November 2005

“Pride is the enemy of the grace of God. And those who choose to walk with Jesus should expect that He will consistently and repeatedly confront them at the point of their pride so as to shatter it. He will do the very thing that your pride says He must not do. He will offend you. He doesn’t do this to push you away but rather to set you free. Jesus recognizes what we in our pride fail to see: Our arrogance is a prison, and until the walls of arrogance are broken down around our hearts, we will never be free.”

-Michael D. Warden
“Living God”
Christian Single Magazine, Nov. 2005

We are in Amarillo, Texas for Thanksgiving. For those of you who aren’t from Texas (pity you), Amarillo is in the Panhandle, about 350 miles northwest of Dallas/Fort Worth. The Panhandle is the part that sticks up into Oklahoma. There’s nothing out here but miles and miles of miles and miles. People don’t actually come to Amarillo, they pass through it going to New Mexico or Colorado to ski. My mom is in the hospital with a serious leg infection, so I suppose we are going to be having turkey and dressing there. I want to take this opportunity to wish each one of you a very Happy Thanksgiving. I hope you eat till you are stuffed and laugh with family till you cry.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately, about what does it mean to be holy. What does it look like to live a holy life? I don’t want the church answer, it never really tells me anything. But what does it mean to “be holy, as He is holy”? I think, for a lot of us as Christ Followers, being holy is a real stumbling block to living the life that Jesus said He came to give us: abundant and complete life. We never feel up to the task. If we are, as Peter tells us, “a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation,” then what is expected of us? I don’t feel chosen, royal, or holy. But I want to be. I want to be chosen, royal and holy without being elitist, condescending and pious. I want to know holiness with authenticy. Is that possible? I believe it is. And as I make this journey, join me in the journey if you like. Read along. Make comments. Do your own soul searching and let’s see where God takes us.

Oh, and please fasten your seatbelt. Make sure your seatback is in its full upright position.

His peace.

If you don’t know who Michael Redd is, that’s ok. He’s an up and coming star in the NBA, and in spite of what you might think about overly-paid, spoiled professional athletes, you must read this story.

Have you ever felt like you’ve stayed at the party too long? The chips are stale, and the coke has gone flat. All of the good food has been picked over and all that is left is the hard cheese. The conversation is such that lips are moving and all you hear is “blah, blah, blah.” Then you realize the lips that are moving are yours. It doesn’t matter anyway, you’ve already said what you have to say and now you are repeating yourself because, frankly, you’ve stayed at the party too long.

Anyone of interest, or that is interested, has left long ago, and you hang around hoping the party will get better, but it doesn’t. And you blame yourself because, well, you’re sort of the host. Occasionally someone new stops by to see what’s going on, but they don’t stay because there just isn’t anyone there or nothing exciting is going on to keep them there. All they hear is conversation that is going “blah, blah, blah,” and everyone looks bored, including you.

Have you ever felt like you’ve stayed at the party too long?

Yeah, me too.


Read this the other day on A New Life Emerging:

“You don’t see things as they are, you see things as you are.”

The sentiment of Rick’s writing is that we tend to project upon a particular situation OUR perceived reality, based upon who we are. My problem at the moment is that I’m not really sure who I am. At least in a spiritual sense.

In life we tend to define ourselves, on a very surface level, by WHAT we do. What’s usually the first question we ask someone we just met? “So, what do you DO?” Ah, you’re a student, accountant, teacher, whatever. Ok, that gives us a starting point. We assume, some of the time incorrectly, that what a person does really does define them because they are doing what they want to do, or at least have some interest in. I can’t imagine myself as an accountant, or a doctor, a banker, or any other occupation where I could make good money. No, I have to work in video production. But what does that tell you ABOUT me? Not much. However, WHAT I do seems to satisfy the depth of your interest in me, and I in you.

But on a spiritual level, a deeper level, who am I? At one time I thought I knew, again on a surface level. Not too long ago I was reading a blog that had a discussion going on between Protestants and Catholics about Purgatory. While the topic was way beyond my ability to join in and discuss (and, quite frankly, just beyond my interest level of where I am in my journey as a Christ Follower) I did make a comment. I replied to a comment about the use of some Scripture in talking about Purgatory, and how it looked to me to be taken out of context, or at least reading more into the text. That person’s reply invoked the writings of a couple of Saints and their take on it. My final reply said, “I’m a Baptist, and not at all familiar with the various Saints…” I wrote “I’m a Baptist…” as if that explained everything. And perhaps it did to the writer. But the more I thought about it, the less sure I was it said anything. My faith is a living faith. My hope is a living hope. And if that is the case, then it should be growing and changing. It should be dynamic and fluid, while still built upon the Rock. The more I learn about being a child of God, the more I should be changing into His image, not changing Him into mine. “You don’t see things as they are, you see things as you are.” And that applies to God Himself. I can’t define my spiritual being in terms of Baptist, Methodist, Catholic, Traditional, Contemporary, Emerging, or anything else for that matter. Paul said, “There is no Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” I must define my spiritual being on who God says I am. “Therefore since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us, and run with endurance the race that lies before us.” And I’ve got to learn what that means.

His peace on you all.

Read this last night and thought it was great. Part of Penny’s testimony from Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller:

“We would eat chocolates and smoke cigarettes and read the Bible, which is the only way to do it, if you ask me. Don, the Bible is so good with chocolate. I always thought the Bible was more of a salad thing, you know, but it isn’t. It is a chocolate thing.”


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