Its been awhile

I haven’t been blogging in a long time. Duh. For a lot of reasons. Double duh. Life is still the adventure it was before but it seems with less time to ponder and formulate my thoughts. We’ve traveled wonderful places. I started teaching full-time. My oldest entered junior high. I’ve run a lot – even my first marathon. We’ve survived a few major life crisis. We’ve said goodbye. We’ve said hello.

I’m still here, trying to figure out life and what following Jesus is all about. I know less now than I did 5 years ago and I’m maybe more lost than I was 10 years ago. But I’m still here. I hope I can get back in the habit of recording some of our adventures and my thoughts. My kids will be happy I did someday.

I guess blogging isn’t cool anymore. I don’t really care. To those who are still creating and writing, I’m here too. I think. I hope.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Faith, Life

A Humble Call

This a worthy wake up call as we prepare our hearts to celebrate Jesus Resurrection. Please spend a few minutes in a prayer-filled place with me and we can repent together:
A Humble Call
with Ann Voskamp
http://view.vzaar.com/2898331/flashplayer
preview_a_humble_call

Leave a comment

Filed under Christianity, Faith, Holidays

Leave a comment

Filed under Faith

The Temptation of Jesus Is Not about Your Battle with Sin by Byron Yawn

I was sitting on a ledge two hundred feet above the Judean wilderness. A lifeless and virtually unending sea of sand dunes was below me. It’s one of those visuals you never quite get your head around. A network of sandy spines reaches out to the horizon and then disappears. This is where things in this region go to die. Ironically, it’s a beautiful place. The scale alone is spectacular. And when the deep colors of the afternoon sky in Israel collide with trillions upon trillions of granules of sand it’s a breathtaking masterpiece.

7721-Christ_temptation_stained_glass.630w.tn I was here reconnoitering for my local church. A trip to Israel was in the works. This was my first time in the Holy Land. By the time we arrived at this particular spot I’d been traveling for five days. Several of the places we stopped offered an opportunity for reflection and teaching. This qualified as one of those places. We were herded out of our bus and up a slight hill. Once we reached the crest the world fell out below us into the desert. The group found spots here and there and sat down in complete silence. It was a massive sort of natural amphitheater where the show was the deepest stillness nature has to offer.

“This is the approximate location of Jesus’ temptation.” Obviously, this fact made it all the more spectacular. Somewhere down there the Son of God battled for my soul. I kept thinking to myself, “My sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought, my sin, not in part but the whole…”   Somewhere in the midst of this devastation after forty days of fasting the Holy Son of God was led out to bear the burden of humanity and face down the same adversary who led the first Adam to cause such destruction in the first place (Hebrews 2:9).

Needless to say, my heart was tuned to worship. I was ready to see Jesus exalted. Just then the designated preacher stood to deliver the message, “Turn with me to Mathew chapter four. I would like to offer you five steps to resisting temptation in your life.” Or, something to that effect. On the inside I was devastated. “Why would you do that? Jesus is right here! Give me Christ!” On the outside there was nothing but a sacerdotal smile. In light of where I was seated, the popular church’s ability to miss the point (Jesus) was more obvious than ever. It was a very sad moment.

Normally, this would not have been so surprising, but we were standing on the spot. Typically, this is standard stuff. It’s what the contemporary church does with scenes like this. (In fact, this was how I interpreted it the first time I encountered it in the Gospel of Matthew.) Basically, we take the epic of redemption laid out before us in events like the temptation and bury it under our narcissistic need for “relevance.” We get in our own way of the glory of our own redemption. It’s maddening how ubiquitous this tendency is within evangelicalism.

Seriously. What’s the assumed application of Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness? By assumed I mean – What have we been told (over years of preaching) this event is about? Is it not usually offered as a set of “principles” on how Christians can resist temptation? Or to put that another way, it’s about us. But honestly, is this really what’s happening at this moment? Is Jesus really offering an example how we can personally resist the temptation of the devil? Is this a tutorial for daily living? Of course not! A “how to” on resisting temptation is a secondary application at best if not tertiary. He’s not telling us to do anything. He’s actually doing it for us. There is something much greater under way in this moment. More importantly, do we need to be standing within view of the actual site to realize how misguided our take on it is?

What we are witnessing here has little to do with us except as it involves Jesus’ willingness to take on the burden of humanity to save us. What we are beholding is our Lord – the second Adam – obeying where the first Adam failed to obey (Romans 5:17). We see him bowing his will to the Father’s, taking the suffering of the cross upon himself and redeem us from our bondage. Jesus isn’t offering a lesson on how to resist temptation. He is actually resisting temptation on a scale we can barely fathom.

Although Jesus’ hunger was no doubt fierce, the first temptation isn’t really about hunger per se. Nor is it about how you and I can use the Word of God to resist the devil (although we can and do.) It’s about Jesus choosing the suffering and indignity of the cross over his rightful dignity as the Son of God. “Why would the Son of God suffer under the consequences of humanity’s rebellion? Why not simply command stones to be bread and relieve the indignity? Why suffer such demeaning pain for such unworthy subjects?” It’s a valid question. The only answer to this question is grace (Titus 2:4-7).

Additionally, the second temptation has little to do with Jesus proving his sonship to Satan. Nor, is it about how we can trust God in a trial (although we can and do.) It was about the necessary obscurity of the Son of God. In obedience to the Father Jesus took on humanity and veiled his glory in order to take up the cross (Isaiah 53:2-3). Basically, “Why suffer the pain of the cross when you can reveal yourself as the Son of God in a (self-serving) display of your glory?” In this scene Jesus’ humility is beyond compare. The Son of God refused his rightful status in order to save men whose determination to exalt themselves above God had condemned them in the first place.

The third temptation cuts to the chase. There’s not much spin on this one. It is a blatant attempt to have Jesus avoid the anguish of the cross and, thereby, disobey the Father (Hebrews 12:2-3). He could be declared “Lord of Lords” without bearing God’s wrath on behalf of sinners if he merely subjected himself to Satan. In response Jesus commits to do that which humanity had failed to do in the very beginning – worship God only.

It’s a glorious scene. And one I’ve only begun to unpack here. The intent is for us to marvel at the grace of God in Christ. In a sense, we’re called to sit on a theological and biblical ledge and peer into the awe inspiring landscape of God’s grace. This is what he did for us. The point is be confident in what Christ has done for us and not to grow confident in what we can do for ourselves. In this present passage, the contradiction between the contemporary translation (us) and the actual point (Him) could not be sharper.

Why we constantly choose to focus on the former when the latter is screaming at us from the pages of the Bible is hard to explain.

Byron Yawn – http://www.christianity.com/bible/bible-study/confusing-the-mole-hill-with-the-mountain.html

Byron Yawn is the senior pastor of Community Bible Church in Nashville, Tennessee. He is the author of What Every Man Wishes His Father Had Told Him, and Suburbianity: Can We Find Our Way Back to Biblical Christianity? (Harvest House) You can follow him on Twitter @byronyawn.

Leave a comment

October 5, 2014 · 9:11 am

Prayer changes things

We may not be able to gut-level grasp it till we are in desperate need but prayer is the most powerful force available to us. It changes things. It. Changes. Things. I’ve been desperate for prayer lately and hyper-aware of its immense power. The most humbling & loving force I’ve experienced the past few months is faithful prayer. Grateful isn’t a big enough word. Silenced into awe gets closer. Prayer warriors – it is YOU bringing the kingdom of God to earth. Your prayer. Don’t stop. It changes everything.
  

1 Comment

Filed under Christianity, Faith

Back to school

It’s that time of year again. The littlest Fantastic is off to 1st grade. Big changes from Kindergarten. Lunch at school. More recess. Sitting at a desk all day. The Invisible Woman shed a few tears over these changes. The other Fantastic is a 5th grader. Good heavens. She had big changes too. Playing the violin. Online homework. Walking to school every day with her brother. In a different class than her best friend. Some things haven’t changed. Fall soccer. Cold lunches. New school clothes. Same old school supplies. Routine. Routine. Routine. They both complained about not wanting to go, but hopped out of bed with a grin and skipped home happy at the end of each day. Hmmm. Methinks I have children who pretend to hate school but secretly love it.

image

Fantastic’s 1st Day of School 2014

Leave a comment

Filed under Kids, Life

Psalm 86

Psalm 86

A prayer of David.  * this guy – he knows how to talk with God. This is a prayer of The Invisible Woman, too

Hear me, Lord, and answer me,
    for I am poor and needy.
Guard my life, for I am faithful to you;
    save your servant who trusts in you.
You are my God; have mercy on me, Lord,
    for I call to you all day long.
Bring joy to your servant, Lord,
    for I put my trust in you.

You, Lord, are forgiving and good,
    abounding in love to all who call to you.
Hear my prayer, Lord;
    listen to my cry for mercy.
When I am in distress, I call to you,
    because you answer me.

Among the gods there is none like you, Lord;
    no deeds can compare with yours.
All the nations you have made
    will come and worship before you, Lord;
    they will bring glory to your name.
10 For you are great and do marvelous deeds;
    you alone are God.

11 Teach me your way, Lord,
    that I may rely on your faithfulness;
give me an undivided heart,
    that I may fear your name.
12 I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart;
    I will glorify your name forever.
13 For great is your love toward me;
    you have delivered me from the depths,
    from the realm of the dead.

14 Arrogant foes are attacking me, O God;
    ruthless people are trying to kill me—
    they have no regard for you.
15 But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God,
    slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.
16 Turn to me and have mercy on me;
    show your strength in behalf of your servant;
save me, because I serve you
    just as my mother did.
17 Give me a sign of your goodness,
    that my enemies may see it and be put to shame,
    for you, Lord, have helped me and comforted me.

Leave a comment

Filed under Christianity, Faith

Sometimes, our lives don’t have to fall apart for us to fall apart. Sometimes, we are our own worst enemy. These times can be as painful as tragedy. In these times, we must cling to Christ the Savior like a drowning cat. They are survived, not endured and our faith in He Who is Hope – though dim – is the only way out.

Leave a comment

August 5, 2014 · 5:15 pm

Only human

Can you ever relate?

I can hold my breath
I can bite my tongue
I can stay awake for days
If that’s what you want
Be your number one

I can fake a smile
I can force a laugh
I can dance and play the part
If that’s what you ask
Give you all I am

I can do it
I can do it
I can do it

But I’m only human
And I bleed when I fall down
I’m only human
And I crash and I break down
Your words in my head, knives in my heart
You build me up and then I fall apart
‘Cause I’m only human

I can turn it on
Be a good machine
I can hold the weight of worlds
If that’s what you need
Be your everything

I can do it
I can do it
I’ll get through it

But I’m only human
And I bleed when I fall down
I’m only human
And I crash and I break down
Your words in my head, knives in my heart
You build me up and then I fall apart
‘Cause I’m only human

I’m only human
I’m only human
Just a little human

I can take so much
‘Til I’ve had enough

‘Cause I’m only human
And I bleed when I fall down
I’m only human
And I crash and I break down
Your words in my head, knives in my heart
You build me up and then I fall apart
‘Cause I’m only human

CHRISTINA PERRI

Leave a comment

Filed under Personal

Summer always goes too fast

Can’t believe June is almost over. If I could grab time by the tail and slow her to a crawl, I would. This has been an eventful June so that must explain why time is flying away. We spent a week at Vacation Bible School, went camping with our family, had swimming lessons & sleepovers, pool parties & bike rides. Daddy went to the Men’s Retreat & shared a powerful message just for the dudes. Strangely, we’ve eaten a lot of ice cream. Definitely more than our normal share. Delsa’s has become a siren call to our watering mouths. Shame on you Delsa’s for tempting us like that. We’ve had sunny days with the air conditioner full blast and overcast, cool days like today. I feel cheated on cool summer days. For real. We’re already looking forward to 4th of July and traveling to our favorite place to celebrate. You know where and if you don’t, I ain’t tellin’. Least not today. June has me feeling cheated out of time but grateful we’ve been too busy for my kids to kill one another. Truthfully, grateful I haven’t killed them, either.

*heavy sigh* Stupid summer-time. I’m going to go look for that sneaky gal and see if I can’t tie her down.

1 Comment

Filed under Life, Personal