Friday, December 21, 2007

I love my trees

I just received an email from a friend of mine about the issue of global warming. Apparently a bunch of the scientists that were originally a part of the UN's IPCC (International Panel on Climate Change) and helped publish the report a couple months ago that announced that global warming is a real issue and that we (humans)are major contributers to the problem, recently published another report saying quite the opposite of that. Well thats what the journalist giving this report stated. If you actually read through some of the statements these scientists aren't actually stating that global warming isnt happening, simply that its not nearly as severe of an issue as the report makes it out to be.

This is an ongoing discussion between several of my friends and myself. Most of the people that I surround myself with are right-wing conservatives, I try not to line myself up with simply one political group, but most of my friends label me as a liberal. But one issue that I am concerned about is how we view and treat the environment. It saddens me that many Christians are so apathetic towawrds this issue, I feel like we should be the leaders in caring for the creation that God has entrusted to us. Unfortunately too often we have the doomsday mentality that its all going to burn so whats the point. This mindset has paralyzed much of the church on so many issues, we fail to involve ourselves with social issues because we're merely holding out til we get outta here. When will we realize that Jesus did not come to show us how to leave the earth but how to live while we're on it? But that is a separate conversation for another time.

Here's my view on the environment and the threat of global warming: I am not a scientist, I have no idea whether or not my carbon outputs are the cause of the ice caps melting. I couldnt begin to explain to you whether or not global warming is a serious threat or merely a cyclical event. I have to rely on those who are trained in those areas to tell me those facts. The problem is you can find well respected scientists that will tell you completely opposite things. And both political parties as well as the media will declare their sides sources as truth and blast the opponents as hogwash. Every other day you have new evidence coming out that completely goes against the evidence that was held as truth yesterday. What this does is make us completely immune to whatever the newest evidence is and merely stick to what we've always thought and ignore any other viewpoints. And I realize that I am just guilty.

My point is this: Whether or not we are on the verge of global destruction due to the way we've treated the earth or not is it not better to live a lifestyle that enhances the environment? Wouldnt it be better if there was less smog, not because we're destroying the ozone but simply so we can have some fresh air? Wouldnt it be a good idea to find ways to use renewable resources to power our vehicles? These things may cost us a little more now but in the long run the overall COST (clean air, less damage done to the environment) is worth it. The problem is everything got blown way out of proportion when it became a political platform. People became interested in it merely because it was the popular thing to do and not because they actually care about the environment. Which is why you have hundreds of musical artists flying in their own private jets to perform at concerts promoting environmental care. Or Sheryl Crowe saying that we all need to get to the point of using 1 square of toilet paper per visit to the bathroom (good luck with that one). All of this just leads to those who didnt really think about the way we treat the environment get really upset at the environmentalists and care even less about the way they live.

If we would just learn to use common sense we would go a long way in creating a more environmental friendly world. We all know that its better to care for the environment rather then destroy it. We just need moderation in knowing what steps to take in that direction. Thats my 2 cents on the issue

Monday, December 17, 2007

For your enjoyment

Here's a random sampling of my afternoon chill music. Mostly Norah Jones and Gavin Degraw, with a couple John Butler Trio thrown in there (that would be the first video)

Saturday, December 8, 2007

That's My Jesus

This is perhaps the most beautiful picture I've ever seen. Theres so much I could say but for now I'll let the picture speak for itself.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Happy Xmas

I used to get upset when I saw signs that said Merry Xmas, or when I heard stories about dept stores that forced their employees to say "happy holidays" rather then "merry Christmas". Even up to this year that bothered me. But this year something has changed in me. This year I feel like my eyes have been opened to something. The reason I no longer have a problem with people saying is not because I want to take Christ out of Christmas. Its because he's already gone. We may have our Christmas plays, sing our happy little Christmas songs, set up our nativity scenes with cute little baby Jesus as the centerpiece, but the real Jesus is no where in sight.

Why do we even celebrate Christmas? We celebrate Christs coming, as a man to earth. Well why did he come? Our immediate response is so that we might have eternal life, i.e. go to heaven. But is that all? In fact i would venture so far as to say is that the real reason that God took on flesh, and came to us as a child? I don't want to minimize that in the least, but i think thats not the real reason. What did the angels say to the shepherds (to the least of the least I might add)? "I bring you good news of great joy". How did Jesus describe his ministry at the outset of it? "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed..." If you've watched "The Nativity" you realize that the people Jesus came to was not the wealthy, but the oppressed. Those who had no hope. Look at the people who Jesus went to during his time on earth, the poor, the outcast.

Let me give you some real quick stats:
Last year Americans were expected to spend $457.4 billion dollars at Christmas. Thats an estimated $900+ per family.
Right now there are 1.1 billion people living without clean water; 2.6 billion lack adequate sanitation. And 1.8 million people die every year from diarrheal diseases and 3,900 children die every day from water born diseases.
Just think about that for a second, 1.8 million people die from the diarrheal diseases. 1.8 million!

Now how about this: the estimated cost to solve the water problem; 10 billion dollars.

Amount spent at Christmas by Americans (457.4 billion) > amount of money to keep 1.8 million people from dying from diarrhea + giving 3,900 kids to survive another simply by providing them water x 40.

"I have came to proclaim Good news to the poor."

I've heard these kind of stats before, been bothered by them for a little and gone about my life as normal. But as I hear them now, and i think about the season that we're in, I'm sickened. When our celebration of Christmas goes directly against Jesus' mission here on earth, something is seriously seriously wrong. You may give the excuse, "I'm only one person, what can I do." In response to that I'll turn your attention to Matthew 25 (just to give you a hint, that excuse doesnt work on judgement day). I understand that America as a whole is not a Christian nation (and dont even try to convince me otherwise) and I'm ok with that. What I'm not ok is when the church is no longer Christian. Being Christian is to be like Christ. And to be like Christ is to free the oppressed, bring sight to the blind (or healthcare to those who dont have it), free the prisoner, feed the hungry and clothe the naked. Somewhere along the way we have skipped everything in the Gospel up to the part where Jesus dies for our sins and we go to heaven. We've lost sight of the humanity of Christ, and you cant have one without the other.

Obviously Christmas is not the only time where there are poor and hungry people, but no other time of the year should direct our attention more towards then them til Christmas. Its time to wake up people, whether we like to admit it or not we've taken Christ out of Christmas, those signs are merely telling us that. My question is what are we going to do about it. Because we must do something.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

I Want my Money Back

When you’ve just spent 5 minutes in the toothpaste aisle at Walmart you know that something in this world has gone terribly wrong. I actually found myself asking whether I needed the one that not only promises extra whiteness and fresh breath, but as an additional bonus, extra foaming action. I decided that I did, there’s just something about the foaming that makes your teeth feel extra clean. Of course then you have to be careful with the extra frothing that you don’t end up with toothpaste stains on the shirt you plan on wearing to work that day, but that’s a minor detail. It was at this point I realized that I’d bought into what corporate America was selling. Life was no longer good enough if I didn’t have the name brand shirts, if my shoes weren’t being advertised by the current NBA star. Most likely I would lose all my friends if I was seen wearing the same jeans that they saw me wearing the day before. And heaven forbid if my car did not people jealous when they saw it. All those things combined would ensure me endless happiness and a wealth of friends.
I seem to have lost my receipt but is there any way I can have my money back?
Over the past months I’ve come to realize that I have dug myself into a hole because of my whole hearted acceptance of what culture tells me I need. This hole is not only one that is reflected in my bank account, but one that has left my soul weak and unstable. I’ve come to believe that my security rests not in God, but in whether I have a stable job and a good savings. I don’t need to trust in God for my every need because I’m quite capable of taking care of myself. If my relationships fail and friends let me down, I’m embittered and feel as though life is over. When what I thought was love turned out to be simply a mirage I grow angry and depressed. God as my lover is not enough, I must have a girl that looks like this, makes me feel like this and helps me to find the happily-ever-after life that God has promised.
For some a combination of God and this American lifestyle is quite possible. For me its not. I get the two confused.
I’m reading a book by Donald Miller called "Through Painted Deserts." Its an amazing blend of a story of one man physical journey from Texas to Oregon, poetic stanza’s of life from the view of his van, and insight into a soul that is striving to get past the formulated organized religion that he has grown up in and discover the God of creation, relationship and beauty. It’s a story of journey. And it has placed in me a longing for the same. To discover life outside of what I’ve known, to discover myself and God before I get both confused with what the world is trying to tell me they are. For many this journey makes no sense, for many its unnecessary. But for me its vital. Thank you Don Miller for reminding me of that.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Is God Good?

It sounds like heresy to ask such a question. But really; do you believe that God is good? Deep down in the core of your being, can you say that God is good? Can I?

You ever have those moments where you come face to face with yourself? Something happens that causes you to take a step back and examine things. Everything is stripped away, and you get a glance at what you really look like? I just had that happen to me, and it wasn’t very pretty.

You ever been to a store and seen a kid whose standing in front of a row of toys and throwing an absolute tantrum. Maybe they’re lying on the ground beating their little balled up fists on the tiles screaming “But I want one!” You see, when I came face to face with myself, that’s what I saw, a little kid beating his fists in the ground screaming because I wasn’t getting what I wanted. This reminded me of a Nooma video entitled “Kickball” and beings as I haven’t returned the ones I borrowed I popped it in. It hit the spot. Not the way a piece of apple pie does on a cool fall evening. More like the way peroxide does when you pour it on a cut. Rob Bell tells a story of going shopping with his kid. As they’re shopping they stop at a kiosk in the middle of the mall, the guy running the kiosk quickly comes over and shows them this “stress reliever.” Basically, it’s a ball on an elastic string, and what you did was attach this contraption to your wrist, throw the ball and catch it as it snaps back to you. Of course, Rob throws it and it comes back and hits him in the face. So they say no thanks and move on to the rest of the mall. Once they get about 50 feet they realize that their son is no longer with them. They turn around he’s just standing there staring at this toy. Thus starts the tantrum. In the end Rob has to carry his son away as he crying and yelling “but I need it.”

That kid is me. I see something that I want, or get a goal or idea in my mind that I want to accomplish, and no matter how impractical that thing/idea/goal is I want it. And I will stamp my feet, beat my little fists on the ground, scream and kick as long as it takes. Usually God just lets me sit there for awhile until I have one of the “aha” moments that I had tonight.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. - Proverbs 3: 5,6

That’s one of those verses that I don’t think really were meant to be in the Bible. Or at least could use some editing. For one thing I don’t think that the writer really meant to use “all” twice or even once for that matter. I think what he really meant was when your own understanding and own planning don’t turn out so great then turn to the Lord. Or at least that’s the way my lifestyle interprets it. This is hard. I want to have everything planned out; I want to know what the next five steps are before I take them. And there are certain things that I just want to be done my way.

Do I really believe that God is good? I want to. But it’s hard. It’s hard to believe that when God says no that He knows what’s best. Its hard to know that when he closes one window he’s got a door open waiting for me to walk through. Its hard to swallow my pride, pick myself off the ground and say “Your will, not mine.” But deep down, at the very core of my being I know that God is good God. Deep down I know that God loves me, and that He wants to give me good things. Just maybe no exactly the things I had in mind. The hard part is turning from that toy, from saying I’m ok with not having this in my life right now and trusting in God with all your heart. But remember the promise, “He will make your paths straight.” Another way to read that is “He will make your path plain.” But the trusting comes first.

Just this once can’t we have it the other way around?

First the trusting, then the promise.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Hungry? Why wait?!

This Sunday we sang a song called "We are Hungry." As I typically do I walked over to my house between our morning worship team practice and the sunday morning service to do some thinking and preperation for the morning service. As I was sitting in my room this song kept running through my mind, and I began to question what it was really saying. I hate worship songs that are merely fluff, I think that they need to engage your mind as well as your emotions and I was slightly concerned that perhaps I had only picked this song because I liked the way it sounded. So I decided to look into the use of the word "hungry" in the Bible and see what I could come up with. The first passage that came to my mind was in the Beatitudes where Jesus said "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness." Now if you read the beatitudes the way that I do you dont merely see these as a way to comfort those who have it rough in this life. But rather they are descriptions of what a disciples life should look like. The term "blessed" is a description of someone who "lives before the face of God" or someone with whom Gods hand is directly involved in their lives (that was a poor word study, but i didnt feel like finding all the sources again). So when Jesus says "Blessed are the poor in spirit" He is saying that someone who lives their life with the awareness of the presence of God all the time will recognize that they bring nothing to the table spiritually and are dependant on God for everything. So why does God tell us to hunger and thirst for righteousness? Hungering and thirsting implies a lack of something doesn't it? I dont enjoy being hungry. Why is being hungry a quality of a disciple?
When I did a quick search on the word hungry the first passage I came across was in Deuteronomy.

"Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD." Deuteronomy 8:2-3

What does hunger do to us? It brings an awareness that we are in need of something. It's the same way spiritually. To be hungry spiritually means that we are aware of our need of God. There are times when we forget that. This usually tends to happen when everything seems to be going well. It's during these times that I find it easiest to forget about God. And sometimes during these times, God will issue a wake up call for us. Now this is always shaky ground, saying that God brings hard times into our lives to get our attention. But I think its pretty obvious in the passage above that this is what he did to the isrealites. He caused them to hunger. My problem is I try to fill that hunger with other things. Whether it be relationships, busyness, or even more spiritual reading or more studying. But those things never satisfy, at the end of the day you still find that there's still something missing. Only until we realize that the only thing that "hits the spot" is God will we be satisfied.

And I dont think that this is come and go thing, as in we're going along, God makes us aware of our need for Him, we pursue Him and we're filled. I didnt give the rest of Jesus' statement ". . . they will be filled." At first this may seem to point to an ultimate once-for-all filling. But what happens when you're filled? You are no longer hungry. If you're no longer hungry then are you "blessed." (i.e. living in the presence of God etc.) I think that this is a constant filling and hungering. In other words as you continually hunger for God, He continually fills you with His Spirit. So my question is "Are you Hungry?"

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


I’m an emotional guy. I’m not afraid to admit it. There are many movies that have made me cry (I prefer tear up but basically the same idea). Usually its not the chic flicks that would make a girl cry, it’s the manlier (is that a word) movies like Braveheart, Gladiator or Cinderella Man. But I must admit, there have been the occasional sappy stories that have caused rapid blinking to avoid embarrassment. I get it honestly. All Yoder men are emotional (even though my younger cousin tries to deny his heritage). Unfortunately crying, both in joy or sorrow, are not the only forms that emotion take. And there have been many times where I have been the victim of its other forms. Many words have been thrown due to emotion, many hasty decisions made. We are all guilty of allowing our emotions to get the best of us at one time or another.

One of the ways that my emotions are affected is through music, both in listening to and playing music. Few things are as soothing or beneficial for me when I’m stressed as sitting down at the piano for an hour. Preferably alone, where I don’t have to worry about anyone critiquing me, it’s just me and the piano. My playing is usually driven by emotion. I’m not a very fundamental musician, if you were to put a piece of music in front of me I would first of all have a hard time playing it, mostly because I can’t really read music anymore. But more then likely I would not play the piece the way it was meant to be played. You see the only way I can really play is if I can play it the way I feel it. And usually when I play, that’s all I’m doing. I’m not aware of what is going on around me, it’s just me and the music. I probably look pretty stupid at times because I’m swaying or leaning or whatever helps me to get into the song best.

Listening to music also has that same effect on me. A lot of people laugh at me and my friend Marty and our obsession with John Mayer (actually more him because I usually keep it to myself a little more). John Mayer is an extremely emotional musician. At times its almost awkward to watch him play because of it. One of my favorite things to do is to get in my car, put the windows down and crank some Mayer. It seriously is medicine for the soul (I know that sounds extremely cheesy). One song in particular, “Covered in Rain” off his live CD really effects me. In the middle of the song he breaks out in this 8 minute long solo guitar lead part, but you don’t feel like it’s a separate section, its part of the song and its still telling the storyline. It sounds stupid saying this but there have been times I get done listening to that song and I realize that I’ve actually started tearing up.

There is that kind of music, the kind that impacts you in an obvious way, and the kind that is simply the background noise. Sometimes you’re not even aware of it. Like a movie soundtrack. A really good soundtrack is one that you don’t notice, but take it away and the movie is completely ruined. Like Gladiator or Last Samurai. Those are two soundtracks I listen to a lot, when I first watched the movie I didn’t think “man this is a great soundtrack”. Why, because it helped keep my mind on the movie. Or have you ever been sitting in a restaurant or coffee shop having a conversation and suddenly realize that your tapping your feet. You weren’t even consciously aware that there was music playing, but subconsciously your body was picking it up.

My relationship with God is a lot like music sometimes. There are times when He’s evident, blatantly affecting me. But there are times when it may feel like He’s a long way off, having nothing to do with my life, until I start to notice that my foots tapping. But have you ever been in the place when your foot is tapping but you don’t hear the song. Or maybe it feels like you’re swing dancing to Metallica or head banging to Sinatra. There’s times when no matter how hard you try, you just feel out of rhythm. What do you do when you get to that point? Well let’s say you actually saw someone head banging to Sinatra what’s the first thing you would tell him. Would you tell him that he needs to study the technicalities of music. Show him a chart of the differences between metal and big band? I guess you could do that but wouldn’t that just complicate things. The simplest solution would be to grab him and tell him to listen. Because if he’d only stop and listen he’d understand that he’s way off. There’s times in my life where I can tell things are out of whack. Its not that I’m heading down the path of doom and destruction, I’m just not in sync with God. I’m not marching to his beat. Often times I cloud things up by studying and trying to force things back. But usually all that does is just complicate the issue. Soon not only am I head banging but I’m starting to do the cha-cha. Sometimes all it would take for me to do is to stop and listen. Maybe I’m oversimplifying things too much. Maybe my Yoderness is just coming out too strong. But sometimes maybe some of the details aren’t quite so important. Now I see the red flags being raised left and right. Even in music there are some basic parameters. But sometimes as Christians we get so caught up in the stupid details that it just kills everything. Someone else’s dance may be a little different then yours. But maybe the important thing is that I’m in sync with the song that God is playing for me.

Sorry for the incredibly long post, I’m sure I lost most of you by now. And I’m sure that some of what I said made no sense, but its been something that has been on my mind a lot lately. Also, sorry Bruce that this wasn’t the post on Darwin that you were expecting, that ones still coming.

Friday, September 21, 2007

The Next Step

After my last post about the spiritual journey that I've been on I thought I'd write a little bit about the physical journey I'm preparing to embark on next summer.

In the past year or so I've gotten extremely restless. I feel like I'm living the life of a 40-yr old family man, minus the family. I have a great job, a good car, a fairly routine lifestyle. And it was driving me crazy. I felt like I wasting my time, and perhaps some of the last years where I don't actually need a routine, steady lifestyle. I realize that there are a lot of good things that I can be and am doing right here in Greenwood Delaware. I like my church and feel like I've been able to plug myself in there. I also really like the young people in our area and I've been able to get involved with them through several opportunities at our high school. But there was still this restlessness. I know that some of it is because in the past 2 years things have not gone quite as I had planned, and that made me upset. Who was God to think that He had better things in mind then me?? I thought I had things working pretty good. But anyway, about 6 months ago I stopped and examined my life and realized that I really wasn't happy. I needed a change. Something to anticipate, to work towards.

Now I realize change is not always a good thing, and a lot of people keep going from one thing or location to another and are never really satisfied. But for me I feel I just felt like I needed something new. Bruce also felt this same urge to a certain degree, so we began to brainstorm. It seemed like every week we had a new idea in mind, for awhile we were seriously considering spending some time in a monastery (yeah we got that reaction from everyone). But we finally settled on an idea and have been spending the past couple months preparing and planning for it.

So what is this grand adventure?? Next June Bruce, Evie (his sister) and myself are traveling from Portland, Maine to Portland, Oregon. Via Bike. No, not motorcycle, bicycle. Are we crazy? A month ago I would have said definitively no. But 2 weeks ago I rode 62 miles in a ride sponsored by the Kent County tourism dept and about halfway through the trip I started question my sanity as well. Before that I tended to overlook the work that would be involved in making the trip. It will be tough, and there will definitely be days where I'll want to give up. But I know that it will be a great trip and something I will always be able to look back on as one of the best things I've done.

We're allowing 3 months for the trip so we'll tentavily end up in Oregon next August. We havent planned the route out exactly yet, alot of the trip we'll be using some well-known cycling maps but there are also some certain areas that we want to make sure and hit so we'll be coming up with our own route for those times. So if you're in the northern half of the US and not too far out of route (although on bike any detour is a long way) we'd love to stop in and see you.

After the trip I'm planning on hanging out in Portland for awhile. Doing what I have no idea. Hopefully a friend of mine from Toccoa will be moving out there with me, with the possibility of several others that have expressed interest. Theres just always been something attractive about Portland to me. I cant really explain it. My senior year in college a couple of us were uncertain of what we wanted to do after we graduated so we talked about just finding a city, buying a house and living there. And Portland was the city that we always talked about. Ever since then I've had this desire to go there, so I decided its time for me to go figure out what this feeling is all about. Theres a possibility that I might live there a year, hate it and move back. And if that happens, thats fine at least I'll not always wonder "what if". So next year, if you find yourself in a place that you really dont like, about to go crazy and want to get away from it all, come to Portland :) we'll leave a room for you. Ok actually unless you let us know before we get there it will more than likely be a couch, or floor space.

So thats the next step of my journey. Moving to Portland, via bike. My sisters think I'm crazy, some say I'm turning into a hippy. And maybe I am a little bit of both. Right now I just know that I've got to follow where my heart is leading me, and right now this is where I'm headed. Should be a fun year.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Life is a Journey

Life is journey. I'm starting to discover that more and more. Often times, we view it all as merely a destination, everything working towards one final goal. Finishing in the right place. Which is true and an important thing to remember. But what about the stretch between the starting line and the finish? What about the journey? Sometimes I think that we forget about that part. What if knowing the right answer wasnt all that mattered, but knowing how you got to the answer that you did. We live in a society thats all about the end product, and often times it doesnt matter what it takes to get to that end. We merely look at the result. Too often that overlaps into our Christian faith. We've become a group of people that can spout off things that sound good, but they have no idea the process it took to get to that answer. I am a product of that mindset. All my life I've tried to memorize doctrines so that I "know" what i believe. I've tried to find a school of thought that I like and line myself up with that as much as possible. But if I were to examine a lot of the things that I hold to as "true" I dont really know what many of the statements even mean. I can't defend them because I don't understand the process that led up to that conclusion. Does that mean my beliefs are wrong? No, definitely not. But I am doing a huge discredit to them by not taking the time to fully understand them.
I don't want to be someone who has a quick answer for everything. Rather I want to be the type of person who is able to think through every question. I want to question those things that I've held on to as true for so long. Not simply to question them, but rather to know them inside and out. And to be able to defend them adequetely when need be. This will more then likely cause me to head down a wrong path from time to time. But if I'm honestly questioning and examining every "truth" that I find I will soon learn if where I'm heading is right.
I want to be the type of person that examines every trail. When people look at me I dont want them to be able to put a label on me. I dont want to stick to one camp, but rather as I find truth I embrace it, no matter where it falls. Somehow we have allowed our schools of thought, whether in the politcal, theological or social realms, to dictate our beliefs. Rather then letting our beliefs dictate which direction we choose to go.
Most of all I want to journey well. And to enjoy it, because often times when we fix our eyes merely on the end we miss everything that is going on around us.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

"What do you imagine heaven being like?"
This question was posed by my dad at one of our devotional times on our family vacation this past weekend. The first thing that popped into my mind was "community." It came to me out of the blue, something that I had never really thought of before. Yet, something that God has been teaching me through different events and sources.
One of my annual highlights of the year is our Yoder family get together. Although, this is the first one in three years that I've actually been able to go to. Now when I say Yoder family what I mean by that is my Dads family. Theres 5 families, well i guess 6 including Grandpa and Grandma, giving us 24 people. This year we had 26 because Lamar and Becky brought along two kids that they have been taking care of. 26 people all under one roof. Of those 26, 7 were under the age of 12. Some of you may think that that sounds like a nightmare, especially when you consider that they're all family. But with our family its really not bad at all. We had such a great time simply being together. Preparing meals together, playing games, going on walks, entertaining our younger cousins, and just sitting around the campfire or living room talking. I dont think I realized until this year how truly fortunate I am to be able to be apart of a family that simply gets along. But this weekend I also got a glimpse of how a community really works.
Back to the original statement that started this post - when i think of heaven I think of our family get togethers multiplied by thousands. I think of Isaiahs visions of what the kingdom will look like. No more class levels, no outcasts, no divisions. One big happy family. Where justice reigns and the evils of poverty, oppression, and other social injustices have no part. Where everyone shares with one another and no one is in need. That last line sounds familiar doesn't it? In Acts thats one of the descriptions of the early church, everyone shared and no one is in need. The more I think about heaven the less I think about some celestial city in the sky, where I'm walking on streets of gold or kicked back in front of my mansion sipping on my lemonade talking to David about the day he killed Goliath. The more I think about heaven the less I think about leaving this place of death and destruction. In fact the more I think about heaven the more my heart aches for the children who are dying simply because they have no food. The more I think about heaven the more disgusted I get about the way we are destroying our environment. In fact the more I think about heaven the more my heart longs to be outside in nature, to be around animals. The more I think about heaven the more I think about being here.
Somehow we've allowed the injustices in the world and the way it appears to be falling apart to make us hopeless. When really it should be our wake up call to do what Jesus commanded us to do in the first place, be about bringing his Kingdom. When Jesus went into heaven the disciples stood there staring up into the clouds for awhile, watching where they had just seen Jesus disappear into the clouds. An angel had to tell them to stop staring into the clouds but to get to work. Why? Because Jesus was coming back. You've got work to do, stop staring into the sky. Not because we were leaving, but because Jesus was coming back. I believe strongly that we are called to do the work of the Kingdom of God here and now. Is that not incredible? You and I can have a part in establishing the Kingdom of God! So when you see injustices don't get discouraged, but let it break your heart enough to do your part to work against these. Why? Because one of the marks of God's Kingdom is Justice. When theres a park clean-up get involved with that. Why? Because Gos is coming to restore all of creation. And we can begin that process now. And I could go on and on but don't allow yourself to fall into the trap of having your mind fixed on getting out of here. God is calling us to action now. God wants to redeem the earth, and He's allowing us to have a part in that. So stop staring into the sky and get busy.

Friday, June 15, 2007

You ever been to the arcades, maybe at the beach or in the mall somewhere, and played or seen the "Whack-A-Mole"? Its the one where the person playing has a hammer and is standing at a surface with 6 holes in it (very similar to the image to the left). In each of the holes is a mole and they will pop out of one hole at a time and the object of the game is to hit the mole before it ducks back into its hole. You ever have the feeling that trying to find your direction in life is a lot like playing that game? I do at times. I feel like I just keep poking my head out in different directions only to be slammed with some giant hammer telling me this is not the way I should be going. I'm glad at times that there are those hammers there stopping me from going a direction that I shouldnt, but I just keep thinking there has to be a better way to figure out where God is leading me.
Its interesting how God prepares us for situations in life. This week one of those hammers came down on my head showing me that i wasnt going the way I should be right now. Right before that happened I decided to sit down and watch the "Nooma" DVD that our bible study was going to be watching the next night, something i rarely do in advance. This week Rob Bell was talking about how often in life, because we can only see our immediate surroundings, we think that God is taking something good away from us for no reason. And often we get upset at God because we think we know what is best. But the problem is our vision is limited, when God's is not. God can see what lies in front of us and knows exactly what we need. So while it may feel like God is taking something away from us for no reason, maybe we need to realize that He is Good and that should be enough for us to trust that He has things in control.
An amazing and sometimes misused verse is Jeremiah 29:11-14 (The Message):
"I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. 12"When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I'll listen. 13-14"When you come looking for me, you'll find me. "Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I'll make sure you won't be disappointed." God's Decree. "I'll turn things around for you. I'll bring you back from all the countries into which I drove you"—God's Decree—"bring you home to the place from which I sent you off into exile. You can count on it.
The problem with me is that I want the result without following through on my part. I want God to just tell me where to go the minute I ask, but thats not the way it works. God is desiring to be in a deep and conversational relationship with me. He's longing for me to set aside my time and seek after Him. Another passage that I came across this week was the story when God led Elijah up on the mountaintop. And as Elijah was waiting for the Lord an earthquake, fire and strong wind came but God wasnt in any of those, then he heard God speaking in the silence, in a still small voice. My problem is that I get caught up in the loud things and never wait long enough to hear the voice of the Lord. I never sit in the stillness, listening for the voice of the Lord. I want directions on the fly. Maybe thats why I feel like I'm a mole in one of those games, maybe I'd do better to sit and wait for the Lords leading before I poke my head out of one of the holes.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

A Sabbaths Rest

Have you ever tried to purposely do nothing? I did today. I woke up this morning a little later then i normally would on a Saturday, 9:30, and by the time i had breakfast cooked i had already washed all the dishes from last week plus had a list of 6 things that i wanted to accomplish that day. I looked at the list an immediately got depressed. Over the past months I've been reminded several times of how little I understand the concept of rest and truly taking a Sabbath. For me Sundays are never very relaxing. Now dont get me wrong, I love Sundays. Well I should clarify, usually I love Sundays, sometimes they can be somewhat annoying. But thats beside the point. Most of the time I love going to church and everything else that Sunday entails. But being a worship leader causes Sundays to be not so relaxing. And actually just going to church, especially if you have young kids to try to get up and ready that early in the morning, can be hectic and somewhat stressful.
Therefore, I never really have a day of rest. And I think that shows. Actually I think our culture shows the affects of that. Why do you think we need so many coffee shops - I know I know you drink coffee because you like it, and i do to, but theres times when even I drink coffee just to get that caffeine fix i need for the afternoon. We're constantly going. Trying to make the most out of every day, every minute, and if we dont we feel like somehow we've fallen behind and will never catch up. We go, go, go until we get so burnt out that we have no choice but to stop.
So this morning i decided to change that about my life. I decided to do absolutely nothing today. And let me tell you, that was a hard thing to do. The morning was pretty good, I spent it reading through the book of Revelation, which that alone could lead to another post. Have you ever sat down and read through the book of Revelation in one sitting? Its amazing! I would encourage anyone to do that, and not only with Revelation. Read one of the epistles or any shorter book of the Bible in one sitting, it reads much more like a story or a letter which is what they were meant to be. Anyway, that made for a great morning, but by afternoon i was starting to feel very lazy and unproductive. Which i really wrestled with. Why do i feel like i need to be accomplishing something with every second of my day, and is that right? The rest of the day i spent finishing my Harry Potter book - the first one which i read entirely this weekend (tells you how exciting my life is)- watching a movie, and eating with my parents. It was a very good day. I even made an intentional effort not to try to plan out the rest of my week, which is something that i tend to naturally do. I just wanted to enjoy today as much as possible.
So if today was my Sabbath what will tomorrow be? I actually think that after church i will do some of the work around my house that i used to do on Saturday. I'll admit thats going to feel weird, but why should it? Jesus says that "the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath" (Mark 2:27), it was not meant to be a burden but something that was a joy. Something that helped us to recharge, a time of rest. For me, that wasnt Sundays, so i needed to find my Sabbath some other way. As i thought about it this morning i found it strange that perhaps non-Christians honor the Sabbath more then Christians do. Many use Saturdays to work and Sunday to sleep in and rest. Thats sad. Theres a chance that today might be the only saturday that I truly use as a Sabbath, but I enjoyed it and think that we need to rethink our idea of rest and realize our need for it.

Monday, May 21, 2007

After reading Danny's last post i felt compelled to write something. There have been numerous times over the past couple of weeks where i've sat down to write something and had to leave before i was finished with my entry. So needless to say my post bin (if thats what you call it) is full of unfinished drafts.
Last week i had the fortune of escaping from my normal life here in Delaware and head down to Florida. My family spent the week in Orlando and of course, Disney World. We had been once before when me and my sisters were quite a bit a younger and really enjoyed it. So we decided to go back again. We had a really great week, but I realized that Disney World is not a place to go if you're expecting stomach turning roller coasters or any such thing. Its very much geared towards younger kids. But thats ok, all of us (particularly me) are really kids at heart so we still had fun.
Many thoughts developed during my week at Disney, both from being there as well as other things that happened during that week. One of them was brought about by a combination of being in Disney World and two books that I had brought along on the trip. The books were "A Long way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier" and "Not on our Watch: the Mission to End Genocide in Darfur and Beyond." I am still finishing up the latter one but i would highly recommend both of them. The first book in particular impacted me greatly. As the title suggests it tells the story of a Sierre Leon boy who was forced to fight. When he was 12 his village was attacked by rebels and for a year (i think) he fled from village to village trying to find the rest of his family and safety. He eventually was trapped in a village that also had a number of the government soldiers. However, they were outnumbered by the rebels who surrounded the village. Because of this he was forced to fight for his government. He went from being a scared, innocent child to a killer. He eventually is taken in by a group that tries to rehabilitate these boys, and then he makes his way to America. I obviously skipped alot, but you get the main idea of the book. As I was in Disney World, surrounded by thousands of kids all i could think of was that this is what 12 year olds should be doing. As I saw their smiles, their innocence i thought of Ishmaels friend hiding in the attic of a barn while his mother and sisters were gang raped beneath him. And its not like this happened a long time ago. The author is telling his story, and he's 25 right now. So while Ishmael was 12 and running for his life, I was 10 and had pretty much no worries in life. How can these two things be going on at the same time? And for many of us living in America, not know anything about it?
I think about the life that I've been given and i have to ask myself "why?" Maybe the better question is "what am i going to do with it?" This morning I read the parable about the 3 men that were given different amounts of talents. I've been given so much, but if I simply bury it in the ground it does no good.
Well I must end this because its time to get back to work. Sorry for the somewhat abrupt ending, but i'm afraid if I wait to finish it later it will end up as just another draft in my box. Many more thoughts are still on my mind, but they'll have to wait for another time.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Psalm 23

Psalm 23 (The Complete Jewish Bible)

"Adonai is my shepherd; I lack nothing.
He has me lie down in grassy pastures, he leads me by quiet water,
He restores my inner person.
He guides me in right paths for the sake of his own name.
Even if I pass through death-dark ravines, I will fear no disaster; for you are with me;
Your rod and staff reassure me.

You prepare a table for me, even as my enemies watch;
You anoint my head with oil from an overflowing cup.

Goodness and grace will pursue me every day of my life;
And I will live in the house of Adonai for years and years to come."

This is a familiar Psalm, you've probably heard numerous sermons preached on it or perhaps heard it read at a funeral. Yesterday morning I decided to use this as an opening meditation to my personal prayer time. I had left one of my NIV bibles at church and the other was in my Jeep so i just grabbed the "Complete Jewish Bible" translation off my shelf. Sometimes when you read through a familiar passage in a different translation it sticks out to you in a new way, and that's what happened to me yesterday. For the first 5 minutes I couldn't get past the opening phrase "Adonai is my shepherd, I lack nothing." I just kept reading it over and over again, trying to wrap my mind around what i was really saying. Is that statement true? Do I truly lack nothing? All day i kept thinking through that phrase, whispering it underneath my breath "Adonai is my shepherd, I lack nothing." Imagine if we lived our lives in such a way that we realized that we lack nothing. Imagine if as we went through the rough spots we realized that we lack nothing. That all we really need we find in Christ. How would that look? Why do we not live with that truth in the forefront? Because so often we get distracted. We fix our eyes on the things of this world and allow them to bring us down.

I told Bruce the other day that I feel like I'm waking out of a deep fog. I allowed myself to get lazy spiritually and mentally. I started going through the motions of living from day to day. There is a lot of things that attributed to it: I stopped waking up early enough to eat breakfast and have my devotions, I wasn't exercising or riding bike like i had been. Another contributing factor, which may seem odd to some, was the fact that i wasn't eating healthy like i had been. Although those combined to put me in a serious funk. I discovered that when you just take the easy road and allow things to simply happen you end up in a dark cloud. You stop dreaming and striving and life becomes very mundane. It takes work to push yourself out of that trap, and its especially hard to get back on pace after being stuck in it for a month or so. But the fog is starting to clear and I'm starting to get excited about life once again. So hopefully there will not be another 2 month lull in posts (although i cant promise that).

Anyway, that's all for now. Me and Dave are going kayaking tonight, so more then likely there will be many funny stories from that venture. Hopefully you liked the Psalm 23 translation, for some reason the imagery and wording really stuck out to me in a new way as I read it yesterday so i thought I'd post it. til next time . . .

Friday, February 16, 2007

What is our Foundation?

If you haven't read the book pictured to the right, "The Secret Message of Jesus" by Brian McLaren, I would highly recommend. I'm currently only about halfway into the book so maybe I should wait until I'm finished with it to fully recommend it, however I can't imagine me not feeling any different once I'm finished then I do now. The reason I've fallen in love with this book, and with most of McLarens writings that I've read so far, is because in McLarens books I find a man who is struggling with many of the same things that I am.
Much like McLaren I have really been struggling with the American churches concepts of Jesus, salvation, faith, and Christianity in general. McLaren describes this struggle in another of his books, "A New Kind of Christian". As a pastor he was quickly getting burned out because of the fine line he had to walk as a leader of a church who was having these struggles. He felt as though he was not allowed to question many of these issues, so he felt like he was merely going through the motions. And that is a feeling that I can definitely understand. Not that I'm at the point where I'm going through the motions with my involvement in church, but I do feel like in American Evangelical Christianity we are not allowed to question some of the tough issues of our faith. We are merely supposed to accept them as true and if we even begin to have doubts we are immediately thrown under the bus as a heretic. Ok, that might be slightly extreme. I feel like in order for me to truly understand why I believe what I believe I must go through a time of questioning, and perhaps even doubting many of the tough issues.
One of my major questions about modern Christianity is what are we really following. I fear that somehow over the centuries we've replaced Jesus with our Christian doctrines. Without realizing it we've allowed Christianity to be our God. I'm someone who highly respect the ancient Christian doctrines. I find the creeds immensly interesting. I love the fact that I can read them and connect myself with generations of Christians that go on before me. Anyone who knew me in college knows that I love theology as well. Calvin, Grudem, Wesley, Wright, Bruce. . . I love to study the teachings of these men. I think that our systematic theologies are vital to sharpening our faith. I love to debate issues such as end times, predestination, creation, and cannonicity. The problem is that somehow I lost my view of Jesus in all of this. Somehow Jesus became irrelavant to my faith, as crazy as that sounds.
I see this as a major problem in the church right now. McLaren describes it as putting together a puzzle. We have all the pieces, which would be the Bible, and particularly the words of Christ. But we're having difficulty putting them together correctly. Some just dont seem to fit. They're shaped wrong, or the colors just dont seem to line up right. So we start to tryo to force pieces together, or maybe we try to trim the edges to make them fit, or perhaps at times we may even discard a piece or two altogether because it just doesnt seem to fit our puzzle. But the problem is not in the pieces. The problem is that we are looking at the wrong box cover. Instead of elevating the pieces, the words of Christ, we have elevated our theologies (the box cover) and our religion. We are trying to view Christs words in light of our theology rather then the other way around.
For a couple of years, it got so bad that I rarely even read the Gospels. Jesus' teachings simply did not make sense. I stuck with Pauls writings mostly. And i want to be careful how I say this because I definitely believe in the inerrancy of the Bible, but even in reading Pauls epistles I think we need to remember that Christs words are supreme. We must always use his words as the foundation of our understanding of everything. The problem is we start at everything but Christs teachings and then try to force them into the tight little places we've designated for them. I have become much like the foolish builder and built my house upon the sand. Christ is not my foundation. And I fear the same is true for the church. And we are experiencing the storms that Christ promised would come. Where do we get our understanding of how we handle issues such as homosexuality, war, poverty, social injustices, divorce, false teachers, and the list goes on and on. What is our foundation? These issues are killing our churches, and I believe the fundamental error is that we are going to our theologies rather then Jesus for the answers. We've created a system to replace God.
I'm concerned about where my hope and faith lies. I'm concerned about where my foundation is really placed. I want to know Christ, to truly know Him. And as I read the Gospels I realize that so often I dont.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

I've had a hard time knowing what to post lately. More than anything I've started to use my blogspot more as a homepage. Some of the links may never be used by anybody but me, but some of these sites are pretty interesting. One link that I wanted to point out, and this might show my strangeness, is the one labeled Eye on Africa. Its an actual live web cam of a watering hole in Africa. I thought it was somewhat strange when I first found the link on another blog, but once I looked at it I was hooked. I check it from time to time... havent seen any killings or anything like that yet, but I have seen an elephant and a bunch of some kind of deer. You have to look at it before noon though because after that it starts to get dark.
So many things have been on my mind lately, and its hard to try to put my thoughts in words. Most of my thoughts have been questions. Why is the focus of American Christianity on what we believe rather then what we are doing? What is the role of the Church? What does it mean to be a Christian? If the Kingdom of God is really here why do we not see more evidence of it, and how can I be involved in it? If Jesus really said that we would do greater things then he did why aren't we? These are just a few.
To me it seems like I am missing the point in so many of these areas. And I think it comes from my misunderstanding of God. Sometimes I question whether I really know God. How often are my prayers or even my thinking focused on knowing God. Too often I read the Bible for application for my life. My prayers are a dialogue of a list of requests. When was the last time I was filled with wonder as I come before God. I think our mindset is wrong, and it is infecting everything.
I just finished up a month long fast. I was intending to go for 40-days but I didnt feel like I had the energy to make it. I picked a bad time to do it because I was not able to get the rest that I needed or spend the extra time in prayer that should go along with a fast. Unfortunately I dont know of any time that would actually be slower. I learned alot during this fast, more then anything I think that I learned that I do not live my life in a way that is dependant on God. God is merely a side issue. My life is the center. How do we reverse those two? I've been intrigued with Psalm 27 over the past week. As I read it, I feel like I'm reading a love poem. In this psalm we see a man who is so obsessed with God that everything else has fallen to the way side. And this is not simply a man who has had a rough life and really has nothing else, this is the King of Israel. Yet when it comes down to it, God is at the heart of Davids focus. One commentator described David as being preoccupied with God and His will. That is so beautiful! Does that describe my life? How do I get to that point? We dont understand that when we come to Christ we are not simply signing up to a set of beliefs. Its a leaving behind of the old and signing onto a totally new way of life. I'm so tired of half-hearted Christians, and I'm tired of living that way. How do we make ourselves understand that its all-or-nothing. You cant simply have a little bit of Christ.
My questioning simply leads to more questions. I have no answers. But sometimes I think that the problem is that Christians have created answers so the questioning stops. I think the more questions we ask the deeper, and the closer to God's heart, we go. I'm trying to learn to open my mind and allow myself to question things. To doubt things that I've always held as truth simply because its what I've always believed. For far too long Christians have been scared to allow themselves to interact with new ideas because they think that somehow those ideas will tear apart their faith. My question is if something can prove God wrong then is it really God that you're following.
Well my ramblings could go on but I will end with that. Check out some of the links and blogs if you have free time.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Freedom Writers

This is just a quick post to recommend a movie that I watched last night. Its called "Freedom Writers" and is an film produced by MTV starring Hilary Swank. Its based on the true story of first year teacher (Swank) who goes to teach at a school that has recently been integrated. Ms. Gruwell (Swank) is given a freshman level English class composed of the "stupid kids", those who aren't expected to make it to graduation in school, and more then likely the age of 18. This takes place in Long Beach, California where gang violence is running wild. The Freshman class has those ranging from latinos, blacks, cambodians, and one white boy. I dont want to give too much of the story, but it is an amazing account of what can happen when one woman gives hope to kids that the rest of the world has given up on. I haven't even began to do justice to this film, for a more accurate preview watch the trailer (freedom writers trailer). This movie has potential to jump on my top 5 list - I'll have to think about it more for the next couple days for the true test. The main reason I like it is because it is true to life, probably because it is a true story, it doesnt sugar coat things to make a better story. So sometime, either while its in theaters or once it comes out on DVD watch this movie.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Whats up With Prayer?

"Of all the duties enjoined by Christianity none is more essential and yet more neglected than prayer." -Francois Feuelon

Out of all the things that frustrates me dealing with Christianity, none does more then prayer. And in particular my personal prayer life. It may sound like a horrific statement, but its the honest truth. To be quite frank I just dont get it. For starters why is it important? The Bible states that God already knows what we want even before we ask.. so why is asking so essential? Now before you can give me the standard answers stop, I already know them all. Head knowledge is not what I'm struggling with. I know that prayer is important because it shows our dependancy on God. I know that prayer makes our faith more of a relationship and not simply religion. But when it comes down to it, i just don't understand it.
Maybe its due to the fact that my own prayer life is so weak. You see I'm pretty good at reading and studying the Bible. I don't have a hard time making sure that I do that once a day. And I love studying theology. But what I'm not good at is praying. I read stories of St. Francis of Assisi who had such incredible experiences while in the midst of prayer and I long for that. I read of the visions that Isaiah, John and other Biblical characters had while in the Lords presence and I think to myself "why can't I have those experiences?" John Wesley once said that "I have so much to do that I spend several hours in prayer before I am able to do it," and wonder what it's going to take to get me to that point. I try to spend even 10 minutes in prayer and I find either my mind drifting or I'm falling asleep.
So where am I going with this? What did I discover that fixed this problem? Nothing, I'm still struggling with it. The few of you who are reading this maybe thinking why I went on this rampage criticizing myself. Mostly its because yesterday I stumbled across a series of quotes on prayer and i realized how hungry I am for this area of my life to improve. I also feel like I'm not alone in this struggle. Living in a busy society its easy for things like prayer to fall along the wayside. We try to overlook this void by acting is if its not that important, but the more I think about it the more I realize that nothing is of more importance. I would question whether reading the Bible is even as of much importance as prayer is. If our prayer life is not shaped by the Scripture then we are in danger of hearing the wrong answers and praying in the wrong Spirit, but I think that we overshadow prayer with Bible reading often simply because it's easier to do. Martin Luther King Jr. said this about prayer "to be a Christian without prayer is no more possible then to be alive without breathing." Is prayer that essential to your life? Do you place that much importance on it? I want to challenge you to examine your prayer life, are you pushing yourself to a deeper, more intimate level?

Thursday, January 4, 2007

I figured setting myself up like i did with my last post was a bad idea. At the time i had a lot of thoughts on that subject, but they seem to have all left me. I will try to pick the topic back up soon, but this post is about something totally different.
This summer i decided that i was going to attempt to get in shape. Having an office job combined with a fairly busy lifestyle left little room for me to do active things. One thing that i had always enjoyed was riding bike. So I decided that if i was going to try to exercise that i was at least going to do something i actually enjoyed. So i went out and bought a fairly decent road bike and started riding. At the start I absolutely loved it. Life had gotten so busy that it seemed like a rarely had time to think and bike rides gave me an opportunity to be alone and think and reflect. But as time went on i begin to push myself harder for speed and endurance. And eventually i begin to dread the thought of getting on my bike - so i stopped. This past saturday it got up to around 70 (maybe Al Gore has something with this global warming idea.. haha) so i decided that i was going to go for a ride, nothing intense, just something to ease my mind and a way to enjoy the weather. It was the most relaxing hour and a half I've spent in a long time. As i was riding I begin to question why i had grown so tired of biking in the first place, if I enjoyed it so much why did i stop. And I realized that over time I had gone from going on a bike ride for pleasures sake to going to be productive, to achieve a certain goal. The whole time i was riding i wasnt focusing on the things around me, or enjoyment, but i was focused on pushing myself harder and harder.

Some may be wondering what in the world this has to do with anything, but the more I thought about this the more i realized how telling this was of not only many other physical aspects of my life, but also my spiritual life as well. In his book "Screwtape Letters" C.S. Lewis creates a conversation between two demons about the loss of a human. And while I can't remember the exact quote the more powerful demon tells the other that what happened was that he allowed the human to find pleasure. The way to win him to their side would have been to stop allowing him to read simply for pleasure, but rather, that he can find a useful quote or point to share with others. When he takes a walk make him focus on exercise rather than on simply enjoying the walk.
I begin to realize how often i get caught up in the trap of doing everything with the idea of being productive. I feel the need to read a book because i need to learn, even times set aside for relaxing are with the mindset that i need to relax now so i can be more productive later. So often i lose the joy of things. Its also reflected in my devotional life, so often i get done with my devotions feeling like i wasted my time because i didnt have some profound revelation or special insight into a passage. I forget the pleasure of simply spending time with God. Saturday morning i decided that to head down to the beach and read and pray for awhile. And as i was walking out to where i was going to sit i found my mind start to plan out how exactly i was going to spend my time there. "First i'm going to just sit, then I'm going to read the Bible, then maybe I'll read out of this book, and then I'll journal." Finally i caught myself and made myself stop and rethink about why exactly I was there in the first place.
Maybe some of you arent plagued with the need to schedule every aspect of your life the way I am. But i believe all of us in some way or another are shaped by the American concept of productivity, which is often times a great thing. But dont get caught up in it so much that you lose the joy in living. Well thats my ramblings for now, hopefully it came out somewhat sensical.