Faulted Cries

When I think of my approach to God in my times of trouble, I am generally aware how much of my trouble I brought on myself. Sure, I am aware sometimes my troubles come upon me from other people or by effect of living in a broken system called humanity where evil things happen.

But there are more often times I have got myself into trouble and my own predicaments. There are also times when I find my heart and self venturing out too far and end up stuck in any number of troublesome situations where I am afraid, hurting, or in danger.

In those moments I resist the urge to cry out to God because I know I got myself into this trouble. I made my own choices and got myself into these traps, and dangerous painful things. I deserve this, right? So I choose not to call out to God in the trouble I brought on myself.

Then I listen to the heart of a father within myself. If my daughters had ventured too far by their own poor choices to end up in a scary or painful situation, I hope they would still cry out for me. Wouldn’t I still respond to them when they cried out to me even though they got themselves into these messes?

Wouldn’t I still hear their cries of fear, hurt, and pain, even though they are to blame for getting themselves into these moments and circumstances?

Of course I would! Because I have the heart of a father who loves his children. I will never stop hearing their cries and responding, even though they get themselves into some of these troubles.

The Thrill is Gone: B.B. King and my love of the blues and theology

The Thrill is Gone: B.B. King and my love of the blues and theology

Last night, another hero of mine died. BB King is one of the few artists who caused me to fall in love with the blues. Blues music gives an incredible parallel narrative and context to the Bible.

Purpose of Difficulty

Sorrow and difficulty are going to be parts of our lives. We waste our mind's thoughts when we think that these things ought not to be. That is a waste because they simply are parts of life. The real question we want to pose to ourselves is, "How will I be after this and through this? What is God forming in me that will change me into a new creation?" I am being made new, and my sorrow and difficulty are the pressing things, which God uses to make me who I am becoming from His design.

Lonely listening

All the things we wrestle with in life are moments when we are truly alone in our hearts and minds. God gets you alone in those moments, and when we are finally alone in those moments, God can meet you and speak to you. I notice this in several of the most stressful and painful moments of my life, when I have no idea what will happen or how anything can happen. In those moments I come to God and hear Him most. Why is this the case?

Because the noisiest parts of our hearts and lives are our stubbornness and pride. Our self-confidence is terribly noisy.

This is why moments of heartbreak, disappointment, sickness, and brokenness are the times we hear God clearest. It is in those times our noisy self-confidence is shut off, and we have no choice but to hear the only One worthy of our confidence.

Thank you for Pain

pain The interesting thing about leprosy is the MAIN ailment is the absence of pain.  Because leprosy patients do not feel or know pain, they often do self-destructive things and know nothing of it.  They grab splintered rakes and sharp objects with bare hands and know no pain.  They wear very tight shoes and create blistering and festering sores they only see and not feel.  Leprosy patients are absent of pain, but it is that absence which dissolves the reality of destruction happening to them all the time.  We ought to praise God for pain. We are SO quick to get rid of pain when it is that pain which tells us we need aid.

There are parallels to be drawn to spiritual and emotional pain.  Without it we would be callous and shut off...which is destructive to our emotions, spirits, and souls.  We make it easy by trying to defeat pain.  It's like we don't want to hurt, but what if that hurt is exactly what keeps us from destructing.  If we felt no pain, we would only be a spiritual emotional leper.  The craziest thing is that lepers are afflicted, but I, as an emotional leper, afflict myself.  I resound with lepers of Biblical times and silently scream, "UNCLEAN!"  I am a spiritual and emotional leper.  I shut off my own pain sensors by covering them up and saying, "I'm not hurt...I'm tired of being I won't be anymore...I'm tired of hurting...I'm tired of caring."  So begins a self-destructive disease.

I get so terrified of pain that I shut myself off from it, but without it...without being honest about my pain, hurt, real emotion, I just destruct.  I am self-afflicted, but can only be healed through the grace of GOd.

In recovery!  Experiencing pain with gratitude because at least I feel.

Evil in the Church

hp photosmart 720 The gospel is lavished and laced with LOVE. If you know the gospel, you know you are loved. If you spread the gospel to others, you spread love. Oh how I long to love. I really wish I loved better...loved more.

It really is hard to love everyone. "Loving your enemy" is and will always be a difficult task, but why are we so quick to run from that challenging call? I am beginning to think it is not that the Church is "no good" at it as much as I would say Christians have been conditioned to not even try. Christians have walked further and further away from the challenge to love OUR dark side of life, and we do it by HIDING. By pretending.

For too long, we have believed and maintained hope by pretending that things are not as bad as they are. We have reduced the church down to a Sunday morning event rather than an EVERYDAY community. We are content to put band-aids on every Sunday, go to 'church', and walk away with gaping wounds nobody is willing to believe actually exist.

Church is no longer an everyday community where we honestly face evil happing in our CHURCH every day; issues like abuse, marital rocks, terminal sickness, cyber-adultery, depression, flat-lining-self-esteem, doubt...sin! We are more and more reluctant to face the issues of everyday, and we leave 'church' to be a Sunday morning EVENT! We have to realize that there IS evil in our church...OUR CHURCH COMMUNITY...everyday community.

If we don't, we will watch the gospel remain a sermon that is a part of the Sunday morning event. There IS hurt, evil, and sin in our church our world. We have to realize that our relationship with Christ is not intended to COVER UP the dark side of life, but rather to illuminate a path THROUGH IT! [Tweet that] We have to realize we are called as the church to be the hands and feet to love and stand before the pain. To take on the dark side of life instead of pretending it is not there. We cannot be afraid of the pain. We cannot hide from the sin, hurt and evil in our church.

We WILL be bloodied by the contact, yes! But we will be the community we are intended to be, the community which goes beyond being pumped with spiritual adrenaline on Sunday morning. Sunday morning is a congregation, but the church is an EVERYDAY COMMUNITY!!

The Pain of In To Me See

intomesee Intimacy is often defined in Christian church-talk as "Into me see". Denial of intimacy with the ones you love the most is hiding what is really inside of you. You are not willing for them to see who you really are inside, and you make all sorts of attempts to hide it all...subconsciously or not. This is not only applicable to my marriage, but to God as well. Though he already knows all that is within me, how much am I willing to reveal to him. THAT determines my desire for actual intimacy.

God, into me see!

Another great nugget is "The deeper the love, the greater the hurt." [click to tweet that] This basically means people you do not know cannot hurt you. How true if you do not know someone, you could care less what they say. But our biggest wounds and hurts are inflicted by the ones we love most.


Why does our sin hurt our God so deeply? Because he desires us and is truly in love with us. The intimate God of love is hurt deeply because he really does know us....

Why does the church hurt us so badly? Why do other Christians hurt us so badly? Why am I capable of hurting my wife more than anyone else can?