Category Archives: God

Gay Marraige

I was at a LGBT workshop put on by the Flood church this last Sunday. It was a very well done conversation that highlighted several key points that should be considered when talking about the Church, Christ, and those with varying gender identities.

I seek to only highlight one thought from the discussion. Identity. The individual who shared, who himself was a man who was attracted to other men, and is also a brother in Christ emphasized one very important point. Ones attraction to one sex or another, heterosexual, homosexual, or bi sexual, or ones identifying as male or female is secondary to ones identity in Christ.

As a Christian, it is our relationship with Christ that defines us first, everything else comes from that.

For those that do not know Christ, lifting Him up and leading them to Him is the first step. For if they do not believe or know my Christ Jesus, why should I expect them to live as He calls me to?

I am very guilty in letting titles or identifying traits define me; male, adult, employee at such and such a company, boyfriend to so and so, brother, sensei, extrovert, etc. But first, my identity is in Christ, and I must live like Him.

For those that are not Christians reading this, please, don’t be shy about reminding my brothers and sisters where their identity is, gently of course. 🙂


When Friendships in Christ Fail

I have this almost constant battle in my mind of what should happen, and what actually does. One of the most difficult for me is relationships with Christians that fall apart. Everything in me screams that we are supposed to love each other and that Christ at the center can fix it. I hate saying goodbye to anyone. And even years after I lose contact with a friend, I still think of them fondly, regardless of what brought about that change.

He came to set us free from our sins, and really it is our sins that break relationships because if we were all perfect, we would all get along. Even within the broken world I so desperately want my relationships with my fellow followers of Christ to be different. So at the recent loss of yet another close friend (I remember each and every close friend I have ‘lost’ to a relationship breakdown, and I think of them throughout the year) I must ask myself, what am I to do? I cannot make others happy. I cannot control their actions, so when they wish to leave, I must let them leave and live in peace. But how shall I respond.

At this moment, I cry. I cry because I see that is what Christ did. When I read the story of Christ raising Lazarus from the dead, I don’t believe that he was crying because his friend died. Christ new that he would raise Lazarus. Crying over his death doesn’t make sense.

Christ tells them that he is glad that he was not there in order that they may believe, and that his sickness would not end in death, but was for God’s Son to be glorified through it. Christ tells them that he is the resurrection and the life, and not that he is the life that will bring Lazarus back from the grave then, but eternal life for, “they will live even though they die.”

When he saw them weeping, even after he explained this, he began to weep. Not because he was sad for his friend, but because his dear children did not believe. They did not see the truth of life that he had brought. In a sense he is crying because his relationship with them was broken, or at least very childish. Rather than having belief in who he is, which is required of eternal life. So he weeps.

I may be stretching this exact passage a bit, but if we look at a lack of faith as being a broken, or at least immature relationship with Christ, and that is what Christ weeps over, then we to in being like God are to cry over broken relationships.

So, as I continue to wish that Christ would return and make all things right so that I can have wonderful perfect relationships with my friends, I do what I must now, which is cry my temporary loss of relationship with them.


A Moment of Courage, I don’t usually have: Open

I used to think that close friendship with another person meant that I knew everything about them. I asked them questions. I feel their pain. I tell them what I am excited about for the future. That is it. The closeness meter is determined by how much I see them cry.

It finally occurred to me that being close to someone means that they need to see you to. As you are. Hurts, pains, and failings. It can’t be them finding out, it needs to be you telling them. Otherwise, when the dark days come, and they do come, you won’t have anyone that knows how to help you, and you won’t tell anyone.

I am deciding that the, “others need to see you” is going to become, “I am going to show myself to others.” Unfortunately the timing of it goes that when I am ready to share something, something interrupts. Or I mentally just tell them as though I am teaching a lecture. More emotionally draining is the realization that I may not be around my most committed friends, whom I believe deserve to see me, when I am ready to share. This is usually why I refrain from sharing in these moments when I so desire to be known, “This should wait for my best friend.” So I bottle it up and forget.

Today, I decide that I must speak.

I must be found.

And I pray to God that it goes well, because my other fear is that talking about my mental demons will open up for others the same chasm I fall into.


Thankfulness

In my last post, I talked about my lack of faith, and calling upon God to help me, not in some transcendental psychic communication sort of way, but by whatever means he chooses.

Long ago I shared a post with the video that is at the bottom of this one. The basic summary of the video is that we can choose our attitude. If we write down at the end of each day three things we are thankful for and describe two positive experiences we had that day, we can change the way we see the world.

I tried this for a little while. But then gave up. I wanted so badly for so long to get back to the person that I used to be. I used to be so happy all of the time. Thankful to just be alive. Constantly asking myself how I can love the next person. Then life happened, I didn’t respond well, and a few sad events later and my internal monologue now has a really bad attitude.

Furthermore is the issue of who to be thankful to. As a Christian, I should be thankful to God. But what if I can’t see God’s hand in what I am thankful for? Yes, everything that exists is because of God, but does that mean we should ascribe thanks for the fact that the toaster didn’t catch on fire this morning? Is that an act of God? It seems trite to thank him for things that he may really not have that much care in (in future posts I will talk about the little things and God’s hand).

But, as I mentioned in my last post. If God is communicating with us in any way he chooses, then should we not be thankful for each good event that happens to us? In some way shape or form, Gods hand was in that. If someone smiled, I believe that the other person is in the image of God and I can be to God for their image. Give him worship. At the very least, I can be thankful that God is helping me to be thankful for things! Or allowing me to notice.

In short, I don’t have a complicated treaties of how I know that God is in everything, and I still don’t believe he is involved in everything. But as a child can be thankful to a parent for creating the environment that he can play in, even if he bought the toys with his own money, so I can thank God for my life that I am living. Especially when that life includes answers to my prayers.


Doubt, and Faith

I doubt God. I have difficulty, very often, believing in his goodness. Although I know all of the theological answers, the sin in the world around me forces me to ask, why? What purpose? The sin that affects my heart causes me to ask, why? Where are you?
I don’t see him in events surrounding sin, and the ripple affect that it has on my life. MY LIFE. I have a hole in my heart from hurt and pain. I want it filled. I want it answered. Rather than see answers, I see more pain. I am too focused on that current pain to look forward to what God has. I want my answer now, I say as a true instant gratification American. Justice, now.
I want to see God. I want to see him act and change the world around me. Not just tell me in a book it will happen some day.
So I turn to people. They are here, they are present. But then, the hurt in my heart doesn’t just ask for a shoulder to lean on, or someone to walk with. It demands to be filled, and to have an answer. So rather than relate with another I find myself taking from them. Their energy, their emotional stability, just to satisfy my need. This obviously causes problems.
I blame myself for these problems. But I am God’s creation, and he has supposedly guided my life? So I ask why, and I do, as I have always done, the same thing to him as I do to everyone else. I demand an answer and I demand a healing to my soul. I don’t relate, I don’t listen. I don’t just tell him and watch.
Watching. Listening. Waiting. I do not do that very well. So I doubt. I don’t see God as present. He must be aloof. Watching from above. Waiting to see if I ask enough. Then, then he will come to me in a voice. Then I read a book, have a realization that I am not being grateful, so I begin thanking God for what I have. Of course, it wasn’t God who taught me that, I read it in a book. So I keep waiting for him to speak.
Of course, he doesn’t.
I get hurt.
I want healing.
The cycle continues.
My arguments get more and more idiotic. I remember telling a friend once, “The worst part about my argument with God, is that right now, I think I am winning”. Never a good place to be.
I even admit and often joke that it is hard to tell whether what I am feeling is something I ate, or the voice of God. I recently was at a bible study, left early because I get up for work early, but then went back for the prayer portion. When asked why I was back I said, “Well, I think that God told me to come back. That or I just wanted more attention. I really can’t tell which”
I don’t know what did it. What changed my thought. But I suddenly caught myself in this bitter trap of disrespect and ungratefulness. So I finally began to thank God for things. Then I had an emotionally devastating event occur. I called out to God. But for some unexplainable reason, it was different this time. It finally clicked, the connection between God and my world. I asked God, “Please refine me and purify me, guide me in your paths by any means necessary, people, nature, dogs” I was running, and passed a peacock. It was beautiful.
In asking this way, I am living in faith that God will answer. And I am removing from myself the excuse of, “that was just a coincidence” God can work through anything. I must be thankful to him for all good things, for his hand is in all things we do that are good, for that is part of his image.
In reality, I do know where this clarity came from. It was a gift, from God. And that is something that I do not doubt.


Thought of the Day

The Thoughts of The Day

                “Man is no greater than the greatest thought of his day” Therefore the greatest day we can have is one of God. When we think and imagine who God is, then we are thinking of what is the creator of perfection and redemption for the rest of the world we live in.

                The depth of our lives is defined by how well we take that image of God and apply it to the world around us. This requires us to know who God is and understand how we take his identity and apply it to our daily lives. This requires a knowledge of Scripture and a connection between our world and Scripture.

                Unfortunately it isn’t always obvious that the world that Scripture is talking about is the exact same one that we see, taste, touch and smell. It seems disconnected and removed. And it would be if it had not been for the Word becoming flesh and living along side of us. So I encourage you this day to think of the highest thought of the day. God having such mercy and compassion in the face of brokenness to come, experience it as one of us and taking all of what is wrong with the world on himself.


The Knowledge of the Holy

Previously I talked about how we can desire to be like God, and that part of our problem with trying to be like Christ is that we lack the imagination. The late A. W. Tozer speaks to this issue well in his book, The Knowledge of the Holy. In it he shares with us that, “the most portentous fact about any man is not what he at a given time may say or do, but what he in his deep heart conceives God to be like. We tend by a secret law of the soul to move toward our mental image of God.”

This emphasis on how we conceive of, or imagine God to be is in stark contrast to the emphases on doing that is in the church today. In the preface he laments how in his present culture (true also in ours) that the verse, “Be still and know that I am God” carries very little weight. We are so busy with our lives running about and trying to be productive, that we forget to truly live. We fall to the sin of busyness.

He does not say it directly, but speaking in the same spirit of his book, I would continue and say that a man can never be greater than his greatest thought. The, “mightiest thought the mind can entertain is the thought of God.” If we do not conceive of God as he is, if we have an error in our understanding of who He, then the same level of error that we have we will have error in the entirety of our lives.

The book is focused on the character and attributes to God. Even though he does not continually quote Scripture, his writing is imbued with a knowledge and references to the truth found in Scripture. He does not pretend to be writing theologically, for his goal is to write to the common man in order to capture their imagination and cause them to worship.

It is also short, and divided up into short sections. It is a must read of the classics. You could instead, as he even mentions, read the works of Augustine, but those take much more focus in following, and are much longer. If we are going to make crowns in the image of the ones we hope to one day have, then we need to know who the true crown maker is.

In the end I must also say that ultimately we need to know Scripture. But A. W. Tozer references the spirit of the Scriptures and is very beneficial to our imaginations as we go forth in our service of the king.