Working on a Dream




Friday, April 30, 2010

Da Lifne Mi Atah Omed

-Does God really care about you?
-About me?
-About the little things that make up our ordinary lives?
I would love to hear your answers to those questions above. From a Biblical perspective I would answer that God is personally interested in His creations existence. The words that fill the title of my blog may seem weird because they are Hebrew.
Da Lifne Mi Atah Omed means "KNOW BEFORE WHOM YOU STAND"
You can find those words inscribed in some Synagogues above the Torah scroll cabinet. Those words are a reminder that we live our lives everyday in the presence of God.
Did you ever wonder why the Disciples lived such extra-ordinary lives? Just flip through the book of Acts and be amazed that at every turn the disciples were attempting something great for God. Could it be that today we lost the idea of living every moment in God's presence? Could it be that we confuse going to Church for 1 hour on 1 day of the week as our "God Time" instead of every single second of every single day?
Were did this false idea come from?
I think it started when we got a little too comfy with our Christianity...
-Most come to church and want the service to be exactly 1 hour.
-Some of us sit in air conditioned sanctuaries.
-Others sit on padded pews.
Maybe things have become a little too easy in America and the Christian church now reflects that. But when was the Church ever supposed to be a reflection of anything other than its Head, Jesus?
Sadly, for some, Jesus is just another slice of our lives that we conveniently eat on Sunday mornings from 11 o'clock to noon.
--But it was never meant to be that way.
"Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do- do all for the glory of God." (I Cor. 10:31)
In other words...Da Lifne Mi Atah Omed

Monday, April 26, 2010


Just last night our youth group engaged in a simple, yet powerful discussion based on "peer pressure." Most of the time, people associate peer pressure with doing things that are bad (drugs, smoking, trying to fit in...) but some people like to influence others to do good. McManus bring up the fact that right in the middle of the word influence is the word flu. Think of how you act around someone who has the flu. I like to hit the avoid button and limit my interaction with those infected. Why? Because I know that I do not want what they have. The flu is just too easy to get. Influence is like that -a person can choose to influence those around them for the good or for the bad. As a Christ follower, I am called to influence those around me for Christ. Paul made a pretty bold claim when he said, "Imitate me as I imitate Christ" (1 Cor. 11:1). I am not sure what that does to you when you read that verse, but it really stops me in my tracks. Imagine being Paul. He was well known. He was always around people. He wrote that portion of Scripture to a church filled with people... yet he says to imitate him.
-It is as if he were saying
watch me and you will see Jesus living right through me- -In the good times
-In the bad times
-In the light
-In the dark
Follow me as I follow Christ...

Friday, April 23, 2010

Live Like Your Dying

Have you noticed that the radio has a way of playing the same songs over and over again until you actually like songs you never planned on liking? This happened to me with a song titled, "Live Like Your Dying." Have you heard it? If not, you need to listen to it and let the words sink in. (Below are the words...) The song is a reminder that everyday we are working till the end of our lives. In other words... you and I will die one day. Considering this, how would you live your life differently if you had this perspective? -Would you love more?
-Would you hate less? -Would you spend more time with the people you love?
-Would you spend less time working? "Sometimes we fall down and can’t get back up We’re hiding behind skin that’s too tough How come we don’t say I love you enough Till it’s to late, it’s not too late Our hearts are hungry for a food that won’t come We could make a feast from these crumbs And we’re all staring down the barrel of a gun So if your life flashed before you What would you wish you would’ve done Yeah… gotta start Lookin at the hand of the time we’ve been given here This is all we got and we gotta start pickin it Every second counts on a clock that’s tickin’Gotta live like we’re dying We only got86 400 seconds in a day to Turn it all around or throw it all away We gotta tell ‘em that we love ‘em While we got the chance to say Gotta live like we’re dying And if your plane fell out of the skies Who would you call with your last goodbyes Should be so careful who we live out our lives So when we long for absolution There’ll no one on the line..."

-You tell man to return to what he was; you change him back to dust. A thousand years to you are like one day; they are like yesterday, already gone, like a short hour in the night. (Psalm 90)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Avoidance vs. Engagement

I can remember when I first embraced Christ when I was a senior in high school. So much of my life was wrapped up in Bible study, youth group and fellowship with other Christians. In a real sense, my life was like a pendulum that swung from one side to the other, from darkness to light. Thinking deeper about this time in my life, I came to realize that so much of my discipleship was focused on "separating myself from the world"
--You know, like becoming a Christian hermit
It was while reading McManus' book, Chasing Daylight, that I was struck by how many Christians define their faith by what they separate themselves from and not what they engage in.
"We have put so much emphasis on avoiding evil that we have become virtually blind to the endless opportunities for doing good" McManus states.
It made me think about the fact that Jesus did not die on a cross to start a country club of people who huddle together each Sunday to avoid the world around them. A cursory glance at Church history will show a living, vibrant community of Christ followers engaging the world.
-Thanksgiving Converstation:
I cannot help but think of a conversation at Thanksgiving I had with my cousin Christina and my wife Christen. They were both sharing their passion for helping hurting young people. As I listened, I had two simultaneous thoughts (yes, I can do that) First, I was excited for the energy and enthusiasm they displayed and secondly, I wondered if the church could be a place where they would live out this dream. They both desired to define their Christian lives not by what they could avoid rather by what they could engage in.
-Are you expressing the life of Christ in the place God has planted you?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Keeping us humble

A quote from Zack Eswine:
"Many of us [Christians] are being forced to remember that one can be inconsistent in doctrine
(like many of us)
mistaken in some things
(like all of us)
and yet truly following Jesus one step at a time."
I write this to point out that we are all on a journey of faith that will continue until we breathe our last. Many folks get so upset with others and are ready to label people as "non-Christians" because of certain beliefs they hold too.
I say put on the brakes...
--Sanctification is a process--
Pastor Andrew, told me once that, "In God's garden there are many flowers." I like that. It leaves me with the idea that we are in God's garden and if every flower were the same -things might begin to turn into a drag.
-God deals with individual people individually-- For example, He may be speaking to one person about one issue in their life and another person about a totally unrelated issue. The Apostle Paul, writes to the Romans, "Accept One Another..." (Rom. 15:1) he goes on to point out that you are to do this because, "Christ Accepted You."
Why is it easy for us to accept the fact that Jesus accepts us and so hard for us to accept each other?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Filling Up Spaces

I just finished watching a movie about a girl who is infatuated with a cameraman for a local news network. The movie is called, "All About Steve." Side note: If you are debating whether or not to rent this movie -let me save you gas, time and money by imploring you to pick up something else. ...Back to the story. The lady in the movie was by profession a crossword puzzle maker. That means, she is the one responsible for those annoying and impossible puzzles found in newspapers. Throughout the movie she gets totally over her head with a man she hardly knows. All she knows is that he is hot and she thinks he likes her. He does not. The rest of the movie is her stalking this man until the last five minutes where she realizes that he is not in to her and she is not in to him. The Point: Just before the credits rolled, she said something noteworthy:
"I am a crossword puzzle maker... I fill empty spaces with words."
She goes on to say how everyone has empty spaces and that everyone fills those spaces in their own unique way.
Empty spaces in the human heart?
Filled in a unique way?
Jesus said, "I am the Way" in John 14:6. The condition of the human heart is restless until it finds where it is at peace. Jesus came to restore the human condition of brokenness by offering not a path or a set of instructions...but Himself. Just stop reading and think of that. -No to do list. -No set of rules. -No regulations.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Looking to the Right...

If your like me, you spend a lot of time keeping track of time. I always keep my cell phone calender up to date with all my up and coming events plugged in so I do not forget. This helps me stay on top of things, prepare, and do my best. Over the years I have become pretty good at keeping a full calender, always looking forward to the next event and certainly slashing the old ones off my calender when they are finished. At times, this gives me a weird thrill - like I have accomplished something great. Then I read a story about a man and his son at the beach that really made me think. The man is a minister and was looking for some R&R with his family. He says that on his way to the beach, he looked to his right and saw a handicapped man struggling through the sand. All at once, he looked away, to his left. While he did this, he desperately tried to get his sons attention away from the struggling man by pointing out random things to talk about. But he says that his son could not stop looking to the right at the struggling man. While the pastor continued looking left and the son looking right, a crowd began to gather around the struggling man. Immediately, the son stopped his dad and asked if could go over and help the now fallen man. As I reflect on this story I cannot help but think of my calenders.
Have I scheduled God out of my life?
Going to meetings, preparing for the next event, ready to devour some new piece of
information that will help me help others... In the end, I have to remember at what got me here in the first place. The answer is that it was people investing in me. People who saw a young, aimless kid full of potential but misguided.
Folks who when I was in their sight - did not look left but looked right.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

What if...

This Sunday is the hallmark of our Christian faith.

Christians around the globe will raise their hands up to worship the One who conquered death, abolished sin, and ushered in victory to whoever calls upon Jesus as Savior. Recently, I have been reading and thinking about a concept called the Butterfly Effect. In its essence, it teaches that everything is connected to everything. For example, it has been proven that a butterfly fluttering its wings in one part of the world can set in motion a hurricane that takes place in another part of the world.

In I Corinthians 15, Paul brings up this idea with Adam and Christ. Paul says that "through one man and his disobedience, death and sin were introduced into the world." He goes on in the very same verse (v. 22) to say, "that through another man's (Jesus) obedience, life was offered to all who believe." -Two men, two actions, two resounding effects-

one flapped their wings and set off a pattern of sin, hurt and brokenness in the world
One flapped their wings and set off a pattern of all life, healing, and redemption in the world