Thursday, January 27, 2011

Enter: Faith

I appreciate all of you who are reading this blog.  It keeps me accountable to writing.  And I’m also thankful I have the opportunity to write since it is opening up great conversations with Kim and I as well as many of you.

As Kim and I have been journeying the past few weeks through some of these blog entries we’ve begun to realize the vast expanse of who we are versus who we want to be on a spiritual level.  We’ve known all along that we’re missing spiritual significance in our lives, but now as we sift through these questions, we’re getting the opportunity to question our faith in a healthy way.  We’re truly confronting our doubts and concerns about who God is compared to who everyone else thinks he is. 

Most of you know that Kim and I come from opposite ends of the spectrum of Christian households.  I grew Baptist while Kim grew up Catholic.  Our families both had us attend church as we grew up and so we were exposed to many of the customs, traditions, and beliefs of these religions.  Unfortunately, for both of us not much time or attention was spent on why we believe these things or do things this way.  No matter how much faith was emphasized as a personal relationship with God, we find that we still now are out of touch.  It’s still about traditional beliefs, ideology, and theology.  Where is the relationship with God on a personal level?

From our point of view, there is no obvious bridge between what we read in scripture and the church as we see it today.  The songs we sing, the sermons we here, the small groups we participate in…it’s like we’re all grasping for a faith that doesn’t exist yet we keep on believing, keep on attending, and ignore the obvious question: WHAT THE HECK ARE WE DOING? 

Seriously, have I missed something?  Because the God of Joshua who destroyed the wall which separated His people from the promised land, or of Moses who parted the red sea, or Jesus who healed and fed thousands and made wine from water and caused an earthquake and dead people to come alive when He died...I don’t see THAT God on Sunday morning.

So where is God?  And what does active faith really look like in our lives?  Both of our families have been involved in church, serving in some way or another, maybe volunteering in some form or fashion, had fathers that worked to bring in the earnings for the family…but for the most part, looking back, we can’t really see a difference between the families we grew up in and the families of any other good American family, regardless of faith.  And we don’t see a difference in ourselves either.  We like to think we’re different, but are we really?

So, we’re on a mission to understand what living out of faith means.  Does it mean that we have the usual American lifestyle but pray before meals?  Does it mean that we think about God more?  Or are there SIGNFICANT differences in our actions? 

We think it should be the latter.  But we’re only beginning to understand what this means.  Our prayer is that we hear God, and that He teaches us to live a life out of faith.  We pray that we would dare enough to ask God for the impossible in our lives and the lives of others.  And we pray that God truly is the God we’ve hoped for, prayed for, longed for, and much much more than we have ever imagined.  I pray He’s not the God of Sunday morning but the Lord Most High.  Lord, please may we know You as You truly are.  Amen.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Kim came home and the first words from her mouth were that a classmate committed suicide.

No one saw it coming. He always engaged in class discussions, was outgoing, soon to be married, had a good job…so what happened?

Back in high school I knew a girl who was in a guitar class of mine. She seemed to be the girl who craves love deeply but finds none in her life stemming from her earlier years of abuse. At the time, she was dating someone who you could tell was in it for something other than love. She didn't own much courage or strength. She was a puppy ignored by its owner but still holding on for hope that his heart would turn to love.

Since we were in guitar class together I thought it appropriate to take time to help her learn guitar better and while doing so co-write a song with her. She didn't think she could write so instead it turned into me listening to her story and then sculpting a song from the heart as if I were her. Here is that song (sweetly as if a soft yet emotional prayer):

V1: Don't look at me, I'm not pretty anymore
These days have drawn me weak, I can take no more

V2: I'm exhausted inside, feeling so out of place
How could I deny, your loving face

B: I'm so weary, You are so strong
Let me rest in You to carry on
I'm so desperate, for your love
Let me rest in Your gentle arms

C: Lay with me tonight, Drive away my fears
Lay with me tonight, Wipe away my tears
I'm breaking away from this world

V3: I am one alone, left here so long ago
I long to see Your face, to feel Your sweet embrace
(B, C)

When Kim came home with the story of her classmate I thought of this girl. Because something happened the moment I played this song for her for the first time. Through the tears in her eyes I saw straight into her heart. It's as if this song had helped heal her in some way. I can't help but wonder if these were the words that she wanted to say but couldn't on her own. And I can't help but believe that having one other human being truly know her heart, she was healed in some way.

Now, seven years later, am I still helping to heal others hearts? Whose life have I impacted in this way recently? It's time to wake up! No more sleeping through this life that has been set before us!

Can any of us stand by and let one more life be lost? When all it takes is a song to be written, a conversation to be had, hope restored, and a life forever changed.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

White Sand Beaches

Gandalf from the Lord of the Rings talks of white sand beaches welcoming us home after death and it makes me ponder what this life is all about. Is it simply a birth into our full life? The few years we have here in this world simply as a waiting area for the next? If so, what is it we are here to do? Because honestly, in light of the spiritual realities and miraculous events that are chronicled in scriptures, by great thinkers, and even fiction cause me to wonder how much is beyond what we can see through our senses.

Likely, we've all seen God at work around us in some mundane, or other times miraculous ways. But why do we not see God's miracles more often? Is it because we don't have our eyes trained on the glory of God but on the things of this world? Or is God active in the mundane more often than the miraculous? Or are we waiting around for God to join us where we are to do miracles versus going and joining God where he is doing the miraculous? If God were working around us what kind of miracles could he do? We have food, we have shelter, we're not being persecuted, we can worship openly without ridicule or threat; where do the miracles of God fit into this? What would a miracle look like? 

American Christian culture exclaims that there is so much more to this life than we're living for currently, but what does that look like here?

U2 sings they still haven't found what they're looking for…and they've accomplished the ultimate success, touched many lives, and impacted people globally physically, emotionally, spiritually. They've fought the fight of AIDS in Africa, global hunger, and spent a lifetime influencing the other artists of our time. And they still haven't found what they're looking for.

What do our lives look like if we have our eyes focused on the white sand beaches ahead of us? Does it look different?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Do Not Disturb

So I get the idea of not wanting to be uncomfortable by someone calling unexpectedly, but shouldn't our desire to build community, strengthen the Kingdom, and serve God trump our comfort?

Two friends of mine are going into missions and are in need of building support.  To do this, they have to speak with many people to gain financial support while they are in the mission field.  So, naturally they must call on people and network to find people who are willing to give and help them meet this goal.  With this in mind, Kim and I have committed to help them by connecting them to others who may be able to do similarly.

So we sent out some emails to people to simply connect our friends to others and were surprised by some of the responses we received.  A few people are excited and looking forward to speaking with them. A few others replied back to me that they didn't want my friends contacting them although they believed in what they were trying to accomplish.  They didn't like the idea of a stranger calling them. Why not at least listen and see how they can help? Why are we often simply afraid of being too uncomfortable with a mere phone call to step out and help one another?

Why do we let this or anything else keep us from responding in any other way other than open arms to our brothers and sisters?   When given an opportunity to help someone else, why would we turn away?  We could help through prayer, friendship, financially, networking...but instead, we simply refuse to be disturbed!

How often do we keep our doors locked, arms closed, and phone off so that we won't be disturbed by others who are simply asking for help? Surely, this isn't what Christ meant when he said whoever wants his life must lose it. How do we unwind our do not disturb lifestyles?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


I recently read a blog by a friend of mine, Marty Williams ( and it inspired me to create my own.  So, here's a go at it.

It's interesting how strong yet fragile we all are.  When faced with threat or catastrophe we often find hidden strength to survive or even save others.  Through natural disasters the best of us become bold and lead others to safety, we jump in front of the bullet, we protect our children and families.  When called to action, we answer.

Yet, we live as if there is no call to action, as if we have no idea how to reach our potential.

Take the TV show "the biggest loser" for example.  Episode after episode depicts heavily obese people finally realizing their own mortality and awakening the desire to lose weight to save their lives.  Undoubtedly, they previously had looked themselves in the mirror and didn't see the reality: their weight is literally killing them.

Enter: life change.

It takes a life-transforming experience to discover what was plainly in their vision all along.  And with this discovery of truth, their courage is strengthened and they lose 100 pounds, gaining their life back in the process.

How many of us are waiting for the wake-up call in our lives?  Is reality staring right back at us in the mirror, yet we are blind to see it?

It's startling to think that we may have a life-threatening problem like these people and not know it.  Could there be something obvious in my life that I'm missing and God is whispering to me to address?  Can I not hear Him?

Marty used to tell me that one of his daily prayers was that God wouldn't have to get his attention, but that He would always have it.  Makes sense.  God knows that it takes significant shifts in our lives to get our attention; it's less painful to simply stay connected to Him.  And I guess that's what Kim and I have learned most this past year: how to simplify our lives enough for God to keep our attention.

I pray we live in such a way that God always has our attention.  Lord, may you have our hearts.