the blessing and the mess of it

How is it that the political push for presidency has made a mad rush at the Advent stage?

I have friends – good friends of mine – who have reasons and schpeels and thoughtful arguments about who I should support in the next election. After being out of US politics for three years (not that there wasn’t plenty going on in Honduran politics to keep me occupied), walking around inside its borders feels like another case of the blind leading the blind.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful.

I’m thankful I don’t have to worry if the policeman pulling me over is legit.
I’m thankful there aren’t men with large guns guarding every fast food restaurant.
I’m thankful I can open my Bible in a coffee shop.

But, it’s not perfect.

Liberties, freedoms, greed, possibilities, money, truth, defense, cause… sin – the blessing and the mess of it are mixed together like a good, Midwestern casserole and sometimes it’s hard to tell what ingredients were thrown in.

Reminds me of the human condition – the blessing and the mess of it.

We’ve got people occupying Wall Street because there’s a bunch of money they don’t have.
We’ve got people marching in support of our troops, who are marching in other countries.
We’ve got people rallying to bring those troops home – for good.
We’ve got people protesting abortion clinics and people protesting the elimination of them.

We’ve got a bunch of sinners in this country, can you believe it? I don’t know how that happened.

Wait, yes I do. And I know the way to redemption. His name is Jesus.

God knew, before the foundations of the world, that we would make a mess out of His perfect Creation. He knew we would kill our brothers and hate our neighbors; that we would spit in the face of His provision and throw away manna like it didn’t just fall miraculously from the sky. He knew and He still provided a way.

His name is Jesus.

Nowhere in history can we see a glowing story of human victory over evil. Nowhere in history have we ever been able to redeem ourselves or pull ourselves out of the deep, dark pit called evil with our own strength.

There is a way.

His name is Jesus and God planned that He would be born into the blessing made mess called Creation, so that He might restore us into right relationship with our Creator.

O Come, O Come Emmanuel.

God, come and be with us. Show us the way into beautiful. Come, disperse the gloomy clouds and put death’s dark clouds to flight. Bring the brilliant light of salvation.

Jesus is the only way to truly see beauty in the blessing and the mess of this life.

THINK

When I worked in Austin, Texas, I saw this bumper sticker in the parking lot of the university I worked for:

“Don’t pray in my school and I won’t think in your church”

I realize bumper stickers are often cowardly ways to make big, bold statements, but this one rubbed me the wrong way. I wrote this blog post in reflection.

Now, three years later, I want to add a postscript to that blog post. John Piper has a new book out called, “Think” and it examines the questions so many raise and so few answer. Why do we have a mind? What is the purpose of thinking?

The Desiring God National Conference was actually going on this weekend and focused on just that – using our minds to glorify God, enjoy Him and share Him. I get goosebumps thinking about how our minds are made to glorify our Creator!

I’m off to worship this morning in spirit and in truth… glad for God’s design to engage my thoughts with His thoughts.

I wish I could post this video on the back of my car in bumper sticker form. Better yet, I wish I could live life proving this video true. How about that for a rebuttal?

Praise God from whom ALL blessings flow!

let LOVE FLY like cRaZY.

how foolish a coward

I am merely reposting this here. I wrote it originally in 2007.

I am a coward.
Oh man, oh man
I am a pathetic coward.

But I am healing, heavy
under the fragrant weight of mercy –
for words spoken, promises broken,
conversations averted, open doors ignored.

Unclean creatures caught tragically
among unclean others
soon, swiftly turn for familiar.
Freedom escapes and vernacular is tangible
what is left needs redemption

can these things be forgiven –
these repeat offenses?
the same voice stuck always
when its throat should sing the eruption
of song on the hazy horizon,
waves crashing,
storms threatening,
but glory well
living.

eyes set, jaw determined in a steady line
the words need said
to defend, clarify, and define
the glory made flesh

the Word.
offenses taken,
but please don’t mind my mind.
Fear crouches dangerous and
clings the edges of Truth,
making fuzzy the path
and curious the question

Oh, but the effort is so great;
the community meets,
lives, retreats,
but this conversation of confusion
.interrupts.

the Holy One is not pleased by
politics
not impressed by feet soft tread
on evil
He is glorified
in life, in death,
in good, in evil,
in perfection, in failure

He is.

how foolish a coward.
how foolish a coward.