I just read my wife’s post about how important it is for her to rest and was reminded of my severe limitations. Our exhaustion and need for rest are a sign of our weak and limited nature. We live just like that pink bunny that keeps going and going, but even it needs a battery change. God made us to depend on him for everything. We need rest. Ultimately, he is our rest. One day, we will live on and on with a full tank in his presence by the light of his face in the New Heaven and New Earth. Returning to work won’t feel foggy and groggy. All of our effort will be spent and full all at once. The strain and pain will be gone. The blood, sweat, and tears will be a distant memory, if at all. Until then, until Jesus returns, he’s wonderfully arranged for our rest and renewal by the power of his Spirit and his Word, and all of this, within his glorious creation. The weight of it lies in our trust in our God, the one who never, ever tires.
How will you find rest and time to recharge this summer so that you can live in full swing for God’s glory?
Rest is good. God rested. He wants you to rest. Trust him with your work.
I like Remember Me As A Time Of Day by Explosions In The Sky because it starts in earnest, progresses with normal vigor, and just when you think the tank is empty, it takes it to the next level. It says, “I’m not finished, yet.” It’s the old man, who lived his life without much flare. He fulfilled his roles, yes, imperfectly, but faithfully. You think he’s done, washed up, maybe even spent. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, pulling something from his sleeve, he’s got one more trick. Or maybe he has a complete series of tricks. The fireworks show has lasted long enough. We’re good until next year. No. It’s the finale we want. Bring the thunder. Make it pop. Cause our blood to rush and run the courses of our veins. Goose bumps. Make our souls sing the wonder of it all.
Our creative capacity and resilience in the face of hardship and failure is truly astounding. Even over a lifetime, which is hard to see by a quick glance. We can do more than we possibly imagine because God did the unimaginable. He became a man. We, fashioned in the image of God, are capable of doing the impossible because Jesus, the exact imprint of God’s nature, did the most impossible thing of all. He saved us. And isn’t this what we’re all about, too? The business of saving is written deep down in the recesses of our conscience. We value something. We’re valuable. We are valued. What will I save today? Who?
He made us to be, do, and go for his glory, which is no small thing. It’s natural to hold back and coast in to the finish line because it’s your due for whatever mistakes you made or imperfections you have. But God made us to give it all we’ve got in his power. Burn the ships. Quivering muscles. Second wind. Fight to the finish. Achy. Tired. Cautious. On your way out. But you’re wonderfully human. Many have gone before and made the earth stand still. You belong in their company. God will call time. Until then, old man, you got this. Something must be done. Someone must need your help. Jesus saved you, so go save and give more than you have. You’re not done. Make it rain and drop the mike.
In a way, whether we wander from haven to haven or blaze trails in search of treasure, we’re all walking sign posts. Some of us wear our signs proudly. Some ashamedly. Most of us cover some signs with our more famous ones, and then we paint some of them bigger than others. We’ve all got our signs telling who we are and where we’ve been. They tell a story of how we think, act, and speak. For me, my prayer is for the Spirit to lead me to daily repentance and faith so that the gospel story of Jesus Christ explains all of my signs, which in turn amplify the Beauty and Power of God. I want my story to look more and more like Jesus, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
Over the last several years, the story of the gospel has reinforced much of my approach to being on mission with my family, meaning, I am committed to a gospel intentionality with all my existing and potential relationships. I feel strongly more than ever that learning a person’s story and sharing my story overrun by the gospel is world’s better than any scripted evangelism methodology. And more than that, I believe Scripture is saturated with instruction and examples of gospel word and deed. Helping someone spiritually goes hand in hand with helping them physically, as well. Really leaning in to understand someone’s story and how God’s kingdom, Jesus’ cross and grace are missing from their signs is so very crucial to knowing how best to relate Jesus’ love and grace to them. People don’t realize that their story could get better, or that the real story is so good. Without the gospel, it hurts to tell our story. Our Spirit-led, grace-filled listening begins to soothe their soul. They want to know our story – made by Jesus. And then, Jesus’ good news cracks cold, stony hearts. Removes the mess. Slam-dunks a fleshy, vibrant heart with a thump and Ghost Pepper stuffed with transformation. Breathes Holy Spirit God into our sagging lungs and makes us new. We’re signposts for the glory of God, for his mercy and faithfulness.
Learn people’s stories, where they come from, where they’ve been, where they are, where they’re going. Then and all along, it’s show and tell time. The story goes like this: Jesus’ lead and your part in God’s grand story of life that really is and always will be.
Born in the USA
I’ve already left my birth country, the one which identifies my nationality, though this only recently. But, tomorrow, I will board a plane to a new country of residence, and this so happens to be my country’s most patriotic national holiday. It’s a telling reminder to me how attached we can become to pride of place and to our own sense of identity.
A Heavenly Country
Tomorrow, go ahead and celebrate humanity’s freedoms we enjoy, but let the small world patriotism point you to a much more glorious world of freedom from the tyranny of Satan, Sin, and Death. Let it stir and shake you up a bit for all who are chained by the power of this world. This new country is literally heavenly; it’s beyond this world, new and full of life. It’s renewed by the gospel and empowered by the Spirit of God.
Party Like It’s E-ter-ni-ty
You may think tomorrow’s fanfare gets out of hand at times, but you’ve barely cracked the surface on this party in the New Heaven and the New Earth. It will be uncontainable, and yet, Jesus has made a way for you to show up and enjoy it as he does. You’re allowed on the dance floor. You get to light as many black cats as you want, spit watermelon seeds 100 feet into the air, and eat homemade ice cream without getting a brain freeze. But, even these earthy delights pale to the white hot love and joy we will experience before the throne of God for all eternity.
Happy 4th of July!
Check out Matthew 6:19-33 & Philippians 3:20-21
Posts have been quite sporadic, nearly non-existent to say the least, over the last few months. Well, our life has gone through some big changes, so I haven’t made the blog a priority. Seeking a jump-start and more than happy to introduce to you my wife and her pen, I asked Meg if I could use something she wrote recently to give you a little window into our lives. Below are her thoughts about our life in 2012 so far:
There are so many things that I have hoped and prayed for our family and were answered just in this last month. So I have many, many ways that I see God at work in our life but just wanted to share a few. Also, I praise God for what He is doing in our church. Josh and I have experienced firsthand the beautiful expression of the body of Christ from strangers coming to help us move in, provide furniture, meals, plug our tire, bring us Gatorade on a hot day, gift cards, window units, and lovingly welcome us into our new community. This is all to God’s glory.
The last year for the 6 of us has been a crazy journey. Despite all the tears and hardships, I wouldn’t change it because it has refined us in ways that probably never would’ve happened. I have learned to let go (daily struggle of course) of this ideal of what our life should look like and trust in God’s providential hand upon our life. The 6 of us have lived with other families in 4 different spaces (not counting our current house) for the last year in 4 different cities (Kentucky, Massachusetts, and Texas). It has been crazy but all the while we have earnestly sought God and seen His graciousness upon us. We have experienced the body of Christ reaching out to us in these different places and we have been humbled by our overwhelming need for God and for brothers and sisters. Our kids have seen the need for prayer and seen God answer our prayers. We have all lived without our things for the last year and yet our needs were provided for as others shared their home with us. I have always had an open door policy in our home but after this last year of experiencing other’s hospitality it has a whole new meaning for me.
There are many more things I could share but lastly, Josh and I have learned the value of prayer and laughter. Laughter truly does bring relief from stress. I know it is only by God’s grace that the 6 of us can laugh and let loose in the midst of difficult circumstances.
So I hope as we continue on this path God has laid out for us that we journey together with eyes wide open for the work God has set before us.
BTW, the transitions are not over either. Sometime in the next year we will be on our way to Germany via Virginia and Vancouver, so please continue to pray with us and for us.
Also, the routes on the map above actually happened within one year’s time with six people in one car… really.
I want so much to be understood, to be counted, to be considered. I want to be remembered. I want to have influence, impact, and to leave a lasting impression. Why? Because of time. I am going to die. My name and my memory are all that will continue posthumously. What about me matters so much that others should remember so that it will enhance their lives beyond the bounds of time? Nothing. Only one thing may overpower the behemoth hands of time: the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Son of God became a man; he lived the life I was meant to live and died the death I was bent to die. He rose from the death of forgetfulness and complete obscurity to the most powerful and infamous place in all of existence. He stands in honor and victory at God’s right hand. His life, death, and resurrection were for the glory of God and for our good. He gave us chronological significance in his very real and very true story of making all things new. Not only will he always be remembered for who he was and what he did, he will be remembered for what he is doing and will do because of who he always will be. So the gospel changes my goal and mission in this life doesn’t it? I’m reminded of what Count Zinzendorf once said of his mission in life: “Preach the gospel, die, and be forgotten.” If only my life counts for any lasting value from now to the day I die, it is this same endeavor in which I journey, for this is to truly and fully belong to Christ (Gal. 6:14). My death promises nothing in return; his death promises and secures life and relationship with the God of the universe for those who believe in Jesus.
On Sunday, preach the gospel, die, and be forgotten.
On Monday, preach the gospel, die, and be forgotten.
On Tuesday, preach the gospel, die, and be forgotten.
On Wednesday, preach the gospel, die, and be forgotten.
On Thursday, preach the gospel, die, and be forgotten.
On Friday, preach the gospel, die, and be forgotten.
On Saturday, preach the gospel, die, and be forgotten.
For as long as one has breath, preach the gospel, die, and be forgotten.
Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead.
Elyse Fitzpatrick and her daughter, Jessica Thompson, write in their book, Give Them Grace:
“Raising good kids is utterly impossible unless they are drawn by the Holy Spirit to put their faith in the goodness of another. You cannot raise good kids, because you are not a good parent. There is only one good Parent, and he had one good Son. Together, this Father and Son accomplished everything that needed to be done to rescue us and our children from certain destruction. When we put our faith in him, he bestows the benediction upon us: “These are My beloved children, with whom I am well pleased” (see Matt. 3:17).
Give this grace to your children: tell them who they really are, tell them what they need to do, and then tell them to taste and see that the Lord is good. Give this grace to yourself, too.” (p. 50)
And later, they summarize this formula as a helpful way to process what they’re saying: “Good parenting in, good children out.” (p. 52)
The point is… no one is good, not one, and we all need to be rescued from our sinful-selves in a sin-filled world and we need protection from sin-soaked Satan. Jesus Christ is the only one, the one good Son, who rescues us, redeems us, stands for us, and reigns over all. He is our Lord and Savior. Parenting steeped in this gospel is good parenting and tastes like the grace and love of Jesus. Put that in their sippy cup.
Recently, I had the opportunity to preach at First Baptist Church in Weymouth, MA. It was an honor for me as we have enjoyed visiting them on several occasions. When you walk into the worship gathering at FBC Weymouth, it’s obvious that they have the joy of the Lord, which so happens to be their strength. It is clear to me that they know God’s goodness to them. I pray that they’re love for Jesus and for one another will grow and spill out all over the South Shore. Through and in Christ, their church is full of awesomeness.
If you like, you may listen to my sermon here: “Always Good”
If you don’t have the time, based on James 1:16-18, I say that God is always good to his children. He’s utterly good, unchanging, and ultimately irresistible to His children. He’s always good. Look at the person and work of Jesus Christ for us.
When I take one of my children out to spend some time together, we usually find our way to a local watering hole. For them, it’s a big treat to pick out and sip on a beverage all to themselves. Almost every time, our little adventure is concluded with a short sigh and “Daddy, are you ready to go so I can show so and so my cool/ fancy/ tasty drink?” I sit for a moment and think, “Yes, but what’s the hurry? Did this kid forget who got the drink for them? I mean there’s more where that came from.” Then, I say, “Sure. Let’s go.” We get home. “Hey everybody! Look, look! Daddy got me this cool/ fancy/ tasty drink. Wanna try it?! It’s so good.”
So it is and ought to be with us, our Heavenly Father, and those around us. He offers us the gift of his Kingdom, his Son, and his grace. What do we do with it?