Monday, April 28, 2008
The question of motive is a difficult one. Am I walking with God or walking with myself? I’d imagine everyone has asked this at some point.
Too often I allow this crisis of motive to paralyze my decision making. I’m always “waiting to hear from God” or “praying about what He wants me to do.” On some level that process is a good one. We should seek the Lord when making significant (and even minor) decisions.
Yet this method of decision-making can also present a lack of faith in Him. Ultimately I should trust that He has “trained” our hearts in such a way where we can follow our instincts. Revelation 3:7 tells us that Jesus has “placed before you an open door that no one can shut.” That’s the sort of thing we (or at least I) always focus on. Depending on His will, we can do anything. We've heard that before. What deserves equal focus is the second half of that verse, where we’re told “what he shuts no one can open.”
The "what he shuts no one can open" part of the verse is one we should focus on once we make our Great Big Decision. This is when I should ask for God to make obvious if the decision was based on the God – Mike partnership or on the Mike – Mike one. If it’s the latter, I have to trust that He’ll close the door. Once He does that, no one can open it.
(especially not someone who still relies on peanut butter and jelly to get him through his day)
Friday, April 25, 2008
Sometimes for me that has been a shaft of light through storm clouds or a sunrise or something like that.
Last Wednesday it came on NW 21st Ave on my way to happy hour through the inconspicuous guise of NPR.
Apparently this last Monday something virtually unprecedented happened at the Metropolitan Opera House. An audience was so moved by a performance that Peruvian tenor Jose Diego Florez gave an encore. They played part of his aria and my heart caught in my throat.
I have no idea what the premise of the opera 'The Daughter of the Regiment' is, or what Florez was singing about, but I think I may have come to a complete stop on the sidewalk while I just basked in the sound of that song. The sound felt like tangible beauty, and has been haunting me since Wednesday night.
You can listen to his performance here: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=89884693.
I have no idea why this song made me feel that way, but moments like that remind me that the Kingdom of God is pressing in all around us, if we are only aware.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
People love to pretend they're open to all religions. I have my doubts. I think what they're really saying is "I'm open to all religions the media tells me to be open to."
(note: if the person saying that were a grammar snob s/he would probably avoid ending in a preposition and instead opt for "I'm open to all the religions to which the media tells me to be open)
Think about it: do you ever hear people or "the media" defending Mormonism? Christian science? Scientology? Absolutely not. I certainly can't ever remember hearing it, anyway.
The term "freedom of religion" exists a) so people can avoid offending other people; b) to protect the powerful religions; and c) so people can use this as a way to justify not coming to Jesus (i.e. "I believe anyone who believes in a religion goes to Heaven" and that sort of thing).
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
"I think we'll keep praying about [whether or not to move to the Congo]. We know that the safest place in the world to work is where the Lord wants you to work."
Amen, my man, Amen!
Monday, April 14, 2008
I think the main reason I love the story of Gideon and his little army is that it does seem so preposterous. Which is why we know God had to have a hand in it. I mean, God actually told Gideon his army should be smaller so the odds were so incredibly against them, they could only give credit to God.
Probably my favorite part of all is the dream the man in the Midianite camp had involving the barley loaf coming in and destroying everything.
One, because the mental image of a loaf of bread being that powerful and actually causing fear is just a bit funny. Two, because the meaning behind it is quite fascinating. A loaf a barley bread was considered not the greatest food of the time. Perhaps the Ramen noodles of the day. And it was an interesting way for God to show Gideon to trust Him, that his army could win this battle as they were the equivalent of a little barley loaf. So often throughout the Bible, God uses people/ things the rest of the world sees as insignificant. Really, no glory can be attributed to anyone but God because nothing could be accomplished without Him.
(A side note on the cartoon: I realize the barley loaf is saying "Midians" when the correct term would be "Midianites". This is actually intentional as a barley loaf would be uneducated. Yes, I have thought too much about this.)
Friday, April 11, 2008
(Sidenote: I'd never seen this movie 300 but got all excited because I thought it was about this section of the OT. Apparently that's not the case. Woulda been cool though)
(Especially since multiple people have told me I look egg-zactly like one of the main characters)
Soon thereafter, I started thinking about whether I actually believe every word of the Bible. Ten foot tall giants felled by a slingshot? A man hanging out in a whale's mouth for three days? Every living organism crowded onto a single ark? Seemed pretty improbable. Did I really believe in ALL of it?
Then I mulled it over from the other person's point of view. Would Gideon believe that I could sit here at my dining room table, typing on a white box that could somehow transmit my words to every corner of the globe? Would he believe there are faster means of transportation than walking or riding donkeys? I mean, just think of all this stuff. Driving in cars. Watching movies. Flying across the country in five hours. Taking a pill to help your headache disappear. Pressing a few buttons and being able to unfreeze food.
Point is, I know I tend to view these events from thousands of years ago as being completely unlikely and borderline false. But what would Gideon (or any Biblical character) think if he were reading about my life? Would the technological age make any sense to him? Somehow I'd imagine this seems improbable as well.
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
I heard about this story on NPR the other day where, as an experiment, they placed a professional violinist in the Metro station posing as a street performer to see how people would react. Obviously, the music was beautiful, but the overwhelming majority of people did not stop or take any notice. After a stellar performance, a grand total of $32 was all he made. The main observation was that most people were just too busy or focused on anything else to pay attention.
This reminded me of awhile back when we were discussing the homeless population and the majority of people refuse to even look them in the eye. We've become apathetic and ignore the poor, the street performers, the people begging on the street. But just like the people at the Metro station missed an amazing, beautiful performance I think there's so many times I miss something really beautiful too. Each of these people has a story, has a life, and is loved by God. I should take more time to listen.
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
My addiction to comfort
How cool I apparently think I am
Seriously?! It's the fifth ingredient behind the chunks of fruit, but AHEAD of the cherries! Also, this pre-packaged serving is not, in fact, one serving, but two. Why? What the crap is the point of putting two servings in one un-resealable package?! (Who knew fruit could enrage me so much?)