Church, Death, Depression, faith, relationship

Our Jesus

The perfection of my Father never ceases to amaze me. I’m thankful He is all knowing in the face of my ignorance. He reveals things to me when I need to know them, and if I don’t need to know them I am comfortable in knowing He knows what to do. That just made me think of an old hymn.

Needless pain we bear all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.

Life is exceedingly painful, and I’m not going to say one season of life is harder than another because suffering is suffering, and when a one-up-man is at play it doesn’t serve to relieve the suffering one of pain. That’s not God’s purpose. When you read the book of Job I think you learn a powerful lesson in how we are to respond to any kind of suffering. Most of the time complete silence is order. Being present with the one who is hurting is all that is needed. Holy Spirit reveals to our hearts and minds when words need to be said. Life itself is a teacher, and our filibusters do more harm then good. We get off on some rant of what we think that person should have done in any given experience, but no one knows what they would have done until they go through it. Walk in that person’s shoes, and then if something needs to be said it will be revealed.

Listen from different angles, suspend judgement if life is not at stake, and when you can rationally discuss details then and only then should words come.

My friend Lynn got me to thinking about these things earlier in the week as we sat in her living room. Our mutual friend Landon was a our topic of conversation, and he has built a life and ministry around this very principle. He’d shy away from this kind of spotlight, but nonetheless we are two who have been transformed by his willingness to be moved the way the Spirit has moved him.

We teach each other don’t we? We move each other in the way we listen, speak and sit silently with each other because we have One who came here, and He showed us perfection in being with people.

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Death, Depression, faith, relationship, Women

An Apologetic

Today’s Jesus Calling (June 10) reminded me of a class I had in college. Doug Varnado taught a class called Christian Mind and Devotional Life for 3 hours credit, and it was during that semester that a song really came to light deeply on my heart and mind. Here are the lyrics.

I just want to be where You are dwelling daily in your presence. I don’t want to worship from afar. Draw me near to where You are.

I want to be where You are. Dwelling in your presence. Feasting at Your table. Surrounded by Your glory. In Your presence. That’s where I always want to be.

I just want to be. I just want to be with You.

cropped-cropped-mg_2841.jpgThe suffering servant is a very real reality for billions of Christians. Two of my friends are deeply suffering because their wife and mother have departed this life. An hour hasn’t passed since I found out that I have not thought about both of them. I wrote an entire post in memory of our beloved Bonnie. I went by her beautiful house, but Malcolm was out and about. I texted Malcolm III, and I posted on Facebook respectful comments of my grief for her passing. I knew Bonnie for over half my life, and her love, instruction and presence are impacting me now even in her absence.

Her absence makes my Father’s presence feel even more real, and when my Carey and my daughter were in Chicago I felt a painful void without their physical presence. We are constantly reminded that this life is to be lived by faith, but I am thankful that one day faith will be obsolete because we will gaze into the face of the One who defeated death. I have not concept of that now because I continue to “lose” people I love.

Mac, Bonnie’s husband, is an incredible provider for his family. His smile, unconditional love during the epitome of my depression inspires me now even though he may have no idea it does. I have an inkling into the pain he suffers from the loss of Bonnie from his Facebook posts, but I have no idea the pain he goes to sleep with or the pain he wakes up with without his precious lover near him in the same house.

He is not the first man to lose his wife, and there will be billions more who will experience the same thing, but the pain is real, and I do not glaze over it for anyone.

Two posts are hardly replacement for a life who impacted our eternity, but we draw comfort from the fact she is literally in the presence of our Father.

We long for that because the fallen nature of this world, and the fact that our hearts and strength fail is proof we are not here to stay.

Don’t grow too attached to what you have here, but invest in the things that remind you of God’s presence.

Scripture tells us to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added.

That’s easier said, written and quoted, and sometimes impossible to practice because the pull of other things is so deafening and powerful in the face of our human strength. We are not left to our own devices because we have a Helper near and in our hearts and minds.

She/He intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express, and when I’ve been face down in pain I am given strength to rise up because of Her.

My Brother Jesus sweat drops of blood in the garden well before Prozac was discovered, and my Father, who is omniscient (all knowing), omnipresent (every where all the time) and omnipotent (all powerful) is closer then the blood in my veins. Satan is not. Is he powerful? Obviously so. Turn on the television. But he is not all powerful. He was created like us, but he chose to reject the Father.

Bonnie did not, and I do not. Choose Him because He chose you (John 3.16).

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Body Image, Books, Death, faith, relationship, Women

True Peace

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I was at Mission Barbeque at Opry Mills last Friday, and when I went into the lavatory there was a picture of Marilyn Monroe over the urinal. I read this book about Marilyn Monroe, and as I wrote this post she came to mind. With all due respect to those who knew her I have to pity her because she never knew true peace. Her worth was found in men, and Hollywood used her the way I use a vacuum cleaner to clean Nashville homes. She allowed it however, and I think our Father’s mercies are upon her now even these plethora of years later as she is not subject to the discarding of Hollywood’s definition of worth. Never let a human being define your worth. Let my Father see you as a unique creation on which He does not fail. Period. 

A sense of humor is important, but there are some subjects within the context of community and more personal relationships when it’s too early to laugh.

I do not need to take myself so seriously that I can’t laugh at myself, but there is a time to take myself seriously as it pertains to overcoming a particular shortcoming or sin.

Coming to grips with the damage done is a very serious matter that I meditate on, but to gravel in guilt and shame is of course straight from the agenda of Satan himself. Satan may not be directly involved, but he doesn’t have to be for it to be grafted into the thinking of a human being.

We’ve always lived in dark times, but the statements created that become beliefs can be overcome.

We are not left alone to our brokenness even when the end is suicide. If someone drags you and a loved one through shit because they took their own life just walk away because you’ll get it on you.

Boundaries are powerful, and God created them for our protection.

That’s why the word propitiation is so powerful in the text. In my paraphrase I take “hilasterion” and phrase it “boundary.” Boundaries cover and protect, and my LORD’s “atoning sacrifice” and “propitiation” is a boundary from destruction, perishing or annihilation. I am forever secure in the presence of my Father even in death.

That is the reason fear is done away with literally. Oh, I have to choose to believe it because He does not force it upon me.

And I believe it, hence all things can become new.

I pray your faith dive to that kind of depth because you can take all the Prozac in the world, and you’ll never have that kind of peace.

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Arts, Church, Depression, faith, relationship, Story

Improv

 

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This is the room I write about in this post, but it looks silently different. The piano is in the same location. 

Crafting something from nothing has always intrigued me. The book Free Play was introduced to me a few years ago, and even though it’s premise is improv the principles can be applied outside of acting.

I’ve found a new place in the house to read and write. It’s our music room. It’s where my guitar and our piano reside. I’ve read many writing books where they tell you to write in the same place every time. This is is my second day in a row coming here, but I’ve been here several times before. I just haven’t consistently come here consecutive days. Habit and routine are important in creating. I think that’s the trouble with my muse in the context of learning to play the guitar. Kevin is divinely patient with me as I work through the blocks that prohibit me from learning, but as that fire burns within me I will not give up unless death stops me. The artist life is not for the faint, and stage fright is really only a symptom of something much deeper, in my case a life-long struggle with depression.

My dad was pastoring a church in north west Kansas in the middle of nowhere really. It was a typical mid-western Church of Christ, and though I don’t want to demonize them because they are still in existence I will write that all of us have demons to deal with. My brother Jeremy had just been born in Arkansas. It was the very early 80’s, and the church convinced my dad to move his family to Kansas. They only had enough money to pay him for a year. They did not volunteer that information. A year in he’s looking for another job. My nightmares and struggle with depression began. Somehow in the course of that experience I also became a Christian, and I remember vividly thinking that if I wasn’t baptized I’d go to Hell. I also remember growing spiritually in that same day as I stood in the shower after my baptism thinking I get to spend eternity with my Father.

The nightmare was very specific, and I remember it to this day. I was part of a concentration camp on Ellis Island constructing the Statue of Liberty. Lady Liberty was complete from the waist up, but we had to lift her so another work detail could finish from the waist down. We never completed her construction. There was no resolve or closure, and when I’d wake up I’d either have wet the bed, or I’d be in a cold sweat that I’ll never forget so long I don’t battle some sort of dementia. Those dreams were especially intense and repetitious when dad was gone interviewing with different churches.

My family of origin loves the arts. We always have, and my family now loves the arts even more that we shake our heads in disbelief at those who boycott Twilight and Harry Potter. Spoiler alert: Good wins over evil. Moving on.

Family is very important to me, and even though some of us argue over what a family looks like if love is shared is the main question in any relationship. God created Adam and Eve, and He created us for monogamous relationships that last a lifetime.

I shared the following with a group of people at a round table during a parenting seminar we attended led by my friend Frank Scott.

I grew up on average about 500 miles away from my grandparents. That wasn’t by design. It just was. While in Kansas mom and dad decided to record a cassette tape of a dramatic presentation similar to Lake Wobegon Days and Prairie Home Companion. We sent a copy to my dad’s parents we called ma and pa, aunt Sue and my mom’s mom grandma. Grandpa died in 1977. Grandpa was in his 30’s when he married grandma at age 15. In any case dad wrote an entire script like Garrison Keillor does for his radio broadcast that sometimes is broadcast from the Ryman Auditorium. All 6 of us had speaking parts amidst the variety show my parents concocted. I’ll never forget it. It still amazes me that they were able to do that in a very tumultuous time of their lives. It was probably like a glass of wine or a good novel that gave them escape.

Even in the midst of darkness if those who believe in light turn the light on it’s amazing how God sends hope to those who don’t have it.

It’s what keeps me going.

 

 

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Death, Depression, faith, relationship, Story

Checks and Balances

I’ve been contemplating the system of checks and balances that are in place on this global village. It becomes even smaller as I zero in on this city, but it enlarges when I see the reach my circle of influence connects. I begin with myself circa 2006.

I’m a bulk merchandiser with a Coca-Cola bottling company that has a franchise here in Nashville. I’m already on probation, and I’m about to finish with a big box retailer to head to another to merchandise Coca-Cola products on the shelves. I’ve been working since 4am. It’s 7am. An employee at the first stop rudely tells me we have “product” on a certain aisle. I go over to check it out. It’s not our liquid. I communicate this to the employee, but he tells me I have to clean it up anyway. I asked him why he had to be such an asshole. He threatens me, says he’s going to contact my boss, but there are no fisticuffs. I knew I was about to be fired. I quit before that could happen. I called all the appropriate people, and I returned my company van to the plant.

wpid-1372726029.jpgCalling my wife Carey was the next thing I had to do, and that was the beginning of the hardest check and balance I’ve ever had to live through. I’m still reeling from it. Coming clean with my sin has always been the best protocol for what ails me. I’m fond of saying that I don’t stand to fall before anyone but God, and though that is true I still have to live with consequences that my actions create. That’s part of what the system of checks and balances creates in our world because if there were none we’d have anarchy. That’s why Romans talks about obeying the laws of the land, and why there is somewhat of an order to things in place that keep every last one of us accountable to each other.

When a human being refuses to take responsibility for his or her actions they not only hurt others, but they choose to die a slow agonizing “death” that eventually will lead to a real death. If God is God then there is a right and a wrong, and the things expounded about in the Bible are true, and if we choose to do what we want then consequences will follow. There are many gray areas of life such that Paul dealt with in meat sacrificed to idols, but tension is nothing new for the things we face under the sun. Again, check and balances are essential in our walk some 80 years on this Earth. What has been will be again, and mankind will always need rest, food, shelter, clothing, love and safety. There’s a reason God created Adam and Eve. There’s a reason God continues to pursue us all where we are in life. God brings the people together He wants together at the times He has prescribed for us to be together, and though this might sound like reformed thinking it’s anything but because you cannot argue that God knows in advance what will happen before it happens.

The power of checks and balances isn’t that someone on high in human endeavors wields power for those of us peons below. The power is in the fact that we who are “strong” protect those who are weak, and in my case at the bottling company that we care for those who are sick.

Caring for each other has never been easy because if it was everyone would do it. They do not. Nurses are continually needed, and people want a paycheck without having to work. If you aren’t willing to show up when people need you to show up then don’t expect someone else to show up when you need them. Checks and balances. Matthew 7.12 isn’t just called the Golden Rule because some pastor or theologian decided it was a cool thing to call it. No, it’s called the Golden Rule because when we do to others what we’d have done to us we practice the very essence of what it means to be created in image of God.

John has quite the essay on the relationship between the Father, Son and Spirit. They know each other so well that they long for us to share with each other that kind of knowing. No wonder angels long to look into the ways of humans.

My depression hit rock bottom working for that bottling company. I could not endure one more day in that miserable job. I ripped my wife away from our 2 year old daughter as a stay-at-home mom. It crushed her spirit, and I’m still making up for that right or wrong. God says we are to forgive our enemies 70×7, and though that looks real grand on the written page of an English translation sometimes it seems hard as hell to practice. Before you throw that passage around like a baseball meditate on the context of the situation you want to use it in. Use your frontal lobe to exercise restraint when you want to vomit truth all over someone. You might be right, but being right is what the Pharisees honored above a more loving response. There’s nothing wrong with silence in the presence of someone who is deeply hurting. Do you think God is not communicating in silence? There will always be time for sharing our insight and wisdom, but be oh so careful when you do.

That’s when Job’s friends got into trouble. They had sat with Job for days, maybe weeks or months until anyone said a word.

God is not wringing His hands in desperation if you show up and give someone a hug. You have permission to sit in silence at Starbucks with someone until she is ready to open up.

Love is a complicated fruit of the Spirit, but if we cannot sit still long enough for the Spirit to communicate appropriate action or speech then we might as well worship anarchy.

Checks and balances is not a holy grail. It encompasses the Golden Rule, genuine desire for another’s well being, and a refusal to let evil have the last word.

Last time I checked in Revelation it says that good wins over evil.

I like that.

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faith, leadership, Money, relationship, Story

Two Ears, One Mouth

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I’m glad Hermione is a fictional character, but I suspect J.K. Rowling knew people who were “insufferable know it alls.” 

I’ve been silent of late, but not because I didn’t have anything to say. I wanted to listen. I’m thinking of two individuals who do not know how to listen, and to quote Severus Snape, they are both “insufferable know it alls.” No one likes anyone who incessantly talks.

My brother Jason teaches me that it matters what you do. The Holocaust museum trademarked that phrase. Don’t quote me. I’ve not researched that. It’s a guess. Jason has been to the Holocaust museum several times with his work, and I went the year it opened many years ago before they sold any merchandise. What a fitting adage to describe the horrendous and heroic acts that took place during that period of human history.

We must slow down, and speak less so that we can listen to others. We were given one mouth and two ears. We should use them proportionately. Words are powerful, and if we constantly use them without letting others use theirs we aren’t being fair. This may cause long periods of silence because some are working through their fear, anger and indifference at what the subject might be, but there is a season for everything, including silence.

I don’t have to tell you we live in a very loud world. There are more talking heads then there ever have been because of mediums, world population and opposing views it seems. Diversity does not have to demand division as I learned in college, and we can learn to agree to disagree. If we refuse to listen to the perspective of another human being then this cannot happen, but I think we care more than that.

I’m probably going to loose some of you here. Jesus Christ spent 3 years doing things on Earth that if books were written about them the whole world could not contain them. As He stood on trial before the Jews and barbaric Romans His accusers asked Him questions, but they had already made their minds up about Him as they manipulated each other to get what they wanted. They all got what they wanted, and for a time period their pockets overflowed with money till Jerusalem fell in 70. Yet we still refuse to learn from history. We think that if we have plenty of money, health and everybody likes us that people should listen to us. We are after all the “greatest” nation on Earth.

Spoiler alert, we are great because the LORD builds the house. If the LORD does not build the house the laborers labor in vain. If we continue to exalt ourselves like the Romans I think you know what will happen, but if we pause, smile at each other, listen to each other, and care then God can do amazing things. I don’t subscribe to John Calvin’s predestination theology because to argue the mind of God is never ending. My theology falls in line more with Martin Luther, and you’re more than welcome to read both devout theologians writings at newadvent.org. This blog is obviously a poplar level blog, and there is minimal research that goes into each post. It’s a glorified journal really.

So when you pause long enough to appreciate the focus of this post what comes to mind as you attend some 52 Sunday services, and whatever religious education you take in through the year? I’m certain you know the talkers at your church. Please don’t name them if you reply.

We read a book in undergrad school called Well Intentioned Dragons. It was about parishioners who meant well, but they did more harm then good. They needed to be confronted because their behavior was detrimental to unity and growth.

Some people can only be educated with direct confrontation, and even then they may not get it. They may retreat into their shell of self-pity, but that is their personal choice. I’d rather be exposed for my sins in a loving manner then talked about behind my back. That’s called gossip, and God condemns it.

Listening is hard work. If it was easy everyone would do it. I’m the first to admit that I’ve not always listened well. You can be silent and not listen well. Listening means you are taking in the information you receive, and you either accept or reject it. If you accept it you will care enough to do something about it. If you reject it then prepare for the consequences that come with that too.

There are tradeoffs all the way through life, and every decision has consequences. That’s the way the cookie crumbles, but always know too that we serve a risen LORD who loves us unconditionally for eternity.

 

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Death, Depression, faith, Prayer, relationship, Story

He Has Set Eternity in the Hearts of Men

17458087_407132509645951_2897550046205320305_nMy grade school friend from the 6th grade, over 30 years ago, called me from California. Shiloh Almendarez and I actually had the same 5th grade teacher, Mr. Swatzky, when my family of origin first moved to California. He reminded me today that in the 6th he had Mr. Olson, and I had Mrs. Raymond who also lived on Bolinger Way. It’s amazing how things change, but that little town called Dinuba went down hill in the past 30 years. I’ll not elaborate on what Shiloh told me about that little town, but let’s just say it’s not a place children can ride their bikes on the neighborhood streets anymore. Drugs and violence are more the norm then kids kicking over trash cans in the alleys. We called it garbage can operation, and if you were really cool with your Diamond Back, Redline or Predator you were able to kick your back tire out to send a garbage can flying.

Shiloh came to know Jesus while we were there, but like me there were desert places in life that drove him to thirst for Jesus again. What do you say in a half-hour conversation 2,000 miles apart when the last time you talked was 30 years ago? Really, you say whatever comes to mind. There’s no way you can rehash 30 years of experience when the last time you talked neither one of you had hair under your armpits. Well maybe Shiloh did. I didn’t ask. “Not gonna do it. Wouldn’t be prudent at” any juncture. So we basically spent our time on telling each other how God continues to pursue us in our lives. Shiloh has had diabetes his entire life, and after his first marriage there were things he wants to forget, and my struggle with clinical depression is no stranger to you.

I am so glad Shiloh called me. It’s unleashed a barrage of positive memories that drove me to continue this post. Dinuba, California was our favorite place growing up out of all the places we ever lived. We only lived there for 2 years but the memories and connections we made not only had a lasting impact on my grandparents, but they continue to touch us to this day. My grandparents who drove to California from Nashville because my Ma was afraid to fly received the church bulletin from there till the day they died, and that church family was their church family for the way they were salt and light in their lives. When a person allows God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit to infiltrate their heart salt and light become powerful metaphors in the movement of love to others. It ceases being about me, and becomes all about God as He offers hope to a dying world. All we have to do is get out of the way. Thank you California for showing that to me, my family and my grandparents.

I can already tell this is going to be a lengthy post.

Shiloh Almendarez became a Christian while dad pastored in California, yet I’m about to show you that through all of life’s struggles becoming a Christian doesn’t mean we have a nice little walk down the yellow brick road. There are obstacles the same as Dorothy had to face in the infamous movie we know as The Wizard of Oz.

One day at Bolinger Way we were riding bikes in the neighborhood, and someone had an idea to build a ramp in front of that house that we could go airborne off of. It wasn’t the sturdiest of ramps, but several boys went off of it before Shiloh went off it. When Shiloh landed from his ascent his front bike forks stamped into, and he face planted into the street knocked unconscious as I remember it. There was blood every where. His face was covered in it, and I don’t know how he walked into the house, but we somehow got my dear friend into the house. As my mom and I were nursing him by washing off the blood and trying to blot his face with towels all I can remember is Shiloh’s blood curdling screams. That’s been over 30 years ago, so I don’t remember if an ambulance came or not, but I do know he got to the hospital somehow. He knocked out several of his front teeth on the top, and maybe bottom, and he has to wear dentures to this day because they were adult teeth. His wife Tonya is familiar with the story too because it was that epic.

Shiloh was supposed to go with Joel and me to Yosemite Bible Camp several days later, but due to the horrific accident he was not able. You can’t tell me Satan doesn’t have a shoe in when it comes to opportunities like that to delete God experiences with people. I’m not saying Satan caused that accident, but he nonetheless used it to draw a divide between Shiloh and the Father. I don’t know how exactly these things happen, but it’s pretty obvious Satan’s network of evil doers are efficient in using bad things that happen to good people. Who knows what kind of good seed God could have planted in Shiloh’s heart had he been with us at YBC.

God is never foiled by the work of evil because they know their days are numbered, hence the reason for desperation like those times. Multiple situations like that times a billion every day when evil “seems” to have the last laugh. It doesn’t, but Satan and his cronies are good at making it seem that way. I wanna quote something from memory that I think is appropriate here.

So do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day, for our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all, so we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen, for what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

This passage from 2 Corinthians, and let me add a disclaimer here about that. It’s Second Corinthians, not Two Corinthians in case you were wondering. 🙂 As I was writing, this passage from this Pauline letter to the church in Corinth is appropriate even 2,000 years later for those of us who are fighting the same fallen angel Jesus fought in the desert before His earthly ministry. Satan is currently immortal like all other angels, but he is not omnipresent nor omnipotent like God, so there is protection like none other, but he and his army are still free to roam the Earth. That is why we do not let our guard down. We will not bow the knee to Baal, and even though we live in the world we refuse to become like the world. We fall prey to the same things the world falls prey to, but each time we return to the One who knit us together in our mother’s wombs we are embraced every time by a Father who sees us in the distance, sprints toward us and embraces us with a bear hug every single time. There are no exceptions except those who blaspheme the Holy Spirit, and I have no idea what that means. Maybe you can help me.

And here we are 30 years later 2,000 miles apart, and my friend Shiloh calls me from California. Wow. Wow is all I can really write. Wow describes so many things about being a God follower that sometimes that’s the only word I need. It expresses an adoration of devotion that can repeat itself over and over in gratitude to the One who literally gave us everything. I smile with my daughter at the dinner table when she thanks God for everything, but isn’t that the perfect prayer? He did, so why shouldn’t we too thank God for everything?

My LORD is so good and perfect that even in the sin, failures and rejections He knows what to do. It rains on the righteous and unrighteous, yet even when people choose to reject His love He chooses to love them. I don’t do that. I return evil for evil way more than I love someone who rejects me. I justify it by saying actions have consequences, not realizing that the same goes for me. I guess that’s the checks and balance system God set up for all us so that we don’t end up killing each other. The ultimate penalty of sin is death, yet God continues to give us time to align with His purposes. It’s not always going to be like that. There’s going to come a point in time when we will have to answer for how we chose to live this life, and it’s my aim to hear from His lips, “Well done my good and faithful servant.”

Shiloh and I will be among those who do hear those words, not because we get it right all the time, but because 2,000 years ago a man named Jesus chose to save us by letting the first century religious leaders, the Roman Empire and the blood thirsty criminals nail Him to a cross. But it didn’t stop there.

As you know we are about to celebrate our risen LORD on Easter, and many ways this is the most wonderful time of the year because all the work is behind us in the resurrection. There’s going to be a day when parents will not lose children, and marriages will not end in divorce. There will be no one taking advantage of women, and the glass ceiling will not even be a memory. Death, sickness, gossip, people who hate their jobs, unemployment, firings and hate will not be a part of the new Earth because not only will the lion lie down with the lamb, but love will have been perfected in an experience without end with an all mighty God.

That’s what grounds me most. You know I grew up in 8 States and 1 U.S. territory, so I’ve been spending my entire adult life trying to see what it  looks like to call one place home. A boy learns what he experiences. My identity is in Christ, not whether or not I’m a nomadic preacher’s kid with depression. That is certainly part of my story, but it does not have to control or define me.

As Shiloh and I continued our conversation God was making an impression on me with how He continues to pursue us both. Shiloh quoted Scripture Tonya is fond of telling him about the deserts we face, yet God returns to water them again. He never leaves us in the desert does he? We have seasons of wandering in the wildnerness, and some of us have been close to death, yet God has seen to circumstances that have rescued us from ruin and death. We did nothing to deserve it, for in in fact I deserve death even as I type this sentence, but the reality is that I am given new life every moment of every day because I am a child of God.

You’ve likely heard the new Hillsong tune about the name of Jesus. It’s a gorgeous worship song that has been washing over me, and I heard my friend Melissa lead it at her church in north Nashville. I hear it every day on the radio as I take my daughter to school, home and church, and it moves me every time I hear it. I hope Danny transposes it for our corporate assembly at church. We sing acapella at the Donelson Church.

Jesus is what my life is about. I have a friend who is writing his own obituary, and really when I pause to think about my own obit all I want to be in it is that I was a man who followed Jesus. I’m sure more will be said, and I in fact would like to write my own obit, but if it doesn’t come to fruition I’m content that the length of comment time at my funeral will be that I followed Jesus the Christ.

Have I done it perfectly? No. Do I get better grades if I study harder? No. Do I ever arrive at the level the Son of Man was at when He left this Earth? Never. But I do get to be with Him because of His Spirit that dwells within me.

And because of that I get phone calls from California from people who I only knew for 2 years, yet the time really represents eternity with the One who sees a day as a thousand years.

Wow.

 

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