Thursday, August 24, 2006

Hard Work

Nearly everyday this week I have been reminded just how difficult it is to be a part of the body of Christ. What I mean is that it doesn't simply happen. Just because a group of Christians attends the same worship services or lives in the same area doesn't mean they are fully living as the body of Christ. Community doesn't occur with proximity or similar interests; it isn't all rainbows and sunshine and hallelujah; being the body of Christ, living that out, is hard work. And we have to be willing to work hard to experience the results Christ intended for his church.

Developing community takes concerted effort, mounds of patience, and a commitment to prayer. A community of Christ-like folks must be aware of the subtle, and not so subtle, attacks Satan blasts at us. Together we must fend off the temptations to be lazy or self-serving. We must train ourselves to be deeply concerned for our neighbors. We must re-learn how to interact with all different kinds of people, keeping in mind that the Spirit of Christ lives in us.

Sadly I myself am far from much of this. I often find myself more wrapped up in my own stuff than seeking to shoulder the weight that is crushing those around me. Being a part of Christ' body is hard work, no doubt. But at the same time there is a richness, a fullness, about it that you can't find in any other kind of community. Lord give us the strength and desire to be the body Christ died for us to be.
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pictures are back up on blogger so I also updated the last 3 posts.
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pic of the day:

Monday, August 21, 2006

"he was showing us God"

more Rob Bell as I try to get pictures back on here:

"Over time when you purposely try to live the way of Jesus, you start noticing something deeper going on. You begin realizing the reason this is the best way to live is that it is rooted in profound truths about how the world is. You find yourself living more and more in tuen with ultimate reality. You are more and more in sync with how the universe is at its deepest levels.

Jesus' intention was, and is, to call people to live in tune with reality. He said at one point that if you had seen him, you had 'seen the Father.' He claimed to be showing us what God is like. In his compassion, peace, truth telling, and generosity, he was showing us God."
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pic of the day:

Friday, August 18, 2006

An endless process

Really good stuff from Rob Bell's Velvet Elvis:

"For thousands of years followers of Jesus, like artists, have understood that we have to keep going, exploring what it means to live in harmony with God each other. The Christian faith tradition is filled with change and growth and transformation. Jesus took part in this process by calling people to rethink faith and the Bible and hope and love and everything else, and by inviting them into the endless process of working out how to live as God created us to live.

The challenge for Christians then is to live with great passion and conviction, remaining open and flexible, aware that this life is not the last painting.

Times change. God doesn't, but times do. We learn and grow, and the world around us shifts, and the Christian faith is only alive when it is listening, morphing, innovating, letting go of whatever has gotten in the way of Jesus and embracing whatever will help us be more and more the people God wants us to be."
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pic of the day:

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Monday Nights

Every Monday I was in town this summer we had a college-age Bible study in the tiny living room of my house. Who knew how much fun cramming 15 bodies into (maybe) 100 square feet of space with little A/C could be?? And yes, sweating can be fun.

But in all seriousness this small gathering of believers possessed a richness and depth that far exceeded my initial aspirations for the group. Our task was simple really, and something I shared with them the first week: to fall more in love with Christ. Our method was two fold: first, sharing openly experiences from our week in which we saw his life take flesh, instances where we witnessed a need for Jesus' presence and power. And second, we dove into the Word in search of portraits of Jesus' life, snapshots detailing his heart and his character, the way he responded to people and certain situations. We were looking for anything and everything that might enable us to know Christ more intimately. And oh how the Lord revealed himself to us in new ways! It should come as no surprise that he is always surpassing even our highest hopes.

Beneath this seemingly ordinary "Bible study" lies a reason, maybe you could even call it a desire, that I shared both with my youth group and these college students often this summer. And it stems from the Nouwen quote I shared a month or so back. I told them that this world doesn't need any more really nice people, that there are enough sweet girls and good guys out there. What this world needs more than anything is Godly men and women who intimately know the heart of God, who embody the Spirit of Christ, and are passionatetly and consistently living this out in their world.

Lord help us know you better and more fully. Help us smell, speak, react, pray, and live like Christ so this world might know him.
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pic of the day:

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

"Help me overcome my unbelief"

Everyone has faith. Life, at any level, cannot be lived without it. The real question, according to Rob Bell in his book Velvet Elvis, isn't whether we have it or not but what we have put our faith in. And if everyone has faith then it is probaly safe to conclude that everyone also struggles with doubt, and that these conflicting ideas are in constant tension with one another.

Last week at Emily's Campaigner's group they talked about the story of Jesus healing the epileptic boy. So Monday night a group of college students and I dove further into this remarkable incident from Mark 9. The statement made by the boy's father toward Christ is a fascinating one. When Jesus tells him that anything is possible for he who believes we see this desperate father cry out, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!" Somewhere inside this man was hope, but that flicker of hope was nearly extinguished by a great amount of what he calls unbelief.

Lately I have realized just how much unbelief there is in my own life; how often I let those droplets of doubt that Satan whispers in my ear affect my ministry and my relationships. The example of this boy's father acknowledging before Christ that though he does believe he needs major help overcoming his unbelief is a powerful one. The truth and honesty in his words is a great demonstration of the stance I have been reminded to take as I approach the feet of my Lord.

Father I beg you to help me overcome the unbelief that plagues so many aspects of my life. Would you silence Satan's lies and defend me from his attacks. I pray you would strengthen my faith, build up my ability and desire to trust you. Thank you Father
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pic of the day, one of my kids on our Jr/Sr Trip:

Monday, August 07, 2006

She's here

No longer 852 miles away, Emily has finally arrived in Arlington! In her words...praise, the Lord.

She's only been here a little over a week but we have already been soaking up time with one another and racking up the miles on Highway 360. Sometimes I still cannot believe that she lives here, that we don't have to say goodbye at an airport next week like we have too many times before. But we don't, because Emily lives here, close to me, and I am absolutely beside myself.

It has been such a blessing to be with her and experience so much of what you miss out on when you date long distance for 7 months. Hanging out with our Dallas friends, going to campaigners with her, watching her interact with the kids in her ministry, having her next to me at church, spending lazy Saturday afternoons together, running errands, just listening to her talk face to face instead of through a cell phone--it is all just so great, so refreshing, so much fun.

One of the best parts is knowing that this is only the beginning of a new and exciting season of life, for both of us. Thank you Father...for everything.
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pic of the day:

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


I am still exhausted from Trek (and this crazy summer) but wanted to share a few pics and reflect.

The mountains have always been a special place for God's people, a place of instruction and listening, a place of prayer filled with his presence, a place of rest and retreat. And that is exactly what last week was for me. Save a trip to the ER with kidney stones, it was a perfect week highlighted by cool weather, lots of rain, special moments with my kids, and refreshing time and conversation with solid peers. Thank you Lord for providing in perfect ways.
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Chad, me and Mt. Ouray

Micah and Heath

Payton and J Scott, our bearded guidesFC Ouray
the group