every promise, always kept

We suffer the sale of cheap words, but we buy them still.
Every day their consequence cuts afresh the wound of our failure and exposes all the ways we fall short.

“The hill I’m walking up is gettin’ good and steep
but I’m still looking for a promise even I can’t keep.”

Brandi Carlile can sing. She can sing and boy! can she write. Her song, “A Promise to Keep” has been rolling around in my soul since she released a free EP on Noisetrade. When I listen to this song, my shoulders slump with sadness – a kind of resignation that wraps me in and weighs me down. The words are heavy bundles with long, painful sighs because the notes sing the melody of hurt.

Carlile sings hurt… maybe because she has suffered the sale of cheap words, but she buys them still. Maybe because she feels the consequence of fresh cut failure-wounds and is exposed to all the ways she falls short. It’s a humanity kind of failure – a shortsightedness that presumes another promise spoken, believed, and broken.

My shoulders fold in and my lip shakes a little and I hurt with her for the insufferable exchange – the buying and selling of promises.

I still talk to you in my sleep
I don’t say much cause the hurt runs too deep
I gave you the moon and the stars to keep
but you gave them back to me

The hill I’m walkin up is gettin good and steep
but I’m still looking for a promise even I can’t keep

I still lay on my side of the bed
I dance alone when the last bottle’s spent
memories like a river runnin through my head
I’ll have me an ocean before I’m dead

The hill I’m walkin up is gettin good and steep
but I’m still looking for a promise even I can’t keep

I still whisper sweet words to you
and when I’m busy, or have nothing to do
I pray to god, that my words ring true
and that your words might reach me too

The hill I’m walkin up is gettin good and steep
but I’m still looking for a promise even I can’t keep
I can’t keep it…

My hearts in pieces so please understand
I’ve tried to jump, but I’ve nowhere to land
so give me your heart and I’ll give you my hand
and I’ll try as goddamn hard as I can

The hill I’m walkin up is gettin good and steep
but I’m still looking for a promise even I can’t keep

She is desperate for an impossible promise and her grief is filling up oceans, recklessly hoping there is someone better than she. I get woven in to her grief like I’m knit right into the melody’s sweater. I croon it out my car windows and sing it to the silent roof.

Why can’t I find someone who keeps a promise these days?
Why can’t I keep a promise?

And with my heart freshly beaten, my soul cast down at our dreadfulness, I hear sweet words proclaimed from the pen of Paul.

For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you, Silvanus and Timothy and I, was not Yes and No, but in him it is always Yes. For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory. And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.
(2 Corinthians 1:19-22 ESV)

For the promises of God find their Yes in him (Christ).

Through Christ I can utter my beaten, battered, folded-in AMEN to God for his glorious promises kept to a suffering and obstinate people. Not one of us can sing Carlile’s song and not know her hurt. But, oh! that we might claim the AMEN in Christ – who was the fulfillment of God’s promises and evidence of God’s faithfulness.

God establishes us in Christ, anoints us, puts his seal on us, and gives us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.

The hills we walk up will get good and steep and full of suffering. But, even as we sing of our despair in broken promises, let us glory in the God whose promises are all Yes! in Christ. Every promise, always yes. Every promise, always kept.

let LOVE fly like cRaZy

do you feel salvation in your fingertips?

Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good,
and delight yourself in rich food.
Incline your ear, and come to me;
hear, that your soul may live
and I will make for you an everlasting covenant,
my steadfast, sure love for David.
Isaiah 55:2-3

Oh, the thousands of times I have not listened. And the thousands on top of those thousands that I have lacked diligence.

And, oh, the rotten food I have eaten as a result.

Listen.
Listen diligently.

These words dripped like the sweet sunshine that rushed to meet me in mid-afternoon – God’s reminder that delight always waits on the other side of diligent listening. His invitation hovers patient, woven through my schedule and rests the right kind of heavy on my heart.

“Child, if you just incline your ear and come to me… delight is on the other side and inside my words.”

Listen. And I will eat what is good, I will delight in rich food, my soul will live and I will enjoy an everlasting covenant.

On this side of the life/death/resurrection of Jesus Christ, these sweet words mean salvation. It means joyful abundance in the depraved, daily trenches of our days. It means being satisfied (Psalm 63) in a way the best home-cooked meal will always fail to do. It means tasting and seeing that He is good (Psalm 34:8). It means feeling life leap in our souls and it means experiencing a love with the certainty of an everlasting, covenant promise.

It means pushing myself back from the table of my rotten concoctions and trusting that delight will be on the other side of diligent listening.
It means stretching out my arms and feeling salvation in my fingertips.

 

let LOVE fly like cRaZy

Love You Swore

Happy Sunday, folks!

I just wanted to post something that might hit you right in the Sabbath sweet spot. John Mark McMillan just put out a new album on November 1 and this song is on it. I think it speaks to that fearful place in us – when we can see our depravity (our hearts’ shallow grave) and our immense need for the Love of our Savior. We can be almost fearful of our great need – and what that means about God’s mighty power to overcome it. What a mighty, mighty Love God possesses to have conquered death in the cross of Jesus Christ. What a mighty, mighty Love that allows us to love Him back.

Be encouraged, this morning to let the LOVE OF CHRIST fly like cRaZy – hold on to it in the eye of storm!

Chase me down like a lion
Like a bird of prey
Lift me up from the ashes
Of my hearts own shallow grave

Cause I know that I love you
But sometimes I’m afraid

Whoa oh…

Spare my body from the wolves, God
That crouch down at my door
Lift me up above the waters
And the sharks that guard your shore
Cause I know that I need you
But sometimes I know it more

Whoa oh…

Harbor me in the eye of the storm
I’m holding on to love you swore

more stories of God’s faithfulness

I’m just going to continue the comparison to a monument from earlier today. The ways God works and reveals Himself in our lives are like stones we pile up into mounds. Then, we can look back in the hard times and remind ourselves who the Lord is and His crazy faithfulness throughout history.

 

our TEAM from ALP

 

 

Read from Hiroshi about his experience:

First of all, I want to thank God for the mission trip. I want to thank all of you as well for praying for us while we were in this mission trip and for helping us financially so that we could be part of this trip. The mission trip was one experience I will never forget in my whole life. I am so happy I had the chance to be part of the group in this mission trip and be able to serve others and share the Word of God. So many amazing things happened in this trip that I don’t even know were to start.

The most important thing in this trip was how we were used by God to plant the seed in many people´s lives. As we were evangelizing, people opened their hearts with us and they were really nice and allowed us to spend time with them. As we were sharing, we learned how each person had some sort of problem and how they needed someone to help them. We were able to share how God is always with them and how they don’t have to do this alone. The most important thing was how we were able to tell them that accepting Jesus Christ in our hearts is the only way to receive salvation and how good works doesn’t get you to heaven. Even though they didn’t take the decision to accept Jesus and follow Him, we can be happy that we planted the seed and it’s their decision to receive that seed or not receive it.

Evangelizing not only helped other people to know about God, but it also allowed each one of us to learn a lot of things and grow in our relationship with Him as well. As we were sharing with all the people from the town, we learned how this people have all these struggles and we have all the resources to live, but we forget how blessed we are. It allowed us to remember how God is always taking care of us and how we should always give thanks to Him for everything we have. We should let our pride aside and realize we are nothing if we don’t have God. Evangelizing was one of my favorite experiences in this mission trip because I had the chance to talk to many people and learn things of them.

While we were in Valle, we had the time to spend some time with many kids in the orphanage. This was a really special experience. To see how this kids show love to each other and how they are always happy even when they don’t have all the resources is something that makes you want to cry. As we had a special night with all the kids, we were able to play some games and do some skits for them and share some testimonies. Once again, God used us to plant some seeds in many kids. I know that many of them took a decision to want to follow Jesus and change their lives.

Having the opportunity to serve by doing work projects, evangelizing and be with kids is something I wouldn’t change for anything. God blessed us the week on the mission trip and he used us being imperfect people to accomplish his perfect plan. Having the time to spend some time with the PCA people and have fellowship with them was something I wouldn’t change for anything as well. I had the opportunity to learn many things through them and knowing them helped me make new friends that love Jesus Christ as I do.

I am really thankful with every one of you. This mission trip has been one the best experiences I have had in all my life. While this week finished, I am more motivated to grow in Christ more and more and serve him every day of my life. I know that if every one of us being Christians serves in different places, many would know there is a God that loves them and wants them to be saved. I want you to now that I am really really thankful for helping me be part of this trip. God made amazing things during this week and He will continue to do His work throughout your lives and all of us here who are willing to serve the lord every day of our lives. God bless you all and I hope He keeps using all of you in many ways.

Wow. If this doesn’t motivate you to

let LOVE fly like CRAZY

I don’t know what will!

sometimes…

This is a day of many sighs. They aren’t all sad or overwhelmed, but there are just so many! As I sit in my office and finish up the tasks of the day, this sermon by Mark Driscoll is spurring me on:
Jesus Heals the Paralytic:

What a great reminder of the humility it takes to approach how we live out this Christian life.