Friday, December 16, 2005

Are you sure this is ESPN?

I thought that I must be dreaming, but I wasn't. The top story on my ESPN newsreader was titled "A Testament to Faith." Is this the right newsreader? Is this ESPN? Let me check, okay, yeah it is. Okay, "click." Must read this.

What I found was a beautiful story about the John Curtis football team--the high school team who won this year's Louisiana class 2A state championship. You can read this article here, and I highly encourage you to do so. The entire story is told through Psalm 127 and is the story of a group of coaches and young men who lived inspired lives over the last season as they and their families sorted through the shattered mess of their New Orleans home.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The End of the Tube

It has finally happened. My television set has finally died.

I can't decide if this is a tragic moment in which my life will be drastically deprived of the entertainment I so dearly love or a moment to rejoice in which I will be forced to pick-up that book that I have been meaning to read, spend some more time journaling or reading the Word, or spend some time simply being still and drinking in the prescence of God.

Hmmm, second option seems most appealing, but then I must be honest with myself that while I love being alone I also love to distract myself from the fact that I am alone. Droning hours without ER, Grey's Anatomy, and Survivor might be overwhelming.

Realistically, I am not without entertainment. The instrument which I currently use to share this tragedy with you continues to provide endless hours of music, cinematic pleasures in form of DVDs, and pages upon pages of web-surfing. I will still have plenty of distractions to keep me from those tasks that might be more pressing and might ought to be the first things in my life.

This could be a great opportunity to purge the clutter from my life, i.e. old VHS tapes that I rarely watch but yet continue to sit collecting dust. Or I could save my pennies and dimes (how much does a TV cost these days anyway) and purchase a brand-spankin' new TV with all of the amenities.

Hmmm...could be crucial moment in life--choosing to let go of my addictions, i.e. old VHS tapes, ER, Grey's Anatomy, Survivor, college football, hockey (well, already gave that up with ESPN's decision not to carry NHL games this season and my own decision to discontinue the cable), etc.

Question: Am I a strong enough person to live without small screen medium?
Better question: What kind of person can God shape me into without the constant influence of the "idiot box" in my life? (Looked up "television" on "Idiot box" actually is listed as a synonym for television.)

Stay tuned for scenes from next weeks episode--The Decision.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Thanks for a Generous Act

gen·er·os·i·ty (n.) pl. gen·er·os·i·ties

  1. Liberality in giving or willingness to give
  2. Nobility of thought or behavior; magnanimity.
  3. Amplitude; abundance.
  4. A generous act.

Provided by

Generosity is the core virtue for the month of December in our PUMP children's classes. Each week of the month, we discuss a different attribute of generosity. Today as I assisted in classes, I thought over all the generosity that has been shown to me over the past week. Last month's core virtue was gratitude. So I thought I'd take this opportunity to show gratitude for the generosity that has been shown to me:

  • Thank you Ike and Kaelea for including me in all the "festivities" of your preparation to leave for Africa.
  • Thank you Jessica for giving up extra sleep/study time on Thursday mornings to hang out with me.
  • Thank you Sybil for the tickets to the Steven Curtis Chapman/Mercy Me Christmas concert.
  • Thank you Kristi for thinking of me to share the free tickets you got to the concert with me.
  • Thank you Cheronn for the tickets to the Portland premier of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.
  • Thank you Jill and Jake for not being too put out with me when I went to see the movie without you. It won't be the same, I know, but I'd like to see it again with you when I'm in Lubbock.
  • Thank you Mom and Dad for the care-package full of fun Christmas decorations.
  • Thank you Emily for letting me rant and openly share where I am at, and thank you for calmly sharing Truth with me when I'm looking right past it.
  • Thank you Emily, Steve, Alasha and Cheronn for taking care of me yesterday when I was sick.
  • Thank you Markell for being part of our lives at PUMP. Thank You God for Markell's adoption!
  • Thank you Steve, Alasha and Jonah for making me so much a part of your life here.
  • Thank You God for making me fearfully and wonderfully and giving me a heart made to be filled only by You.
And for all of those wonderfully good and generous things that happened throughout the week that I have forgotten. Thank you for each one!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

On the Operating Table

I have a fascination with medical shows. I have been an ER addict since the beginning. Of course there have been spurts when I kicked my habit, but like a good addict I always return.

My latest addiction is Grey's Anatomy--fast-paced, insightful yet witty, and full of twenty-somethings struggling with the same battles I face as a twenty-something, i.e. loneliness, not quite finding my niche, feeling perpetually caught in between what was and what is to come. I identify with these people and the lives they lead (except for the premarital sex).

This morning as Emily and I sat down to discuss Abba's Child, our latest textual conquest on our journey towards radical discipleship, my addiction helped me to put together a rather vivid word picture of where I currently am in my life:

In me there is a huge, gaping, bloody wound--a war wound if you will--a wound that has been bleeding for years. This wound causes me much grief, pain, and heartache--it is an emptiness within me. Over time I have stuffed the wound full of gauze as if doing triage on a battlefield. My strips of gauze are relationships, material possessions, past-times, etc., anything that provides a little bit of temporary relief and keeps the blood from pouring out. The gauze serves its purpose but does not serve it well.

This week one of those strips of cause that had been there for sometime, caked with dried blood, was removed. I can't begin to describe to you the pain of having it ripped off, tearing at the flesh and reopening the wound. But yet this is a reminder...

This is a reminder, incentive really, to get myself to the operating table. It's time, past time, to unpackage the wound, mend the insides, and close the wound. It's time for something beyond gauze. It's time for the Great Physician in all His glory to take scalpel in hand and fix the broken bits of me. It is time to let Him heal the wound, fill it with Himself, and carefully close it up.

On ER and Grey's when they tell a patient they have to have surgery, that patient never looks too excited. They never jump for joy at the thought of having their flesh cut open and human hands poking around their insides trying to fix the problem. That leads me to believe that I don't want to get to excited about surgery, even a metaphorical one, even when the Surgeon is God. But what the patients do get excited about is when they hear their is a 90% survival rate or they dream of what life will be like post-surgery. So I have no doubt that removing the rest of the gauze is going to hurt like duct-tape ripping the hair off your arms and that the surgery will be long and complicated, but the end result is grace and mercy and a Spirit-filled life--life how it was meant to be lived--as a child of God, an heir to His Kingdom.

Father, fill me with you. Fill my emptiness with You. Tear down the idols in my life. Rip away the addictions. Lead me to the place of brokenness, and in that place allow Your healing hands to go to work in my life. You are my hope, Lord, fill me.

"Be very careful, then, how you live--not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will really is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead be filled with the Spirit. Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thank to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." Ephesians 5:15-20

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

If that doesn't reach out and grab your heart strings, what will? Posted by Picasa