Sunday, February 17, 2008

Magnets Continued

I remember Gary Haugen, the president of IJM (International Justice Mission: talking about identifying bodies after the Rwandan genocide. He says "When people ask, where was God when this happened, it hit me. The real question isn't where was God, its where was God's people?"

With a few exceptions, Christians have failed in their part to bring God's healing to people in the world around them. While not all of us can be Mother Theresa, we can all do something to make God's kingdom of grace and mercy known in the world around us. I think the key to God's goodness in the midst of so many evils is us (at least those of us who call ouselves Christians)! We are the ambassador's of what God wants to do in the lives of people who are hurting and suffering. Maybe God's goodness is supposed to come through something you or I are supposed to do. When Christians decide not do anything about all that opposes God's kingdom in the world, they might as well not call themselves a Christian. A stagnant Christian is like a a cure for cancer in hiding...both are just ridiculous!

In the midst of all that one person can do, why is it we hear so much about what one person can't do. There are so many local, national and international organizations doing God's work (whether Christian based or not) that one person can find something they are passionate about and find a way to participate in bringing God's light to a dark world. My question is: What are you doing?

Friday, February 15, 2008


I know of so many people who just seem to be avenues of bad luck, bad karma, disfavor (or whatever you want to call it). Its like they are a magnet for disaster. Its like no matter what they do, there's a challenge in front of them. And I don't just mean the daily challenges we all face. I'm talking about big things: like cancer, or the death of a loved one, or a car accident or filing for bankruptcy. Now, to be fair, there are a few things they can control, however, what I'm talking about is the circumstantial disasters that are outside of their control.

As a pastor, what do I say to this kind of person? How do I speak of God's blessings and goodness to them when their reality is an established pattern of hardship, tragedy and struggle. I usually try to offer them the hope of good things to come. I believe life is a series of seasons. Now, the hard part is when the season of disaster lasts like 10 years. That's more than a season, that's a decade!

I think the answer lies in the notion of God's goodness. What does it mean that God is good? If our circumstances aren't good, does that change God's nature? I don't think so. What we experience in life is not always a refleciton of who God is, because we live in a fallen world. Part of being a Christian is seeing who God is no matter what is going on in our lives. My heart just goes out to people who are magnets for disaster. I know bad things happen to everyone, but some people just seem to be exist as perpetual harborers of bad luck and disfavor.

More to come on the next blog.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

First Blog

This is my first blog. Hopefully I'll get better at this the more I do it. At a church conference last year, I was told that each of our pastors on staff should have their own blog. I agreed with almost everything else that was said at the conference, so why not try it out?

Here it goes:

My wife and I have two girls...a 3 1/2 year old and a 5 week old. We use to think being married was challenging. Then we thought having one child was hard. Now that we have two children, it's like our time and energy are sucked right out of us. Actually, I have the better end of the deal. My wife is the one home and having to operate on very little sleep with very little access to the outside world. I still get to go to work and interact with people, and my amazing wife usually lets me sleep while she gets up several times a night with the baby.

Recently, I have been thinking about some aspects of our marriage. We share the same faith and the same love for each other and for our children. At the same time, we are very different people with almost opposite likes and dislikes. I like to relax by being entertained. I enjoy movies, music, and video games. My idea of relaxing is playing Madden 08 via Xbox Live until I win a game. If I lose two games in a row, I want to play until I win so I end a good note. My wife's idea of relaxing is calling up a friend and talking for an hour or more if they can't meet in person. While I enjoy calling my friends sometimes, it's not relaxing, it takes energy. We live very close to a $2.00 theatre (it used to be a $1.50, which reminds me, do $1.00 theatres exist anymore?) To me, it's like the opportunity of a lifetime to go see a movie for $2.00. My wife doesn't think much of this opportunity. When it comes to household chores, I'm ready to stop helping by 10pm and think its time to relax. My wife gets a second wind and goes on a cleaning spree (lately she's been too exhausted to get the second wind, but once our 5-week-old starts sleeping through the night, she will probably get that second wind again). She's a vegetarian, I'm not. She's an idealist, I'm a realist. She's very outgoing and almost always interested in the lives of the people she meets. For me, it depends on the person and the day and the circumstances as to whether or not I'm interested. She looks forward to babysitting a family member's baby. I'm more interested in finding a babysitter for our children. She feels the most loved in our relationship when we have a long conversation where I'm very present and focused on her. I feel most loved...(well, that's private!)

Despite our differences, our marriage is still a happy just takes a lot more effort on both of our parts. We don't always get along well with each other, but we are committed to making our relationship work.