Monday, July 27, 2009

Change & You

Sometimes to wind down at night I'll put in a favorite movie flick after the kids have gone to bed. Right now I'm working my way through the Lord of the Rings trilogy once again. Last night I finished up the Fellowship of the Ring. As I was watching the movie for the umpteenth time I caught a line that I had never heard before that sparked my interest.

"Even the smallest person can change the course of the future."

I love the idea that the future isn't set in stone. Biblically speaking, the beginning of time and the end of time are written, but I believe that the middle is left up to us to co-author with our Creator. I believe that the choices we make affect not only ourselves, but the world around us. For example, if you choose to recycle, I believe you choose a brighter future for our world. If you choose not to participate in recycling, you choose ignorance, but your choice is still affecting the future, this time it's only in a negative fashion.

There are many theologians and people in our world that would argue that the choices you and I make don't really affect the world or God at work in it. While that may be true in some cases, I refuse to believe the gift of life is nothing more than an illusion. If the way we choose to live here on earth didn't matter...why bother giving us the gift of life in the first place??

The truth is that even the smallest person can change the world. Take my son Cannon, for example. He came into our lives at 4lbs 9oz. This little man changed our lives and our world for sure. And his life represents the opportunity for more change in the future.

As a dad I believe that my children have the power to affect change in our world. As a man, I know that I have the opportunity each day to engage change and direct hope in the world around me. I have a choice each day to wake up and influence life and the world for good, influence it for the worse, or fall into the trap of ignorance.

One thing is for sure. God trusted humanity with the truth about His love for the world. And part of this truth includes the power to change and to partner with God's rhythm and design for life.

Stop thinking the world is too big to change and begin believing that even the smallest of us can affect change. Our world needs some's time to change.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Gotta Love Water

Today we took the kids to Elbow Falls...the place where I proposed to Bonny, asking her to be my wife and begin a family with me. Five years later and our family has doubled in size. It was pretty cool to share this spot with our kids, eventhough they probably won't remember it. Hopefully we'll be able to visit it again when they are older and share the story of how our family came to be.

I love Elbow Falls because of what it means to our family, but also because of what it means for my faith. When I have the chance to enjoy nature, specifically water (running rivers, falls, or the ocean), I find myself drawn to the heart of my Father. There is some sort of deep connection and heart's cry that I experience in these type of settings. I absolutely love it!!

I think each of us has these types of things that propel us forward and inward in our relationship with God. I'd love to hear what some of these things for each of you!!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Tradition vs. Jesus

I stumbled across this little interaction between Jesus and a group of Pharisees during my devotion time while leading a team on a short term humanitarian relief project in Mexico. A group of Pharisees approach Jesus and try to trap Him with a line of questioning regarding His disciples not adhering to the tradition of the Jewish law. The tradition they were referring to is the man-made interpretation of God's law handed down to the people of Israel by Moses. The verse that has rattled around in my heart and in my head since then is this: "Thus you nullify the word of God by the tradition you have handed down. And you do many things like that." (Mark 7:13).

I think sometimes that tradition, or routine, gets in God's way. Think about this for a second. You're sitting in church going through the regular run down of a service...there's some music, the offering, perhaps a prayer and the sermon of course. Maybe there is some sort of video response or other 'activity' you're invited to participate in to make things seem more interactive than they really are, and then you might close the service with more singing. Sometimes I wonder if we need to punt what we have planned and follow where God is leading in a service, or any other part of life. When God beckons you to follow Him, He often doesn't give you a ton of pre-prep time...He simply calls out to you.

Think of the very first disciples who chose to follow Jesus. Simon (Peter), Andrew, James and John were fisherman. They were doing what they normally do to get ready to fish on the day Jesus strolled by and invited them to journey with Him. And what did they do? They left their nets and they followed after Him.

Tradition = convenience. It's so much easier to know what's coming in life. It's easier to plan ahead and to define our future than it is to embrace God's leading and calling in your life. And what's even more insane to consider is that we are planning ahead when we cannot even see beyond today, or even right now. I think it is important to have a plan, but when the plan trumps Jesus, then the plan is the problem.

The Pharisees let their tradition trump Jesus. The sad part of this story is that it's one that happens far too often in our world and in our lives today. Tradition is only beneficial when it is steeped in the very presence of Christ. Without Jesus, we don't have anything anyway.

Does tradition get in the way of Jesus in your life?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Palm of God's Hand

Have you ever really thought about what life would be like if you were firmly entrenched in the palm of God's hand?? As followers of Jesus, I sometimes think we flirt with this idea, but implementing this type of strategy in our lives is easier said than done.

Living according to the freedom and movement of God's will demands a willingness and level of trust that go way beyond what we are capable in our own humanness. I know this to be true cause I've been living this way in my own life over the last couple of years. I am not perfect...far from it. There are times when I make decisions that really disappoint even myself. But what I am learning more and more is to be willing to move to the rhythm of God's grace on a daily basis. This journey has led me to walk away from the only ministry I've ever known, it's taken me to Florida to pick up my son, and it challenges me to think beyond myself and my own needs and desires.

Walking life according to God's rhythm and design is the only true way to live, but it's a life that isn't easy. Look at what Jesus wrestled with in the Garden of Gethsemane. He agonized over having to die on the cross for the sins of the world and rise again 3 days later. It troubled Him so much that he ended up sweating blood...that doesn't seem like life to the easy, does it?

Somehow we get this idea in our heads that if we follow Jesus, obedience is easy. The truth is that it's's hard, and I think that it gets harder. But each decision we make gives us the experience, hope and foundation to make another decision down the line that will lead you further into the palm of God's hand.

Think about it...what do you need to begin doing to rest in the middle of the Creator's hand?