Monday, October 23, 2006

The heart of God

I have been lead by the Spirit to be thinking about those in other countries, those (for lack of a better term) less fortunate than myself. I don't believe that I'm just supposed to "think" about these things, I fully believe that I need to do something about it, but I feel so useless. My heart aches to step up to the challenge and serve these people and I'm sure I'd gain far more from them than I could ever give. But I feel debilitated, like I don't have "enough" to help anyone out. I feel somehow insecure about my own status.
And here's where I rip apart my own thoughts and say "just do it" (much unlike Nike), I need to actually show that I care, cause if I don't do something about it then it's clear that I don't care.
My heart aches, so I should "follow my heart", and more importantly follow the heart of God himself to do everything within my own power (and maybe even some things outside of my power) to see that I'm giving myself, money, time, energy, essentially whatever it is that I have to do so.
Here's my I'm sure many people in North America and the rest of the Western world have experienced before...I'm selfish! I confess that. Not only that, but I'm ashamed of it. I hate the fact that I consistently choose to put myself before other people, in the small things as well as the bigger things. Sure I'm getting better at tithing (a long time struggle for me), but if that's what I do and I have more left over does that entitle me to the rest? Well where did the money come from in the first place? I sure didn't come from me! It definitely didn't come from my 'hard work'. It came from God. And being a pastor, if I try to claim it for myself, there's something not quite right. Every so often God sits me back and reminds me that absolutely everything I have comes from Him, I would literally have nothing were it not for God.
So why is it that I am still so greedy? Cause I like stuff. I like comfort. But how can I sit in comfort when even a close friend of mine wonders if he'll have enough money to make it this month? Maybe it's a lesson for me to learn (I know it is) and maybe that's a lesson for him to learn to, I can't say, I don't teach the lessons I just receive them.
This is what's on my mind tonight, I sit here in frustration of sorts, restless/feeling helpless as to what I need to do. I can make excuses far better than I can come up with solutions. I want to be a part of the solution instead of the problem, cause it's a big problem.
Bono is using his money and fame to pull strings and do everything he can to help out people in Africa, I respect that greatly. I want to do all that I can (though not nearly as much sway as Bono) to aid in all "causes" of the world. If I'm a representative of Christ, how do I ignore it? I can't!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Here's a Journal entry

Why does it seem to be one of the basest human instincts to tuck tail and run? Or at least to want to do that? Passivity is an enemy to the human soul. There's such an exhilerating rush when you go against every fibre of your being and step up to the beast in front of you. Whether that 'beast' is a short little pipsqueek who's mouth is larger than her body can handle, or the drunken football fans who can't seem to shut up. There's something satisfying about telling someone off, or standing up for another person or just facing those "demons" that can seem to haunt you for years.
Of course courage is a one way street. You can't make dumb choices and call it courage, that's stupidity. Courage comes with justice. Integrity is a result of courage. When you're honest, reliable and wise with your words and actions, integrity show itself pure. The very essence of integrity is to face the difficulty and remain true to God as you do.
Recently I've reverted back to looking through Uprising with some co-workers and the idea of integrity is integral to this book. The person who lives with integrity shares the heart of God. I can't think of anything that I want more than to share my deepest longings with the creator of the universe. To have his desires as mine and mine his. Not for him to conform to me by any means, of course, but to have my soul be so in line with Him that the only things that I desire are the very things that God wants for me. To be close to him, to follow his lead and to share Him with those around me. God's heart is noble, mine ignoble. God's desire is for relationship, mine leans to a certain "solitary confinement" of sorts. God's love is unending, mine merely a line on a page. I start and stop somewhere, He remains always.
Do I want to be God? Absolutely not! There is no chance that I could even imagine such a thing. Do I want God's character to be infused into me? I sure do. For what purpose? To bring glory to him in any way possible.
I really can't think of anything more desirable. I know I've placed others in that position before and they pale in comparison to the reality of Christ.
Oh the depths of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God, how unsearchable his judgments, his paths beyond tracing out.
The poetry of Scripture brightens my soul.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

As I sit in my living room watching television with my siblings (and sibling in-law), and watch my neice make strange movements and noises, I reflect on the dinner I just ate. How sweet it is.
That enticing smell that fills the house and the enjoyment experienced is like no other.
Really, I'm just happy to have people in my house for a few days. It's like someone else actually lives here, I like that feeling.
However it was rather fun trying to cook a turkey dinner in spite of the many things that I am lacking in my home. Most of which were small things that I normally have no use for that other people see as "everyday items". Items like a rolling pin, strainer, big fork, pepper, you know that kinda stuff. It's all about improvisation, that's what I always say. Nevertheless, we figured it all out and were able to enjoy and decent family turkey dinner, even in spite of my fridge deciding to stop doing its job of keeping things cold. Hopefully that'll get taken care of soon, I spoke with my landlord at church this morning about it, so we'll see.
But of course, now the sleepy drug that I swear is injected into turkey meat from an external source, is taking its toll on my overly stuffed body and I long to sleep, even though it is definitely the wrong time of day for it.
I will now go back to enjoying my family being here, because it will all be over tomorrow and I will go back to being "alone" with visitors dropping by but not actually living here. As full as the house seems, I would most certainly rather it be full than empty like normal.
Maybe it's time to get hitched? Nah, not likely, though I might not turn down such an offer, especially if it came from Mike Schalin. Who wouldn't want to marry that man? Cara, you lucky girl! If I wasn't a man.....

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Mediocrity is a comfortable prison

I feel imprisoned right now. That's the honest truth. Imprisoned by the ease of mediocrity.
There is so much potential that God has placed within me and I know He longs to make me fly in that potential and reach pretty huge heights. What that might look like is another story that I don't know the middle or the end to, but I have a feeling I know the beginning.
Perhaps God's stirring something within me to break free from said prison and bust away from any sort of mediocre lifestyle that just doesn't fulfil.
Jesus promises abundant life. Am I there? I'm not so sure that I am entirely. Do I see glimpses of it? Absolutely. Do I long for more? Yup, sure do. Am I saved by the blood of the Lamb? You bet I am and I'm so thankful for it.
There's something more though. There's a satisfaction in life that Jesus provides that I don't always experience. Contentment is what most people seem to call it, and I'm just not there.
I wrestle with thoughts that I've had many times in years past of, as Paul describes, "being content in any and every situation." If you've read any of my blogs you've noticed that I'm not married and I don't like that. That's not contentment! Does contentment mean that I settle for my current situation? Not in the least! It means I recognize my current situation as being where God has placed me and I find joy in Him, not in searching for what I don't have!
But there are aspects of life that I believe God wants us to be unsettled about. He wants us to feel unsettled over unsaved people, poverty, affluence, mediocrity, stagnance, etc. I shouldn't just settle for a life of second best, a life that doesn't change, a heart that isn't constantly broken for the people around me. I shouldn't settle for just getting things done, they should be done well. I shouldn't settle for last minute efforts to be prepared for wednesday night youth ministry, I should be well ahead and well prepared so that I don't disappoint the people who need to hear the truth.
I shouldn't settle for ideas that come to mind about how to strive for purity, how to help those around me, how to share Jesus with other people, only to write them down on a piece of paper and file them away along with the rest. Non-action plans just don't cut it. And if all of these things are being settled for in my life, then I'm too comfortable.
There's too much that isn't happening that could be and should be. An action plan doesn't go anywhere without the "action."
For far too long I've settled for the ease of mediocrity all the while not realizing that it's really a prison that people get trapped in. As a prisoner wants to be out of his jail cell so I should long to be as far away from a mediocre life as possible. But not only long for it, work towards it.
Can I do such a thing on my own? I think many lives, including my own, would testify that it's not something I can do myself. I need others to push me forward, I need God to pull me up out of the quick sand. Do I know the "action" steps that need to be taken? I'm not sure that I do right now and that is certainly unsettling, but do I need to take action? Yes, I do.
Will I? I most certainly intend to, but succeeding in such a track will only come from God.
Will it just happen if I don't do anything? Not likely.
I think it's time to be unsettled. I'm feeling it right now, it's only begun to stir recently, a hungry heart growls like an empty stomach. There's a longing for more, my heart is saying "more food, less garbage." A broken heart, that's what I want. Not in the normal way, that's been done before, a new kind of broken heart. One the spurs on toward love and good deeds. A heart that longs to see people come to Jesus, that would do anything to see that. A heart that doesn't settle for just existing, for just getting things done, but one that strives to excel in everything and to experience the abundant life Christ offers.
That's what's on my heart today.