February 28, 2010
Alysa and I don't let our 2-year-old Joe to watch too much TV but occasionally before bed he gets to throw the football around for 10 minutes or so, "snuggle with Daddy", and watch some type of home, car, or cooking show. He digs all that stuff.
A couple weeks ago, as Joe and I were snuggling on the couch, we were watching 'Flip This House'. On the show the people buy an old dumpy house and throw $20,000-50,000 into making it look amazing again and then sell it off for a crazy profit. As this "flip" was about complete and they were working on the backyard the main guy on the show had brought his son with him to the home to check on the pouring of the concrete and some other stuff. As they are standing there watching the concrete being poured on top of the rebar the young boy leans into his dad and asks him why they put that "stuff" on the ground first. The father then explains that the rebar keeps the concrete from cracking and splitting under pressure.
A couple things struck me as I watched this with Joe:
1.) I thought back to December of 2001 as I worked a construction job during my baseball off-season at the University of Oklahoma Law Library. It was early December and it was snowing pretty hard. We were finishing up the roof on the Law Library and I really didn't know what the purpose of rebar was up until this point and so I asked. Someone explained to me that rebar was a "reinforcing bar" usually formed from steel and is given ridges for better mechanical anchoring into the concrete. I also learned that concrete is very strong in compression, but relatively weak in tension and to compensate for this imbalance the rebar is cast into it to carry the load. Made sense.
2.) The symbolism was thick and I was really struck by the Father-Son relationship of God and Jesus, our relationship with God the Father, and the relationship of a boy and his earthly father. There was beautiful imagery in this moment as the boy on the show leaned into his father, my son Joe was leaning into me and as I daily try to "lean" into God the Father.
3.) It reminded me of something I wrote about in an earlier post.
4.) I traveled down the path of the church being the body of Christ, our brother and sister hood in Jesus, how we are all connected, and when we are all pouring into one another and pouring into God at the same time what a beautiful picture that conjures up. I also thought through the fact that all who do the will of God are brothers and sisters and I thought about the verse in Matthew in which Jesus says (to a man who is trying to notify him that Jesus' family was wanting to speak to Him), "Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?" And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother." (12:48-50) Jesus was stating the importance of the overall family in Christ and not just His earthly family. Although His earthly family was important, they were not most important. Rebar, for some reason, reminded me of this.
5.) I remembered how much work this library needed before we started working on it and how much sweat went into making it what it is today. We gutted the inside and tore out all of the old junk. I also recalled how important the foundation was and, even more importantly, that the foundation was reinforced with this rebar in a similar way that my life now is reinforced with Jesus. I then remembered how I was "gutted" and worked on from the inside out once Jesus entered my life. I was a standard issue "Before and After" photo like these home makeover shows. The only difference is that my "After" continues to be worked on as I am in a state of constant transformation.
Many of these thoughts are random but I thought I'd jot them down here so they wouldn't leave my brain forever. I love the paths your mind goes down simply by catching a passing question by a little kid to his father on rebar on a random home repair show.
[caption id="attachment_623" align="aligncenter" width="267" caption="After (The University of Oklahoma Law Library)"][/caption]
“The universe operates by Karma, we all know that. For every action there’s an equal and opposite reaction. There is some atonement built in: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. Then enters Grace and turns that upside down. I love it. I’m not talking about people being graceful in their actions but just covering over the cracks. Christ’s ministry really was a lot to do with pointing out how everybody is a screw-up in some shape or form, there’s no way around it. But then He was to say, well, I am going to deal with those sins for you. I will take on Myself all the consequences of sin. Even if you’re not religious I think you’d accept that there are consequences to all the mistakes we make. And so Grace enters the picture to say, ‘I’ll take the blame, I’ll carry your cross.’ It is a powerful idea. Grace interrupting Karma.” --Bono, in U2 by U2
February 27, 2010
"My faith - my relationship with Christ - has made changes in my life. I'll tell you one thing about that: there's forgiveness, and if you make mistakes again, there's grace."
"It [faith] has helped me overcome a lot of things, but thank God that today - right now - those battles no longer control us."
"I think my wife, and my family support, and my faith, has given me a deeper understanding of what real love is."
Stapp speaks of having a deeper understanding of what real love is, and I'm not sure if he can totally relate to what Jesus was talking about in John 15:13, but it's good to hear he has reconciled and reunited with his boys. Hopefully their music is solid.
"Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends."
February 24, 2010
I read this by pastor Ray Ortlund over at the The Gospel Coalition:
Happy beyond description
In 1851 a group of British missionaries to Tierra del Fuego was forced to winter in the bitter cold while they waited for their supply ship to arrive. It came too late. They all died of cold and starvation. On Good Friday, April 18th, Richard Williams, a surgeon and Methodist lay preacher, wrote in his journal, “Poor and weak though we are, our abode is a very Bethel to our souls [Genesis 28:10-19], and God we feel and know is here.” On Wednesday, May 7th, he wrote, “Should anything prevent my ever adding to this, let all my beloved ones at home rest assured that I was happy beyond description when I wrote these lines and would not have changed situations with any man living.”
“If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” John 14:23
February 22, 2010
"If Christ had not been put to death, death would not have died." -St. Augustine
[caption id="attachment_672" align="aligncenter" width="210" caption="An empty tomb"][/caption]
"...and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus' head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself..." --John 20:7
February 21, 2010
I read an article this morning on the Boston Celtics Marquis Daniels and a 2.9 pound 14-karat gold and diamond necklace he had made depicting his own head.
Paul in speaking to the Romans said:
"Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves." (12:3b)
Now what Paul was talking about in this passage was in the context of the various gifts that are given to God’s people in relation to serving and building up the body of Christ but I think it still applies to the way in which we view ourselves...and also monstrosity necklaces. But hey, I'm not judging the guy, maybe he just really likes Whoopi Goldberg or the movie Predator.
February 20, 2010
"I think He [God] wants us to be more human than we think."
Such a profound statement. At first hearing that comment I didn't think too much of it but after seeing it in print on two of my friends (Scott and John) blogs I was struck by the simplicity of it and yet, at the same time, the complexity.
As humans we tend to want to know more than we ought at times. We feel as if it is our right to know why bad things happen when they happen. How can a just and right God allow certain things to occur we ask? We feel at times that God owes us an explanation when in reality we aren't owed anything. At times we think we are gods ourselves and deserve to know all things.
"Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?" -Genesis 18:25b
We may weep over our pain. We may be angry at sin and Satan. But God does only what is right. Even when it doesn't feel like it.
"For I know the plans I have for you..." -Jeremiah 29:11-13
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding." -Proverbs 3:5
“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine." -Isaiah 55:8
And just because His plans may be incomprehensible to us now doesn't mean that God doesn't mourn and grieve with us in our loss and in our pain.
"...he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled. Jesus wept." -John 11:33-35
God does want us to be more human than we think. And in the hard times are where we are supposed to press into Him even more and just be human and not...God.
"All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us." -2 Corinthians 1:3-4
February 19, 2010
February 15, 2010
"Before, I had a "me against the world" mentality, in which I felt a strong compulsion to prove that I was the best. Now my values and perspective are different. My personality has been polished by God."
"It's an opportunity for me to display myself and to let people see God in me."
-Chad Hedrick, US Olympian speedskater
"He made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me a polished arrow; in his quiver he hid me away." --Isaiah 49:2
February 8, 2010
February 3, 2010
The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: “God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.” --Luke 18:11-12
What was wrong with the Pharisee?
There was a lot right with him. He really didn’t do those bad things. He really did those good things. And he gave glory to God for it all: "God, I thank you . . . ."
So, what was wrong with him?
Just this. He sincerely believed he was “not like other men.”
Thank God I’m not like that Pharisee!