Friday, April 17, 2009

April 17, 2009

video

Watch for the upcoming album...

I don't know how many times I have watched the performance of Susan Boyle on Britain's Got Talent, but if you haven't seen it and are in the least bit tired of life or cynical and depressed, take a few minutes to watch the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9lp0IWv8QZY

If you can watch this without a smile on your face and a tear in your eye, check your pulse--you may be dead.

Spring Snow


Mercy vs. Justice

A situation occurred recently in which I was offended greatly, brazenly and in front of others for whom the actions would certainly offend and in front of whom my response can leave me open to ridicule, condemnation and shame. Actually, some of the people who would likely have been aware of the offensive actions of the other party would likely have made my life miserable no matter how I dealt with the situation.

My instant response (internally) was to take up a flaming sword and pronounce judgement and swift and terrible punishment. I wanted to yell and scream judgement. One of my flaws is that I often don't know what the right thing to do is in that moment. I often have to really step back and think things through to decide how to respond. Sometimes this makes me look weak in the eyes of others, and sometimes a situation is made worse because a simple thing could be taken care of right away with minimal embarrassment to either party, where the delay in responding adds a level of embarrassment to the other person that is needless.

This is not one of those times. This offense, the great and terrible offense, needed consideration and several hours of struggle and thought as to how to respond. At the ripe old age of 44, I really want to begin acting not from pure passion, but from wisdom fueled by passion. Even though my initial response would have been totally justified, some reflection and tears and prayer allowed for a solution that offered mercy.

In the spiritual gifts testing, mercy is not a real big one. I am learning however to show to others the mercy that God has shown to me. He has not dealt with me according to my iniquities, nor has he dealt out punishment sufficient to my crime. Actually, he did mete out punishment sufficient to my crime, but then he also took that punishment in the person of Jesus the Messiah. That punishment, deserved by me, he bore in his own body on the tree. So when I look at the person who has so offended me I have to consider two things, how I can show mercy and yet not damage the person if consequences should be given for their own betterment.

The difference here is that I have no right or authority to mete out eternal punishment, and even though he paid my eternal pardon, I often have earthly consequences for my sins. Even those, however, he often does not make me suffer in the full weight that I deserve. Have you ever noticed earthly grace that reminds you of the grace of God?

So this was my dilemma: to mete out earthly consequences that the offender richly deserved, and preserve my standing in front of others, or to show mercy and allow myself to be looked down upon by others and perhaps not provide the earthly consequences that the offender needs to end their destructive behavior. I erred on the side of mercy, but needed to know that the other party understood their offense and promised never to repeat it. For should the other party repeat it, they will suffer very clear consequences which will happen immediately.

What I am wondering now is if I should insist that the person apologize for their actions to the other people who witnessed and would be offended by the event? Would I be doing that simply to preserve my own reputation in their eyes? I don't know, but I think I will talk to the offending party to let them know that I believe they should apologize, but I will leave it to them to follow through. After all, the offended party is supposed to go to the offender, right? So if the other person takes offense but does nothing, isn't that a problem between the two of them?

Come on, Bible scholars... Let me know what you think.

Snowy afternoon.

When I started to write I noted the time and realized that it was way too late for me to be sitting around in my pajamas, snow day or not, so I quickly dressed and combed my hair. It's amazing how lazy the constant falling snow makes you feel. Perhaps it is a natural type of mini-hybernation that goes on. Coffee. Check. Snow report. Check. It's a fine day to put a pot of chili in the slow cooker and let it simmer away as you veg.

The internet and the many wonderful applications allow me to continue job searching even while sitting at home in my bathrobe. I do minimal pounding of the pavement these days, because it is so unfruitful. Plus, at a certain point in your career ladder, it isn't helpful any more, you know? People don't like having their day interrupted by you showing up unannounced and uninvited.

Well...I've taken a break to put chili in the crockpot, heat up some coffee and think about some things and have lost my train of thought here. I have so many things on my mind that I think it deserves a new post.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

God's Guy

I often keep names out of my posts, changing them to protect people's privacy, but today I want to tell you about a friend of mine. Ryan is a younger man, but a man of God, the likes of which I get to meet on occasion, and am priviledged to see and to be challenged in my faith.

Ryan is a guy who is sold out to God. He has determined to hold nothing back, no matter the cost. Knowing him makes me examine my life and pray in a new way, what am I holding back? I know other men who are sold out for Christ, but there is a special fire to this man, an annointing or a special call that shines.

It is not simply to honor Ryan that I write, but to say that Ryan would never take this kind of praise, but he would turn it back to the God who saved him. And this passion for God, to follow him whatever the cost is the passion that I want to burn in every part of me, burning out the trash, incinerating the sin, leaving me purified with the holiness and righteousness that can only come from our great God and Savior.

When I consider Ryan, I often think of Keith Green, another great man of God. While today some find him hokey, they were somehow not touched by the passion for God that burned through him. He ignited a generation to follow after God with their whole hearts. Whatever Keith had was not held back from the one who saved him. If you see YouTube videos of Keith, you see a simple, scrawny guy in ratty clothes and a white mans 'fro, pounding away at the piano and preaching and prophesying in song and speech. Of all the sermons I have ever heard, Keith's sermon about Matthew 25 has stayed with me for 30 years, hearing his voice each time I read that passage, and each time it is mentioned in a sermon, I hear him declaring it with fire and passion.

What I will likely remember the most about Ryan is "bring it on." Whatever it takes to know Him more, to follow Him more, Ryan's response is "bring it on."

If you are a reader of this blog, you will know that I am rather fond of talking about God's Guys and God's Gals. These men and women, both in the Bible and those of us following after, are called by God. Often the ways of God's Guys and God's Gals involve imprisonment, poverty, illness, ridicule, long periods of defeat, giving the message God gives them only to have no one listen. They are called to a rough road, but on that road God makes himself known to them in ways that he is not known to those of us on easier pathways.

If there is anything I can do to honor men like Ryan, it is to say to my maker, "Bring it on!" So if that's what it takes to know Him, to love Him, to honor Him, to be used by Him, I say, "Bring it on!"

O, won't you join me, men and women of God? What could be better than to be held in the palm of our Father's hand while the storms rage 'round us? In our pain, he draws near. In our sorrow, we begin to understand his sorrow. In our struggles, we begin to see his struggle in Gethsemane. In his presence we find peace that makes no earthly sense. In his hands there is healing that the world cannot provide, there is an opening of wounds that we cannot even locate so that his healing waters can flow in. In this we begin to know God more fully, more deeply. We are such shallow people. We will suffer much for adventure. We will suffer much to complete a marathon or to climb tall mountains, to bench press our own weight or more, to bike that punishing trail, how much more should we be willing to suffer for the ultimate goal of knowing God and following after him.

If you want to know more about Ryan and his wife and their next adventure in following after God, please go to: http://newcitychurchkc.org/ You can support them through your prayers and through your financial support.