Friday, May 29, 2009

Chasing the Dragon...

I know, super weird title for a blog from a follower of Christ...I get it.

But now that I may have your attention, and my own for that matter, let me write about something that has been stirring in my heart over the last few months...obedience to Christ. Now I know when we hear the word obedience sometimes we can immediately begin to feel queezy or tense and fall into the mindset that following Jesus means keeping a list of do's and don'ts. I think obedience is one of those words that Christians need to re-claim. Obedience is something that is positive. Obedience means choosing to live life according to God's rhythm and design, while giving up our right and desire to do things our way.

Being a father of two, I'm learning more about obedience each and every day. When I ask my daughter to do something, I'm expecting that she will follow my direction completely. There are times when she decides that her own way is the best way, and conflict occurs as a result.

It's funny how this same sort of story plays out in our spiritual lives as well. We seek God's desire and will for our lives, and when He reveals it, we may or may not choose to be obedient to what God asks us to do. I think God respects a person who will follow Him completely, and someone who will also choose to disobey Him completely. What I think frustrates God in obedience is people who try to stradle the line between obedience and disobedience. You all know what I'm talking about. God spells out for us what He wants us to do, or where He wants us to go, and instead of following His lead, we try to negotiate with Him. Maybe we think that we can coerce God to lower His demands on us, or suggest a more amicable solution to our situation...amicable in our own minds at least.

Can you imagine if Jesus lived a life of this kind of half-obedience?? I can see it now...Jesus on the cross negotiating with God about who He was dying for. "Hey God, instead of dying for everyone who has lived, is living and will live, can I just maybe die for the people I know instead??" Crazy, right??

If this example seems so outlandish, why is it that this very same scenario seems to play itself out in our lives more often than we would like to admit? I can't answer this question for you, but I can answer it for me. Sometimes when God asks me to do something, I just really don't want to do it, and it's because I can't see where God is leading me. You see, for me, I want to know where I am going before I start to move...I like having my final destination revealed. But God doesn't often work like that at all. He doesn't neccessarily give us the entire roadmap to our journey, He may only give us the next point on the map or a direction that we need to head.

I'm learning to be content with not knowing where I'm going, and to simply enjoy each moment of each day as I learn to follow and be obedient to Christ more and more. I'm learning that obedience is done out of love, not duty...and when I engage my relationship with Jesus out of obligation, I'm cheapening His gift of love, mercy and grace for me.

And so today I'm soldiering on...marching ahead, not knowing where I'm going but learning to live in the moment.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Thoughts on Community

Community is one of those buzz words in the church that's been around for awhile. We talk about community within the walls of the church and outside the walls of the building. Community can be used to describe the family of God or the body of Christ, and it is also associated with what some call the missional or incarnational movement that has currently swept the church world today.

I'm learning more and more about this word each day. To me community is a movement, a choice, a way of life. Community is an active word. To be in community with another person implies that you work on developing some sort of relational connection with this other person. Community doesn't exist without people, and I'm not sure it truly exists without Jesus in the mix.

The thought that is rattling around my brain today about community is simply this: The truth is that the strength of any community is found in the lives of its’ individuals.

We love to measure growth and strength by tangible things like numbers, but true authentic growth is defined by something outside of the numerics. I'm 28 years old, but that number doesn't define me, and it doesn't tell you anything about who I am, what I love or what I'm striving for. It only tells you that 28 years ago I was born into this world.

When a group of people commit to loving and living in the ways of Jesus, true community happens. And where true community happens, life change is a reality. We talk about desiring change and wanting to make a difference in our world. This difference and this change begins with community, and community begins with one individual at a time.

I don't have much to offer the world around me, but my hope is that my pursuit of community through loving and living like Jesus will be a light that points to the hope that Christ is for our world today. Beyond that, I have no desire or dream.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Finding Rest

What I'm learning more and more about lately is finding moments of rest in between the moments of chaos that happens to be life at times.

It's funny cause I used to think that being busy was a good thing. When my social calendar was full, I was happy...when my work schedule was full, I was stressed...when my day timer was running out of hours, I felt important.

Over the last 2 years I've felt God leading me to find rest and to learn how to re-discover Sabaath in my own life. It's during these moments of rest that I have learned more about life, love, God and truth than any other time-burning, schedule over-loading practice, appointment or conference ever has.

Despite these lessons, I still find myself craving the busy of life. I think it's because I've come to define myself by having what I thought was a "full life." But I'm sometimes not so sure that this full life that I crave is what Jesus intended for me to have. Jesus came to grant us life to the full, but somehow I'm not sure His definition of full included a full dance card of important "meetings" with people who told you how great you are or others who want to give you a piece of their mind.

Life to the's an interesting concept and one that includes more rest than we think, so I'm learning at least.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Finish

I'm a little over 10 weeks away from finishing up at the church that I have had the privilege of serving in for the last 8 years, and attending for 14. It's kind of a weird thought to think that I will be driving a different route each day rather than one that leads me to GBC. I've grown accustomed to this place...and I often wonder how things will change in me when we're gone, and how things will change at GBC when we're no longer here.

I was thinking about how hard it is to finish well. Coming into the office is getting more and more difficult. There isn't much forward thinking or planning to be done, and because as a leader I thrive on vision...not having one or not being able to have one for where things should go in Chosen One is odd. And so I'm trying to stay within myself and yet make sure that students and parents know that I haven't given up on them. But I've also got to allow myself to dream about following Jesus and find the courage and strength to go where He is leading.

I guess what I'm saying is this is a weird time in my life. Never had to deal with this before, and I hope I never have to again. Perhaps this is a little naive, but it is what it is.

I just hope I can finish well, and finish in a way that points to Christ and not to me.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Changing Seasons

I really enjoy spring. I think it's my favorite season. Mainly because I'm amazed at how resiliant plants can be. Winter dominates much of our weather for 4-6 months in Calgary. Yet come full blown spring, our plants rebound with amazing pliancy.

When spring is in season, I have hope. I have hope that even during the darkest, coldest moments of my own life, I'm going to bounce back.

Despite the season of change that I find myself in today, I know that there is light at the end of the tunnel. The only issue is that I can't see the light. Nor am I supposed to at this point. All I really need to be able to see is where to take my next step.

I'm waiting for my spring. I know it's's just a matter of when.

A Little Something from Psalm 8

 Had a lot of fun with this one.