Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Hearts of Children

I have a paradoxical faith in that I know what God promises is good enough to take to the bank but then I struggle with anxiety from time to time, and more so lately than ever. Never in my life have the stakes been so formidable. Now with a wife and three small children in tow life takes on a different rhythm, a militant cadence demanding my attention, and I cannot afford to blink too often or I lose measure. The beat is frantic most times and it is all I can do to just keep up with the tempo.

God is in control of this and I know He promises to not overwhelm us or give us anything we cannot handle (1 Corinthians 10:13) and yet there have been times when I have fallen to my knees in desperate need of answers. Answers never come in an Old Testament Revelation (that is probably a paradox all on its own) but sometimes God sends answers in the least expected medium.

We were watching Discovery HD yesterday (awesome station- I could watch paint dry on this channel). It was one of those deals where the lions were eating other helpless creatures. My kids actually watch these parts in awe. I hope allowing my children to watch this isn't considered child abuse since I am definitely guilty. Anyway, the scene was of a plains fire. A bazillion African Elk are running from the flames as it hungrily laps at their hooves.

Cole asks, "What's hap'ning?"

"The fire is coming and all the elk are running away."

Cole says, "I can take my kite and they cans get the string and I can flys them out of the the fire."

This is the heart of God. He wants to fly us out of the flames and all it takes is us allowing Him too. He is God after all.

And He has put His heart in Children.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

After the Rain

I cannot even imagine what it takes for a person to run into a burning building while everyone else is fighting to get out but I can say that whatever it is I admire the men and women who have it. While this is way behind the news curve I just want to express my admiration and appreciation for the individuals who live their lives precariously in hopes that they can come to the aid of others. Specifically those brave nine that died here in Charleston, SC this past week.

  • Capt. William "Billy" Hutchinson, 48 (30 years)
  • Capt. Mike Benke, 49 (29 years)
  • Capt. Louis Mulkey, 34 (11½ years)
  • Engineer Mark Kelsey, 40 (12½ years)
  • Engineer Bradford "Brad" Baity, 37 (9 years)
  • Assistant engineer Michael French, 27 (1½ years)
  • Firefighter James "Earl" Drayton, 56 (32 years)
  • Firefighter Brandon Thompson, 27 (4 years)
  • Firefighter Melven Champaign, 46 (2 years)

  • My prayers continue for those who have been most touched by this tragedy. I am certain that if we stay on our knees long enough we will see the hand of God in this somewhere, despite that in this moment our hearts cry out in anguish against such a catastrophe. We as a people will weather this storm. We will stand hand in hand smiling after the rain.

    1 Corinthians 13:12-13 (The Message)

    12 We don't yet see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!

    13 But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.

    Sunday, June 17, 2007

    Being Tagged by the Wife

    4 Favorite Jobs

    1. Husband

    2. Father

    3. Church Youth Worker (lots of fun)

    4. *Assistant to killers of evil men (Corpsman of the Marines)

    *Note: I would put Real Estate here but since I haven't quite officially begun my Real Estate career it would be impossible to say it is a favorite job I have had.

    4 Favorite Local Places

    1. My House

    2. A bookstore

    3. A friends house hanging out

    4. Church Youth Event

    4 Favorite Foods

    1. Chinese food - specifically anything with the red sauce

    2. Mama Gina's Spaghetti

    3. Pizza of any sort

    4. Candy! (Sour Patch Kids)

    4 Favorite International Place

    1. Turkey

    2. Greece

    3. Scotland

    4. Israel (so long as there are no car bombs going off)

    4 People I TAG!

    1. Steven Burns

    2. David Merritt

    3. Kane Wright

    4. Tyson Green

    I feel like a wee lass having done this.

    Sunday, June 3, 2007

    Who Are We To Question?

    Luke 6: 37 "Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."

    39 He also told them this parable: "Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? 40 A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.

    41 "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 42 How can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,' when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.

    O.K., some of you actually read this small piece of text above which is in fact the word of God. Fewer of you understand it. I myself struggle with this on a daily basis. Not understanding it, but practicing it.

    See, the problem here is not judging others because we are called to judge our brothers and sisters in Christ in order to keep order in the faith. Paul, in fact the entire fifth chapter of 1 Corinthians is very clear on this topic, tells us we should not hesitate in judging our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. He even goes so far as to hold those accountable for not passing judgment. The sixth chapter of 1 Corinthians goes so far as to say we as believers should hold our own courts instead of taking Christian disputes to the pagan magistrates.

    Where this unravels for me is not in the letter of the law, so to speak, but the spirit of the law. I cannot argue with Jesus. Who can? He is very clear that we will be held to the same letter as we hold others. The unraveling begins when I find myself silently judging those around me for sins they commit that if I have not yet, by the grace of God, participated in, may struggle with or even find myself contemplating from time to time. Then, in the event that I have to actually follow through with a real world judgment on someone, the question remains how severe a penalty can I pronounce?

    In keeping with the letter of the edict Paul has given us in 1 Corinthians we are called absolutely without question to hold our comrades to bear. Yet, in keeping with the spirit of this edict, dictated by Christ himself, we are unequivocally required to show mercy where at all possible.

    So judge, yes. Although the power in our legislation needs to be taken into serious consideration and prayer.

    Oh, and always remember that we as Christians have no authority to pass spiritual judgment on anyone not of the faith. If they don't follow the Way, we can't force them to keep the Way.

    It is ultimately by love that we show the Way.