Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Saints Have Come Awake

Unless you've had your head in the sand, I'm going to assume that you have heard that the mighty New Orleans Saints have won the NFC Championship and a spot in the Super Bowl. The is the first time in the Saints' franchise history that they have gotten this far. Historically, the Saints have been terrible. Absolutely terrible. I have heard stories about people putting bags over their heads when they attended the games out of shame. I have also heard that people used to simply put their Saints tickets in between their windshield and windshield wipers offering people to take them so they didn't have to watch the embarrassment that WAS the Saints.

*I confess that this post is going to take a seminary boy turn from here on out...bail if you must, but you've been warned.* I've told you before that the Lord uses some bizarre things to communicate to me, and currently He is using the Saints and Matt Maher's music. One thing that strikes me as I pull for the Saints, is that, as Christians, we are all called to be representatives for Christ....through Christ, we are saints. Not perfect, by any means, but we have been sanctified through Christ, thus we are saints. So every time I watch or hear about the New Orleans Saints, the idea of me and you being saints is at least present in my brain.

The problem is, I believe that we as saints, are acting much like the New Orleans Saints of old. We almost seem to be asleep. Not much going on. BORING. This is where Matt Maher comes in. He has a song called "Christ is Risen" and there is a lyric that says, "Christ is risen from the grave, trampling over death by death. Come Awake! Come Awake!" That's a pretty dynamite lyric. (I recommend you check out the song.) Anyway, I took a look at my own life. Does my life exemplify a life that has "come awake" in response to Christ? I want people to look at my life and wholly recognize that I'm awake as a believer! Just like the New Orleans Saints have finally come awake in terms of actually fielding a team and playing football, I hope that my life is lived in a way that would be described as awake!

Psalm 57:7-11
"My heart is steadfast, O God,
my heart is steadfast;
I will sing and make music.

Awake, my soul!
Awake, harp and lyre!
I will awaken the dawn.

I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations;
I will sing of you among the peoples.

For great is your love, reaching to the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches to the skies.

Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
let your glory be over all the earth."

Christ is alive! He has defeated death. So let's go! Let's live our lives as if that's the case. Come Awake! Come awake!

I hope this post made sense to you. I know I'm weird, there's no need to remind me.

I got much love for you.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


One thing that I have been talking with the Lord and my friends much about lately is the idea of connecting with people. Why, you may ask? Good question. Connecting with people is an integral part of ministry. Connecting with people is a way for us as Christians to communicate to a person their worth, my love for them because they're a child of God, and ultimately God's love for them. Here's the catch...I question how well I'm able to do that. If you would have caught me about 2-3 weeks ago, I would have told you that I'm alright at connecting. I have digressed.

Here's what I feel is at the heart of connecting with someone: To connect requires me to give something of myself to a person. If I am truly going to connect with people, then when I leave that moment with that person, said person should walk away with something from me: Truth of scripture, love, money, time, resources, energy, etc. In my giving of myself in that manner, I have hopefully communicated to that person, "you're worth it to me". You're worth my money, my time, my whatever. In that moment of connection I have ideally communicated to that person their worth to me, my love for them, and like I said, ideally and ultimately Christ's love for them.

I have since realized that I have no idea how to do that. I believe that forming a connection can come from the giving of any number of things, thus causing connections to look vastly different at times. My question is, how do you connect? Let me go on to say that I believe that I do connect with people. I have seen it. I have experienced it. I'm just unsure of how it happened. I was a Bible study leader for a dynamite group of 7/8th grade guys a week ago. I believe I connected with all 5 guys in my group. I just don't know what happened. How am I supposed to continue connecting with people if I don't know how to do it? Irony. Furthermore, I have decided that it is because of these connections with people that causes me to have such a hard time leaving people after I've spent a D-Now weekend with them, for example. Our connection, and thus the love formed, has bonded us, and I think that's a good thing, albeit painful.

The enemy has me puzzled on this one, and I have battled some feelings of worthlessness over it. Here's what I do know: This has absolutely led me to the Lord with this prayer: God, I have no idea how to do what you're calling me to do, but here is what I'm confident of...I want You to do some ridiculous things through me for Your glory, so do what You do! I feel like I'm good at being clueless, and I'll gladly maintain that feeling as long as the Lord will work through me. So my prayer today is that the Lord will continue to give me opportunities to connect with and love on folks, so I can continue to beg Him to use me to communicate His truth to them.

How well are you connecting with people? I believe this connection, this formation and display of love, should be at the heart of us, as believers. So are we connecting? Do we truly care enough about people to try to connect? I'm probably not doing a great job.

I got much love for you...

Thursday, January 14, 2010

My Heart Breaks for Haiti

I'm having a very difficult time wrapping my head around the devastation that has happened in Haiti. I cannot fathom it. Utter devastation. My heart breaks. Looking at the pictures....the situation is so sad. I did the best I could by sending some money to Compassion International, but it feels like nothing when I see the pictures and such.

Many of the people there have no hope. Many of the people there no longer have family. No purpose. No reason to live. Then my fortune cookie at the Chinese restaurant I ate at tonight read: "Despair is criminal". That means Haiti is plagued with crime right now. As a Christian my prayer is that the Lord will send agents of mercy and grace to these people. These people need light. Hope. Jesus. Jesus for sure.

Pray for Haiti. This song makes me think about my heart's desire for Haiti. It's by the Robbie Seay Band, called "Shine Your Light On Us":

Oh, my God
Shine Your light on us
That we might live (repeat)

I've been holding on
I've been holding on
All that is inside me
Screams to come back home

If you feel lost
If you feel lost
Sing along
If you feel tired
If you feel tired
Sing along

If you feel lost and tired
This is your song

I've been broken down
I've been broken down
I ain't giving up
Love will come back around

Shine Your light
Shine it down
Let Your rescue come for us, we long to love

And if you feel lost, sing along
And if you feel tired, sing along

God, allow the Haitians to experience an agent of your mercy and grace. Allow that relief worker to shine Your light. Let Your rescue come to Haiti. Let the tired and lost of Haiti sing. Shine Your Light on Haiti, the bruised and broken, the lost, and me. Be glorified. In Jesus name!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

L/love never fails

You should listen to Brandon Heath's song Love Never Fails. Or read the lyrics and then go listen to it:

Love is not proud, Love does not boast
Love after all, Matters the most

Love does not run, Love does not hide
Love does not keep Locked inside

Love is the river that flows through
Love never fails you

Love will sustain, Love will provide
Love will not cease, At the end of time

Love will protect, Love always hopes
Love still believes, When you don’t

Love is the arms that are holding you
Love never fails you

When my heart won’t make a sound
When I can’t turn back around
When the sky is falling down
Nothing is greater than this
Greater than this

Love is right here, Love is alive
Love is the Way, The Truth the Life

Love is the river than flows through
Love is the arms that are holding you
Love is the place you will fly to
Love never fails you
-Love never fails by Brandon Heath

I'm not going to lie, I believe in love. I believe in the change that could happen if we (and by we I am mostly focusing on me) begin to truly live out what love is supposed to be. Unfortunately for myself, I am terrible at love, which is unfortunate because I believe in pursuing and "doing love" to everyone. I would [love] for people, when thinking about me, to think of love...but not my love, Christ's love. Unfortunately, I'm stuck in this cyclical pattern of being bad at but continually trying to love people. No worries though because I'm not giving up on love because Love (capital 'L' because God is love) did not give up on me.

L/love never fails. And I've got much love for you...

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Gray Winter Retreat '09

So here I am again. I realize it has been quite a while, and I have 2 reasons for that: 1) I went through a phase in which I literally had nothing to say and only wanted to reflect and 2) finals and then Christmas travels. But alas, I'm back!

I am still finding out the small details of what my calling in the Lord's story is. Two things that I am utterly confident about: 1) I love to preach and 2) I love getting to know/love on/invest in/laugh with people. I was able to see and do both of those this week. I was fortunate enough to be invited by one of my best friends, Jason W. Dorriety, to come with his youth group to a winter ski retreat in West Virginia. I had the opportunity to do both of the above over the course of the week (Dec. 27-31). I had an absolutely amazing time. The people in Gray, GA already hold a special place in my heart because I had the opportunity to do a brief stint of ministry there in the summer of 2005. There were a bunch of folks on this trip that I didn't know though, so that made it fun as well.

The point of this post is to reflect on something that occurred to me after I left everyone from Gray. I knew from the get-go that having the opportunity to come in and preach for people at D-Nows, retreats, camps, etc. would result in me having to intensely love people and then inevitably leave them quickly. For whatever reason, this trip was the most difficult I have ever experienced. I actually found myself in the airport on my way home having "a moment". I was very sad that I had to leave them....to the point of having "a moment" ("a moment" is my manly way of admitting that I may or may not have shed a tear). It was very hard for me to leave this group.

I don't know what to make of it. I also don't know if that's something I will be able to handle if the Lord continues to afford me opportunities like it. Michael Reid reminded me that because of the quickness of the situation, it was that much more important for me to be focused on communicating Truth to these people. I only have a brief time with them. If they come away thinking about missing me, having not been pointed to Christ, then I will have wasted their time (as I'm sure you're aware, there's nothing that interesting about me!!).

The difficulty in leaving this group was hard for me. I'm having trouble processing it. I love those youth and adults. I'm curious to see what the Lord is going to do in their lives. The frustrating part is that the nature of my "job" in this instance is to not see fruit from my effort. My purpose was to love the mess out of them and hope that through my words, actions, and love they saw and fell in love with Christ and His Truth more.

It's tough. Shout out to the Gray folks. Shout out to the Lord for using this kid to do things for His kingdom. I can't fathom that either, but that's an entirely different post. Hope you all had a fantastic Christmas and New Year. I am excited to see what the Lord has in store for me and you in 2010. I hope you will afford me the honor of walking life with you in this season. I got much love for you...