Monday, August 31, 2009

Gifts and me

I've been thinking about this whole spiritual gifts and the body of Christ thing. Every now and then I get a person (usually a young person) who would love to be in my shoes, and asks me "How did you know that this is what God wanted you to do?" I usually tell them that I came into work one day and the Holy Spirit had left a memo on my desk outlining what I was meant to do, but they don't usually think that's as funny as I do (which equals the story of my life, just ask Mike P).

In reality, for most of my life I had no concrete concept of a larger plan for my life. I believed that God had a purpose for my life, and I always hoped that it was more than just a paycheck and working in the church, but I really had no idea what that might look like or how I might get there.

I've taken several spiritual gifts tests over the years, but there's no "spiritual career path" for a combination of leadership, administrative helps, and compassion. I was frustrated at the lack of direction in using my gifts effectively, so I started saying yes to a bunch of different opportunities as they came up, regardless if I could say "I'm gifted in this area" or not.

As a result of that, I am now in a position that uses all of my gifts, and in saying yes to all of those little things, I see how well that prepared me for where I am now. I can look ahead at a job of dealing with kids of all ages, and see how God was preparing me to appreciate every stage of child development through saying yes to those opportunities.

All this to say that being faithful in service to the body of Christ may be how God is preparing us for an opportunity to serve in that area where we are perfectly designed to affect the lives of people around us.

Just sayin'.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Ok, I'll say it here for the last time: Matthew 6:21 does not by any means instruct Christians to give their money to worthy causes.

In fact, it says nothing about our use of money at all.

It seems clear from the two preceding verses that Jesus is contrasting "treasures on earth" with "treasures in heaven." He is not particularly excited about the earthly ones--such as money and anything it can buy. So, the refrain "where your treasure is, there you heart will be also" is not a budgeting dictate, because Jesus is telling us to invest in eternal treasures and to abandon sublunary ones. Unfortunately, some Christians like to use this verse as an slogan for financial management and charitable donations. These are wonderful things, obviously, but such thinking entirely misses the point of the verse; instead it ironically encourages us to be even more concerned about our money, putting us in danger of doing precisely what Jesus tells us not to do in the verse. Please stop misusing scripture. That is all.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Geography of Redemption

Again, falling upon words that are not my own...but wow, good.

"There is a geography to redemption, a way in which the ideals of
grace and renewal make themselves real in this world. All of creation
is groaning for its redemption, and we join in that chorus. We are
surrounded on all sides by the forest of our failures, our dirty feet
fighting the thorny underbrush. Or we wander the used-up cities of
cement dreams and strip-mall seductions. This is where we live. But to
us who are weary and broken, the God of redemption gives the plains,
and a view of the land we have yet to claim, yet to sow, yet to reap.
Here, there is space, and a chance, to make all things new...The land
of redemption, where signs of promise abound, where the reptiles
witness, where the rocks cry out, and where hope stretches as far as
the lazy eye can see. This is where we, with trembling hands, toil and
subdue. and where the rain of grace pounds the dirt until life breaks
through the mud and reaches for the sun..."-Caedmon's Call

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

I'm not sure how this happened

...but I've turned from the sour, pseudo-depressed and confused man of high school and college into someone who is legitimately happy.

Thanks, God