In Dark Times: why I'm not freaking out on facebook

We are truly in dark times right now. This I understand and am not naive to. But alas there are some ways I do not find myself reacting with the larger population when I see the realities of our world playing out. There are a couple things I keep hold of in my heart and mind. 1. I do not place my faith, trust, or confidence (or lack thereof) in what I see on the news or in the world. 2. I have to clamor for more of the important dependence of life instead of living in fear of what I see outside.

First, truth is not anchored in my feelings or my circumstances. I believe truth is anchored in God's Word, and I will align all my confidence there. The Christian life is one of faith lead by Scripture (Jn. 15:7). In all parts of life it is critical that I have the Word of God and always ask, "God, what are YOU saying?" My ears need to be far more in tune to His voice than to the world around us (Ps. 28:1-2, 7). I am not moved by what I see, I am moved by what God says (2 Cor. 5:7). So is it does not matter what I see on the news; I do not pray what I see on the news, I pray what God says.

Secondly, a German philosopher said, "the more a man has in his own heart the less he will require from the outside; excessive need for support from without is proof of the bankruptcy of the inner man." In times that are truly dark, I am more frustrated by own and others' dependency on what they see outside themselves. My level of worry reveals the emptiness of my heart; it reveals how little I trust God. AW Tozer wrote, "Is it not a strange thing that in an hour when mature saints are so desperately needed vast numbers of believers should revert to spiritual childhood...?" We are in a dark time, yes, but I fear more for the faint of heart Christians with eyes dimmed.

We have come to be affected far more by what we see around us, and this is because we have not spent inordinately more time taking care of our inner lives. We ought to be clamoring to hear from God far more than we hear from FOXNews and facebook posts.

We cannot, and I do not propose here, we avoid reality by sticking our heads in the sand like an ostrich, but we also cannot run around like another bird with its head cut off. As my pastor, Banning said, "We are so impressed by darkness, we have all the statistics about it. My prayer life is not based on statistics."

On treasure and heart

I fear I treasure too many of the wrong things in my life. If my treasure were where it should be, it would not seem so painful to think of separating from other less important things in my life. If my treasure were where it should be, I would be far less impatient and anxious about what might happen any given moment.

God, strengthen and teach me to change my heart to treasure what I should and far less of what I need not desire.

Prayer molecules

A woman in the church who is quite sick and whose doctors are frustratingly running out of options still continues to go to her small community group. She is asked to share her story at this next week's meeting, and she jokes with the group leader on the phone, "Oh, you just want me to hurry up and share because you think I'll be gone sooner than later." It's one of the heaviest jokes you have ever heard, but you laugh because it is still light enough.

At the group meeting, she shares that God has given her a few pictures lately of what prayer really is. One picture is of molecules. She explains that prayer is like a molecule, and each prayer a person gives for a person, a situation, or circumstance is another molecule attaching itself to the mass.

One prayer by itself floats alone, but when more and more people pray, all the molecules connect and cover.


Lyrics Week: Mumford & Sons

"Where you invest your love; you invest your life."

The sense of the eternal is palpable in this song (Awake My Soul) and particularly in the lyric:

In these bodies we will live. In these bodies we will die. Where you invest your love; you invest your life.

Our bodies and our circumstances are only temporary, and the only things which last are things like love, faith, and hope. Of course the things we worry most about are rarely the amount of energy, time, and effort we put toward love, faith, and hope. We can nearly kill ourselves with the amount of energy we expend on the things which will always fail us because they simply cannot last.

Once your body dies, there will be no remembrance of the amount of hours you spent at work. The numbers on the scale you fluctuated through will reveal how pointless they always were. Even if you are buried with them, those gadgets you fought so hard to acquire will be older than antiques and just as worthless.

Once your body dies, those who knew you will speak aloud of how much you loved. Under their breathe, they will speak perhaps of the lack of love you gave.

The only sad thing of this thought is if I think upon that and choose not to make the comments under the breathe be the same as those spoken aloud!

My Inept Ministry Degree

Undergrad Graduation Day
Many pastors and ministers to be are thrilled to "go unto the world and preach the gospel". Chalk full of theology, exegesis, and confidence, and we are ready to reach the world for Jesus Christ.

Year Following Graduation
Work the backroom at American Eagle or make lattes for Starbucks while you apply for grad school or seminary.

Graduate School/Seminary Graduation
The joke that theologians are just people answering questions nobody is asking is not funny. More and more confidence abounds to will-be-pastors and ministers.

I was ready and prepared to do ministry now. I am pretty solid on where I stand doctrinally, theologically, and most importantly, I know where I fall on the T.U.L.I.P. scale.

First Month of Pastoral Ministry
I have no idea what to tell a student who comes to me fearing she may have contracted AIDS while doing missions work in Africa.

Where was THAT class?

Second Month of Pastoral Ministry
Random jibberish terms like: ministry budget, proposed budget, faith budget, overdrawn, fleeting resources, income not meeting spending, church mortgage, pay roll, etc.

"It was my understanding there would be no math."

Third Month of Pastoral Ministry
A call is made of an elderly man in the ICU who is not expected to live through the weekend. All he wants is to speak to a pastor.

You're a pastor! Your nicely framed diploma says so.

It turns out a man who has owned more cars than years you've been alive does not want to hear much from a young ministry graduate as he's preparing to meet Jesus face to face.

He asks nothing about total depravity. Too bad, I was prepared for that question.

Fourth Month of Pastoral Ministry
Another homeless addict has made his way through the doors wanting to speak to a pastor. Maybe he's in dire need! Maybe he's manipulating you for things he does not need that you do not have.

I don't remember learning about this anywhere.

Fifth Month of Pastoral Ministry
The congregation is already a bit upset with changes you have made when God continues to inspire you to new things. One person wants to talk about it WITH YOU (if you're lucky).


And it is not conflict about whether baptism should be sprinkle or immersion.

Conflict = YOU! You are the problem...always!

Where was my class about that?

Sixth Month of Pastoral Ministry
Start to wonder if your pastoral ministry degree and classes really gave you everything needed to be a pastor.