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This Is Us

thisisus_heroThis Is Us is the runaway NBC hit about a family of fairly messed-up people and how the complexity of their lives are woven together into one tapestry of imperfect love.

There is an intricate plot of time hops from what made them to what they became and plenty of drama and dysfunction to go around.

While I am not a devotee of the show or fully aligned with its message, I am struck by the way it has grabbed so many by the heartstrings. I gave some thought to why it became such an immediate ratings success.

I think its magic may be how easy it is for viewers who live the imperfect lives of family to find a bit of themselves in the story. Perhaps, even as a different character in each episode.

It is that connection with our reality that makes it seem real.

Last night I sat in our Church’s first-ever Service of Tenebrae–a historically-rooted contemplative commemoration of the events of Holy Week. The setting is a candle-lit room of silence and shadows.

I had never been to a Tenebrae service. I will never be the same because I went.

The retelling of the significant moments, the colossal evil, the betrayals and denials surrounding the death of Jesus reminded me of all those times I–dare I say we–have been so much like the characters of that plot.

I heard the stories, felt the trauma, experienced the fear and wept through the saga. As I traversed the intense details of the days between Palm Sunday and Easter I just could not escape the truth, “This Is Us.”

All week as I have come to the end of my Lent preparations, I mused over the events that took Jesus to the cross. I wrestled with the fact that this really is the story of us. I see the events and characters of that week and consistently find myself in them over and over again.

  • Sometimes I am a Mary sitting rapt at His feet…sometimes I am Martha resentfully spinning the plates of my demanding life
  • Sometimes I am a child joyfully crying Hosanna!…sometimes I am disillusioned follower screaming crucify Him!
  • Sometimes I am a devoted follower journeying to celebrate His goodness…sometimes I am a religious huckster whose theological table Jesus has to kick over
  • Sometimes I am a disciple hearing with my heart…sometimes I am a Pharisee accusing with my voice
  • Sometimes I am Mary pouring my best offering at His feet….sometimes I am Judas counting coins and ranking sinners
  • Sometimes I am Peter begging for a bath…sometimes I am the kid running naked from Gethsemane
  • Sometimes I am John leaning on His breast…sometimes I am Peter following from a distance
  • Sometimes I am a captive listener absorbing all He says about what is to come…sometimes I am a religious know-it-all angry because He won’t fit into my boxes
  • Sometimes I am one of His intimates walking closely and hearing His heart…sometimes I am James sleeping through His deepest concerns
  • Sometimes I am Joseph of Arimathea wanting to do anything I can to honor my Lord…sometimes I am Pilate washing my hands of the whole deal
  • Sometimes I am a soldier with a mallet and spike nailing the King once again to the cross…but sometimes, just sometimes, I see enough of who He really is and what He is truly doing in my world to stand back in awestruck wonder and whisper, “Surely this is the Son of God!”
  • Sometimes I am the heart-broken, grief-stricken follower who thought He would do one thing but He did another and I weep…but sometimes, just sometimes, I see Him as He is–risen, alive, reigning King and active redeemer–and I fall at His feet and cling to Him for dear life.

The strangest thing about sitting last night with tears coursing my cheeks in the silence and shadows of Tenebrae was how I felt.

I wanted to tell Jesus how sorry I was not only for my sins but also for the times I have taken advantage of the grace I came to know. I wanted to express my sorrow for the times I was Judas in betrayal, Peter in denial or Pilate washing his hands.

But in those moments all that my heart could feel and my mouth could whisper was, “Thank You.”

Because you see, the very same people who were cloaked in confusion, driven by fear and lost in pain were the ones He died to save. That group of dysfunctional failures were the ones Jesus asked the Father to forgive because they didn’t have a clue what they were doing.

It was for all those struggling, bumbling, questioning, waffling people that Jesus refused to stay in the tomb He had borrowed. It was for them that He gathered up all His power, removed all the obstacles and blazed a trail to a new forever-life.

And we, with those first century followers, are the ones who along with Jesus’ companion on the neighboring cross now hear the words, “You will be with me in Paradise.”

This is us.

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The Chicken Or The Egg

chick_hatchingGrowing up I had never heard of “Lent”. It was a foreign concept to my low-brow spiritual upbringing.

In fact all of the “church calendar” (with the notable exceptions of Easter, Christmas and Pentecost) were seen as the machinations of the elite liturgical church used to manufacture artificial spiritual experiences.

Jeesh…we are a dumb lot sometimes.

Unfortunately, the natural proclivity of religion is to poo-poo anything and anyone that is different from us, challenging to our tightly-packed theological boxes or subversive to our neatly-arranged picture of the God we have created in our image.

I had no idea what I was missing in my unexamined life.

Advent and Lent, the seasons of Jesus coming and going, are the most precious times of each year for me now. Discovering these extended times of reflection has often reshaped my understanding, apprehension and involvement with the Kingdom.

Lent is a season of waiting—a time of concentrated focus on what matters most but normally gets the least attention.

It is about incubation, gestation. The tortuously slow season when everything is happening inside the egg while we impatiently wait for it to hatch.

During Lent:

  • Unfulfilled dreams become more vivid.
  • Unrealized hopes get more intense.
  • Unanswered prayers are more insistent.
  • Unaccomplished goals are more accusing.

Nothing much happens visibly or on the surface. It is like winter. Whatever happens of any significance happens underground. Hidden. Subversive, covert change.

In the Kingdom, God’s obvious answer to the riddle is the egg comes first. This waiting precedes any working.

Intangible internal transformation leads to extravagant external impact.

I don’t particularly like the internal, unseen, immaterial part of that equation.

I am an event guy. I want visible, palpable results. If it is real I want it to show on the surface. Immediately demonstrable. Undeniable in its calculable outcome. Shock and awe spiritual experience.

And I would like all that now with a side of fries, please.

As with most things God does, Lent is nothing like that. It is about quiet.

Here we sit still long enough to actually hear…walk slow enough to authentically see.

Lent requires withdrawal from distraction. It demands dialing down the noise in time in order to tune into the frequency of eternity.

In some ways the Lenten season is about just sitting there. Not doing, not striving.

Unproductive and inefficient, we experience a loss of the trappings of importance we associate with busy-ness. We enter the character-shaping, heart-transforming work of a God who is in no hurry to radicalize our thoughts and character.

It is slow–deadeningly slow. A tortoise-and-the-hair mismatch of our frenetic world and our faithful God.

But in this maddeningly frustrating stillness is the “gentle whisper” of God that changes the trajectory of life from here on. This stillness is essential for us or we inevitably drift the wrong direction for so long we end up completely off the radar.

Lent carries one message: “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” (Isaiah 30:15)

So this season rolls around every year just in time to correct our course and redirect our energies into the stuff of the Kingdom that matters more than we know because it amounts to more than we can imagine.

This morning I was stunned by these words from Isaiah…“Since before time no one has ever imagined, no ear heard, no eye seen a God like you who works for those who wait.” (Isaiah 64:4, MSG).

All the other “gods” in our lives wait for us to work.

They make incessant demands on our time, energy, dreams and aspirations. Literally waiting for us to wear ourselves down to nothing for them. And in turn, we get nothing from them.

Task-masters, slave-drivers who only value us for what we do, how much we produce, what we add to their little fiefdoms no matter the cost to ours.

But our God, the one true God worthy of the title, waits for us to wait.

God works for those who wait.

He begins at our endings. He picks up where we leave off. He finishes what we give up on.

God is less interested in our feeble efforts to do for Him and more concerned about demonstrating what He can do through us. He is unimpressed with our busyness in doing what we can. Instead, He wants us to quietly be with Him until He is able to do what only He can.

“The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” (Exodus 14:14)

So for me the practices of Lent allow me to enter that season of frustrating madness where I am still until God is no longer still on my behalf.

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Sacred Pandemonium

cmastreeIt finally happened.

After 37 Christmases with 3 children, their loves and our 7 grandkids I guess it was inevitable.

In National Lampoon worthy fashion, this year the Christmas tree fell over.

Now, to be accurate, we have two trees. The formal, pretty one we call “Mom’s tree” and the other is the “family tree”.

This small, well-worn family tree is my favorite because it holds 37 years of memories–ornaments representing every phase of life for our growing brood.

That was the tree that fell.

Well honestly, it had a little help falling over.

The helper’s name is Isabella…she is almost two-and-a-half.

I affectionately call her Pebbles because she is tiny compared to her gargantuan younger cousin Silas, who with equal affection I call Bam Bam.

I could have foreseen Bam Bam knocking over the tree, not a problem. But Pebbles, not a chance.

Guess she showed me!

Our post-Candlelight service, Christmas Eve celebration was in full swing. You know the scene–too much food; too many cookies with wayyyyy too much sugar. Laughter, stories, teasing…and off the charts noise nearing ear-shattering levels.

pebbamFive of the seven grands were present–including the two-year-olds, Pebbles & Bam Bam. To say it was “active” is an understatement.

Caleb, our middle son and Isabella’s dad, had just fallen into his long winter’s nap when the sound of shattering ornaments and the scream of Bella’s older sister, Sophia, crashed through the chaos.

We all ran to the living room to see 8-year old Sophia desperately holding the now horizontal tree to keep it from falling on the completely oblivious culprit, Isabella.

The subsequent attempts to prop up the fallen foliage were purely futile and fairly hilarious.

It was sheer chaos. Utter craziness. Wacky madness on steroids.

A few years back I dubbed these moments “sacred pandemonium“.

  • Pandemonium because of the wild, uproarious, unrestrained chaos of so many different people having so much fun in one place.
  • Sacred because the chaos is in the context of the most intense, intimate and deeply committed love-relationships we can have.

I have always wondered about families who never experience this level of crazy. I don’t envy them, I just wonder what it’s like because I have no clue.

Growing up with four siblings who sprouted untold number of young’uns, I have known nothing in my life but the wild wonder of a big family.

For me, this organized chaos is…

…the joyful dance of a playful God expressed in the rub and reality of people who don’t know any better than to love each other unconditionally.

It struck me later as I looked at the pitiful tree propped up in the corner that there may never have been a time it was more beautiful.

Why?

Because it so well represents our perfectly imperfect family.

We have had more than a few broken ornaments in our history. Far too many less-than-photogenic moments and ugly chapters we’d prefer to leave out of our biopic.

There is no doubt we resemble that crumpled family tree a lot more than Mom’s perfect, artistic evergreen.

And that is a key part of what makes us who we are.

Those flawed imperfections are a big part of the reason we each have compassion for the broken, mercy on the fallen, grace for the lost and hope for the desperate.

Like the shattered ornaments Dianne and I have been gluing back together, we are a family that believes in second chances, new seasons and fresh starts.

We don’t do judgment and place a lot less emphasis on our quick-draw opinions because when we take an honest look at ourselves, we see that crippled tree.

Yep, we got knocked over and to this day look kinda propped up.

But we are still standing!

And the wrinkled pictures from our history can still reflect God’s glory–even in our most imperfect states.

What a relief. We don’t need to be flawless…just faithful.

You see, God is no stranger to chaos.

God started this whole gig we call our world with a simple act: His loving Spirit brooded over chaos until He coaxed out creation (Genesis 1:1-2).

Then Jesus came into a world gone mad and showed us how it looked when God lived among our nutty neighbors.

And one day, out of this crazy mess He calls His Church, He will draw out a Bride fit for a King.

Paul pictured it this way: “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” (Colossians 3:12-14)

You never know whose tree has just fallen or who is propping up their lives trying to hold things together.

So compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience are the hallmarks of those of us who remember when our ornaments were smashed on the ground.

Being “in Christ” means we are all tucked in here together. We each bring our own “stuff” and hang it on that Tree. Some of it is lovely and some looks like the worn-out, hand-made bangles that have seen their better days.

But one thing is sure, God loves his brood of hyperactive, silly, imperfect and too often ridiculous kids.

And He is still breathing over this sacred pandemonium.

More Than You Prayed For

Once in a lifetime.zech

We say it often, but Zechariah experienced it for real.

By tradition and because there were so many Levitical priests, many priests never had a chance to go into the Temple to serve. If they did get the chance…it was the chance of a lifetime. Such a great honor and rare privilege. (Luke 1:8-10)

Here was Zechariah’s chance.

His one opportunity in life to go into the holy place and make offering to God for the people. I imagine he was so very excited and more than a little scared.

But I have always wondered…did Zechariah have any lingering doubts or nagging disappointments when he stood at The Curtain?

You see, he was about to go into the immediate presence of the God to whom he had prayed one prayer all of his adult life.

He would be face-to-face with the God who had never answered that prayer.

A lifelong, passionate prayer for the single thing he and his wife Elizabeth wanted most in all the world.

A baby.

It had been such a long time. They certainly had a myriad of painful questions.

  • Does God hear us?
  • What are we doing wrong?
  • Why no answer when we want this so much?
  • Who will carry on our legacy?
  • Is this all there is after all these years?

I don’t know, perhaps he had settled all this in his heart. But I doubt it. Remember,  he had given up hope of that dream ever coming true even to the extent of not being able to believe an angel.

So he went into the greatest day of his life, living the most significant moment he would ever experience with a very heavy heart. A sadness of soul.

The sorrow was deep. Elizabeth wore the pitiable moniker “barren”. Zechariah himself had no one to carry on his family name.

And their biggest doubts came as this realization set it: they were incapable of being the answer to their own prayers.

It had become a God-sized problem.

Over the years discouragement had given way to despair and disillusionment. They simply could no longer hope for the answer to their deepest prayer. (Luke 1:7)

But one thing they did not do was stop asking. Expecting may have been too difficult…but asking was not.

And then it happened. The angel of God interrupted his prayers at the altar of incense and Zechariah heard something he could never have anticipated.

After all these years God’s answer to that prayer was going to be beyond their wildest dreams.

They would have a son even at their advanced years. They would name him John.  He would be their “joy and delight”. But he would be so much more than that.

The Angel told them John would be a world-changer; a precedent-setter; a destiny-shaper; a hope-restorer. His impact and influence would literally tune the ears of a nation to hear the voice of God.

The Forerunner getting the world ready for the Son of God. The voice in the desert making a path for Messiah. A pioneer blazing a trail for the Savior. (Luke 1:13-17)

Jesus later called him “the friend of the bridegroom” and said that “none greater than John” had ever lived before him (John 3:29; Matthew 11:11). In the pantheon of Jewish heroes, John the Baptizer would take the highest seat.

All Zechariah and Elizabeth had prayed for was a child. What they got was exponentially more than they had prayed for.

An epic answer to a simple prayer.

Part of the Message of Advent is that God is full of surprises and radically enjoys dumping them in the laps of those who least expect it.

Old priests. Isolated shepherds. Weary stargazers. And simple teenage lovers who never knew history would bend around their baby.

Here is the hope.

First, when we pray we are heard. Period. The answer may seem so slow to come as to make us think we are being ignored.

But God never misses a prayer. Not one.

Second, when we pray for things to happen in our lives that will extend the Kingdom and increase His work, we will see answers that exceed our prayers. These answers will even span coming generations.

Sometimes it may feel like the prayers we pray are too small or so personal that they matter only to us. But they are much bigger than we know.

When God answers those prayers, He does so with compassion for what you prayed but with vision that exceeds your expectations.

  • You are praying for your wayward son because you want him home. God wants more–He wants to bring Him home a history-maker.
  • You are praying for a new job or promotion because you really need a little more money at home. God wants more–He wants to put you in a place of influence where you can impact the homes of many families.
  • You are praying to get into that university because they have the best program for your major. God wants more–to place you in a circumstance that will set the rest of your life on a course you couldn’t have dreamed up.
  • You are praying just to be free of that life-controlling addiction that has plagued you for years? God wants more–to empower you in freedom to become a freedom-fighter rescuing others even more desperately bound.
  • You are praying for healing for that loved one battling disease that seems to be draining their very lives. God wants more–to bring that person out with a stronger faith and deeper character that carries more of the fragrance of Jesus.

Our prayers are good…sometimes great.

But those prayers are never big enough for the God who always does “Immeasurably more than we ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20).

Just because it has seemed too long doesn’t mean you are asking too much.

In fact, the waiting may make you ready for the answer that will be bigger than your dream.

With God’s bigger idea waiting in the wings, the long era of silence when Elizabeth felt barren and Zechariah felt beaten turned out to be the season in which they were being prepared to handle an answer that was bigger than their prayers.

Our greatest obstacle to receiving God’s bigger answer to our prayers may well be our response to the season of delays. God really wants to use those to stretch and shape us to be able to handle the size and scope of His “Yes”.

Faithfulness to a dream is not wrong.

Even if you never see the answer to your prayer in your lifetime–and because of their ages Zechariah and Elizabeth likely never saw John come into his destiny–it doesn’t mean your prayers were in vain. They may be answered in future generations.

It was written of the nameless men and women in Hebrews’ hall of faith who were jeered, flogged, sawed in two and destitute, “These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised.” (Heb 11:39)

They held on. They never stopped praying. And they believed the promise would come. Maybe not in their day, but it would come.

And come it did.

So weary friend, pray on. Pray boldly. Pray wildly. Pray expectantly.

Know that every prayer is heard by God’s ear. The promise is real and the answer is on the way.

And that answer will be more than you ever prayed for.

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From Bombs To Beauty

We built bombs there. Big ones.20161010_112303

Torpedoes, actually. The Mark XIV big green was assembled there.

At the end of WWI the US Naval Torpedo Factory on the waterfront in Arlington, Virginia was built and put into service. The idea was to prepare in case of future world conflicts. The powerful and terrifying weapons built there were designed to prosecute victory at sea.

Until the end of WWII torpedoes were produced at a frantic pace. But when peace finally came, the factory closed and became storage for surplus military goods.

In the early 1970s as the old buildings were facing demolition, a unique idea came into play. The massive, sterile structure was to be retrofitted and repurposed. A large artist’s guild converted the building into a multi-story labyrinth of studios and galleries.

Such was the birth of the Torpedo Factory Art Center.

What once was the generator of bombs would now be the genesis of beauty.

My wife and I recently walked through the 160-plus studios there. We were just two of the half million who will do so this year. To say we were impressed is a grand understatement.

20161010_112936Artisans of many different stripes work with paint, sculpt with clay and stone, sew and embroider with exquisite fabrics. All this alongside calligraphers, screen printers and woodworkers. It is a haven for artists to create as well as a vehicle for them to share their work.

We wandered wide-eyed through the literal explosion of creativity and I off-handedly remarked to Dianne, “This reminds me of a Scripture: ‘They will beat their swords and weapons into plowshares.'”

It’s a reference from Isaiah 2:4, “…and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.”

The place that once manufactured thousands of weapons to destroy now houses hundreds of artists who create.

A place of death has become a place of life.

As I’ve reflected on that walk through the factory I realize that our lives are not so very different from what I saw there. At least mine isn’t.

Truth is, each of us faces pain, endures rejection, receives abuse or battles with despair at some pretty deep levels. Often, we have make knee-jerk decisions that became horrible mistakes in reaction to that pain.

  • Choices to cope result in actions that hurt
  • Pathways for escape become highways to Hell
  • Defensive postures often lead to destructive isolation
  • Last straws grasped for survival become last chances lost in shame

In our broken places we tend to construct defense mechanisms designed to protect our fragile hearts. Too often those patterns and behaviors torpedo our relationships and sink our souls.

But the great news of grace is that dark places of destruction can become incubators of life and healing. The spaces in our broken souls where we once manufactured devastation, now through grace become the very places we create hope.

Beauty for ashes…

That’s Isaiah’s picture of hope recovered and life restored.

“…to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.” 
(Isaiah 61:3)

It is a consistent reality that where we have been most hurt or most hurtful will become the place of our greatest Kingdom value–if we allow grace to invade and transform.

Not only can our hurts be healed and thus become healing, so too can the very psychological and relational weapons of self-protection we have used to keep others at bay.

Our soulish bomb factories can become the very points from which beauty emerges in our lives.

Exactly the same place where…

  • We have failed we can offer understanding to the friend battling bad choices
  • We have betrayed we can model faithfulness to the one tempted to stray
  • We have abused we can encourage forgiveness in the heart of the angry reactionary
  • We have used we can demonstrate repentance to the calloused soul of the haters
  • We have lied we can become beacons of truth and authenticity to those living lies of their own

Scripture is full of the biographies of people who have had their worst morphed into His best by the touch of grace in the wounds of their souls.

  • Jacob’s deception becomes the deep push that causes him wrestle with God until he comes out new.
  • Rahab’s open door to men as a prostitute becomes the safe harbor for God’s spies and she winds up in the lineage of Messiah.
  • Gideon’s insecurity drives the sensitivity that gives him a keen ear for God’s voice and heart for His purpose.
  • David’s misplaced passions become the seedbed for the hunger that makes him a man in pursuit of the heart of God.
  • Saul’s prosecutorial rage which drove him to travel widely to snuff out the life of Christians became his fervent drive to cover the world with the life of the gospel

Then there is the poor guy Luke called the demoniac of Gadara. Living in a graveyard he wreaked havoc in the lives of all who came by. He was completely isolated by his own bitter brokenness and self-protective habits.

But grace sought him out…literally crossing a sea just to find him.

It was that meeting with Jesus at the very spot where this man’s lunacy thrived that changed the entire trajectory of his pathetic existence. Substantially healed–“Clothed and in his right mind”–Jesus told him to go home to his family and friends and show them that beauty can rise from any pile of ashes. (Luke 8:26-39)

There is such peace in arriving at the place where the factories of destructive behavior that run non-stop in the broken soul become silent.

In those places we no longer calculate self-protection and cipher self-defense. We become open hearts inviting others to see the beauty grace has introduced into those once-darkened laboratories of pain.

Finally, through the power of grace that changes our destructive tendencies, we can stop destroying and start creating.

Gonna lay down my sword and shield
Down by the riverside
Ain’t gonna study war no more.

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Living An Ellipsis

moretocomeI confess. I tend to overdo things I love.

Sushi by the boatload. Fishing marathons in the backyard. Tiger Woods golf tourneys on the iPad. Facebook shares of the grandkids. Coffee and good books in the early morning.

And when writing, I overuse ellipses. Not commas like most folks, but ellipses. Yep, the three dots you see in a sentence indicating there is more to come.

An ellipsis indicates a pause. It is as if you almost completed a thought; you felt like the sentence was done.

But then something more emerges in you mind

elipsisthere was more to the thought than you thought.

I live a constant ellipsis–the space between the dreaming and the coming true. The gaping chasm between what “is” and what “ought to be”.

Frequently it feels like a slow motion nightmare. I often wish there was no “could be” or “should be” to compare with “what is” because the frustration of the in-between is, well…just so frustrating!

You know what I mean. That period of waiting on something you passionately desire when confusion raises a spectrum of questions that can only be summed up by the verbal sigh, “There has GOT to be more!”

A lot of people look at a life with my backstory and automatically punctuate it with a period. They logically conclude this guy’s best years, biggest accomplishments and brightest moments are behind him. He blew it. Disqualified. Out of commission. Down for the count.

Truth is, the end of the sentence looms over everyone no matter their history. Whether through personal implosion like mine, or external explosion like so many others, the end of “what might have been” seems your future reality.

  • You are handed the divorce papers or the pink slip.
  • You receive the doctor’s diagnosis or the final bill.
  • You stand at the foot of the casket or the ashes of the dream house.
  • You find the secreted stash of porn or illegal bottle of pills.
  • You get a gold watch for too much gray hair and find you are no longer needed.

The simple fact is life sometimes postures moments that on the surface appear to be dead ends, dead drops or dead dreams.

But Jesus never puts a period at the end of life sentences.

This Kingdom He is building is a realm of second chances and fresh starts. His Bible is a history–a litany–of dead ends turned into new beginnings.

Like…

  • A completely insane man living in a graveyard…clothed, right mind and telling all His friends about the One who changed everything.
  • A woman with a laundry-list of exes who wouldn’t dare be seen with respectable people…satiated on living water and telling her whole town about the one who made her fractured life whole.
  • A close disciple feeling like a failure and hiding in a fishing boat…restored and carrying good news of a God who never forsakes to a seemingly God-forsaken world.
  • A dead friend and his disappointed sisters…who rolled back a gravestone to find there was life on the other side of a death certificate.

I’m afraid He too is guilty of the overuse of ellipsis…

He is the God of more to come.

The grizzled Apostle was “confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)

The God who raised Jesus from the dead is addicted to picking up where life leaves off. He gets His divine jollies from doing the stuff that makes even His most ardent followers say, “no way!” He loves to choose foolish things to leave the wise scratching their heads.

It’s what Paul envisioned when he prayed, “that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.” (Ephesians 1: 18)

Psalmists of the Older Testament had their own form of ellipsis.

Selah.

Stop and think about it. Before you go on, wrap your mind around what has been said. It will be necessary to understand it in order to grasp what is yet to come.

It isn’t easy living between. Sometimes faith gets stretched and hope is strained.

Periods of waiting often feel more like tombs than tunnels.

But the ellipsis moments of life are the seasons where we strain the pulp of history for the seeds of destiny. It is in the moments of “not yet” that we process the past to decipher the GPS coordinates for the “yet to come”.

So when your mind relays to your heart a message from the kingdom of no hope that you are:

  • Too old
  • Too failed
  • Too different
  • Too broken
  • Too extreme

Too…whatever

You just remember that in the Kingdom of Promise

…there is always more to come.

“That’s why we have this Scripture text:
No one’s ever seen or heard anything like this,
Never so much as imagined anything quite like it—
What God has arranged for those who love Him.
But you’ve seen and heard it because God by his Spirit has brought it all out into the open before you.” (1 Corinthians 2:9-10, MSG)

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Thoughts along the journey to the heart of the Father.

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Thoughts to ignite the heart

The KT Consideration

Obvious Ambiguity

Caffee Junction Church of God

A place to believe ... belong ... become

Books: Publishing, Reading, Writing

And, for good measure, a bit of Cooking and Eating

PROJECT: A Journal for Project Management

Project is a journal for project managers to express their ideas and share their work through writing, conversation, design and image

Alex Barrett

Find the Plus...Connect the Story

Blog - DANIEL ALLEN COACHING

Thoughts to ignite the heart

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