Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Real Change

Change is all around me. My daughter is now driving as she races toward independence while my dad no longer drives and slowly slides into dependence. Seasons of life spin on. Yet, my life feels so unchanged from day to day. Circumstances are continuously different but real transformation keeps its distance. Short term progression becomes like Groundhog Day as I wake up again where I started. It is not fear of change but instead I stay wrapped in the comfort of un-involvement. The balance of being frustrated with the way things are remains tilted toward being too satisfied to change them. Inertia settles me in stillness, waiting for an outside force to inspire action. However, I know the force is not external but instead it calls from within if I will only listen and move.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Finding God

Is finding God a big secret? Christians constantly look for various activities hoping to find a path leading to Him. We fall prey to a misconception that God has hidden himself and we need some kind of treasure map to find Him. The quest becomes the map instead of the treasure itself.

God doesn't rollout a map for us. A map requires the reader to know where they are and plots what to expect down the road. I am not sure God considers that important for us. Instead God gives us something more like a compass. It does not pinpoint your location or layout what to anticipate ahead but instead provides a bearing to follow toward one place – true north. A compass has a single attraction and only needs the freedom to align itself toward that attraction.

God provides His children with our own compass pointing to Him. Deep inside us the Holy Spirit becomes that magnetized pointer seeking to align us in one direction. The world encumbers us but the heart is silently and continuously pulled toward God.

Thursday, April 30, 2009


It is important to see the Bible as a whole not simply unrelated chapters and verses. Writers were telling a story not providing snippets from which to pick and choose. True meaning is found in context.

With that in mind, I was struck when I noticed how Matthew's story changes between chapters 3 and 4. At the end of 3, Jesus had just 'fulfilled all righteousness' by being baptized, seen the Spirit of God descend and heard a voice from heaven say, 'This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased”. Wow, what an amazing experience!

But don't put the book away yet. Chapter 4 begins with the word 'THEN". The story continues. After Jesus follows God's plan THEN He is led by the Spirit to a desert boot camp. After He is publicly claimed as Son by God THEN the devil mocks Him with 'if you are the Son of God'. After the heavens are opened to Him THEN Satan entices Jesus to prove His power by using it for His own gain. In every situation Jesus was prepared for the THEN?

Working in the world of computer development, THEN is an important part of what we do. If A THEN B. Look for a condition THEN you get the result you establish. However, as Matthew tells us, the THEN may not be the results we expect. We imagine, "If God is pleased THEN I get blessings" or "If God's child THEN I should never experience troubles". Isn't that how we think God should work?

God did not make us like computers to perform by a script. Instead we must choose how we will handle the THEN. The circumstances were defined but Jesus’ attitude was always obedience. It is a change of perspective for me to see it as "If obedient THEN more opportunities to be obedient".

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Breath of Life

...then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils THE BREATH OF LIFE, and the man became a living creature. Genesis 2:7
God formed man from the ground. Not with a shovel to make a pile of dirt but as a potter forms something of use. Trying to grasp the image of the all mighty God leaning over to work the dirt by hand. Everything else He spoke into being but man he shaped, molded, formed, created each detail. Then the intimate connection between God and man took place. God gave man the breath of life. He passed to us the actual spirit of God. He made us in His image and gave us His Spirit.

How can I not be moved by that? God is the very breath I breath. He is a close as the air that surrounds me. While I do not often think of my physical breathing, it becomes all I am able to think about when it is cut off. How long do I go without the breath of life? How can I not be moved by that?

Friday, April 03, 2009

Forgetting to Remember

"God blessed the seventh day and made it holy..."
Genesis 2:2 and Exodus 20:11

While creating an entire universe in the beginning of Genesis, the one thing deemed holy was the seventh day. Everything else on the list was good or even very good but because God rested from his work on the seventh day it became holy. Okay, so God makes everything and it is good but when He stops making, it is holy?

Later in Exodus when God is listing those pesky 10 commandments to Moses on how to live in this world, the fourth one down tells us - "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy". Why is it holy? This happens to be one of two commandments God takes a moment to explain. Like any good Father, his explanation is "Because I made it that way". Six days work then on the seventh rest. Make one day different each week. Set aside and join me.

Has this become the least observed commandment? Wonder how many modern day Christian households define rest on a Sunday morning preparing for church? Or how many mom's feel rejuvenated after that big Sunday meal? Or what percentage of restaurant open because of the after church rush?

God rested then gave us rest. Holy was not in the doing but it was in the stopping. We are convinced that the world depends on us so we must GO every waking moment. God set a rhythm to everything, including us. He did not build a machine but someone to live in relationship.

Whether your Sabbath is Sunday, Saturday or Thursday, is there a day that is holy (set apart) in your life? Is there day you rest and enjoy? Is there any moment that time slides by with no doing but just being? I know my answer to those questions need a lot of work rest.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

In the beginning God created...

Recently started my fourth read through the Bible and I cannot get out of the first chapter of Genesis. The creation story provides so much to consider. So much said, so much left unsaid.

God speaks and from nothing an entire universe comes into existence. Was it six 24-hour days or six billion years called six days? Either way the power to create something from nothing leaves any comprehension or research of that creation limited to what the owner of that process wants to convey.

God ordered the universe.
Day, night, weeks, seasons, years - God built time.
Land, sea, sky - God built space and place.
Birds, fish, animals, plants, trees, us - God built life.

Big bang? What started the bang?
Evolution? What kicked off the first beat of life in the primordial ooze?

"In the beginning God created...". These five words set the foundation for the rest of the Bible and the rest of history. Those five words are the prerequisite to the everything else. If I have trouble comprehending something else in the Bible or something in life, consider those words in Genesis 1.

God's creation, God's plan, God's power, God's rule.

If only that were my starting point for the way I try to see everything.

It is all God's. It was nothing then God created. I was nothing then God created. Anything I 'have', God created. Anything I experience, God created. Just understanding it all is His creation, His plan, His power, His rule would make sense why I have so much trouble making those things mine.


Saturday, January 31, 2009

Random Thoughts

1. February is really the longest month of the year because it never seems like spring will get here.
2. People no longer have a clue what to do at a 4-way stop or maybe I don't.
3. How do people with more then 3 kids do it? One is a full time job for 2 adults in our house.
4. From what I can tell, happiness depends on doing what you believe and believing what you do.
5. The internet seems to have the answer to almost any question that comes to mind except why do i have so many single socks?
6. My desire for a new car is currently met head on by an even deeper desire of no car payments.
7. Staying in a hotel is fun until you do it 50-75 nights a year for 10 years.
8. TV is the biggest waste in my life.
9. You can never be anything you can't truly see yourself being.
10. Does Rhode Island have a low number speeding tickets? I mean the state is small and they are speeding.

Monday, January 12, 2009

What do you need to say?

What needs to be said today?

I have a few things:
1. To my wife - I am so much better because of that moment it took to fall in love with you.
2. To my daughter - You amaze me everyday with what you are becoming.
3. To my dad - I learned as much watching what you did as everything you said.
4. To my mom - I miss you and I regret there were things I never said.
5. To my sister - Thank you for keeping me in your life even when I was too lazy to keep you in mine.
6. To my friends - You have no idea how important it has been to share life with you.
7. To my God - Your grace and mercy know no bounds to allow me to be a part of your family.

Don't waste time. What is it you need to say?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Ticket to Heaven

I grew up in a small Baptist church. I had this view that when I became a Christian that it came with this all important "ticket to heaven". As long as I sat quietly and didn't get too dirty then someone would be by later to take me in. My Christian life was a waiting room.

It felt selfish. “If you don’t mess up, you get a reward.” Yet I was being told from the pulpit that even if I was thinking the wrong thing then I was messing up. It all seemed impossible. If I think something then it is the same as doing it? Do you realize what goes on in this head? How could I just sit and try to not to think and try not to do? Is that really what God wants?

So I did what it seems a lot of good Christian young people do when it comes time to start their own life. I quit. I never got involved with a church after going away to college. I didn't loose faith in God, I just didn't feel like there was anyway I could measure up to the church criteria.

So I became that "C&E Christian" - the one that shows up on Christmas & Easter and tries to be a "good person" the rest of the time. I mean after all I already had my ticket, right? Just check back in now and then to see if anything had changed. Nope, still seems the same rules apply. Those C&E sermons told me as long as I had a ticket the rest of the sermon was about those that didn't. My job was to try to stay awake and if everyone cooperated we would all be released in time for lunch.

When I begin to attend church on a more full time basis a few years ago, the light was slowly turned on for me. Christianity is not something to tie us down but to release us into what we were created for. It is not about what we shouldn't do but instead what we have the potential to do. As I begin to listen to Godly men and women, I learned God’s desire for me was more then having faith in a trip to Heaven. Yes Jesus came to die for me but his life was not one of simply waiting for the cross. His life was active – daily spending time with God the Father then going to where the people were and ministering to their needs.

To be honest, not sure what I am trying to say with this post but I feel like there must be other people out there stuck in that waiting room. If you are, I hope this blog helps but most importantly I pray you find wise Christian friends who are able to speak truth into your life. Don't just wait. Don't fear the failure. Go live the life God gave you specifically to live.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Be Ye Perfect

Recently completed “Mere Christianity” a classic by C.S. Lewis. His writing still rattles around in my brain about a verse that has rattled around in my heart even longer.
“Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” Matthew 5:48.
Lewis’ words took me to task.

I find a good many people have been bothered by what I said about Our Lord’s words, ‘Be ye perfect’. Some people seem to think this means ‘Unless you are perfect, I will not help you.’; and as we cannot be perfect, our position is hopeless. But I do not think He did mean that. I think He meant ‘The only help I will give is help to become perfect. You may want something less: but I will give you nothing less.’

That is why He warned people to ‘count the cost’ before becoming Christians. ‘Make no mistake,’ He says, ‘if you let me I will make you perfect. The moment you put yourself in My hands, that is what you are in for. You have free will, and if you choose, you can push Me away. But if you do not push Me away, understand that I am going to see this job through. Whatever suffering it may cost you in your earthly life, whatever inconceivable purification it may cost you after death, whatever it costs Me, I will never rest, nor let you rest until you are literally perfect – until my Father can say without reservation that He is well pleased with you, as He said He was well pleased with me. This I can do and will do. But I will not do anything less.’

An yet this Helper who will be satisfied with nothing less than absolute perfection, will also be delighted with the first feeble, stumbling effort you make to do the simplest duty. Every father is pleased at the baby’s first attempt to walk yet no father would be satisfied with anything less than a firm, free, manly walk in a grown-up son.

You must realize from the outset that the goal towards which He is beginning to guide you is absolute perfection; and no power in the whole universe, except you yourself, can prevent Him from taking you to that goal.