In-Between Places

There is something equally frustrating and holy about those in-between places. You know what I am talking about. The times you are waiting from Point A to Point B. The times you are waiting for that thing, situation, or person that you have been praying for. Here is where most of us get stuck as Christians. We go into that in-between place and we lose our minds and hearts. We have to develop a better way of handling these times as we will encounter many of them in our lifetime.

First and foremost, we need to remember that waiting is a normal process but waiting does not mean being monastic. God does not call us to wait in our prayer rooms, disengage from the world, and put our life on hold as we “wait”. When I was in high school, there was a big push for teenagers and young adults to have these lofty expectations in their dating/courting/premarital lives. The standards were so high that it left many Christians frustrated and they no longer have anything to do with Jesus because the standards were almost cultish.

We will experience some suffering in our waiting but we should be looking and seeking out joy. If you are waiting for a spouse, you will not appreciate when you do meet an awesome prospect if you are a miserable being from waiting and praying. That person will run the other way! The same goes for other opportunities: jobs, children, hobbies, friendships, etc. You have to look for the Light in the Darkness. As believers, we are called to be the Light in the Darkness.

During our times in the in-between places, we need to develop a balanced lifestyle. The American way of handling this (and especially driven people) is by disappearing into our work. It is safe there because we will be rewarded for all of that work, right? Not exactly. You can work hard and slowly kill off your heart and mind because your intention is to just be distracted. Be aware of the things that are distracting you during your waiting season.

Lastly, invest in deeper relationships. Relationships and friendships that have sustenance will aide you in being resilient in hard times. Who loves you and is there for you? Who believes in you? These are the folks that you need to be spending your time with. Make an effort to connect with them regardless of how busy you are. You need it and I bet that they probably do too.

May you find joy in your waiting!

“Not Ready for That”

“I am not ready for that.”

I have heard these words about following God/Jesus.

I respect that.  I appreciate honesty.  God knows we could use more honest people in this world.

However, I want to point out some things about “being ready for that”.

1.  Jesus loves you right where you are.–You do not need to be “ready for him”.  He is not your prom date and he is not taking you out for dinner.  Jesus loves you right here, right now, in the moment.

2. You are loved anyway.–Jesus loves you anyway.  Whether you have known him personally your entire life OR you just met him OR you never have really known him; he loves you anyway.  He loves you when you are in church.  He loves you when you wander far from him and have not spoke to him in quite some time.  He even loves you when you use him name in vain (although he does not like it!).

3.  Accept him.–Life is short.  We never know when we will take our last breath.   I am not speaking of Turn Or Burn Theology here.  I am speaking of reality.  Why wait?  Why wait for the right moment to begin with Jesus?  Folks, there is no right moment to wait for because Jesus is already walking right beside you.

It is easy to wait to begin a relationship with Jesus. ” Hey, let me indulge in this (name a struggle of yours) a few more times.  Then I will be ready, Lord.”  We just want to “have fun”.  The core issue is a lot of the things that hold us down from being free are the things that distract us from reality.    We then trudge though life–aimlessly–and gain no authentic satisfaction.   Jesus will give you a peace that is OUT OF THIS WORLD because his Kingdom is bigger than our daily worries.  When we are living in Jesus and in Kingdom living–it will transform how we spend time, energy, money, work, worries, etc.

Are you ready, friends?

Reflections on Advent-Love and Tragedy

We have entered into the second week of Advent.

Christmas is two weeks away.  People are mapping out their game plans for Christmas Day.

This week.  We focus on the love of Jesus.  Christmas season tends to have us focus on nice, clean, handsome baby Jesus.  Think about the Christmas musicals you have attended.  Was Jesus dirty, crying, or worse yet…ugly?  No.  Never.  That baby Jesus on that stage was SPOTLESS!

Ponder this: Jesus was both human and divine.  As a baby, we was born in a stinky stable.  He probably needed his diapers changed like everyone else.  He was divine in that he would conquer sin,  defeat Satan, and entrust His Kingdom to US

Jesus got dirty.  In his love, he gets dirty.

During this week of Advent—with a focus on love, we must invite Jesus into our sins.  We must invite Jesus into the places within us that need us the most.

Yesterday, our country experienced a horrible tragedy.  Many innocent children were gunned down by a madman while simply going about their day at an elementary school.

I know people have a lot of questions about God in this tragedy.  Allow me to provide you with some insight…..

WHERE WAS GOD?  Friends, God was right there.  God never leaves us despite the times we chose to ignore Him.  God was there in that moment.  Heroes (teaches and staff) shielded the children from danger.  Casualties would have been higher if these heroes did not step up.  God was there.

WELL, THIS IS ABOUT GUNS!! IF WE TAKE AWAY GUNS–PEOPLE WILL BE BETTER BEHAVED!—–This was not about guns.  This about the daily battle of good and evil.  Holy and unholy.  This shooter who took innocent lives—he CHOSE to do evil.  It is called free will.  We have the ability to choose to do good or harm everyday.  Some people choose to use words.  Other people use weapons.  Some people use their authority to bring pain and sorrow.

HOW WILL WE MOVE FORWARD?  In love and in relationship with Jesus.  Sounds like a Sunday school answer, yes.  But where else will we find hope and love?  The media?  They have a job to do.  Our possessions and jobs?  These only bring temporary joy.  Other people?  They will give us peace but people will let us down.  They are human!  This is where Jesus comes in.  He wants to walk with us daily.  But we must first choose to love him AND allow him to love us.

Allow Jesus to love you today.  Right now.

How We View God

Our viewpoints shape how we go about the day.

Call them world views.  Label them as “the lens we see the world through”.

What we believe about the world… shapes how we view God.

Allow me to give you some examples:

You have been hurt by others.  Whether this is abuse, a broken heart, or some painful words–we sometimes make agreements with what we have encountered and we chalk it up as “just suck it up and deal”.  The problem with this is we do not address the problem.  The problem lingers and Satan moves in.

1 Peter 5:8 “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour”. 

A roaring lion?  Enemy?  What sticks out here is we need to be alert and of sober mind.  So we must be careful and filter what other people say to us.  Is this true and is this true of how God views me?

Your view of love is distorted.  Being hurt by others can mess up our view of God; however, a bigger issue on how we view God is our view on love.  Many movies and books are made that sell distorted views of love.   Maybe you have been sold the idea that our relationships should consist of no arguments and no disagreements because this is “unholy”.  Quite the opposite.  God wants us to address the things in our hearts that bother us.  On the flip side, you may have been taught that your relationship(s) are supposed to be full of turmoil often.  In life, we will all have disagreements but turmoil all the time is not healthy.  Know this–abuse of ANY kind is not acceptable.  If you are being abused, seek help.  And if you are abused, that too will distort your view of God and His love.

Romans 8:39–Neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Nothing can separate us from God’s love.  No person.  No situation.  NOTHING!
We must develop a healthy approach to how we view LIFE: events, situations, life changes, people.

What does healthy look like?

Healthy is making Jesus/God/Holy Spirit—our top priority. Our worldviews and how we approach life will align with God.  We will view our relationships in a different light.

We will no longer view life as “what can we get out of it”.  Instead, we will view life as “what can we contribute to better ourselves and society”.