Monday, July 21, 2008

Hostage Situation

This guy in class says that he is going through a Kurt Cameron The Way of the Master training and good ole Kurt says that we cannot wait for people to open doors because everyone of the people we wait on could go to hell. What? I cannot tell you how much this burns me up. So many Christians (all with good intentions mind you) run around this world anxious and trying to enforce their faith on others. The result of course is the nasty scarlet letter modern American Christians run around wearing. Instead of seeing it as a mark of disgrace though, they see it as a mark of honor. The problem with that is they run through the world hurting people in order to shine that badge that is really only a weight that hold them back from truly reaching as many people as God could use them to reach. We have short sightedness. We think that if we could reach as many people that we could dream about it would be a great thing. The sad thing about that is our number system is a joke to God. What if we truly reached the amount of people God wanted us to reach, not that we want to reach. What if God put you on earth to reach 10 people that no one else could. Would we be pleased or think we are not doing enough? Evangelsit pull things out of Scripture and are so worried about saving the lost that they run over those who are lost in attempting to reach those distant ones. How many people at work do those who are concerned about reaching others so much have feet marks on their backs from being pushed to the side because the “lost” are needing them. We have the messiah complex. We think we can save people. We cannot save anyone. The people who think they can save, run around like wild trying to do so. But that actually doesn’t make sense, the one who had the most concern about saving people and actually had the power to never seems anxious or in a rush. Jesus Christ was never running around or stressing about saving people. This is going to offend and possibly make people who read this think I am a heretic, but I’m going to say it anyways, because it is something I’ve studied and been convicted as truth.

Nowhere in scripture is the gospel proclaimed without a common ground being established, common ground being an open door or some kind of permission.

Read that again and swallow, don’t be so quick to spit it out. Digest that thought. Think about it, really. Read any Gospel and the book of Acts and study each time someone is preached to or saved. You will not find a random occurrence. There is always a common ground, always a common thread that they walk in order to speak. The problem with evangelist is that they don’t know when to shut up. They cannot understand the thought that maybe they don’t have the right or maybe their timing is all wrong.

They think they can just go around enforcing their faith on others. So instead of being patient and looking for open doors they runaround kicking them in. I’d imagine any police officer or swat team member could comprehend this and relate to it quite well. I’ve seen movies and reality shows about police officers and when they are put in a long hallway with many doors they do not just go around kicking doors in. Why? Well, if they just kick in doors they could get killed or they could kill others. If there is a hostage situation and Officer Genius just goes to the random door and kicks it in, the criminal is going to blow their head off. Good job genius! His over willingness or anxiousness caused a life lost to the enemy. Isn’t Satan just holding God’s children hostage? So all these well meaning men and women are running around all pumped up on this faith they have (which you should be, if you are not excited about the faith you have something is wrong) but rather than being patient and checking out the doors and walking in open doors, they kick them in and millions around the world have been lost. So many people have scars inflicted by those who say they are doing God’s will. Have you ever thought that Jesus was a little less froggy than you are? Jesus wasn’t jumpy, he didn’t kick in doors, He waited, looked for opportunities or created them smoothly and then shared he good news. Paul, Peter, all the early church leaders did it the same way. The gospel is spread much more affectively by a patient, smart, tactical, team of officers than it is by a gang of gun happy new recruits. Our gun is the truth of Jesus Christ, our mission is to bring those who are being held captive by Satan into His custody, bringing them back to Him (Jesus) to save, are you willing to accept this mission? Let us be used by God (who is always in control and never anxious) to free hostages from the nasty grips of a deceitful, twisted, hostage holder.

May you slow down and look for open doors instead of kicking them in. May you exhibit patience and self control. May you seek those who are lost, not hunt them down. May you seek the Word of God and look to our forefathers, the men who have been used to institute our establishment of faith, and really wrestle with that thought: Nowhere in scripture is the gospel proclaimed without a common ground being established, common ground being an open door or some kind of permission. May you seek to tell everyone who have the opportunity to who Jesus Christ is and what He wants form them.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Dirty Feet Slave

I love little moments where something just clicks and you gain new knowledge or insight. I was reading John last night and came across jewel of info, something that I had never quite put together in the past and see brilliance in. I ran home as fast as I could to make notes about it, all the way thanking God for showing me something new. Jesus washed the disciple’s feet…by just saying that everyone has already conjured up all the sermons they have heard on serving others and thinks they have me figured out…slow down there speedy and keep reading though, this is not that, I promise something different.

Why is serving so hard? Why is it harder to just go and do than be a part of and help plan? A true servant requires nothing in exchange for what they have done; they seek no benefit, and no personal gain. The hardest part about serving is that it offers no affirmation, it offers no praise, it offers nothing at all actually. Everything we find joy in gives us some kind of payoff. Obviously I’m a writer, thus I’m also a literary nerd and really am into finding trends in literature and studying classical rules and patterns. There is a short sentence right before Jesus actually gets up and starts the foot scrubbing (gross by the way). Read the below passage once through, then read it again paying special attention to the highlighted words.

It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love. The evening meal was being served, and the devil had already prompted Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples' feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, "Lord, are you going to wash my feet?" Jesus replied, "You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand." "No," said Peter, "you shall never wash my feet." Jesus answered, "Unless I wash you, you have no part with me." "Then, Lord," Simon Peter replied, "not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!" Jesus answered, "A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you." For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean. When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. "Do you understand what I have done for you?" he asked them. "You call me 'Teacher' and 'Lord,' and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them (John 13:1-17, NIV).”

Did you catch it? The word “so” is a coordinating conjuncture. A coordinating conjuncture connects two equal parts of a sentence; a coordinating conjunction can join two main clauses that a writer wants to emphasize equally. Equally, John wants to emphasize something equally. The importance of washing the disciples’ feet is equal to the cause. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. Because Jesus knew that the Father was in control and because He knew He was from God and would be returning to God, because of these things He got up and started washing feet.

What’s the big deal about washing feet? Well, in those days a host would have his servants wash the feet of his visitors. That sentence in itself is packed full of important things we should unload. Jewish men would walk everywhere, the sandals we now call Jesus sandals in jest are not the sandals He wore. I’m pretty sure the sandals the men in those days wore were just pieces of hard leather with strings attached to hold them onto their feet. They would walk miles a day. There was also no running water back in those days, so it wasn’t like if you stepped in something you just stopped at the local 7/11 and washed your feet in the water hose. Basically you walked all day, you continued to build up debris and other things you stepped in on your feet. When you finally arrived at your location the host would have one of his slaves wash your feet. A slave is someone who is treated as property of others. Property, not people, property…

Jesus is the Messiah; all His disciples are following Him with this understanding (well maybe except for one). Jesus was God and had proven His authority to these men multiple times through miracles. Now God, the creator of everything, gets up form the table and washes feet. What is Jesus saying here? Jesus is basically saying I am your slave; I am your servant, not a political position above you, but willing to serve you as a slave. What in the world does it take for one to submit themselves to slavery?

We are generations past the enslavement of Africans in our country and we still hear the moans of pain it caused, people are still walking around wounded from the social scars it left on America. I guarantee a fat lip, bruised eye, and trip to the hospital, at the very least, if you were to walk up to anyone in this country and ask them to be your slave. We are people who put a large emphasis on personal worth. The key thing I learned last night was that Jesus was able to serve as a slave because He was confident in who He was through God the Father. We can have similar confidence, I say similar because we cannot be confident like Jesus because, well, we aren’t God basically. Jesus could care less about personal worth, He did not gain His identity and confidence form outer sources, but was confident in God. May you be confident in who God has made you, be confident in your worth to Him and be able to lower yourself as a servant to men. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. May you know Jesus has given us all authority in His name, that we are children of God and are going to be reunited with our maker one day and because of this may you wash the feet of our broken world and go about serving them with the heart of a humble slave.

Excess and Need

Why does need exist? I think education often impedes our minds processing simple thoughts. A six year old walks past a homeless man with his father, with tears in his eyes he asks, "Daddy, why is that man homeless?" The father goes on to try and help the six year old understand why this man is homeless but all his words fall short and now the father finds himself asking, "Why is this man homeless?" We can all give answers or justifications that will always lead to another why question. So what he screwed up, he doesn't have an education, was addicted to alcohol. Let's take this question beyond the city, "Why does that child not get medical treatment before the wealth superstar? Why does a child contract AIDS at childbirth in Africa that could be practically prevented by a pill that cost one US dollar a day? Why do people in Louisiana still struggle to recover and rebuild when there is a single man living in a 60,000 square foot home in Connecticut somewhere? I think the problem reason is simple. The word is excess. My theory is simple; excess in itself is an effect of sin. It is somehow justified now that some get more than they need while others cannot get what they need. Supply and demand as a business metaphor is a flawed argument to say the least.

There are examples everywhere. Sponsor a child in Africa for $27 per month and help send them to school for a year. Support Christian missionaries. Give to your local church in times of additional need. Give a homeless person a sandwich.

It’s like a huge scale that is tipped towards the side of the wealthy. Have you ever tried to balance a scale? It is difficult, typically one side or the other is heavier. This is what we see in political views of the economy as well. Democrats are for the poor, Republicans are for the wealthy. You are one or the other. That is a lie though. You don’t have to be for one or the other. Balance is a word key to the kingdom of God. Since we live in a broken world, we live in unbalance and the scales are always tipped towards the wealthy. I was watching a commercial last night and a guy says that if he isn’t life he doesn’t know who is. He says this within the context of being a super producer with lots of wealth, fame, a famous fiancé, and a lucrative endorsement business as well. The lie many of these rich people have been told is that the money is there to go live life and the more money you have the less responsibility you have. That is why we see NBA stars get in fist fights & club riots, NFL players caught with cocaine, heiress socialites driving while hammered beyond belief. They believe this lie, the more we get on the wealth side of the scale the less responsibility we have. Well, Jesus sees things a bit differently. He is talking to His disciples about managing what God has blessed them with and sums it all up by saying, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked (Luke 12:48b, NIV).”

Apparently God gives some more than others. That is not because He has some secret connection to Hollywood or prestigious hotel owners though. God gives others more with a condition, He attaches a greater responsibility to what they are given. Why would God give a single man with a high school education a recording deal after he has been shot 9 times, then bless him with millions of dollars? Not because God is jamming around to “In Da Club.” God gives so we can give. The only reason that some have more than others is because God has placed them in a circumstance where they can help those in need. Now, we do have our own will and the ability to make our own decisions so we don’t always do this, I’d say we rarely do this in a large way. There is beauty in little things though; you can find this small characteristic of balance in the world if you look hard enough.

I have a friend who is trying to go on a family vacation this summer, they go each summer, but this summer has put them in some tight financial binds and they may not be able to go. I’m talking to him on the phone the other night and he tells me that this guy he knows (but not really close with) stops by and gives them a check to go towards their vacation. I was in my spot the other night (a local coffee shop) and it was near closing time. My friend who works there had to get rid of the sandwiches from that week and was going to throw them out, it was about twenty in all. I say hold on a minute, put those in a bag and I’ll take them to some people who will eat them. I walk in my closet the other day and realize that I have enough clothes to dress a small army somewhere, so I begin to get rid of things I hadn’t worn in 2 months or longer. 3 bags later, I lug them all out to my truck to take to the local mission. Fortunately, I am a scatter brain and never got around to taking them to the mission. I leave my spot and begin walking downtown in the wholesale district, it is downtown where all the clubs and bars are, so there are a ton of people, so smart people who panhandle go there with hopes to get some change. I am walking around with this huge bag of sandwiches and just walk up to homeless people and ask if they are hungry, if they say yes I tell them to look in the bag and take what they need (it’s amazing that those in need do not take too much or excess). I get rid of all the sandwiches and walk away feeling great that those sandwiches went to some people in need. I meet a guy on my way back who says he is homeless, hungry, and soaking wet (it had rained earlier). I told him I have half a sandwich in my truck that he can have. When we get to my truck I notice all the bags in the back, full of clothes. I offer him some dry clothes and he takes them. So I get to thinking and walk back to all the people I had spoken to earlier and given food and tell them where my truck is and if they need dry clothes to come there. I get rid of almost all the clothes within minutes. Now the excess of my closet and a local coffee shop has provided to meet the need of people who actually do need. Beautiful balance I’d say.

So what if no one ever threw away food not used or wanted, but gave it to the hungry, wouldn’t everyone eat? What if I resisted buying my 49th pair of shoes and instead sponsored a child in Africa, isn’t it better that a child gets educated than me walking around in some new kicks I’ll only wear a couple times? What if we stopped filling the vending machines at work with our spare change out of oral fixation instead of true hunger and gave to a worthy cause that helps meet needs, wouldn’t all get met.

I’m not saying we can obtain perfect balance hear in earth, but we can begin to see more balance than distorted economics. There will be no need in heaven, 99% of people believe this, which infers that will also be no excess in heaven. Balance is a beautiful thing, excess is an ugly beast we have come accustomed to and don’t notice as often as we should. May you hate excess and seek to meet needs, may your needs be met and give the rest away. May we seek to bring the kingdom of God to earth and be used by God to reconcile a broken world. May excess begin to vanish before our eyes and may we see many needs met today, tomorrow, this week. Will you join me in looking for these opportunities, Jesus calls us to manage what we are given well and those with much will be required much.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Books, Quotes, & Leadership

After years of making fun of my older brother for reading, I have come to realize that I am a fellow nerd and hypocrite. I guess it has come with age and my fascination with learning more and more so I can become more effective for Christ while I’m here on this earth. I just finished reading a book by Vince Annotucci called, “I Became a Christian and All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt.” I highly recommend this book. It helped me a great deal.

I am reading this new book called, “Hand Me Another Brick,” by Charles Swindoll. I know people who are huge Swindoll fans; I’ve never read any of his stuff until now. I just wanted to share a quote I read today that just made a lot of sense to me as I find myself a “leader” in the sense that this is one of the gifts God has given me and am trying to learn how to use it, because it is a catch 22 gift, full of ways to let your ego get involved (I error on this side way too much, but through His grace am learning to shut up and learn). By the way it is brilliant almost in contrast to his wife’s ever so graceful and hilarious (fictitious obviously)quote used at the beginning of Talladega Nights:

“America is all about speed. Hot, nasty, bad-ass speed.”
-Eleanor Roosevelt

So here is the quote, read it for yourself and let me know what you think, I think it is timeless.

It's not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or when the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worth cause; who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who at the worst if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat.
-Theodore Rooselvelt

Friday, July 11, 2008

Leave My Jags Alone!

For all you haters out there, let me assure you that the Jacksonville Jaguars are not going to LA. I've received several text messages over the last couple of days and I assure you that we are not going to LA and that we will beat the Colts this year and be #1 in AFC South, where we rightfully belong, even though one of our Wide Receiver's is a coke head...Yes, I do own his jersey and will wear it shamefully this

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Freedom and Tears of Joy

I always thought tears of joy were reserved for the upper eschalant of life experiences like child birth, weddings day, seeing your child graduate, etc. Today for the first time in my life, I experienced tears of joy. We had the Ugandan Children’s Choir perform at our church service this morning. Saturday they performed on the circle downtown as well. IN just meeting them Saturday, my passion for being with AIDS orphans in Africa grew back to the capacity that it once was before I let life get in the way and distract me. Their smiles were so authentic, what cute children, beautiful in their simplicity and pureness.

There is this song called I Am Free that we do sometimes during our worship time on Sunday mornings, it goes something like this:

Through you the blind will see
Through you the mute will sing

Through you the dead will rise

Through you our hearts will praise

Through you the darkness flees

Through you my heart screams I am free I am free

I am free to run(I am free to run)

I am free to dance(I am free to dance)

I am free to live for you(I am free to live for you)

I am free(I am free)

Yes, I am free(I am free)

Through you the blind will see

Through you the mute will sing

Through you the dead will rise

Through you our hearts will praise

Through you the darkness flees

Through you my heart screams I am freeI am free

Are you free?

I am free

After the children had done their routine, the worship band and the children did a duet to this song. During the chorus as we would sing I am free to run, they would just sing and run in place, then I am free to dance, they would show those pearl whites and dance in place, and when we got to I am free to live for you, they just jumped around pointing to the sky. In that couple of minutes I experienced these tears of joy. My heart was moved with great compassion to see these children who came form a dark place have freedom and truly live it out. These children are free from the fear of the epidemic tearing their country apart, free of worry for food, free of local insurgent oppression, free from worrying about finances, free from trying to escape their past. These children are free by Christ. Jesus said it himself, “Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed (John 8:35-36, NIV).” Jesus sets us free form anything that is oppressive, oppression comes form sin and it is only Jesus who can set us free form that slavery. So to see these children sing and dance and smile about how free they are because of Christ brought tears to my eyes and warmed my heart.

Thank you Ugandan Children’s Choir! Often times we feel they need us, but it is truly the other way around.

I pray you know this freedom, may you seek it, it is worth your life and in return you receive true freedom and abundant life. May we all seek to be as free as these Ugandan children!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Independence Day

Tonight I sat on a roof downtown and watched fireworks get shot off the top of a large building in celebration of our nation’s independence from the empire of Great Britain. Maybe I’m just a pessimist or think too seriously too much, but I find it sad that the fireworks that we enjoy watching are really illustrations of what was seen by the soldiers when America first became free, gunshots and war. I know we are not celebrating those gunshots and war, but the fireworks themselves represent them, which is sad, any kind of war, loss of life is truly sad, or should be in the eyes of anyone who claims to be a follower of Christ. Shouldn’t it? Life does take on a new importance once you realize it is God’s creation.

The irony I find in this holiday makes me seem anti-American to some, but I’m not anti-American, I am just pro Jesus and indifferent to another kingdom, I serve the most high. Ironically we celebrate escape and liberation from an empire, but are really only servants to another empire; this one just has an eagle, cynical voters, and a fascination with fast food. No one in America is really free and if we do say we are free what has this freedom produced? We work overtime, 60 hour weeks, and multiple jobs to support this lifestyle this freedom has allowed us to live. The freedom has come with a price, it really isn’t free at all, it cost us bondage to another empire, this empire is greed. The truth is America is not this horrible nation, but Americans are really not free as they like to think, our freedom is really just a façade of bondage to different masters, money, corporate America, the American dream, etc. There is no freedom in the context of civilization that we know. Think about it, everything ties you to something else that you continue to serve.

True freedom is only found in Christ. He says that the truth will set us free. The truth sets us free to forgive, love, free to not put our confidence in money, free to have faith, free to be confident that we are loved by God. This liberation is truly free. Independence Day, the 4th of July is not the big picture, it is a small reminder of what independence we are truly offered in Christ. I’m not against the 4th at all, I’m just saying it is not a celebration of my freedom because I wasn’t free until I met Christ. May you know this freedom and be able to shoot off your fireworks and celebrate everyday. Happy Independence Day, I hope that you find yourself free indeed

Friday, July 4, 2008

Dolla Dolla Bills

I am currently involved in a Good Sense training course. It has been a very eye opening learning experience thus far. I’ve been convicted about the way I handle the money God gives me and further inspired to change the way I toy with it. Along those lines I have been recently torn over the issue of saving, creating a large savings account. Now there is a difference between saving and hoarding.

I looked up two definitions of what saving means and this is what I got:

1. Recovery or preservation from loss or danger
2. The activity of protecting something from loss or danger

Now doesn’t this seem like we are protecting ourselves from future financial problems or danger? If that is the case then wouldn’t it be created out of a sense of worry, worry about the future? This is the way I have always looked at saving. So now that I am in this class learning about handling God’s money more to honor him the idea of savings has become a part of my normal thought process. But the problem with that is everyone saves, even the world and those who don’t know Jesus save. But what are they saving for? To pass on wealth to another generation, create a good cushion for a posh retirement, or have a good sum of money just in case something happens. Doesn’t this seem like it has to do a lot with us? I’m not saying saving is a bad thing, but I’m questioning if it is just something we are doping because it seems smart of because there is a biblical principle about it… The main concern I have with it all is this, the bible tells us not to worry about tomorrow or how we will even clothe ourselves, but to trust in God for everything, even the future. So if that is true, which it is because it is God’s word, wouldn’t saving be a small form of putting out marbles in the bag of humanity, putting out trust in the amount of money we can save up just in case, kind of like providing a plan B?

The passage I am referring to is Matthew 6:19-34, Jesus is teaching the disciples and says this,

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. "The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness! "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money. "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life[b]? "And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own (Matthew 6:19-34, NIV).

So I guess my suggestion is not to through the baby out with the bath water, not to disregard savings totally, but to be leery of saving under the same discipline that the rest of the world does. Forget retirement plans, Jesus knows the beginning and end and can provide plenty for us. This is a hard pill to swallow because it flies in the face of everything we are taught under our American culture. But Jesus doesn’t call us to make Him a part of our world, He calls us to make Him our world. We are to be change into His likeness, not the other way around. So pay your bills on time, give to your local church, support missionaries, provide for your family, but don’t be excessive. Excess is a direct effect of sin. I think anyone with excessive amounts of money who is a follower of Christ and has been changed by His unfailing love should give away any excess they have. That’s a bit weird sounding, but it looks a little bit more like the early church (Acts 2) than our large savings accounts and huge salaries that we only give 10% of away.

I’m not offering a solution here; I’m offering a little tension between the way we think and what the bible says. Just because an American church teaches something doesn’t mean it is right, we should all wrestle with what Scripture says. I do support responsibility with God’s resources He allows us to use. So may you use God’s money the way He wants you to, not the way you want to. May you not hoard your money, creating store houses, may you support His work in the world, may you always look at that green paper as His possessions, not ours.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

New Pad, New Man

I’ve moved, I’ve changed, I’ve become the proud recipient of a 60” television. Go ahead re-read that mug! Yup, I’m rolling on 60 inches these days. Big thangs poppin! So I’ll attach some new pictures of the place, it is quite great. I have a roommate that will take some getting used to because I’ve lived alone since I was 19. I am praying God will open up opportunities to meet some new people in the complex and build some relationships with opportunities to tell them about Jesus.

If you are dying to send me house warming gifts (like cash or grocery gift certificates) wait no longer, here is my address:

234 E 9th St., Apartment 105
Indianapolis, IN 46204

The cell is still the same. Enjoy the photos and view of my ridiculous closet and shoe collection.

Kitchen, where the grubbing gets down!

The other side of my room.

Yes, I am a genius and I do read a lot, got to learn about Jesus ya know? Oh yea and I am a baller in case you didn't know, check out that nice indoor ball, never touched concrete.

Crazy amounts of clothes and my collection of kicks, absurd I know...

Entry to my room...nothing too cool.

I no longer have to go to a laundry facility in a basement or wait 2 months to do laundry, I have a wahser and dryer in my apartment.

It's the John, notice that huge ceramic toothpaste, a local artist gave it to me at a gallery opening, I love it, how many peope do you know with an 80lb tube of toothpaste? right....

Again, another shot of the hallway, check out those cool little shelves.

This is just a shot of the hallway, I'm not an Obama supported, its just a cool picture, I could care less about politics.

Sick living room with a wicked rad 60 inch tv....Cheers!

34% of the Farm, an old quilt, and collectable thimbles

There is the red bull commercial out right now that shows a man leaving his last possessions and a large portion of money to a young, hot woman instead of his wife. The wife drinks a rd bull, flies up to heaven to hunt him down and have him resign it. Cute little deal right? I know that my grandma is leaving me some portion of a mountain somewhere in the great state of Kentucky. We have all heard of crazy stories of wills. Wills that leave things behind to loved ones. Most of the time wills that leave a good some of things behind are signed by wealthy men and women who gave their lives to earning a good living and being able o leave their family with something of worth when they die. A will is a pretty simple idea. The problem is that in these kinds of wills we see young heirs blow it all the minute they turn 18 on drugs, women, cars, and other temporary things. All these things are of value to someone else, which leads to the thought that all these things are really insignificant in the long run because they are temporary.

I won’t be able to shake this memory ever. I was out with friends listening to live music and grabbing a bite to eat on Saturday night. I could not hear my phone and was just having a good time so didn’t look at it until I got home around midnight. There was one new text message. I opened it up and man was my world rocked. This is what it read, “June went to be with the Lord this evening around 10.” June is the lady I blogged about before in Flowers and Theology. I must say that she had one of the biggest faiths I had ever seen. The entire time we all visited her at the hospital it wasn’t her that needed encouragement and strength, it was us. She was a great illustration of picking up her cross and following Jesus (Luke 9:22-26). She drug behind her the cancer, all the times she was assaulted in her apartment, she drug behind her broken relationships, family issues, and all the scars of her past, she drug that heavy load all the way until 10 on Saturday night. She drug that cross following Jesus and inspired so many along the way. Sunday was a weird day at the church gathering service. We had all come accustomed to seeing her smile, feeling the love in her hugs, watching her go ight down to the front of the theatre to soak up ever bit of knowledge about Jesus she could. She was bound to a wheelchair, but often times we would watch her fight to her feet and just lift her hands during worship. June was not there Sunday, she was with Jesus. No longer was she bound to a wheelchair, no longer did cancer eat her body up, no longer did she need to carry pain, she was dancing with Jesus, free of the oppressions of this world.

As I stood there in the lobby, I just looked into a friend’s eyes from across the room, we need not speak words, but just embraced for we both knew what was making our eyes so deep and hearts so heavy. We miss her already, but know she is with Jesus and exactly where she had wanted to be, in the arms of her Father. Person after person I watched come in with those same eyes, that heavy spirit, and all we could do was embrace one another. While some would cry others would mourn in a deep silence. What was it that made this woman so inspirational? It was her faith. Many people in her old apartment complex came to hear about Jesus and why He was such a big deal because of her. She would tell drug dealers and alcoholics alike in those hallways that she loved them and wanted to see them do something better with their lives. She would check in on people. When she moved out of that apartment building everyone cried because they knew their protector Ms June was no longer there.

She was not wealthy by any means of the word (according to American standards). She didn’t have any possessions to leave behind, no lump sums of cash, but what she did leave behind was more than any heiress could dream to have. Ms June left behind a huge legacy; she left behind her faith in Jesus Christ. That kind of will makes more sense to me than any other. She didn't leave beind the odd things people normally do in wills, like 34% of the Farm, an old quilt, and collectable thimbles. Her strength while laying in those hospital beds helped us be stronger. The faith she had when told she had stage four cancer and would lose all her hair, that faith gave us more faith. Ms June’s will would probably read a little something like this:

“Dear friends and family, I love you so much, but don’t be sad for me, I’m with Jesus and don’t hurt anymore. I want you to know who Jesus is, He helped me get through that life and I pray I see you one day in heaven. Praise Him, because if we don’t the rocks will!”

Oh those words, “Praise Him, because if we don’t the rocks will.” June couldn’t wait to praise God because she knew He was worthy and if she didn’t something else would. She looked at worshipping Jesus as an honor and lived until her last breath loving and following Jesus. Thank You June for leaving us with your story, your faith, and strength. That is the kind of will I want to leave behind, isn’t it the best kind, one that is priceless and can last forever. So now we say goodbye, tomorrow is the viewing and Thursday is the funeral. As we lower her body in the ground, we know she is present with the Father, we know she is dancing with Jesus. Dance on June, what a beautiful will she left us, dance on, dance on!