July was full...and interspersed between the big and memorable moments were lots of wonderful small moments too. Lots of walks through our neighborhood to our favorite overlook. Ordering pad Thai at our favorite restaurant. Dinners with friends and playing volleyball with our small group...I also read a few books that I'm excited to share with you!
We're all just sojourners on this earth...united by a shared goal and destination. There is no room for comparison, only for mercy and uplifting words, for cheering each other on until the end.
Why write when tomorrow you will likely forget my words? Why write when quite possibly no one will read these words? Why write when there are so many other, more qualified, more educated, more articulate writers out there?
Yes it's freeing to be "out of context." But as scary as it is to press into relationships... It's also a truly beautiful thing to be known.
Discipleship. It's a word we throw around in the church a lot and it's a word that is actually not explicitly written in the Bible. So what is DISCIPLESHIP?
I pray that I would experience beautiful moments. Not post them. Not even take a picture of them. Just capture them in my mind. Remember them. I pray that I would remember the exquisite beauty in the mundane. The wonder of what is happening right here in front of me. In my very ordinary life. I'm praying these things for you too. Could it be that maybe the most important moments are the ones that aren't documented? The conversations that aren't recorded? The sunsets that aren't photographed? The kitchen dance parties that aren't videoed? The flitting in-between moments that you can't capture? Could it be that disconnecting is precisely how we'll reach deeper connection?
There are a few cautions that we should keep in mind when it comes to celebrity pastors, at least for the Christians who are not members of those famous pastor’s churches. So to the people that belong to churches led by ordinary pastors like me, I would say this:
This poem by Mabel Williamson, a missionary to China, is a much-needed encouragement to lay down our notions of our "rights" in this world and praise God for the privileges we have in Christ.
Last week I wrote a blog on sexual sin. In that post I highlighted the depth of God's grace. Grace that meets us even in our deepest sin. At the same time (and by that I mean while holding on to that understanding of the grace and goodness and mercy of God) we must also actively pursue repentance with every ounce of our being. So what does it meant to repent?
My mind has been restless lately. It's felt too busy and too full. Thoughts, worries, fears, frustrations, questions, doubts. They've been bumping around in my head and I'm sensing the need to take a step back.
Many of you have been asking for updates so I channeled my [nonexistent] video editing skills to make a short documentary of our first few weeks in Denver: featuring the bipolar weather of Colorado (snow and toboggans one day and sunshine and shorts the next!), our exploration of new local food joints, and enjoying the mountains and sunsets of Colorado.
I'm familiar with the pang of goodbyes and the packing of boxes. Life has been full of change for me, so trust and commitment has always been a little difficult, while change and newness feels natural. But during the last three and half years in Birmingham, the Lord slowly but surely helped me to let my heart put roots down in people and places and it has been the most terrifying but also the most joyous thing in the world.
You know that feeling when something so deeply resonates and you feel this unexplainable sense of rightness? That deep deep conviction that God is real and true and good and faithful. And sometimes you can't even tell if that deep conviction is your own or if it's the faith of the people around you upholding yours. All I can think to describe it is the deep encouragement and sustaining of faith that comes from community. And it is beautiful.
In asking me to stay, God expanded my understanding of missions to be not just going to an overseas country to share the love of Christ, but rather leveraging any opportunity or situation to make disciples and share the gospel where I am.
...We are therefore able to have immense joy in the time of suffering because Christ Himself is our present joy and our future hope. Let us not be thankless and praiseless because we are in a season of sorrow or trial. Instead, may our pain and loss bring praise to our lips as we are reminded that our Savior is our only true comfort and our only true rest.