Aug 22 2014

An Analogy to Describe Vulnerability

Published by under Life

God’s desire is that we all be on our way home. And that home is heaven.

But as we travel this road of life to heaven, we make deviations. We get involved in things we shouldn’t.

Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.
_Proverbs 4:25-27

These deviations take us away from the path we’re supposed to walk. And they take us away from many of the people walking the “straight and narrow.”

Sometimes, other people drag us from the good road and from The Way.

When we talk about vulnerability today, what we’re really doing is not telling our story. We’re telling people, “Hey, it feels to me like I was (or that I currently am) a little bit lost.”

And the wobbly part of vulnerability is this: We ask people to meet us at a particular place. We tell them about a dark and scary land we’ve seen (or where we find ourselves) and we say, “Can you come meet me here?” Then we wait to hear their response.

When you’re vulnerable and tell someone else about serious things from your past or present, they might respond, “Hey, I need a couple days to think about my relationship with you.”

That delay can make our hearts hurt. It wasn’t the other person’s intent, but it’s an outcome.

How do I know all this? Because I’m living it right now. I told someone about a deviation that’s happened in my life and I’m waiting for them to tell me if they can meet.

I’ve realized these past couple days that it’s similar to asking a friend help you move. You’re asking them to go out of their way – to leave their path – and invest time with you. Friends sometimes say, “Give me a couple days to see if I can help you move.”

So we shouldn’t feel slighted or crushed when we share a sensitive thing about our life and people need time to decide if they want to come out. Many issues in life are a lot more serious than moving! The instant nature of our culture definitely doesn’t apply here. They don’t owe us an immediate answer.

If they decline our invitation, we can be disappointed. But what we CANNOT do is allow satan to speak rubbish to us and tell us that we’re worthless. That’s not the way it is.

If your friend can’t go out of their way to help you move, it doesn’t mean they hate you or that you’re a piece of crap. It only means they can’t make it.

The part that should hurt about being vulnerable isn’t that someone may decline an invitation to meet and that it somehow says something about YOU.

It’s that instead of missing out on a pair of hands to carry furniture for a single day, we’re missing out on a whole person – maybe for a long time. We experience it as rejection. It isn’t. It’s loss but not rejection. It just means that someone else doesn’t feel they can make it to where you are – that for their own internal reasons they can’t make the journey. Sometimes people can verbalize those reasons. Other times they can’t – either because they know the words and won’t say them or can’t find the words but just know in their gut.

In either case, it doesn’t say anything about the other person! It doesn’t mean THEY’RE weak or a piece of crap. It just means they can’t make it.

Here’s the good news. God can always make it. He’s always with us. Even in the darkest place. We only need to lift our heads and say, “God, I need you. Come meet me.” Over and over again in the bible, God comes to meet his people. Jesus went the furthest of ANY of us, coming from heaven to earth to meet us.

The Word became flesh and made his home among us.
_John 1:14

In the end, even people like me who are fiercely independent need others around us. Some of those people will know about our serious off-path wanderings. And those who come to meet us there may be the ones God intends to be in our life. What if he arranges some of this and knows who the right people are for us? If that’s the case, then we can trust that the people who come and go from our lives are the ones meant to be there!

In some ways, we ask a lot from people when we want them to come to us in the wilderness. We’re possibly asking them to come through mountains and oceans and deserts.

Whatever happens, there’s a genuinely great truth that I need to put first in my mind: I wander. I get lost. But I’m on my way home. That home is heaven. And God is asking ME to come meet him there!

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Aug 18 2014

The Four Stages of Light

Published by under Uncategorized

Try telling a little kid they’re really good at doing something. You’ll usually get one of four reactions: they could ignore you. Or say, “I know!” Or say, “I don’t think so!” Or say, in a surprised tone, “I AM!?!?”

Here’s something that Jesus told us that seems wild…

You are the light of the world.
_Jesus, Matthew 5:14

Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Man.

IGNORING
It doesn’t feel like that to me very often. Previously in my life, I’ve just tuned out and ignored what Jesus said about being the light of the world.

DENIAL
At other times I’ve denied it and said, “Light of the world? I don’t think so.”

SURPRISE
Occasionally, I’ve been shocked. “WAIT! You’re saying that _I_ am the light of the world? I am!?!?”

I want to leave these three reactions behind.

I hear what Jesus is saying, but I don’t know that I’ve ever internalized it.

ASSURANCE
I want to reach the place where Jesus says, “You are the light of the world.” And somehow, I can say back, in a quiet, humble, confident tone, “I know.”

We ARE the light of the world. And thinking about that makes me uncomfortable. I don’t FEEL like the light of the world. I do a lot of really crappy stuff every day. How could I possibly be the light of the world?

It happens in the same way that we might say cars are fast. Technically, cars aren’t fast. They can’t move an inch on their own. They need fuel (gas or electric) to move. It’s the same with us and Jesus.

God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
_Colossians 1:27

Two things about this. First, see that Christ is now IN us! He’s like our fuel. Somehow he lives inside us through the Holy Spirit. So it’s really Jesus who is the light inside us. We’re supposed to be walking around with his light in us.

Second, there are parts of our Christian life we CAN’T explain. Paul says here, “this mystery, which is Christ in you.” It was a mystery to Paul about how Jesus could be in us! He couldn’t fully explain it. And some things we can’t explain either. Not just because we may not be the best theological thinkers but because it CAN’T be fully understood.

This mystery stuff makes me personally uncomfortable sometimes. Because it’s the kind of thing a cult might say – “Hey, don’t question this. You can’t know. It’s a mystery.” But it can also be true that it’s so unbelievably complicated and incredible that we can’t understand. After all, there are a PHENOMENAL number of things we don’t understand about the universe and stars and planets and black holes and pretty much everything else around us. These are incredible mysteries.

I want to hear Jesus tell me I’m the light of the world and somehow say, “I know.” And then go and do great things in our world because I have the confidence that comes with shining.

We. Are the light of the world. May God make us bright.

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Aug 17 2014

Where to Find Wisdom

Published by under Uncategorized

Andrew, wherever you’re confused today, don’t fret. There’s a voice calling out for you if you’ll listen. Ask for help in which way you should go.

For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
_Proverbs‬ ‭2‬:‭6‬

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Aug 16 2014

Ridiculousness: Why Wisdom Laughs

Published by under Uncategorized

For a long time, it has confused me that the bible talks about God laughing at us in certain situations. (Interestingly, there is absolutely NO mention of God laughing at our plans!)

Here’s one instance though. Proverbs 1 starts off by telling us…

Out in the open wisdom calls aloud, she raises her voice in the public square; on top of the wall she cries out, at the city gate she makes her speech…
_Proverbs‬ ‭1‬:‭20-21‬

But many people don’t listen to her so then Wisdom says this…

…since you disregard all my advice and do not accept my rebuke, I in turn will laugh when disaster strikes you; I will mock when calamity overtakes you— when calamity overtakes you like a storm, when disaster sweeps over you like a whirlwind, when distress and trouble overwhelm you.
_Proverbs‬ ‭1‬:‭25-27‬

Seems harsh, eh? But think about TV shows like America’s Funniest Home Videos and Rob Dyrdek’s show, Ridiculousness. What do we laugh about in those shows? Isn’t it other people’s misfortune or lack of common sense? Many of these people get hurt.

When Wisdom sees us do dumb things, I think it’s only natural that she would laugh. She is so smart that it’s humorous to see simple people do crazy things.

It may not be that Wisdom’s laughter is vicious and hateful but more along the lines of, “HEY CHILD! What did you THINK was going to happen?”

May God lead us into all wisdom!

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