"I remember the days of old; I meditate on all thy works; I muse on the work of thy hands." - Psalm 143:5

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Spaghetti Western Matinee

 

 

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When I write a post, I have always tried to be as transparent as I can be. I make no pretense that although I try to be a wonderful husband, a great father and terrific brother…the truth is that I am so far away from those ideal settings. I want to share my victories and my defeats openly…maybe you’ll learn from my mistakes.

There are moments full of The Good, Bad and the Ugly; times where I beg God for a Fistful of Dollars…should I mention the Day of Anger?

My son Matt (20) and I were the Ugly Ones last night. What started out as a conversation boiled over to an argument…then escalated to a yell fest. I had provoked my son to anger…and it got ugly really fast. Blows were threatened; name and insults were hurled like six shooters blasting away.

It was a Fistful of Dynamite waiting to explode our relationship…but thankfully it didn’t. We grabbed each other, held tight and tripped over each other asking for forgiveness. Through tears, laughter and great pain we struggled back to an even keel…it was hard…but it was good.

Our shootout was felt throughout the house, disturbing the peace and the emotions of the rest of the family. We both had a lot of work throughout the night, until the early morning, restoring relationships with those we love. Some still need time to process. My youngest son Isaac gave me the theme for this post when he said (after hearing his father and older brother go at it from the upstairs living room)

“Sounds like the lines from a really bad western down there”

And it did…

I feel like I was thrown from a horse…and the horse ran off. This cowboy needs a break…I need time to reflect and ponder some deep questions of my heart. Fathers should be the best memory makers…I am not proud of the one I made last night.

God restores…God remakes and He is so faithful…this I know.

I’ll see you soon….God bless. Jay

 

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Friday, January 18, 2013

WOW!

 

 

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Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus. Acts 4:13

I read the above Scripture and a silent WOW slips through my lips. I think of the times when I have un-WOWed people with examples of commonness, of lameness and a multitude of “less-thans” What my heart yearns for is this…

…And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.

How did others know? People recognized the words, the passion, the manner in the way the disciples spoke. When they saw Peter and John, they were seeing Jesus living loud through them.

Talk about WOW!

So in that way, I want to stand out, stick out, be noticed, and astonish people. I want to WOW them with the fact that I have been (am) with Jesus. Not with my gifts or abilities…just the wonder of being with the Master. The WOW factor is what Jesus offers…the WOWness of salvation, freedom, love…all wrapped in abundant life.

All I can say is WOW!

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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

It Burns

 

 

itburns Many of us are hunting mice - while lions devour the land.
- Leonard Ravenhill

Last night I got angry…ticked off…spitting mad.

The enemy of our soul is unashamed about wrecking havoc in our lives…he lies, he steals and is pumped about destroying anything precious to the Father.

Why do we (the Church) seem so accepting of this? Why do we believe the lies and allow the theft of our heart? When did sin management become the replacement for repentance? What has led us to believe we can sin as we please because we “know” God will forgive us?

Could it be that in our desire to be happy we have lost our
longing to be Holy?

I’m also mad for the times this “theology” has infiltrated my heart and left passionless for His. The idols of comfort, pleasure, and safety, often crowd out the life that He came to give. My only response is a broken hearted one. And believe me, it burns. I must pray this through…a prayer that calls fire down and consumes the idols of my heart.

Tim Keller says this about idolatry.

“Idolatry is not just a failure to obey God; it is a setting of the whole heart on something besides God.”

There are lions devouring the land, I’m tired of hunting mice, I’m going after the big game.

“Who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens." Hebrews 11:33,34

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Redeemed

 

 

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St. James Chapel was buzzing with excitement. The vibe was so tangible, so powerful; I could feel it through the thick doors separating the fellowship hall from the sanctuary. I walked through a side entrance and did a quick scan around the small sanctuary, what seemed empty moments before, was now packed. As I sat down next to my wife, I caught the smiles of family and friends, and immediately felt my eyes tear up.

“Hold it together Jay” I thought

Tears and laughter flowed throughout the ordination service. I could sense the joy of the Father in the room; His presence was thick and intent on expressing His love. My pastor talked about the miracle of my story, the power of redemption in a life almost destroyed.

My daughter Sarah, along with my son Matt, signed along with Big Daddy’s song “Redeemed”. Through all theses displays of love towards me, the theme of the day was loud and compelling.

I am redeemed, You set me free
So I’ll shake off theses heavy chains
Wipe away every stain now I’m not who I used to be
I am redeemed

This was the town I almost died in. This is where a lost, abused kid; tried to throw his life away with drinking and drugs. I wasn’t supposed to survive or become somebody of value. I was becoming a statistic, a reminder of failed promises and dreams.

All my life I have been called unworthy
Named by the voice of my shame and regret
But when I hear You whisper, “Child lift up your head”
I remember oh God, You’re not done with me yet

This is also the town I found redemption.

I don’t have to be the old man inside of me
Cause his day is long dead and gone
I’ve got a new name, a new life I’m not the same
And a hope that will carry me home

My ordination was more than a day to celebrate my step into ministry. It was a Holy moment to rejoice over my deliverance. My past, present and future are wrapped up in redemptive power. It is a force to dispel shame, rejection and reminders of failure. The fragrance of freedom is released, drawing others to the Father’s heart.

I am redeemed…that my friend…is something to celebrate!

More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. Romans 5:11

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Making an Entrance

 

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“All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages.” - William Shakespeare

My wife often jokes about the theatrical flavor of some of the statements I make. She says I have a flair for the dramatic…I say, that I prefer a pencil. Bad puns aside, I do have an announcement.

Cue the bright lights and theme music

This Sunday (January 6, 2013) I walk onto a new stage, I will be ordained as an Associate Pastor at Bridge Builder Community Church. OK, dim the lights and cut the music, the drama is over.

Or is it?

This has been a remarkable journey for me, but I’m not going to rehash past blunders, miscalculations or ministry mishaps. No bright lights, no theme music…nothing that dramatic.

I’m just going to thank Him

“God often takes a course for accomplishing His purposes directly contrary to what our narrow views would prescribe. He brings a death upon our feelings, wishes, and prospects when He is about to give us the desire of our hearts.” - John Newton

Something stirs in my heart that is more than theatrics…it’s a hunger to see people set free. A burning to speak to hurting, lost people and introduce them to a Savior that loves them passionately. This is not because I’m great, gifted or glowing with Moses-like holiness. It has (I believe) nothing to do with my calling.

It’s because I’m redeemed

I am reminded about something my wife wrote about a few years ago. I was clearing out some old paperwork and came across a letter that my wife wrote to honor me on one of my birthdays. I won’t bore you with the whole letter but there was this one section that grabbed me by the throat. (BTW…it still does)

“Some men build massive skyscrapers, awesome bridges, complex computers, things which can be destroyed. My man builds lives.”

His life, His power, His Spirit…through us…brings life. This is what I’m thinking as Sunday approaches.

“Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.”
Isaiah 1:17

I want to build lives…what about you?

 

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Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Spoken For

 

 

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“May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth.” Proverbs 5:18

I wanted my first post of 2013 to be about the adventure of marriage. This wonderful roller coaster ride of emotions, experiences and discoveries is a calling. It’s a sacred journey that calls two individuals to become one.

That my friend…is an adventure

When my wife looked into my eyes and said “I do” 30 years ago, she made my dreams come true and I became the happiest man on the planet. Christine helped me understand my heart, helped it feel again and come alive. The adventure of being married has been breathtaking and freeing…I love the feeling of being hers. Through the covenant of marriage, my bride has done something amazing.

She rescued my heart

That was no small task, I was damaged goods and in my mind, a bit strange. She took part in the Father’s restoration project and I am a better man because of it. My heart is hers, my life is hers and this romance is a blessed fellowship of two souls. Marriage is a treasure…a fortune of God’s favor.

“He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.” Proverbs 18:22

I remember meeting my wife at a local flower show on a rainy, depressing day last year. I was walking out of dull grayness and stepping into beauty. Seeing my wife among all those flowers reminded me that marriage is all about beauty, the adventurous, passionate beauty of two people becoming one. Men need that beauty, that sense of wonder; it answers a longing deep within us. That secret nerve vibrates with a desire that can only sync with a heart made to beat for us, a woman’s heart.

“In every man's heart there is a secret nerve that answers to the vibrations of beauty.” ~ Christopher Morley

I sometimes think that we (men) are afraid of beauty, thinking it makes us soft and “girly”. The truth is that appreciating beauty does not make us soft; it helps us understand softness. Part of my wife’s beauty, her strength and what makes her captivating is her softness. That strength is what rescued my heart and reminds me every moment of something wonderfully mysterious.

I am spoken for

So, I’m wondering…What does your marriage do you for you?

 

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