What I Love on a Friday Night

The Life-Light was the real thing:
    Every person entering Life
    he brings into Light.
He was in the world,
    the world was there through him,
    and yet the world didn’t even notice.
He came to his own people,
    but they didn’t want him.
But whoever did want him,
    who believed he was who he claimed
    and would do what he said,
He made to be their true selves,
    their child-of-God selves.
These are the God-begotten,
    not blood-begotten,
    not flesh-begotten,
    not sex-begotten” (John 1:9-13).

I love how through following Jesus and dying to self you find your true self.

I love how the best expression of who we are and what we were made for is to be a “child-of-God” self.

I love how it all starts and ends with God, not me.

I love that because God started and will end it, I can rest assured that the end is already as good as done and I don’t have to fret that I will somehow screw it up.

I love how no one who ever truly wants to find God and know Jesus will ever be disappointed for all find what they truly seek.

There are lots of things I love about this passage, but those are a few.

Most of all, I love how God’s got me right where He wants me even when I have no idea of where I am or where I’m going and I can ultimately trust Him more than what I can see or feel.

 

A Repeat

image

“Everything will be fine in the end. If it’s not fine, it’s not the end.”

Every time I hear those words, they ring more true than ever. These words are from a movie, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, but that doesn’t make them any less true.

That’s the story of the Bible. That’s the story of unfolding redemption, played out through history. The Gospel.

Adam and Eve knew fine, but their wrong choice ended that. Their sin, the choosing of self over God, made it so that everything was not fine. And so it remains.

Ever since that first sin, it’s been the opposite of fine. It’s been a catastrophe, a disaster, an epic fail. We are cut ofd from God, from each other, and from our true selves– who we really were designed and created to be.

But Jesus came to undo what Adam did, to bridge the gap between man and God, as only God in human skin could. He came to make everything fine again.

Paul says it a little more poetically in Romans 8:28: “We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan.”

That’s the whole story. It will be fine in the end because God has promised it would be.

Everything will be fine in the end. It’s not fine yet, but that only means it’s not yet the end.

Why I Am a Fan of Henri Nouwen

solitude

“In solitude we can slowly unmask the illusion of our possessiveness and discover in the center of our own self that we are not what we can conquer, but what is given to us. In solitude we can listen to the voice of him who spoke to us before we could speak a word, who healed us before we could make any gesture to help, who set us free long before we could free others, and who loved us long before we could give love to anyone. It is in this solitude that we discover that being is more important than having, and that we are worth more than the result of our efforts. In solitude we discover that our life is not a possession to be defended, but a gift to be shared. It’s there we recognize that the healing words we speak are not just our own, but are given to us; that the love we can express is part of a greater love; and that the new life we bring forth is not a property to cling to, but a gift to be received” (Henri J.M. Nouwen).

Henri Nouwen wrote that every single person ever born deals with aloneness, because every single one of us is unique and no one else will ever have our exact problems and issues and hang-ups and phobias.

He said we can either see our aloneness as a wound and thus turn it into loneliness or view it as a gift, where it becomes solitude. In solitude is where we can learn to be still and quiet and know that in truth, we are never really alone. God is with us.

Solitude makes us better people, better neighbors, better friends, better spouses, better lovers, and better disciples. We’re not clinging to each other out of a desparate need to not be lonely, but because we are finally comfortable with who we are in the times when we are alone with no noise to drown out our own thoughts.

That is my own wording of what I’ve been reading in The Only Necessary Thing, a compilation of Nouwen’s thoughts on living a prayerful life. Seriously, if you don’t read another one of my blogs, but read one of his books, I will be supremely happy. He’s that good.

That’s all for tonight. Let me know what you are reading that touches you deeply at the soul level. Maybe it’s a book that will do the same for me. And may the God of the earthquake and the God of the thunder also be the God of your silence and the God of your solitude. Amen.

The Little Things

littles

A lot of us (me included) have this idea that life should be epic and full of dramatic, Gladiator-style moments where risks are involved and manly muscles are flexed. Life usually isn’t like that. Besides, I am decidedly lacking in the manly muscle department.

Like a friend of mine said, life is like taking 10,000 steps every single day. Every step you take leads you closer or further away from your desired destination. For believers, that means every step leads you closer or further away from Christ.

Obedience is the same way. Most of the time, we’re not called to make the ultimate sacrifice and jump in front of a fast-moving train to save a group of Girl Scouts. Mostly, obedience is doing the next small thing you know to do. It’s a thousand tiny deaths to comfort, pride, convenience, and self.

We become like Jesus when we take the tiny steps and do the little acts He calls us to each day. I love the statement that there is no microwave holiness, but that sanctification is a lifelong process that we never really finish here.

Life is in the details. It’s the small stuff we look past waiting for the grand moments. It’s what we miss in the present because we are too occupied with the past or obsessed with the future.

That’s where Jesus is strongest. Jesus is strong in that moment when you’re wondering how you can get through the next 5 minutes. Jesus is strongest when you don’t see how you can get it all together.

Rarely does God speak in the dramatic James Earl Jones-type voice (not the Darth Vader voice, the other one). It’s ususally a still, small voice that you’ll miss unless you can be still and quiet and present in the moment.

Thank you, God, for the little moments. That’s where life happens and that’s where You’re making me more like Jesus.