Two Roads

Friend recently shared this message on YouTube.  It’s about our tendency to try and please God earning his approval rather than simply living in His Grace.  Well worth the 45min, if you watch it let me know and we can discuss it.

Floating Thoughts

  • Holy crap is almost MAY! This year is flying by…which I’m not sure why that surprises me, every year seems to go faster than the previous one
  • Taking a CPL course this Saturday. Not sure I will get my carry permit, but I figured it would be good to learn more about gun safety and to feel more confidently with shooting.
  • In a rough spot with grandpa lately…he has always been a fighter but recently seems to be fighting harder than ever.  Listened to him for 45min last week after we took him out to dinner.  The most challenging part is that there are no amount of mental gymnastics to can get him to change the subject and aside from leaving abruptly there seems to be no option except to listen and listen some more.20829_10151643955185817_254860643_n
  • A year ago this week I was in Guatemala on a Mission Trip.
  • If you don’t have a church to attend this weekend for Easter, why not come and checkout The River? We have services on: Saturday April 19th @ 3pm & 5pm | Sunday April 20th @ 8:30am, 10:30am & 12:30pm
  • So the Galaxy S5 came out on Friday…and as much as I want to get it, I am exercising some restraint and waiting till my upgrade in July.
  • Grateful the only side-effect of my Remicade treatments are large medical bills (nearly $2500 & it’s only April).

His Nature is to Forgive

Last night we ended our series: “The Truth About Sex” looking at Forgiveness when we have messed up.  One of the passages we looked at was from Psalm 103 and though I have read/heard it many times before it was sweet TTASLogoColorto read it this week:

he does not treat us as our sins deserve
    or repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
    so great is his love for those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
    so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

As a father has compassion on his children,
    so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
for he knows how we are formed,
    he remembers that we are dust.

Psalm 103:10-14

Portland I miss you…

here’s what I miss:263642_10150231702395817_4879979_n

  • Hiking in the Oregon forest
  • The Holzgang’s Beach House
  • Wildfire
  • Pranking Jay’s office
  • Howie nights with the Resnicks
  • Worship at City Bible
  • Arguing politics with Giering
  • The Mountains
  • Classes at Western
  • Hanging and doing ministry with Austin
  • Pizza from Escape from New York
  • Downtown
  • Game nights at the Meyers
  • Laughing with Chip
  • The Japanese and Rose Gardens
  • Biking through the fields west of 185th

Portland I miss you! See you this summer.

Social Media Breakup

Remember when you were in High School and you were going out with someone…everything was going smooth, your eyes beaming, they could do no wrong…you loved spending time together, going to movies…talking late into the night on your land-line phone (there were no cell phones in the mid nineties – but hey we had cordless!) Then suddenly out of the blue you get the note in your locker or the call that ends everything. “It’s not you it’s me…” rings in your ear.  You hangup and experience the burn of a relationship ending.

Social Media has changed relationships…not just dating but friendships, family and colleagues all connect via the internet.  While there are benefits to this: connecting with alot more people in a short period of time for example…there are also some destructive ways which it can effect us.  One such thing is what I am calling the: “Social Media Breakup.”   Occasionally I wonder why I stopped seeing a particular person in my Facebook newsfeed or Twitter list…so curiosity gets the best of me and I run a search and see if we’re still “friends” or if they still “follow me. ” Recently I was laying in bed about to fall asleep and this occurred, I actually got out of bed to grab my phone and see if they had unfollowed me.  See there are no alerts as it does when you get a new friend or follower…just silence.  I hate this. I think leaving a relationship (even shallow ones on the internet) without any discussion is destructive.  Communication is key, it is the only way which we can become better people. If I offended you or you felt I didn’t give you enough attention I would appreciate knowing this.  No doubt I need to have integrity here and mention that I too have fallen into this destructive pattern of breaking up on social media.  I regret it and need to practice what I am preaching in the future.

Can anyone relate?

The Most Damaging Attitude in Our Churches

Great article from Relevant Magazine…check it:

It was an attitude I learned in Church, and I used to believe it was a strength.

I thought I was simply a critical thinker, full of constructive insights. My husband and I shared a “gift for reflection” and spun many conversations around what we considered to be compelling observations about what the Church and other people were doing wrong and what they could do better. Never mind the fact that our tips were not actually being presented to those we believed would benefit from them. At least we saw the problems, right?

But with time, the satisfaction of hearing ourselves talk began to fade and a nauseating feeling settled in its place. No matter how positive a light we tried to cast it in, we were filling up on bitterness and tasting the result.

Subtly, without even realizing it, we had become cynics. And the toxic effect could be felt in our marriage, our relationships and our ability to communicate Christ’s love for the world.

We tend to think of cynicism as something that’s overt. We love watching the overt cynics—Bob Kelso, Gregory House, Don Draper. We laugh at their bitter rants and quote their best one-liners. Perhaps their extreme negativity makes it easier to justify our quiet tendency to be overly critical, especially in the name of something good.

But cynicism doesn’t always present itself in the sweeping, broad negativity we see on TV. In the day-to-day, it looks more like quick, unwarranted, “constructive” criticism. I’m not talking about the critical thinking required for success as an adult. I’m referring to the way we constantly evaluate and critique people and what they do:

“Worship was great this morning! I can’t believe all those people were just standing there and not raising their hands. Some people just don’t take worship as seriously as I do.”

“Worship was great this morning! I was trying to be still and reflect, but the guy next me was moving so much and flinging his arms around. Some people just don’t take worship as seriously as I do.”

“The sermon was good. If he had just said this, it could have been better.”

“I was so annoyed by this guy at the mall. He had no common sense and was so rude. Nobody teaches people how to be polite anymore.”

“The problem with the Church today is ___________.”

Sound familiar?

Subtle cynicism, or the overly critical nature of our culture, is a toxin satan uses against the Church. And it’s all the more damaging because we often don’t even realize it’s happening.

It’s time to change our posture. I’m not suggesting an extreme alternative of falsely positive, overly peppy Church culture that says nothing is wrong. Jesus, Paul, David and every writer of scripture has shown us that this is not Biblical.

But when we recognize the dangers of subtle cynicism, we are able to engage in honest conversations that are productive, loving and full of grace.

When Paul wrote to the church in Philippi, he addressed a steady stream of negativity. He pleaded with the church to rally around their shared love for Christ, sacrifice for each other and “do everything without grumbling or arguing.” With this as our example, let’s remember the following when we are tempted to snap sarcastic quips or offer unsolicited insight:

The Church is the Bride of Christ and deserves our respect

It is made up of broken people. We may not agree with everything, in fact, we may be spot on in calling out behavior that opposes the Gospel, but let’s speak truth with the love and humility of Jesus. He died for this Bride that He adores, so I’d imagine how we talk about her matters to Him.

Reject anything that resembles an “us” versus “them” mentality

Jesus was honest about truth and spoke confidently to those who challenged it with their hypocrisy and legalism, yet He did so without mocking or belittling anyone. He didn’t post open letters on the town gates and He didn’t publicly ridicule those who questioned him. He met them with Scripture and self-control. Any foolishness they felt came from getting caught with their foot in their mouth, not from Jesus laughing at them with crowds behind Him.

Focus on what is good

In the four short chapters of Philippians, Paul instructs the Church to rejoice 15 times. It’s interesting to note that he appears far less concerned with why they are negative and much more concerned with their choosing to change.

Identifying problems is easy. Following Paul’s call to focus on what is good, lovely and admirable takes intentional work, and it breathes new life into our relationships. If God can choose to no longer look on our sin, we can choose to stop focusing on the things we would change in others and get busy loving them instead.

When we become subtle cynics, our ability to grow becomes stunted

Unveiling flaws outside of ourselves requires little to no personal sacrifice. Examining the depths of our own brokenness requires vulnerability and risk, both of which are essential for growth.

Life in Jesus involves the death of self (Mark 8:34-35). This is difficult to do while clinging to the belief that we know more than someone else. But as we move into a space of grace, our eyes are opened to lessons we were blinded to before, and we begin to find the places in our hearts God longs to address. If we are too busy discussing the ways everyone else needs to change, we lose the ability to see our own need for restoration and we get stuck rather than grow.

Pray first. Talk later.

Paul begins his letter to the Philippians by writing that he thanked God every time he thought of them. If we model Paul’s heart in this way, the thoughts and words that follow will reflect Jesus.

There are times when a thoughtful, loving, critical response is the most appropriate one. But before we jump in to offer it, we should examine our hearts and consider what is most beneficial, being willing to say nothing if it tears others down and hinders the Gospel of Christ. What we say matters. Choose carefully.


Floating Thoughts

  • Excited to visit dad in Florida next week. Yes you can expect some bragging via Twitter and Instagram :)
  • Taking my cousins to see Son of God tomorrow. Not sure I’m gonna like it though, didn’t much like the Jesus in the TV series and I hear the movie was made alongside the TV show.  I am however looking forward to NOAH in a couple of weeks. It’s Russell Crowe after-all.
  • Can’t remember the last time I looked forward to Spring as much I am this year. Sheesh what a winter! 90 inch of snow, -13 degree temps?!?
  • Still regularly think about deleting this blog…and something always keeps me coming back.
  • Caved and restarted Netflix to watch House of Cards. After 8 episodes here’s my take: great acting, decent story line, too racy at times and I’m not sure I like Frank talking directly to me at times.
  • This year marks 10 years blogging…later this year I will do a feature on some of my favorite posts through the years.
  • Anything you would like to see me blog about?