Friday, September 30, 2011

Apricots or Avocados?

“Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of overcoming it.” –Helen Keller

Friends and family are suffering.
Friends and family are hurting.
Friends and family are fearful.
Friends and family are worrying.
Friends and family are wondering.
Friends and family are fighting.
Friends and family are hoping.
Friends and family are sore.
Friends and family are aching.
Friends and family are anxious.
Friends and family are being tormented.
Friends and family are praying.
Friends and family are in a battle.

For our battle is not against flesh and blood……..

I have a secret confession. I hate that the “armor of God” passage seems to be reserved for the Children’s Department in a church.

Geez people! We are in a battle! If you don’t believe me… count the casualties!

Belt of truth. Breastplate of righteousness. Feet of readiness. Shield of faith. Helmet of salvation. Sword of the Spirit.

Sorry to be a terrible ex-pastor again, but all that is well and good but it just sounds so abstract and vague. Lets be honest… a suit of armor sounds pretty ridiculous.

So let’s put the image of a suit of armor away and just look at what is there. Seek truth, goodness, alertness, trust in God and only fight the battles using the Word and words of God.

Here’s my point. I am sick and tired of suffering. But I am more sick and tired of people not overcoming it. Thanks Helen Keller.

I think its time to exercise the demons that chase us, break the legs that kick us when we are down and put up a fight for the things that are important to us. Boom.

...on crappy days...

Days like today leave me at a loss for words. At least appropriate ones.

It was a day full of pain. Grief. Fear. Fatigue. Emotion. Anger. Frustration. Tears.

A man doesn’t have to die to go to Hell.
Unfortunately, it is all around.
For crying out loud!

If I were a slightly more moronic moron, I would demand someone do something about all this garbage in life. Fortunately, I am not.

God did. The Incarnation. His cosmic, transcendental D-Day.

I have always heard, and probably taught at some point, that God DID act. The battle is won right? Christians have victory? After all, Jesus did say, “It is finished!”

But it sure doesn’t feel like it on days like this. Tonight I just want to quit everything.

Wow. Literally the exact moment that I wrote the previous line, I received a text message that said, “Thanks for being there today.”

Maybe that should be the most we need on the worst days.

In fact, I should probably send a message to God that says, “Thanks for being there today.”


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

"You touched my heart and you have my pity" -K

I like myself when I am in a good mood. I think I have fun. I think I spread happiness. It’s just an all around good time.

I am in a good mood today.

It was probably 10 years ago I took the Myers-Briggs Personality Test and it said I was an extrovert and a thinker. Among others. I KNOW now that I am not an extrovert. But I think I am starting to think that I am a feeler.

Call me crazy, but when I really look at my life I see myself listening to my heart more often than my brain.

Maybe, more accurately, I am growing up and becoming more balanced. I seem to be a thinker with big decisions and a feeler with the little ones.

Here is my point. I remember when I left the church that I was so convinced that it was everyone else’s fault. It all just seemed like one big lie. It made me learn to hate it. Or hate myself for letting it happen.

Feelings aren’t always what they seem to be. I was wrong. I admit I could not have known enough to be a judge of it all. Sure there was plenty of blame to go around.

But it wasn’t one big lie. There are always lies being mixed in with the truth in life.

But that is why we all are thinkers and feelers. More importantly, I am very glad to have Truth to anchor us.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Just keep swimming

I have to be honest. I am losing the motivation to keep writing this blog. In fact, now would be a good time for encouragement.

A couple weeks ago when I started this thing, I knew that it wouldn’t be too long until I would lose the motivation to write. There is this natural ebb and flow to life where we want things one day and then don’t the next. I wish that wasn’t the case but that doesn’t change too much.

I admit that when I started writing this little blog I was feeling pretty close to God in all of my introspection and progress towards healing. I guess that I am not feeling that as much anymore.

So this back and forth sort of feeling reminded me of letter XIII from C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters:

(In case Screwtape is new to you, it is a fictional series of letters from a senior demon attempting to mentor a younger demon to improve his efforts to lead a human away from God) K here goes…

“So you 'have great hopes that the patient's religious phase is dying away', have you? I always thought the Training College had gone to pieces since they put old Subgob at the head of it, and now I am sure. Has no one every told you about the law of Undulation?

“Humans are amphibians-- half spirit and half animal. (The Enemy's determination to produce such a revolting hybrid was one of the things that determined Our Father to withdraw his support from Him.) As spirits they belong to the eternal world, but as animals they inhabit time. This means that while their spirit can be directed to an eternal object, their bodies, passions, and imaginations are in continual change, for as to be in time means to change. Their nearest approach to constancy, therefore, is undulation-- the repeated return to a level from which they repeatedly fall back, a series of troughs and peaks. If you had watched your patient carefully you would have seen this undulation in every department of his life-- his interest in his work, his affection for his friends, his physical appetites, all go up and down. As long as he lives on earth periods of emotional and bodily richness and liveliness will alternate with periods of numbness and poverty. The dryness and dullness through which your patient is now going are not, as you fondly suppose, your workmanship; they are merely a natural phenomenon which will do us no good unless you make a good use of it.

“To decide what the best use of it is, you must ask what use the Enemy wants to make of it, and then do the opposite. Now it may surprise you to learn that in His efforts to get permanent possession of a soul, He relies on the troughs even more than on the peaks; some of His special favourites have gone through longer and deeper troughs than anyone else. The reason is this. To us a human is primarily food; our aim is the absorption of its will into ours, the increase of our own area of selfhood at its expense. But the obedience which the Enemy demands of men is quite a different thing. One must face the fact that all the talk about His love for men, and His service being perfect freedom, is not (as one would gladly believe) mere propaganda, but an appalling truth. He really does want to fill the universe with a lot of loathsome little replicas of Himself-- creatures whose life, on its miniature scale, will be qualitatively like His own, not because he has absorbed them but because their wills freely conform to His. We want cattle who can finally become food; He wants servants who can finally become sons. We want to suck in,, He wants to give out. We are empty and would be filled; He is full and flows over. Our war aim is a world in which Our Father Below has drawn all other beings into himself: the Enemy wants a world full of beings united to Him but still distinct.

“And that is where the troughs come in. You must have often wondered why the Enemy does not make more use of His power to be sensibly present to human souls in any degree He chooses and at any moment. But you now see that the Irresistible and the Indisputable are the two weapons which the very nature of His scheme forbids Him to use. Merely to override a human will (as His felt presence in any but the faintest and most mitigated degree would certainly do) would be for Him useless. He cannot ravish. He can only woo. For His ignoble idea is to eat the cake and have it; the creatures are to be one with Him, but yet themselves; merely to cancel them, or assimilate them, will not serve. He is prepared to do a little overriding at the beginning. He will set them off with communications of His presence which, though faint, seem great to them, with emotional sweetness, and easy conquest over temptation. Sooner or later He withdraws, if not in fact, at least from their conscious experience, all those supports and incentives. He leaves the creature to stand up on its own legs-- to carry out from the will alone duties which have lost all relish. It is during such trough periods, much more than during the peak periods, that it is growing into the sort of creature He wants it to be. Hence the prayers offered in the state of dryness are those which please Him best. We can drag our patients along by continual tempting, because we design them only for the table, and the more their will is interfered with the better. He cannot 'tempt' to virtual as we do to vice. He wants them to learn to walk and must therefore take away His hand; and if only the will to walk is really there He is pleased even with their stumbles. Do not be deceived, Wormwood. Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy's will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.

“But of course the troughs afford opportunities to our side also. Next week I will give you some hints on how to exploit them.”


I guess parts of that resonate in me right now. I don’t particularly desire. I don’t see much of God around me. I don’t particularly feel forsaken… more along the lines of empty or tired.

But I still intend to pursue. I want to do His Will. Not in a lame churchy sort of way… but in a way that really makes a difference in peoples’ lives.

I know that difference must begin with my own life but that is hard from down within a trough.

The prayers offered during periods of dryness please Him best? I guess I am not sure what to pray about. So I am just honestly putting my heart out there. I guess that could count as a prayer.

I am feeling tired. Dry. Worn down. Unmotivated.

But I don’t want to settle for that. I want more.

“Don’t bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.” --William Faulkner

Monday, September 26, 2011

Its not supposed to go like that

I never thought I would say this. It has been 13.5 years since J died. I used to wonder if there would ever come a time where I would forget him. Or, more likely, that I would just not think about him for a couple weeks or months.

It still happens all the time. Every time someone loses a loved one. When someone mentions suicide. Sometimes for no reason at all. I can’t go more than a couple days without him coming to mind.

But every time I remember his choice, I can’t help but think about what he would be doing if he were still alive.

Where would he live?
What would he be like?
What would his career be?
Would he be married? Kids?

Would any of it look like my life?

The story shouldn’t have happened that way. But he is gone. Still.

I guess he is isn’t just some memory that will fade. It must be that he is a part of who I am. I am not sure how I feel about that. It is what it is.

I think I just wonder what to do with those “what could it have been” thoughts. Mourn? Grieve the loss? That can’t last forever right?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Maybe I will get a comment...

I am tired. I am crabby. I have a cold. I feel like death. I haven't eaten dinner. So write your own blog :)

No seriously, write your own mini blog in a comment. Id love to hear whats going on in the minds of my friends!

Saturday, September 24, 2011


So I was having a conversation with a friend the other day about the ugly side of life and how to see the good things in the midst of those challenges. I probably missed the rest of the conversation (sorry K) because all of a sudden my mind starting running with this thought…

I have this recurring temptation to “count my blessings” in the midst of trials. In fact, I was probably taught this at some point in some Sunday school class.

I use the word “temptation” there because I, at least, have this tendency to make a list of my blessings in order to somehow counter-balance the trials that are in my life. How can I allow myself to compare goodness with evil? What a crock!

Here is the thing I am trying to clarify… good and bad things shouldn’t be something that should be compared in terms of number. It’s like light and darkness. Warmth and cold.

Light and warmth is the presence of something. Darkness and cold is just the absence.

“I had 7 darknesses and only 1 light today. My day sucked.” That just doesn’t make sense.
“I had 84 coldnesses and 16 warmths. Brrrrr.” What?

Since all I ever do is quote Lewis and Howard, Lewis made a reference to this idea in The Great Divorce

“Look at yon butterfly, if it swallowed all Hell, Hell would not be big enough to do it any harm or to have any space… And yet all loneliness, angers, hatreds, envies, and itchings that it contains, if rolled into one single experience and put into the scale against the least moment of the joy that is felt by the least in Heaven, would have no weight that could be registered at all. Bad cannot succeed even in being bad as truly as good is good.”

Wow. That is incredible. Read The Great Divorce if you haven’t.

So here’s my point. Next time that the unfortunate situations of life have its grip on you, don’t just count your blessings as if one ice cream sandwich or even a friendship can outweigh a poor circumstance. There is no competition!!!

Why even get out your balance if there is only something on one side of the scale?

So perhaps next time I am becoming overwhelmed with a poor circumstance in life, I think I am just going to only look at the blessings in my life.

Besides, can you even think of a word for the absence of all blessings? I guess Hell could fit there.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Francis' 2 cents

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
                 St. Francis of Assisi

I hate the phrase “born again.” I get it and all, but it just seems so “christianese.” For real though, I hate that phrase. 

But its hard for a human to love in the midst of hatred.
Its hard for a human to pardon in the midst of injury.
Its hard for a human to have faith in the midst of doubt.
Its hard for a human to have hope in the midst of despair.
Its hard for a human to be light in the midst of darkness.
Its hard for a human to be joyful in the midst of sadness.

It seems pretty weird that our very best if found in our apparent dying. But how can I be a new person until my old self is put to death. I am not just talking about a change. I am talking about an entirely new person.

Some days I feel like I am dying. But I think that’s okay. I am not referring to a physical death, but a death of who I have been.

I refuse to stay the same. I refuse to just settle for how things have always been.

My point is that maybe death is okay if it is making room for new life to be resurrected out of it. Than again, only I think a god can bring death back to life. That is, God. 

So is Chef Boyardee

Some days I don’t even know what to think anymore. In a bit of irony, one of the people who have hurt me the most shared with me how he is trying to inspire his community to “believe”. He even had wristbands made that say, “Anything is possible if you believe.” He mailed me a handful of them.

Really? This man, who devastated the lives of everyone that he cared for and cared for him, is on a “anything is possible if you believe” campaign? Believe in what?

I get that whole wave of emotions just thinking of it. All that anger, betrayal, hurt, rage, aggression and defensiveness come flying back in my heart. Lets be honest, what sort of d-bag abuses a girl who he is supposed to be nurturing, investing in and caring for? But I can’t say that I am any better. I have hurt people. I have made poor choices. I have murdered in my heart. I have done it all. I am far from anything perfect. So screw the façade.

Wow. That wasn’t the point.

Here is the point. If I am really trying to be a sort of person who seeks healing, growth and redemption, then I must be that way with him too.

I don’t want forgiveness to be something that I can hold over someone’s head if only they act like I want them to. Forgiveness must be an extension of who I am. If I am truly seeking to be loving, wise, free and good, then that must be what informs how I act… even with the worst of life.

Here is the point. I don’t just want to chase the pain around life, picking up its pieces as I go. I want to have the courage to believe that those who cause the hurt can have hope too.

Its funny that he sent me a wristband that says, “Anything is possible of you believe.” He is talking about his stupid basketball team. I wear it as a reminder to love the victim and the perpetrator. The abuser and the one abused both need someone to go with them into the depth of their pain.

Maybe I am blind. Maybe I can see. But, for once, I feel like I am honestly pursuing something more than appearances. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Maybe its just me

The other day, as I sat around the campfire singing Kumbaya with some friends (and by that I mean I was in staff meeting), I had this realization that those around the table who actually read my blog know a lot about me. And by that I mean they know a lot about me.

As I sat there, apparently not paying attention, I started musing about how these several people really knew a lot of details about my self, my past, my struggles and how my brain works. To be honest, I found it difficult to look around and look people in the eye.

It is not that I am ashamed that people know. For once, it wasn’t because I was concerned with that they thought of me. I couldn’t care less if I am deemed unworthy, broken or in need by others who, in reality, are every bit as desperate as I am.

I was struggling because I didn’t know much about them.

I started this blog so that I could start to face myself and deal with the baggage I have been carrying, but it strikes me that being honest with myself doesn’t do much good unless I am using that honesty to connect with others. If this just turns into some sort of attention scheme, strike me dead.

What is the point of this? What is the goal? What is the end?

Oh my dear friends, this is where you come in…

It is my heart’s desire to see all find Christ. I want you to find Christ in the way you need Him. Perhaps you need mercy. Or grace. Or accountability. Or motivation. Or forgiveness.

Why do I write this? So I can get my baggage out of the way so that I can find God. The truth is that I do this for me.

But here’s my point. Perhaps this little firework show of mine would actually do some good by bringing people together and, ultimately, closer to Christ.

Maybe it is you and I who get to have a good conversation.
Maybe you need to have a good conversation with someone else.
Maybe someone from your past.
Maybe someone from your present.

Oh, the more we get together,
Together, together,
Oh, the more we get together,
The happier we'll be.

For your friends are my friends,
And my friends are your friends.
Oh, the more we get together,
The happier we'll be!

 It isn’t just a cute children’s song. I think it might hold a secret to where we can find Christ. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Next time I will say yes

I have a tendency to be ridiculous. Story: Part one- At work yesterday I had a headache from hell. Part two- Coworker offers me headache medicine. Part three- I say no thank you.

Why? I don’t know. I have always done that. I just can’t accept things from others. It’s stupid, I know. [Coworker] thinks it was stupid of me. Truly, it was stupid of me. 

I think I was subconsciously trying to prove to myself and others that I don’t need others’ help. That’s stupid, I know.

I do need help. I need a lot of help. Desperately. I think I would totally lose it if I could not talk to those important to me. When I call or text just to say hi, I am apparently in need of human interaction.

I need people. I need you, whoever is reading this. We all need all of us.

“Things have a way of falling to pieces. The shingles blow off the roof. The chrome rusts through and the exhaust pipe drags. Cuffs fray, nylons run, hair falls out, joints stiffen and wattles appear under our chins. Nothing is exempt…”[1]

Life has a way of constantly reminding us of limitations. We run out of time. We get tired. We get hungry. We get thirsty. We don’t understand. We can’t be there. We can’t do it all. We get headaches.

I, hereby, squash the perception that I have it all together. To be honest, I am walking a rough road to redemption. To be kind, I am a work in progress. I know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that I wouldn’t be where I am today without the people in my life.

As Kenny puts it, “I didn’t get here alone. That road’s just too rough alone. I might be the one the spotlights on. But I didn’t get here alone.”

The truth is that I wouldn’t even be close to where I am if it weren’t for the people who have pushed me…

To dream big
To believe anything is possible
To see the good in others
To love people
To set aside my selfishness
To be merciful and offer grace
To help find freedom
To discern which battles are worth fighting
To truly listen to other people
To work hard
To be patient

Here is my point. Being humble is different than being thankful. I find it easy to be thankful for the people in my life. I struggle to be humble enough to set aside my own ridiculous pretentiousness to accept a stupid headache pill.

So here I go… I will give and accept. I am no savior or hero. I am simply a man who needs help just like everyone else.

[1] Thomas Howard, Christ the Tiger.

Monday, September 19, 2011

the better to see you with my dear

I have always wanted glasses. I think it would improve my look. However, my eyesight is basically superhuman. I have a hard time hearing some things and can’t smell a burning cigarette three feet from me, but I would make a hawk feel like a bat. So as I was driving home from work the other day I got to pondering about wanting glasses. And thus, this post was born…

Glasses enable a person to see things they normally would struggle with seeing. But beyond near or far-sightedness, there are things we cannot see at all. Feelings, hurts, joys and spirits are what are really going on beyond the scenes of the behind the scenes. We are constantly in battle because of the outward and inward tension in life.

I want to learn to see these things. Not just that though, I think its possible.

I think its pretty cool how a see-able physical action like a hug or a cry can help to heal an unsee-able thing like a hurt. Everyone knows that your smile goes away when you get bad news. But it works backwards too!

That’s not the point though…

I am perplexed by 2 Corinthians 4 and in particular verse 10, "We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body."

I am still not sure what that means. But if it means what I think it means, then that makes me feel okay. Not that the mistakes, guilt or pain is meant to be okay with. But, rather, that it is part of the Christian’s journey.

I often joke that church people are the only ones in this world who think they are not guilty of anything. I know where that comes from. But there is a difference between being forgiven and not-guilty. Forgiven presupposes guilt.

Oops. That’s not the point either.

Here is the point. Maybe it ties my tangents together and makes them less tangentish. Tangenty?

Perhaps the inward things and outward things that constantly press on us shouldn’t make me feel like I am losing my mind… perhaps they are perfectly normal.

          "Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."

                                                                 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

So I am going to focus on the unseen things… looking beyond the things that are easy to see.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

One short day... in the Emerald City

One short day.
What would you do if you had only 24 more hours to live?
You might give pause to that question…
So go ahead… Really, what would you do?

Family. Friends. Cookouts. Heartfelt words. Memories.
All they the things that really matter the most?

I would venture to guess that there are some things that suddenly become very significant and others would pale in comparison.

Would money matter? I think if I brought up a tax question I might get laughed at. But forgiving a debtor would make a difference.

Would possessions matter? I think if I asked everyone at my cookout to pool their money to buy me the latest iPod, it wouldn’t be quite the same. But if I gave away all of my possessions to those who needed it most, it would make a difference.

Would I still worry about the way I looked for my casket photos?
Would I still want a nicer car?
Would I still want a house with a big yard?
Would I still worry about putting more time in at work?
Would I indulge myself in what I wanted?
Would I choose to carry hurts and grudges?

I think I would want to spend my last 24 hours giving every last bit of myself to every last person who needs it. Yes, I would surround myself with the people who mattered most to me, but I would spend the time pouring every last drop of love out of me and into those around me.

Here is the real point. I think the reason we would live our last 24 hours differently (than if we didn’t know) is because we suddenly would realize that it is not our time.

The truth is that we are all living on time that isn’t ours to begin with!

So perhaps I should dedicate more of “my” time to the Person who it actually belongs to.

Perhaps I could change my commute to/from work to our commute to/from work.
Perhaps I could change my quiet time to our quiet time.
Perhaps I could change gathering my thoughts to gathering our thoughts.
Perhaps I could change “I could change” to “we could change.”

If I truly want my life to be about my time with God, then I should probably start before I get some fictitious announcement of my 24-hour doom countdown. Besides, 24 hours isn’t enough time to accomplish what I believe God wants to do through me. :)

P.S. Yes, that is two Wizard of Oz references in 24 hours. Oh my!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Yellow Brick Road

1) My youngest, and probably most charming, follower has officially named the black fish “Chocolate”. In honor of his marvelous creativity, the green fish has been named “Boaz”. Here is to greatness in the youngest generation J
2) I am interested in creative names for the rest of the fish family. Black and green are taken. Let me know.
3) Here is the real post…

As I sit here writing these very words I am sitting in my childhood home. I am in the room where I was read stories, played with toys, sat by the heat duct on cold winter mornings and was afraid of witches that my imagination had created at the end of my hall. I will always cherish the many, many good times here. And as in this home, there were rough times too. I grew from those.

This is the home in which I was raised since I was just 14 months old.

This is where I was raised. But this is not what grew me up.

I grew up as I watched my father work tirelessly to provide for his family.
I grew up as I watched my mother shower her maternal love on us every step of the way.
I grew up as I watched my childhood friend go through his parents’ divorce.
I grew up as I watched my church family stumble through the suicide of one of our teenagers.
I grew up as I experienced not making the team in high school.
I grew up as I struggled with sorting out my identity, purpose and calling.
I grew up as I watched my friends and family experience deep betrayal by a loved one.
I grew up as I watched my friend experience the pain of abuse.
I grew up as I challenged my own beliefs and views.
I grew up as I tried to be a youth pastor.
I grew up as I struggled through a second failed mentoring relationship.
I grew up as I gave up something I had loved for something I felt God was leading me to.
I grew up as I led my hurting kids through a searing loss.
I grow up as I go face-to-face with the absolute ugliest side of humanity.
I grow up as I watched loved ones get emotionally torn to pieces.

Most of all, I have been grown up by learning to listen for the voice of God instead of listening to those around me.

The events of live are perhaps what shaped me. But God is one who has been growing me.

My dad still tells me that I am not allowed to come live here anymore. J

This was my launching pad. This is where I was a child. This will always be where I called home. I couldn’t have dreamed for a better family or a better childhood.

But I was not called to remain a child. There came a time when I had to grow up. Now I am a 25 year old man sitting in the exact room where I slept as an infant. I look back over the 25 years. Love, laughs, fights and scars; ups and downs.  

But the real thing that gets me is that I still feel like an infant. I am just a mere child in learning to hear my Father’s voice.

If any lesson can be learned as I sit in this dark room, it is that I can do it.

I will have many challenges that await me. Ups and downs. But it will just be another life come and gone if I don’t make it mean something. Sure, I can do my time as a public servant, but that isn’t enough for me.

My deepest hearts desire is to be grown into a person that is used by God to change this world. So I will patiently sway with the ebb and flow of life and I will courageously ride the waves of trials. But ultimately, I want to know God. That is what will grow me.

“Well done, good and faithful servant” is far better than “depart from me, for I never knew you”. Now is my time to earn that.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Just Dance, gonna be okay

1)      Shout out to my fan Amber. (I guess you never really admitted fan-ness. Just boredom on nightshift)
2)      Please feed my fish… they get feisty when they are hungry. Nobody likes feisty fish.
3)      Here’s the real blog:

So here is how my brain works. I get tired. I get introverted. I get selfish. I get all attention-wanty. Then before long I resemble a little kid in a sandbox shrieking for a toy shovel. Then I get pissed that I am acting like a complete moron.

So here I am. All sleepy-eyed. Questioning my existence and my purpose.
That is just stupid. I can’t even believe I admit that.

I think that is funny how slippery emotions can be.
I am not a directionless, whiney, selfish jerk!
Great work, Andy.

So I get home from work and amidst our conversation my wife, who desires to remain anonymous, and our awesome friend Carolyn said to me, “Get over yourself.”

They are right. Not because of the context of our conversation, but because it’s just plain true.

Here is the bottom line. I shouldn’t want others’ attention as I sit whining in my sandbox. I shouldn’t give a crap what others might think or say. Not because every person in the world is a royal d-bag like me. But because I have a deep understanding of where my identity comes from.

Why not act like a whiney attention-seeking child throwing a temper-tantrum? Because I am a child of God. A royal priesthood. A mighty nation.

A 25 year old crabby, introverted, selfish, attention-seeking idiot probably isn’t what Jesus has in mind as He calls forth His Church. That is not a "mighty nation". 

So, Andy. Get your crap together and make a difference in the world. 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Graffiti and Punctuation

"The great irony, of course, is what we recognize in our moments of of lucidity as unimportant eventually claims our entire attention, and we find ourselves wholly occupied with our wardrobes and cosmetics and careers and artifacts, knowing full well that these things are no more significant than our children's trinkets."

"But I could not think that in the figure of Jesus we saw Immanuel, that is, God, that is, Love. It was a figure who, appearing so inauspiciously among us, broke up our secularist and our religious categories and beckoned us and judged us and damned us and saved us and exhibited to us a kind of life that participates in the indestructible. And  it was a figure who announced the validity of our eternal effort to discover significance and beauty and inanition and horror by announcing to us the unthinkable: redemption."

"Just at the moment when we thought we had guaranteed our own standing in His good favor, He escaped us and returned with His hammer to demolish things. Try as we might, we could not own Him. We could not protect Him. We could not incarcerate Him. For He always emerged as our judge, exposing our punctilio and fright by the candor and boldness of His love."

"But I show you a different way. It is an alien and a frightening one. It is called Love. It asks that you forswear your busy effort to collect the bits of bliss and novelty that lie about. It asks that you disavow your attempt to enlarge your own identity by diminishing that of others. It asks that you cease your effort to safeguard your own claim to well-being by assuming the inferiority of others' claims. It asks, actually, that you die. For, paradoxically, it offers to your your very own best being beyond this apparent immolation of yourself."

"Return, return, and think again what I have asked of you: to follow justice, and love mercy, and do your job of work, and love one another, and give Me the worship of your heart--your heart--and be merry and thankful and lowly and not pompous and gaunt and sere."

"I tell you of the Springtime of which all springtimes speak. I tell you of the world for which this world groans and towards which it strains. I tell you that beyond the awful borders imposed by time and space and contingency, there lies what you seek. I announce to you life instead of mere existence, freedom instead of frustration, justice instead of compensation. For I announce to you redemption. Behold I make all things new. Behold I do what cannot be done. I restore the years that the locusts and worms have eaten. I restore the years which you have drooped away upon your crutches and in your wheelchair. I restore the symphonies and operas which your deaf ears have never heard, and the snowy massif your blind eyes have never seen, and the freedom lost to you though plunder, and the identity lost to your because of calumny and the failure of justice; and I restore the good which your own foolish mistakes have cheated you of. And I bring you to the Love of which all other loves speak, the Love which is joy and beauty, and which you have sought in a thousand streets and for which you have wept and clawed your pillow."

Excerpts taken from Christ the Tiger by Thomas Howard

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Hush little baby

I think the world would be different if adults still had someone to sing a lullaby to them before the fell asleep for the night.

I do not mean this to be weird, but someone times I get this feeling that I really wish I could sing a lullaby to someone before they went to sleep.

I would sing all sort of different songs to different people.   Songs about…

Starry nights.
Good sleep.
Growing up.
Just being present with them.
Places all over the world.
Things that change.
Things that never change.
Being held.
Holding hands.
Fast days.
Slow days.
Warmth of smiles.
Big dreams.
Small worries.

I think that this world would be better if the last thought in everyone’s mind was of goodness. See, I have this weird philosophy that goodness that be found everywhere. Goodness can clearly be seen in good things. Goodness can also be found in loneliness, worry and darkness. In loneliness, worry and darkness I find stillness, trust and glimmers of light.

I am looking forward to the time when I can sing a song to my child(ren) as they go to sleep. It is a pretty wild thought to me that I can shape a person.

What lullaby would you need/want sung to you?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Measuring Cups & God's People

I think benedictions are cool. I came across one today and I decided to read the portion before it. 

“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”

That was Ephesians 3:14-19

The passage before this focuses on God’s marvelous plan for humans. He then goes on to say that we get our names from God Himself. We are strengthened with God’s power through His Spirit which just happens to dwell IN US. Christ dwells in our hearts simply through our faith. When we are rooted and established in love, we become empowered to grasp how wide, long, high and deep Christ loves us. 

Here is the kicker for me... that we may be filled with the fullness of God.

I think that is huge. Way more huge than we first think. I don’t mean for this to sound like the always ridiculous Joel Osteen, but God wants us to prosper.

Not money. Forget money. Hate money. Give it away. 

Here is my point…

God’s fullness will not be found in just one of His gifts.

Paul writes that we may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

God, in all His creative majesty, mercy and benevolence, built this huge playground called Earth for His beloved children. We screwed it up. But God, in all His creative, mercy and benevolence, continues to rain down gifts on His beloved children. 

He doesn’t give a holy crap if we are driving a Pinto, Prius or Porsche. 

But His fullness will be found in all of His gifts. Gifts like friends, pastors, mentors, family, neighbors, children and the elderly. People similar to you and people different. 

I am a big believer that our greatest gifts in life are the people that are part of our story.

The greatest gift of all, though, is that we can grasp how wide, long, high and deep God’s love together with all the Lord’s Holy people

That is the point. Pretty cool. 

“I sought my soul, But my soul I could not see. I sought my God, But my God eluded me. I sought my brother, And I found all three.” ---William Blake

Monday, September 12, 2011

Lawn Sprinklers, Fables and my Coup De Gras

So I went for a walk today. I walked from my apartment to the bank, the post office, McDonalds (where the sprinklers went off as I walked through the lawn), Kroger and back home. As I strolled merrily along my way, I came across a line in a song on my iPod that got me.

“I’m so sick and tired of being admired that I wish I would just die or get fired and dropped from my label and stop with the fables…”

Okay so I don’t have a record label that could drop me and I definitely don’t want to die, but what grabbed me was that I have been so sick and tired of being admired for fables for so long.

Are you wondering what fables? I can’t be that bad right? If I am seriously a Christian and hold myself to Christ’s standards (not just the ones that make me feel good), then I confess to you that I am a guilty man. I have murdered. I have committed adultery. I have been dishonest. I have stolen what is not mine and I have been envious of my neighbor’s possessions. Seriously.

See the thing is that I have had a lot of supporters in my life. People have listened to me. People have trusted me. I think that if I asked, people would have done a lot of things for me. I have been respected, trusted, admired and honored. And I will be honest… it felt good.

Here is the thing though…

I don’t just want to be respected… I want to be respectable.
I don’t just want to be trusted… I want to be trustworthy.
I don’t just want to be admired… I want to be admirable.
I don’t just want to be honored… I want to be honorable.

At this stage in the game mediocrity can no longer be allowed to fly.

I am going to be real. I will not be a pretense. It is time to be the real deal.

I am not using “real” as an excuse to be a fallen human. However, I know that I can never be truly good, loving, free, wise, respectable, trustworthy, admirable or honorable until I can admit the failures and deal with the truth. Truth can’t just be something that comes and goes whenever it is convenient.

Truth is a way of life. Truth is the way and life. Truth has a proper name… Jesus. (John 14:6)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Oh, buddy......

My mentor and I have been talking a lot about who I want to be. In a bit of irony (pretty sure Jesus-type business), the four words that I wanted to set as my life goals were the exact four words that which he has spent his life pouring into the lives of the young men that he has mentored.

A true Christan man is…


He asked me which I thought was my strongest. I told him that I felt that being loving is my strongest of the four characteristics.

He responded by saying, “Oh buddy, do you know being a loving man often means carrying the most hurt?”

As I write this very piece, I am texting D. It still hurts me to think about how I treated him when hearing about what he did. I just apologized again to him.

But here is where I am at tonight… with every person I meet in my life, whether it be a 25 year old relationship or a 25 minute relationship, I feel myself fall in love with them. Not the “lovey-lovey” sort of love but a different sort… This says...

“I love you so much, [fill in the blank], that my heart literally aches for you…

It aches hoping that you will truly be happy.
It aches hoping you will find God.
It aches simply knowing that you could be more that what you have become.
It aches, some days, just wanting to hug you.
It aches watching you happy too.
It aches just to see you being you.”

But I guess I am not God. I can’t change the world but I can only change my world. I start with myself as I choose to love the people around me. I pray that God will do what He will. It continues to amaze me how much God loves us. I mean, if I love others that much, God must love them far more.

However, I confess though that I do not often feel God’s love for me.

One of my best friends in the world struggles with the fact that she doesn’t feel God. She doesn’t feel Him in her prayers. She doesn’t feel His love for her.

It’s weird, though, I do.

I feel how much God loves her.

I assure you, it is not my love. To steal from the Greeks, it is agape, philia and storge (NOT eros).

I feel that God is cultivating in me this love for others that hurts. 
It hurts to love... but I couldn’t live without it. 

Perhaps I am being branded with those characteristics. As they are burned into my flesh of my being it smokes and hurts like heck, but in the end I will be a marked man.

I think I am going to try to live my life so that the rocks around me won’t have to cry out because I didn’t share His love with the people around me.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Righteous Anger

Intensity, strength, ferocity, anger. passion.
Grace, gentleness, mercy, love.
Do they really go together?
Was Jesus really all of those?

I am still trying to decipher my feelings whenever I think of D.

Half of the time I think that Jesus would grab him by the shoulders and shake some sense into him. The other half of the time I think that Jesus would grab him by the shoulders and let him see the grace in His eyes.

We get our images of Jesus from stories told in the Bible from those who witnessed these events. We like some stories more than other so we cling to those. We don’t like other stories so we interpret them in the way that suits us best.

But the truth is that the Jesus who forgave His accusers and welcomed the little children was also the same Jesus who left the temple with flipped tables, shocked money-traders and looking like a war zone.

We like the happy, blond-haired and blue-eyed Jesus who walks merrily along the beaches of the Sea of Galilee.

We tend to overlook the Jesus who had enough of people using His house for their own benefit and flipped it upside down.

But did Jesus let his anger get the best of Him that infamous day at the Temple?

Probably not, since He is Jesus and all…

I don’t think the anger got the best of Him… I think that WAS the best of Him!!!

And we are not supposed to sin in our anger.
But apparently that was not sin.
That was Holy.
Nice work Jesus.

That gives a lot of good ideas of what I could do to the people who have hurt me. J
But what makes anger righteous? What makes it justified? Is there some criteria list that I missed?

But considering that taking a chair or table to his head is out of the picture, I am still left with what to do with D…

I was talking to a friend the other day about this when asked me, “Who do you think deserves mercy and grace?”

I immediately knew I was busted.

Rather than continuing to let me feel like crap, he encouraged me by saying that those who love when it is not easy earn the right to be there when that person’s world comes crashing down.

I guess that I will keep talking to him and talking to Him.

My heart tells me that justice is not yet mine to administer.
My heart tells me that it is time to learn grace.
My heart tells me that its time to be at rest from self-seeking.
My heart tells me that this may be a cross I carry.

Considering that that cross is a cross of deep hurt… I will consider it joy.

It seems that one must actually be hurt before they can offer grace and mercy.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett

I was driving home last night after work and I was listening to music on my iPod as I drove. I was flipping through songs on “shuffle” setting trying to find a song that fit my mood, when I came across “Just Dance” by Lady GaGa… I was NOT in a dancing mood. The next song that came on was “The Way You Look Tonight” by Tony Bennett.

So that got me thinking. I am strange. It is probably unusual for Lady GaGa and Tony Bennett to come back-to-back on a music playlist. But for me, in that moment, it was exactly what I needed to shake me from my stomach ache-induced state of crabbiness. After a whirlwind of 14 hours that one might call my day, I was exhausted. Nothing terrible happened. It was just hectic. I actually got to enjoy watching a Chuck-E-Cheese game malfunction and continually spit out tickets for me. It was beyond jackpot. Jackpot

But this contrast of the craziness of Lady GaGa and the intimacy of Tony Bennett made me chuckle. It brought me back to myself. This may sound stupid, but I actually am at peace when things are quiet and it’s just me and my thoughts. I guess I like myself.

In fact, I think I am actually pretty good at finding peace in the midst of crazy circumstances. Maybe that just means I am simple-minded. I would take that too

So then I get home and am reading Thomas à Kempis’ Of the Imitation of Christ. Heres the quote that I come across, “A pure, sincere, and stable spirit is not distracted in a multitude of affairs, for it works all to the honor of God and inwardly strives to be at rest from all self-seeking.”

I like that. I am currently making it my goal.

He continues, “All perfection in this life has some imperfection bound up with it; and no knowledge of ours is without some darkness.”

“When it spins, when it swirls, when it whirls, when it twirls” -Em.

Life has a chaotic way about it.

Whether my schedule and mind looks like Lady GaGa or Tony Bennett, or when I am feeling perfection or imperfection, or when knowledge shows light or darkness, I am now striving to have a pure, sincere and stable spirit. The “multitude of affairs” is not the hard part… that comes naturally.

It is the “works all to the honor of God” and “to be at rest from all self-seeking” parts that are the point.

I think if this were not true, Jesus would not have been able to forgive his executioners while hanging on the cross. 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

For C... He is there

I have been having the privilege of getting to know a young man at work. He has taken to sharing a lot of his life story with me after bedtime and before he falls asleep. He is a pretty cool kid! Loves to laugh, proud of the A’s he is starting to get at school, learning guitar and works too hard at hiding his smile.

He also has been living one of the worst nightmares I have ever heard… since the day he was born.

I have heard that it’s easier once you are “desensitized” to this stuff. I don’t want to be “desensitized.” I want it to hurt me every time I hear another kid got abused.

What really started to get to me tonight is that I started noticing a pattern with his stories. The pattern I noticed is that he just kept telling stories. I didn’t ask to hear stories. I didn’t pry or ask questions. I just sat there by his desk and listened.

Story after story came. Beatings, fires, police, drugs, broken glass, alcohol, betrayal, illness, death, abandonment and atrocity all had one thing in common; him. In the course of our 45 minute bedtime talk, he must have told me 25 stories from his childhood and early teenage years.

I drove home feeling like I built a relationship with a hurting kid. There I go again.

Whoop.    Dee.    Freakin.     Doo.

So I drive home after work and get out my 40 Days of Purpose book. I am on day two titled, “You are not an accident.”

I once heard that in some African language the world translated “hello” actually means “what called you forth?”

Okay here I go. Brains rolling. I guess this means I’m praying. So what is my purpose? What called me forth? What needed me so badly on the earth today that I was given another day?

Well apparently my purpose today was to be that boy’s friend. Who cares.


This boy. 15 years old. Abused and mistreated from the day he was born. Scars all over his hands, arms, legs, face, back and heart. What is his purpose? What called him forth? What needed him so badly on the earth that he was given another day?

He told me of the time that he stood in from of his bathroom mirror with a knife to his neck, ready to end it all.

I told him of the times we sat in his room and talked about his hurts. He smiled.

As I listened to all of those stories that he wanted to share with me and I feel like I am really getting to know the real person behind it all. I felt like we bonded. But here is where it gets me… Jeremiah 1:5 reminds me that God knew that boy long before he was even formed in his mother’s womb.

The boy and I got this cool feeling knowing we had connected. But God knows him infinitely more than I ever could. God knows everything about him. He was there in every single tortured moment in that boy’s life. Ever-present and ever-knowing.

We are not an accident. And we are never alone. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Holy Growling Bricks Batman!

Its been ten months. I am beginning to find freedom and healing. I feel free. There is less bitterness. I can see certain people’s names and not growl. I can see certain people and not reach for a brick. I don’t think I will ever forget the damage done to myself and others but I think I am starting to see more than just the damage. Maybe that’s it.

To be quite honest, it took a while to realize that there even were hurts. Annoyances lead to resentment and resentment leads to hate and hate destroys the self. Once a few very dear friends helped me to realize that they were legitimate hurts, I was sent into a tailspin!

Hurt is strange. I found myself fixated on it.  I just HAD to figure it out. I thought if I could understand it and debrief about it enough, then I would be better. Picking at a scab does no better for healing than does picking at emotional scabs in order to “understand” them.

Don’t get me wrong… a lot of hurts can be deep and complicated and need time to process a bit. This was not the case for me. I knew exactly who… I mean what… had hurt me so much. (I totally meant who)

So I thought. I talked. I used healthy coping skills. I used unhealthy coping skills. I just HAD to figure it out.

And then it just clicked. Half of my problem is that I was so intent on healing myself that I had come to a point where I could only see myself. I convinced myself that I was the one with the answers and all I had to do was discover the right question to ask in order to find the perfect answer.

I had spent so much time trying to guide the hurt towards the Healer that I forgot that sometimes the hurt can guide me towards the Healer.

Time does not heal all things. In fact, time doesn’t heal anything at all. But as a good friend pointed out to me, it takes time for us to allow ourselves to be healed. (Thanks A)

Busted. That is my temptation.

It was then, chronologically, that I recalled to mind one of my favorite quotes ever…..

“…the way to happiness is self-forgetful love and the way to unhappiness is self-regard, self-worry, and the search for personal happiness. Our happiness comes to us only when we do not seek for it. It comes to us when we seek others’ happiness.” –Peter Kreeft

I am not sure if I have been healed. But it doesn’t matter to me anymore. (That might be a good sign.) I don’t need to growl or throw bricks. I don’t need to seek justice. I don’t need to have it my way.

More than the healing of my feelings, attitude or worldview, I want others to work out their fears and their faith. I want others to find Christ. I will trust Christ enough to let Him convict, judge, prod, press, excite and, ultimately, redeem that which has been lost. His lost.

Out of God’s grace for me, I will offer the grace of God to others. The truth is none of us have earned our Father’s love anyway.

“The virtue of courage is a prerequisite for the practice of all other virtues otherwise one is virtuous only when virtue has no cost.” –C.S. Lewis

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Very Worst Child Care Worker

I am the Very Worst Child Care Worker. On a daily basis I work with teenagers who have been abused, abandoned, neglected, witnessed horror and other atrocities. Who thought it would be a good idea to expose these kids to me? :)

I was recently asked how I am living out a calling to share His teaching. What does it look like? Ha. It almost makes me chuckle. Let me explain….

My real job is to “create positive change for responsible living.” That’s the organizations motto. How inspiring.

Story time. GO!

So last week this girl became “physically aggressive” towards another staff. Normally this behavior results in staff putting the child in a physical restraint. We decided not to for reasons that are not important. So as we stood next to staff counter as the girl then retreated to her room to continue her antics, we laughed at the ridiculousness of the situation. As any good staff would do, I checked on her in her room to find her curled up in a ball on the floor because she was in the process of losing her mind. So as any other good staff would do, I walked away. :)

After a bit she came back out of her room and defiantly sat in a chair to further show us that she can do whatever she wants. At this point in a situation like this, I try to ask myelf what Jesus might do. So I approached the beast, knelt down at eye level (like Jesus probably did) and asked her as compassionately as I could, “what do you need so we can help you?”

It took her almost an hour to answer. And the answer came in the form of an "apology".

This girl. Brown eyes. 14 years old. Neglected by her drug addict mother so her father could have his way with her. She looked me in the eyes through her ridiculous screechy-sobby-pig-cat sounds and said, “I didn’t know what I needed. I don’t know what I need. I have never punched a staff! You guys are here to help me!” (duh)

I apparently got zapped by God to say something smart.

I looked at her and said, “Maybe what you needed in that moment was someone who you could punch in the face and wouldn’t hit you back.”

I can only describe the look she gave me by imagining the woman caught in adultery in John 8 when Jesus refused to condemn her.

To be honest, I felt proud. Proud that I didn’t get upset. Proud that I said something smart. Look at me go; I’m like Jesus! I make a difference. And at first I thought her was telling me that I was the wisest, gentlest and most gracious person she had ever met. GO ME!

Whoop.       De.          Freakin.          Doo.    

(Make sure you put those pauses in there... its important to transition the thought)

But a week later, there is a pit in my stomach when I think of that look on her face. It took me a week to realize that she had never experienced grace.


What more motivation do we need? I just met a 14 year old girl who needed a dose of God’s grace so desperately that she punched me in the face.

I think its kinda funny. She didn’t know what she needed and didn’t know how to ask, but God gave her what she needed anyway. I was just the dumb oaf with a fat lip and wild story.

I don’t want this story to be a heart warming, well-done and happy ending story… I want this to be a story that lights a fire underneath our hindquarters.

It was necessary for me to be in a place where there is great need.
It was necessary for me to put myself in the way of danger.
It was necessary for me to set aside everything I felt in that moment.

Perhaps the greater grace was that God found a way to put this blundering, selfish, d-bag in the right place at the right time for Him to do His work in spite of me.

Can we be intentional about putting ourselves in a position to extend grace to every person who is around us?

I find this funny


Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

I wrote this on February 15, 2009

I dont know how true it is... but I know that this business of pursing Christlikeness is so much of a two steps forward and one step back process. I was listening to music tonight while in the shower and the song I Fell Away came on by Brave Saint Saturn. I have always loved Brave Saint Saturn (and all of Reese Roper's stuff) because his lyrics have an unusual way of connecting with me.

I get so discouraged sometimes because I feel like a baby bird who is flapping his wings has hard as he can to lift of the ground, but as soon as I succeeding in getting some air between me and the ground, that progress turns into my enemy as I come crashing back down to the ground. Ugh. I just want to punt Screwtape and his law of undulation out my window.

Ups and down. Progress and failure. Growth and decay. Exhausted all the while. Thirsty.

But then I came to the bridge of the song. "You lift my battered soul, you mend my broken bones together." I love that.

But I was listening to the song just now in my bed as I am writing this and it occured to me that I should look up the lyrics and make sure they are right. I discovered something I never heard before in the 7 billion times I have heard this song.

Just before he sings that line of the bridge, he whispers one line behind the background music. "You lift my battered soul, you mend my broken wings together."

That is what I am singing as I go to sleep. Not that I fell away; not the beating on my soul; not my broken wings; not the pain that I see in people; not ugliness, or despair, or misfortune, or death; but that He lifts my battered soul and mends my broken wings each time I fall.

You lift my battered soul, you mend my broken wings together.
You lift my battered soul, you mend my broken wings together.
You lift my battered soul, you mend my broken wings together.
You lift my battered soul, you mend my broken wings together.

to an unknown god

I wrote this on January 30th, 2009

To those that may be offended; I am sorry. But its how I feel. Whatever sort of "ism" that I just read in the 800 some pages of my theology textbook that says that God must be unknowable... I don't believe it, but I feel like it. 

In the movie Luther, Johann von Staupitz tells Luther that "we preach best what we need to hear most." Does that mean that we have a hard time believing what we are preaching? Regardless, tonight I preach to myself........

For a long time one of my favorite songs is Yearn by Shane & Shane (which is am listening to as I write). I love every lyric:

Holy design... this place in time. That I might seek and find my God. Lord I want to yearn for you. I want to burn with passion over you and only you. Lord I want to yearn for you. I want to burn with passion over you and only you. Lord I want to yearn. Your joy is mine. Yet, why am I fine? With all of my singing and bringing grain in light of Him. Lord I want to yearn for you. I want to burn with passion over you and only you. Lord I want to yearn for you. I want to burn with passion over you and only you. Oh you give life and breathe. In You we live and move. That's why I sing... Lord I want to yearn for you. I want to burn with passion over you and only you. Lord I want to yearn for you. I want to burn with passion over you and only you.

I sang it because I meant it. I want to yearn. I want to burn with passion. And, yet, it always seems to stop there for me... my favorite part is the bridge but I never feel it. I didn't feel like He gave me life and breathe. I didn't feel like He makes me life and move. That wasn't why I sang. I felt like He didn't uphold His end of the bargain. I felt like Jesus didn't really tell the truth that "blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.

Don't burn me at the stake until you read the rest :)

So I looked up the Scripture passage that those words come from (Acts 17:25-28). It says this:
"24"The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. 25And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. 26From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. 27God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. 28'For in him we live and move and have our being.' As some of your own poets have said, 'We are his offspring.'

Its verse 27 that is smashing me to bits tonight. My heart and emotions precisely. And its the word "perhaps" that is precisely doing the smashing. God did all that (creation & redemption) not because He needs me but He did it so I would seek Him. But not just seek Him. "And perhaps reach out for Him and find Him".

I think that's it. I have been seeking. And those who seek will find. But I now see the thing in between seeking and finding. Reaching out to Him.

Parenthetically, these last few days have been such a struggle for me. Working to break the bad habit of having a bad attitude has been far more spiritually and emotionally exhausting that I would ever have expected. Ugh, its like a little pocket of poison that sits inside me that just infects everything.

I confess. I have been bitter. I have been negative. I have let myself and God down. I have let Staci down. But I want to yearn... and not just yearn, but burn. I have just been bringing grain when its the love of my heart that He has asked for. Not Bible studies or Christian music. Not seminary. But my heart.

I am finding it is much harder to truly give my heart away than anything. For the first time in my life I am being vulnerable. I am giving my heart away to those who have earned it. I am giving the love of my heart away to God. Its His. And in so doing, I have found it easier to give my heart to Staci as well.

Its so scary. I feel lost and found at the same time. Like I can see but what I am seeing is misleading. And what I hear isn't really the truth.

But I reach out. Because thats what my King asks me to do. Seek Him and reach out... then find Him. But the verse says "though He is not far from each of us."

Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path...

So I guess my heart still beats... even as I am feeling it being wrenched from my body and given to the great Healer. But I will trust is His unfailing love. Oh You give life and breathe...