa beans. I have to actually do something next.

People marched. Again great, awareness. But what is being done to fix the problem? What if every one of those people gave money to scientific work? That would allows those who are examining the problems with global warming to get more data and more concrete facts to work with. The March for Science website is phenomenal, it's slogan is exactly what I'm thinking. "We marched. Now, we act." And on the website are things everyone can do to help progress science, each day giving new ideas for a full week. You can visit it at https://satellites.marchforscience.com/.

But how many people marched and then went home? How many have taken the time to see the website, give money, do something other than walk and make people aware?

This is all true in our faith as well. Awareness is the first step. I need more of Jesus. I need to work on this in my life. I am a sinner who needs a Risen Savior. But the awareness by itself does nothing. I may be aware I need to be forgiven but I then need to actually ask forgiveness. I need to get involved in a community of faith, to read my Bible, to pray, to serve, worship, etc.

Awareness is great. But what's the next step?

T

Monday, April 17, 2017

"I Am Your Father"

It's one of the most iconic twists in film history, the quintessential snake in the mailbox. The moment when Darth Vader tells Luke Skywalker that he is Luke's father.

Sorry if I spoiled that for you, but my guess is you've already heard it. I've heard it. I've seen it hundreds of times. It's a story I've watched over and over and now mentioning that twist isn't news, it's a normal everyday thing to me.

But it's not for these people. There was a trend a few years ago where people captured their children's, spouses', friends' reactions to this iconic scene. You can see a few of them below.





Here's my question for you: Yesterday you (probably) along with over a billion other people heard the story of Jesus' resurrection. Or reheard. Or heard it for the thousandth time. But does is still shake you to the core? Does it change you? When you hear that our Savior rose from the dead is it a shock like the people in the video or is it like me, an everyday occurrence being highlighted again?

Hear the story with fresh ears. See it with fresh eyes. Put yourself in the story. Witness it. How amazing is it? How much does it change you?

Today is the day after Easter. How is your life changed the day after the shock of Christ literally defeating death?

T

Monday, April 10, 2017

Planning For Spring

It continually amazes me how God plans ahead. But this one hit me a little bit harder.

I was reading the other day and the author was talking about the connection between spring and Jesus' resurrection. This person almost seemed upset by it, like there were too many connections between spring and Jesus that shouldn't be there or that we are simplifying Christ rising from the dead with bad spring analogies.

I wholeheartedly disagree. For one big reason. It was all done on purpose.

Think about it, Jesus could have risen from the grave any day of the week. Any time in human history. But God chose specifically for this to happen over Passover so the people of Israel would see the connection between Passover and Easter.

Which means this: God planned for Christ to rise during Spring 1500 years before is happened. God could have sent Moses to Egypt and planned the Exodus at any time of the year. It was all ordained for this to happen during the spring, Exodus, the Jewish New Year, Christ's return to life, events thousands of years ago and thousands of years apart all planned for us to see these connections.

There are no little coincidences with God. Everything, everything is planned, and with reason...

Enjoy Easter this Sunday, and look for God in every little thing.

T

Monday, April 03, 2017

Adjusting Eyes

This still hits me a little bit.

The other night I was working on a deck with my father-in-law. And he is a worker, he wants to start when the sun comes up and keep at it until the sun goes down. That's exactly what happened on this project, we were working until the sun was gone, there was a little porch light we used to work.

But as we worked, I didn't really notice it get darker (someone else had to ask for the light to be turned on). I just kept working. It wasn't until we were putting things in the garage at the end of the night and I walked into this brightly lit room that my eyes screamed, "it's so bright in here!"

I feel like this happens to our soul as well. Darkness rarely attacks us and we just succumb to it. It's gradual and slow, so slow we don't realize there is darkness inside us. Life continues as if it is business as normal. Only when we are slapped in the face with light do we realize how dark our soul and our lifestyle has become.

This just one of the billions of reasons why we need to be in the presence of God as much as humanly possible. It's a constant check at our spiritual blindness. How are we doing at looking into the light? Are we living lives that reflect that light? It's only by being in the presence of light does the darkness receded.

Psalm 56:12-13 ~ I will fulfill my vows to you, O God, and will offer a sacrifice of thanks for your help. For you have rescued me from death; you have kept my feet from slipping. So now I can walk in your presence, O God, in your life-giving light. (NLT)

T

Monday, March 27, 2017

#30HF

That's the hashtag for the 30 Hour Famine. If you'd like to see what our students and other students around the world are doing to help fight global hunger search for it.

For us, this weekend we did the 30 Hour Famine together as a group. Some of our students were pros, they've done this before. Some were newbies, they had no idea what this would be like.

The biggest revelation for me is people realizing what all they take for granted. Snacking constantly through the day, having a pantry that's full so they can snack through the day, having clean water sent straight to your house (in multiple rooms) instead of to walking 4 miles carrying 70 pound jugs. Too often we don't think about how good we've got it because it's normal to us.

Let's do what we can to make it normal for everyone. If you would still like to sponsor what we did you can at http://youth.worldvision.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=donordrive.team&teamID=15464.

Thanks for your support, let's make things like clean water and healthy food the new normal.

T

Monday, March 20, 2017

"But I Built That With My Own Two Hands"

That was my inner monologue last week.

About eight years ago I built a bench. And I built it to last. This thing is heavy as can be. All our board games fit in it. It can support many people on it (we even had kids sleep on it during our Real World Retreat a couple of times). But even more so, this was the first major building project I did on my own. I built this. It was something I am attached to.

And now it's in a dumpster.

I chose to do that. Our daughter loves to play on the bench but we have an idea of something she may like better. And the only space for it is where this bench was, and seeing it was built to fit only in certain corners of a room the options for new places for it to live are extremely limited.

So I destroyed it. It is so heavy it was harder getting it out of the house than it was to get in. It made a mess. it was way more work to get rid of it than we imagined. But we did it.

Because that's how change works. It's messy, it's hard, you have to destroy things you are attached to and many times on a gamble that the new thing will work like we're doing.

But it needs to be done. I would rather risk something amazing for my daughter than hold onto something comfortable not because it's good for her but because I don't want to hurt myself.

I wonder how often we have this same conversation about change with God. Are you willing to risk? Are you willing to let go of something you love? Are you thinking about what God wants for you or what you want for you?

Get a sledgehammer and start breaking things up...

T

Monday, March 13, 2017

Looking Back

I did something I haven't done in a while. I looked back at some of my first blog posts. Painful.

Painful because I could see all the things that have changed. How I write, what I was doing, even little things like talking about my iPod (talk about old technology... I still have it...).

But the best part of it? It was painful. If it was not, if it was good to me, or familiar, that would have been even worse. That would have meant I haven't changed at all in a decade. It would mean my ministry, how I communicate, even how I listen to music hasn't changed at all.

Here's a challenge, look back at where you were a year ago, two years, five, maybe even ten or twenty. What's changed?

And if nothing's changed, why? (and how do you start to change).

T