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Thursday, April 28, 2011

A New Title

If you are a regular reader of this blog (all 6 of you), then you might notice a new title today. "Pastor's Corner" was something I came up with quite awhile back and just never considered if it was an apt description of my writings. In truth, I think it failed to really capture what I want to do here.

Pastor's Corner implies that I offer wise, pastoral advice to those who come seeking help. While at times I may lean this way with my blog, my greater desire is to simply process the journey that we are all on. To walk through the struggles, the joy, the pain, the wonder of being asked to walk day in and day out with the Master of the Universe. How can any of us hope to accomplish this? Only by His grace.

And so I will continue in this attempt to offer some perspective on my own journey in the hopes that it might inform and inspire you on yours. As always, I welcome and hope for your input. I would like this to be more dialogue than monologue.

I leave you with this quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer that summarizes my thoughts better than I could:

"With God, one does not arrive at a fixed position; rather, one walks along a way. One moves ahead or one is not with God. God knows the whole way; we only know the next step and the final goal. There is no stopping; every day, every hour it goes farther. Whoever sets his foot on this way finds that his life has become a journey on the road."

Glad to be on this journey with you!


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Last Minute Lent

Someone in the East Hills family sent me this story during the week. I thought it might be an encouragement to all of you...

This Monday morning I woke up, got dressed for work, drank my coffee and headed out the door; much like any other given Monday. When I came out to my car, I noticed papers all over both my front seats, and all my doors were unlocked. Someone had somehow gotten my doors unlocked, broken in, and took my CD player and some other things.

As you know, I'm a huge fan of music, so this was an almost debilitating blow. Usually, I listen to worship music in the morning on my way to work. It helps me prepare for the day, and it's a time I set aside for God.

You can imagine how I felt knowing that I could not enjoy music in my car now, and the disappointment that sank in my heart. I called a friend immediately to tell her. She reassured me that it was just stuff, and that she was happy it was nothing personal, and they didn't take the whole car instead. Much to my dismay I continued on with my work day, and did all the appropriate things (called my landlord and reported it to the Police).

However, I still felt that sting in my heart, so I called my friend again, and this time she said the words I knew were true all along: "Maybe this is God's way of saying He wants you to listen."

In that moment I knew I had to add this to my Lent list. Originally, I did what every guy wants to do, and tried to figure out how to fix it. However, the moment I let it go and decided I would NOT replace it until after Lent is through, I received phone calls and visits from friends I hadn't heard from in a while, and who didn't know what had happened. I was also blessed with huge support from my family and those closest to me.

The reason I share this with you is because this is a moment when I believe God very intentionally did work on my life.

So, here I sit on my lunch break, still thankful for the thieves who stole my car stereo, because Jesus met me there. I hope this was a good read for you.

May we all find our places in life where we can rejoice, even when we're the victim of theft! When God and His way becomes more central to us than even our most important possessions, we know He really has our hearts. This is where I want to be!

Blessings on your journey-

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Get That Donkey

One of the tendencies we all have with the Bible, or any book really, is that we can read it so much we miss the really good stuff. Now, I am not encouraging us to read the Bible less. I am encouraging us to read slowly enough to stop and say, “Wow, that is not what I expected.”

One such example is in John 11. You may know the story well- as Jesus approaches Jerusalem for the final time, shortly before his crucifixion, he sends the disciples on a unique errand. They are to go and retrieve a donkey. Jesus will sit on this very donkey and ride into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. Okay, so Jesus and the people of Jerusalem didn’t know they were creating Palm Sunday, but they did.

I have always been shocked that Jesus rode a donkey. A great white stallion seems better. But this is in line with his birth in a manger, his death on a cross, and his life among common, ordinary people. So, in the end, the donkey itself isn’t that surprising. What I was struck by recently was the fact that he asked the disciples to go get the donkey.

I wonder what if felt like as they were untying this beast- a valuable possession to someone else. All they have been instructed to say is, “The Lord needs it and will return it when he is through.” This HAD to be an uncomfortable moment for the disciples involved. And yet, in simple obedience they do what is asked of them, and the King rides into town.

In so many ways, that is our call as Christ-followers. Throughout life, we will be asked to follow and obey in ways that to us don’t make a whole lot of sense. We may not even see the whole picture. But our primary job description is to do whatever it takes to the pave the way for the King to ride in. We are not the main event; we prepare the way for the One who’s coming is the Event.

How many times have I missed this because I want to be in the middle of it all? Today Jesus, I am trying to remember that you are the big deal. And I will go and fetch the donkey. Or serve my family. Or love the unlovable. Or give beyond my comfort. Or choose trust and faithfulness even when it isn’t fun. I will obey. But help me, please, because I am not always comfortable with fetching donkeys. I’d rather ride the stallion in the crowd. Teach me humility, so that You will always be the main event.

May your journey be one of simple obedience so the King can ride in-