Friday, February 26, 2010


First, let me say, "Thank you, Amanda" for asking about my weekly post.

At this point, I am beginning to weigh the options of "What will I do next?" This is not as easy as it might seem. I know I am enjoying being a stay-at-home husband and dad, but that I do not want to do this forever. I can feel the creative juices, the ones that get you up and moving in the morning, begin to brew. I can feel the first heat of the burning in my bones that says, "I have something to do."

While this energy is rising, the possibilities are more numerous than I have every experienced in my life. Yes, in a year I could go back to serve in a local church. That is obvious. I could write. I could teach. I could stay home some more. God could show me something that is not even on the list as of yet.

The hard part is not worrying about the options and the future. Jesus reminds us that worry brings us nothing but worry in the Sermon on the Mount. "And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?" - Matthew 6:27. In fact worry adds to the stuff physically that can kill us. But it is so easy to worry about well if I do this, then that might happen. And what will so and so think?

Yeah, I worry. Probably more than I should. But I do know whatever option comes to pass, that the burning in my bones that pushes me to share the good news of Jesus Christ and a God who loves us is beginning to burn.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Today is Ash Wednesday. It is the first of the 40 day (not counting Sundays) season of Lent for many Christians. Many of us will sometime today go to a special worship service and have ashes smeared on our forehead in the shape of the cross. Lent is a time of preparing for Easter and the Easter Season, when we celebrate specifically the life-giving resurrection of Jesus. Lent is also a penitential season. It is a time when give up some creature comfort, when fasting is less the exception, and when we look to the example of Jesus spending 40 days in the wilderness being tempted by Satan before beginning his ministry.

Is forty days of penance enough? Will giving up Cokes, or TV, or sweets, or meat, or Facebook really somehow absolve me of any sin? Can we work hard enough to fix ourselves somehow to be ready to meet Jesus, resurrected on Easter morning? Can any of us do enough to be pure enough to greet him when he comes triumphant at the end of time?

I wish I could work it out. Many of us wish we could be given a simply list of tasks that would fix us of our sin, our mistakes, our shortcomings. Several of my friends are working very hard to prove they have moved past the sinful-self of the past. But I know I cannot work hard enough to fix it all.

It is not easy to accept that Christ is more than willing to forgive simply because of who he is. God is constantly waiting and watching for us to repent (to turn back to God). It is the only part that really matters. All that God desires is for us to turn back and walk humbly with God. Our sin is not covered in our penance; our sin is covered in the cross of Jesus Christ.

Still, to all of you (and me) who are trying to find the perfect penance, if you find it let me know.

May you have a blessed Lent,

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Busy Week

Most of you know by now that I am a stay-at-home dad. My schedule has slowed down dramatically. This week is one of the busiest I have had in months. Today is my "calm" day of the week, and it is still pretty harried in comparison to what I have had in resent weeks.

Why do we rush so much? In the book, "Life of Pi," in the midst of comparative religion, is a comment about the Christian God taking seven days to create the world with a follow-up of that may be why Christians are in such a hurry.

Where is the fire? This morning, I literally saw a fire engine coming down the street. It was traveling only a little faster than the rest of us, and as far as I could tell, they were the only ones rushing to an emergency.

God has not called us to rush. God takes time with us. God takes time in our redemption and our salvation. Five months into this journey of restorative and healing time where my wife and my boys take the top two slots in my life, I am less sure of the outcome of this journey. I am finding time to be more fully open. I am seeing God working in my slowly as I see God's faithfulness, as I remember the times I felt most alive and faithful myself, as I am recreating and being recreated as a more faithful and loving husband and father.

So, it is a busy week. God had a busy week when God spoke the world into being. And at the end of every day, God looked at what had been created and said, "It is good." Then, even in the vastness and complete other that is God, God rested on the seventh day.

May we all find the rest for the restoration of our souls.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Why do people stop following Jesus?

This question, "Why do people stop following Jesus?" appeared as the status of a friend's Facebook. Many people gave comments, a few wrote novels. A few days later, I decided to make it the subject of my blog. I think any one answer will not do, and even the few I give are far from adequate. These are just a few of the thoughts that have stayed in my head on the question.

The Junior High Answer-No one else seems to be doing it, so why should I?

This is kin to the "But mom, everyone is going to be at this party!" When you feel like no one else is on the journey with you, it is easy to decide to stop following Jesus.

The Whining Answer-It is too hard.

Following Jesus, I mean denying yourself and picking up your cross following Jesus, is hard. Let us be honest about that. Sometimes it seems impossible. So, we whine and drag our feet and eventually stop.

The Archery Answer-I missed the target.

This may be the most common answer. Did you know that "sin" is an archery term for missing the mark? We don't have to be far off the mark to find ourselves straying from the goal and, without correction, we look up one day and we are no longer following Jesus.

The Used Car Salesmen-Selling you something that is not Jesus.

This one bothers me the most. But many pastors and churches "sell" something that is not Jesus. By this I mean it is not salvific, it is not resurrecting, it is not hope-filled. They sell something that akin to, "Let's all try to be good people and love one another." I am sorry, Jesus is not Barney the Dino. Jesus is the Savior of the world. Let's get this one right, people.

Thankfully, Jesus is always ready to receive someone who wants to follow him. Yes, we may stumble, miss the target, get tired, and just plain quite from time to time. Still, the angels in heaven rejoice every time one of us sinners says, "I will follow."