Saturday, January 02, 2010

Work It Out

Have you ever forgotten what it's like to be new? Not the "I've never been here before, but I've got five friends over there waiting for me" but the wide-eyed, sweat forming, panic inducing, awkward conversation new. I never cease to amaze myself at how quickly I come full circle back to thinking I've got it all figured out.

Good thing God likes to give me a good push when I'm off balance.

Reality of the situation is my ego runs so far ahead of me I get lost. I stop at the gas station and they tell me it passed three days ago. I think I have it all figured out far too often. Then I'm brought to a rude awakening when brick wall meets face. There isn't much give there, I learn very quickly how ignorant I really am.

How do I get to that place? How do I forget what it's like to be a child? To ask questions, to listen, to absorb. To cry when it hurts, laugh when it's funny, and wear my heart on my sleeve. Pouting and all. I spend so much time trying to grow up I forget learning is the point of the journey.

It takes practice. It takes sweat, blood and tears to really get a handle on things. It takes the willingness to listen to those who are much further along than you and constantly be reevaluating. I'm so inadequate, so far short of the mark. I get in the way too often. When I need to listen, I nod my head and pretend I knew it all along.

Help remove me from this equation. Though it pains me to say it, humble me.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

What Do I Know of Holy?

Addison Road - What Do I Know of Holy?

I made You promises a thousand times
I tried to hear from Heaven
But I talked the whole time
I think I made You too small
I never feared You at all No
If You touched my face would I know You?
Looked into my eyes could I behold You?

What do I know of You
Who spoke me into motion?
Where have I even stood
But the shore along Your ocean?
Are You fire? Are You fury?
Are You sacred? Are You beautiful?
What do I know? What do I know of Holy?

I guess I thought that I had figured You out
I knew all the stories and I learned to talk about
How You were mighty to save
Those were only empty words on a page
Then I caught a glimpse of who You might be
The slightest hint of You brought me down to my knees

What do I know of You
Who spoke me into motion?
Where have I even stood
But the shore along Your ocean?
Are You fire? Are You fury?
Are You sacred? Are You beautiful?
What do I know? What do I know of Holy?

What do I know of Holy?
What do I know of wounds that will heal my shame?
And a God who gave life "its" name?
What do I know of Holy?
Of the One who the angels praise?
All creation knows Your name
On earth and heaven above
What do I know of this love?

What do I know of You
Who spoke me into motion?
Where have I even stood
But the shore along Your ocean?
Are You fire? Are You fury?
Are You sacred? Are You beautiful?
What do I know? What do I know of Holy?

What do I know of Holy?
What do I know of Holy?

Every once in awhile, something catches me in just the right way. Knocks the wind right out of my lungs, and pulls my feet out from under me, leaving me laying on the ground staring straight up at the endless sky. As clouds meander overhead, my head is busy attempting to reconcile the events of the previous seconds.

What do we know of God? Who can accurately portray infinite? Who dare to say they have tamed a wild lion?

We put him into a little box, wrap a string around it, and declare it right, perfect, and pretty. And then we leave it to gather dust. Occassionally, that box taps us on the shoulder and pulls us out of our own prison back into the wide world. We talk about mighty, while we picture a quaint old man who cares for us.

From time to time, when we are least expecting it, the thunder rolls in, the lightning strikes, and we are jolted into a realization that we knew nothing. All that talk of power, might, wonder rushes through our bodies, and our only possible reaction is to fall to our knees, begging mercy.

My heart opens up, and my eyes flutter open. I'm staring at that same blue sky, with those same meandering clouds. Only now, I'm seeing them in colour for the first time, bursting forth with life. My only fear is that it will fade, and it will be far too long before I remember who it is that I worship.

Bring me to my knees.

Saturday, July 11, 2009


"If you want to give it all you've got," Jesus replied, "go sell your possessions; give everything to the poor. All your wealth will then be in heaven. Then come follow me."

Fiction is such a powerful tool. It's exceptionally easy to tell someone exactly what they need to hear, straight on. It's a whole other to teach the principles behind what you are saying. Something about stories captures the imagination, and roots itself deeply in our memories. Be it that we should look deeper than a title (Aladdin), or that we should never get caught up in worshipping an object, rather than God (The Last Battle), they teach us lessons in ways that engrain themselves on our psyche.

It never ceases to amaze me, then, the unrecognized allegories that surround us everyday. I'm in the process of reading through The Lord of the Rings, and the company has just entered Moria. The fear that besets each of them before they enter through that gate is so... familiar. They've tried another path and were blocked by an unseen force, and so they have to pick a much more dangerous path, or give up.

As they travel through, there is an overarching sense of dread. Like holding your breathe after entering the water and not knowing when you're going to come up for air again. Each step is another towards their impending doom. Each step is a necessary one if they are to complete their mission, and thus makes the risks worthwhile.

Occasionally I pause in moments like these and wondering to myself, what sort of missions are guiding my footsteps. Is it the pursuit of money? Fame? Friends? More and more... stuff? I am so easily distracted from my original intent, so easily pulled back onto the path for the Wraiths to find me.


I'm sure that's exactly how the rich young man felt after coming to Jesus showing a deep sign of devotion and being left wanting. Imagine what that must have been like. You step out in a crowd of people, positively shimmering with religious zeal to follow this God-man, and in an instant he unravels your entire being and leaves you naked and exposed before this crowed. Most embarrassingly, he just asked the pointed questions, the decision was in your hands the entire time.

This story stands out to me as a tree amidst the Serengeti because of how relevant it is. There is nothing disingenuous about either side here. The man truly wants to follow Jesus, and in turn Jesus tells him what it will cost. Everything. Nothing on earth, everything in heaven. "Put your trust entirely in me," Jesus says.

Miniscule. That's how big I feel when I ponder how much I'm asked to give up related to how much He did give up. Everything. Nothing in heaven, everything on earth. Not because he had to, but because he wanted to.

I wonder if I'd be willing to pass through the darkness of Moria. My desire is that I'd be willing to go to the ends of the earth, but when the rubber hits the road, would I? If He asked me to give up everything to follow Him, would I?

Priorities shining like a noonday sun.

Help me to put all of them on You. Help me to put all my treasures in heaven, nothing on earth.

Monday, March 23, 2009


I can't speak for everyone... but my theology is a narrative one. The story of creation, of a fall, of a people chosen to rise out of the ashes of that fallen world like a phoenix. From that Phoenix a glimmer of hope, looking forward to the future King and Messiah. The ultimate striking down of that messiah and a party as the forces of evil thought they had struck their final blow. Imagine their surprise when Aslan appeared at their gates not as a conquered slave, but as a victorious king, shining all the brighter to claim the key to death. Imagine their surprise as he bid them goodbye to return, risen on the third day. And imagine their malice as he ascended to his rightful place beside his Father, only strengthened by their s0-called victory.

It's a story upon which so many other are fashioned. Be it Frodo, Rand, Aslan and the Pevensie children, Neo or any other numerous protagonists. The story of redemption runs through our blood. It's engrained upon our hearts, as we long to emulate what our souls cry out for. As they weep within us to be set free to chase after their ultimate goal, we suppress them; calling them foolish.

These stories intertwine. Goodness knows I've skittered across a plethora of stories within the past two years, all across the globe. Those stories continue long after I my chapter has ended, and I can only hope that the words left on those pages are ones that will influence the ongoing crescendo of their lives. I've met people in pain. People in joy. People eraptured by love. Those desperate to meet their saviour, and those scorn his very existance.

Whatever fibres they choose to weave with, it fascinates me that we are constantly telling a story. Be it a short story, or a long epic, we tell our journies with words, with actions. My story will soon take me in a new direction, to a new place. One tension in my story begins to resolve as my life and my heart align. A new beginning as I start to pastor a new group. It's a scary story, and the outcome is uncertain. But I approach that tension with the knowledge that I'll spend plenty of time on my knees and let the Author do the writing for me. It is time for me to be a character in my own story.

What sort of story are you telling?

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Have Faith

As I reread through the gospels... it continues to amaze me how much weight Jesus puts in individual's faith through his day to day actions. In nearly (if not all) every miracle, the individual's faith is the hinge upon whether Jesus performs the miracle or not. Whether they be Jew or gentile, their faith was paramount to the outcome. Take this as an example:

The Faith of a Syrophoenician Woman
24Jesus left that place and went to the vicinity of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know it; yet he could not keep his presence secret. 25In fact, as soon as she heard about him, a woman whose little daughter was possessed by an evil spirit came and fell at his feet. 26The woman was a Greek, born in Syrian Phoenicia. She begged Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter.

27"First let the children eat all they want," he told her, "for it is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to their dogs."

28"Yes, Lord," she replied, "but even the dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs."

29Then he told her, "For such a reply, you may go; the demon has left your daughter."

30She went home and found her child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.

Even though in many ways it appears that Jesus is putting her away, she has heard of this Jewish Rabbi who could heal the lame, blind, diseased and possessed. It is entirely likely that this was her last hope, having tried everything else, and that faith, knowing of the relationship between Jews and their neighbours that causes Jesus to heal her daughter.

The implications are staggering, when put in context. Numerous times Jesus turns people away because the measure of their faith comes up short. Other times he challenges them, only for their faith to stand. In one case, the man asking even begs Jesus to provide him with the faith to believe.

I often wonder if I have that desperation in my life. Do I really need it? Is it really my air? My water? Or am I coming back out of habit? It's a danger I have to be aware of constantly, and one that reminds me of what a great God I serve! I merely need to have faith.

Sunday, December 28, 2008


"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

There is something I must confess. I have not always been a believer in this passage. I have wrestled with it in some very deep ways. How can someone who promises so much strife and turmoil also promise to give me rest? How can I trust such clear dissonance coming from the same mouth. It is like two separate pieces of music, in different keys, being played simultaneously. Oh, my foolish thoughts.

I have another confession to make. These very thoughts arise out of my own wrecklessness, my own selfish pride. In my spiritual superiority, I forgot the most important thing: I am weak. I have attempted to carry on a relationship without communication. I have fought bitterly for rights that are not my own. I have lost my first love, and with it the security that it brings. It is time I reclaim it.

Jesus is saying here that if I would only trust him, I would lose sight of all the other things. I may be worried about money, but in reality I make more than 90% of the world! I may be concerned about where I live, but I have a roof over my head, a warm bed, and food. So what do I have to worry about? My Father in heaven is watching over me.

That relationship I have been neglecting is coming back. It takes time. It takes intentionality. It takes work. Of all the things I dedicate my time to, I can't think of a better one to pour myself over, to dig in deep and beg for more. I want to be in head first, with no way out. I want to be bound so I could not escape. I want to be starstruck so the world fades away. I want to trust.

I have been weary. In my own selfish pride, I have thought I was above being weak, all while thinking I was acting weak. I am a helpless babe, and I need the rest to grow. Thanks be to God that I have that place, time, and love to do just that.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Up Against the Wall

The grey clouds cascade quickly over your head, unleashing a flurry of rain pestering you from every angle; the towering slick rock-face behind you offering little shelter from the onslaught. Hands patting each inch of the wall, hoping to find some relief, some haven to offer sanctuary. Your eyes darting in every direction, searching for your assailants.

It was moments... or maybe it was years ago that they peppered your fragile body with attacks. Your beaten, battered, bruised. One more attack, and your knees will buckle, succumbing to the overwhelming weight, leaving you to drown in the deluge.

There they are. Stepping as ghouls into your vision, their outlines framed by the drizzle by the dull light. Their frames lurch threatening as they edge closer to you, each moment spelling your doom. The situation is entirely hopeless. Their very presence is suffocating.

Following Christ is unlike any other. A juxtaposition on it's very basic level. To know oneself, you must deny yourself. His load is light, but it will cost you dearly. Your a visitor in the only land you've ever known. You're called to deny your family, but take care of the orphans and widows. You work at your faith, but you're saved by grace.

You are constantly under siege. A battle rages on around you with every passing moment of cosmic proportions. Forces battle for your soul, your loyalty, your mind. Your choices can have far-reaching consequences either way.

You are constantly under protection. A moment never passes where you are alone. No matter the trials or tribulations that you face, you can always find peace in knowing that you will soon be home. Anything in life only has meaning if you let it. What you decide has meaning has far reaching-consequences.

I was once told that I can do whatever I set my mind to. No matter the scope, difficulty or absurdity of my dreams, it can be accomplished with God's help. Somewhere along the way I let that light go out. I got lost in fighting my own fights, and running from my foes. It is far past time that I relight the torch. That I through conventions to the wind, and remember what it's like to have my back up against the wall. Fight and live for what is true, and right.

Perhaps the biggest juxtaposition is that to be strong, we must first be weak. To fight, we must surrender. To claim victory, we must do it in defeat. When the demons close in, and there is no escape, we merely have to remember that it is not our fight to win. In those moment we discover that slick precipice at our back is our fortress. Within that fortress is our most powerful advocate, who holds dominion over everything. That battle has been won.

So what's your back up against?