Archive for May, 2009

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One of our own

May 28, 2009

I didn’t know Scott Resnick very well.  I went to Mexico with him on a missions trip, went to church with him, and went on vacations with his family, but he and I never connected deeply.  He was honestly a bit of a mystery to me, because he and I were wired very differently.  But I watched him, observed him, and respected him.

I watched the way he treated his kids, watched the way they respected and loved him and obeyed him.  I watched his love and zest for life, always pushing the envelope and living fearlessly.  I watched the way he quietly made connections with high school students, making time for them and investing in them.  And I also watched and listened to how Holly looked at him and spoke about him, both before and after his death.   She deeply loved and respected him as a husband and father. 

So while I am sad Scott is gone, my heart breaks with yours today much more for Holly and the kids that survive him.  Holly is one of those people who every time I am around her, I feel privileged to have spent time with her, truly blessed to have been in her presence.  There are some people in the world, whose level of authenticity, humility, and depth coupled with their kindness just make them gold, and that is Holly.   Holly is someone you can trust. 

I find myself today just grateful beyond words to belong to a community that can respond to Holly and her family.  I, along with you, am her church family, and we have a special role right now, and for the rest of their lives.   As I grieve, I know I don’t grieve alone; I grieve with you, and with our church.  And as I desire to rise up and respond, to reach out, to extend in this time of need, I do it on a wave of response all around that is one of the most beautiful things out of this blackness that I have seen in my time at Sunset.

And yet, Holly’s story of loss and grief and pain, is not just hers.  There are hundreds of people, in our community, that need a loving touch and hand, that need to know people care.  We can’t individually meet every need, but I do believe that we can become more aware, and learn to continue to as a community respond better to the needs around us.   For all our verbiage about the people outside our walls, the next generation behind us, the need overseas etc, we also have to have a special place in our hearts when the person in need is one of our own. 

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Have to ask “Why”.

May 21, 2009

 If I were to spend an hour with you, and watch you at your work or play, I would see a surface shot of your life. This is the picture that most of us see of each other, the surface, or the tip of the iceberg. Underneath the waterline though, for you and I lies a massive, deep, complicated block of history, experiences, circumstances, fears, successes, failures, dreams, aspirations etc.

 At 35, I still feel largely unable to tap into what drives me below the surface. I acknowledge the iceberg, I understand intellectually that there are deeper issues that affect my surface behavior, but I’m still waiting for that “breakthrough” where I can tie the two together and began doing some monumental work in my life. I would really like to this without paying a lot of money to someone to do it for me. 

But we have to try, to keep asking, “Why”? Why did that conversation make me so angry? Why does this person make me feel inferior or unworthy? Why is this activity so life giving and restoring to me? And I think we also need to continue to ask “why” in our churches or ministries. Why are we spending our time and resources in this or that? Why do we say this instead of that?

Churches, like people, can have deep, below the surface, hard to get at complicated things like history, experiences, circumstances, fears etc. The difference is now instead of one iceberg, you have dozens, hundreds, thousands of them floating around and bumping into each other, trying to navigate the current.

 I believe that in our life, and in our churches, we need to keep striving to ask why, and to seek to be able to point back to a noble reason, purpose, mission for the why and if we can’t find the reason, consider a new course of action where we can answer that question with confidence.

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don’t lose heart

May 15, 2009

I’m on a couch in Starbucks, beginning to buzz from my mocha frapp with added caramel as I write this. My fingers are starting to get hyper and it allows me to type at superhuman speed. The downside is I misspell every other word and have to hit backspace, thus going slower than if I had no sugar or caffeine in my system in the first place.

 I knew this guy named Tad in high school. He was older than me by a few years, I knew him through my older sister. He was popular, and definitely one of the “cool” guys at school. My sister was one of the many girls who had a crush on him. After high school Tad made a lot of money in various entrepreneur endeavors. You probably know someone like him, always working the next deal, the next project, and always thinking bigger and better.

Those who knew Tad, liked him, but described him as overly confident, arrogant. When you were around him, you were consumed with his energy and it was always about him, and you knew it. He was like this for decades. Then, Tad’s world fell apart. His financial deals crashed. His marriage hit rock bottom and was nearly destroyed. He went through a miniature Job experience and everything that he really valued left him in a very short period of time.

 Today, if you were to be around Tad, you would describe him as humble. He is a completely different guy, he is life giving, and he makes your time with him about you. He is sold out for Jesus. His energy and time are put into his family and into ministering to men with broken families. He readily talks about how Jesus has broken Him, and changed His perspective. And he wouldn’t go back to all the money and success he had for anything. I have been thinking a lot lately about what leads to positive change.

 I think about Saul, before and after his conversion to Paul. I think about guys like Tad. It seems like so often change has little to do with our personal effort and work to achieve change. Positive change seems to be something God just “does” in people’s life, and it so often surrounded by heartache and hardship. I write all this to say, that situation that you are going through right now, that you are tired of and wish it would end, that is zapping the life out of you and you wonder why in the world God is allowing it, He can use to refine you, and to shape your character. He can use it far more than all the things that are rosy and going great.

2 Corinthians 4 (selected verses) 1Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. 8We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. 12So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you. 16Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

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Worthy of holding the gun

May 6, 2009

For awhile in my life, I thought I was going to be a police officer. I am so grateful God steered me away from that vocation. I can barely handle the drama of life inside a church let alone things like domestic violence or other issues our law enforcement faces. It also turns out I’m color blind, so if I suddenly had to “cut the blue wire” or shoot at the guy in the green jacket, well, there could be some fallout.

One of the scariest things to me about a police officer I don’t know, is that they are human, capable of corruption, greed and evil. People who may have even started out with good intentions, but over the year’s maybe began to use their badge and gun for their own gain. (I know, I watch too many movies).

But a good person, a trustworthy person, an honorable person holding the power of that gun, is a good thing, and I thank God that many good men and women serve in that role for the betterment of our society.

Because I believe in Christ, I believe in the power of the Holy Spirit. I believe He is far more powerful than any gun or weapon man can create. And I often wonder why I don’t see or witness or am unable to tap into this power more. The same power that raised Christ from the dead, that lives in me.

Today I was reading Acts 3.  I read about how Peter and John used the Holy Spirit’s power to heal a crippled man. There were people gathered around, just staring at Peter in amazement, jaws dropped, floored by the power they had just witnessed. Peter could have said, “Thank you very much, I’ll be here all week.” Or, “I’m not a hero folks, just doing my job.” He could have soaked in the moment, reveled in his own righteousness, patted himself on the back and savored a little of the glory of the moment. But he didn’t. In fact he said, “Brothers, why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see.”

I think often times the Holy Spirit’s power is not manifested in me, because I want it for the wrong reasons. I would be like a crooked cop with a gun, not knowing how to use that type of force to benefit others, but only wanting selfish gain.

Peter didn’t want the glory, he truly wanted Christ to have it, and was therefore worthy of using it.

“God, please give me a heart that only wants Your glory to shine, and make me someone worthy of your Holy Spirit’s power.”