Sunday, November 28, 2010

Uniqueness... thoughts on Jonah and church

Jonah 2 (ESV)
1Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God from the belly of the fish, 2saying,

"I called out to the LORD, out of my distress,
and he answered me;
out of the belly of Sheol I cried,
and you heard my voice.
3 For you cast me into the deep,
into the heart of the seas,
and the flood surrounded me;
all your waves and your billows
passed over me.
4 Then I said, 'I am driven away
from your sight;
yet I shall again look
upon your holy temple.'
5 The waters closed in over me to take my life;
the deep surrounded me;
weeds were wrapped about my head
6at the roots of the mountains.
I went down to the land
whose bars closed upon me forever;
yet you brought up my life from the pit,
O LORD my God.
7When my life was fainting away,
I remembered the LORD,
and my prayer came to you,
into your holy temple.
8 Those who pay regard to vain idols
forsake their hope of steadfast love.
9 But I with the voice of thanksgiving
will sacrifice to you;
what I have vowed I will pay.
Salvation belongs to the LORD!"

10And the LORD spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah out upon the dry land.

"Our stories aren't as unique as we think they are" - paraphrase from Jeremy Duncan

In this prayer, I believe Jonah quotes psalmists 14 or so times... an interesting concept. While finding himself in a situation that no one -likely up to that point or since that point- has really found themselves in, Jonah chose not to use his own words to call out to God, but those of people who had gone before him.

Jonah, it would seem -amongst his many flaws-, figured that no matter how crazy the situation he found himself in, there were people who had "been there" before... people who had gone through the ringer and come out the other side and voiced the same concerns/hopes that he found himself dealing with.

How often do we think of the situations that happen in our life as "our own"? I know, for myself, that I have often thought "there is certainly NO ONE who could POSSIBLY understand what I am going through right now"... it almost seems foolish, if not very proud... or both.

The reality of life is that there are people who are struggling with the things that we are... whether it be a different shade, or the unlikely event that someone is literally experiencing the same situation.

Rest assured, friends, that the prayers we pray have been prayed before... and answered! Quite probably different answers have been given to different people, but answered nonetheless.

Now how does this weave into our lives through our ministry? We are called to preach the gospel to the world... in it's entirety. Christians and non-Christians alike need to hear the good news... but what does this look like?

We live in a world where being "unique" is perhaps one of our biggest desires. The church today seems to be pushing in a direction where we believe that the world we live in is completely different than it ever has been. The sins (though we're unlikely to use that word) we struggle with are totally different than those that our forefathers dealt with.

"People don't respond to the same things that they once did"

A sentiment I often see in people is that we have somehow "outgrown" the sermons/truths of old. Hell? Punishment? Depravity? SIN? Those words don't change people... they don't bring about true repentance! (another word we don't often hear)

We must LOVE people into the kingdom... not scare them.

Now... I would agree that scaring people into anything is probably not the way I would choose to lead someone... but I would also say that people often disagree on what the word "love" means.

Is loving someone letting them live in the struggles they find themselves in? Is it seeing someone making SINful choices and not saying anything for fear of offending them?

Don't get me wrong... I'm not advocating blind judgment on people based off of limited experiences we see of them... but what I AM wondering about lately... is how we relate to people keeping in mind that the people we are "preaching" to are, in essence, the same types of people that once responded to turn or burn sermons.

Now is that ALL there is to the gospel? Certainly not...

But it's part of it, no?

Hell IS a reality, I believe... and one that people should certainly be aware of.

How that looks, I'm not totally sure... most of this is just ponderings of someone who had too much caffeine on a Sunday night... but I would love to see the discussion brought forth with maturity and love amongst Christians today.

I think it would be a cool conversation to have in the community we find ourselves in. I think it would be exciting to see how a community could respond to a good ol' fashioned hell/sin service.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

walking away

Often I find myself sitting and wondering how we let things get so much more complicated than they need to be.

I mean, I understand, circumstance is something that's impossible to avoid... but are they really as life-deciding as we allow them to be?

Maybe I just have to strong a view of words that people say... maybe I just am too trusting in certain situations in my life... but man, I wish that people would just live up to the words they say.

I generally try and use this account of mine to share something that's meaningful to me in hopes of inspiring those who might come across it... but I think right now I mostly just need to vent my frustrations.

I don't understand how we've fallen so far from what God intended us to be... I mean, I do. I get it... it's for His glory and He's got this worked out... but sometimes it's just mind blowing to me how people that are seemingly so "in love with Christ" can falter on things so trivial.

Promises were made to be kept, and I believe that, as Christians, that is one of the last bastions of hope that we have to live out the example of Christ in our daily lives.

Friends, I urge you to keep the promises that you make... not even for the sake of those to whom you made them, but understanding that promises aren't just between us, they've a commitment to God -whether we like it or not-

If you make a decision to do something... do it. Don't let the world drag you down or allow the devil to make you think something different... you'll never regret walking in grace long enough to see your promises through.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

I saw three ships.

Coming into this Christmas season... I feel quite content. Amidst all the worries or my daily life and in and amongst the sheer wonder of where I'll find myself in six months... I am content.

God is good. He truly is.

Oh, the wonderful feeling it is to wake up and remember that only because of His grace am I able to stand and long ago, He chose me out of the masses to serve as a light into the darkness.

Amazing grace.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

possible career discovery.

I've officially applied to become a firefighter and feel as though I'm going to seriously pursue this one.

For some reason, it jumped out to me today, and I don't know why that is... maybe it's because it's a job I could care about that would also provide for me financially, whilst still enabling me to work hard with my hands AND my mind.

I'm excited to see what this idea turns into... even if that is nothing!

oh how the fallen...

tend to fall.

Dear God,
I come to you today a sinner desperately in need of grace, but not only that, I'm in need of your strength to accept that grace and bring myself out of this pit I find myself in.

I see your hand at work, even in these darker days, and thank you that even now, you are watching over me... but I'd pray that you lift me up.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

the sound of love.

Today, I went out to Three Hills, Alberta to lay down some guitar tracks for Joal Kamps' upcoming record.

It was tons of fun; I reigned supreme at Burnout 3 and had a great time hanging out with mr. troyer.

God has blessed me in many ways, and sometimes I feel I forget that. I have a pretty swell gift for music... not even just playing, but appreciating. Music is a pretty fantastic thing, what with all it's rhythm and melody and if I were to think back to when I was in junior high... I would never have even thought I'd know how to play an instrument well, let alone have recorded an award winning album, toured north america playing guitar and had the opportunity to just head out and record some stuff now and then.

It's quite the fantastic blessing, I feel... and now... on to find a job!!!

ps. today I captured love... sonically. no joke.

Monday, December 8, 2008


As the days go by, and I find myself more frequently in prayer and actual study times... I find myself daily more convicted of my shortcomings that I believe find me in the place I am today.

I have come to realize that for nearly the last 25 years, I have been scared of responsibility, and though I've made some weak attempts at taking hold of that... I feel it's time for me to stop reacting, and start planning.

I have spent far too much time in a reactive state of mind, just sort of dealing with whatever may come my way, instead of allowing Christ to lead me through all my circumstances.

I need to lean on Christ in all things, and trust that He cared enough for me to work out the details.

I have lacked the initiative that I believe we are called to have in our lives. I have lacked the pro-activeness that I believe is necessary to truly connect with God's world.

From this day forward, it is my desire to cease my reactivity and become a man who takes responsibility and initiative in the places that I should. No longer will I dwell in this apathy and stagnancy... I should be living a life worthy of the calling I've received... and to this day, I don't feel I've been doing that.

May God bring us out of our apathy in life and into a life of initiative.

Scripture to consider:
Isaiah 53
Psalm 33
Ephesians 5
James 1