Deep Thoughts: The art of communication and the contemplation of meaning

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Many, many years ago, “Deep Thoughts” with Jack Handy was a recurring series of sketches on Saturdahqdefaulty Night Live.  They featured scrolling words over a serene background that expressed what one expected to be some great insight or meaningful story. Typically, however, they featured some kind of ironic twist or ridiculous addition that rendered the entire moment ludicrous. They were often clever and hysterical, though occasionally inappropriate.  I once had a book that collected several of these stories and one-liners, but I can’t seem to find it now. The entries usually gave me a chuckle.

I like the idea of being a deep thinker.  I like the idea of artfully expressing deep thoughts.  My fear, however, is that I am really just a “Jack Handy,” expressing ridiculous notions in clever disguise and merely being ostentatious. Lord help me!   Continue reading

A Good House Cleaning…

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It’sofficial. We’ve put our house up for sale.

We’re not going far. Hopefully! We’re simply looking to shift school districts. Of course, all of that depends on getting the right offer on our house so that we can make the right offer on another. It’s in God’s hands and if it’s His will, we’ll make the move. If we don’t try, though, we’ll never know!

Regardless of what happens with the sale, it’s good to get some things done around the house.  That is to say, the end result is good. The process stinks.

For many, many days now, we’ve been cleaning, sorting, painting, trimming, and purging. I don’t want to admit how much trash we’ve hauled out of here. Even more, we’re donating tons of things to our upcoming church yard sale to help send teens to camp. Having come so far, it still seems that there is so much more to do.

Our journey with God is kind of like that. As we continue to surrender to the Lordship of Jesus, we engage in what often feels like a never ending process of "house cleaning." The good news is that we don’t have to do this for God, He does it for us. He works on us, washing, patching, remaking, painting, shaping and more. He often wants to throw out those old pieces of junk that I’ve become all too comfortable storing. "But I might need that Lord…!" Yet He knows that there is much I need to let go. He only waits for me to say "yes" to Him.

So, okay…"Yes, Lord. Remake and renew. I could use a good house cleaning. I want to be ready to move with You."

And now faithful reader….what’s the condition of your house? 

No Regrets…

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Life regularly brings the unexpected.

Sometimes, it’s a wonderful surprise…and sometimes it’s a sudden trial.

Some people, fearing the inevitable latter, live only for themselves. They think they are choosing to live without regrets, when the reality is they’re only living for selfish pleasures. That’s always a mistake. When we try to live for ourselves, we lose ourselves. When we think it’s up to us to take from this life what it has to offer, we all too often miss out on what is really most important.

The most important things are always about something more than self: relationships, family, friendships, God, faith, love, compassion, hope, kindness and service. I’m only scratching the surface, but you get the point.

Tonight I found out that a friend…more an acquaintance now, but a good childhood friend from my past…passed away suddenly today.  The last few years, we occasionally traded facebook comments. He was five or six years younger than me, and has left behind a wife and young child. My heart and prayers go out to them now.

And in my thoughts, I’m left with this sobering reminder: let’s live with no regrets. Let’s live for those things that are eternal.

Take a risk. Do what’s right. Let go of bitterness. Be gracious. Love well. Dream. Dare to believe. Trust God, and take the leap of faith.

We only go round once; better to make it count.

30 Ways This Pastor Is Causing Trouble

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Tonight, I’m feeling a particular need for some catharsis.

Between things I teach, things I do, and shortcomings I’m still working through, I’m most likely causing trouble for somebody somewhere.  Sorry.

And since dogs don’t bark at parked cars, here’s a semi-random list of thirty offenses…

Scripture and Experience

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What determines our doctrine and what drives our doing?  What determines our orthodoxy and energizes our orthopraxis?

I’m speaking to followers of Jesus…I’m speaking to myself.

Searching For God

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Here’s a promise I read this morning:

"…you, O Lord, do not abandon those who search for you."  Psalm 9:10b

It begs the question, "Are we searching for Him?  Are we looking?"

God promises that if we search for Him, we’ll find.  But we have to search with our whole heart.

Jesus said that Kingdom of God is like a treasure that a man found in a field.  Having discovered it, he went and sold all he had and then bought that field. Matt 13:44

Too often, I think we tend to want the treasure but don’t want to sell all that we have.  Or, as long as the search is easy, convenient, and on our terms, we’ll take an interest in God, but otherwise, no.

Today, when the Gospel is proclaimed and we call on others to turn to Christ, many are offended.  They get upset, assuming that we are driven by arrogance and an overly narrow view.  Lord forgive us when our words or actions confirm that arrogance, and give us the grace to change!  Yet, if the Kingdom of God is a buried treasure, it seems foolish to blame God for not placing it where I want to dig. 

It seems to me we want the God that we make.  One that fits our expectations, desires, and whims.  One that conforms to our terms and reinforces our ways of thinking.  God forbid that we be the ones who have to change!

When we only want a God who conforms to us, then we don’t have to look far.  Most homes have a mirror.

I’m a married man.  I searched for a spouse and I found one.  Having found her, the pursuit is not over.  I endeavor to seek a deeper, more intimate and heartfelt relationship everyday.  Over the years, as I look back, I find I am experiencing that very thing.  It is much the same with God.  Having giving my life to Christ, my search only intensifies: that I would know Him more, that I would catch a greater glimpse of the infinite God and fall all the more deeply in love.

Lord, help us not to be satisfied by anything other than truly You!  Give us the tenacity to pursue You with all that we are and to readily let go of all that stands in the way of finding You and being with You.