Thursday, February 23, 2012


As I have reflected on Lent and taking time to remember what Easter is really about, I've had one song running through my head. The lyrics stuck with me the first time I heard the song and have continued to be words that have meaning for me.

Let Me Rediscover You - by Downhere

It's particularly the words to the chorus that have come to reflect what I want for these coming weeks in particular.

How can I say I know you?
When what I know is still so small
Let me rediscover you
And breathe in me your life anew
Tell me of the God I never knew
Let me rediscover you

Let me rediscover you
Tell me of the God I thought I knew
Jesus, let me rediscover you

That is the cry of my heart right now. Taking the time out in this season to spend with God and to seek to know Him better - to rediscover God and who He really is. That is my prayer for you as well.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Until about five or six year ago, the season of Lent passed for me without so much as a second thought. I'd never really heard about it or studies more of what it was. It seems like in the last few years, it is something that has gained more popularity (for lack of a better term) in evangelical churches in North America. And I think that's a good thing. (It's my opinion that it's a good thing. I know others disagree with that. I'm not here to argue whether we should or should not observe it.)

Growing up Good Friday and Easter were always important. I knew why we took the time we did on that weekend and I looked forward to them. But I often felt like they kind of snuck up on me. I'd be going through life and then all of a sudden it was Palm Sunday, which meant that the next weekend was Easter. I sometimes felt like I needed more time to reflect on things, and to find myself in a place where I could really celebrate the resurrection and the empty tomb on Easter Sunday. Maybe it's because I'm a reflective person by nature.

Then about five or six years ago, the young adults pastor at my church took one night that we were meeting to talk about Lent - what it was and why it could be important. It struck me as possibly being what I was looking for in the weeks leading up to Easter. It seems like we spend the weeks before Christmas preparing for it - in decorating and buying gifts, but also in church activities and programs that point us to the reason we, as followers of Christ, celebrate Christmas. So, I was kind of glad to know that there was something that was a part of church history that came in the weeks leading up to Easter.

When the young adults pastor at my church talked about it, he talked about the idea of Lent being a time of sacrifice. I know lots of people give up something for the time, with the purpose of going without that being to point them to and draw them to Christ. It's a time to slow down and reflect on what Jesus did in paying the ultimate sacrifice for our sin and conquering death.

Some years I have given things up. Other years I haven't. But I have made it a part of this time of year - these weeks leading up to Easter - to slow down and spend time focused on what was going on in the weeks leading to the cross for Jesus. For me, it's been about being intentional about that.

And I think that is the key - being intentional. Growing up in the church I could have told you the reason why we celebrate Easter at a young age. I knew the answers and I could rattle them off. Most of the time I appreciate that, but sometimes it means things don't penetrate my heart, unless I'm intentional.

What about you? How do you choose to observe or not observe Lent? What does it mean to you?

Monday, February 13, 2012

post #301

I was looking at my post history and noticed that I have hit the 300 post mark and that means it somehow seems like that is something I should acknowledge in some way, so this will not be a typical post for me. To be honest, it kind of surprised me. I never expected this to last this long. I started posting things on this blog on October 20, 2007. At the time I wasn't sure if I would have anything to say or if I would actually make the time to write. I guess it's safe to say that all these posts later, I did have things to write and I did make the time to do so - whether anyone actually reads it is beside the point for me.

I've been reading some of the early posts I wrote and looking at some of the things I've written on. It's been interesting to journey back to what I was thinking about and try to remember what was going on in my life at that point. I've probably repeated myself a few times over the years with things I've written about. As life circumstances have changed, I've come back to the same things and God has taught me the same lesson again if I was too stubborn to learn it the first time or taken a lesson a little bit further the second time.

I've definitely wondered at times if I would continue to post things here. Sometimes it has seemed like I was out of things to write about. Sometimes I wonder if what I am saying would upset too many people. Sometimes I worry that I will say something that is possibly heretical. But, I usually come to the conclusion that we grow most when we are challenged by things. If someone really does disagree with something I say I will happily discuss it further with them - either on the blog or via email. It causes me to grow in my own walk when I have to rethink things and see them from another person's point of view.

I write about whatever is going on in my life, or what I'm thinking about, or what God is saying to me. Sometimes that means family, or friends, or the church. Sometimes it comes from Scripture, or a quote, or a book, or something a friend said. Or maybe it's just a song I enjoy currently. Really, even if no one was to read this, I don't know that it would really matter to me. A journey that I've been on for the last 5 years is recorded here in a different way than my journals record it. And they supplement each other.

I enjoy writing because it helps me make sense of my thoughts. And I have no intention to stop writing. But I also continue to make no promises about what will show up on this blog, or how frequently (or maybe better said infrequently) I will write.

Blessings to you on your journey with God. May you grow deeper in your walk and never give up on seeking God with everything you have.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

learning from the experience's of others

Do we really mean it when we say we want to learn from others instead of having to do through the experience of it ourselves? If we do mean it, why so we so often still go through the same thing and make the same mistakes ourselves? Why does it seem to be so hard to learn from other's experiences?

I've been thinking about these questions for a while. I'm currently working through Beth Moore's study on the book of Daniel with a group of ladies at my church and in a couple of spots in the weekly homework she has talked about learning the lesson from someone else's experience, rather than learning it through our own experience. King Nebachadnezzar of Babylon offers us a couple of examples we would do well to learn from his experience rather than our own. (I won't be getting into them in this blog, but you can read about some of them in Daniel 3 and 4.) As I read and study these passages, my desire is to learn from them so I never have to experience them myself. That would be much easier and more pleasant.

This is my second time doing this particular study and as I dig in again, I find that although I may have wanted to learn the lesson by reading about it and studying it, I didn't always do so. In the years between when I first did this study and now, I've had to learn some of the exact things spoken about in Daniel through my own experience. I didn't intend to, but that is the way the lessons actually stuck in my life.

It makes me wonder why that seems to happen so often in our lives. We don't just seem to fail to learn from other's bad experiences about things we need to avoid because they are sin. We can also fail to learn from other's experiences about things we need to embrace in our lives. Our lives are far too short to learn everything for ourselves, but it seems like that is often how we try to do it.

The big question I have is: Why? Why does it seem to be so difficult for us to learn from other's experiences? We desire to. We even do sometimes. But we could spare ourselves a lot of pain in life if we learned from every other person's experience all the time, rather than just sometimes. I don't know why this is so hard. All I know is that the things that have really stuck for me are the things I learned from my own experience. And I'm still left to wonder why I don't learn better from others.

I don't have an answer for this. I would love to hear you thoughts on this one.


Note: I actually wrote this post yesterday (Saturday, February 11) while sitting a coffee shop. I didn't have my computer with me, so had to post it later.

We desire it and yet at the same time we run from it.
We love it and at the same time fear it.
We look for places that have it and also try to avoid the places that have it.
A paradox exists. We know we need it, desire it, seek it. But we've also been hurt by it and so we fear it, run from it, and avoid it.

The church should have a corner on the market for it, but our pews are often full of people who feel isolated and alone as they go through life. I've been one of those people at times in my life. Even though the culture we live in tells us we don't need it, deep down we know we really do need others in our lives. Coffee shops thrive on creating that space where people feel like they belong, but the church - the family of God - struggles to provide this for those in the pews on a weekend sometimes. It makes me wonder: Are we missing something that the coffee shops around us have? Is this an area where we can learn something from our culture?

As I write this, I'm sitting in a coffee shop (the place where I usually do my best thinking) and I've been watching people come and go for the last couple of hours. People from all walks of life, from all classes of society have walked through the doors. They have all been welcome here. They have come for a place to study, to write, to read, to chat with friends. Or simply to get a coffee and leave to continue with the activities of their days. No one has told anyone in their time here, whether a few minutes or a few hours, that they don't belong or they have to do something specific to be able to stay.

It makes me wonder if somehow we could apply something about this to our churches. Not because we are incapable of creating community - we do create it sometimes. But, maybe there is something we can do better. And maybe we can learn from a place in our culture that seems to be doing well at making everyone feel welcome and like they belong.

What would happen of we allowed people to feel like they had people who were their community before they became a Christian? What if they were allowed to belong first? Not that we would not continue to share with them and point them to Christ, but that we would welcome them in first. Would that change people's perceptions of the kind of community the church can create?

And for those already in our pews who are feeling isolated and alone, are there things we can do to help them feel like they belong? What if we reached out to them and loved them even if they couldn't or wouldn't give anything back at first? What if we made an effort to just include those are sitting near us in church in our after church plans for lunch or coffee? I know when I was one of these people in church each weekend, the way I began to feel like I wasn't alone again was because a couple of people just invited me to join them a few times. And once I felt like I had those people who cared I felt like I belonged and I was able to turn around and offer that same thing to other people.

We desire it. How do we learn to do it well, so we don't run from it despite desiring it?
We love it. How do we move past our fear of it that comes with our love of it?
We look for places that have it. How do we create places that have it that we actually want to be a part of, so we stop running from the places that have it?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

He calls me holy

He calls me holy
Sacred, set apart
Made to bring Him glory
Regardless of my past
He has a plan for me
A plan to bring Him glory

He calls me holy
Beloved child of His
Made to bring Him glory
Called to do great things
Called to change my world
All to bring Him glory

I have an enemy
Who seeks to destroy me
To declare me unholy
To make me believe
I can't bring Him glory
To keep my useless
Down and defeated

He calls me holy
Though I've failed
Treated the holy as unholy
My past forgiven
My life redeemed
All to bring Him glory

He calls me holy
Sacred, set apart
Made to bring Him glory
Great things He has in store
If only I will trust Him
And give my life to bring Him glory

We have a God who does declare us to be holy in His sight. We are set apart as special for His service. But, we also have an enemy (Satan) who desires to destroy us and he knows that one of the easiest ways he can do this is to get us to treat what is holy (us) as unholy. When Satan gets us to do this, he can get to think that makes us unholy for the future as well. The good news is that God offers forgiveness and He will redeem us and make us holy again. God declares us holy!

i resolve

I'm doing Beth Moore's study on Daniel with a group of ladies from my church. We spent a fair bit of time talking about the word resolve. Daniel 1:8 begins with the words: "But Daniel resolved..." Daniel made a decision about how he would do things and what was acceptable. And he followed through on it, because he resolved to do it, not just thought it might be a good thing to do. As I was reflecting on this idea of resolving to do something, I found myself writing a poem about it.

I resolve: I will live for Him
He sets the standards I will follow
The world around me
Will not snare me
I will live a life set apart
A life that shines a light

I resolve: I will not be defiled
By a world that wants to change me
A world that wants me to conform
My mind will not be warped
By influences trying to confuse me
Satan will not have my life as his

I resolve: I will live for Him
My life is not my own - my life belongs to Him
No matter what may come my way, it's His and His alone
No other thing will hold my heart
He is the One who captured it
And He will hold forevermore

As I think about the decision that Daniel made in the situation he was in, it seems to me that it would be one not taken lightly and made on the fly. Daniel had to decide firmly in his mind that this is how he would live or he never would have been able to stand in the situation he found himself in. We need to do the same for the situations we may find ourselves in.

Monday, February 6, 2012

obedience before the courage comes

I noticed it had been a while since I last wrote anything for here. There are times in life when the things God is teaching me are far from being able to be put into words. That's where I've been for the last while. I sat down a few times to try to write a post, but it just wasn't time to write what God was teaching me.

Last weekend I was at a conference called Breakforth. I was going for the concerts that were a part of it mainly, knowing that the rest of the sessions and workshops would be good too. The first session began pointing towards what would become a theme for me for the weekend - and a summation of much of what God had been saying to me for the last couple of months. It seemed like every speaker I heard had something to say in their message that related to one specific theme.

One of the speakers at one of the workshops I took summed it up in just a few words. I'll share them and then I'll explain them.
Jesus Christ is adequate. Get out there and do it.
The speaker for that session was talking about how sometimes we know what we're supposed to do, but it scares us, so we start praying for the courage to do it. We stop there and spend so much time praying for the courage to do it, that we don't ever actually do the thing we're supposed to do.

Sometimes we might just need to take the step of obedience and do what God is asking us to do, even though we're afraid. And it's after we take that step of obedience that we find ourselves with the courage to do what we're doing. But, if we had never taken that first step of obedience, we never would have received the courage to do what we were supposed to do.

I'll be honest, I would prefer if the courage came before I had to do anything. And I'm one of those people who is likely to get stuck praying for courage and miss what I'm supposed to do because I want the courage first. That just seems like the safer way to do things. But, maybe I miss things in life when I operate that way.

Lately, God has been challenging me in things and telling me to step out and trust Him. And really it all comes down to trust. Do I trust God enough to take the first step even though I'm scared about it? Do I trust God enough to ask Him for the courage to obey what He is telling me to do and then step out in obedience even before I feel the courage to do things?

What about you? In your life? Is there something God is telling you to do? But you're hesitant to obey because what He's asking you to do scares you? Have you prayed for courage? Are you stuck praying for courage? Now that you have prayed for the courage, is it time you took the step even though you don't feel like you have the courage to do it yet?