Tuesday, May 24, 2011

More than a little Homesick...

Just got back into Houston and I have come to the resounding conclusion that Chicago is the greatest city in the world. Now I know what you’re thinking: “Hey, you haven’t been to every city in the world!” Well frankly it doesn’t matter. Chicago takes the cake, pizza, calzone, rib-tip, and sub. Man I love that city!

It was a very relaxing weekend. I got the chance to hang out with my Uncle and break my p90x diet by gorging out on Giordano’s Pizza (THE BEST!!) for about three days straight. My dad also came down from Michigan for the first two days and spending time with him is always a plus. Tons of laughs, food, and good times (lactose intolerance aside…). God definitely answered prayers for nice weather and diverted the thunderstorms everywhere but Chicago for the weekend. In fact, as I was walking down the street, he literally stopped the rain and brought out the sun (THANKS!! ).

The last day I was able to head into the city and spend some time with Corbin, a good friend of mine and current student at Moody. When we weren’t embarrassing ourselves on Lake Michigan (I definitely need to hang up the soccer cleats), we were having some seriously high-quality conversations about missions, theology, South Africa, and the sovereignty of God. Calvinism was another topic we touched on for a moment as we debated the “free-will” of man versus the absolute sovereignty of God (we’re nerds and proud of it!).

Getting on the airplane, I re-realized how hard it is to be apart from the people I love (tear) but yet, how necessary it is for the salvation of souls. Honestly, it made me yearn for Heaven (insert May 21th rapture joke here). I desperately wish for a time when people won’t get older, families won’t splinter apart, and economic hardship won’t restrict family interactions. One of my best friends in Houston is leaving in a few weeks to get married, my best friend since ever just went back to Germany, and my baby sister is heading off to Atlanta… As happy as I am for them and the plan that God has for their lives, I know that I’ll miss out on moments and, perhaps most importantly, miss them. That = sadness. But as always our comfort can’t be in this world, it has to be in the Cross where Christ gave believers the ability to enjoy eternal community with Him, the Father, and other believers in a place that won’t perish, slip away, or fade into the background of distant memory.

But then again, I think that's a good thing. In some weird and ironic way, I think that God allows things to "end" here and relationships to "fade" in order to remind us that this planet isn't our home. And, as great as Chicago is (did I mention it's the greatest city in the world...?) and as complicated as life can get, we were made for something greater.

Well I'm back to the working world... as always:

Grace and peace

Monday, May 16, 2011

Older and... wiser?

This past week was ROUGH! Wow... Each night I was having some seriously disturbing dreams about things happening to my family and during the day I was severely stressed out about job stuff. God was gracious to me and I'm definitely thankful for the people who He's placed in my life and their encouragement.

Didn't really do a whole lot of fun and exciting things but Small Group bible study was amazing. For the first time in ever, I shut up and just asked questions. I could see God moving. Hopefully, this is something that continues and I'm able to honor God with it by putting more time into it on the front end. I really appreciate the honesty and openness of the people who are there. It's something I've taken for granted but true community is a gift from God. My relationship with a few of my friends is really starting to develop as we continue to push for openness.

Often Christians stay away from community in order to perpetuate/live up to the image of "a good Christian" but in reality, that's not what we were created to do. It creates a bunch of half-hearted and not-so-genuine friendships which leave people feeling isolated and alone. Real community is something that requires risk, requires faith, and requires love. I'm not an open type of guy but after a conversation with a friend a few weeks back, I realized that by not sharing my struggles with him I was perpetuating a competitive Christianity... that's not what God made us to be. We have to strive for unity, even if that requires our discomfort.

At any rate, today is the first day of me kind of starting the film project (fingers crossed!) and I'll let you know how it goes (maybe post a preview...?).

Grace and peace

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Oatmeal... FOR BREAKFAST?!?!

Today was a rough one. I'm currently going through a trial that just... doesn't look like its going to end... I was almost at a breaking point earlier (not that that really means anything) and to top it all off (!!!!!) it was a gray and rainy day in Houston while it was 82 degrees in the state I just left.

I always get the feeling that I'm a tad dramatic (there may be some truth to that statement) and in the past, whenever something would come up I would moan and groan no matter how slight the inconvenience may have been (i.e. having to eat Oatmeal for breakfast again!!! OMG Who does that!!!). But now that I'm experiencing something that I probably should overreact to, I can't help feeling that "this too isn't that big a deal".

After reading some of John Owen's "The Glory of Christ" I was reminded of a familiar phrase: that which a man thinkith, so he is. Or, in the DEV, we turn into the thing we spend our time thinking about. Mark Driscoll wrote a pretty powerful piece on worship and how humans transform into the very thing we meditate on, dwell on, obsess over... etc. As abstract as that may seem, I tried to focus on the glory of Christ, Him becoming the atoning sacrifice. I tried to imagine what it felt like, what it looked like, how it was for Him to do the things He did and was actually able obtain peace in the middle of my life's hurricane.

I actually had no intention of posting this but please keep me in prayer (big meeting tomorrow) and I definitely encourage you to ignore the monotony of life, the discouraging moments lest you become them. Instead, focus on the only thing that is above, the only thing that is greater than the indigestion caused by life's daily dry oats boiled in hot water (just when you thought I couldn't bring it back!!)... and try to wrap your mind around the person of Christ.

Grace and peace

Saturday, May 7, 2011

French Toasted...

Today was my second to last day of “home visit”... It’s been a complicated journey. On one hand, I definitely enjoy being around my family and A2 has some of the best food in the world (Shout out to BEEZY’S... BEST FRENCH TOAST EVER!!!). But at the same point and time, I’m here to help a good friend grieve the loss of his mother... How do you celebrate mother’s day when your brother is still writhing from the pain of losing his own? Yeah... complicated would be an understatement.

I could try to make some weak spiritual metaphor about how French Toast relates to justification or imputation (she imputed the goodness of the french toast and the whipped cream covers it like a...) but I’ll spare you from the half hearted metaphor.

Instead, I’d rather focus on pleasure for a moment. Many times, although I fear it is far too seldom, people talk about how God purposes our pain. They talk about how God uses our pain to point us back to him in some form or fashion. I agree and believe that is definite and certain truth. Christ promised that we’d suffer and we should count it as an honor (Paul did...). But God also created us with a desire to experience pleasure and every once and awhile we get a chance to cherish that moment. As I slowly chewed the baked blackberries that were delicately placed inside the moist toast and licked the plate clean of lemon flavored whipped cream... I thought to myself, man this is good. In moments such as that, we should take the time to enjoy the Earth that God created for us to enjoy.

John Piper states over and over again in his book Desiring God “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.” Now don’t take this out of context and go off the deep end trying and experiencing the depths of lust. No, the pleasures God has laid up for us transcend anything the world could offer. But that being said, he made this Earth and declared that at one point in time it was good. For some reason He has not destroyed it to this point. In glorifying Him, let’s enjoy Him, be pleased with Him, and enjoy the things that He’s created as a demonstration of His infinite glory.

As I’ve said far too many times this week with far too much seriousness: Thank you Lord for allowing me to live in a time period of frozen coffee, MP3 players, acoustic guitars, and Beezy’s. And thank you most of all for giving me the grace to enjoy them with you.

As always: Grace and peace...