Lazarus was dead and Mary and Martha wanted to know where Jesus had been. “Why didn’t you stop this from happening? Where were you?” In the midst of their anguish, they wondered why He didn’t do something to ease their pain.
But Jesus knew that life is not about comfort. He knew His Father had something better in mind. So he wept with them, then called their brother back from the dead!
CIY today is about His presence – even in our struggles. His work, through even the most painful experiences, to strengthen our faith and increase our capacity to bring glory to Him with our lives. I can’t help but thinking of Steve as we’ve discussed this today. His story of his son Max… Check out the link to his blog (Breath Fire) for a picture of finding God’s presence in the midst of struggle.
Whatever may be falling apart in our lives, God would say to us, “I am here.”
Last night’s main session went great. Dusty Frizzell talked about how life gets messy, and we fail, and God pours out His grace. He made a comment about Jesus messing up the way we think our lives should be and then we just don’t know what to do. Like he did with the disciples. Just when they think he’s gained enough attention to take over town, he goes and gets himself crucified! “Now what, Peter!?”
“I don’t know, you guys wanna go fishin’?”
Check out John 21 to see how Jesus led them beyond normal because of his grace (especially Peter).
Finally got to a point of time and availability where I can send out an update (i.e. I’m not currently piloting a 15 passenger silver bullet).
I’m in Durango this week with the CIY group. The drive out was pretty long, but we’re here. We stopped yesterday at Royal Gorge – the world’s highest suspension bridge. It was awesome. The river below is, well…. it’s WAY below. Shaun and Dan and Cady and I all did the Skycoaster. 1200 feet above the canyon floor suspended in a harness on a cable, “swooping” by at about 50 mph! It was quite a swing… After that, the drive over the pass and through the canyon was incredible. I love being back in the mountains.
The theme for the week of conference is “This is me” – God revealing Himself to us. Today we’ve gazed into the depth of His grace. He truly is grace and love, which was the focus of last night’s first session.
I’ve really been hit with how I strive for perfection in so many things. I don’t want to show any holes, I don’t want to not know something that I should, I don’t want to need… Often that ambition for perfection is a pathetic attempt to earn God’s love – or at least to make myself worth loving. What a stupid way to live. He has already made me worth loving and nothing I do can change that.
I’ll be leaving Sunday for a couple weeks, so I’m not sure I’ll have a chance to post for a while. When I can get access to a computer, I’ll try to keep things updated.
I’ll be taking a group of high school students to Durango, CO for a week long CIY conference. Christ in Youth is a great organization that’s shaping the future and the present by impacting youth and youth ministries is some awesome ways. (I’ll be teaching an elective class this summer 3 times at conference, so pray that goes well.)
Following the week of conference, our group will head down to Globe, AZ for a week working with some good friends of mine at Arizona Reservation Ministries on the San Carlos Apache Reservation. I’m looking forward to seeing Tory & Kara and Duane & Susie again, but mostly I’m really anticipating God working in our students and bringing them to new levels of love for people.
Many have already heard the popular quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer that says, “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.”
Indeed, Jesus calls us to ‘take up our cross’ if we are to follow him. Can you imagine being lost out in the desert alone? No water. No food. No hope for survival. Suddenly a man steps from behind a rock and tells you to follow. So you follow. As you talk, you discover that he’s been here in this desert for quite some time. He must know how to survive!
Then he hits you with the truth. He’s survived the desert because he died there. What? He knows the secret to living where no man can live – you have to die!
That scenario just doesn’t make sense does it? You can’t live if you’ve already died.
But that’s exactly what Jesus did and exactly what he is doing and exactly what he calls us to do. Where we may say “You can’t be alive if you’re dead.” He says “You can’t really live until you’ve died.”
What do you think?
I had a nice, relaxing Father’s Day yesterday. I love being a dad. Our youngest son climbed out/fell out of his crib after nap time, so we pulled out the old toddler bed. Our 3 yr. old son fell in the toilet while playing in the sink, so I threw him in the tub – he hadn’t flushed yet! Our daughter actually had a fairly benign day with no major melt-downs.
My wife and I wondered what we did before we had kids. I said homework and quick trips to Estes Park… But I understand a little more fully, the love of God for His children – now that I have my own.
I love the kids in my youth ministry. I pray for them and would do just about anything to see them loving God more completely. But nothing compares to the way I feel about my own kids. There is nothing I wouldn’t do for them. To see them passionately pursuing their God given ministry will be more joy to me than anything I can imagine.
I thank God for the Godly father he provided for me. I pray I’ll follow the example he has been for my brothers and me, of a man pursuing His Father as he leads his family through the unknown.
A friend of mine just e-mailed me this link to an awesome soccer video. It takes a while to load, but check it out…
I had a kidney stone Sunday. I woke up about 5:00 with a little pain that kept getting worse. Finally at about noon, I went to the ER where Dave hooked me up with some wonderful pain medication and a ton of fluids to try to push the stone through my system.
The stone passed on Monday morning and I spent the rest of the day recovering. Kind of had a morphine-hangover headache, so Monday wasn’t too pleasant either. I feel much better today, though, but still kind of ‘off’.
This is the second time I’ve had this – and from what most of what I’ve read, I’m guessing it won’t be the last. The first time I was in about 6th Grade, much too young for kidney stones, but…
Just some advice…DRINK A LOT OF WATER>>>
Ok, so I’ve been dialoging with a bunch of people from everywhere over the past couple days about some stuff that is bouncing off the inner walls of my cranium like a bunch of subatomic particles in a bathtub. (I have no idea what that would really look like but at this point…who cares!)
We’ve been talking about the emergence of technology and how the fusion of personality/humanity/technology has created a new kind of person. This person lives in cyberspace as much as he lives ‘here’. How do we use technology like blogs and msn and whatever else is coming down the pipeline to be Jesus in that world?
The question that I asked a couple days ago on this blog is rolling around in all of this too… What defines the church? I’ve wondered what a church without walls would/should look like for a long time – I’m now seeing one possibility. The self imposed boundaries (masks) that exist in face to face interaction (even in the church) are often (though not always) set aside upon entrance into the ‘blogosphere’.
I know, I know, there are definite dangers present in the anonymity of cyberspace, but can you imagine how deeply we could connect with each other when we lay aside all pretense? And in drawing near to each other with intent to draw nearer to God, how we could strengthen the community of the Kingdom?
This stuff may make absolutely no sense to you, but I hope you’ll consider this: the world is plugged in as never before. If we are going to be “Jesus with skin on” in this world, we’ll have to be “Jesus in binary…or html…or java…or pdf…or…you get the picture.
It’s been said by well intentioned people that students are the future of the church.
But if that’s so, what are they now? pre-church disciples? not-quite-ready-for-primetime parishioners?
No. A bunch of kids following Jesus through life, shining his light in the dark corners of their world….is the church – now.
Where did we get the idea that only a “mature believer” is a part of the church, and immature ones have to live in a holding pattern until adulthood?
On the other hand…
Were the leadership of a local community of believers entirely in the hands of 16 year olds….whoah! Can you imagine the passionate, disastrous course of that church? Yikes! They might go down in flames, but what a way to go! (A much more attractive alternative than the grey pre-death rigormortis that many churches have chosen.) And what Phoenix could God raise up from the ashes of the young church’s plight?
I know, I know…this argument is way oversimplified. But the church has segregated itself by age far too long. Young and old are not diametrical opposites. Young and old are part of the same Body. What if leadership teams did include some youthful perspective? What if the enthusiasm of youth was directed toward building the Kingdom – not the youth group? What if the wisdom of age tempered the steel of young passion?