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God is…

GOD IS here, GOD IS happy, GOD IS singing, GOD IS loud! He is crazy about you and He doesn’t care who knows it! This is going to be a good week, a real good week. Get up! Join in! Sing loud and be glad! Over and out.

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Rumblings

Connection is the cure.

Isolation is the disease. Connection is the cure. What and who we connect with matter.

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Rumblings

Friendship’s a tricky thing…

Job 36:1 | Here Elihu took a deep breath, but kept going…

I try to read through the bible each year. Right now I’m reading about a man, Job, and one of his friends named Elihu who “took a deep breath but kept going,..” He probably should have taken a deep breath and remained silent:-) He learned that day that friendship is a tricky thing.

Beth and I were going to be married. Six more months and we would be husband and wife. With our marriage on the calendar, I remember sitting together one evening on a sidewalk somewhere talking. I wondered out loud about how awesome it was going to be to be married to my best friend.

I waited.

No response.

I took a deep breath and kept on going…

Turns out Beth and I weren’t best friends. I learned that evening that friendship is developed over time. I was going to marry a woman who one day MIGHT become my best friend (she was not making any promises:-) but on that night, on that sidewalk, she wasn’t assuming it was going to happen.

Friendship is a tricky thing isn’t it?

Sending someone a note asking, “ Will you be my friend [ ] YES, or [ ] NO?” Usually doesn’t result in gaining a best friend. Neither can we simply say “I do” and expect to instantly become best friends.

FRIENDSHIP REQUIRES TIME. We can’t be friends with someone with whom we never spend time.

FRIENDSHIP REQUIRES RISK. We can’t be friends with someone without revealing who we truly are. A huge risk.

FRIENDSHIP NEEDS BOTH SHARED ADVENTURES AS WELL AS SHARED BOREDOM. We can’t be friends with someone without embracing the gaps; those times in life where “nothing is playing.” Friendships are not one long, never ending, always building, adrenaline rush. Instead they are made up of mini-adventures, interspersed with long gaps of ordinary life, all of which are experienced inside the grand story being written by God.

Friendship is a tricky thing isn’t it?

It’s extremely rare yet found everywhere.

It’s elusive and yet available to everyone.

It’s worth more than any material possession and yet taken for granted when possessed.

Everyone longs for it but few embrace it.

It can be screwed up in a moment, and in rare cases be regained just as quick. In most cases not so quick.

Friendship is a messy proposition. It will include misunderstandings, disappointments, and frustrations. Yet, the promise of gaining a friend; being accepted just as we are without pretense or shame makes whatever the cost worth it.

Beth and I went through with the wedding. I decided that Beth did NOT need to be my best friend in order for us to get married. She assured me that it COULD happen eventually, given enough time together, enough risks taken with one another, enough ordinary life shared together.

I’m not sure when exactly it happened but if you ask her, she on most days would say we’re best friends.

Something for which I’m extremely grateful!

Over and out.

John 15:15 | No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. 

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Rumblings

I found my voice again.

I don’t know when it happened. It just kind of did. I stopped playing my guitar and along with it, I stopped pouring out my heart to Jesus. Doesn’t sound good does it? I still would read my Bible and write in my journal, and pray. But the raw, loud, passionate cries of my heart, confessed out loud to Jesus just kind of stopped.

Maybe I experienced one disappointment too many. Or maybe I lost my way without realizing it. Or maybe I decided it was time to grow up and get on with life. After all, Jesus doesn’t need to hear my cries and see my tears. Right?

But this evening things changed. I found my guitar and I found my voice and my overwhelmed heart began to sing…again.

It all began on the way to church yesterday. Before leaving I was reminded of an old song we used to sing in church entitled, “In the Presence of a Holy God.” Beth found a version of it on YouTube. We listened to it on our way to church and I sobbed. I was undone. (If you do not know what it means to be “undone” check out Isaiah 6. Here’s the link http://www.esvbible.org/Isaiah+6/)

And then tonight I began to sing that same song to Jesus. Just Jesus and me having a moment together. That song led into another and then another. And I was undone all over again.

The holiness of God. The generous love of God. The brilliant plan of God. His goodness. His refusal to give up on me even when I have wandered away over and over. All of this crashed over me like a wave resulting in profound gratitude and utter relief. I’ve been made holy by the only one who is holy and I didn’t have a thing to do with it!!! I thought I was lost but it turns out I’ve been found!! I thought I was dead but it turns out I’m more alive than ever. I thought I had failed but it turns out I’ve exceeded expectations!

Maybe tonight was an exception and I once again will just kind of stop singing…or maybe tonight was the revival of something old made new.

Maybe Jesus has been wanting all along for He and I to meet man to man…heart to heart, like we used to do before I put my guitar away.

Maybe I’m the best version of me when I’m passionately and intimately connecting with Jesus, the one who no longer calls me a servant but rather, calls me His friend; the one who created me in the first place:-)

And maybe the same is true for you. Over and out.

(Below are the words to one of the songs used by Jesus this evening to break my heart…)

God so loved this whole world
That He gave his only Son
And if we will cleave to Him
We’ll not perish
But we’ll have eternal Life
And we’ll never be condemned
For God’s promises are Yes and Amen!

Though we walk through dark days
Where the earth and heavens shake
Through the valley of despair
He is with us
Never giving up on us
Faithful and forever friend
For God’s promises are Yes and Amen!

Through the cross we are saved
In the blood we put our faith
For there is no other way
In to heaven
Jesus conquered death and hell
Promised to return again
And God’s promises are Yes and Amen!

By Godfrey Birtill

 
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A Confessed Life

Any decision made when God seems unsafe and I feel inadequate, will probably be a bad one. Better to pause and figure out what is making God seem unsafe; determine what is making me feel inadequate. Better to gain a better perspective on God and myself before making a decision. How do I get a better perspective? One way is through the practice of a confessed life. Daring to say out loud what I think and feel about God and myself in the company of a few others brings clarity and sanity. Practicing a confessed life is a great way to renew my mind and enjoy the process of being transformed into the man I’ve been created by God to be.

So here’s to a great day. God is approachable and good. With Him I’m more than adequate.

Over and out.

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Rumblings

Motion requires emotion.

Love this quote from Curt Thompson’s book entitled “The Anatomy of the Soul.”

“The origin of our word EMOTION is grounded in the idea of e-motion, or preparing for MOTION. That is why the phenomenon of EMOTION is deeply tied to ONGOING ACTION or MOVEMENT. We cannot separate what we FEEL from what we DO.”

I’ve always equated good decision making with emotion-free decision making. Maybe instead of turning down my emotion I should tune in to my emotion…pay attention to my emotion…value my emotion as the very thing that gets me moving upward and onward…or downward and backward:-)

Time to pay attention to where my emotions are taking me. If I’m moving, it’s because there’s an emotion in there somewhere propelling me.

Over and out.

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Rumblings

BUT WHY ME?

“Moses answered God, “But why me? What makes you think that I could ever go to Pharaoh and lead the children of Israel out of Egypt?” “I’ll be with you,” God said. Exodus 3 “Peter broke in, “Even if everyone else falls to pieces on account of you, I won’t.” “Don’t be so sure,” Jesus said. Matthew 26

Two men deeply loved by God. One asking “Why me?” The other asking “Why not me?”

One, not so secretly longs to be somehow disqualified. The other is pretty sure he’s over-qualified.

One is confident the thing he’s being asked to do will not work. The other, knowing not what to do, is sure whatever needs to work, will.

One is “corrected” for not wanting to do what God is calling him to do. The other is corrected for being overly ready to do what he’s not being asked to do.

However, both will discover that only one thing matters. God’s engaged presence. EMMANUEL. In fact, Jesus’ answer to every fear, lack of resource, impossible circumstance, or overwhelming temptation is Himself.

Where Jesus is, our freedom to live as we are created by God to live flourishes, and our bondage to those things holding us back shrivels.

Moses learned this. Peter learned it as well.

As for me? I’m learning. Some days I forget. On those days, Jesus’ kindness toward me is amazing. He has placed me with others who help me remember. They help me hear the faith producing voice of Jesus.

[your name here], I am with you when you don’t know what to do. And [your name here], you better believe I’m with you when you think you do:-)

Over and out.

Can you think of a time where you wondered “Why not me?” A time when you thought more highly of yourself and your ability than you should have? As a spouse? As a friend? As a parent?

Can you think of something God has asked, or is asking you to do that makes you wonder, “Why me?”

When are you most likely to FORGET that it is the presence of Jesus, EMMANUEL, that makes all the difference. Do you have people who help you REMEMBER? What does His presence look like in your life?