Wednesday, December 24, 2008

New Redemption Song

It's Christmas eve, which means we are hours away from Christmas and all of the strangely wonderful things that it entails. Kids around the world (and many adults too!) can hardly wait to find out what is in those beautifully wrapped packages sitting underneath the tree. Families are coming together to happily, and in some cases, unhappily, share in the creation of new memories through Christmas.

For some, Christmas is nothing more than a lonely time that highlights the pain and despair of life. With so much "happiness" floating around, some people just feel left out. And some people are just trying to make it through Christmas, wondering anxiously where the next paycheck will come from, unsure of the their future.

In the middle of all of this, I think it's time we learn a new song. For those contented folks, like me, who have more than we need and so much to be thankful for, it's time we learn a new song. For those who are lonely or worried this Christmas season, it's time to hear a new song.

We need a song that will break the normal rhythms of Christmas time just a little bit. This song needs to shake us complacents up, calling out in a fresh new way, and the song needs also to carry with it a new, transcendent element, that of hope, for all the downtrodden.

So here we are, Lord. All of us, with all our stuff or lack thereof, are before you, united in our desperate need for the real reason of Christmas to shine through this year. Redemption is what we need. Redemption from the complacency and false trust we've put in the stuff of this life, and redemption from the despair that follows us like an unwanted shadow. Come and teach us a new song, Lord. Come teach us a new redemption song.

Over the Rhine ~ New Redemption Song

Lord we need a new redemption song
Lord we’ve tried
It just seems to come out wrong
Won’t you help us please
Help us just to sing along
A new redemption song

Lord we need
A new redemption day
All our worries
Keep getting in the way

Won’t you help us please
Help us find the words to pray
To bring redemption day

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Good things to carry

I'm in that spot right now. That spot of being a good night's sleep away from driving all day back home, where, in 24 hours time I will in my childhood house, enjoying the Christmas break with family. This time around, going home feels a little different. For one, I've done this trip so many times, and I guess I just know what to expect. But I've also just savored so much the various aspects of this semester, and driving home feels like i'm closing part 1 of a really good book.

So I'll drive home, relishing all the good times I've been able to have in the past few days, soaking up time with good friends. I'll realize what it is to be loved by such a good and gracious Savior. The whole "finality" thing doesn't really bother me right here, because I realize that without phases and seasons in life, we'd never really appreciate the times we have. With no ends comes no missing people, and with no struggle comes no expectant hope of something new. These are the things that make our lives the unique pieces of pottery that they are.

We are fragile and yet we have such thick shells. We need love but we have a hard time giving it. As I drive home tomorrow, i know that I have had a good semester, and that the Lord, as He always does, has cared for me and watched over me, leading and guiding me along the way. I'm so thankful for this.

And that's something to carry with you on a long, long drive.

Monday, November 24, 2008


November is a time of transition. All of creation is slowly getting used to the fact that its about to be winter, and the whole process just happens so subtly. One day the trees are full of green leaves, then the next time you notice them they have turned all shades of brilliant colors. Maybe it’s our noticing that is at fault here instead of the speed of change, but regardless, something happens in those moments that takes a tree’s leaves from green, to yellow, red, or orange, and then causes them to die.

Of course I could open a textbook and explain exactly what chemical processes occur when a leaf changes color. But wouldn’t that just be a little trivializing to something so unique? Taking something that is so beautiful and trying to explain it would just be to miss the larger point.

The point for me is this: God certainly didn’t have to make the world with such breathtaking aesthetic beauty, but He did. He didn’t have to make cliffs rise out of the pounding sea, but He did. He didn’t have to make sweeping fields blanketed with wildflowers, but He did. He didn’t have to make sunsets the 30 minute melding and fusing of such brilliant hues that they are, but He did.

God could have created a world that just met the bare minimum of what we needed. He didn’t have to fill it with all measure of beauty and surprise. But he did, and praise Him for that!

This is especially meaningful when I think about the great suffering and tragedy that is woven into the fabric of our existence on this earth. The beauty is there, but so is the hurt, the pain, and the unexplainable. The skeptic points to those things and says that there can be no God. But even as heart-felt as this argument can be, the bad in this world is never strong enough to overcome the good. There will always be shoots of grass in the middle of the concrete mess of our world. Beautiful voices will continue to sing even amidst the noisy clamor of a broken world.

We as Christians must not lose the ability to behold the great paradoxes of this world and to let them bolster our praise of God. He is the God of beauty and of truth, and He is also the God of mystery and question. We must be content, as the child is content to not know everything. We must continue to ask our questions and to seek our God with all of the energy we have, but we must also be able to stop and wonder at the greatness and goodness of our God in Heaven, thanking Him for all He has given us.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Morning Reflection

The mighty presence of the Lord has again swept across the barren wasteland of my heart, making dead fields come alive with the green of spring. His presence is like the rain that brings newness and life to the dry earth, and my soul is that dry earth. Each day as the sun rises, my arid soul is in need of the fresh rains of God’s presence. Who am I to think that I am fine on my own? What kind of arrogance has so gripped my entire being that I would think that I am not desperately in need of God’s grace, mercy and love each new day? How many lies have I let take root in my heart that I would be content with 15 minutes with God in the morning, brazenly dipping merely my hands and my feet in the pools of the presence of God without submerging my whole body?

I am like a child that comes to a banquet feast and eats only candy. I am in continual need of time with the Lord, time to let Him shape and mold my character and yet I do not carve out the time necessary for this to happen. This is where the mercy of the Lord is so evident in my life, because He takes even my meager offerings of time and blesses them beyond measure. How deep is His love that He would put up with all my wavering and wandering. Praise the Lord his grace does not depend upon my actions, because that would just be dreadful.

Isn’t it amazing that God wants to pursue us? That He wants a deep and personal relationship with us? And the even more astounding thing is that He wants us this very day to come to Him and find refuge and peace.

Friday, November 7, 2008


I saw Fall today. Driving to school this morning was like driving through a national geographic photo feature, replete with falling leaves and a steady rain. It was one of those moments that I could so tangibly sense God calling out to His world through creation. I wasn't really even fully awake, but my senses came alive through the simplicity of seeing something beautiful. It was like putting flesh and blood to the Psalms which proclaim the greatness of God.

It is so good and so necessary to have those kinds of moments. Especially in the middle of a busy time of year when I'm rushing through my days. Being reminded of the awesome power of God has been so encouraging to me this week.


Friday, October 10, 2008


The stock market may have fallen fast,
but the Word of the Lord endures forever

America may seem like it is more divided than it is unified,
but the Word of the Lord endures forever

Fear and negativity may be pervading the media all around us right now,
but the Word of the Lord endures forever

Character may seem to be losing out to selfishness,
but the Word of the Lord endures forever

Hope and Trust may be hard words to realize right now,
but the Word of the Lord endures forever

You and I may think that our actions don't really matter,
but the Word of the Lord endures forever

There is still Hope out there. There is still Goodness out there. There is still Love, and Faith, and Courage.
because the Word of the Lord endures forever

don't. lose. heart.
because the Word of the Lord endures forever

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Ground into Coffee

I had a boss who used to drink 8 or 9 cups of coffee a day. Seriously. And even though I love coffee, I'm praying that I never become that addicted to its effects. A good cup every once in a while is still keeping me satisfied.

But i love watching different coffee makers make coffee. There are the kinds like mine that take about 5 minutes, where the ground coffee and water get pressed together and out comes the trickling result in the coffee pot. Then there are the One Cup kinds, where you put in a little packet of coffee and a little water and it immediately shoots out a small or large cup of coffee. All within a matter of a few minutes. It amazes me.

Whatever coffee machine the coffee comes from, though, it is still made by the same general method. The coffee gets squeezed and water gets added and it gets heated up along the way, creating coffee.

It's a little bit like life. I don't want to run too far with this analogy, but good coffee takes heats and pressure to get a good result. If the coffee beans just sit around, they just smell really good, thats about it. But when they are ground up, mixed with water and heat, out comes a wonderful beverage.

I think I run away too much from the things that are hard. I, like most of the rest of us, don't like it when the pressure comes and the rain falls down, and things get a little toasty. It's just much easier to deal with life in measured amounts.

But I'm being made into something better, by a God who is refining my heart and thus my life. And for that to happen, I've got to be willing to face the pressure and heat, trusting that God really is in control and knows what He's doing.

As eric peters would say, "to trust is the hardest part".


Saturday, September 13, 2008


It's been easy for me to mix up my purposes these past few weeks. The purpose of being an intentional person around campus. The purpose of bringing community to a community-starved place. The purpose of listening before speaking...

And all those purposes are amazing. They are all important and I need to engage in them, but I think I have been missing a larger purpose: the purpose of being found in Christ, of being His child. It is, of course, our primary connection in everything we do as believers, but I wonder how much we really think about it?

I know that what usually happens with me is that I acknowledge God's prominence in my life, but then proceed to go through the days and weeks as if I'm really steering the ship. What would it look like to really give that primary connection in my life more power than I give it now? What would it look like to let those other purposes flow from the inner strength of a deep, growing relationship in Christ?

That's exactly what I want to pursue, so that all my other "pursuits", if you will, happen more naturally.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Emptying the Buckets

It's a new month, and one of my favorites at that. The freshness of school is giving way to homework and meetings, and I'm thankful to still be a student. The years have crept by and this is my last college year, and it's funny how much you appreciate being a relatively irresponsible college student when you're standing so close to the edge of whatever it is that is next.

For me that means seminary. It's always been an idea that has seemed so distant, like the video game level you never think you'll reach or the way you felt as a 13 year old wanting to be 16 so badly. It just seemed so far away. Well, now it's not so far away, and the idea that was once so distant is slowly coming into view.

With that said, i don't want to get ahead of myself. Or take myself too seriously here. I've still got 25% of my college experience, and I have so much time left. I just don't think it's a good idea to end anything by spending the last significant portion of that time saying how much you'll miss it. That's not really the way I want to live life, jumping from one set of years to the next, wishing I could "bring back the glory days", whatever that means. No, life is to be lived with a healthy appreciation for the past, and a good dose of hope for the future, all the while enjoying THIS season of life.

So that's what I'm trying to do, enjoy this time. Take it for all its worth, and squeeze all the good times I can out of it, realizing that the road ahead is not necessarily what I can see, but what my Master and Guide can see. He knows the way, and so for now, I'll try to trust that.

So it seems that all that is left to do is to empty the buckets of whatever I am carrying around, allowing God to fill me up with His love and His strength for this new part of the journey. The old water just won't do, it's been getting a little muddy and it's time for some fresh water in the bucket.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Only When Remembered

Admittedly, it took great effort this lazy saturday to get up from the overstuffed chair i've been planted in most of the day to crank up my computer, but that's beside the point. It's also beside the point that i've spent a good amount of time this week re-reading a certain book series (ahem, harry potter). And you know what, it's also beside the point that I got to have an entirely enjoyable afternoon and evening last night watching a braves game with two of my favorite people, finishing off the drive back with a rotating game of "play your favorite tune on andy's ipod". No, those are all great things (well, i dont know how much you can legitimize sitting in an overstuffed chair...), but they're only the tip of the surface of a bigger pool of blessings.

That's right, blessings. I'm inclined to think that some things in life are blessings, and that if we take the time to recognize and enjoy them, the bad stuff loses a little bit of its bite. It's just the whole recognizing part is awfully hard for me to do, because i'm so accustomed to running through each day with my blinders up, only noticing whats happening in and around me. It takes a little more awareness, though, for these things to be noticed.

So i'm working on doing just that. Recognizing the blessings, both big and small, that surround me every day. Whether they are friends, opportunities, moments, or gifts, they are worth being grateful for. It's no fun to live like a cup of soured milk, always desiring something new. I've spent too many days living like that. It's harder, but better, to take these thoughts captive to Christ, and to let my eyesight be filtered through him, so that I'm living in recognition of all the blessings around me...

Now, back to the overstuffed chair.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

He Will Rise up in the End

In need of some hope today? Listen to the new song from Ben Shive entitled "Rise Up". The song is chock full of hope, and it keeps reminding me that my future is certain with Christ. Here are a few snippets of lyrics from the song...

Every stone that makes you stumble,
and cuts you when you fall,
Every serpent here that strikes your heel
to curse you when you fall,
the King of Love one day will crush them all

He will rise up in the end,
He will rise up in the end,
I know you need a Savior,
and He is patient in His anger,
but He will rise up in the end.

go listen to it, go


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

You have heard that it was Said

Tonight found me browsing through parts of the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew, and I came across these few verses which really leapt out to me:

You have heard that it was said, "Love your neighbor and hate your enemy." But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:43-48)

It wasn't so much the first part that shook me awake as the line: If you love those who love you, what reward will you get?...I started realizing how directly this hits home. With these few simple verses, I am indicted for living out the part-time gospel. The part-time gospel of loving and encouraging those who are easy to encourage, but shying away from the hard-to-relate-to people. It's exactly what I'm guilty of. These verses plucked the right string in my heart, and really sent encouragement to a new place inside of me, helping me realize that we can't sell the gospel short. It's too rich and too deep to be dealt with in such a manner.

Loving your enemies is hard. Praying for people you severely dislike is hard. But with the strength of the Lord, it is possible. Thank goodness I don't have to rely on my shallow resources of strength, but that I can draw from the deep well of strength available in Christ.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Puzzle Pieces

It started routinely enough. After getting my feet muddy, I gingerly made my way to the shower to get cleaned up. It took a little while to get all the little mud splotches, but sure enough after some careful scrubbing i was as clean as I was before I met the mud. But something clicked right then and there, something that had been marinating in my head and in my heart, unbeknownst to me.

In that moment all the fragments came together, and the light-bulb went off in my head. It was kind of like the feeling I got as a kid when I would finally get a math problem after 30 minutes of attempts.

Everything became clear in that moment. I suddenly put the puzzle pieces together, and the picture was amazing. It was a picture of transformation. All that God had been leading me to was an understanding of transformation.

Life is full of tiny little flags that bear witness to the transformation that God is all about. And I stumbled across one when i was cleaning the mud off my feet. I went from dirty to clean, a kind of transformation on a small scale. Even the act of growing up is that of transformation. We are these frail, tiny beings who become bigger with years. Summer gives way to Fall. Fall gives way to Winter. Winter holds firm until Spring shoots out of the ground. It's all an act of transformation.

Transformation is all around me. It's encoded in the DNA of life. We are made to know God. It takes a transformation for that to occur though. And my, how beautiful it is to see the transformation of a soul yielding itself to Christ.

All of it came crashing down on me at once: God is in the business of transformation.

the old shall become new. put on the new self of Christ. therefore i consider myself crucified with Christ, but yet I live.

It ALL points to transformation, to God willfully and powerfully transforming us into something beautiful. This is something I want to pursue with my life. Not changing people's minds but engaging in the business of the soul, in the business of transformation, which is the specialty of God himself.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Olympics

Back in the day, I ran on my high school's track team. I competed in a bunch of different events, from the short sprints to several field events. I loved the mental aspect of running, how it was just you out there, running against the clock. Our coach reminded us over and over that until the district meet, we were merely running against the clock, not against our other competitors. See, we were a small school, and we ran in the big meets. So if we worried too much on our place, it would be hard to find the motivation to stay competitive. Instead, our coach kept telling us that we were competing against our personal bests. As a result, many times I'd be ecstatic after running a new personal best, even though I was 4th or 5th overall.

My time on the track team taught me a lot about competing, and a lot about life. Track's mainly an individual sport, but there's the team aspect too, and if you don't train and run well, you end up hurting the team. Track taught me in concrete terms what discipline is, what commitment is all about, and how to take joy in the simple things.

And now we're only a month or so away from the Olympic games. I can hardly wait to watch all the different competitions. There's always something special about watching the olympics, and it doesn't even matter what you're watching. I would never choose to watch gymnastics, diving, or swimming races on a regular day, but because its the Olympics, these events transform into something more exciting, more dramatic. Maybe it's because there's so much riding on each performance. Maybe it's the knowledge that every competitor has trained their whole life for those few simple moments. Whatever it is, it's incredible to watch.

I can't wait.

Monday, June 23, 2008


I'm not going to write a whole post about the new Coldplay album, or how excited I am to see them when they come to Atlanta in November. That would be just a little too effusive. No, there's a lot going on, both inside my head and in the outer world. And that's what I'd like to write about instead.

I saw the documentary Expelled last night, and like a lot of people who've seen the film, was shocked at what I saw. Basically the documentary (without giving too much away) is about Ben Stein's quest to find out if there is freedom of inquiry within the scientific community specifically related to the debate over the origin of life. It's a well done film, and I just left shaking my head at some of the comments I heard from some of our leading scientists today. And here's why:

Pride. If you get the chance to watch the film (and please do), you'll notice a grotesque amount of smugness on display from several of the top scientists being interviewed. It's dripping from every word they say, from the smirks and the stares into the camera. It's kind of disturbing to realize how much faith and trust we put into scientists today. They are legitimately smart people, very smart. In fact, they are incredibly knowledgeable people, but there's a catch. Remember the old saying "knowledge puffs up"? I think that is an apt description of what has happened to the scientific community. Go watch it if you have time.

I read The Weight of Glory this weekend, and I'm still chewing on all the material. It's not a long book, in fact its rather short, broken up into short, topical chapters. But the depth in each page is astounding. There is meat on the bones of this book.

Orientation's are almost over, and it seems like summer's going by pretty fast. Oh no.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Peeling back the bark

I made a goal, before summer began, to work through the wisdom books of the Bible: Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon. Other than Psalms and a little bit of Proverbs, these books are large swaths of biblical territory that I have not spent much time traveling through. I'm in the process of going through Job right now, and it's really coming alive in a way that I never noticed before.

Job is the story of brokenness It's the story of pain and suffering. It's the story of a man angry at God and taking his case directly to Him. It's the story of a man confused and utterly perplexed with God. And it's the story of Job's friends, too. The friends who are not really friends at all. It's just such an interesting story, full of such tremendous depth. For one thing, concrete answers seem to be few and far between in this book. You start to realize that pain and suffering do not fit into the "problem-solution" model of thinking.

But you know what, it's the story of a man being brought closer to God, being cut to the core, but being made whole in the end. The story is really gaining traction in my head and my heart, because of its raw nature. Here we are, fragile human beings, so scared to be put on the operating table under the knife of God, but knowing all the while that we have so much to be fixed. The painful process of being made whole is so hard for me to understand, but in the end I have far greater depth in a relationship with Christ that is built around blind faith and sheer trust.

If life were easy there would be no need for faith. If life was simply one success after another, why would you need to trust in anything? But its the fact that life is NOT easy and that life is NOT one success after another that reveals our great need before our gracious God.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

music takes you places

I was listening to the radio this afternoon on my way back from an errand when I heard a song I hadn't heard before. It was a tune from Nanci Griffith, a folk artist who evidently has been around a long time and has had a successful career. This was all news to me, as I listened to one of her song's for the first time. Now the song was one of those catchy sing-a-long types, mostly in the range of folk, bordering on bluegrass. Instantly the song reminded me of a drive through the mountains, and even though I happened to be on a giant freeway with no mountains in sight, I was transported to a different place.

I love how music has that effect on us. You hear different styles and different artists and your mind takes you different places. I think it's amazing how God wired our senses like He did, allowing us access to such amazing things as imagination. We see beautiful things, and they capture our minds. We smell something aromatic, and we tie it instantly to an event in the past or a fond memory. We hear a song and our imaginations hit the gas pedal.

We didn't have to be wired this way. Being able to enjoy sights and sounds and smells isn't really all that necessary of a thing, but God thought of it anyway. They are all gifts, and fine ones at that. It's healthy for us to realize these things and be thankful for all the gifts that, while they may not have packaging and a bow, are nonetheless some of the finest thing's God has given us.

Friday, May 23, 2008

I couldn't pass this up

This is two posts in one day...i know, earth shattering. Anyways, I could not do anything else until i posted this video, giving you the chance to hear the legendary voice of Chuck Ohman, announcer for this televangelist guy on tv. i have not laughed like this in a long time. the announcer part is priceless.

the real ron burgundy?

When the sun is in the west

In this near-ending month of May I have read two incredible works of fiction, both by the same author. They read like a good strong cup of coffee: bright and rich. I haven't traditionally been much of a fan of fiction, but I guess that's because I just haven't read many good fiction books. These books, though, had such intricately personal characters. And that's such a hard thing to do. I enjoyed these books because of the stories they told and for the way they were told. These books had more inspirational moments and left me with more to think about than many of the self-proclaimed Christian Inspiration books penned by out-of-touch-with-reality folks. (Leif Enger, the author of the two books mentioned above, is a much wiser choice)

But of course I dont just sit around all day and read. In fact, I only spend an hour or so a day doing that. So what else am I doing? Well for one thing I'm getting back into running shape. I'm dragging out my sneakers and spending time in the merciless heat in an effort to discipline my body. It's hard business.

And today I replenished my reading supply for the next month or so. here they are:

Watership Down - Richard Adams: it's supposedly a really epic story

Walking on Water L'Engle: I'm looking forward to this one. A book about faith and art

The Shack - WIlliam Young: i've heard its a good story, I hope so

The Great Divorce - C.S. Lewis: I'm re-reading this classic book, taking notes, and am going to use it for some writing projects I have

The Book of the Dun Cow - Walt Wangerin: This book is similar to the Adams book, i've heard. I hope its good

Two more weeks in Texas then it's off to Birmingham for the rest of the summer


Saturday, May 17, 2008

help is just around the corner

I have only been under the enchantment of Summer for less than 48 hours, but it's already got me. I feel like I boarded a train that has taken me miles away from a few days ago. I'm in a new land, with newness all around. Maybe that's the excitement in me speaking too loudly, but I'm okay with that. There's a feeling a bird must have when it's been let out of a cage and I think i'm experiencing something quite similar.

This is a summer that lacks a big, overarching task. Two years ago it was to teach sports and share Christ with kids. Last year it was to work for a Relief and Development organization. This year, though, there's no such thing.

But in the absence of the Big Task there are a multitude of smaller objectives. I have so much that I want to accomplish this summer, and I have the necessary ingredient: freedom. I have, of course, an expanding list of books to enjoy (notice I did not say read, because I don't want to approach books this summer as ducks to be shot out of the air or math problems to be completed; i want to enjoy them). I've got a lot of thinking and planning to do (such a difficult task, i might add). I want to watch more movies, to volunteer, to exercise, and to work with my hands.

There are areas of my life that are like a garden that has not seen care in quite some time. And its time that I endeavor to this garden to clean and spruce it up.

I could write more about this, and I will, but I will leave it be for now. I've got the feeling you get when you first arrive in a new place: readiness mixed with excitement.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

now and then these feet take to wandering

I'd much rather be writing this post from the friendly confines of the finisher's circle, where, it seems, everyone else is. I've still got some time left on the clock, and the exams still aren't over. But they will soon be a thing of the past.

I'm learning to put into practice the whole principle of everything in life mattering. It's easier for me to just apply this to more blatant ministry settings, but that just robs the whole concept of its power. If everything really matters, like I've been learning, then even these last-few-drops-in-the-cup days matter. It'd be much easier for me to sign off, just make it through the exams, and receive my grades. That is what usually seems to come easy to me.

But I feel the nudge, somewhere down deep inside me, to finish the end with the same energy I started out with. To finish off these last-few-drops like I approached the full cup to begin with. It's not nearly as fun, and there's certainly no great ovations waiting at the end of it all, but its the right thing to do.

The right things oft seem to be the least glamorous and the least appealing choices. Dangit.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

life is better off a mystery

There is a certain mystery to our days. But they don't seem too mysterious unless we really choose to enter into the greater reality. Sometimes it's so much easier to stand on the sidelines of life and watch from a safe distance as other people do work, live life, and help other people. In fact it's much easier to take a seat in a lawnchair and watch all the patient activity, observing and critiquing yet never getting out of the chair.

I suppose this is the way that many of us live life. I guess by "us" i'm referring to college students, but you could maybe broaden it out to include a bigger part of society. Whatever the case, I think all this cynicism is getting us nowhere.

The sidelines. Oh what a great place to be. There is no difficulty there, there is no movement required. There is really nothing at all that challenges. In that space a yawn is louder than a whisper.

Honest to goodness, though, I'm flat out tired of all the watching that is going on. All the analyzing. All the comfortable cynicism, leaving only enough room for a tolerable amount of faith.

Brother Paul seemed to be pretty tired of this too. In Letters dripping with truth, Paul shows over and over again that faith is a process, indeed a work in progress. Faith is a beautiful thing, and its free, but there's hard work involved. We've seemed to grab hold of the whole justification part of salvation, without realizing the whole Kingdom coming down into us, transforming us into Lighthouses in a dark world.

There is something to be said about quiet faith, seeing needs and meeting them. There is something to be said about a quiet faith, diving headfirst daily into the waters of the Word. There's something there that we moderns can learn from.

Faith is a daily thing. It is both inside us like a burning fire and is evident outside of us like a glowing candle.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

from greenest pastures

This morning I awoke to the sounds of thunder clapping against the clouds. Pellets of rain smacked into my window, providing me quite a symphony to wake up to. And maybe the best thing of all is that I woke up realizing that it was Saturday morning. Probably my favorite time of the week is Saturday morning. It's a deep breath of fresh air. it's like walking outside into the sun after being in a chilly room. It's these things and many more. I like to think of it as a gift. A simple gift. Time.

This afternoon I took my book (Leif Enger's Peace Like a River) and walked outside to sit and read. No, I didn't survey the ground for ants, but I found a good spot nonetheless. The ground was soft and mushy where the shadows prevented the sun from shining. I could see my footprint in the soft, pliable earth.

It's a phenomenon much like our hearts, this whole soft, pliable firmament. When the ground is soft you can see footprints really easily. You can see the footprints of Jesus in certain people's lives as well, and they're usually the ones with soft, pliable hearts. The sun is a beautiful, warming thing, but it can harden the ground like nobody's business. It's like the good things in life. They can be so refreshing, warm, and bright, but they can slowly harden our hearts to the real Giver of all good things if we're not careful.

...careful to soak in the goodness of life, but to realize at the same time that there is more than this good stuff. There's a higher calling. There's real faith, and hope, and love to be had and to be realized, in every part of our lives. That's quite a high calling.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Things will all come around again

I know I mentioned this in a previous post, but I'm still on a Barnabas kick. I've been thinking about Barnabas a lot lately, picturing him in my shoes as a college student during crunch time at the end of the year. I imagine Barnabas walking around in chacos, with a backpack full of books, smiling cheerfully on the way to the library, beard blowing slightly in the breeze. I imagine him taking the time out of his day (after hitting the books and feeling really tired himself) to sit on a bench and listen to a friend talk about how tired they are. I imagine Barnabas on a bench, just listening and being an encouragement.

I imagine Barnabas chasing down a frisbee, cloak billowing behind him as he runs, laughing all the while. I imagine him just having that infections kind of attitude. The kind of attitude that makes you want to spend time with him. Barnabas would be the guy who had the most to do but was the least worried about it all. Walking in and out of the library, spending time with friends, encouraging the depressed and tired.

Oh if there could only be more Barnabas's out there.

Friday, April 25, 2008

The walls are closing in on me tonight

Of course you know my post title comes from the good-humored song "Ballad of San Francisco" by Caedmon's Call. And of course you know that there is nothing harder than deciphering the future. There are two things that bug me about thinking about the future. Number 1 is the way that we are forced to think about it because so many people want to know. Secondly, we seem to do a great job of boiling down our futures to one or two things...

Which leads me to a discussion of understanding the will of God. What is the will of God?

In all our wondering about the future, we assume several things. First, we assume that there is something very specific we are to do. And secondly we assume that God knows about this and will tell us if we ask him enough times.

Now, i'm not gonna go in the direction you might think I'm going to go. I'm not going to say that there aren't specific things God wants us to do, I'm simply going to say that I think we miss the point when we ask God to help us decide our decisions.

We are always wanting to know the specifics of everything. Like where we'll live, what we'll be doing, and who we will be around. It seems like I do this all the time. I'm always asking God to help me find out "what's next". But embedded in my heart is a quiet fear. It's the fear that I'll miss out on "what God has for me" if I don't find exactly what it is God wants me to do. It's the fear that there's that ONE specific thing and that if I miss it, it's all over.

But the more I've been thinking, the more that just does not make sense. The Word tells me that I am to take up my cross and follow Jesus. That I am to love the Lord my God with everything I've got and to love other's the same as I love myself. Other than that it doesn't tell me that I'm supposed to be a doctor, lawyer, or minister.

Here's the point: I am to be in communion with God daily, following Him every step of the way. If I truly believe that the Spirit will "guide me into all truth" (John) then why am I so worried about finding that one thing? Will I trust God enough to rest in the promise that I have a hope and a future that are a part of His plans? (Jer. 29)

Jesus wants me to follow Him. That's the will of God. Everything else takes second place.

but why is that so hard?

Monday, April 21, 2008

Listening is a Good place to Start

There is an old NBA player who was around when I was just a child watching basketball. He was always one of my favorite players, and I even read a little teen-sized biography on him. His name is David Robinson. He played for the San Antonio Spurs, and was a big, tall, muscular guy who just dominated. But you know what I loved about him most? You knew who he was on and off the court. You knew that he would be a solid team leader, someone who everyone else could look up to. He was widely regarded as one of the classiest guys in the NBA during the 90's.

I really gravitate to these kinds of people in general. I have a lot of respect for the kinds of people who are centered and who live with that inner calm. David Robinson was a fierce competitor, but he wasn't a jerk. There is so much to learn from these people who seem to be endowed with an extra-ordinary amount of wisdom. I often think of these people as rest stops on the road of life. They are people you can be around who give you new perspective, who let you get your bearings, and who provide you with some sense of direction for the road ahead.

And we need these people in our lives. We all do. There's not one of us who can do this thing called life on our own, without any help along the way. We need all sorts of David Robinson's who will be an encouragement to us.

I often think the Biblical equivalent to David Robinson was Barnabas, the guy who encouraged and helped Paul. He was a lighthouse, a rest stop, and an encouragement for Paul as he went and told the world about Christ.

We need these people in our lives. And we need to BE these kinds of people as well.

Listening is a good place to start.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

the cool guy

Would we rather be known by lots of people, have lots of phone numbers, and have plenty of people to hang out with? Or would we rather have people who know us and care about us, even if thats just a few people? Is it easier to be known by a lot of people without having to get too messy and involved with people?

If we say, then, that we really DO want those connected relationships, why are we living trying to please so many people?

What is the state of our wood floor if our rugs were to get pulled up all of a sudden?

Sunday, April 13, 2008

we are Stamped with a Purpose

I hear people talk all the time about how frustrated they are at their inability to really do anything about social injustices. It's more than common to hear and sense this today. In fact, our knowledge of the world is frightening, and I think it's done a lot to frighten the mess out of us. So is that a bad thing? Shouldn't we be hurting for the poor people all around the world?

I've walked this road for the past few years. College is one of the first places I came face to face with social injustices around the world. I felt my heart bleeding inside, so I dove right in and did what I could to become more informed and to make sure other people were informed. And I swam against the seemingly opposite current of modern comfortable society.

But then I got really tired. Burned out, you might say. Why?? I started feeling more cynical than ever about our culture, about the Church, about everything . And I realized this was unhealthy.

But you know what I realized, on a very personal level? I was frustrated about such large, looming issues that I missed the smaller, pointed, sharp, penetrating issues that were all around me.

All of life matters. Not just our acts of service or our time in Bible study or prayer. All of life matters. We need to get over the fact that different areas of life should be a different priority level. Here it is simply: Jesus is my Lord, my Life. Everything else flows from that. And I mean everything. We weren't meant to live other ways.

So when this is our heart, everything in life matters. Getting up in the morning matters. Going to class matters. Lunch matters. Homework matters. Listening to a friend matters. Giving up our time matters. It just all matters.

the whole "plank in your own eye" thing takes effect here. so does the New Command (Love as He has loved).

we just weren't meant to live any other way.

(all of this is much better explained in a great book entitled "The Divine Conspiracy" by Dallas Willard. please read it)

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


We seem to have a lot of things on our minds these days. We are busier than ever, with more responsibility than seems humanly responsible. This is exactly that time of year when everyone is signing up for classes, writing term papers, taking tests, and finalizing summer plans. In the midst of all this, life still goes on. We still feel and we still get tired and need a break. All this stuff just piles on top of us.

And thus we tend to see everything in its monstrous, heightened form. We don't see each day, we look at the week with all that it entails. We don't see each moment, we instead see the whole day with way too many things to do. It's a problem of perspective. We don't see each step, we see the entire stairway and gawk at its great height. And we wonder why we get stressed out so much?

It seems harder in moments like these to step away from the giant picture and get on ground level with each moment of the day. It's harder to take joy in a blob of activities and tasks than it is to take joy in the momentary things. It is harder to be at peace when you are wrapping your mind around three papers and a test instead of seeing them each as different tasks to be completed at different times.

In short, we just battle for perspective. And this is the struggle of the everyday life, except that right now it's a little more clear with all the stuff going on. Perspective...

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Why is Soccer not popular (in America)?

Tonight the final four showdown begins. UCLA and Memphis, Kansas, and UNC will battle it out to see which seed is really deserving of that #1 next to their name. I have to say, i'm intrigued by these matchups. See a lot of people don't like college basketball because it's not played at a high enough level compared to the NBA. While this may be the case, there is no denying the passion that is so tangible in the college game. And that is where I think the difference will be in tonight's matchups. All these guys are good. They all ate at McDonalds and are All-Americans, so skill wise they are all pretty similar. It comes down to this: who is more passionate?

My bracket is officially almost dead. UNC is the only team I have left. I am on the bracket respirator right now, and if UNC happens to lose tonight, its all over. Another year, another poorly chosen final four for me. ha

In other news, its Baseball season again. Am I excited about this? Not really. I will get excited more during the summer. Maybe.

Maybe the best sporting event going on right now (other than march madness, of course) is the UEFA Champions Cup. That's soccer. In Europe. Why, you ask, do I care about the European sport that America dismisses as boring? Because it is amazing. That is my answer. It is amazing. Next week Liverpool plays Arsenal and Chelsea plays this Turkish team, and Manchester U, with quite possibly the best player in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo, play the team from Roma. What an awesome week of footballing (soccer, as we would say)

What a great time of year for sports!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

(I'm no good at) self expression

so i'm terrible at really genuinely expressing what is going on in my head and in my heart. this has become more apparent to me today because I read this article about how our culture has become so cynical. I read it and it sounded more like a letter someone wrote to me describing how I am. Here's the issue: it just doesn't seem like I (and i'll lump our culture into this as well) really understand how and when to express what I am feeling. We are used to cheap, sappy sentimentality on the one side, and caustic cynicism on the other.

It would be a really constructive thing for me to try to understand better how to communicate what is really going on in my life. I have about 100 tangents I would like to go off on from here (like the "hi how are you?" syndrome and the i'm-too-self-conscious tangents) but I wont do that here.

The fact is this: we're so used to our emotions being exploited by music and movies and advertising that we get cynical about anything that comes our way. Then we can't seem to understand how to truly be a genuine person. Am I the only one frustrated with this about myself? hmm...

anyways, read this article.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

under tree branches

spending time outside this weekend has been amazing. i had forgotten how refreshing the occasional camping trip is. you realize you need a lot less than you actually think. and things like pancakes and oatmeal become the most satisfying meals. things just get simpler outdoors.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

The boy and the squirrel

There was a young boy who very much wanted to catch a squirrel. Every day after school he would run into the woods behind his house to a small clearing, where, among other things, was a tree stump just his size. There he would catch his breath and begin to look for bushy tails and quick movements in the forest. Ever since he could remember, he had loved everything about squirrels, and now, all that he thought about was catching one and having one as a pet.

When he would spot a squirrel from his spot on the stump he would carefully crouch down and slowly take a few steps toward his desire. He knew that squirrels were very sensitive to movement, so he made sure to approach as sneakily as he could. But just when he would get close enough to reach out his small hands to scoop it up, every time the squirrel would dart away to the safety of a nearby tree.

The boy tried for days and days to catch a squirrel. He just couldn't seem to do it. One day, as he sat on the stump, he began to feel like he'd never catch the squirrel, so he just sat on the stump instead of trying. Each day after school he would return to the stump, and slowly he became interested in other things in the woods, like the flowers and bugs and the stream nearby.

It happened one day, that as he was eating a small piece of bread and examining a flower, a squirrel came to his side. He was so enamored with the flower that at first he didn't even realize a squirrel, that creature he had so desired, was sitting on its hind legs right next to him. He looked over, and saw that the squirrel was interested in the bread the young boy was eating. So the boy took a piece and gave it to the squirrel. Each day the squirrel would return, and the young boy would take a pieces of bread and feed it.

The squirrel grew to trust the boy as the days went on. He would follow the boy throughout the woods, sitting nearby as the boy picked flowers and dug up worms. The days grew on, and without even trying, the boy finally had his pet squirrel.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

enjoy the hoops!

It's one of my favorite times of year. March madness. Tomorrow all the tournament fun gets going, with a full day of good hoops. Hopefully there'll be some upsets and its just even more fun watching it during spring break. I have memories the last two years of having to literally run, with backpack on and full of books (an awkward sight, i must say) back to my room to catch the games in between class. This way is so much easier. It's just me and a couch tomorrow.

Yesterday I started and finished book 2 of the Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. I hadn't read it in about 10 years, and it was well worth it. I love that story, and I love the fact that I have so much of the story left for the rest of the break.

If that didn't qualify me as a nerd, then this certainly will...I am excited about two new books I found. A biography on JRR Tolkien and a book about C.S. Lewis and the BBC broadcasts that inspired his writing of "Mere Christianity". Good spring break reads? Yes, i think so. haha.

I'm finishing up the Divine Conspiracy, and I could write posts and posts about it, but you can just read andy's blog and get pretty much the same picture. Just read the book. That's as simple as it gets.

I have settled on a favorite region of coffee beans: Central/South America. Specifically Costa Rican and Colombian blends. Smooth, rich,

spring break is half over. then life will continue playing as normal. for all of you out there, enjoy the week, and enjoy the hoops!

"love is harder than a word said at the right time and everything's alright, love is different than you think" - caedmon's

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Spring needs a break

All the anticipation, expectation, and hope for spring break will soon be realized. Here I sit as a week's worth of break greets me from across the road. I'm excited that we get a break, but more than anything, I'm glad that I won't have to hear the question "what are you doing for spring break" 15 times a day. And I'm also happy to not have to remember so many different spring break plans. I was talking with a friend just the other night about how segmented our semesters are. It's almost like you can make a clean cut for spring into two nice, symmetrical halves.

Some people are going home. Others are going on trips with friends. More people are heading to any beach with sun and sand. And when we all get back, it'll be the start of the second half. This first half's been crazy. Readjusting to college life at samford, meeting new people, and deepening some important relationships. Oh, and getting chased out of my dorm. What will the second half hold?

It's here that I want to pause and say something. Spring break, with whatever plans you have, will provide you with something special: time. We'll all get a little time off from Regular Life. Take some time and think about what you're carrying around. No, not what kind of backpack or messenger bag you carry around, but what kind of stuff you're carrying around in your heart. Think about what all you're carrying around inside that heart of yours, and think about where your heart is. Is it divided up into the various things you associate yourself with? Are large hunks of it missing? Do you even know where tiny bits and pieces of it are? My challenge to you is this: take some time and think about where your heart is. We weren't meant to carry around large, heavy loads with our hearts. They were meant to beat for one purpose, knowing God, and most other things just weigh it down.

Maybe that's something you need to do. Maybe it's not. Whatever the case, have a wonderful spring break.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Around the track

This verse is really hitting me over the head:

"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others." - Phil. 2:3-4

This is the great struggle of life. Do I live my life through myself or do I live it through Jesus Christ? It is the reason that we can get so off track so quickly. And its the reason why there's that sense of complacency at the end of the day sometimes. It's selfish ambition. It's the focus on me.

I went on a run today and made my way by a local park. It was a pretty small park, in the middle of a neighborhood, and there were a lot of people there. I noticed a dad running on the tiny little track that circled the park. It couldn't have been more than a couple hundred meters around. I'm talking small, not the kind of place you want to do a run. Well, I watched him run around the track and realized I was watching an exhibition on humility. This guy probably didn't want to be running around that tiny little track. But his kid really wanted to play, and needed someone close by to watch. The dad was looking out for the interests of his kid over his own interests.

And it kinda hit me that it's that kind of attitude of humility that is important. Humility is a phantom concept. We don't really know what it truly means. We see false humility all the time. And we see downright arrogance all the time. But what is that true humility? It's in those verses in Philippians. Paul hit the nail on the head. And I can learn a whole lot by letting those words seep into my life and my daily actions and my disposition.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

why it matters

It all matters a little more than we think.

that short moment where you give your day over to God.

that conversation.

that thing that is teaching you patience.

those minutes spent in prayer.

the giving up of yourself.

it all matters a little more than we think.

"show me a love that never fails, some compassion, and attention, midst confusion, and dissension, like small ramparts, for the soul, why it matters" - sara groves

Thursday, February 21, 2008

More Grass than Flowers

Life is like that old oak tree,
that stands outside my house,
Life is like the golden sky,
when morning wakes in wonder,

All in all, it's not a bad thing,
this life in a far country.
But every time the curtain rolls,
and our eyes get bigger,
and our minds get captured,
is a moment fraught with meaning.

Life is like an open field,
with way more grass than flowers,
Life is like a burning flame,
that needs the wood and tinder,

Tiny shoots of life surround me,
sleeping at the banquet,
Oh for new eyes,
a heart with passion,
and the confidence to love.


Sunday, February 17, 2008


I'm having to do a lot of reading for my classes this semester, and most of the times, the readings blur together across the lines. I'm taking a Bible class and a theology class, a speech class and a rhetoric class (which analyzes speeches). And they all seem to have foundations in the same time period. I'm not sure that I enjoy or get great truths from these readings most nights, but just the rigorous nature of the exercise of stretching my mind has proven to be a blessing.

God reaches to the highest of our academic pursuits and meets us there. He also meets us in our most basic daily tasks. He is the God of the everyday and the God of highest knowledge. That just amazes me.

There is also something else to be said along those same lines. One giant question has dominated my mind this week as I've been inundated with Old Testament readings: When and why did we stop believing in the God of the Bible? The living Logos. The God of miracles. The God who changed lives radically, and who could be trusted to Provide. When did we start putting God in a box and treat Him like all the other commodities out there in the world today?

Do we, in our heart of hearts, truly believe in God's power, strength, love, justice, and mercy? Where has our faith gone?? Jesus spoke to an unbelieving generation when He walked this earth and He was amazed at their unbelief (Mark 6:6)

It is repeatedly shown in the Word that faith is an essential ingredient for change. Just a few chapters after that wonderment of unbelief in Mark 6 is another revealing passage about belief. In Mark 9:23, Jesus responds to the crowd around him as he attends to a demon-possessed boy. He first bemoans their unbelief: "Oh unbelieving generation, how long shall I be with you?" Then a few verses later, when the boy's father says "But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us!", Jesus hits home and says "If You can? All things are possible to those who believe."

I'm stunned at the disbelief I see in my own life. I'm stunned at how long I've been held in a comatose state of low expectations. And I'm amazed that we as a culture of believers can't seem to really awake and become people who believe that God will bring change and revival and a consuming fire to this generation.

Monday, February 11, 2008

You knew this day long before

Song for today: Table for Two - Caedmon's Call. It's just been a good reminder to me that its not my job to get tangled up in the silly little stresses of life while missing the point of it all. As Derek Webb says, "You knew this day long before you made me out of dirt".

It seems like the biggest battle everyday is staying connected to God, like John talks about in his famous 15th chapter. It's such a basic concept, yet its the most pivotal part of my day. And it seems like I trip over this concept more than I should. I'm realizing that if I'm to grow deeper in my relationship with the Lord, its not a matter of more this or more that, but less distraction, less clutter.

I'm learning to take notice when God whispers something to me throughout the day or shouts at me inside my head to care more for that person I'm talking to than I care about myself.

It's good to have balance and to learn to laugh at yourself. I've been laughing a lot more recently, and it's a lot more fun than being serious all the time.

a good verse to end the day with: "Praise be to the Lord, for he has heard my cry for mercy. The Lord is my strength and my sheild; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped." - Psalm 28: 6-7

Thursday, February 7, 2008


Okay, this deserves a post. As I was doing my daily browsing of, I came across a poll question on Page 2 of its website. The question was simple: What is the worst thing an athlete can do? There were 4 possible choices: 1) cockfighting 2) dogfighting 3) steroids 4) not hustling

Guess what America picked as the worst thing an athlete can do? you guessed it, not hustling. Our society would rather see its athletes commit crime before they gave up on hustle. This is truly sad. And quite humorous too...

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


It's been pretty windy today. The kind of wind that comes with rain and clouds and causes people to go inside to escape the elements. I guess you could call it a good day to read. That is what I spent most of my afternoon doing, except not reading for fun but reading for the hope of doing well in class. I'm realizing that this semester will feature a lot of reading. So get the coffee ready, and find some good spots to read, cause that's going to be most of my semester.

It's interesting to me how easy it is to get back in the groove of things at school. It's good to do some of the normal, habitual things I got used to doing the past few years. You know, like walking the same path to class and eating lunch at a familiar table. But its also good to have new things thrust into my life so that it doesn't feel so comfortable that it gets monotonous. There are new leaves to be turned over, I guess. And i'm pretty excited about that. As long as some of the other leaves stay the same.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

i've lost it

I have a confession to make. I've watched entirely too many episodes of Lost in the past few days. You know you've watched too much when you start to see reality through the Lost lens. For instance, if you find yourself staring pensively off into the distance at several points in the day, you know its gotten to you. Or if you start to talk in "Locke-isms", you know, where every tense moment can be dispelled by a "when i was a..." story that eventually leads to a breakthrough "oh my goodness it all makes perfect sense moment". Accompanied, of course, by that weathered, grizzled stare. One of the most certain signs you've watched too much of ANY tv show is that things start to become more "dramatic". I don't know about you, but each one of my days is not filled with approximately 4-5 cliffhanging moments that leave me with high blood pressure. Maybe that's why its so fun to get caught up in the stories, because i mean come on, how many real Michael's are there out there, who get explosively mad at least 3 times a day. The fact is, shows like that are just, well, shows. And they make you keep watching. So that you will find out more about that island. Dangit.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Some small things

Well today was a good day for several reasons. Most notably that it was a new day, different than yesterday and almost certainly never to be repeated again in the future. So that in and of itself makes it a good day. There were some things, though, that made the day brighter.

1) Eating lunch at corner bakery, having bread bowl chicken noodle soup and being able to slowly chew on the sourdough long after the soup was finished. bread bowl soup=greatness

2) Had a conversation, over aforementioned lunch, with a good friend. The kind of conversation that thoroughly made me ready to change the world. It was one of those conversations where the more we discussed things, the more excited I became about what we were talking about. it was just brilliant.

3) I found a new book or two at BN. and got an excellent cookie at the adjacent bakery. yes. some things in life can be that simple and that good.

4) I had a good laugh, i mean a GOOD laugh courtesy of disc 4 season 3 of the Office.

The weekend is here, and there is a new week on the horizon. What does tomorrow look like, you ask? Some excellent college basketball viewing, maybe some cooking, enjoyment of frosted mini-wheats, and more general hanging out.

I woke up as before
But the gold was gone
My wife was at the door
With her night robe on
My heart beat once or twice
And life flooded my veins
Everything had changed
My lungs had found their voice
And what was once routine
And what was once routine was now the perfect joy


Monday, January 14, 2008

In The News

1. I read this intriguing article about African/European immigration on the NY Times website. If we in America think that we are the only people dealing with immigration, its just not that simple. The world, as one book famously says, is flattening. We're mixing and mingling with more diverse people than ever before. What an opportunity to spread the Good News. Sometimes we worry so much about going out and being missionaries that we dont see the mission field that is being brought to us...

2. My cowboys lost to the New York Giants in the NFL playoffs yesterday. I'm not very happy about it. But, March Madness is right around the corner, and Duke, Kentucky, and Texas should make for some fun watching (those are my favorite teams, btw...and I guess you could throw in 'bama, but they'd be 4th)

3. Jon Foreman, lead singer of Switchfoot, is currently releasing 4 EP's with the theme of each season. His first release, "Fall", is already on Itunes, and it's worth a listen. Take a look at the lyrics, too. There's a lot of desperation in these lyrics.


School has started back for most college kids, but samford's still rolling through jan term, so that means i'm still taking it easy until spring gets under way. Am I ready? yes, I think. Switchfoot's singing to me right now about how today will soon be Gone, which is a good reminder in a rip-roaring world.

Something I've been thinking about lately: How do you live out justice in life? I'm trying to wrestle these thoughts inside and figure out how Jesus interjects into our current popular fascination with "social justice". I'd like to write soon about what I think this question truly means. Hopefully I can get around to that, and get around to, more importantly, living its truth out in reality.

Young-bin is coming back to the states soon, YES! Paul has started a blog, but has yet to see the necessity to post. ha. Well, until I write again...keep the creativity flowing and keep thinking and writing.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Looking Forward

It's funny how different times of the year are slow, busy, and in between. Especially in the life of a college student, living in the world of semesters and breaks, both summer and winter. We easily transition from the slow, syrupy pace of summer to a full-throttle fall. Then we take breaks in the form of thanksgiving and christmas and new years, finding time in all the mess to rest and go back to a slower pace of life. And then its back for a spring that promises more time with friends, more time with the books, and more time wondering what to do with the upcoming summer.

In all of the gearing up and slowing down we realize that these college years are quite possibly some of the best years of our lives. Right now I'm finding myself in the yawning quiet of winter break. Christmas and New Years are memories now. Gone is the hurry and hustle of the holiday season. Now its back to normal for everyone. Except for the college kid on winter break, not taking a fast paced january class. And that would be me.

Most of my days during this protracted winter season are quiet. They slowly pile up and the weeks come and go with the speed of ripples going from one side of a pond to the other. It's the time of year when it's easier to sit down and talk to someone, avoiding the biting winds and bleak, grey skies outside. I'm finding myself doing a whole lot of nothing, which, in the grand scheme of things, can actually be quite the balm for a soul wound so tight from months of busyness.

Seasons come and seasons go, and before long, the spring semester will be announcing its arrival with loads of school, friends, and general college things. Before long, I wont be able to spend all evening watching college football and/or college basketball. Before long, instead of wondering what to do with a few hours I'll be wondering how to cram as much into those same few hours. It's almost as if the seasons of life for a college student are like a playground seesaw, going from one side to the other.

It's not the circumstances, or the seasons, though, that I'm really concerned with. College is awesome, some of the best years ever, but from what I hear, it doesn't last, and there are new seasons on the horizon. So I guess what I'm saying in all of this is that I'm learning what it means to be balanced. To have centrality throughout the various speeds of life, to have a stronger, deeper foundation, if you will. Life's not meant to be lived pedal-to-the-metal, but its also not meant to be lived in a perpetual state of yawning, either. There are amazing things to be done in this world, especially with the blessings that have been poured out to us. There are journeys to be taken, answers to be found, and lives to be impacted. But I don't want to get ahead of myself, running, as it were, before I really have the ball. Somewhere in between the hectic life that the world demands from us and the sedate, quiet life of the person who's been deflated of their passion for life is the realm of balance which our souls beg us to find.

And this whole idea of balance seems to me to be one of the most important discoveries for college students like me.