Posted in Adoption Journey, Spoken Word, Uncategorized

a psalm for heavy hearts.

There is a stifling silence in carrying a burden, a weight so uncertain and hurting,
In search of a balm, we check the Psalms, and we learn that in turn,
these struggles that rock our home
Can become our megaphone.

Because it’s hard, and we’re not alone.
Our scars run deep, and to the bone. It seems like evil is on the throne,
runs the show, and even though we know there’s something greater,
it always seems like later – never now.
Never knowing how we’ll make it to tomorrow, but the sun comes up again.
And I guess that means we’re doing well, even though sometimes it just feels like we’re surviving.
For some, that’s the extent of thriving.

When driving rain comes faster than the wipers can clear a path.
The aftermath, sometimes silent, can come in violent waves unexpected
Of hope rejected, knowing sometimes there’s more dark before the dawn.
And if this was a song, it’d go on for sometime, before the key would change.
If an honest poem, more turning of the page, before the stage were reset,

The dim lights begin to raise, because there are better days ahead,
the field is not dead,
In fact, there is wheat growing among the weeds, some seeds of hope that cannot be rejected.
Knowing what’s expected, is not etched in stone, evil is not on the throne,

no matter how much sway it may seem to hold. Our whispers grow bold,
as we gather our broken bones, and cry out to the throne –
Lord Come. We need you.
Our arms are growing weary, and we need you.
Our eyes have grown bleary from the tears, over years and Lord we need you.
The blisters on our road-scarred feet scream for us to retreat, and we need you.
Our children look to us for answers we cannot provide,
and so with arms stretched wide we confide –Lord – we need you.

There is no other ear that even comes near to hearing our stifled voices,
choices all around us for ways to avoid this feeling of burden
A burden so certain and so heavy we want to find relief,
yet so infused to our hearts that we cannot put it down.

Not ever.

Clever words fail, and so we wet sail on uncharted waters
Praying the one who walks on water, the one who saves,
will be with us to calm the waves.

Lord, we need you.

Posted in Uncategorized

Temptations of Jesus, Pt. 3

Looking back at the story of Jesus being tempted, we see Satan grasping for straws with one final attempt at throwing Jesus off track. He takes Jesus to “very high mountain”, and shows him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. Then he offers to give Jesus all these things if he will “fall down and worship me”. This is crazy. You know how crazy this is, right? It’s incredibly hard to understand, and yet at the same time reveals something important about this ‘being’ known as “the deceiver”. He’s apparently so good at painting his deceptions, he has deceived even himself here. God, who has created all things and to whom all things are subject – especially any earthly powers or splendor. God himself comes in human form, as the Son. He’s already been declared such at His baptism, just in case any of us wonders if he really knew. And yet here is Satan, promising to give something to Christ that was not quite His to give in the first place. His desire to deceive Jesus runs so deep, he has deceived even himself to think that in this moment, Jesus might look at him and say, “Well actually that sounds quite nice. I’d love to have all of that, and worshiping you is a fairly small price to pay.”

So how does Satan justify even making such an offer? I don’t know.

Perhaps it has something to do with knowing how powerful a draw that offer might be. He knows the hearts of humans. He knows we love to be in power, we love to receive praise. We love to be in control. His offer to Jesus sounds a lot like a promise of power, praise, and control over these Kingdoms. These are all healthy things to appreciate, in the context of serving God. But the tempter was trying to see if, even for a moment, He could catch Jesus in a moment of weakness. If he would turn toward Satan as the source of power and control, turning away third-temptation-of-christfrom God for these things. Doing so, would have given far more than just a foothold.

Such temptation works its’ way into our lives as well. We’re tempted on a daily basis to think there are other sources of power, and other sources of control. The world screams at us to be anxious about this or that happening in other parts of the world, or even events happening in our own country, state, or community. Tempting us to think that we need to serve the powers that be over listening to the voice of God that desires to free us to live in peace. Jesus has become Lord of all, not by bowing to Satan, but by sacrificing Himself out of love, allowing these “powers” to do their worst…yet being revealed as powerless against God.

Jesus responds to Satan one more time, but 3 times is enough. He commands Satan to go away from him. It’s easy to wonder why He didn’t use this response the first time, but maybe it was so that we would have these specific interactions to wrestle with, and connect with our lives. It must be because each of these 3 interactions has something different to offer us, and reveal about God. Again, just another reason I found myself unable to escape a sort of “3 point message” on this one.

So Jesus responds again with words from Deuteronomy, words that every follower of God would be familiar with, and a phrase that appears multiple times throughout the Old Testament, “Worship the Lord your God, and serve only Him.” Above any powers of this world, above any glory this world has to offer, we are called to worship and serve God.

The words come as a challenge to us as well, as we begin our season of preparing for Easter. What are we serving? What are we “working toward”? What do we hope to gain each day as we leave the house, and what do we dream about as we head to sleep each night? Are they the things of God, or are they offerings of the world?

The honest answer is this: None of us can stand above the rest and claim to not have desired the things of this world. Scripture tells us that none of us is without sin. That the only person who met with these temptations and remained faithful is Christ. And even He didn’t do so for His own sake, but for ours. That through his obedience and standing before God…we might have access to the throne. That through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, we are actually enabled to celebrate Easter! Not as the arrival of our judge, but as the arrival of New Life even NOW!

Will you receive the reminder, to repent and turn toward God? Can we confess together, we’ve not responded as Jesus did in these moments. That we’ve given in, accepted the lies and offerings of power, control, and fulfillment. If not with significant things, then in small ways. Tiny footholds where we’ve bought into the ways of this world, instead of living as citizens of the Kingdom. This morning, Jesus stands as the one we’re to follow, and proclaims to Satan, “GO AWAY!” Can we join together in proclaiming that today? Declaring God as the only Lord we have, and the only One we will serve….no matter what?

If so, look out….transformation is going to happen…come back for the final “Temptations of Jesus, Pt. 4″…

Posted in Uncategorized

hope in the weakness of God.

In college I remember learning the distinction between two types of “time” in scripture.  There was “kairos”, and “chronos”.  “Chronos” is an easy one, it’s where we get our word “chronological”.  We have calendars, and monthly planners, and even down to the hour of what we’re doing each week.  We know what time things have happened, are happening, and will happen.

The other word, “kairos”, is a bit more complex.  Like when we were teenagers, listening to our loud music, fists raised to the air at a concert shouting, “this is OUR time!”  Or when my wife looked at me, pregnant belly packed tight with our 3rd daughter, and said, “I think it’s time.”

As we began our adoption journey, we knew in advance this was probably going to take a lot of time (chronos).  But we were also assured by many friends and family, and even by our own faith, it would all happen in God’s perfect timing (kairos).  We felt God’s “yes” to what we were stepping out toward in faith, and looked forward to how His kairos fit into our chronos.  All along the way, loving people around us have assured us everything will work out in God’s timing.

Then we entered a world where the Lordship of Jesus seems to be very absent.  Or at least, the way we want to see His stuckfilm_fullsize_story1Lordship.  That’s been a hard thing to let go of….and continues to be.  This is a road, and an experience, where hearing the phrase, “All in God’s perfect timing” ceases to be something that can bring peace.  Surely none of this suffering and pain, cruelty and sadness, injustice and delay of rescue – has anything to do with God  sitting on His cosmic throne saying, “Allllmost ready…..just a liiittttle more suffering and death; and then what I’m about to do will be awesome!”  Nor do we believe, as some have asked us, if the delay simply means perhaps God hasn’t actually called us to adopt.  We’re not alone here….sooo many families are where we are, and have experienced what we’re experiencing.

We believe in a God who, at the beginning of all things, declared it is “Good”.  This “Goodness” has not been destroyed by the brokenness that humanity has introduced to His world.  Because what appears to be “powerful evil”, is actually bankrupt and powerless against the already spoken “Good” of God.

That’s the Hope that came to us in the form of a baby…as we were still living lives of suffering and brokenness.  His Love compelled Him to enter into our suffering.  To give us a living statement of “I Love You”, that speaks louder than any wait.  God became subject to the “powerful evils” of our world, and let them do their worst.  They were found to be power-less.  The ways of God were revealed to us in Jesus.  Not the Jesus who is powerful and swoops down to bring rescue and crushes His enemies underfoot.  But the Jesus who Loves, and becomes broken and poor.  The Jesus who makes his dwelling place among the disenfranchised and forgotten.  Who has no place to lay his head.  Who was born in an animals feeding trough.

The Jesus who is spoken of in Mark 13:32, “But that day or hour (chronos words here) no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”  This is a Jesus who enters into the complete suffering of humanity…even to being subject to God’s “chronos”.  This is a Jesus who, in the midst of enduring the suffering of a broken world, used every breath to proclaim that this moment, these days, have been claimed as God’s “kairos”.  Now is the time of God moving in our world.  Now is the time of Jesus Christ being established as Lord.  Now is the time for Kingdom to come already, even as we continue to wait in suffering.  God’s “good” has never gone away, and is re-emerging even now.

People will continue to say it, and I know they mean well.  So I will smile, and be grateful they hold us up in prayers.  But “all in God’s timing” doesn’t help me to sleep well at night anymore.  Thankfully, there is a phrase that brings more comfort than ever before….come what may…

“and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us“).” – Matthew 1:23

Every day we wait…He waits with us.  Every tear of joy or pain, His eyes are also filled.  His presence is constant and steady, and in the power of His Spirit we are joining our quietly spoken “good” to God’s…