Archives For musings

There are many myths we live by that God never ordained. Honestly, I’m still discovering them. They’re just things that unknowingly become ingrained into us without us ever making an active decision to accept it as truth. Things we might have grown up thinking, by inference, not necessarily teaching. It’s what wasn’t said, sometimes, that impacts us more than what was.

One of those myths is what I call…

The Perfection Before Presence Myth

Here’s the basic idea.

  • I know I’m not perfect, I’m a sinner.
  • My sin separates me from God.
  • I want to follow Jesus, but…
  • In order to approach Him, or be in His presence, I need to turn my life around… be perfect.
  • Once I get my life straightened out, I will be able to truly follow Jesus and approach God.

You’re probably looking at that saying, “That’s so wrong” or “Yep, that’s me” and maybe you’re saying both at the same time, because there’s this tension we don’t know how to resolve.

Last night I went to the Fresno County Juvenile Hall with people from several different churches, including Two Cities Church, to put on a Christmas Party for the boys currently living there. The situations and life track many of these boys are on, are heart-breaking. Many of them have been in there 2 or 3 times and one young man I spoke with is in for the 9th time! Can you imagine that, 9 times?

While talking to one of them about their belief in God, he said, “I want to follow God, but I’ve gotta get my life together first.”

I said, “That’s a common misunderstanding. The fact of the matter is, none of us, volunteers, are here because we were able to get our lives together. We’re here because we gave our broken and messy lives to Jesus. And Jesus has been cleaning house.” 

He didn’t understand, as most of us don’t, God isn’t up there handing out judgement, he’s handing out mercy. The reason this young man was in there is because of robbery. I reminded him that God’s mercy has already been on him because all it takes is on citizen with a concealed weapon, all it takes is one person willing to shoot one bullet and he’d be dead.

You can’t get clean and then come to God, you’ve got to come to God to get clean. The walls of the church won’t cave in on you if you show up with your life in shambles. Don’t let the enemy of your soul convince you otherwise. Here’s the truth.

“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:16-17 NLT

So here’s the truth…

  • I know I’m not perfect, I’m a sinner.
  • My sin separates me from God.
  • I want to follow Jesus, so…
  • I approach Him to surrender my life to Him.
  • He loves me, accepts me and cleans me so that I can fulfill the true purpose He has for me.
  • I am an adopted, royal-child of God, co-heir to the throne and there’s nothing that can take that away.

What myths do you accidentally live by? Are those myths holding you back from truly living a life of freedom?

In the wake of so much tragedy, my best friend, Paul Haugen has released a song that he wrote a few months ago. It is meant to bring hope and inspire and I pray it does those things for you. Enjoy.

“I wrote this song a few months ago after the divisiveness on my Facebook feed had reached a high point. I had this sense in me that in spite of all of our differences and strongly held beliefs there was and is a connective tissue that holds us together; that there’s this thing inside of us that makes us so much better together than we could ever be apart. I believe that connective tissue is hope. I think we all want better. We all want change. We just are really bad at listening sometimes. I remembered a time in my life where I felt safe and I really want that for my kids. What really scared me was thinking about how long it had been since I felt that way and the thought that my kids might grow up in a world without that feeling of safety. I wanted to write this as my stake in the ground declaring that I believe we can be more; that we can be better. So this is me hoping that we find a way to love one another and maybe find a little bit of hope.” – Paul Haugen

 

At Two Cities Church, when we say our mission is to lead people into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ, what you’ve got to understand is that’s not an easy thing. There’s often pain involved.

It’s like learning to swim. This summer we welcomed a foster-son into our home. This little 3-year-old boy, in the month and a half he’s been with us, has learned to swim! He wore floaties a handful of times, but doesn’t want them anymore. He actually never really did want them. He would get into the water and immediately want them off. So I’d take them off and he’d shove off from the step. Well, what happened?

He sank.

Thankfully, he held his breath and I was right there with him. I can always see when his eyes go from, “I’m doing it!” and transition to “Uh oh!” And that’s when I’d bring him up and he gasped for air. But he learned quick!

My point is, before we grow, we often experience some sort of pain and we might even have a panic in our yes, but God is right there and he knows when we need to be pulled out and when to push us a little so that we can grow our capacity for holding our breath.

Whatever pain your experiencing, God is growing you in some way. He’s growing your…
  • capacity for empathy
  • trust
  • skills in managing something small, so you can handle something bigger
  • parenting patience (Am I right?)
  • and many other things

And the amazing thing is, one day what you’re struggling so hard with, if you face it again, you’ll fly through it with greater ease.

I mean, when you finally learned to swim, it was amazing… it’s like flying, through water. It’s gliding, it’s smooth and easy movement… you’re no longer frantic or flailing. You understand physics, buoyancy, and the mechanics of how to move through the water with minimal effort.

Think of it this way. God gives you more than you can currently handle, contrary to popular belief, so that you will lean on Him and he’ll grow you.

Here’s episode 6. It took me a couple of weeks to get around to posting it, but here it is. My #FiatFriday videos and other Go.Do videos will be slowing down in releases for the summer. It’s just because I’m doing stuff, ya know? And there’s something really big and exciting happening in our family… which you will hear about in due time. How’s that for suspension?

In this vlog I talk about:

In this episode, we go to the Fresno Chafee Zoo with 3 other families and we are completely outnumbered. Have you ever tried to herd 14 kids through a zoo? It’s a little crazy. Josiah’s favorite part was Sting-Ray Bay. It’s awesome because you can pet the sting-rays and some sharks too! We’ll be back next week, since we bought a family pass, to shoot a video for a school project. Enjoy and don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more regular updates.

This year, Easter was a little crazier than usual. We put on our 3rd annual community-wide  FREE BBQ and Easter Egg Hunt at Dry Creek Park in Clovis, CA and people showed up in droves. The first year, it was basically for Two Cities Church. The second year we were able to invite a couple of hundred people to participate with us, but this year… this year was a different ball game. This year well over 800 people, maybe even 1000, came out to the hunt and it clarified for us that this event is for the community and not at all for our church. So next year, we’ll have that mindset as we enter into it.

Our kids walked away from that hunt with ZERO eggs, because it wasn’t about us. So we had a little hunt at a family gathering and then a third at our friend’s house. Here’s a short video highlighting all three from our Go.Do Youtube Vlog. Subscribe to the YouTube channel for more regular videos.

 

In this episode, Josiah and I explore Woodward Park in Fresno, Ca. It cost us $5 to drive in, but you can always park across the street and walk, run or bike into the park itself. Subscribe to our channel and see more Go.Do videos!

Your local public park can be a great source of adventure. Most people take their kids and sit on a bench while their kids play. They (we… I’m guilty too) use the time to catch up on email or Facebook. But what if we helped their imagination bloom? What if we became part of their games? What if we participated with them? We’re making these YouTube videos to encourage people to play together and Go Do Something. Life is actually pretty amazing and my kids are growing up fast, so I’m trying to be more proactive in enjoying each day with them. Sometimes it’s little and simple and sometimes it’ll be bigger, but it’s something.

What kinds of things do you do with your kids to create memories together?

 

 

In our second episode on Go.Do, our new YouTube channel, we go to a brand new pet store in Fresno called Lost Realms Pets. It’s awesome and you should go! Check it out: