Monday, December 17, 2012

O Come Emanuel

Today I listened to the sound of the rain on my front porch. It fell nearly all day long. A modest stream formed on the front lawn. I reclined by the window to witness the beauty. Did you know that rain falls from white puffy clouds that float high up in the sky? No really! All that water, tons and tons of it, was just floating around… IN THE SKY! If I remember correctly it floats around in the form of little ice crystals. Who knows how far that water had traveled before it decided to visit my yard? I like to think that a least a few of the droplets floated here from Canada… because Canada is funny.

Humans wish for magic. They long for beauty. In his book Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis said “If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.” We all would love to be a part of some epic tale with hobbits and elves. My roommate sincerely wishes he had superpowers! I wish I could have a dolphin for a friend… I blame that on Sea World. Nevertheless, I imagine if we had these things they wouldn’t be special to us. Seldom would I appreciate conversing with my friend the dolphin.

We wish for great beauty and magic but our eyes are closed. It rained today. My lawn will be a little greener because tonight it supped on tiny droplets of water that traveled through the sky… probably of Canadian decent! :-) Is that not magic? 

Oh that sin did not exist so that we could live in awe of the splendor of God's creation. Alas, my soul aches because often there seems to be no hope for our world. I close my eyes and harden my heart in an attempt to hide the evil… as a result I hide the magic too. My heart gives itself fully to sin’s empty promises… only to be further from happiness than I had been before. Car wrecks happen. Tsunamis happen. Cancer happens. Divorce, deception, greed, anger… they all happen! We live in a world where people mistake sex for love and money for happiness. Friday a gunman murdered little children. No wonder its hard to look at the rain and see beauty. It’s a wonder that we see beauty at all! We are captives of the terrible things in our world, so much so that we seldom see anything else. Let us hope in Jesus who will destroy evil and one day make a new earth where truth and goodness reign. He makes all things new. This is our epic tale.

“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my chosen people, the people whom I have formed for myself that they might declare my praise.” –Isaiah 43: 18-21

This Christmas I will be thankful for the rain, and I will hope in the joys and beauties to come. 

Friday, August 10, 2012


I am like a child playing a game of tag. Maybe a better term would be a sheep. Ok… Sheep-child?? Sometimes I play fairly. Often I cheat. There are times of laughter, arguments, anger, smiles, tears, and exhaustion. I like to create my own rules to the game. Nevertheless I am constantly running away from, or after, someone… something. We are all children, sheepishly wandering around tagging, in hopes of winning the game. The problem is that in reality we need someone else to give us the rules. Someone with authority needs to call us out on our cheating. Yet, we all like to be the referee of our own games. This is what it is to be human. It is a product of the fall. The irony of the situation is that in our sheepy-child-life we don’t believe that we are in need of help. We don’t think that we have a sheepy-child-life at all! We create the rules remember! In our own eyes, we are rock stars… gods of this game of tag! Sheep!? Whatever! Who naturally thinks they are a lowly, incompetent, brainless creature? To hell with that! We are… I am… a rock star god!

 “Never” you say?! Hmmnnn. Ok. Go on making up parameters to your game. Continue believing the lies your heart has carefully constructed.

 One of the most frustrating things about dealing with a paranoid schizophrenic mom, is that she is constantly living in a reality that is totally separate from everything we know. She has extreme anger, and extreme bitterness. She has created rules to her game that are intricate and thorough. Some days she is sure that the FBI is tapping her phone in order to access information that she alone knows. She tells me that I should skip work because the president issued a roadblock in order to take me captive and get the code she left me in her last letter. Welcome to my daily list of voicemails. ☺

 I have come to the realization that we are not all that different from my schizo-mother. Her mind has built a fortress of lies that she can rarely penetrate. She stays up all night trying to filter through it all… longing for a little truth, but only falling deeper into the labyrinth… growing in hatred towards everything. While my mother is extreme, we all do the same thing. We convince ourselves that we are not bad people. We tell ourselves that money, education, success, or romantic relationships will bring us victory in this game of tag… only, we don’t listen to the referee! We keep making up rules. Everyone tries to justify their crazy lives with their made up rules. So often we give ourselves fully to the idols of our hearts. Tag. Your it… Now off to chase another.

 Please stop the game. Stop the tagging. Stop the chasing. Stop making up realities based on lies! God has given us truth. His word will eat to the core of the fortress you have constructed if he has willed it. The blood of Christ will save you from this stupid game of tag. Do not believe in your game! Believe in Jesus. Please!

 “Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion,
 on the day of testing in the wilderness, where your fathers put me to the test
 and saw my works for forty years. Therefore I was provoked with that generation, and said, ‘They always go astray in their heart; 
they have not known my ways.’ As I swore in my wrath,
 ‘They shall not enter my rest.’”
-Hebrews 3:7-11

Saturday, April 7, 2012


Fresh green leaves can change a person. I am convinced of this… the kind of leaves that first adorn a tree after a barren winter. These initial buds, which appear so quickly, blossom into a shade of green not seen for the rest of the summer. A blue sky can receive no greater compliment than these new leaves. As I peer upward through the unblemished canopy my eyes rejoice. My pupils have no choice but to dilate, giving respect to the artist.

God’s character is in these leaves. He is the kind of person who likes to create something out of nothing. He does it all the time, but I usually don’t notice. Maybe my heart is too cold or callused to be constantly aware of all the reminders of His love. Nonetheless, today he reminded me that he is majestic. The words that he utters uphold everything, including these little green leaves. Its funny how something as simple as a leaf can remind me that I was once dead. I was just like a winter tree. I had no leaves. Fruit was out of the question. Yet, He spoke and leaves appeared!

Sometimes I wish I had been an art major... if you had ever seen the audacious creations of mine, you would be glad that I stuck to music. Really… it’s like I am a mass murderer of canvases. Is it the right or left side of the brain that is more artistically inclined? I don’t remember. Anyway, I digress… back to the blog post…

Surely there is a certain beauty and value in age, but there is an undeniable goodness associated with things that are new. God is a creator. He creates new things, lets them age, and then creates them anew all over again!

“Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?” –Matthew 6:28-30

Our Artist, the Speaker of our story, delights in the regeneration of leaves to garnish trees in springtime. He loves beauty. But how much more does he take pleasure in the regeneration of our souls! God brings the souls of His people from death to life, from curse to blessing, from bitterness to happiness, from emptiness to fullness and from despair to hope! How awesome is that! Now go outside, look at the leaves. Remember and rejoice in God’s loving promise through Jesus.

Saturday, February 4, 2012


There are few people whom I have met in my brief lifetime that strike me as exceptional human beings. My grandfather was one of them. He passed away last night at the age of 84. He led a good life. Today my aunt said that we ought to go out to his farm and find something that represents him and use it as part of a flower arrangement for the funeral… maybe an old wagon wheel or something. I liked the idea. It’s true that my grandpa was a lover of the land, but a wagon wheel doesn’t come close to representing him in full. He was much more than a farmer, schoolteacher, husband, father, or grandfather. He was a giver. Giving is how he mirrored his savior. He truly seemed to understand that he was blessed by God in order to be a blessing to others.

“The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein” –Psalm 24: 1

My grandpa knew that there was nothing that he had worked for that was worth keeping for himself. He was a school teacher and farmer, yet he gave gifts as if he had the salary of a doctor or lawyer. He loaned money that he often never got back; bought cars for people who never paid him back, and did it with the utmost joy. I feel sure that Jesus spoke to his heart in Luke 6 when he says, “To the one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold you tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.” He lent money expecting nothing in return. Most people saw it as foolish… he saw it as good.

In the summers when I was in elementary school grandpa would bring us literally every day to Water World, a local water park. He didn’t like to swim but he brought us anyway… sitting at a picnic table day after day while we enjoyed our well-irrigated wonderland.

When he finally decided that our go-cart was too dangerous, he bought an old Toyota Corolla for us to ride around the farm in. It seems a bit much huh? And yes, we went entirely too fast.

He brought us fishing and to see the cows. He would even have the hay bales arranged in a manner that made them more fun to play on. He thought of little things like this, fashioning an abundance of smiles on our faces… surely not realizing the gifts he was storing for himself in heaven.

I got a car on my sixteenth birthday, a large gift when I graduated from high school, and a fully paid college education… all because of my grandparents (I cant exclude grandma from the equation). I was not an exception. All of my siblings and cousins received the same treatment… nothing asked for in return. There was no catch. He simply gave much because he loved much.

He was a forgiving man. I cant tell you how much stuff my brothers and I broke. We crashed the gocart into grandmas Mercedes, broke windows with baseballs, and set numerous things on fire… maybe he never knew about the fire… either way he always forgave us. He loved us the same as the day before.

My brothers and I lived with our grandparents for three years. Every night grandpa read the bible to us. He prayed with us and sent us off to bed. Through tears I rejoice in the life that my Grandfather led. He was salt. He was a lamp on a stand… intending to help people see Jesus. He truly knew his savior. I can’t imagine the infinite joy he is experiencing at this very moment in the presence of the King.

Above: The only photo I could find of me and grandpa. I am sure there are more... just dont know where.