You are NOT Ordinary

ExcuseLike many young boys I knew, I grew up wishing I were a superhero. Unlike those other boys, my imagination was far more detailed and all-consuming.

My penchant for daydreaming earned me the nickname of “Martian” in elementary school – even the teachers called me that – because I was “always in outer space.”  My fantasy of choice was that a huge storm was bearing down on our school. I would imagine the teacher in front of me, but in my mind – as she was attempting to teach – waters rose up around her ankles, her waist, her shoulder – somehow unaware of the danger that was overtaking her.  I – in my minds eye – would then begin swimming each of the students in my class to safety, one-by-one, until the teacher – in real life – would call on me, and I would be at an absolute loss as to what she had been talking about.  “In outer-space again, Martian?”, and the whole class would giggle.  Even to this day, my favorite movies are Captain America, the Avengers, & Lord of the Rings – give me a hero with special abilities and an incredible call on his or her life and I am IN!

However, life feels so normal – so average – so day-to-day, pushing against the crowd, trying to make something happen.  Is there anything special about that? [Read more…]

God with Skin On (Christmas is REAL)

ChristmasBlogHow do you cope with the end of your world, & the beginning of another? As strange – & devastating – as that may sounds, that’s what Christmas is, and some of us even feel it.

God with skin on – the creator of the universe, putting on frailty. It’s like packaging an earthquake in a test-tube, or pouring all the world’s oceans into a coke can. It’s something profound – almost absurd – and if true, it changes – quite literally – EVERYTHING.  [Read more…]

KINGDOM: the King’s Edicts

“The God of the Hebrews, Yahweh, was a king returned for His people – reclaiming His proper territory, proclaiming freedom for the captives, and His rule was FAIR and GOOD”

Last time we talked about the “missing piece” of the Kingdom of God from many believer’s faith. We concluded that LOVE for others is a sure-fire sign of that kingdom. However, we have yet to fully unpack what the kingdom IS. Well, as with any Earthly kingdom, the kingdom of God has it’s own rules. And, O, how we easily misunderstand them!

Most everyone has heard of the 10 Commandments, and many others also the Old Testament Law.  Laws written directly by God’s hands, we assume they must be all-around unique. But, they’re not, and in what way they’re not is incredibly interesting. The style/format would’ve been immediately recognizable to the believers of the day.  All of the Old Testament Law fits neatly within an ancient form of literature called a “Suzerian-Vassal Agreement.”  In ancient times these were penned whenever a King took a new territory: they spelled out the expectations they had of their new subjects, and set forth their promise to watch over them, and the consequences if they did not carry out their side of the bargain. For people who were often ruled by self-serving megalomaniacs – mere humans convinced they were God, who had multiple wives, and harems the size of which would make anyone blush – the rule of this good King – who had freed his people rather than enslaved them – was unique and beautiful. [Read more…]

KINGDOM: Love as a sign of the Kingdom

Your kingdom come – Your will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.”
– Matthew 6:19

PuzzlePieceKingdomMy middle son, Tucker, used to love puzzles.  Not the simple wood-cut baby puzzles, but a good 100+ piece puzzle that would take anyone at least an hour to complete – he was only 3!  I remember once helping him with one that had him baffled and I have to admit that I, too, was stumped.  Turns out, we were missing two or three significant pieces, which really kept us from getting the bigger picture.

Likewise, the “Kingdom of God”.  Never mind that it’s the backdrop for the entirety of the whole Bible, mentioned no less that 140 times in the New Testament alone – we really don’t ‘get it’.  That’s just to say, the church as a whole hasn’t really committed much time coming to terms with the Kingdom – in many ways, it’s the ‘missing piece’ that makes us miss the big picture of our faith. [Read more…]

Smiles are like MAGIC

A few weeks ago I overheard my oldest, Kenimer (age 7), say, “Mom – did you know that smiles are like magic?”, then proceed to unpack one of the most simple and profound teachings on love and honor I’ve ever heard.

Even if someone isn’t your friend, if you just smile at them, they’re nice – they smile back, and it’s like they’re your friend then…”

My inner-conversations hours later confirmed some things hidden down deep: “So, why do I fight harder to prove I’m right or someone else is wrong, when most of the battle could be fought with just a smile?”   [Read more…]