I felt it before I saw it. I can't describe how or why, but I felt it. As I opened my front door the hair on my neck and arms stood on end, my heart rate spiked, my breath was sapped from my lungs. Right there, a few feet from our front door, in the middle of the otherwise untouched snow of our front yard, someone had carved a 12-foot by 12-foot swastika. I wasn't prepped to see that symbol. I knew something was off, but I wasn't prepped for the depth of that. I closed the door, prayed, asked the Lord for courage and clarity, and then stepped out into the cold night, fairly certain that whoever had wanted to leave that message was probably still around.
Sin leaks, and creeps, and repeats. The multi-generational narrative form of the Old Testament doesn't hide this from us, in fact, it paints it vividly in painful details of children living with the consequences of their parent's sins and, all too often, allowing those sins to form patterns that they live out themselves.
I can't help but think that we would see significantly more of God's hand moving in our life if we regularly prayed the types of prayers that Abraham's servant prayed. In a world where we are suddenly aware of the unpredictability of our days, the people of God would do well to regularly stop and pray...
"Oh Lord, please come through for me today. I don't stand a chance without you. Show me what to do, and what not to do. Remind me of your steadfast love, please Lord. I need your guidance and your presence today."
In this season where we are forced into relative states of isolation, and we don't get the benefit of the crumbs falling off the faith tables of our friends, it is a great time to lean in, in faith, and to taste and see that the Lord is good, for yourself.
“We are ghosts or we are ancestors in our children’s lives. We either lay our mistakes and our burdens upon them, and we haunt them as ghosts. Or, we assist them in laying those old burdens down, and we free them from the chains of our own flawed behavior, and as ancestors, we walk alongside of them, assisting them to find their own way, and some sense of transcendence.”
It explained why I would come home after multiple church services on a Sunday with a level of exhaustion that I couldn’t even begin to describe. Not just tired, soul level exhausted. It explained why my true friendships were few in numbers and were all with people I had known for decades. I have always been a guy with hundreds of genuinely fond acquaintance relationships and very few friendships. It explained my anxiety around situations and scenarios with lots of strangers where I had to mingle and not where I got to have the relative position of safety of being the pastor guy on stage. It explained a lot of my self-loathing that I put myself through because I wasn’t more fun as a hang, or why I couldn’t be more winsome and charming in conversation. It explained … my life.
An assortment of links gathered from the far reaches of the internet for your clicking pleasure over the weekend. This week includes preacher's wives, a very loud world, virtue through dissociation, getting goodness done, and the rise of the nones or just the end of the pretense of a Christian nation.
We really can be guilty of a DIY christianity, not stopping to ask others for help and not admitting at any point that we need it, and the results we end up with are not unlike my unfinished fan. Our Christian lives might look good enough from the outside but they fail to deliver on the actual results that this journey with Jesus was designed to deliver on, that we would be more like Him.