Thanks, Uncle Mike: The Sequel

I heard out of your own mouth tonight that you are stepping down from Kairos soon. I’d heard it from other people recently, but even so, I couldn’t quite believe it even when you were the one saying the words.

I thought I’d say a few words to you, since I most likely won’t get to say them to you in person.

Thank you for being faithfully devoted to the Kairos ministry and to all of us who have attended over the years. We see how biblically wise you are. We also see how honest and vulnerable you are at times, making us feel like it’s okay to struggle and have doubts, even if you’re a senior pastor of a megachurch with several campuses.

I for one am a better person because of you and Kairos. I like myself a lot better than when I first started attending Kairos way back in 2006. I understand more of my Abba Father’s love for me and am learning how to define myself by that love and the voice that calls me His Beloved.

I learned how to take a few minutes in the middle of my hectic day and be still and have a moment or two of prayer. I learned that confession is not beating yourself up, but admitting that I acted out of fear instead of faith, of owning my sin and calling it for what it really is. I learned that I-40 West will take me to Memphis every time (even if I’m only going to Jackson). I learned that Oreos are your kryptonite and that a mostly clean glass of milk is still dirty.

I and many others saw how much you loved your parents, your wife, and your sons. That more than anything has probably helped strengthen many of our marriages and families.

I can’t imagine Kairos without you. I keep saying how much I like change and I’m always ready for it, but when it actually happens, I find I’m not so fond of it. Sometimes, I wish I some things could stay the same.

But I think I’m ready for what God has next for Kairos. I’m excited for you and what God has in store for you next. Plus, I’ll always think of you whenever I pick up a Henri Nouwen book.

Anyway, thanks for allowing God to use you in helping me become more like Jesus. I and the rest of those you’ve touched through Kairos will never be able to repay how much you’ve blessed us all.

 

Why I Love Old Abraham

“By faith Abraham heard God’s call to travel to a place he would one day receive as an inheritance; and he obeyed, not knowing where God’s call would take him. By faith he journeyed to the land of the promise as a foreigner; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, his fellow heirs to the promise because Abraham looked ahead to a city with foundations, a city laid out and built by God.

By faith Abraham’s wife Sarah became fertile long after menopause because she believed God would be faithful to His promise. So from this man, who was almost at death’s door, God brought forth descendants, as many as the stars in the sky and as impossible to count as the sands of the shore” (Hebrews 11:8-12).

“That’s what Scripture means when it says, ‘Abraham entrusted himself to God, and God credited him with righteousness.’ And living a faithful life earned Abraham the title of ‘God’s friend'” (James 2:23, The Voice).

I like Abraham. I can relate to Abraham.

Sure, he was the father of many nations. Sure, he’s the one through whose line came the Messiah, the Hope of the World.

But he also had clay feet at times.

Remember the time when he lied about his wife, saying she was his sister? Twice?

Remember when he tried to help God out by agreeing to go to bed with Sarah’s servant Hagar to produce the heir God promised?

Remember when Abraham had a hard time believing that God could keep His word in giving him a child?

Yeah, I can relate to all of that. Abraham’s my kind of guy.

The Bible is full of people like that. Not saints in the sense of people who walked through life with halos hanging over their heads who never messed up or got a hair out of place or got their knickers in a bunch. More like saints who stumbled and fell often, but kept getting back up, kept trusting in the next step, kept trusting that God knew where he was leading them through all the deserts and foreign countries.

Sometimes faith is simply showing up and taking the next step, trusting that God knows where He’s leading you. As Corrie Ten Boom said, faith is trusting the conductor of the train when it goes into a pitch black tunnel instead of jumping off the back of the caboose.

I suppose we’re all thankful that even faith the size of a mustard seed can move  mountains and uproot trees. It can change stubborn old hearts like yours and mine.

Best of all, faith leads you to the place where God is, where you were always meant to be, the place where your heart can rest.

 

Something That Spoke to Me

I read this yesterday and I’m still thinking about it. It’s what C. S. Lewis wrote after his wife died after battling cancer. What spoke to me so much wasn’t as much the grief (although I have known that all too well), but the part of not being able to hear God speak to you because you’re too frantic to listen. We’ve all at some point been stressed and overwhelmed to the point where we can’t hear what anybody else is saying to us, much less God.

Here’s what he said:

“Why has no one told me these things? How easily I might have misjudged another man in the same situation? I might have said, ‘He’s got over it. He’s forgotten his wife,’ when the truth was, ‘He remembers her better because he has partly got over it.’

Such was the fact. And I believe I can make sense out of it. You can’t see anything properly while your eyes are blurred with tears. You can’t, in most things, get what you want if you want it too desperately: anyway, you can’t get the best out of it. ‘Now! Let’s have a real good talk’ reduces everyone to silence. ‘I must get a good sleep tonight’ ushers in hours of wakefulness. Delicious drinks are wasted on a really ravenous thirst. Is it similarly the very intensity of the longing that draws the iron curtain, that makes us feel we are staring into a vacuum when we think about our dead? ‘Them as asks’ (at any rate ‘as asks too importunately’) don’t get. Perhaps can’t.

And so, perhaps, with God. I have gradually been coming to feel that the door is no longer shut and bolted. Was it my own frantic need that slammed it in my face? The time when there is nothing at all in your soul except a cry for help may be just the time when God can’t give it: you are like the drowning man who can’t be helped because he clutches and grabs. Perhaps your own reiterated cries deafen you to the voice you hoped to hear.”

A prayer for My Future Wife in 2014

image

Lord,

You know how tired I am from waiting. You know how weak my faith is and how unstable my belief can be.

I’m still holding onto that mustard seed-sized faith, clutching it with everything I’ve got, with all my heart and strength and soul and mind. I want to rest tonight not in Your promises or provisions, but in Your person, Your character, in You.

Lord, I’m still believing in the miracle that some woman will fall in love with me and want to spend the rest of her life with me. It seems impossible sometimes, but then I remember the words of a pastor: what seems impossible to me isn’t even remotely difficult for you.

I’m praying you will be with her tonight and envelop her with your peace and surround her with your everlasting arms. May her joy be full as she rests in you, completely comfortable in who You’ve made her to be and in Whose she is– Yours.

May she cast aside every hindrance, every distraction, every clamoring voice, and run only after You, her true heart’s desire. May she keep a single-minded focus on Your Son, Jesus, and not fall into the lies and deceptions that tell her she is not enough.

May you bring her into my life, but not until the time that both she and I are ready– and not a moment sooner. Help her faith not to falter and her trust to remain stedfast and secure in You only.

Help me to be the man who can win her heart and guard it until the day you ask for it back. Help me to become the man who will help her to unveil all the beauty and wisdom and lovingkindness you have placed in her so she will become all that you created her to be.

As always, I believe. Help my unbelief. And hers, too.

Amen.

Vanilla Blonde Roast Coffee and Thoughts of Marriage

starbucks

I officially had my very first cup of non-blended coffee. It was a grande vanilla blonde roast, thank you very much. And yes, I felt ever so grown up drinking it. I may actually turn into a mature grown-up person one day, scary as that thought may be.

Then I got to thinking about marriage. Me the single guy thinking about marriage? Yep.

For years, I felt I couldn’t get married because I felt I’d never be mature enough or ready for all the responsibilities. Now I think maybe those are the very reasons that I’m ready.

I know I will need Jesus in my marriage for it to have even a ghost of a chance for success. I know I will need his strength daily to be the kind of husband and father I need to be. I know how weak and foolish I can be on my own strength.

Maybe the greatest folly going into a marriage is thinking that you’re ready for it. Maybe it’s when you think you can handle the biblical roles of husband and father that you’re most prone to the consequence that follows the sin of pride– namely, a great fall.

I’m not saying I will get married tomorrow or next week. I’ve left that in God’s hands. But I no longer believe that I CAN’T be a good husband or father. I can’t, but Jesus in me can.

I don’t want a typical American marriage. I don’t want to settle for normalcy. I don’t just want to plan for my wedding (and yes, I want to be a part of that); I want to plan for a lifelong marriage. I want a marriage where my wife and I serve together better than we ever could apart. I want a marriage that has a kingdom mission and purpose. I want my marriage to be a living witness to how great the love of Christ is for His bride, the Church.

And I know that I can’t begin to do that on my own. I can’t begin to dream of that on my own. It will take as much of Jesus flowing through me and out of me as I can humanly stand– and then some. It will take me being completely consumed until all that remains is Christ in me, the hope of glory.

All that from one cup of coffee. I may be up until 5 am, but right now I’m feeling mighty fine. Just think what kind of blogs I’ll write when I get hold of a venti cup of coffee.

In Search of Boaz and Ruth in the 21st Century (Yet Another Blog About Singleness)

I had a good friend commenting on how she couldn’t find any men who fit the role of Boaz in the Bible. I have to agree. Not too many godly men stepping up and taking charge spiritually. There are lots of guys out there, but not nearly as many real men.

Then again, as a single guy, I have a hard time finding Ruths. There aren’t too many women pursuing godliness with a passion these days. As before, there are a lot of girls out there, but not too many real godly women.

Then I got to thinking on the way home. Maybe the problem is me. Maybe I’m not finding my Ruth because I’m not trying consistently to be a Boaz. I’m all for godliness and holiness when it’s convenient and cheap, but not so much when it takes time and costs me something.

If I’m looking for certain qualities in a mate, I need to have those showing in my own life. Or at least I need to be developing those characteristics. I can’t expect kindness in a future mate if I don’t show it myself. I can’t expect deep spirituality if I am shallow when it comes to the things of God.

I think this applies to married people as well. You can’t expect your spouse to be something you’re not willing to be. You have to own up to your part and change yourself before you demand change from your husband or wife.

I know I have a lot of work to do before I can call myself a godly man. Sometimes, it seems like an impossible task and I feel like I will never get there. But God is best at taking the impossible and making it reality.

So before you point the finger at the opposite sex, make sure you look in the mirror first and find out if you need to get your priorities right first. That’s all.

 

 

 

What I look for in a future wife

smile

Hello. It’s 2:49 on January 1, 2011, and I can’t sleep, so I blog. I was thinking about what I would want in a mate. Here are some things I want.

She has to have a great smile. Physical beauty would be nice, but the best kind of beauty is that which radiates from the inside and shows itself in acts of compassion and kindness. I want who I marry to be caring and generous and kind and compassionate.

I hope she would be totally in love with me as I will be with her. Someone who looked at me and saw something that every other girl didn’t see. Maybe even something I didn’t see. She will see me through eyes of grace.

I want a woman whose heart is totally enthralled and captivated by Jesus. Not someone who professes Christianity but whose lifestyle is no different than anybody else who doesn’t profess anything. She has to love Jesus way more than she loves me.

I want a woman who is at rest in who she is and where she is, not eternally stuck on being and acting like she’s forever 21. Someone who loves quiet nights and good conversation over hitting night clubs and staying out all night. Someone who loves people and going places, but isn’t constantly seeking the next rush or thrill.

In short, I want a woman whose heart beats with the heartbeat of God. Who is laying down her life everyday for the cause of Christ.

If I want that, I have to be that. I have to be a man of God with character who seeks after Jesus instead of striving after success and popularity. I have to learn to give my life away daily for Christ.

One of the best parts of 2010 was that my hopes for a wife have revived again and I think there really is someone out there for me who will love me for me not who I will become. Someone to whom I won’t be a substitute for someone else or way down on their list, but first on their list.

I know God is faithful and He can do way better than anything I could ever have hoped or dreamed.

Amen and amen!

What true beauty looks like (from a guy’s perspective)

grace kelly

This may get me into trouble. I’m venturing out beyond my comfort zone into uncharted territory for me as a man. I am probably way out of my league on this, but here’s what I believe about true feminine beauty. So read it with a dash of salt and a touch of grace (or more like a whole heaping handful of grace).

True beauty is more about character than cosmetics. Instead of putting on the latest fashion, it’s about putting on “compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it” (Colossians 3:12).” Some questions I would ask any woman who wants to be known for her beauty are: 1) How do you treat those who are different than you? 2) Do you go out of your way to associate with those who are not in your social circles, and possibly beneath you in terms of societal rankings? 3) Have you given of yourself to someone you know will never be able to repay you?

In my opinion, true beauty means a woman need not always try to prove or justify herself. It means that she knows who she is, or better yet Whose she is. That she is a daughter of the King, a princess and knows how to act like one. It means that if I ever want to pursue and court her, I must treat her like the princess and child of God she is. True beauty means that if I took her and turned her over, I would see God’s signature as proof of her priceless worth (and yes, that one came from Mike Glenn, not me. Gotta give props where props are due!)

Charm is deceitful and beauty of the outer kind is vain and fleeting. But fearing the Lord is what makes a woman lovely. I have always thought that Grace Kelly was one of the most beautiful women ever, and I think it’s because you see gentleness and kindness in her eyes.

I’ve changed a lot in my views about what makes a woman beautiful. Now I think what makes her beautiful is her transparency, where Christ shines brightest through her. That’s what I want in a wife. That and a sense of humor, cause she’s pretty much gonna need it with me. And maybe Rachel Ray’s cooking skills. Ok, that last part was a joke. Maybe.

I’ve probably got a whole lot to learn about this topic, but I hope I’ve made a good start. Which is always being willing to admit how little you know about what you thought you had all figured out. That’s where I am.