While pumping water this week at the farm, I’ve been watching the mist from the giant sprinkler create the coolest rainbows from the water I’m pumping out of the slews.
Nothing beats a really good meal after a long day. And this is coming from the fat guy, so you know its true. I’ve tasted and I’ve seen many times that the Lord is good.
This past week, a few of us from my church hopped on a flight down to Dallas Texas to take in the Catalyst Conference. It was awesome, not only did I get to be in one of the states that I secretly want to live in and play high school football one day (there’s still a chance), but to sit in a room full of pastors, preachers, worship leaders and lay ministers hearing great truths from great heroes of the faith. There is nothing better.
On our last full day in Dallas, we decided to head downtown and get one last really good meal in. It was awesome, eating mexican, drinking some cerveza’s, great conversation and watching some playoff basketball where the home team won. Amazing.
I refuse to allow the thought that as a believer I am a sinner. Although I live in the reality that sin is only an option in my life, it is no longer my identity, I am not bound to it. The paradox that knowing that sin is a reality of this world, but pursue the command of a lifestyle of holiness. I must live within the realm of overwhelming love and grace that not only floods over me, but pours out from me and reaches out to cover others. This is our new normal. This is our new identity. This is what makes the Gospel purposeful. This is what changes the world.
This song has been on repeat all day for me. Super thankful for crazy great music and people with way more soul than I will ever have… And people who can sing in chords… WHAT!?!?
Photo cred: my bro Sam Niembro
So it hit me….
I had one of those light-bulb moments while zoning out in the middle of the warmest shower I’ve had in a long time. You know those moments. When you sit under the shower head and begin to let your mind wander a little. All warm a cozy. It’s literally one of the best feelings in the world. MMMMmmmmmm….
Enough about that.
I began to think about the verse in Matthew (and Luke as well) that says something along the lines of “out of the overflow [the fullness] of the heart, the mouth speaks.”
Its simple truth that I believe most can come alongside with regardless of where you come from and what your background is. Simply put, the things in life that consume your heart are going to be the things that gets brought forward in what you speak about.
For instance, if you are a sports fan and you (like me) love the Vancouver Canucks. (which are, by the way, awesome) You will begin to watch as many games as you can, you wear the jersey to church, listen to interviews, watch highlights, follow them on facebook, twitter, instagram and yes even download their iPhone app. (All of which is totally normal right?) Instantly you begin to see how conversations that drive you and the things that you become fired up on change. And soon enough you start talking like you are on the bench using phrases like “we just need to” or “the boys gotta pull it together”. (again, this is TOTALLY normal)
Before you know it, that thing that you love so much begins to seep out of you and the words that come out of your mouth begin to drip with fiery passion.
Now I believe we were created to be passionate people, to live life fully, to enjoy the small and big things in life in all of its fullness. It is instilled in us to be this way to the core of who we are.
But then I began to think, countless times we read in the Bible that our words are powerful. They hold the power of life and death, they are sharper than a double edged sword, they mold the minds of the public like a sculptor, our words justify and by our words we will be condemned. There is a lot on this concept regarding you reap what you sow. And the way I see it, is that there is a correlation between, the overflow of our heart and this concept of the power of our words.
For me, I take it further, what if what we are consumed with in our heart, which then begins to overflow and take hold in our priorities becomes greater than our love for each other? What if what we are consumed with becomes greater than God?
Its way to easy to get all introspective on this, but rather than doing that, I want to shed light on this question.
Are we AWARE of What Consumes Us?
Because very likely, that what consumes us becomes that which steals worship from the only one who deserves our worship. And its a constant act of replacing and repenting of these things that will realign not only our hearts, and not only our mouths, but also the atmosphere we create around us. The worshiper will always become like that of which or what they worship.
I love the simple prayer in Psalms 19:14 that says “May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing to you Oh Lord.” The Psalmist checks in with God to make sure that what is internally aligned and postured towards Him will in turn manifest itself in the physical.
Could you imagine the world we would live in, if we were so passionately aligned inside and out with the Father? That the things that drove us, that woke us up every morning and the thing that we went to sleep thinking and dreaming about was entirely the Love and Goodness of God? I’ve seen glimpses of this. I want to be consumed by this. And I know, in every way I am a work in progress towards this.
But daily my prayer is for a sense of awareness towards what God is up to, in, through, around and even despite myself.
What are your thoughts? Am I too idealistic? Was my shower too hot that it messed with my mind? Where is the line for you between crazy hyper-spiritual and living life well?
There’s no shame looking like a fool. When I give You what I can’t keep, to take hold of You.
Ok, So before you start calling me a heretic or begin questioning my beliefs let me explain…
I had a conversation today with a old friend regarding my last year and reconnecting with life. My friend is not a believer and I love him dearly. Essentially, he like many, question the proof of God but like the idea of a god or gods. He questions the totality of Grace through Christ but rather understands and accepts the concept of Karma. He struggles with the infallible truths of the Bible but looks at it as well written stories full of life principles. My friend is well read, has lived around the world and experience most of the top worlds religions first hand through their followers. So there’s his back story.
Essentially the conversation landed where he has such a hard time with Christians due to their lack of lifestyle evidences that our God is real. Statments such as “If Christians truly believed what they preached there would be no more wars, poverty, genocides or starvation and the world would be a better place.”
As I sat there and started walking through my experiences, my convictions and my own theologies with Him I said this. “Listen, we aren’t perfect, no one is. No one was. Except Christ who came to earth, being fully man and fully God, perfect and blameless and paid the ultimate sacrifice on the cross for our sins and then rose from the dead to conquer death once and for all. This redeems and sanctifies us to God.”
I thought to myself, “Way to go man! Preach that Gospel 101! This guy’s going to know Jesus!”
Then he came back so quick and said, “Oh you Christians and your cross… Stop clinging to the cross and start doing something. I’ll believe your Jesus when I see his followers act like him.”
I didn’t know what to say. It was like I was just slapped in the face.
Truth is, I felt convicted. I felt shut down. I thought that my answer would have had a completely different outcome. I thought this guy was going to join me 3 pew in on the left this sunday morning. Or at very best, agree to disagree.
Nope. I was wrong. Dead wrong.
I left that conversation with more to chew on. I began to pray and checking out my own life. As I thought about what he said, I felt this new desire well up within me to pursue and dig into the idea that for so long us Christians have been getting away with so much because frankly we know that the cross will always be there to come back to. We stop worrying about how our words, actions and life choices effect not only those around us but the worlds in which we live.
I read this afternoon a few passages as I was working through this. I started reading John 15, which is one of my all time favorite chapters in the bible. John lays it out.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunesso that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
He goes on in verse 14…
14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.
It hit me once again, like a shot right between the eyes. Grace wasn’t given to us so that we can barely make it in this life. We as believers are not called to grovel and beg and plea Christ for forgiveness so that one day, hopefully, we can barely crawl into heaven. We no longer have to beat ourselves up at the foot of the cross every time we sin. Why? Because God no longer see us as sinners, but Saints!
My friend David put it this way the other week, “After being soaked in the blood, referring to myself as anything less than perfect is diminishing Jesus, Himself. I dare not. The doubt ends. Fear & insecurity is dead.” I need to daily remind myself of the various verses in the New Testament that calls us as redeemed followers of Christ that our old sinful nature is put to death and that our new nature is pure in the sight of God. This is who I am. This is the identity I am to live out of. This is the identity of Christ.
I know this last year changed so much. My life, my love, my worship and my theology has drastically been affected. What I do know is that God wants disciples, not servants – He wants friends, not slaves – passion, not apathy. There is a reason why in Romans 8 he calls believers co-heirs with Christ and children of God and says that we are to refer to him as Abba Father, which translates “Daddy God”. I know my “Daddy” does not ever want His kid to “barely make ends meet”. I know my Father’s heart is not towards guilt, fear or shame but towards love, hope and joy. And knowing the Fathers heart only deepens when we press into these truths.
Only when this is our foundation can we begin to walk truly like Christ. To only do what the Father is doing and only say what the Father is saying.
This is the answer for my friend. This I believe is the answer that will change everything.