Wrath or Grace

August 31, 2010

Sometimes I wonder to myself why people that aren’t Christian think that following Christ is about keeping rules to keep from receiving God’s wrath.

But then

I hear many Christian men around me mention God’s wrath so often.

The only problem I have with this is that it almost seems like these men are aching for God’s wrath to come.  For God’s wrath to destroy the evil of the world.

I understand that feeling and that want, but I don’t think we as children of God should be so familiar with God’s wrath.  I think we should understand and acknowledge it, but I am not sure that we should be familiar with it.

The reason I think this is because we as children of God have pretty much only experienced His grace.  We as followers of Jesus have not experienced God’s wrath.  Yet we have experienced so much of His grace.  So why so often does it seem that we Christians (men in particular) seem almost to be more familiar with God’s wrath?

Some of you might think I want to avoid the topic of God’s wrath, but that’s not really true, all I am saying since Christ’s death, I think not many of us (if any at all) have experienced the wrath of God.

So we as followers of Jesus should be so much more familiar with Grace.

I think it’s good that we know about God’s justness, and eventual wrath towards evil.  But I don’t think we can be familiar with it since we have only experienced His Grace.

I even think God would much rather give his Grace more than His wrath.

Think about in Matthew 9:13 where Jesus says I desire mercy, not sacrifice.

Maybe I am wrong, but I think we as followers of Jesus should be much more familiar with His Grace, rather than His wrath.  It sounds a lot more like what the Cross is about anyways.

I Love the Way You Lie.

August 25, 2010

God has made me this person that people open up to.  People will tell me things they may not tell anyone else.

A lot times people like to tell me the problems and issues in their lives.

I really enjoy that God has made me a person that gets to hear the vulnerability of people.

One thing that happens almost always during this sharing time, is that people tell me lies that they believe about themselves.  Things that contradict who God thinks they are.

A lot times they are convinced people think a certain way about them when I know that no one thinks that way about them.

Or I hear how they are convinced that they will never get away from a certain sin, or whatever.

When I hear this from a fellow brother or sister, I have to tell them, and help them identify the lie they are believing.

These lies people believe are all apart of an identity crises.

I realized something the last few months.  I think I first began to realize this last March.

It’s that I believe lies about myself all the time too.

For some reason, a major lie I believe sometimes is that I am not good enough.  Or that my actions are what causes all these bad things to happen(which can be true sometimes).  Or that people just don’t like me very much.

These are all lies.

The not being good enough lie affects me in so many ways.  It causes me to want to prove myself to others.  It causes me to do things I wouldn’t do just to try and convince myself and others that I am good enough.

When people tell me the lies that they believe, it doesn’t just help to say hey don’t believe that lie. I have to tell that person the truth that is the opposite of that lie.

For me that truth is that I am good enough.  The fact that there is no good enough.  Their might be in the world’s standards.  But God doesn’t have a good enough or bad enough.  But if He does have one, it’s only that I, and everyone else, is good enough for Him.

That’s the truth. I am good enough.  And no matter what people tell me. Or what I more often tell myself, I am good enough.

A lot of times lately, I go a step further and I ask God to continue to tell me the truth as well.

My friend Ben suggested that when I find myself thinking a lie about myself, that I should say the truth aloud. I have only done it a little.  But when I have it has cleared my head of all those hateful thoughts I have towards me.

Don’t believe lies about your identity. Embrace only what God says about your identity.  Which if you are a follower of Christ is that you are redeemed. And so much more than that even.  Believe it. Speak it. Live it.

What lies do you believe about yourself?

P.S- The title of this post is just because for some reason I really like that song, and the word lie is in the title.

When People Get It

August 19, 2010

I love when people get it.

I love seeing when people understand the things that are most important in the world.

For example.  Tonight at Youth Group, the high schoolers sung loudest when it came to the songs that mentioned the cross and what Jesus did for us.

This is so great.  Because I think they are singing loudest because the Cross is probably the biggest part of Grace being lived out by Jesus.

Because of the culture we live in, (and it’s probably like this in any culture) I think it’s really hard for American Christians to “get” a lot of things some times.

It just seems a lot of times we put family or friends over following Jesus, or money over God, or doing things a certain way instead of trying to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit.

I know I probably do this in a 101 ways a week at least.  But I think it’s something we all struggle with.

And the beautiful thing is when people get it. It makes me happy.

I have a friend named Adam, who recently started making all these volleyball nights, not just because he likes volleyball, but because he realized the importance of relationships and the need for spending time outside of church to try and grow those relationships.

He gets it. That is beautiful.

I also remember a time where this High school girl named Annette, one day told me how despite how important her parents were telling her school was, she realized it wasn’t ultimate anymore, and she realized serving Jesus was much more ultimate and better than how her family wanted her to grow up go to college and get a good job, and a big house. Instead she wants to be a kids pastor.

She gets it. And thats awesome.

Or another time when my old roommate Mike after many times of hearing me say seek first the kingdom, and others say it,  decided to do that over plenty of school work, and things would work out for him.  And he started to realize seeking first the kingdom was more important than school.

He gets it and that’s amazing.

I don’t know. I just love when people get it.  I wonder if I am ever like that with people in my life. Hmmm. Well anyways, what have you “gotten” lately?

Well crappy stuff.

That’s right. When you follow Christ. Crappy things happen to you.

Why? I don’t know really.

And crappy things happen to everybody. This is true. So I don’t want any person who is not a Christian to read this and feel like I don’t understand that their life is crappy too.  I do. Really I do.

Right now I don’t feel to good.  Right now I have been encountered with yet another hard thing in my life.  I am sorry if all this feels like complaining and it bothers you. But too bad.  As one of my favorite Cru staff member would say, “let me be where I’m at.”

Now there is something I find unique in a Christ followers suffering than a non Christ follower.  What seems to happen is that as one continues to follow Christ with all that they have they will get blitzed by an attack of some sort, or several attacks.

This person can either choose to keep following Christ with all they’ve got or they can slow it down. Or even give up.

A crazy thing happens to those that live through that suffering.  They get closer to God.

And then something else crazy happens.  The next hard thing in their life is even harder than the last.  I would be interested to look at every Christian’s life and watch the hard moments of their life.  And I would like to see how exactly hard it is. And if that goes up exponentially as we age.

1 Thessalonians 1:3 says this; 3We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

I think this is happening to me right now.  I think I am getting more endurance in the bad parts of life because of my hope that is inspired by Jesus.  I wish I wasn’t though.

How does Jesus give me hope?  Well even now as I write this I feel him drowning my heart in peace even though He doesn’t have to do that.

And even when I say God why? And this is your fault, and question God entirely and rudely as if I even know what I am talking about, he speaks to my heart. He gives me more peace and comfort.

God. I love you. Help me. I want to endure.

Here are some lyrics from Brave Saint Saturn to end this post.

Jesus Christ, Light of the World
You never did forget me
and when i bled in darkness, You held
me
still held me
when desperate nights i cursed You
You loved me, still loved me
Jesus Christ, You dry the tears
You break my heart of stone
Your words are life
cut marrow through
the darkness, to the bone
a heart of flesh You gave me
only You can save me

There is this funny phenomena that when you tell some people that aren’t a Christian that you are a Christian, they stop cussing around you.

It makes me laugh.  Because honestly (despite how many sighs this will give my dad) I really don’t care if people cuss around me. In fact sometimes I love it because it shows a person being real with me.  I prefer someone being real with me rather than fake around me.

This non-cussing thing is kind of like something I like to call the “I can’t do that I am in a Church factor.”

This I Can’t do that I am in a Church Factor or ICDTIAIACF as I also like to call it is funny.  It’s when you are at a church and you commit some kind of sin or do something wrong, usually something small, and you say something like I can’t do that in a church. Which is hilarious because that would make it seem like that same sin would be okay outside the church.  Something a little wrong with the theology there, although I can’t quite place my finger on it.

But its funny because these same non-cussers are usually a little perplexed as to why a person would go to church, or do things for free, or wanna help people.

It’s a funny view on the world these groups have.  As if one place is more off limits to sin than others.  Well if you’re reading this and saying “Hey, I view the world of morality that way, you gosh dern punk!”

Well then this blog is for people like you.  Because that’s not how the world works.  If you don’t wanna cuss at a church you should probably not wanna cuss everywhere.  And if you really wonder why there is something in all these Christians that wanna do all these nice things for free, well that something is Christ.

I guess I am just writing this because ICDTIAIACF is a funny phenomena to me.  And I want to promote the idea that God is everywhere. That you can encounter God anywhere, and it doesn’t take some religious act, or place for you to begin to know God.

Goodbye Boyhood.

August 3, 2010

Around December I sold my Nintendo Wii.

Around the middle of May I sold my Xbox 360.

And it wasn’t even hard for me to sell those things.

I tell this because I think I am at a point in my life where I am putting off a lot of my boyish ways.  I am at a stage where I think I am becoming a man.

Mark Driscoll somewhat often kind of yells at boys. He tells adult males that they are not real men for all sorts of reasons. How they treat women, how they don’t have a job, how they play video games, and all sorts of other things.  Now when Driscoll says that stuff it always struck a chord with me. Not always because I was messing up in one of those areas but because there was something in me the knew I was holding onto my boyhood.  I was not letting myself truly start to become more of a man.

I also read a book where Donald Miller talks about how there was a stage in his life where he would never wake up early, and how there was a man in his life who did wake up early, and Miller found this to be a mark of manhood for this particular man.

Now don’t get me wrong, none of those things make you a man.  What makes a man is a weener.

But

There is something in me that knows I am growing up in a lot of ways.  I am manning up with my finances, by taking a job that isn’t my dream job, but I know I need it to become financially responsible, and even feel God leading me towards taking it.

The reason I knowing I am manning up is because I am excited to become financially responsible.  Not just doing this all out of obligation or because I have to.

There are just so many places I can see where I am putting away my boyhood for manhood.

Now don’t worry, my personality is going to stay the same, I will still be full of antics, hi-jinks, funnyness, and the good boyish things, but still I am becoming a man. So those things are going to be the man versions of those things. I am not losing anything.  I am only gaining.  God loves me enough to do this in my life even though I live in a culture of suspended boyhood.

I don’t know. It’s hard to express what exactly is going on inside of me.

It’s weird. And cool. And I just wanted to share that in my blog. I will end with a Mumford and Son’s Quote.

“Love that will not betray, dismay, or enslave you, it will set you free. Be more like the man you were made to be.” –From the song, Sigh No More.