You are my joy

Augustine writes of God, "You yourself are their joy.  Hapiness is to rejoice in you and for you and because of you."  Remind me again that joy is not based on my self . God is the only source of joy.  All REAL happiness is because of the ultimate joy which IS God.  Joy is based completely on God.  Suppose God does not GIVE us anything.  Is HE still my joy?  I hope I can make God my only joy.  Then I can allow my happiness, however it comes to me, to drive me to rejoice in God and for God and because of God.

My best friend Augustine

Augustine and I have been hanging out together so much lately that I may need to create a nickname for him as well.  All my good friends have nicknames (or I refer to them by their first name at least...the real friends right?)...Brennan....Ozzie....and Augy?...The Saint?...Stine?...I'll work on it. Today, Augustine said something that actually made me smile right here in the coffee shop.  He is talking about the wonders of being a baby and asking questions of God regarding where was before the womb...what was he before the womb?  After asking many great questions, he writes,

"Do my questions provoke you to smile at me and bid me simply to acknowledge you and praise you for what I do know?"

What a great image and challenge in and of itself!  I love the image of God smiling at all my crazy questions.  I find myself smiling when a child asks, "Does God have feet?" "Whatcha doin?"

I have to think God sits up there and smiles when his children ask him questions.  I'm sure he just smiles at Augustine's questions because they're brilliant, and if he smiles at Augustine, he roars with laughter over my questions.

I can imagine myself telling my daughters, "You know what; just enjoy what you do know and go play."  I can certainly see God telling me, you know a lot of other things about me.  Do not overlook those.  Praise me for those things.

When I forgot all the wrong I have ever done

"To whom shall I turn for the gift of your coming into my heart so that I may forget all the wrong I have done, and embrace you alone, my only good?" - Augustine Where SHOULD I go; what should I do to really forget all the wrong I have done? Augustine poses a very piercing question. How do I embrace God alone? I have dedicated a lot of my life toward embracing God, but I have a horrible time with consistency. I say "a lot of my life" because of the many pockets of inconsistency. I only wish I really knew how to hold fast to God, to embrace him enough to forget all the wrong i have done.

Seriously! I am sitting here wondering what it would be like to actually forget all the wrong I have done, and frankly, it seems unimaginable. I cannot imagine that kind of freedom. What would it look like; what would it feel like to forget all the wrong you have done and to fully embrace God, my only good? That sort of freedom would mean that my past would never come back to kick me where it counts. That means I would not linger when I HAVE done wrong; I would be quick to my only good. That means I would only run forward in life without cease.

When bad Christians happen to good people

"To me a Christian is either a man who lives in Christ or a phony. You Christians do not appreciate that it is on this--the almost eternal testimony that you give of God--that we judge you. You ought to radiate Christ. Your faith ought to flow out to us like a river of life. You ought to infect us with a LOVE for him. It is then that God who was impossible becomes possible for the atheist and for those of us whose faith is wavering. We cannot help being struck, upset, and confused by a Christian who is truly Christlike. And we do not forgive him when he fails to be." - an atheist woman from Paris "Many who had already come close on the way to believing are frightened away by the bad lives of evil and false Christians. How many, my brothers, do you think there are who want to become Christians but are put off by the evil ways of Christians?" - St. Augustine

"It is symptomatic that, despite the church having been around for two thousand years, the mass of people still pass Christianity by. Why? Because the visible presence of Jesus Christ is rarely present in Christians as a whole." - Brennan Manning

"Why blame the dark for being dark? It is far more helpful to ask why the light isn't as bright as it could be." - Rob Bell

Sticky authors

Without thinking too much about it.  Fifteen authors (poets included) who have influenced me and will always stick with me. Brennan Manning Anis Mojgani Henri Nouwen Dietrich Bonhoeffer Phillip Yancey Tony Campolo Derrick Brown Donald Miller Mortimer Adler Francis Chan Augustine Adam Duritz S.D. Gordon Oswald Chambers Dr Seuss

What are yours?? [you can't sit and think about it]