Posts Tagged ‘Journey’

Walk

A couple weeks ago a friend of mine sent me a 3 minute mp3 of Francis Chan speaking on 1 John 2:6, “Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.”  I was instantly challenged by this short clip and committed to listening to it every day for 30 days as a way of meditating on this one verse.  The audio clip is below as well as an excerpt from an article by Chan conveying the same thoughts.

Audio File

As Christians in America, we often complain about how antagonistic people are toward Christ. Personally, I’m not sure that Americans are really rejecting Christ. Maybe they just haven’t seen Him.

Try to be COMPLETELY honest with yourself right now. Is the following true of you?

You passionately love Jesus, but you don’t really want to be like Him. You admire His humility, but you don’t want to be THAT humble. You think it’s beautiful that He washed the feet of the disciples, but that’s not exactly the direction your life is headed. You’re thankful He was spit upon and abused, but you would never let that happen to you. You praise Him for loving you enough to suffer during His whole time on earth, but you’re going to do everything within your power to make sure you enjoy your time down here.

In short: You think He’s a great Savior, but not a great role model.

Full Article

Thinking Outside the Box

A few years ago there was a story about a guy who traded a red paper clip for a house.  The true story is that it was a little more involved than that but it did happen.  From the man who pulled it off, Kyle MacDonald:

On July 12, 2005 I posted a picture of a red paperclip on my blog and asked if anyone wanted to trade something bigger or better for it.  A few days later I traded the paperclip, and after making 14 trades over the course of a year, I wound up with a house located at 503 Main Street in Kipling Saskatchewan.
~Excerpt from the One Red Paper Clip website.

That’s a cool story.  A paper clip being traded up to a house in one year’s time.  If that’s not enough check out the latest up-trade story that is currently under way, Down Under.

Starting with only an egg, we aim to ‘up-trade’ until we reach $1 Million, 100% of which will go to charity organizations.
~1egg1world.org

A one egg up-traded to $1 Million for charity by three college students in Australia.  They started in 2009 and are well on their way.  Their last trade was a 14 day African Safari with round-trip air fair to Craig Ruddy, one of Australia’s leading contemporary artists, for an original work by him (which by the way start at $35K and have sold for as high as $312K).  The next up-trade is sure to be a hefty one.  Though most have not heard of these three guys or their 1egg1world mission yet, they will.  The million dollar up-trade will happen and their story will be made know.

Source of inspiration for these three with a dream?  None other than Kyle MacDonald and his One Red Paper Clip.  It’s amazing how one outside the box idea can lead to so much.  MacDonald traded away his original red paper clip five years ago.  Still, the impact of that one trade carries on half way around the world in the lives of three Australian college students who are raising some serious cash to help others.  That’s not a cool story.  That’s an incredible story.

I love stories where people think outside of the box and are met with incredible results.  I desire this.  I want to think outside of the box.  But not for myself.  Not for a good cause.  For the Kingdom and the King’s renown.  For the one who traded everything away for me.  The down-trade of all down-trades (God becoming human and dying on the cross) has already given me the up-trade of all up-trades (true life and my humanity back for eternity).

The questions this leaves me wrestling with and that could be helpful for others to engage in:

  • What is outside the box that I can do to impact lives for the Kingdom?
  • Is my vision of possibilities small or limited?  If so, how do I enlarge it for seeing beyond the status quo?
  • Can I leverage my energy towards something significantly larger than myself that will require others to accomplish?

What thoughts or questions are you left wrestling with?

Sanctus Real “Lead Me” ~ Another Reflection

This quote from Matt Hammitt, lead singer of Sanctus Real, is where I am wrestling today.  (Watch the first video from my last post “The Story Behind Lead Me” to hear it from Matt himself.)

…the challenge for me in the song, and hopefully for other men as well is…every time I hear it, every time I sing it I have to ask myself, What kind of man am I? Not yesterday, not tomorrow, what kind of man am I today? Have I invested in my family emotionally, spiritually the way that God has called me to reach out to them.

What kind of man am I today?  It is a challenging question to respond to on it’s own.  Yet, the aspect of Matt’s quote that I am most struck by is, “…the way God has called me to reach out to them.”  This  centers the preceding question on Christ and what He has called me to as a husband, a daddy, and a man.  I need this perspective daily.  The perspective that what it means to be a man, a husband, and a father is found in Christ.

My mind and the culture I live in create a disconnect between my role as a man and my relationship with Jesus Christ, my role as a husband and my role as the bride of Christ, my role as daddy and my role as a son of the Most High.  But it’s only in the latter roles that the former find their identity, their purpose, and their strength to be lived.  I want to be a man, a husband, and a daddy that lives in the strength of Christ.

A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
~Ephesians 6:10 NLT

Sanctus Real “Lead Me”

This past week my wife shot me an email with a link to the Sanctus Real website.  The home page of the website has the following two videos: the first is the story behind the song Lead Me; the second is the video for the song Lead Me.  As I listened to the story behind the song I was broken.  The message is strong and clear.  It’s a cry to the Lord to be led by Jesus in being a husband and a father.

…it’s the cry of a wife to be loved by her husband.  The cry of kids to be loved by their dad.  And the prayer of a daddy and a husband to be loved by God…and the most important and most difficult task of building my home on the solid foundation of Jesus Christ.
~Matt Hammitt, Sanctus Real lead vocalist, guitar

Take the time to watch the story behind the song. Then watch the song and let the Holy Spirit speak to you. It is a powerful message; a powerful cry to the Lord. It is the anthem of my prayer life right now.

The Story Behind “Lead Me” – Sanctus Real from BrightBulb Entertainment on Vimeo.

I want you Jesus, to lead me as a husband and a daddy!
~Jay

Prayer: A Two Way Conversation

Prayer is about connecting with God.  Connecting with our creator.  It is where we pour out our soul to the one who created it.  The one who knows how to handle it.  The only real one who can handle it.  And more importantly, it’s where we hear Him Speak.  There are far too many followers of Christ in this world who have no idea how to hear from the Lord.  It blows my mind.  What are we doing if we are not listening to the Holy Spirit?  Listening to God?  This is what prayer is!

Yes, it is pouring out our souls, our hearts to our Creator.  But it is so much more.  It is where we are filled up as well.  It is where our Creator pours back into our soul.  To pray to the Lord all of our concerns without taking the time to listen for His response is to engage in a one way conversation.  Prayer is meant to be a two way conversation.  The problem is, many of us are not listening.  Many don’t know how to listen.  Still more don’t even know they are supposed to be listening.

Prayer is both telling and being told, unloading and being reloaded, emptying out and filling up.  When we are only engaging in a one-way conversation we miss out on a lot.  We are missing out on hearing the voice of God; hearing the Lord is vital to our relationship with Him.  I wish everyone would spend more time listening for the voice of God in their lives – starting with me.  Beginning this week, I am setting aside more time in my schedule for prayer, especially listening prayer.

Still…I Pray.

I have prayed continually.
I have forgotten to pray.
I have risen in the late hours of the night and in the early hours of day to turn my heart towards heaven and to pray.
I have slumbered when the Spirit is trying to awaken me and failed to pray.
I have blocked out hour long slots every day of the week for months on end to pray.
I have gone months without a single hour long block of prayer.
I have sought the Lord in prayer and fasting for days on end with steadfast determination to hear the voice of God.
I have been unable to go an entire day without forgetting that I am fasting, altogether failing to even listen for the voice of God.
I have felt the rich, tangible presence of the Holy Spirit upon me in intercession.
I have felt completely alone with my words and thoughts, constantly wondering if I am even being heard.
I have heard the Lord’s voice almost instantaneously from the time I quite my heart.
I have found myself struggling to recall His still small voice because it has been so long since I heard it.
I have been as bold as a lion in prayer, asking in faith for the unthinkable.
I have waffled in my prayers as a beggar hoping to get some scraps.
I have seen answers to my prayers in incredible ways.
I have seen my prayers go unanswered for years.
I have longed for more time away with the Lord in prayer.
I have avoided time away with the Lord in prayer.
I have blown through an hour of prayer and felt like I barely scratched the surface of all that was on my heart.
I have blown through five minutes of prayer and been at a loss for words.
I have prayed for hours upon hours and felt energized.
I have slipped away to pray for ten minutes and fallen asleep for hours.
I have prayed with eager expectation.
I have prayed with serious doubt.
Still…I pray.

This is not a contrast between the highs and lows in my journey with Christ.  It’s just a glimpse of my journey.  It’s real.  It’s tangible.  It’s honest.  I am compelled to a life of prayer.  Jesus was a man of prayer.  The disciples and apostles were men of prayer.  I am a man of prayer.  And this is a snapshot of my prayer life over the past decade.  This is authentic.  I am on a journey and I am going to be continuing to grow in my prayer life for the rest of my life.  Some times are more exciting than others.  Some are downright challenging to get through.  Some are electrifying.  All are meaningful.  All are purposeful.  All are worth it.  That is the perspective I have in my prayer life and that is why I am still as passionate about prayer as ever – even when the picture above looks so scattered.

Collective Life

I stumbled upon the Rend Collective Experiment today.  I love this quote that describes them…

Rend Collective Experiment defies expectations even from the start of the bio. Not so much a band, more a bunch of friends collectively wondering how to make sense of the conundrum of life, God and community in and around their native Bangor, Northern Ireland.

Friends collectively making sense of the conundrum of life, God and community. That is a beautiful description of what I long to see all over Ann Arbor.   Rend Collective Experiment lives up to its name by engaging in new possibilities of expression through creative exploration.  The following video is a snippet of this exploration.

Here’s to collectively making sense of the conundrum of life, God and community in Ann Arbor!

Whatever it takes…

160,000

The odometer on my dash turned 160,000 miles today.  The estimated distance around the equator is 24,902 miles.  That means I have traveled the equivalent distance of six laps around the world in my car.  That is a lot of time behind the wheel.  A lot of time on the go.  What have I done in all that distance?

…explored new places; earned a bachelors degree; gained some friends for life; married my beautiful wife; traveled the country; celebrated countless life events; endured many challenges; found a city to call home; bought a house; earned a masters degree; welcomed our first child into the world; joined a community of Christ followers; and have put my hand to the plow…

I have to be honest, I never would have imagined that watching my odometer roll over to a new number would send me on a trip down memory lane.  But here I am, taking stock of the past eight years of my life because I drive a high mileage car.  What’s most encouraging to me is to see how my relationship with God has become so much richer, deeper, and more meaningful to me as the complexities of life increase along this journey.  I continued reviewing my life throughout the day and while listening to a friends hip hop album at work, the lyrics captured my reflections in words.

It’s what life’s all about…

Knowing him.

A little more everyday.

Whatever it takes…

I trade it all in for knowing you!

Artist:  Namesake   Album:  Heart Back EP

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Jay: a nickname for Jason
A2: a nickname for Ann Arbor
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