Saturday, July 23, 2011

Literary Vomit... I'll sort through it later.

How do I begin to relate the last week? It's been incredible. God has delivered brand new believers into our body. There were about a dozen kids and one parent who gave their lives to the Lord at VBS Oroville this last week. I learned about 100 new names and spent some time (not enough) with some very dear friends.

Let me put it this way...

I woke up in a dream. It was a garden of sorts, and everything was familiar, but different. Paved paths led nowhere and dirt paths would lead me wherever I wanted to go. All the signs pointed up, and the people I met were strangers, but loved me like family. I dug, I planted, I watered, I harvested. I reached into those little artichokes and touched their little hearts. I cared and tendered along with other workers a wonderful garden. We learned the names all the plants and rejoiced over them with singing.

I dug my toes in the soil and rested in the shade of creation. I drank from the eternal well and slept amongst the sweet sweat of a hard days work. I worked alongside a most valued friend and we worked together tired continually with smiles on our faces and encouragement in our voices.

It was a mountain we cast into the sea. It was walking on water. It was raising the dead and healing the sick and setting free those who have been captive. It was living by having faith and trust in the living God.

I did the work, but God gets the glory. The work I did is just a dim reflection as in a puddle of what God was doing beyond our vision.

You know that song that says, "if we are the body, why aren't His hands moving?" I don't know who that guy is, but I challenge him to come out of the studio and serve in a VBS. He'll be singing a different tune. Maybe something along the lines of "How Wonderful Thou Art."

Monday, July 11, 2011

Don't think I'm really dead.

So I just died tonight. I bared my chest and let myself be stabbed. I fell forward and could feel the blood flowing from me and engulfing me. The empty space left inside my chest pained as the cool air rushed in to fill the space. It's so hard to sleep when you die.

I was actually lying in bed after a hard phone call. If God made me a cryer, I would dehydrate myself with sorrow. It's not so much as what was said as what wasn't said.

Diversion tactics.

Defensive maneuvers.

I am not the enemy.

"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under [her] wings, but you were not willing!" Matthew 23:37

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Love and Relationships

So lately, I've dealt with a lot of relationships. Not my own, but for some reason I've had a few long conversations about it recently. And although I thoroughly preach against dating, it seems to happen anyway and I'm helping people deal with their break ups or problems with their boyfriend/girlfriend.

One of the questions I ask is why. Why do you love him or her?

Answers are usually along the lines of: funny, smart, cute, pretty, hot, Christian, etc.

And although those are attributes of a person that you may like, they are weak reasons for love. How many of those things would the person have to lose before you stop loving them? How many of those things were we when Christ died for us?

This, in my waking understanding at 6something am, is love:
I'm giving you my heart, fully knowing you are going to break it and drop it and stomp on it and desecrate it, either willingly or unwillingly, but I will pick up the pieces, wash them off, put them back together, and give it back to you just so you can do it again. And I will do this over and over until I die or Jesus takes me home.

I believe we choose to love, not choose to feel love as if it were a noun, but choose to love as if it were a verb. We love when it's hard. We love when it hurts. We love when it seems impossible and we are being abused. We love when we can't take it anymore and all our friends tell us that it's hopeless. We love because we were first loved.

Now just because we love doesn't mean we get into relationships. I can love friends that way and never date them. Love doesn't equal sex. Love doesn't equal marriage. Love doesn't equal attraction. Love equals sacrifice. Love equals loss. Love equals suffering. If you are not willing to suffer at the hands of the one you love, you do not love that one. You love you.

Therefore, dating is not the expression of love. Dating is the cheaper form of marriage. People date because, for whatever reason, they don't want to commit to marriage and settle for dating. The more I deal with it, the more I hate it. The more I see of it, the more I see the destruction it brings. As I see those two who are dating grow closer together, the more I see them grow farther from others who love them and hurt and suffer for them. It's an imitation of what God made to be between a man and a woman and we are selling out. God has given us His heart, and we break it and drop it and stomp on it and desecrate it. And He just keeps handing it back so we can do it again.

How He loves us is wonderful. I love my God.