Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Redmond is my home and has been for nearly 7 years. In that time, I have gotten to know this town fairly well. It helps to have jumped in with both feet from the beginning. Beyond the neighbors, the friends and the acquaintances, there are the countless faces I just know from soccer and basketball and well, life. There are hundreds of faces and I seem to see most of them at the store; in the produce section. I’m not sure what that means.

Before living here, I lived in the oft maligned area known as The Valley. Had I known of this quirky reference, I might have moved sooner. However, that not being the case, I lived in a couple of different towns over there for the better part of 10 years and in that time I certainly got to know the area. I also got to know my fair share of people, some of which I still keep up with today. The significance of this is my viewpoint looking back; specifically in the way I interacted with those around me.

Over here, on the right side of the hill, I have learned to integrate. It’s not that I didn’t mingle with the masses over there but somehow, this is different. It might be maturity talking, or maybe the gray hair, but my life here is marked in a way that suggests community means something; where I live actually matters. It should go without saying that we should always strive to be in community with those around us, regardless of where we live, but again, this is different.

Here’s the thing, it’s not just that where I live matters, it’s that who I live with in community matters. We talk of making a difference in our communities and neighborhoods but to what end? When was the last time you went into your community and genuinely made an impact? This is not a reproachful question, but a sincere one. The person around the corner from you might be in great need, but in our moments of chaos known as everyday life, we often overlook that person. We don’t do it out of malice. We do it out of sheer ignorance. The truth is we simply don’t know enough about our neighbors.

Communities are shaped by the people in them. You and I make up this one and we have a daily choice to make. Say it with me: “I consciously choose to know the people around me and do what I can, when I can, to help anyone who needs it.”

Think about that. It doesn’t require you to drop everything and run down to the soup kitchen and feed the homeless for the next 2 weeks (although that would be valiant). The decision is to change your mindset. Your community needs you. And as equally important, you need your community.

M Scott Peck said, “There can be no vulnerability without risk; there can be no community without vulnerability; there can be no peace, and ultimately no life, without community.”

I’m finding my community a little more every day here in Redmond. Come find it with me.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Music to your ears

Music is so integral to the well being of my soul that I can’t imagine life without it. There is something special about lyrics laced with instruments that make my skin tingle. It has always been that way for me, always been more than just a song, more than just words on a page. Occasionally an instrumental piece (like Star Wars type) or even an a-cappella tune can send chills down my spine (you’re now humming Death Star music aren’t you?).

Mostly it’s the thoughtful collection of words and notes that tear at the very center of who I am. There must be others who feel the same, because otherwise such amazing music would have never been created. Music can literally move you when you are in tune with what you are hearing and feeling. Music becomes a part of you; it breathes inside of you.

Music is also relative. Everything we go through in this life has found its way into lyrics at some point. Our attachment is usually based on where we are at any given moment. Every emotion known to man can be found on a page of sheet music which is why we attach songs to memories and specific points in time. An example for me would be the song ‘Summer of 69’ by Bryan Adams. That song was a huge hit the summer I turned 16. It had come out just months before and everyone was singing it. I can still remember camping with my family and meeting a girl and holding hands while that song played; those were good times.

On the opposite end of that spectrum, there are certain songs I hear that make my heart heavy for many reasons. Each of us has events in our lives that appear to have a theme song behind them. Instance after instance pops into my head, especially of those tough times when the world seemed to be against me. There was always a song or two that embodied my perspective at that moment. Remember Richard Marx? I’ve tried to sear those songs out of my head too, it’s OK, but that guy knew exactly what I was going through; several times.

Songs can be backdrops for motivation (think Rocky), inspiration (think Chariots of Fire), relaxation (Enya) and reflection (Chopin's Fantasie Impromptu). This is a mere smattering of the range of emotions that music touches and in fact, just a tiny measure of the different genres you will find. Try exploring new music and you will find a plethora of choices you may have never heard of. I for one am not a big country music fan, but I hear that if you play it backwards you get everything you ever lost, back. The heart of rock and roll is still beating, however, so I tend to listen to it a lot.

Take the time to listen to each song you hear, there’s a story to every one. Listen for the emotion and soon you will do more than just hear it, you will feel it.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Must the summer end?

I need more long days where it stays light until ten and it’s warm all day. I need more days where popsicles are the rule and not the exception. I want more days of hanging at the splash park and praying for a gentle breeze from the east as we sit in the grass.

I long for more evenings spent watching baseball games with friends and family and barbeques where we talk for hours. More hikes up Smith Rock and more trail rides out at the Radlands with my kids. More of a lot of things that make our summer what we hope for.

Summer is kind of like every vacation you take where as soon as it’s over you’re already wishing you could have another day, or another week. I suppose the same can be said for nearly any positive experience, but summer is like a 3 month high. Maybe it’s time we extended summer to include parts of May and September, maybe turn the season into four months, or possibly five. Of course, with that philosophy we’ll all be working two days a week and enjoying 5 day weekends before long!

The iconic nature that is summer is found in the hearts and minds of children. It is them who know that each day brings a new chance to play with reckless abandon while having the opportunity to stay up later than usual. That mindset is what makes smiles, and from the moment school lets out my kids are covered in them. Every once in a while I catch a glimpse of what that feels like and poof, I’m a kid again.

As we near another fall and prepare for a new school year I am reminded of the cyclical nature of our lives. The leaves will change, the sweatshirts will be donned, the wind will come and our mindsets will adjust once again. I suppose that it’s good there’s an order because who knows where we would end up if there wasn’t one. But imagine if you could leave the sweatshirt on the shelf for a while longer.

Living in Central Oregon certainly affords us the opportunity to enjoy much more sunshine than our brothers and sisters to the west, but negative eight degrees is still cold, even if the sun is out. Like a “Choose your own adventure” book, I would love the chance to see what a year of summer felt like. A chance to enjoy the warmth that only comes for a couple of months each year.

Maybe it’s time to adjust my mindset to summer and keep it there. I want that feeling of reckless abandon and that perpetual smile that goes along with it and I want it all year long. Like a dog with his head out the window, enjoying the breeze in my face and the sun in my eyes. Indifferent about the destination and focused on the journey; because I know that summer doesn’t end.

Sunday, August 19, 2012


Have you ever felt small? You know, insignificant, or next to nothing; worthless almost, but maybe not that bad. The moments in my life where I have felt that way can be counted on one hand, probably using two fingers. Maybe I have been fortunate, who knows, but whatever the case I have never really felt that way until recently.

I am embarking on something new in my life. My family and I are apart of a new church plant and while it is exciting it has also been enormously humbling, especially of late. Initially when I felt the call to be apart of this new plant I believed I would play a large part; have a large role. While at the last church we attended I was very active and so my natural assumption was that I would play an even bigger part in something so small and intimate. It not only made sense but it seemed to be assumed by not only me but others as well.

But that just hasn't been the case.

For the past couple of weeks I have found myself to be resentful. Not of anyone person but of the entire process that I find myself in. I have taken to praying a lot, not just for this new church but even just for me and that I am where God wants me to be for His purpose. I'm being careful with that last sentence because I don't want to play the martyr either; God needs workers, not crybabies. But even as I write that I can't help but feel offended and slightly hurt over what I thought would be this big move for me.

But that's it isn't it? It's not about me. It never was.

Tonight while everyone was eating following our service I was directed to James 1 which I have been studying at home. I had already read chapter 1 but here I was again re-reading the chapter and there was verse three staring at me: "So don't try to get out of anything prematurely." What caught me off guard was how quick I was in thinking that I could simply back into some place of mediocrity since I hadn't gotten my way. But here was this verse saying, don't you dare. Then I thought about it a bit more and what hit me the hardest was Jesus' words telling me that "Whoever wants to be first, must be last". And just like that I remembered what He had put on my heart just a few years earlier and that is to be His servant.

So the wheels spun a little more and it occurred to me that while I have taken a backseat of sorts to this point, there are a few others who would have normally disappeared into anonymity, but are instead being used in a mighty way. This really hit me hard. God most certainly has plans for me but as usual, I am trying to insert my own plans in place, and it's not working out real well.

And so I find myself humbled. And it's a challenge.

 But James says to count my challenges as joy. James was a funny guy.

So while it feels like I'm not really serving, God is using this time to temper me and to teach me about being humble. He is teaching me about my pride and that I do not need it to serve Him. He is teaching me that I need to get out of the way so that He can work in my life.

He is teaching me that I am small. And He is great.

And for that, I am eternally thankful.

My life is not mine, and yet it is mine to live for Him. Peace to you all.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Running along

What is it about running that makes it appealing and/or frightening? For a lot of folks I know, running is not easy and unless they’re being chased, it’s not happening. It should be easier though; you strap on some shoes, don some shorts and a light shirt and hit the road. There's not much to it really, it's just a simple activity.

Motivating people to get out and actually run however, is no easy task. There are always a few major obstacles to overcome first, like owning the right pair of shoes, or whether or not to run with music. Then there’s determining where to run and how far, especially if you’re a beginner. Mostly it’s just the fear of looking like a complete dork to all the people driving by.

Running is hard work. It takes time to develop the muscles in your legs so they don’t ache after every run. On top of it all, running seems to be the most fan un-friendly sport ever. Consider this; I can’t go out and buy my favorite runners jersey. When was the last time you saw a Ryan Hall or a Shalane Flanagan shirt at the store? (Extra points if you know either).

Being a runner also requires a willingness to get out there in the questionable weather, not just the sunny days. It takes a commitment that requires a certain self motivation that a lot of people lack. Most of all, you probably need to be a little weird to be willing to run distances like 26 miles…all at once…in the rain…just because.

The toughest thing about getting into running seems to be the belief that it is an individual sport. Let’s face it; running is not considered a team sport unless you’re on a relay team in track and field. In a team sport, we can jump into a softball game and know there are at least 8 to 9 other players on our team that can fill a void if we’re not very good. When you run, if you’re extremely slow it can be demoralizing and keep you from running at all. Then add sore muscles, sweat and exhaustion and we’re back to only running when chased.

It’s easy to see why running might be something to fear, especially when talking about marathon distances and aching joints. Running is certainly not for the faint of heart, but for some of us, running is therapeutic.

For me, this past 18 months has been about the little known aspect of running; the social side. I have made significant friendships in my running circles and I have discovered how much I enjoy running with someone, especially in order to carry on a conversation. There are not many sports where the same can be said, in fact there are no notable team sports where 2 people can carry on a conversation while in the midst of participating. This truly makes running unique.

Growing up, I did not want to be a runner. In fact, I can’t think of a single friend of mine who actually grew up wanting to be a runner. For those of us who have become runners, it’s something we added later in life. We determined that running might be good for us and we were all just sick enough in the head to try it. It turns out that running is not only good for us physically, but spiritually too.

This may not motivate you to hurry out, strap on those shoes and jog 13 miles but running is so basic, so intrinsic to who we are that nearly anyone can do it. Unlike many sports that take considerable coordination, running merely takes a little training and a little push to get out there. There is no question you can do it. And when you do, I’ll run with you.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

apolitical follow up

Have you ever noticed the expectation of the American Christian that you and I be voters? It goes without saying that we should not only vote but our exclusive choice should be Republican. To me, this is nothing new, I have seen it for years, but the more recent observation is now that I’m apolitical, there is not only disbelief but even shock. You see, it is very un-American to choose not to vote. We may have rights that protect our choices but that won’t stop some from condemning for those choices.

Maybe it’s my new found perspective on this that has me so stunned but it could also be the willful ignorance of many. I have noted many times how foolish most people can be, especially regarding any subject with merit. Very little forethought is used on subjects of race, religion, science and politics. It’s easier to gut check everything and live moment by moment using only emotions. This reactive nature is predominant here in America where the majority is comfortable with the lifestyle of convenience. The less one has to do the better, especially when it comes to thinking.

Without thought, many jump to conclusions, which is why I suppose it doesn’t shock me to get the responses I get regarding my apolitical status. For me it took careful reflection and prayer to discern this path; it wasn’t an easy decision. Even after making this choice I struggle with the decision and continually find myself wanting to enter into a particular conversation or thread online. But like any addiction or habit, it takes time to break the chains and slowly, I have become less susceptible to those desires. Staying clear of that arena has been good for my soul.

I’m not sure this is for everyone. Clearly we need some level of government in order to manage the people and as such, there must be those with level heads and proper ethics to manage such tasks. My involvement is not necessary but at some point that may change. For now I am left to concentrate on that which is before me; kingdom work. Within that scope is a government with a solitary ruler whom I trust to make the right decisions for me. In His kingdom, all He asks of me is to believe and then love.

Could we live under that kind of rule? Isn’t that what Rob Bell pondered in the book Jesus Wants to Save Christians? For thousands of years mankind begged for a king, for a leader, for someone to be their head. God always granted the people their wish and kings came and went. Some were decent, some were deplorable and some should never have been a leader. We know now of course that God finally sent a king worthy of all praise but many did not see him, many did not recognize his authority. We have a leader today that if we would simply follow Him we would live blessed lives. But this is America.

Here in America we expect a leader that is just and who will understand what it means when we say “we the people”. We expect a conquering king who will rid us of those pesky terrorists. We demand a king who will break the chains of slavery to the oppressive regime we so desperately despise (insert your favorite ism here (socialism, fascism, extremism, etc.)). Does any of this sound familiar at all? Have you caught the point yet?

Like lemmings, we are collectively holding our breath until November at which point apparently we will somehow be saved, or possibly spared from some impending doom. You’re going to vote for a man in the hopes that he will save you from all the wickedness you see in the world. You will pin your hopes on a man with the idea that in a year or so things will magically get better. And when they don’t, your fickle nature will demand better and you will beat the drum of change until it comes time to vote again. Somehow you will expect this one person to fix everything, completely ignoring history and your own desires and their outcomes. The very definition of insanity may be inserted right here.

Your friends whom you agree with regarding these things will tell you that the only way to fix the problem is to get rid of the leader and get a new one. They, like you, have a clear picture of the perfect leader. A man who has your best interests at heart and will fill your bank account, land you the best job, complete your life and make everything right again. This mysticism is exactly what Americans hold onto every November and it is exactly the same mindset that the Israelites had about 2000 years ago.

And they missed it.

Your leader is already here and he’s been here for quite some time. He is just, He has your best interests at heart and has already made everything right again. But here’s the trick; the ONLY way to TRULY see Him is take your eyes off the flag and focus them on the cross. Your vote is not necessary, only your devotion. For most staunch Christian Republicans, I find that is simply not possible. For too many Christians in this country, pledging allegiance to the flag has become more important than keeping their eyes on Christ, in light of eternity and because of grace.

If that ever changes you will see one of the greatest revivals in the history of mankind.

In the meantime, I’m done.

My focus must remain on Him and the only way to do that is to stop putting so much focus on men, especially those who have no interest in me except what I can contribute to their ideology.

I have my family, my friends and my community. My goal will be serving those 3 in that order.

You? You’re going to vote. Let me know how things turn out, especially in about a year or so.

My life is not mine, and yet it is mine to live for Him. Peace to you all.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Life, death, spring

Spring is the iconical and literal season for new life. Babies are being born, trees are starting to show their new blooms, the grass is getting wild and love is in the air. Okay, maybe that last part is a stretch but who knows, maybe not. Spring is a time for newness and fresh beginnings, so death really has no place in this happy season, right? With beautiful flowers popping up in yards all over town and children laughing and playing, how can the pall of death spring up?

As inevitable as spring may be each year, death is equally so. Like it or not, death reminds us that some things must go away even when so much is just coming into existence; it’s all of that ‘circle of life’ business. Maybe the better way to put it is to say that in some cases, it is death that precedes new life. Personally, I like to think of it that way.

Death also has a funny way of helping us clear up thoughts, emotions, habits, routines and opinions. Many people have trouble with this simply because change is not always easy. We carry around a lot of extra weight on a daily basis and it is death that exposes that excess. For a brief moment following death, we carry around despair, but eventually we develop new thoughts, emotions, habits, routines and opinions. Out of death comes something new, every time.

Understanding this new direction is important, it helps us cope and manage in difficult times. Most of us do not welcome death for death’s sake, but fear it for fear’s sake. As a result, we are often scared prior to death because of the unknown nature that follows. If you grab hold of the spring that rises out of your winter, you will see the new life that awaits you.

This isn’t some inspirational speech but more of a wake up call. We all need one occasionally in order to recognize that which is still living around us. Getting caught up in that which is dead harkens to those habits and routines we carry around. When a tree loses a branch it doesn’t die, it learns to get along. That may be a harsh representation but imagine if the branch was blocking a view of the mountains. We now have a new view; an angle we hadn’t noticed before.

New life simply means new perspective. Our ideas are rarely born out of our ruts; they are usually created by plowing a new road. This is not without work mind you, but the reward is always an easier path, even if it comes with a few blisters.

As a new season dawns here in the High Desert, there are bound to be some heavy hearts that are aching with the grief of death. If you are among them, take heart, there is something new on the horizon. Welcome the spring, breathe in some fresh air and see that every day is brand new; a day that has never existed before, a view you hadn’t noticed. You may never look at spring the same way again.

Thursday, May 3, 2012


*This is a post from September 2009 when I was writing for a blog called Black Sheep...

So this is hello…

It’s possible we have met before but I won’t pretend that you remember. I have a tendency to blend in and look as if I belong in nearly any setting; call me a chameleon. What sets me apart and makes me memorable is when I open up in dialogue. It is then that I become something completely different, someone without many close friends, a person with deep seated convictions that run contrary to so many of the people I blend in with.

I am a leader.

My positions are numerous but I will do my best to sum up this person you now see before you. I am the oldest of four, the leader of the pack from a psychological perspective, the alpha male. I am the only person in my immediate family with a college degree. I say this because I seek to rationalize the chasm that exists between me and my sibs. There is much distance between us and it is not only miles. My faith has exposed a wicked difference in the midst of those with whom I share a blood relation.

I am a follower.

My faith is central to who I am and all those who know me understand that. I make no apologies for my understanding of scripture but instead listen close to how others interpret Jesus’ words so that I might glean further. As I dig further into the red letters of the New Testament I am moved to not only be like Jesus but to understand the minds and hearts of those who were closest to him at the time. I want to grab a hold of what went through the mind of Peter. I want to listen like John. Mostly I want to fully grasp what it means to deny myself.

I am a liberal.

Politics are one of those topics that can turn a good conversation into a mind numbing waste of one’s time. For better or worse we are all subject to politics of some sort. Whether we are talking about national stories like healthcare or we are talking about the next youth pastor at the church we attend and the troubles they may face with the existing staff, politics are a part of our everyday lives one way or another. Unlike most of my contemporaries and peers, I am not a Republican. For the sake of disclosure, I am also not a Democrat. It is important to define the word liberal first and then understand that I am a Diplomat.

I am a husband and a father.

My family is next in line after Jesus. Under this header I am also a coach, a mentor, a teacher and a best friend. I find great joy being all of those things; this is where my heart is often.

I am a black sheep.

I have been ostracized because of my public distaste for the Christian Right. I have been ridiculed because of my position against war. I have been questioned for trying to bring tough topics to the table and opening up these dialogues to atheists and agnostics. I have been outcast just because of the way I have voted in the past, especially when I admitted that I had not voted for G W Bush. I have been pushed away because of my faith.

This is who I am in a nutshell. I will ask hard questions and demand an answer. I will push the very edge of the envelope. I will not toe the line. I am hungry for debate but believe it or not, I am desperate for your side of the story. I will not suppress this Jesus who lives in me.

This is hello.
My life is not mine, and yet it is mine to live for Him. Peace to you all.


Tuesday, May 1, 2012


**This is a post from October 2009 when I was a guest blogger on a different site....

Without looking up a definition to this I am struck by the immediate thoughts of steaminess and lovemaking and silk sheets and candles and a rug in front of a fireplace. This all sounds great but is that all there is to passion? Could there be more than that of my libido? Maybe that’s all we need is passion like that, to think of sex and pleasure that is fulfilled by having such a desire. Why dwell on the subject, why search the dictionary for an alternate meaning when we can enjoy some carnal thoughts about that sort of passion in our lives?

To me, passion is the culmination of emotion, mixed with love, sprinkled with insanity and wrapped in an intensity that is incomparable with any other feeling.

Passion is a deep word with deep meanings but I look less for what Webster has to say and more for what my own friends have to share. Passion is not just a desire of the flesh; it is something you want with heart, soul, body and mind. When we are passionate about a particular subject matter, even if it is another person, we have a great desire to be around whatever it is, as often as possible.

Passion is a longing. Those things that we long for are regular attendees of our minds. When we wake up in the morning, it is not long before our thoughts drift to that which we long for. Are you longing for a connection with another person, or just dying to get back out on the soccer field? You can have a passion for many things by simply longing for them. The passion comes when you apply your heart and then chase after it.

Passion is also a hunger. Not unlike your favorite ice cream or favorite cut of steak, food is more than just essential to most of us. We crave certain things and sometimes we make late night runs just to have them. Passion is just like that. It is at the top or near the top of your mind at all times. It is something you concentrate and dwell on in a way that brings out a hunger; a thirst for more.

Let’s go deeper yet…does passion have to have reins? Think of it this way; is passion, without control, a train wreck waiting to happen? There are times when our emotions take over regarding something or someone we care deeply about. In those moments we have a heightened sense of passion as we are so singularly focused on one subject while exhibiting an emotion that is raw.

There’s another thing though and that is the refinement of passion in our lives as we age. Under the age of ten I would suggest that a person is infatuated or possibly developing senses of strong interest, but there comes a time when that interest turns to a passion. In our twenties and thirties it seems we try our best to manage emotions that are in fact raw, but intensely powerful. We are physically strong while also mentally aware of new feelings and motives.

As we age it seems to me that we refine our passions to concentrate on one or two specific desires. I really think that when we are young we are passionate about more than just a few things, it is only as we age that we narrow that field to something we can manage. It is then that our passions become so clear to everyone else. The progression of passion in our lives can be like a puppy. In the beginning we tend to jump on everything but as things change we learn to be selective about where and when to jump.

I have this realization right now that I am passionate about a few things. My desire is that I am seen for having those passions and staying true to them. My fear is that what I feel is a passion is more of an infatuation and time will strip me. Maintaining clear motives towards deep seated feelings will determine the reality of my passions.

I am convinced that where there is passion there is a heart that is beating wildly. My prayer is that my heart never outgrows its mo-hawk and tattoos.

My life is not mine, and yet it is mine to live for Him. Peace to you all.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Grampa Jack

My name is Drew. I am the oldest grandson to grampa Jack.
Yes, he was my grampa, but every friend I ever invited over referred to him as grampa.
His classic sense of humor seemed to eliminate any need for stuffiness. Quite simply, I remember him as always being in a good mood; always happy; always full of life.
Once when I was about 8, I asked grampa if I could drive his truck. He immediately said "fat chance". Instead, he suggested we get some ice cream. Seemed like a good alternative.
Later on when I was about 13, I remember being old enough to sit at the adult table for dinner. That first meal grampa lamented that he wouldn't get any because I was going to eat it all.
After every visit, gramma and grampa would stand faithfully in the front door and wave as we drove away. I always waved. So did he.
Grampa was the only person I knew who watched Lawrence Welk.
Grampa enjoyed beer, which worked out well for me when I was a toddler.
Grampa and his rocks, what more is there to say.
Grampa was truly blessed by his family but more importantly, he was a blessing to his family and that was most evident in his love for gramma.
Thank you grampa for your example. Thank you for the joy you brought this family for so many years.
We love you

Sunday, April 29, 2012

to believe again

"I lift my hands to believe again". This is a line from a really good song by Chris Tomlin. The song stirs many things in me; it pounds the message home with the tribal drum beat in the building bridge towards the end of the song. It lifts me up and makes me want to literally fly for Him, lifting myself up. But at the same time I am prompted to fly I remember the first lines that tell me to "be still". This is not inherently easy for me....I'm kind of a busy body after all. The song carries me up and down and back up again, all in the span of just a few minutes. I love songs like this one.

But it's that lead in line to the chorus that really has me thinking about my faith lately. It's more than just lifting my hands in worship when I feel lead or prompted, it's more than this desire to openly acknowledge His power in my life, it is simply an act that forces every part of me to focus on Him solely, letting go of who I am and who I pretend to be and just face Him, with my arms held high. That single act is almost like starting over fresh. That action inspires my heart to listen closer, breathe deeper and truly focus on what He has to say.

It's kind of like a reset button for my faith. In the midst of my week, my day, my momentary chaotic lifestyle (you have no idea), I simply need to remember "let faith arise". It's not that I lose faith but let's be honest, we all need a little pick me up now and again. Even our faith needs to be refreshed and sharpened and renewed from time to time, especially as we face trials. Discovering those little reset buttons are important so we can stay sharp.

Today I needed to hear this. Today I needed a reset. He is my refuge and my strength, regardless of how I think I can stand on my own. Today I lifted my hands. Today I believed again.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

always seeking

It seems as if I have been asking for God's clarity for quite some time now. It's possible that I am simply too obtuse to recognize it in my life, or possibly it has yet to surface. Either way, the clarity I seem to be expecting is somehow different than what I know and see in my life at the moment.

Clarity is simply the ability to see things clearly; nothing more, nothing less. I do not attempt to paint something that needs washing instead, but for some reason I have been searching for a view point, or maybe a visible direction to surface in my life for a long time now. I'm not wandering but I am seeking.

A little over 10 years ago I found God. More importantly, I found Jesus. Probably more aptly, He found me. I remain thankful for that day but nearly to that day I have asked for clarity. My thought has always been the same and that is I would like God to point me in the direction He wants me to go. I've always been good at taking direction and doing amazing things with it. I am happy to lead as well and continue to shine as a leader in a multitude of avenues in my life but in this one case, I have always been happy to have God lead. So my prayer has always been for God to show me what it is He has for my life; what He wants me to do for Him. It seems easy to ask so I have maintained that request since the day He found me.

There have been times in my life where I felt God leading me and I believe I followed. Those times have been good but for some reason I seem to still be searching for just what it is that God would have me do. I'm hoping that maybe now I've finally found where God wants me and the next 6 months will be key in determining that. Starting in September I will be part of a church plant here in the town I live in. For the last 9 months I believe God has been speaking into my life to concentrate 100% on the town I live in. This is important because as of 2 months ago, I was working in a neighboring town, going to church in that same town and participating in numerous events down there as well. Given our geographic area this is not unique. Indeed, many people who live in the town I live work in the town to the south as well as play and recreate down there too. But God's calling to pull back and find work here was loud and clear. His call to find a church body here was louder still.

With all of these recent changes it would appear I am at last tasting the clarity I have prayed for for so long. God is good, there is no question. When I look at what He has done in my life I am floored. If indeed He has me where He wants me, will I continue to seek? I pray I will always seek Him.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

going apolitical

It sounds like AWOL to me but I know it's not, it just sounds that way. In truth however, it feels as if I am leaving something behind that really doesn't want me to go. The political establishment would love to keep me if it could, as I am sure it could use me, or more aptly, abuse me. Politics is a machine no doubt but should be closely akin to a meat grinder. You might look good going in but I guarantee you aren't very pretty afterward.

The entire premise of politics is simply a vessel for getting your way, let that be said, maybe emphatically. While some politicians might suggest there is integrity in politics, I have a hard time believing that to be possible for any man or woman after being exposed to the machine of politics after even just a couple of years. If your profession is to do nothing more than argue, fight for and defend your way of thinking (and the desires of your constituents) you are more than likely going to do just about anything to get your point across. Ultimately, at the end of the day, you must do anything necessary to get your way, it's why voters elect you.

This naturally sounds harsh but the more you process this, the more it not only makes sense but leads one to ask why anyone would want to be a politician in the first place. I want to believe that a lot of people get into politics for the chance to make a difference for the people, maybe even the world. But power is a funny thing and it affects men and women alike.

Even voters get caught up in the power to affect your point of view. Look no further than Facebook to see how we share our opinions based on our affiliations. I have witnessed the gamut from absolute ignorance to complete command of the process and yet I find that very few people will ever be swayed to one view or the other based on a Facebook post, or a rant on YouTube. Voters are fickle for sure but they want what they perceive as a legitimate and credible source for information (aka news). Realistically, you and I were wired with certain perceptions by our parents. A lot of us carry those perceptions into adulthood and pass them onto our children. There are some of us who have never questioned those perceptions, mainly because they are comfortable, to a certain degree.

Does this seem odd? To me it shows what kind of people we are; a people who do not always question that which is before us. I began questioning everything when I was in my early twenties. It took until my late twenties to start putting a lot of answers to some tough questions. For the next ten years after that I chased a mantle of understanding based on where life had led me. My perceptions were that we the people were not doing enough for we the people. That perception is why I registered as a Democrat as soon as I was legally allowed to do so.

For the last twenty years or so, I had believed that we needed to do more socially for our citizens and I believed that politics was part of my answer for how we got there. The last twelve years have taught me that my faith was the other part. Hand in hand I started to believe that we could change the world if we could only get those with faith to grasp that same social doctrine, that of Jesus Himself.

What I failed to grasp however is that politics was and is never going to work. In understanding the very premise behind politics it became crystal clear that no social service would ever truly be served by a machine that wants nothing more than to get its way and not the way of the people. For me, this comes as an obvious answer now but I was blind to until recently. Convinced that policy could be written to further the advances of human rights I charged on in hopes that one day we might end homelessness in this country. One day we might end poverty here. One day we might even like each other enough not to be racist. Or sexist. Or a bigot.

I have stayed out of many of the lights for good reason. My faith seemed to be holding me back and it seemed easier to just sit back and take notes. Occasionally I found light in commenting where I could but typically it was easier to say I was a social gospel person, cared about my community, loved Jesus....and was a liberal. That last label was the easy part because I have always thought of myself as a liberal. I have not always cared about my community, or the social gospel...or Jesus. That last label was the hard part, because it meant I had to admit that I wasn't getting my way.

Today is a new day. I'm still a liberal in spirit and will give of myself like always but maybe even like never before. I do truly care about my community and will work tirelessly to engage my neighbor, my coworker, the strangers at the store and even those whom I disagree with, in positive ways that bring out the best in each of us. I can't deny the heart of the social gospel for at its core is the essence of the gospel itself, and that is grace; something we must give out. Lastly, I will unabashedly accept Jesus as my savior, but maybe even more importantly, everyone's savior.

Politics won't miss me and I won't miss politics. Getting my way was always so hard anyway.