Monday, January 31, 2011

Crazy Love

Tonight I'm doing something crazy. I'm inviting 20-ish people over to my home, some of whom I don't even know, to study through the book Crazy Love by Francis Chan. My wife and I are fixing dinner for everyone and we're hiring babysitters for the kids.

Having people over isn't crazy. Having Bible study in our home isn't crazy. Having more kids over than we can handle isn't crazy. We've done all this before. But what makes tonight unique is that we opened our doors a little wider, inviting many who aren't in our little clique at church, many who aren't even members of our church (gasp), and many others who have left our church in the past. When we all sit down together to break bread, it is likely most there won't know one another. But I expect we will be close when it's all said and done.

This is also crazy because of the zeal my wife an I have on this subject. I've long lamented over the state of the Church, reading book after book, and blog after blog, to try and find the missing ingredient. My wife found it in this book that she couldn't put down. When I finally read it myself, a light went on. I realized what we've been missing all this time. We have had a low view of God. We worship the church, not the Creator. We pray just to get through the day, not to make a difference. In a word, we've become lukewarm.

So tonight this changes. Tonight we're going to start a fire. And I pray it spreads to burn whole churches down.

One of my favorite "pep talks" is The Fellowship of the Unashamed. There are many versions out there, but here's one that comes closest to how I remember it when I first heard it years ago:

I am part of the "Fellowship of the Unashamed."

I have Holy Spirit power. The die has been cast. I've stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I won't look back, let up, slow down, back away, or be still. My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, and my future is secure.

I am finished and done with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees,colorless dreams, tame visions, mundane talking , chintzy giving, and dwarfed goals!

I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits, or popularity.

I don't have to be right, first, tops, recognized, praised, regarded, or rewarded. I now live by presence, learn by faith, love by patience, live by prayer, and labor by power.

My pace is set, my gait is fast, my goal is heaven, my road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions few, my guide reliable, and my mission clear. I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, diluted, or delayed.

I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of adversity, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.

I won't give up, back up, let up, slow up or shut up until I've preached up, prayed up, paid up, stored up, and stayed up for the cause of Christ.

I am a disciple of Jesus.

I must go until He returns, give till I drop, preach until all know, and work until He comes. And when He comes to get His own, He will have no problem recognizing me... my colors will be clear.

For "I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes. (Romans 1:16)


Friday, January 28, 2011

I'm baaaack!

Well, kinda sorta. I'm not quite ready to get back into the full swing of things. I jumped on the most recent Blog Carnival, but in my haste, I didn' even link it in my entry (please forgive me!). But I wanted to dust off this site because next week I'm going to start a series on Francis Chan's book, Crazy Love. Not sure what or how, but my wife and I are starting a group in our home Monday night and I was thinking of posting my thoughts on how it went on the Tuesday after. Might be a recap, might be some deep thoughts, we'll see.

One of my biggest regrets being part of this blogging community is not being able to get around to reading everyone else's terrific contributions. I'm working on that. I love Peter's online paper and I see Scott Couchenour mentioned me on his most recently. What a great idea for an aggregator! In fact, aggregating was one of my favorite things to do on this site, though it was terribly time consuming. So I'm going to look into paper.li and other similar readers. I downloaded the Pulse App for my iPhone so I can import the blogs I follow from Google Reader to have them on the go. I'm hoping those will both help me keep up to date as I prioritize my time at home better.

I'm all tweeted out, too. I jumped on today because of the Challenger anniversary. But you probably won't see me much around there for a little while. At least until I get my time management better sorted out.

I also have some other updates to this site that I'm working on. You can see some progress with the added "resources" tab. I have a lot to add to that page, so there's still much to come.

So what to expect in the coming weeks?
  • Crazy Love! My wife and I are super excited to be leading a group (that won't stop growing and we haven't even started yet!) in our home and I'm looking forward to sharing with the rest of you.
  • Music-Mix Monday. I know, cheesy alliteration. But I'm going to share some music to start our week with. And in the early going, those will align our hearts with the Crazy Love discussion that night.
  • Flashback Friday. I will continue this as I have several years of posts to dust off and share.
  • Weekend Reading will have to be put off for a while. I'm hoping to get back to it soon though.
  • And then whatever comes to mind in the meantime.

Thank you all for sticking with me. The death of a blog is to not update it, so I'm grateful there are still a few of you here. And I'm hoping to be back up to full speed soon. God bless!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Seasons

It's become popular to describe different times in our lives as "seasons". The notion is that when things are bad, it is only temporary- a season- and things will get better. There are seasons in marriage, seasons in our relationship with Christ, and seasons during the year. Personally I'm not a fan of that use of this word. Our calendar is marked off by the seasons; they are predictable and last for a set amount of time. On the other hand, the "seasons" in our lives are unpredictable and could continue for any duration. We don't know how high our highs will be, or how low our lows. We don't know when the snow will thaw and flowers will bloom.

But if we were to describe our lives by the seasons, winter would describe a time marked by a cold, barren landscape. Wedged between death, or our lowest low, and rebirth. You might describe it as the long climb back up to spring.

For many, winter is depressing. The days are shorter and if you live where it does get bitterly cold, you try to avoid going outside. Winter also means labor. It's one thing to mow your lawn, it's a whole other to shovel a couple of feet of snow first thing in the morning. You need to start the car early to warm it up and to thaw the windows. If you wear glasses and are outside for long, you notice they fog up when you go back inside.

Doesn't sound too appealing, does it? But I love winter. I'm in Southern California and I miss the snow of my home growing up. Believe it or not, I miss shoveling! It snowed here this winter. For a day. My kids loved it. They built a snowman that melted by the time I returned from work. I love to go out early after a fresh snow. Every step a fresh footprint in the pure blanket before me. The crunch of water and ice under my feet. Then, after some time, and some traffic, those footprints are no more and the pure snow is replaced with tracks of muddy, sooty, slush. So I treasure that moment when the snow is fresh, while it is still pure.

My description doesn't really fit in with the "winter of our discontent" season of life. There's the joy of children playing. The hopefulness of the holidays. The purity of the snow.

But snow melts. The days grow longer (even now the sun is beginning to peek up when only a month ago it would've been pitch black out). And there is rebirth. Yet I miss the snow.

“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it." (Isaiah 55:9-11)

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

New

As with personal resolutions, there are goals related to this blog and my own time spent social networking. My biggest struggle is how I manage my time online. I am grateful to God for the support I've gotten from other bloggers, twitter followers, and the like. I have also been greatly encouraged reading the many blogs I've found over the past year. I want to give proper attention to both. I also need to better manage my time in personal Bible study and prayer.

So to work towards these goals, this blog will be going on a temporary hiatus. You'll still find me on Twitter and commenting on other blogs, though with less frequency (if that's possible). I'm hoping.to be back up to full speed by the end of the month.

Thank you for stopping by. You have all been such a blessing to me.