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Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Light Meets the Dark

I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else. -C. S. Lewis

"And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God." -John 3:19-21 ESV

A lot of people skip over these verses.

I know I did for the longest time.

It comes right after the most famous verse in the Bible: John 3:16.

And though we hear these verses all the time... usually our minds are still gripped to verse 16 and 17 while we just rush through these.

But I'm not speaking for everyone.

For me though... I knew these verses. But I didn't let them affect how I lived my life.
Until recently.

It's where the light meets the dark.

Jesus is telling us that light has come into the world... but that we love darkness so much that we don't even realize it. We see something different and hate it. We don't like change. We don't want anything messing with the status quo. We cry out for a savior... but aren't ready or prepared to receive Him.

That was the culture and the society that Jesus had to live through.

The people knew enough about Him to cry out for Him. To ask Him to save, to heal, to talk with them... 

But... they didn't want to do anything in return.

They rejected change.
They rejected His message.
They rejected His teaching.
They had ears... but could not hear.
They had eyes... but could not see.

Things haven't changed much have they?

Have you ever been in a really dark room for a long time, or maybe just waking up after a really good sleep, and a light gets turned on? 
All of a sudden this brightness just overtakes you and our first reaction...

Hands over our face, or grabbing something to cover our eyes.


Because it hurts.
Our eyes were adjusted to the dark.
We were comfortable.
And now we need to slowly adjust to this light...
...or we run from it, hide from it, or try to get rid of it.

We blind ourselves to whats going on around us because we don't want to see.
We were comfortable with the dark.

I remember the first time I went to play laser tag... other than it being a great experience, I remember coming out of the laser room, there were two guys working on an air conditioner vent in the room where we were supposed to put our gear after we were done. Usually there was just a black light in that room, nice and dim to help our eyes adjust easier before we went out to the main area where it was bright.

But these guys had all of the lights on so they could see what they were doing.

After spending about 45 minutes in pitch black where there was just a few little laser lights around you and walking into that... my eyes did not appreciate it.

It was too bright.

When Jesus came into the world... He was too bright.

This was the very glory and power of God confined in a human body.

We were comfortable in our darkness.
We knew there was something wrong... but we had been living in the dark so long... we grew accustomed to it.

That's the power of sin.
That's what such a strong separation from God does to us.

"The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him." - John 1:9-11 ESV

Does it still sound so crazy when we hear about how much the Pharisees hated Him?
Can we begin to understand why the crowds were so shallow in their belief of Him?
Do we see why His disciples still didn't get it, even after spending all that time with Him?

They weren't stupid.
They weren't somehow more evil than us.
They weren't crazy.
They weren't ignorant.

They were blind.

They saw light and thought it was bad... because it hurt. It wasn't part of the status quo.
Jesus came to change something.
And not many people liked that change.

He came to show us the only way to God.
He came to build His kingdom.



Because He loved us too much to leave us in the dark.

To test, strengthen, and restore our faith.

Despite it's weakness.

We find a story about a certain beggar in Luke 18:35-43

As he drew near to Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. And hearing a crowd going by, he inquired what this meant. They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by." And he cried out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" And those who were in front rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!" And Jesus stopped and commanded him to be brought to him. And when he came near, he asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” He said, “Lord, let me recover my sight." And Jesus said to him, “Recover your sight; your faith has made you well." And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.

'Your faith has made you well.'

What came first?
Sight or faith?
What always comes first?


You have to trust before you see. You have to trust Jesus before it all makes sense. You have to begin with faith. The truth has to be believed and trusted, and then you see. Some are waiting to see. And as they wait... they remain blind. They reject the light. You begin with faith and then you see.

We run into this all the time when we are discussing our faith with non-believers.

We can easily get frustrated and we just want to scream, 'DON'T YOU SEE!?!?' 

No, they don't.

They are still in the darkness...They're blind.

Just like we used to be.

"people loved the darkness rather than the light" 

We all have lived in the darkness. We all are sinners in need of a savior.
But in that moment of accepting Christ, our eyes were opened.
We see the promises Christ fulfilled. The truth he spoke. 
It becomes clear to us.

But even with all of the help from the Spirit, and with all of promises we have in the Bible...aren't we still sometimes drawn to the darkness?

We see the things "we're missing", the things that seem fun, that we don't want to have any part of... and yet... they call to us.

It got me thinking about the old song, 'This Little Light of Mine'.

This little light of mine
I'm gonna let it shine
This little light of mine
I'm gonna let it shine
This little light of mine
I'm gonna let it shine
Let it shine
Let it shine
Let it shine
Hide it under a bushel Oh no!
I'm going to let it shine
Hide it under a bushel Oh no!
I'm going to let it shine
Hide it under a bushel Oh no!
I'm going to let it shine
Let it Shine
All the time
Let it shine
Don't let the Devil blow it out
I'm going to let it shine
Don't let the Devil blow it out
I'm going to let it shine
Don't let the Devil blow it out
I'm going to let it shine
Let it Shine
All the time
Let it shine

This little light of mine?
Jesus said He was the light.

But he also said to His disciples:
"You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." -Matthew 5:14-16
Though it seems sometimes that we hide, we try to stand in the shadows... enough for people to see there is something different about us, (maybe our church face) that there is a light reflecting off of us, BUT dark enough for us to fit in, to feel comfortable with the rest of the world.

Like putting a shade over a lamp. 

A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, 'darkness' on the walls of his cell.
-C. S. Lewis
And yet we try... we try all the time. Because we run towards that darkness. Our secrets. Our failures. Our past. Our pains. Our meaningless successes. 

But here's the thing: Our God wastes nothing.
Not one hurt, not one suffering, not one event, not one joy, not one piece of a broken heart, not one hope, not one failure, not one person.

Our God wastes... nothing.

We can't diminish His glory... We can't. Every effort we could even make to diminish just boosts His glory even more.

It's not about how many times we fall, how many times we forsake light for the darkness. It's not about how many times we 'hide it under a bushel', or stand in the shadows...

It's about how many times God picks us back up.
It's about how many times... the Light meets the dark, and pierces through it.

Because no matter how dense the darkness... it only takes one small ray of light to pierce.

No matter how dim the light... it will always shine in on the shadows, darkness can never consume it.

“Why blame the dark for being dark? It is far more helpful to ask why the light isn’t as bright as it could be.” -Rob Bell


We can sit around looking at how depressed things are, complaining about all of the evil in this fallen world… Jesus told us to be the light of the world. So Shine! All it takes is one ray of light to pierce the darkest of darkness. Be that ray of light. Shine.

"When we reach past our own pained and hurting lives, and give from the tatters we have to help another soul that is screaming in anguish, we strike a spark that can light the fires of success, passion, healing, and love." -Altair Jenson

 Sometimes the best way for 'the blind to see', for others to finally come to grips about who Christ is... they need to see Christ in us.

Jesus said, "By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (John 13:35)

It's about walking out of the shadows... standing in front of the window of God's grace... light pouring into the room. Turning around not seeing your shadow... but the cross of Christ in it's place.

It's a hope to cling to. A reason to live.

"And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God." -John 3:19-21 ESV
Are we willing to give up the darkness of our hearts to the one who can heal, mend, and pour a love so pure and incomprehensible into it?

Are we ready for light to meet the dark?

God is.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Like a River...

Time is like a river, you can never touch the same water twice. 
The flow that has passed will never pass again. 
Enjoy every moment. 
Make every moment matter. 
You never know who is waiting downstream to catch the flow of water you once touched.
Just a little something that I've been thinking about for the past few days.
Make life count. 
It's as simple as having the will to do something... and then acting on it.
Let God surprise you... as He surprises everyone around you.
Asking God, 'Move, or move me. Because I want to be like you. I want to mirror you. I want to do something to make your name known, making your existence known.'
"The issue isn't so much taking Jesus to people who don't have Him, but going to a place and pointing out to the people there the creative, life-giving God who is already present in their midst."
 Sometimes... 'going to a place' means just walking out your front door.
 Just some rambling thoughts going through my mind. ;)
Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Relent, LORD! How long will it be? Have compassion on your servants. Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. -Psalm 90:12-14

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

What Keeps Us Going...

Στο Θεό να την Δόξα για πάντα και πάντα Amen

To God Be the Glory Forever and Ever Amen.

I've been asked why I blog, I've been asked why the name 'Inside and Overneath', and I've been asked what keeps me going.

It's not numbers.
It's not that I feel like this famous guy because I own a website who has people reading from all over the world.
It's not because of anything I do.
But because of what God does.

I live BECAUSE of Jesus, not because He will somehow make my life better, but because He is better than life!

I have learned the difference between living for someone or something, and living because of them or it.

If you were to ask me last year what I am doing with my life... I wouldn't have an answer, I might have said I live for Christ... if it was a church friend, or another Christian. I may have said, 'I live for an audience of One'.

But I've learned the difference.

Because there is a difference.
However small.

God never asks us to change our life to live FOR Him.
Jesus simply said, 'Follow me.'
Jesus said, 'Pick up your cross.'
Paul talked about our new life IN Christ.
As if we can only live, after we've accepted we're already dead... that this life is gone. The only breath we still have in us is because and by Christ. Our new life we're living has to be so closely intertwined with Christ... that we are living IN Him, BY Him, and... Because of Him.

As small of a difference as it may be... I think it settles in our brains... and it can grow into an attitude that isn't healthy.

The freedom we gained with Christ:

"You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love." -Gal. 5:13

...I believe gives us a better life than to be living for something.

When you live for something... it's as if you are trying to impress. You're living to constantly need approval. And you become a slave to that feeling of doing the right thing... rather than just living in it's presence.

This is the kind of attitude that leads us into idolatry if it's not wholly on God.
This is the attitude we sometimes have to fight when we are dating someone.
Or when our job takes control of us.

And some of us need to be broken down and humbled:

God doesn't need you.

God isn't impressed with anything you do, because if it's anything good... it came from Him to begin with.

"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows."-James 1:17

"All of us have become like one who is unclean,
   and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf,
   and like the wind our sins sweep us away." -Isaiah 64:6

"As it is written:
   “There is no one righteous, not even one;" -Romans 3:10

"The irony is that while God doesn’t need us but still wants us, we desperately need God but don’t really want Him most of the time." -Francis Chan

But if we really begin to think about it... our life isn't our own. Our life is given to us because of grace.
Every breath we take is because God is patient enough to hold back His wrath... and because, "Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given." -John 1:16

His grace is enough. And it pours out and overlaps upon itself.

I live only because of that amazing grace.

Therefore, I live only because of the One who gives me that grace.
I'm not trying to impress God. I'm being impressed by Him everyday.
I'm not living for God. I'm living because of Him.
I have no choice in the matter... my life is in His hands. And I would want it no other way.

My name is Nathan, people call me Nate. I'm in love with Jesus Christ. I want to be remembered as being obsessed, and so that makes me a Christian who is striving to finish the race strong.

I created this blog at first just to share my poetry, but it's grown into my ramblings and thoughts on God's nature, character, and all surpassing love.

I want my life to constantly revolve around Jesus, to be entirely focused on Him, on His love, His Grace, and His will. I want my life to be characterized as others seeing Jesus truly live in and through me, my actions, my thoughts, my passions, and my desires. It's a want, a cry of desperation.

"And so, this changes things. This means that it doesn’t matter how much Scripture and philosophy I know, what matters is what I do with it. Ironically, having a lot of information about Jesus can often be the very thing that keeps me from Him. I delude myself into thinking that Jesus is nothing more than a fact on a page. An idea to comprehend, a moral to ascribe to. And believe me, He’s much more than that. He is our life, our breath, and the pulse within our veins. He is before, behind, and all around. Over. Underneath. Inside. In between.

And I want to KNOW Him this way. As bread and wine. As flesh and blood. As a lover, a wife, as the life within. I’m tired of my knowledge turning to arrogance. I’m tired of information turning to superiority. I want to encounter Him, and have that encounter change the way I see the world." -Mike Donehey, Tenth Avenue North
I've never heard it said better.
It's what I desperately want.
And I want the same for you.

Don’t you?

It's something I will be working at, striving for ALL of my life, and I know there will be times that I fall flat on my face, times that I seem like I've fallen from Grace, the times that I can't see past the next minute, the times that I just don't get it. The times that I doubt Him and when I can't feel, the times that I question is this for real? The times that I'm broken, the times that I mend, the times I hate Him, the times that I bend.
All of those times that I know I'll sin, I'll be what held Jesus to that cross, I'll be that spit that came out of the soldiers mouth and landed on my Savior. I'll be the man that took the first swing at the hammer that drove the first nail through His flesh. But I know that in spite of that, His love is over. It's underneath. It's inside. It's in between. And I'm free from condemnation through His love.

I'll constantly be working toward the goal, striving for perfection, but... "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!" -Gal. 2:20-21

This is what keeps me going. This is what I want my life, my blog, and my legacy to be about.

Because God is more than life.
He's Inside.
He's Overneath.
And even more...
He loves us.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Simple Sunday: Birthdays

"That's why I don't think there's any comparison between the present hard times and the coming good times. The created world itself can hardly wait for what's coming next. Everything in creation is being more or less held back. God reins it in until both creation and all the creatures are ready and can be released at the same moment into the glorious times ahead. Meanwhile, the joyful anticipation deepens.
All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it's not only around us; it's within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We're also feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance. That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don't see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy."-Romans 8:18-25 The Message

I absolutely LOVE The Message version of these verses.
I love the analogy of birth pangs.
It's as if we are all waiting for a birthday.

We celebrate them all the time.
Our lives revolve around how old people are... it measures the level of respect or tolerance of.
Whenever we apply for a job, meet new people, work on a project, volunteer, even when we evangelize or talk to anyone, if the conversation is long enough the question will always arise... 'How old are you?'

It got me thinking... Why do we care how old people are?

1 Timothy 4:11-12 tells us, "Get the word out. Teach all these things. And don't let anyone put you down because you're young. Teach believers with your life: by word, by demeanor, by love, by faith, by integrity. Stay at your post reading Scripture, giving counsel, teaching. And that special gift of ministry you were given when the leaders of the church laid hands on you and prayed—keep that dusted off and in use." (The Message)

And yet, our culture, our society, and even our very churches... always silence, press down, or care too much about age.

The pastor is too young.
The pastor is too old.

The elders are too young.
The elders are too young.

The congregation is too young.
Too old.

They have a teen serving communion.
That guy can barely walk he's so old... he's going to drop the offering basket.

Maybe we don't vocalize these things... but I've been in too many churches who you can just tell... people are thinking about these things. People judge based off of age. ALL THE TIME.

This got me thinking because today is my birthday. I'm 19. A young adult. But still a teen. By some, a mature man able to smoke, vote, and join the military. And old enough to choose not to smoke, despite peer pressure.

By others a lousy, lazy teenager who knows nothing about life and is simply an adult because of some law.

But it doesn't matter if I have experience in a particular issue... because I'm still too young to make a difference. That's what we're told. That's the attitude surrounding us.

And yet we celebrate birthdays... like crazy. We applaud a new human entering this devastated and fallen world.
And those who are in Christ are waiting for another kind of birthday.

A day in which we are all 'yearning for full deliverance'.

"The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it's not only around us; it's within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within."

And this keeps me going all the time... It doesn't matter how old we are... because when Christ comes... we're all going to be reborn. We're all getting started over at the same time, at the same rate. Age is meaningless.

I've heard it said that time is simply God's way of making sure everything doesn't happen all at once.

And that's all it is.
All it ever was.

So here I am, another year gone by... a year added to my life, one speck of respect added to me simply because I'm older than 18, not because of what I've done, or what I do. But it seems, that many people will measure how much my input is worth by age.

And Paul speaks to Timothy, who was dealing with the same crowd as we do today.

There is nothing new under the sun.

"Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity." 1 Tim. 4:12 ESV

SET them an example.

Be the example.

Let your legacy be... that it doesn't matter your age. Prove to them your worth by laying a legacy down. Making an example.

Wisdom we all could follow isn't it?

It matters not, how old we are. Christ makes all things new with a new birth. But until that time... as we wait dealing with these birth pangs... Let us set an example. Whether your 12, 68, 19, 72, 16, or 36... start building your legacy by how you lived.

Forget about age... it's just a measurement of time. And time is simply God's way of separating things so they don't all happen at once. God has a plan for everyone of us... let's live it.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Carrying With Us

On this journey of life we get perplexed over the right things at the right time, all about where we go or where we are going with this life, we’re always asking for God’s will to direct us, always asking to know…but where we go doesn’t matter. Sure, God may call us to go to certain places. God may call us to go into the known, or even the unknown, but it’s not about where we go… It’s what we carry with us when we do. What are we carrying with us? If not Christ, what’s the point in even going anywhere?

Monday, June 20, 2011


“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
   for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  
Blessed are those who mourn,
   for they will be comforted.  
Blessed are the meek,
   for they will inherit the earth.  
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
   for they will be filled.  
Blessed are the merciful,
   for they will be shown mercy.  
Blessed are the pure in heart,
   for they will see God.  
Blessed are the peacemakers,
   for they will be called children of God.  
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
   for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.   -Matthew 5:3-12

 This is how Jesus begins the greatest sermon ever preached... how often do we really sit back and soak this in.

Blessed... Happy... Chosen... Given... how can we be all of these... does Jesus expect this? Or is this something we can choose? What did He really mean by starting this way?

Meditate. Read. Pray. Trust in these words.

They are life changing.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to all of the fathers out there.

Thank you for investing in the lives of your children... Thank you for being the men you are. Our culture needs more Fathers. Not more baby-daddys. More Fathers. And those who have stepped up to that calling... you have no idea how much younger guys like me look up to you.

For those of us who never had that chance to call someone their father... know this... your Heavenly Father looks down upon you and desires for you to reach out to Him. He loves you with a love that can never be matched.

He speaks so much about being there for you, defending you, desiring the absolute best for you:

Exodus 22:22
“Do not take advantage of the widow or the fatherless.

Deuteronomy 10:18
He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing.

Deuteronomy 24:17
Do not deprive the foreigner or the fatherless of justice, or take the cloak of the widow as a pledge.

Deuteronomy 27:19
“Cursed is anyone who withholds justice from the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow.” Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”

Psalm 10:14
But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted; you consider their grief and take it in hand. The victims commit themselves to you; you are the helper of the fatherless.

Psalm 10:17-18
You, LORD, hear the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, so that mere earthly mortals will never again strike terror. 

Psalm 68:5-6
A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.

Psalm 82:3
Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.

And there are so many more.
God loves you.
God wants so much for you.
He looks upon you with a love no one can match, and defends your case, demands justice for you.
When everyone else may fail you... God never will.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Joplin Mission Trip

I know I haven't been posting much these past two weeks and the reason is I'm preparing for a mission trip that leaves today to Joplin, MO. I have a few things scheduled to be posted through the week. Different quotes, pictures, and other things from some of my friends on tumblr. And when I get back next Saturday, I should have a nice post on what we did and what we saw.

We'll be helping and cleaning up whatever we can for all of the tornado victims and their families.

Please pray for us.

Your Brother in Christ,

So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless. -1 Corinthians 15:58 NLT

Tuesday, June 14, 2011



Making All Things New


STOP. Stop basing your worth on your past, on how you were treated, on your current circumstances or your uncertainty of your future. Stop basing your worth on the things you may or may not have, or the things people may or may not have said to you. Don’t you see? You’re not worthless, like you were made to believe.
Your worth is based solely upon the price Jesus paid for you.
That makes you PRICELESS!"

...this was written today by a young girl who almost attempted suicide yesterday. Her identity I'm keeping confidential.

She posted on her tumblr, that she was tired of fighting, and she was just going to let Satan win.

And I thought I was having issues yesterday.

Physically and sexually abused by her family as a young child, she is the only Christian in her family, and suffers from mental diseases.
Something happened yesterday that put her over the edge. I didn't know her, I read a few of her posts before, that's all I knew about her.

All who follow her blog, and even those who don't spread the message around... the Christian blogging community began praying. Praying hard. And messaging her words of hope.

Last night she posted this:

"I Love You.

My beautiful brothers and sisters,
I am overwhelmed and finding it hard to place what is on my heart into words, but I need to write to you.

It’s been nearly 3 hours since the enemy started attacking.
He just shoved so much in my face. All the memories of my past, all the times I had upset a person I love, all the times I didn’t seek Christ and my own weakness took over. He is so deceiving. I remember him screaming “What are you waiting for?! Just do it!!!” My answer? I didn’t know. I didn’t know what I was waiting for. But I laid there anyway. And it came to a point where the thoughts stopped attacking me, and I tried to force them, because I believed I deserve that pain. But nothing would come… Instead, there was peace. Peace?! Yes. The peace of the Holy Spirit knocked down every wall I had built up, even though I was convinced I deserved to die tonight, Jesus took hold of me and held me. I fought. I wriggled. I tried to get away. I told Him I didn’t belong here and that I wasn’t worth His love. He wept with me. He kept hold. He kept whispering that He loved me and that I would see clearly once again.

I just wanted to stay in bed. The tablets were there, ready to be taken.
But something pulled me to the computer. Jesus. I came onto tumblr.
Beginning to scroll down, the enemy screamed in my own voice “I don’t deserve that! I don’t deserve these messages or the love of others!” And then there was a voice, like the roar of a lion, and He shouted “BE GONE!” and there was quietness.
And there I was, in my brokenness. Jesus told me to keep scrolling. Every post I came across, He said, “This is how much we love you”, “This is what you are worth”, “This is how precious you are”…

I promised Jesus that I would never attempt to take my life again, just as long as He would continue to fight for me. He kept His end of the bargain up.
I’m sitting here, completely and utterly broken, but resting in the arms of our Precious Savior. The storm is still raging, things are just as they were before, only… God’s voice is louder. God’s love is stronger. God’s light is brighter."

I will never again doubt the power of consistent prayer... never doubt that God works in the strangest and weirdest ways... she didn't find this peace from a church staff, from a counseling center, from parents, or even mentors in her life... God used a bunch of teens who just want to write their heart out on a blog. God used a bunch of teens who love Jesus, but sometimes feel that they can only do anything for Him if it's over the internet.

God moved.
Recently my tweets, facebook status's, and my meditation has been on a song by Sanctus Real called 'The Redeemer'
Some of those lyrics go like this-

I don't have every answer in life
But I'm trusting You one day at a time
'Cause You can make a weak heart stay alive forever
this is where Heaven and Earth collide
I lift my hands and give my life
This is how my weary heart stays alive

But I'm still a dreamer, a believer
Oh, I've lost my faith in so many things, but I still believe in You
'Cause You can make anything new
Yeah, You can make anything new

What shocks me is the peace and the turnaround in this young lady's life that she is able to post what i started this post with... less than a day after feeling so broken.

Our God moves mountains...
Our God answers prayers...
Our God makes all things new...

And don't you for one minute feel like you are somehow outside of this... that you are somehow not eligible for that kind of love or grace.
Whether by things you've done, things that have been done to you, or a mixture of both... because they always seem to collide together to wreck our lives.

God LOVES you.

God ADORES you.

God NEVER let's you go.

And He is in the business of making you a new creation...
He never grows weak or weary... nothing is too much for Him.

He's a Father to the fatherless and the ones who have fathers already.
He is everything.

How awesome is that?

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Simple Sunday: Longing to Long

It can't get more simple than with a quote. It's about putting it into practice that's when it's simplicity runs out.

How would our lives change if we prayed the way A.W. Tozer once did:

"O God, I have tasted Thy goodness, and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more. I am painfully conscious of my need for further grace. I am ashamed of my lack of desire. O God, the Triune God, I want to want Thee; I long to be filled with longing; I thirst to be made more thirsty still. Show me Thy glory, I pray Thee, so that I may know Thee indeed. Begin in mercy a new work of love within me. Say to my soul, ‘Rise up my love, my fair one, and come away.’ Then give me grace to rise and follow Thee up from this misty lowland where I have wandered so long."

Friday, June 10, 2011


It's the place where Heaven and Earth collide.

While we're walking about in our anxiety and unpreparedness.
Dreaming of a better time, 
barely keeping my weary heart alive.
In the midst of battling an unstoppable foe.

But the collision changes everything.

Walking without knowing
Dreaming of answering
Battling defeat itself.
Though something cries out, this not of me, this not of the world,
Nothing suppresses it, nothing but ourselves.

It's the sound when Heaven and Earth collide.

Saying is the easy part, believing is just another story,
But in these dreams...
The stories become one.

The collision changes everything.

Questions always boil down to the circumstance...
But we've all been there... wherever there is for you.
Losing faith in oh so many things...

Yet we are all in that place where Heaven and Earth collide.

It's where we get the courage to stand, pain... ignoring,
just to keep this tattered heart beating.
It's where dreams slip away, 
bringing us back to our starting point... the beginning of play.

The collision changes everything.

It's in the moment of our brokenness...
Mending begins.
In the moment of our doubt...
Faith holds out.

It doesn't give up on you.

In the moment of our hurting...
Healing's promise becomes reality.
In the moment of confusion... 
Peace stills us.

Collision makes all things new.

My life declares it to be true.

It's when Heaven and Earth collide...

We grow tired of defending what we've become,
that no longer being the difference maker.
The place where our heart breaks,
the times we see how much we're a faker,
the place where we feel we are falling from grace,
the times of confusion and pain,
the moment of troubled taste,
the place honesty makes a gain...
It's in THAT place...

Where the collision changes everything.

In this world I lose faith in so many things,
but I can't give up on this.
Trusting just one day at a time,
it is the answer in the middle, of this rhyme.

We don't need every answer in life.
Yet deep calls out to itself, all the time. 
It brings about an idea trend,
of things I'll never get back again.

But Redemption is here.

It's what happens when Heaven and Earth collide.
Remaking everything in this dismal time.
Call me a dreamer, 
I'm still a believer.

I've met the redeemer.

I've given up on so many things, but I'm not giving up on you...
Because the collision can make everything...


Wednesday, June 8, 2011


We all take them.
We all have them.
We all are on one.

We've probably heard the phrase before, "Life isn't fair."

Praise be to God.

Our journey of life isn't fair.
No one's is.
It's the question, 'Why do bad things happen to good people?'

We wrestle with this idea when we are talking to other people about how good God is.
We wrestle with this idea when we look at God's promises of abundance, protection, and provision... and compare them to His promises of trouble, persecution, and his call to give away everything we have.

Tough issues.
Tough things to think about.
Tough to find answers.

Maybe the biggest issue though is when we wrestle with it in our own minds, about ourselves.

'Why are bad things happening to me?'

When the tables get turned... we want answers.
The call to wait on God, to trust that good will come out of all of the trouble in your own life isn't enough when it's us.

We don't see the daylight.

I thank God for the friends He has blessed me with. Because a few weeks ago, I was there. I'm still there.

Thinking to myself, 'God, why is my world crashing down around me?'
It's like a bad dream that is crashing down and that I won't wake up from.

I think we've all been there.

Places in our life where all we see is the dark tunnel, the desert, the cliff... sometimes we see all of them at once.

And we want to know why God is putting us through this turmoil.

Friends, pastors, and teachers will point us to Job... which is a fantastic story to meditate on... but it's not where I want to go with this post.

My question is actually many questions consisting of the attitude I see within the church these days.

Why do we assume we are good soil?
Why do we assume we have built our house on the rock?
Why do we assume we are good?

God's forgiveness, God's redemption... doesn't consist of just one act.

Justification isn't sanctification.

There's a reason Paul talks so much about perseverance, fighting the fight, running the race, working out our salvation with fear and trembling.

Fear and trembling?
I thought God was our Father, our lover, our shepherd? Why would we fear Him?

Because God is still a Holy and Righteous Creator and King... and we are un-holy, unrighteous, law breaking, created servants.

“For God, who is the highest righteousness, cannot love the unrighteousness that He sees in us all. All of us, therefore, have in ourselves something deserving of God's hatred... But because the Lord wills not to lose what is His in us, out of His own kindness He still finds something to love."  -John Calvin
Life isn't fair, because God has given us so much we don't deserve, even our next breath...
Sometimes we take for granted this statement: God loves us.
He doesn't have to.
He chooses to. 
The very fact that God chooses to find Himself in the midst of our depravity, our clouded and destroyed reflections of Him: ourselves should floor us.
I believe the church is missing this.
God chooses to love us, he doesn't have to.
He could just let us be, He could send us all to hell, He could send us somewhere else, He could just annihilate us, He could leave us immortal on earth, trapped in this confine of time. He could do anything... yet... he chooses to love us, and gives us a gift of salvation, a gift to be in love with Him and be with Him for all of eternity. 
God LOVES us.
A few months ago, a friend of mine posted this status on their facebook:

"Nothing lasts forever. No one is who they say they are. Love doesn't exist, its as plain and simple as that."

She's sixteen.
Now, while most would just pass over it thinking she is just having a bad day... This stopped me.

She claims to be a Christian.
She claims to know Christ, who does last forever.
She claims to know Christ, who is who He says He is.
She was created by a loving God. 
And it's not as plain and simple as that.

What's wrong here?

God hasn't failed her.
The church has.

People have.
People who claim to know and serve and love Christ.

And she isn't an exception...
Not when shows like 'Teen Mom' and 'Jersey Shore' are some of the most popular shows on television.
Not when the most popular songs, on the charts have some of the most depressing lyrics ever written.

Something's wrong.
And it's been wrong for a long time... the only difference is that people are beginning to care.

I believe it begins at the basics... We no longer grasp who Christ really is.

We know longer WANT to grasp who Christ really is.

The church is selling Jesus as if He is a product.

'Come meet Jesus, He can redeem you, save you, heal you, be your best friend. He does all of these great things for you... yes you may have more trouble, more persecution, but stick close to Jesus, stay close to Him and it'll all be worth it. ALL you have to do is pray this prayer, come to church, stop doing this and stop doing that. Don't live that way anymore, and instead tithe and give to THIS church. Oh and don't forget to pray, and serve the church. You can have it all for this little bit of sacrifice.'

I can't sit in churches who proclaim this type of message anymore.

Jesus told us that people will see Him, see the change in His disciples by the way they love.
Love each other and love Him.

The brand of Christianity that has been created and sold, especially in advanced countries like the United States, has been watered down and has become a religion. Jesus wants us to love. Not be religiously astute.

He regularly called out the religiously astute.
He regularly condemned the religious attitude of His day.

The question I think we need to begin asking is not, 'Are you a Christian?' but rather, 'Do you love Jesus?'

Do we love Jesus?

Do we REALLY love HIM!?
Not what he can do for us, not even the aspect of Him saving us from ourselves, and our sin, and the devil, but rather who He is. He is God, the only God, our God.

By the grace given us, we can fall in love with Him. All of us. But it takes more than one simple prayer and getting rid of some things in our life.

We do all of those things in response to love, a powerful love within our relationship.

The church is not a business.

I hate when pastors and church staff call and treat the church as a business.

Jesus isn't a product to be bought and sold.
Jesus isn't a moral to ascribe to.
Jesus isn't a rent-a- God.

The church is a family. A family who needs adopted.
Jesus comes in and says, 'Do you know my Father? He's adopting you, you will be my family, my brothers, my sisters, He will be YOUR Father too.'
And some of us say, 'No, we will rather take what you can give us and we'll run off and do our own thing.'
And some of us say, 'Sure, we will work for you and continue to serve you and do all of these things for you... hoping for things in return.'

The parable of the Prodigal Son and his brother comes to life. Our lives.
The parable is a story of the church.

There are those of us who say, 'I need to go back, this isn't working out on my own.' And we come into the party that the Father throws for us and our brothers and sisters who also returned.
The Father runs out to greet us and bring us into the party.
There we meet Jesus who hugs us and loves us, He says to the Father, 'I love them, all of them. I know them, they are my family.'
The Father says, 'I love them too.'

Will our response be, 'I love you too.'?

So far I don't think it has been.

Not when people are believing that love doesn't exist.

Love needs to be evident. Shown. People need to see love emanating from the church. We need to stop being judgmental, stop selling Jesus, and start loving Him, beginning by loving each other, accepting each other. God has placed people in our lives to love.

Relationships, that's what Jesus did.
He built relationships with His disciples.
He spoke in a way that would drive people away unless they truly wanted to be His disciple, to truly know Him, and Him know them.

Jesus called us to Go into all of the world and make disciples of all nations... we start by building friendships with people. We love like Christ, we use the gifts the Holy Spirit has given us to start the conversations.

Are we ready to be relationship minded missionaries?
Christ minded missionaries?
Loving your neighbor across the street... loving the homeless man who sits on the street corner... loving the teen mom... loving the ex that broke your heart... loving the man who stole what wasn't his to take... loving the ones who never heard about Jesus... loving the ones who don't love you...

What if we gave love a chance?

Not just liking... not just giving of our time... not just starting a conversation or spending some time with out of guilt or demand... but having the spirit the will to love... to be patient with them, to always be kind, never envying what they may have, never boasting of what you may have, not being elite or feeling better than them because of pride, never dishonoring them, not trying to get something out of them for yourself, never getting angry for petty reasons, and not staying angry with them even for good reasons, always forgiving, not keeping a count of all of the good things you do and the bad ones they do. Love never delights in their suffering or misery, but weeps with them when they are weeping, mourning with those who are in mourning, and being happy with those who are happy. We need to always be protecting them and the things they tell us, always trusting their word and their motives, always hoping for the best for them, and always being there for them even when it's an inconvenience for you. Never fail them as long as it is up to you.

How revolutionary would Christianity become?

How much like Jesus would we start looking?

I say this from experience, my friends have been there and continue to be there for me in times of trouble and turmoil, and I try to be there for all of my friends as well.

God has definitely prepared me to start living this idea out.
God prepares all of us to live more like Him.
The question is: Are we ready?

Why do bad things happen to good people?

Why aren't loving things happening to bad people?

Love conquers all... even the worst evil.

Love covers all... even the worst circumstances.

Love remains... because God remains.

"And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." -1 Corinthians 13:13

Friday, June 3, 2011

All I Have to Give

That's All I have to give.
Just these simple words.

My deeds are nothing but a mess.
And I don't know how else to express...
all the ways I feel toward you.

I'm disgusted with the ways I have acted...
yet in this moment all I have are words.

Will you please forgive?
Even though I'm so passive.
Will you continue to love?
Enthroned from above.

Maybe it's this sin disease that I have contracted
in fact I know it is... this sin has left me devastated.
I know you say that my faults, my failures have been subtracted.
Everything, wiped out... negated.

And all I have to give are my words in this moment.
Though I wish there was something else I could give.
Something, Anything good out of this heart, this body, this compartment.
And when I finally look, I see you, through your Word alive and active.
There you stand with arms open out
I'm wondering what it is you are speaking about.

I notice all that you created,
the beauty, the magnificence, just as you dictated.
I love the mystery and the majesty behind your thoughts,
how could I ever compare, ever come close with all of my faults?
I love the compassion in your voice,
when I'm with you everything begins to rejoice.
Most of all I love how you speak to me,
Me, you take the time to listen to my plea.
But it's just what you choose to speak...

More words, but yours have meaning.
you coming down to love, intervening.
And it's as if those scars on your wrists are still bleeding...
Bleeding out your love for me
It's real, it's true, despite my insecurity.

All I can say, All I have to give are my words:
Jesus, I love you, and I say it with complete sincerity.

Thursday, June 2, 2011


My 12th grade debate teacher had a poster in his classroom with a picture of Albert Einstein, it had written on it "I want to know God's thoughts, the rest are details." A quote by Mr. Einstein.

I have a vivid memory of walking in every day and seeing that poster... but only until recently, after I've been out of his classroom for going on 2 years now... am I really letting that sink in.

What if we all lived that way?

What if we all thought that way?

I could describe an object to you in vivid detail: A rather large, extremely heavy, all black... with two very small tan stripes running down both sides, awkwardly shaped, but very powerful object. It cost me a lot of money, and continues to cost me a lot of money on an almost daily basis.

Good details.

But those details are meaningless unless I first told you that it was my family's new car.

Details are useless, meaningless, completely un-necessary... unless we first know what it is that we are talking about.

God thought out everything around us. He spoke and it was.

And what do we do?

We specialize, build our whole lives, careers, and activities around things in this world... details.

I want to know God's thoughts.

There's some power in that quote... I think Mr. Einstein was on to something... this is the man after all who spent the majority of his life figuring out the physics and workings of the world and the universe around us.
And in essence he calls it all meaningless unless he first could know God's thoughts.

What are God's thoughts?

"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11 NKJV

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
   neither are your ways my ways,”
            declares the LORD.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
   so are my ways higher than your ways
   and my thoughts than your thoughts. -Isaiah 55:8-9

The closest we can get to God's thoughts are by reading and understanding His written Word.

And we know from John, that God's Word, isn't JUST the Bible... but that God's Word is a being, the person of Jesus Christ.

Hebrews tells us that the word is living and active. Sharper than any double edged sword.

I don't think it's coincidental, that John saw Jesus holding a sword in Revelation.

Jesus is the Word.

Hold that thought for a second.

Switching gears before we get back to that, I want to talk about something else.

The Bible talks about love being the most powerful, most important 'thing' we could possess.
More than faith... and we know how much Jesus talked about faith.
More than hope... and we know how much the apostles talked about hope.

When you experience love...
When you fall in love... it's a crazy feeling isn't it?

And I'm not speaking from much experience but rather what I've seen and heard. (I'm far from an expert.)

But when you fall in love that person steals something from you... you can't stop thinking about them... they overwhelm your thoughts, you want to do everything and anything just to be with that person.

Love makes people do crazy things.

You don't get upset with their imperfections, you actually find them funny, or even attractive. You want to be the first person there for them when they need someone to confide in or just cry to. You want to be the first person they go to... you want them to be comfortable around you. In any situation. In any circumstance.

The LORD says:
   "My thoughts and my ways
   are not like yours.
   Just as the heavens
   are higher than the earth,
   my thoughts and my ways
   are higher than yours.
   "Rain and snow fall from the sky.
   But they don't return
   without watering the earth
   that produces seeds to plant
   and grain to eat.
   That's how it is with my words.
   They don't return to me
   without doing everything
   I send them to do." -Isaiah 55:8-11 (CEV)

God's thoughts, God's words concerning us don't return to him empty... they fulfill everything he set them to do.

Jesus came to show us the Way... and He never stopped loving.
God tells us how much he loves us.
He tells us He is thinking about us.

From the moment we were conceived,  until life's last breath.

O Lord, you have examined my heart
      and know everything about me.
 You know when I sit down or stand up.
      You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.
 You see me when I travel
      and when I rest at home.
      You know everything I do.
 You know what I am going to say
      even before I say it, Lord.
 You go before me and follow me.
      You place your hand of blessing on my head.
 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
      too great for me to understand!
 I can never escape from your Spirit!
      I can never get away from your presence!
 If I go up to heaven, you are there;
      if I go down to the grave, you are there.
 If I ride the wings of the morning,
      if I dwell by the farthest oceans,
 even there your hand will guide me,
      and your strength will support me.
 I could ask the darkness to hide me
      and the light around me to become night—
  but even in darkness I cannot hide from you.
   To you the night shines as bright as day.
      Darkness and light are the same to you.
 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
      and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
      Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
      as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
 You saw me before I was born.
      Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
   Every moment was laid out
      before a single day had passed.
 How precious are your thoughts about me, O God.
      They cannot be numbered!
 I can’t even count them;
      they outnumber the grains of sand!
   And when I wake up,
      you are still with me! -Psalm 139:1-18 (NLT)

We can't number His thoughts about us... they are constant, always, even as we sleep... even when we first awake. Read that again. Do you see how much God thinks about you? Do you understand what that means?

We were created in God's image, we share a lot of the basic characteristics of God, we were created to live like Him... when we accept Christ, the Spirit begins to transform us... we put away the desires of the flesh, we begin to crave the things that are of God. We become sanctified... changed, changing to be changed... and will be transformed on that glorious day to be just like Him for all of eternity.

God is crazy in love with us... he continues to think about us, always, non-stop. And his thoughts are of peace, to give us a hope and a future.

Do we want to know God's thoughts?

Or are we still craving our details of nothingness?

God wants us to know His thoughts, He wants us to begin to think of Him as our groom, our lover, the only one who will fulfill every hole, every need, everything we could ever need to live, and live abundantly.

The LORD said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. -Exodus 3:7

He is concerned over our suffering too.
He sees.
He hears.
Our slave drivers... our flesh desires.
And He is concerned over our suffering, whether we brought onto ourselves or whether we were 'innocent' bystanders.

His promise holds true:

God never fails.
God's thoughts never fail.
God's love never fails.

When we make our mistakes, our sins, when we fall back into our total depravity apart from Him... when we move away from Him...

He runs to us.

He wants to be the first person we go to, He wants to be our comforter, our healer, our redeemer, our closest and best friend.

That's how he wants us to think of Him.

Those are His thoughts.

Tenth Avenue North, my favorite band, and the inspiration behind the title of this blog, wrote a song called, 'Beloved'

I think it fits rather well here: