17 February 2013

Hostage Situation

(Jamie, who has long billed herself as the Very Worst Missionary, blogged on how she felt realizing that she was now the Very Worst Pastor's Wife back in the states. This was my response.)

If you let them, they will hold you hostage. Who are "they"?


  • Your expectations.
  • Their expectations.
  • Your expectations of their expectations.
My wife never wanted to be a pastor's wife. God kind of snuck me in the pastoral back door. Because I didn't officially get a title from the local leadership, we didn't think of ourselves that way... but everyone else did. By the time we realized I really was a pastor we had just been ourselves for so long in the role it was easy to just stay there.

So, Rule #1: just be yourselves, and let your kids be your kids. I know that's your M.O., but there's this fear that we have to conform because we are in the United States of Christendom, and By God We had better Get It Right. Or Else.

I can't tell you what to do or not to do; that's between you and God. But I will say, "be true to God and yourselves." The Church needs leaders who aren't afraid of the people they're supposed to lead.

Actually, I guess that's rule #2. Rule #1 is let God be God.

Rule #3? Have fun. Like, seriously.

Rule #4: You need to come up with your own. Mine is hugs. Lots and lots of hugs.

(Something I wish I had thought to add: Most pastor's wives are really pastors, just without the title.)

15 February 2013

Valentines Day Prayer

"God, we want to be your valentines."

That's what popped out of my mouth at the end of blessing the food at the Notta Valentines Party for the young adult group tonight.

And we meant it.

10 February 2013

Face to Face

A few years ago I was in the middle of a worship service, telling God how much I wanted to see his face.

"Open your eyes."

I did.

"Look around. See all these people? There I am."

This happened a few more times over the course of the next year. And each time, I could see it more clearly.

We are all made in God's image. Your brothers and sisters shine with it. The face of the most miserable of the lost shows at least a glimmer of it.

I do not seek to make the created the creator. Rather I seek the image of the creator in his work, an image the creator tells us is there. Seeing the beauty and majesty in a great work of art is not idolatry; it is honor for the artist.

Yes, seek to see God face to face. But seek to see God in all of creation, and especially in the only bits of creation we know are made in God's image... people.

The kingdom is here. What will we do with it?

Inspired by a conversation with Pamela Nishimoto when she quoted Les Miserables: "To love another person is to see the face of God."

09 February 2013

When Dreams Invade Your Waking Hours

One of the many verses Christians can't quite seem to agree on is Psalm37/4:

"Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart."

Does this mean he will give us what we already desire, or will he give us better desires?

As with many other things, the question is posed as an exclusive-or, and either-or. I think it's a both-and. We always want to box God in, come up with a finite answer we can easily comprehend, point to, apply and forget. But an infinite and infinitely complex God doesn't fit in a box, and neither does anything he says.

God made us in his/her/their image. It says so right at the beginning of the Bible, in Gen 1/26-27:

"Then God said, 'Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.' So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them."

We are created in God's image. yes, there was a fall, and yes, we were born in sin, but we are redeemed, set free, made pure and holy, in the image of Jesus, the sinless, perfect one. God has desires (s/he desired companionship with us, for instance). We have desires. Unless those desires are in direct conflict with God, they are good, because a good God made good things-- including us.

God wants to give you better desires in some cases, but God also wants to fulfill many of the desires you have. I really don't care whether they were directly planted in you by God, or are just a product of who you are and the life you've lived. If it matters to you, believe away! But in the meantime...

It's a time of fulfilled dreams, desires becoming reality. I have seen this in so many lives lately. I believe it's true all over, but I *know* it's true in central Texas, from San Marcos up through Waco. I see it daily. And I'm seeing it unfold in Round Rock.

These desires and dreams span the gamut. I've seen people I love set free. I fulfilled a lifelong dream of visiting Carlsbad Caverns. I got to take my wife to see El Paso and so many of the things I loved about the west as a kid, and see the wonder and joy in her eyes as she experienced White Sands, the Painted Desert, El Paso, saguaro, and more for the very first time. I'm seeing marriages grow. I'm seeing men and women fulfill their destiny as pastors, prophets, teachers, and more. I'm seeing healings, giftings, you name it.

I'm living my dreams. Dreams that even a few years ago I had nearly given up on, until someone spoke life into them, and called me out of the dungeon I'd let myself live in.

I'm calling you out. There's light, and life, and power, and joy, and love, and peace, and much more out here. Unexpected treasure. Come dig with me, and let's see what we find. I promise you, Captain Jack Sparrow found nothing compared to what awaits us.