The Complex Life of a Church Janitor.

Holy Week Contrast.

It’s interesting how often humans run away from any uncertain situation as long as there’s a possibility it might cause the slightest pain and heartache.  The pain might be physical or emotional.  The heartache may stem from loss, betrayal, disappointment, or some other longing.  The heartache may even be rooted in fear.  Regardless of the forms of pain and heartache, humans tend to avoid situations that create these sensations.

Compare that idea to Christ riding into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. 

He knew the physical and emotional pain that would occur by the time he cried out to God from the cross. 

He was certain the people who waved branches declaring him the Messiah would wave their hands to condemn him before Pilate.

He knew the details of the betrayal Judas would carry out as he prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Peter’s denial was no secret to Christ.

Jesus knew the number of punches, lashes, cuts, bruises, and scrapes he would endure.  He knew he would be led out to Golgotha by the end of the week, then pierced through his hands and feet.  He knew the taunts to prove he was the Son of God that would fall on his ears as he fulfilled God’s plan by dying in our place.

Jesus knew all of these events and infinitely more details of Holy Week that escape me at the moment.

Christ knew the pain and heartache he would endure as he entered the gates of the city, yet he chose to continue in that direction. 

He chose to endure the suffering even though it was certain.  It’s a decision that is in contrast what any normal person might do in that situation.  I consider this idea and know without a shadow of doubt that he is the Son of God.

Then again, he knew the cost and the salvation it would offer to the world.

Like most matters of faith, the thoughts lead to more thoughts and questions beget questions.  I just find it undeniably fascinating Jesus chose to enter Jerusalem when any ordinary person in his situation would have run away from the city.


I can identify a plot in this story you’re writing in my life. It centers around a soul who always cared about you, spent a lot of time caring about things that don’t really matter, learned the joy and struggle of caring about people, then found that caring about you is what my heart needs most. I’m not sure where the plot will lead next, but I thank you for character development.

— Part of a prayer from the drive home today.


God has placed endless opportunities in our lives. Opportunities allow us to learn, grow, evaluate, change, and (most importantly) love. The challenge is deciphering the opportunities we need to grasp at this moment and the opportunities that are best left for another time, if ever…

— Thought about today.


Many of my thoughts end in question marks, but I know God will eventually lead me to answers that end in exclamation points.

— Reflection on recent conversation.


I'm a pretty shy person. I have been learning, especially through my church, to not be so afraid and talk to new people. For me, it's easy to talk to people, who already believe, about how great God is. I wanted to know if you have any advice about talking to people, non believers and others, about God without the fear of looking like a "bible thumper?" from massagebyme

The best advice that comes to mind is just letting conversations develop naturally.  Don’t force God into a conversation with a person.  If a talk happens to head down the path of spirituality or beliefs, then bringing up your beliefs is natural and bound to be accepted by people.  Additionally, I know I am bound to make religious references from time to time in conversation, but most people are pretty open to beliefs and will not think less of you for casually mentioning something about life, purpose, faith, or trusting God. 

The best way to let this organic discussion of beliefs to develop with people is to build intentional relationships with them.  As a person grows to know you and you grow to know him/her, conversation will undoubtedly include beliefs and opinions on various topics.  Talking to people about God is ultimately an extension of experiencing life with them. After experiencing life with people, it is natural to want to let them know God is also experiencing life with them.  Once community is established, bringing God into the realm of conversation will be natural and a person will know that you are not imposing your beliefs upon him/her, but want to experience yet another part of your life with him/her.


God is present. He is active. He is speaking. Every believer knows these promises. All too often, the problem in my life is I get so wrapped up in the present, activities, and speaking that those promises fall from my thoughts. I do not need reassurance of the promises. I need to remember God is present in my present. I need to remember God is active in my activities. I need to remember God is speaking when I might be speaking, so maybe I need to shut up.

— Thought about promises.


Have you discovered that the will of God in your life is always what your entire being longs for and seeks at all costs, whether or not you acknowledge that search?

— Recent thought about life and purpose.


You continually humble me with the realization that you call me to trust in the certainty of all you are, but my soul still tries to make certainty for itself.

— From a recent prayer.


Convenience.

My life is not convenient. 

It’s true and hard to accept at times, but this fact is also comforting.  When life feels inconvenient, I am connected to the story continually presented in the Bible. 

Abraham was told to move away for no reason.  Joseph was wrongfully imprisoned.  Moses was uprooted from his quiet life as a nomad to lead Israel out of Egypt.  Peter was told to abandon his life as a fisherman.  Paul went from being a respected Pharisee to a preacher scorned by Jewish authorities. 

Every person in the Bible experienced an inconvenient life, but they all thrived because God was always at work.  When my life feels inconvenient, I remember that truth.  In in the midst of hard times, God is always up to something.


When was the last time I did something for God just because I love him?

— Reaction to an Oswald Chambers passage.


Silence.

Lord,

I thank you for silence. I thank you for the moments where I am left with the thoughts that I cannot get out of my head. In those moments, you expose the frailties, fears, doubts, joys. and strengths of my heart. I thank you for the silence that forces me to consider the realities of the present.

I thank you for the silence. It purifies me when I empty my mind of its endless babblings. The silence washes away the worry, stress, and doubt until I am laid before you empty for you to fill. The silence speaks to the depths of my heart, revealing the stirrings of a life desiring God to speak.

I thank you for the silence. More than anything else, I recognize silence is usually how you speak to me. The silence opens my ears, mind, and heart to the refrain you continue to sing to me:

I am good.
You are loved.
You are enough.
I understand.
I am here, for I AM WHO I AM.

I thank you for the silence.

Amen.


The great struggle in my life is separating the instances where God wants me to wait for him to open a door and the instances where God wants me to kick down a door.

— Recent Reflection


Hi there. I love what you're doing with your blog :) I have a pretty loaded question for you, so I hope your philosophising hat is on... I've been taught from a young age that our God is all-loving, but if people don't accept him they're condemned to eternity in Hell. Why would an all-loving God punish His children infinitely for a finite crime? from unlikely-poet-deactivated201402

This question is one of those topics that tends to spiral into circular reasoning.  Rather than try to answer a question that is ultimately beyond the grasp of any human, I have the following series of questions in response.

Sin is a choice to love something/someone in place of God.  Why do humans choose something finite over the infinite God?

People routinely choose to remain shackled to regrets, anger, hate, jealousy, and grudges.  Why do we punish ourselves?  Why do we do allow the finite to define our lives rather than the infinite love of Christ?

Heaven and hell are part of the present reality.  Each moment, a person chooses to live in the love of Christ (heaven) or seek love elsewhere (hell). Why do people choose to seek love from a finite source (living in hell) rather than an infinite source (heaven on earth)?

I will never have all the answers.  I will always have questions that lead to other questions, but I know one truth: We are given the choice to love God and I will be forever grateful for the Son of Man who died for that choice to be offered.


Prayer For The Present.

Lord,

I thank you for your Presence in the present.  I am humbled by your grace in this moment.  I am continually astounded by the fact that your love is always present, always at work, and always infusing itself into the insignificant and profound events that constitute my life. I thank you that you are always here and inviting me to experience life with your Presence.

Jesus, I thank you for the example of a life spent fully engaged in the present through the power of the Spirit.  You show me a life fully aware of the hurts and struggles of people.  You teach me the value of engaging in acts of love, then withdrawing for solace with the Father.  You model for me the importance of loving each person for who they are, not anything else.  The events chronicled in the Gospels remind me of the need to find people with whom I can share life with on a daily basis. You teach me all of these lessons about living in the present.  I ask that the Spirit would lead me to live in the present as you live.

I thank you for the present.  May this declaration be my prayer regardless of the challenges and obstacles that exist in my life, since you are the God who is There.

Amen.


There’s a big difference between the person who says, “Here I am, Lord. Send me,” and the person who says, “Here am I, Lord. Send me.” The first phrase is one of declaration or even pride. The second phrase is one of surrender and humility. When I serve God, I hope it is always out of surrender and never from a selfish inkling that somehow God needs me.

— Thought about Isaiah.