Thursday, January 19, 2012

Rated 'i' for Ignore

Have you ever been truckin' along in your Bible, come across a passage of scripture that you had no idea what to do with it, and rather than pause a second to make some sense of it just kept right on going? That is me more than I'd like to admit! There are some passages of scripture that are just straight up confusing! Why is that in here? How am I supposed to apply this?

Even more, sometimes I feel like I'm unable to actually say that in church! It is as if I know better than to ask why that passage is in there! I'm somehow already supposed to know how that applies to my life!

Well, I'm wanting to create a little safe space where we take a look at some of these passages, passages that we'd like to ignore. Some passages I have NEVER heard preached! Some passages are mentioned only in passing without any depth. And some passages should only be talked about in appropriate places!

This 10-week class series is entitled "Rated 'i' for Ignore: 10 Biblical Passages We'd Like to Ignore." Beyond looking at specific passages of scripture, I hope also to see more vividly the human element of God's divine word. The Bible reveals stories of God in perfectly messed up lives!

In the end, I hope that we can be more realistic and honest about our own "messed-up-ness" (since that is a real word)! These passages have something to say to us who humbly recognize our own inadequacies before the Almighty God who forever reigns above all!

You can bookmark the series link to peek into our conversation.

Encouraging Start

Yesterday was an encouraging day, and the KFC Building was open for only half of it! Campus has life again as SHSU started classes, our cleaned floors were received incredibly well, students came by with renewed excitement, prayers were offered by and for me, we had a great first Bible study of the semester, and my productivity was higher than normal! I praise God for His encouragement.

Lord, at the beginning of the day today, I ask you for the focus you need in me to extend your kingdom one encounter at a time! May excellence compel me forward in your service. With all the new pieces of information that will come my way today, Holy Spirit, teach me your ways in those decisions. So much is before me that I could easily be overwhelmed today. May your strength, Jesus, and faithfulness work in me today. Amen.

"So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks find; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened." Luke 11:9-10

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Z2 Aroma

Z2 Convergence was an incredible experience this year!

The weekend had an aroma of Christian community lived out. We came ready to welcome other students we'd just met! The fragrance of grace filled the weekend even as collisions occurred. We connected with each other and offered ourselves for the others' sake. The scent of reverence lingered over our worship. We offered our sacrifices of praise in a variety of forms throughout the weekend. Praise the Lord!

Here is the video that I put together late Sunday night (and well into Monday morning!) to show Monday morning at breakfast as we left.

I will certainly be processing the weekend more and putting up other completely awesome videos as they become available. You can see all the Z2 Convergence posts here.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Prayer for Punkinsaw

My 4 year old son, Tyler, has a hilarious way of bringing things together with his goofy words and keeping our family prayer times light-hearted! Last night, while he was praying before bed, he asked God for a safe trip to Punkinsaw. I had just prayed for a safe trip to Pine Cove for the Z2 Convergence, and Tanya had been talking on the phone about students coming from Arizona, all around Texas, and Arkansas! So Tyler prays for all of those in just one word: Punkinsaw! Amazing! We busted out in laughter as we finished our prayer time together! It was awesome!

God stirs our lives with the salt of laughter! I praise Him for Punknisaw!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Imitation Moment

In the book Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis there are times when he teaches through a hypothetical conversation between Christ and a disciple of Christ. I love this didactic strategy because he invites me in to identify with the disciple and to consider the words of Christ in a new way.

All the craziness associated with pulling together all the last-minute details for the Z2 Convergence that we begin tomorrow forces me to pause for a second to consider an interesting conversation between a disciple and Christ!

Disciple: Where are you, Lord, when I'm overwhelmed with all these details and all this stress?

Christ: I'm here with you, as you know already. I wonder what is overwhelming you to the point that you only now turn to me?

Disciple: I recognize that you have been here the whole time. At the same time, as my tasks continue to come at me with amazing vigor, my thoughts entertain the ever-present mountain called "things-still-to-get-done." I write them down "here" and "there." I forget about "this" or "that." I actually remember "the other thing" and manage to crank out pieces of randomness to add to the little hill called "finished." Are you just sitting there watching me? Waiting for something? What is going on?

Christ: Sure I see all that, my child. Actually, I feel how overwhelming it is for you. You take on so many things! I love that about you! I remember creating you like that on purpose. I also remember creating you to take delight in me, to experience peace in me. I see times when your faith in me alone carries you beyond this thing you are calling a mountain. You let go and sit at my feet as you breath your next breath, learning from me the way you must go. I love those moments that you are even unaware of yourself and so sensitive to my moving that it is as if I were directing your path according to my word. You do that so well, my child. Keep it up.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Opportunities patiently wait for us to discover them today! For some reason they like to play hide-and-seek all the time...and they are good at finding hiding spots! I know some kids who are excellent, top-notch, olympic-gold-metal-level hide-and-seek players, and these opportunities I'm talking about beat these kids all the time!

What is amazing to me is to watch them play. Even though the opportunities' hiding spots are incomparable, sometimes they like to toy with people. I occasionally see an opportunity, tired of hiding so well all the time, stand right out in the open ready to be "it" next round (wanting to be "it" even once), and someone just walks right past it as if she never saw it!! I am floored every time!

Well, today is going to be different for me! An opportunity told me to close my eyes and count to ten, and we all know what that means. I'm playing hide-and-seek today! It is going to be awesome.

You need to join us! Those opportunities have nothing on us! Ready or not, here we come!

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Rated 'i' for Ignore

As I read through the Bible, I regularly run across difficult passages that make almost no sense. At least I sometimes want to ignore it and just keep right on reading, because touching that would mean...well...uh....I mean...okay, let's move on. Many things run through my mind as I have these interesting encounters with God's word!

"What in the world is that doing in the Bible?" "Did I misread something?"
"How can that be what I'm supposed to do?" "I can see why no one ever talks about this passage." "These are impractical and archaic nowadays." "Those things sound unchristian!" "What if baldness really can be reversed?" "Surely this means something else." "Does this sound like God?" "Am I a moron?" "What else is going on here?" "There is NO WAY that I would even think about bringing this passage up for serious discussion in a Bible class at church!"

Well, even with the bald joke implanted above, the time has come. I am venturing into a 10-week Adult Bible Class at 9am on Sunday mornings at Huntsville Church of Christ starting January 22, 2012 that peruses some of these passages that we would like to ignore. I'm calling it, "Rated 'i' for Ignore: 10 Bible Passages We'd Like to Ignore."

I'll leave you hanging right there, knowing that more will come. Deeper purposes do lurk behind the surface waiting to explain why such a class would even be offered. Trust me! Confidence and conversation wait to reveal themselves.

In the meantime, I'm curious what Bible passages would you never touch, even with an 144,000 foot pole?

Friday, January 06, 2012

Space on the 12th Day of Christmas

Every year, on the twelfth day of Christmas, my wife and I get to celebrate our wedding anniversary! Tanya and I were married on January 6, 2001. We got a chance to get away for our 11th wedding anniversary yesterday and today! My mom came in to spend some time with Kayla and Tyler.

We went to Crystal Beach, near Galveston. And, get this! We backed up our Honda Pilot right to the ocean's edge, opened the back door, and sat there for hours! It was amazing! The sea gulls were doing their thing, the water was doing what it does best, and we were enjoying the comfortable silence...mesmerized by God's beautiful creation! The only people we encountered during these times were those in the one or two cars that passed by every couple of hours or so.

When was the last time you took advantage of some space to reconnect with God through his creation? You need to do that.
"The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it on the seas and established it on the waters." Psalm 24:1-2

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Praise the Lord!

What would happen if you said these words to 3 different people today: "Praise the Lord! God is so good!" How would those people respond? What kinds of conversation would come from a statement like that? Who needs to hear you say something like that? What would that do to your heart? When would you imagine a statement like that coming out today?

As this Christmas Break Exercise continues, stretch a little today and give a little shout out for God!

"Praise the Lord! O gives thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever. Who can utter the mighty doings of the Lord, or declare all his praise? Happy are those who observe justice, who do righteousness at all times." Psalm 106:1-3

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Shine Jesus

Today's Christmas Break Exercise post is short and sweet. These have gotten longer than I first intended. Here we go.
"Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon you and his glory will appear over you. Nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn." Isaiah 60:1-3
The year continues to unfold before you, and God is still the bright one who shines through you! Keep your eyes on the way of Jesus and others will come around so that they can see more clearly.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Prayer for Wisdom

I praise you, Father, for your presence. Today your wisdom and understanding wait to be experienced by those of us looking for them. Whisper to us, Lord, that our hearts may find you again today. Prepare us, Spirit, as we wait to see you this day in your wisdom. Amen.
"Happy are those who find wisdom, and those who get understanding, for her income is better than silver, and her revenue better than gold. She is more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire can compare with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her; those who hold her fast are called happy." Proverbs 3:13-18

Sunday, January 01, 2012

More Than One

Reminiscent of the nine lives that cats claim to have, I claim to have more than one life. In fact, I have more than two too! [get it...TUTU...ha...I'm a dork]. I have my spiritual life, my family life, my lame joke life, my church life, my work life, my exercise life, my hobby life, my you-name-it life. They are all there, present and accounted for! Each doing it's own thing!

As if it is against the rules to start over on, say, March 3rd or December 16th, the new year certainly encourages us to start over, to begin again, and to resolve to do this or that with my food life, weight life, or work life. If you are hitting reset this year, let me offer a thought that may take some pressure off your shoulders.

My thought: my plethora of lives are more fused to be one than I think!

I have recently been on a journey to clean out my office to get it in order! Thoughts may circle around in some people's brain about how Chris is finally getting his work life organized! These thoughts, if they actually happened, would be accurate. My work life IS getting more organized and more manageable!

At the same time, a funny surprise continues to unfold in front of me. As my office is getting more organized, my financial life is getting more organized, my spiritual life is getting more attention, and my time with family is being managed better! This is cool! Work on one and get four! To be a math nerd for a second, maybe one times one CAN equal four! Awesome!! Epic fail, Chris!

The reality is that one times one equals...wait for! We have one life. Work to enhance it even in small things, and your life improves. Your one, God-breathed life--every aspect of it--responds and adjusts to every small, seemingly-insignificant tweak. It is as if we are hard-wired in the image of God to be a whole and complete living being! Nice.

So, go for it all this year with a bang as you hit reset and work on your life again! My excitement and anticipation grows as I wonder what will be affected this year as I work to get organized at work. What about you?