There’s a scene in the first “Hobbit” movie – the scene where Bilbo Baggins realizes he needs to leave the Shire and go out on a proper adventure. That this adventure will lead to a universe being created from one end of a book to the end of a third isn’t what matters. What matters is that this little hobbit who enjoys his home and staying in it – and never leaving the comfortable confines of his community. He’s content. Until a crazed wizard shows up with a cadre of dwarves intent on taking back their kingdom and then the real challenge for the once content hobbit begins. He faces down terrifying battles, horrifying beasts of Middle Earth and a unsettling thought they might not make it back alive.
There’s something unique about sitting down to talk with your young adults pastor and you’re absolutely convinced you should be leaving said young adults group…and then by the end of the breakfast with him you’re questioning every single idea you had in your head. No, it’s not as fun as it sounds but it’s absolutely necessary.
I’m about to bloody my theological knuckles, so buckle up. Strap in. Brace yourself. And hold onto something. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.
I figured I should put that warning there since there’s a chance I’ll be metaphorically and rhetorically crackin’ skulls with today’s post. And I can’t take credit for the inspiration of these words. I blame the twitter user ENT Monkey. Dude even has a website. It all started in the early morning hours today with this tweet.
Sick of Christians, people & myself included on social media saying, “God is so good, look at my great life on Twitter, FB & Instagram.”
— ENT Monkey (@otorhinolarydoc) November 2, 2013
I got a kick out of it because it felt like a nudge in my side. You when someone pokes you and taps you on the shoulder to draw your attention to something? That was this tweet for me. I responded.
It’s Monday. Commence with the gnashing of teeth and tearing of ritual sackcloth!
I’m back podcasting about church, Jesus and the future of it all. I’m a bit bonkers and wander with my ideas but it’s fifteen minutes worth of marinating on the future of The Church. Give it listen and tell me how wrong I am.
This is “A Unwritten Letter”. Couple of years back this was a fresh emotion playing upon my heart. This is me writing a letter to the someone to finally close it out. I may do more of these for National Blog Writing Month. We’ll see. Onwards!
I wish I could have told you how I felt about you. I wish you could have heard me describe how when I looked into your eyes I felt as I’d come home finally. I had hoped you’d see what my heart was doing as you walked away or when you smiled. Or when you did just about anything. The laugh, the roll of your eyes when you were annoyed with me. The way you looked beautiful no matter what kind of day you’d had. The manner of clothing and colors that never failed to accentuate your beauty.
You were something to me. You probably realized it and did the smart thing by putting distance between us. The signals you gave were pretty clear. You didn’t want me that way.
The truth? You were the first girl that when I hadn’t seen you I felt a strange tugging in my heart. I realized the terrifying truth. I liked you and probably more than you would have been comfortable with at the time. Or anytime. I clearly missed you. And that was scary and wonderful at the same time.
But you didn’t want that. So I quietly buried those emotions, feelings and hopes. I had to toss some gasoline on it and let it burn for a bit longer than I anticipated. It helped clean the wound I’d caused in my heart trying to chase you. I patched it up and walked on down the line.
I still miss you sometimes. I guess that scar tissue with those emotions will never truly fade away.
Often with NaBloWriMo the challenge isn’t sitting down every day and writing – it’s coming up with stuff to write to fill the space of a blog post. That’s why NaBloWriMo is such a challenge – and why it’s fun and terrible at the same time. You wonder how the folks whose life blood is blogging and writing manage to keep on truckin’.
We’re less than 12 hours away from October 1st, 2013. The great challenge that is National Blog Writing Month is nearly upon us. Are you ready? I’m certainly not. Well, it’s true! The next three months are always the worst creatively for me. October is NaBloWriMo, November is NaNoWriMo and December is a time for reflection on the last 365 days. I feel like I have to put something to keyboard nearly every day for these three months. It’s like the Olympics, only for nerds.
You could also probably title this post “Volunteering Makes Us Better” but I like the ring of the original.
There is great truth in the statement. I’ve been doing children’s and youth ministry since 1992. That’s 21 years of my 31 years on this planet. And I can tell you this right now – if those 21 years had been spent outside of ministry and volunteering – you wouldn’t recognize the man sitting at the keyboard right now. You probably wouldn’t want to hang out with him. There’s a good chance he wouldn’t care about much outside of his own world. The women in (and out) of his life probably wouldn’t touch him with a ten foot pole. He’d be a jerk. Douchebag. Probably a slacker or even a player. There wouldn’t be a humble bone in his body. Oh and he’d have the language of several sailors and the respect of several less.
I’m not a Bible Scholar by any stretch of the imagination. Nor have I been theologically trained in much of anything aside from teaching in children’s and youth ministry. So when I get into my devotions I’m usually quite blind to the history of characters or the deeper strings involved within – which makes me slightly nervous to be writing down my thoughts here. I’m always nervous I’m going to take a logical leap over a shark or two and fall face first into the sand.
Which is why I love today’s devotional. It’s a fairly simple tale that helps me remember that I shouldn’t want to be all those things in order to feel better about myself – or how I read His Word. His name was Absalom and he was the son of King David. The verse referenced is 2 Samuel 15:3-6.
The idea here is that Absalom promotes himself and builds up his image with the people of the kingdom into something that wasn’t his to have. The key quote here regarding Absalom is that he, “…stole the hearts of everyone in Israel.” Absalom’s selfishness was the cause of his sin – his want to be the next big thing. It’s a cautious reminder – and there are a plentiful bushel of warnings in God’s Word – about promoting ourselves above Him and the plan He has for our life. I’ve come to understand pieces of God and me over the years – by no means am I anywhere close to figuring it out – but I’ve learned that I’m not the most important kid on the block. I am second to Him. We were created to point to Christ and spread the glory, praise and honor across the globe.
I sometimes get a big head – and when it happens I just want to throw myself into a deep hole and never come out. I’m ashamed that I thought I somehow knew better, was better or was that thing I tried to portray. It’s a constant battle and consistently under construction.
The key section of tonight’s devotional that sticks with me is under the “PRAY” section. It says this – “Spend time inviting God to remind you that he loves you just the way you are, that you cannot earn his approval. Welcome God to show you your true identity as His child, an identity that is defined not by what you do but by who you are and to whom you belong.”
Boom goes the dynamite.