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!