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“Why me?”

July 5, 2013 — Leave a comment

Think back to a pivotal circumstance, the kind of circumstance that changes the entire trajectory of your life. Did you know at that moment what a big deal that event was? Usually we don’t see things are they truly are in these moments. Our close proximity to our circumstance gives us heightened emotions and we aren’t able to see clearly. An all-enveloping-emotional-fog-bank rolls over us and it becomes difficult to create meaning out of our circumstance. Isn’t that what we’re always looking for… meaning? I mean, that’s why we say things like:

  • “Why me?”
  • “Why now?”
  • “How could…?”


Even a man that finds a double-rainbow longs for it’s meaning. This is designed in us. We long for meaning in every circumstance. The problem is, if we find meaning in our circumstance, it’s often in the rear view mirror. It’s when we’re looking back that we see the meaning or potential meanings. And when we find meaning, it gives us a peace about what we went through. It enable us to say things like, “Oh, now I see what you [God] were up to.” or if you don’t believe in God, you might say something like, “It all makes sense now.”

Even the very first followers of Jesus had this issue. They were walking, talking, and eating with the Son of God and they still had this fog-in-the-moment issue. Take a look:

The next day the great crowd that had come for the Feast heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed in the King of Israel!”

Jesus found a young donkey and sat upon it, as it is written, “Do not be afraid, O Daughter of Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt.”

At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that they had done these things to him.

John 12:12-16

Jesus’ disciples did not understand the meaning of all this, until later. That’s right, there was something meaningful in something as seemingly insignificant as what he rode into town on. Throughout the Old Testament of the Bible, basically the first half, there’s tons of history and the whole time it’s pointing toward this future king, this future savior, this future public figure that would “Hosanna!” [save] the world. We call these messianic prophecies, which basically means the foretelling of a future Messiah, a savior. There was a sense in which things ought to be a certain way, but they are not and we need a savior from God to fix it. Israelites and Jews were always looking for Him. There are literally hundreds of these prophecies in the Old Testament, here’s a chart of just 44 of them and when/how they were fulfilled, aka accomplished.

When Jesus rode into town on the colt of a donkey, that meant something. It accomplished that prophecy, it was a check in a box that was part of the ridiculously long make-sure-we-have-the-right-messiah list. But Jesus’ followers weren’t really thinking about that list until later. They found meaning in the small things after they had hindsight.

Here’s the deal. When you can’t figure out, “Why” or when it seems as though your whole world in caving in you’re going to look for meaning. And if your circumstance is tragic, you may be tempted to walk away from faith in a God who acts with purpose, a loving God. But, days, weeks, months, years or even decades down the road… you may find meaning. That meaning will give you a peace about the circumstance.

But here’s the difficult part. Meaning isn’t always wrapped around you or me. Sometimes meaning is bigger than us and while we may be given the understanding to have peace about our circumstance, we won’t know the entire meaning of the events of our lifetime until we have complete hindsight.

Most likely, nothing you read here will pull you out of a funk if you’re in a difficult circumstance. But it’s okay, not to be okay. It’s okay to be mad. It’s okay to have emotions that run the entire spectrum of emotion. But I urge you to take your time in your pivotal circumstances, because where you go from here is going to change the rest of your life. When Jesus rode into town on a donkey’s colt, this was as good as it got for he and his followers. People were cheering. It was a parade, a celebration of the arrival of the Messiah. But Jesus’ followers didn’t totally understand what was about to happen. How could they?

His disciples were expecting a bit of a revolution, which explains why the political and religious people of the day were so scared of him. But instead…

  • Jesus was betrayed by his own disciple
  • Put on trial
  • Found not-guilty
  • The crowd demanded his death
  • He was beaten to a bloody pulp
  • He was paraded to a hill while carrying his own death instrument called a cross
  • Nailed to the cross and hoisted upright
  • He spoke forgiveness from his position on a cross
  • He died.
  • His followers were crazy confused
  • He walked out of his tomb three days later
  • Hung out with his followers again
  • And basically floated up into the sky until they could no longer see him
  • Sat down next to his Father in Heaven as King over all creation, not just over Israel

God usually doesn’t do what we expect, but bigger, more significant things. He generally doesn’t use the template or plan we devise. He uses a less-linear approach with meta-data that can’t be collected by any human or machine with information only known by the God who not only created the idea of time, but exists both in and outside of time.

Again, I say, it’s okay not be okay. It’s okay not to have the answers, not to know the meaning of your circumstance. It’s okay to have emotions surrounding your every-day life. But just know that one-day, if you allow God to give it to you, you’ll have peace about it all. And it won’t be what you expected, but it will be more significant than you could dream up.

Think back to a pivotal circumstance, the kind of circumstance that changes the entire trajectory of your life. Did you know at that moment what a big deal that was? Usually we don’t see things as they truly are in the moment. Our close proximity to our circumstance gives us heightened emotions and we aren’t able to see clearly. An all-enveloping-emotional-fog-bank rolls over us and it becomes difficult to create meaning out of our circumstance.

But the fog does clear or at least it moves. And as long as you keep moving at a pace in keeping with your visibility, you’ll have just enough information, you’ll see just far enough to make wise decisions and not let the fog control your decisions or destination. At best, the fog is a dictator of pace, perhaps it’s God’s supernatural pace car. I don’t know that for sure, but I do know this…

“What a Mess!”

October 22, 2012 — Leave a comment

The other day I was driving with my son in the car. We passed a graveyard and he pointed to it and said, “Look! What a mess!”

I said, “That’s not a mess, that’s a graveyard… It’s supposed to look like that.” To which he replied, “No, it’s a mess!

Then I thought, “That is a mess!” Because that cemetery was full of corpses. Every corpse represents a person, a soul. Every person who once lived is somewhere right now for eternity. And they’re not all in the same place. And they’re not all in a good place.

What a mess!

Imagine if Adam and Eve hadn’t eaten that fruit in the Garden of Eden! Before they broke the only rule given to them… There was no plan for death to be a part of life. It isn’t a natural part of life like everyone tells you when your first pet dies. It’s a consequence to disobedience. It’s a consequence of sin.

Genesis 2:16-17 [the one rule]

And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”

Genesis 3:19 [one of the consequences, death]

By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.

What a mess!

Imagine what life would be like if we could just follow the law. But we are incapable of it… That’s why we need grace.

I heard someone say to me the other day, “I think as long as you’re a good person, Jesus will understand… I think.” She didn’t sound too sure of her theory, but was hoping it’s true.

Here’s the deal. We need Grace because none of us are “good enough” to be perfect. Perfection is not something we are capable of living up to. We need grace because we make a mess of things. We are messy and God runs towards the mess. We disobey, God loves us anyway.

So, yes, it’s a mess. Life as we know it, is a mess. We’re a mess. But we’re a beautiful mess. And we’re a beautiful mess being made new through faith in Jesus Christ.

Merry Christmas from New Vintage Church and Rhianna.

We fund Love in a hopeless place.
A baby, the king, Jesus, has been born.
Hope has entered this darkness.
He is the Christ, the Lord, Jesus. Amen.

Beating Cystic Fibrosis

February 23, 2011 — 5 Comments

My friend Joe Sinnaeve has battled Cystic Fibrosis his entire life.
Joe has been a model of what it means to be a great son.
Yesterday was his biggest fight with the disease and he was victorious.
Not victorious in the worldly sense of the word.
But victorious in the eternal sense.
He lost the physical battle.
But his faith and trust is in the Lord Jesus Christ.
And Jesus won the war.
Joe is in heaven. No more pain. No more fighting.
No more worrying about blood-sugar levels.
No more dealing with the broken nature of this world.

He is finally disease-free…

So our prayers are no longer for Joe and his health.
They are for Jerry and Wende, his parents.
They are for Brit. They are for those of us left to deal with the grief.
But let’s not forget the miracle that Joe lived this long.
And let’s not forget the miracle that he lives again… disease-free.

Church in the Peripheral

February 19, 2011 — 2 Comments

The Church is a living organism, the body of Christ, that can not be snuffed out. It is breathing, full of people who have issues. People with pain, scars and dysfunction-galore. But it is still the beautiful and holy body of Christ. One of our biggest issues is being the Church in the peripheral and letting everything else be our focus. The Way, the Christian path, the Church wasn’t mean to be a part-time-when-it’s-convenient-gig. It was meant to be a life-gig. It was meant for every follower of Christ to live in and to be the Church all the time.

I’m not just talking about meeting together on Sundays and in homes for community groups. I’m talking a whole life-style. But we tend to live the Church life in the peripheral. Not even prioritizing the most basic of Christian practices, the Sunday morning gathering of the body of Christ. How can a part of the body of Christ function without communicating with the rest of the body? How can an arm be any good without the hand? How can a foot make any difference without a hip?

Let’s get basic. Let’s begin to prioritize the body and the mission of building the Kingdom of God by Investing in our non-Christian friends and family and Inviting them to join the gathering of the body of Christ.

Now that I’ve got your attention from my blog title. Let me explain.

A couple of weeks ago I watched The Social Network for the first time. I was glued to the tv the entire movie. Great writing, great story and great acting. But the thing that struck me the most was the ending scene. Forget about everything Mark Zuckerberg (co-creator of Facebook) did, right or wrong. Forget about all the actors and scenes. Concentrate for a moment just on this ending scene. Don’t read the ending “what happened to” titles… just concentrate on what he’s doing in this last scene.

That’s what Jesus does to us every day. He knocks and he seeks out a real, not just electronic or intellectual, relationship with you and me. He refreshes constantly, waits consistently and pursues relentlessly a relationship with YOU. And he refreshes, and and he refreshes, and he refreshes to see… if you’ve responded.

So, have you?

Amy We Love You

August 11, 2009 — 9 Comments

Amy’s memorial service will be held on Monday, August 17th, at 11:00am at Wells Fargo Center for the Arts.

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Get Your Serve On

July 30, 2009 — Leave a comment

photoErica and I went to a little Mexican food place on Monday for lunch. We walked in and it was full of people who were from the surrounding neighborhood. Let me see if I can set the stage. The neighborhood is on “the avenue” which is known for it’s rough setting, tattoo shops, used car dealerships and prostitutes. Do you understand the setting?

Erica insisted that we go there because she loves the tacos. There was one table with three guys – chains, tats, and hardcore looking guys. When they left the place, one of them forgot his skateboard. We noticed and Erica said, “Should I go give it to him?” Now let me set that stage. My wife, Erica, is a blonde 25-year-old and 8 months pregers!

The juxtaposition of these two people was pretty cool. That’s what the Kingdom of God is like. All kinds of people. All different backgrounds, styles and looks. Different neighborhoods, different in every way but the same in one huge way. The Kingdom of God is full of people who have been rescued by Jesus Christ. And these people love to serve. When’s the last time you did some random act of kindness? What was it?