Friday, February 19, 2010



We've all said it at one time or another...Just when you think you're really getting to know someone pretty well, they up and go and do something that really surprises you. You know the story; your overly cautious friend takes a real leap of faith in something they would have previously labeled as "reckless", your overly reckless friend make a cautious and wise decision, the friend who's always mooching off you and their other friends buys you lunch (even if it was with your money)...One way or another, some personality that you felt you had a pretty good grasp of steps out of the box that you had imagined for them. Sometimes it really makes you take a step back and wonder; "What else was I wrong about?".

Well, why is it then that so many of us are so irrevocably convinced of our own understanding of God?!

"But I pray and read my bible every day", I can hear you saying. Yeah, OK, that's wonderful. But there is a passage in that same bible that tells us;

"Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'" Matthew 7:22-23 NIV

Now, this brings up a lot of other topics; (people performing miracles after most people believe miracles to have been removed, etc.) but staying on topic, these are people who clearly believed that they were followers of God. If these people were actively doing the things they say they were (and the account does not say otherwise), and yet were not known by Jesus Christ, how much more possible could it be that we, in our largely "middle of the road" (see; lukewarm) Christianity, also do not know God as well as we had once supposed?

How righteous and holy are you? How righteous and holy am I? The bible clearly tells us;

"Be holy, because I am holy." I Peter 1:16, Lev. 11:44,45; 19:2; 20:7 NIV

I don't believe for a second that God was kidding, or that He somehow didn't mean what He said...Particularly since - according to my concordance - He felt the need to repeat Himself four times! Of course we cannot live a holy and righteous life by our own strength, but God clearly desires that of us, and what He commands, He also empowers us to do. Something else about God which we may not have clearly understood before.

So, not being the holy people that God desires to empower us to be, why is it we're so certain that we have such a good grasp on His intentions? Even the Israelites were expecting the Messiah to ride in on a white horse and overthrow the Roman Empire, not the baby in a manger which they were given. They had no idea how to respond to Him, so foreign was He to their sense of society and rules, to the point where the same people singing "Hosanna!" as He rode into town were only a week later calling out for the Roman officials over them to crucify Him.

Maybe it's possible we've had God wrong all along. Those of us who see Him as a God of wrath, those of us who have some all-tolerating "hippie" Jesus in mind, those who only see Him as just a stepping stone to heaven (or fire insurance from hell), or just an acquaintance...

No, I believe God is a loving God, but He is a just God. As easily as He has forgiven, He will also one day judge. In the same way as He administers the grace necessary to live that holy and righteous life He expects of us, He will pour out justice on those who do not obey.

The Truth is out there...The Truth is somewhere in-between our overly vengeful and overly tolerant views of God.

The Truth is a man, and His Name is Jesus.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

You Are...

You Are;
The tip of our tongues, the touch of our hands, the step of our faith...

For those of you who may follow my very occasional blog posts here, a very brief update.
The company I was with when I made my last post deleted the position I was in due to a lack of business (which was due to a lack of marketing), and the position we were praying about never materialized, as that company shrunk some of their operations instead of expanding as they had hoped. I am currently laid off and actively seeking employment.

Well, here we are, smack-dab in the middle of a 21-day fast, part of "The Divine Experiment" ( The leadership of our church (which has undergone a name change and replaced our Youth Pastor with a "Youth Director") and 17 other churches and ministries in the Peoria area are undertaking a 21-day fast (of various types), seeking to repent for the past failings of the church as a whole and to seek the face of Christ. In short, to give the church back to Christ, and to re-consecrate the church to God's purposes. As a family, we struggled a bit with what we supposed to do for the Experiment. We knew we were to be a part of it, but had never done anything quite like this before. In the end, we decided to fast from all forms of "entertainment" (TV, movies, video games, non-Christian and all fiction books and internet, except for study/research purposes), which, as it turns out, is the same fast that the leadership of all the ministries involved felt called to as well. As a footnote, I have been involved with the Healing Rooms ministry for about a year now as well.

I've been as sick as I've ever been in my life this week, with a combination sinus/lung infection and antibiotics that I got on at least a day later than I probably should have. Monday and Tuesday I found myself calling out to God to take my life, as I felt like my teeth and hair were going to pop out of my head like popcorn. I'm no Job, that's for certain. I don't do "sick" very well anyway, and this was absolutely no picnic. I'm feeling better now, but I've still got a long way to go. Going into a time of deep Bible study, prayer and purposeful, focused fasting is most definitely not made any easier by being this sick on top of it all. Hopefully the remaining two weeks of the 21 days will be more fruitful.

I have been having a lot of strange dreams lately, and I've been praying about what is fruitful and what may just be the product of illness, lack of sleep and medication. I've also been feeling a much deeper calling to some of the things I've expressed in this blog before. As a matter of fact, I have contacted our new Youth Director and asked if he would be needing any help with the Youth Ministry. Tomorrow we will be meeting to discuss my helping with the actual Bible Study lessons for the Jr. High age group for the Sunday night Youth meetings. We've helped out with the Youth before, but this would be another step out of my comfort zone from what I've done in the past. I'm hoping it can be a stepping stone into the Ministry I still strongly feel called to. This would mean that I would also be around for the corporate worship and games time, so maybe I could get involved with the worship time as well. Another stepping stone...

As always, since I am once again stepping out and trying to be useful and fruitful, there have been an unusual amount of attacks in our house the last couple of weeks. Without going into unnecessary detail, there isn't a relationship that hasn't been tried or a line left uncrossed in our house lately, and I am leaving it to God in prayer to handle it, except where good parenting must intercede. In the weeks leading up to this 21 days, I was feeling strained to the limit, and just when I sent a note to my pastor stating that I couldn't even remember what the end of my rope looked like from here anymore, a friend's life took on a more distressful turn and I was needed for support. It's amazing to me, how - when we feel like we truly, honestly have nothing left to give - that's when God calls us into the service of our brothers and sisters, and gives us exactly the knowledge we need and the words to say.

So, this 21-day Experiment for me is going to be something of a Metanoia moment...I endeavor to make some sweeping but permanent changes in my life and in the lives of my family. I've already been finding things in my life that never seemed so obviously like stumbling-blocks before, but which are now so easily swept away, deleted and forever removed. If I can use this time to continue sweeping out the corners of my life, but also to reacquaint myself with more regular periods of deep worship, study and commitment to God's purposes, then it will all have been totally worth it.

By the way, that note I sent my pastor...His reply was that we are on the verge of a major breakthrough...And I believe it. When I feel stress and pressure, it's not God's failings that I'm feeling or that put me there, it's my failure to rely fully on Him. So long as this extended fast has the desired result - to help us draw more closely to God - that breakthrough should be assured.

A bit more just "rambling" this time, but I hope it was useful to someone out there.

Be blessed!