Sunday, March 27, 2011

Dog Found

2:15pm Sunday afternoon.

Kim and I are working on our front porch railings which are rotting.  We're measuring and planning what wood we need to make 'er look brand new!  (we live in Tennessee right?)  Then, all of a sudden, there is a small dog next to us.

We posted flyers throughout our neighborhood entitled: "Dog Found" followed by a description.  3:45pm Matt leaves for meeting at Belmont University.  5pm Matt receives text from Kim: "Damn dog peed the floor twice!"  And come to find out he tried to do male dog things to our wonderful dog Joey!  And he's way too energetic and yappy for us.
Needless to say, how could anyone on earth love such an unlovable stray dog?  How could someone find it in their heart to love this?!

Yet, are we not something similar to our Lord?  Surely, there are many similarities of this orphan to us?  How does the Almighty God take us into His home, wash our feet, feed us, and claim us as His own?  We have such a hard time even doing this for a stray dog!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Master of Wait

I'm stuck in a moment.  Yeah, I probably use too many U2 references (Kim doesn't let me around the house!).

In business, spiritually, emotionally, gravitationally...stuck.  It's like the pendulum has reached the top of it's swing and is lingering awkwardly too long at the top.  Don't get me wrong, all are going well!  Business has never been better, spiritually, I'm wrestling with God and faith which is a good place to be, emotionally I'm probably a 7 or 8 out of 10, gravitationally...well, I haven't lost or gained weight in like 10 years.

It's the feeling of waiting that's driving me nuts!  As if we've readied the ships, set course, and are ready to release the sails and let the wind push us onward, yet must hold the ship back from sea.  Are we missing a passenger or cargo?!

Another opportunity to learn patience.  For whatever reason, I feel like I'm at one of those points in my life where we all get to when we're ready for a life-change, we do all we can to get ready to make it happen, but God's timing turns out to be different than ours.  If God is directing traffic, He must be letting someone else move because we're stalled.

So what do we do in the wait besides go stir-crazy?  How do we actively, passionately, energetically, faithfully wait?

Maybe there are lessons to learn from our dog Joey.  He sleeps and hangs out most of the day waiting for us to come home.  Yet it is an active waiting, he's always listening for mom or dad to come home.  And as soon as we do he's at the door wanting to tell us how much he loves us and missed us!

Is it possible that a dog "gets it" better than this highly advanced human?  Joey, the Master of the Wait.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Stepping Out

A few weeks ago, I was driving around Mandeville when confronted with two paths: one to follow the path of God and the other of the path of normal America.  Quite literally.  I literally drove by a home with the exact same "K" sign in front of it that Kim and I have at our home.  It makes me remember that this transition isn't about us building the American dream or Kim and Matt's's about us following the calling and leadership of our Lord. 

Even better...I decided to drive through my old neighborhood and see our old home to reminisce on older days.  By the way-that was weird!  It's like a foggy dream remembering things that happened 5-10 years ago.  While driving down Sharp Road I had the thought: "what if our old house were for sale?  What if we bought that and settled into it with a new life here?"  Then lo and behold...our old house...for sale, which for some reason I envision as the path towards the typical American Dream and not of total abandonment to Christ.

We always have the temptation to step back into the crowd and away from God's guidance.  But I know God isn't calling us to follow in that path.  He's leading us elsewhere.  We just don't know where yet.

I had the great opportunity to have lunch with an old friend from high school.  He and I had gone to the same church growing up and ironically had a similar reaction leaving that church.  We had seen all of the negative things that organized religion does and we want no part of that.  It'll be interesting to see where we all end up.

Step one: step out in faith.

I feel that is what God has asked us to do now and that's what we're doing.  I think we've received no other instruction because God is giving us the opportunity to choose or not choose Him.  The trip was all about this one purpose.  He showed me that life outside of his plan is an option and we can choose to go down that path.  Once step one is finished, He'll let us know step two.  But for now, we're trusting and learning and keeping our eyes wide open to see the truth and the temptations.  Because too much is at stake to end up following a path that isn't God's.

May we all seek, all step out, and all come to know You more.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Heart of God

What would life look like if we lived a minimalist life?  That we consumed equal to what we produced, that we balanced needs and wants, and spent equal time serving as we do working?

What truly brings happiness to people?  What truly brings joy?  Dr. Martin Seligman's research says that locus of control, self-esteem, optimism, etc. contribute to happiness.  But even more fundamental to our humanity is our desire for purpose in our lives.  So, what is a strong enough purpose to live a life of joy and happiness?  Is it really to work to bring in a paycheck to buy the things to support our lifestyle?

More and more I start thinking I'm a closet hippie, concealed in a suit.

I'm just tired of spending most of my life trying to get people to do things that only help themselves, but they instead fight against all of these things in an effort to buy the lifestyle they have been fooled into thinking they need.  I know this because I've been one of them and because I work with so many of them.

How can we awaken each other to who we really are: children of our Lord.  And that none of the things in this world matter when compared to knowing Him.  So why do we make a big deal out of all this stuff, financial or otherwise?  How can we spur each other to think not of this, but of the hearts of others and the heart of God?

Sunday, March 20, 2011


After a week/weekend of work it is finished!  Kim and I have finally conquered the back deck!  It's clean and sealed!  And we're both extremely hungry and exhausted.  We may not be able to move tomorrow...

What a wonderful thing manual labor is!  To see your creation take form before your eyes, to see progress as it happens and then the fulfillment is such a good feeling!

I really believe one of my favorite things to do is manual labor.  That is why I like wood working, gardening, fixing things; there is something satisfying in it. But how much time have I traded these for other "entertainment" like video games or TV? 

I've got to quit wasting my time on the things of this world that have no value.  It's permeated my whole life and I'm just now at a point to identify the weeds in my mind and heart that have grown over the years.  I need help identifying all of the things in my life that do not add to my betterment--or worse, keep me from loving God or people.

Plus, why wouldn't we all go out and enjoy weather that is 70 degrees and sunny this whole weekend?  :)  Pretty good deal.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

God's work or the Devil's Playground?

So, I am going to ask the question that we've all asked and see if there is an answer.  Is God in the Tsunami, the earthquake, or apart from those events entirely?

I grew up thinking that God was a one-sided person.  He only did things that I found to be good.  He helped me get ice cream and chocolate chip cookies when I was 5, picked first for the team at age 10, a date at age 15, a home at age 20...but where was God when I flipped a three wheeler and nearly ended life too soon, or when the hurricanes ripped through Florida or New Orleans, or when a giant wall of water traveling 500 miles an hour blasts Japan killing thousands?

Is He there?

Because I don't think that the idea of footprints in the sand is very relevant to a hurting heart.  Because I don't believe that God waits for bad things to happen, then simply cradles us in His arms until we stop crying.  While that may be part of the story, I think He's at work before and during the tragedy. 

I find it interesting that the cliche remarks often have much to say, but we've over-used them and so they've lost their meaning and in the process, end up annoying us.  But I'll say it anyway.  I believe that everything does happen for a reason.  And God is orchestrating the grand symphony of events through an amazingly complex web.  I also do not believe the worst that can happen to me or anyone else, is death.  I believe the worst is not knowing our Lord.  Everything else is rather a moot point. 

So, although I grieve when trouble and difficulty come my way or affect a friend, or thousands around the world, I know God is at work.  And even though I may get disease or poverty or death, I know God is at work in my heart and the hearts of others bringing us back to Him.  Making a path available to anyone who would choose, to step out of the devil's playground and into the arms of our Lord.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Sun Stand Still

I'm reading through the book Sun Stand Still by Steven Furtick.  I highly recommend it!  He challenges us to believe God for the impossible.  To believe that God is as He claims to be and the scriptures chronicle He is.  Then, with that type of faith, the kind that truly believes God does the impossible, life changes.

The title comes from the story of Joshua who asked God to stop the sun so the Israelites could finish conquering the enemy whom the Lord had told them to defeat.  And what happened?  God stopped the sun.

Basic tenant of our faith: God not only hears us but also responds!  When we are following God's lead and ask for the impossible, our Lord responds!

This is so simple and obvious I'm sure to others, but I've spent much of my life speaking and not hearing.  I'd listen for a while, but wouldn't believe I'd hear back.  And I certainly haven't asked God to do the impossible.  I haven't wanted to test Him.  I've wanted to believe.  But instead, I have ended up believing in someone other than God.  Because God isn't limited to the imagination, strength, and ability of Matt.  He is capable of what Matt thinks is impossible.

Surely if we believe this, this would change the way we think, act, believe, speak...Because God is not only alive, but active.  So what's next?

God what would You have for us?  What do You want us to discover?  To change?  To step out in faith to do or believe or trust You to do in our lives?

How can we best serve You?  Honor You?

How can we best serve others?  Love others?

Guide us.  May we hear.  May we trust.  May we walk with your lead and ask for the impossible.  May we believe You to make the Sun Stand Still.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Over Blue City

It's funny how I go in spurts of writing here.  Sometimes I feel there is so much to say!  Other times...the screen saver in my brain is up.  So I don't write.  Because writing or speaking with nothing truly to communicate is noise.  Our world has enough noise without me adding to it.

There is a song by Skypark that I've been chewing on for about ten years - Over Blue City.  It's one of those songs that if you listen to it, it probably won't have much meaning at all for you.  I'm convinced it was written just for me.

There is a line in the song that has been echoing in my mind lately (and for the past ten years): "that city blue that you once knew, means all the world to me."  Early on, for whatever reason, I decided that city blue is New Orleans.  And apparently it means the world to God.  That's what I've judged.  Because I believe that this song was sung from God to me. 

When I studied at Belmont in Nashville, I attended a church for a time called Judson Baptist Church (if you're picturing a Southern Baptist church in your head, your visualization is exactly right).  After Katrina, the preacher at that time stood before an audience of eager learners and declared that this was God's judgement on New Orleans for its sin.  I don't recall being more pissed at a preacher than that day.  Because I knew many things at that moment: this guy doesn't know our Lord, he ruined a great opportunity to spur love, compassion, and mercy, and I was going to continue having a hard time finding Jesus in church.

Why?  Because, that city blue that I once knew, means all the world to Him.

And now, in the midst of Kim and my battling through what it means for us to follow Jesus, it looks like our journey may take us back down to the city.  So, please pray for us as we seek to follow His lead.  Because while we believe He will provide for us, we disbelieve he will provide for us.  We struggle to have faith and dive into what is likely to be a difficult transition.

A recent quote from my Utmost for His Highest: "We limit the Holy One of Israel by remembering what we have allowed Him to do for us in the past, and by saying, 'Of course I cannot expect God to do this thing'...We impoverish His ministry the moment we forget He is Almighty."

Lord, we believe; help us with our disbelief.