Posted in Different Scriptures

Intent vs. Content

My 5 year old daughter Ruby is picking up on a lot of things.  Recently we were driving home from a friends’ house, when from the back seat we heard her proclaim, “Dad!  I know when God’s going to make New Creation!”  I smiled, simply for the fact that my 5 year old knows there’s something to look forward to besides Heaven.  But then I was curious, after all – God seems to favor using children to proclaim important/new things.  So I asked her, “When?”

“At the end of this age!”

Wow.  In a few moments, my daughter was speaking of things I hadn’t really grasped until reading NT Wright talk about the concept of ” αἰώνιος Eyes wide, I turned to my wife who was almost as surprised as I was.  Her face quickly changed, however, and she simply said, “What did you expect?  She hears you talking about it all the time.” with a loving smile on her face.

Whaddya’ know?  Parenting works.

There followed a short conversation, where I excitedly tried to explain to our daughters how Ruby was right, although New Creation had already started too!  To which Ruby responded with something between anxiety and confusion, “But daddy, I thought the dead people would come alive?”  Calmly I tried to explain as best as I could that scripture tells us that anyone who has accepted Jesus as their source of life, is already a part of the New Creation yet to come.  It’s hard for me to grasp, so I can only imagine how many more conversations we’ll have as she grows.

Nevertheless, it was a great reminder that we easily learn all the right words to say.  Whether it’s a 5 year old talking about New Creation, or a 40 year old praying at the altar on Sunday morning, we learn the vocabulary and use it.  Influenced and flavored by prayers we’ve grown up with, worship songs we’ve sung, and the theology we prefer, we bring our prayers to God – often already knowing what the exchange will look like.  Already aware of the CONTENT we will present to God, and the CONTENT He will give in return.

BDataNeverSleeps_2.0_v2ecause whether we’ve developed self-control over how we interact with it or not, we all exist in a world where CONTENT floods our lives.  In the form of Tweets, Instagrams, Headlines, Blogposts, Facebook Posts, and more, we have become a never-ending culture of creating/consuming CONTENT.  It hits us head-on when we wake up, and the waves continue lapping the shores of our devices well into the hours we should be sleeping.  That influences our children and their development, but also impacts our lives, how we relate to each other, our family friends, and even God.

But we’re reminded by the story in Matthew 22:15-22 that Jesus sees beyond our words and actions.  We may fool other people.  We may even fool ourselves.  But Jesus knows our hearts.  The Pharisees came trying to trap Him with their fancy words, and question aimed at accomplishing what they wanted.  Jesus calmly responds with a question, and directs them to yield themselves to God fully.  Just as the coin stamped with the image of Caesar belongs to Caesar, so a man/woman who has been created in the image of God belongs to God.

We are both challenged by this, and encouraged.  We are challenged as we realize God is not impressed or distracted by the “#self” we present to the world.  We cannot show Him our polished areas, and hold back the things we’d rather not yield.  God calls us to give ourselves completely, proclaiming by such submission – Jesus is Lord even now!!  (and we are His New Creation!)  And therein lies the encouragement.  Submission to God opens up an existence as His New Creation, and serving a Lord who knows us intimately.  Todays’ “Insta-Tweet-Booked” existence can be lonely and consuming.  Smashing through such an existence is a God who knows us well beyond the images and 140 characters we share with others – and proclaims His overwhelming Love for us…

..and sends us out to do the same for a world that so deeply needs to be known…and Loved. 🙂

Posted in Different Moments, Different Thoughts

everything must be captured.

It could simply be that I’ve just finished reading “The Circle” by Dave Eggers, but the new Apple holiday ad strikes me as illustrating an important question: How much is “enough”?

I know it may come across as “bah, humbug”, because everyone seems to love this ad.

But I’m not a huge fan.

Many years ago, we’d have been happy to have one still-shot picture that reminded us of an entire day, perhaps even an entire trip.  Then digital cameras hit, and we have unlimited shots.  Then video became easier to fit on small storage, so we need to get lots of videos, etc.  Now most of our cell phones have the capability to do what complex digital cameras did years ago.

So the above ad illustrates what they hope will be a positive message.  “Don’t misinterpret that young man in the corner using his cell phone most of the trip, because he may actually be using it to put together a warm, heart-felt family collage that will touch your heart.”  Riiiiiight.  Even if the teens hiding in technology corners this holiday season have these things in mind……my question is, “Is it worth it?”

Many of us have attended “Holiday” events already this season, where we sit back to take in the show, only to have several tiny screens pop-up in front of us – as eager parents (myself included) try to capture some images/video of the precious moment.  The same goes for every event that happens throughout our days.  I think I’ve posted on this before, but it deserves to be thought of, as many of us head into precious family hours together.

Sure, snap some pictures.  Snap some video.  But don’t elevate capturing the moment for later to become more important than being 100% present in experiencing the moment right now.  Create more memories, and less photo-books.  Our Grandparents seem like far less anxious people for a reason – it’s not just because they’re old.  It’s because most of them grew up knowing how to be completely present in the moment.  Not able to capture every sight and sound, they were content to actually breathe slow and deep these moments of being together….or alone.

Not to romanticize being “technology-less”…the video of family the boy makes is pretty great, and will be meaningful for the family as the years pass.  But let’s notice what he sacrifices to make that video too.  May our children know we value experiencing moments with them, more than capturing those moments for later…