Friday, May 15, 2009

Hold the Light

I'm listening to the song "Hold the Light" by Caedmon's Call. It encapsulates so many of the thoughts and feelings I have had over the last couple of years. I just thought I'd share it with you. Maybe you're in the position of the person singing, or maybe you're in the position of the friend holding the light, or maybe you're in the middle somewhere. Wherever you are, I hope you're encouraged. :O)

It's been a long year
Like a long sleepless night.
Jacob wrestled the angel,
but I'm too tired to fight.

Every wednesdayfor two years we've met.
I've showed you all my anger
my doubts and bitterness.

There was no judgement in your eyes
just the silent peace of God,
that felt so real in you.

Will you hold the light for me?
Will you hold the light for me?

And I stay up late
because I cannot sleep.
I don't want to face the quiet
where its just God and me.

I'm waiting for the gavel
handing me the sentence down,
because I don't believe forgiveness
or even repentance now.

There was no judgement in your eyes
Just the silent peace of God,
that felt so real in you.

Will you hold the light for me?
Will you hold the light for me?

I want to feel redemption
flowing through my veins.
I want to see with clear eyes
beyond lust and hate.
I want the war to be over,
and know the good guys won,
and I want love to hold me
to know I'm not alone.

Standing around a willow weeping,
we were praying in the backyard.
In the chill of the night
the friendship light reminded me who we are...
who we are, who we are

Will you hold the light?
Will you hold the light for me?

Monday, May 11, 2009

Purposeful Not Passive

A few minutes ago, I went through Day 2 of the devotion that Pastor Brian put together for this week. The focal passage is Mark 9:30-37, with the particular emphasis of this day's devotion being 9:31 (the pastors are teaching verse by verse through the Gospel of Mark).

Pastor Brian compared the word "delivered" with the way it is used in Romans 4:25 and Romans 8:32 in order to emphasize the purposefulness behind the deliverance of Christ unto death. Christ's death wasn't just a passive happening or the consequence of how things played out because of man's choices. Christ's death was a purposeful plan from our loving, sovereign God. Christ's redemption of His people was purposeful. Christ's atonement was purposeful. Christ's justification of sinful people was purposeful.

My salvation isn't merely a bonus prize that came along with a passive death.

My salvation is the result of a choice ... God's choice. God chose how to redeem His people, and He set forth that plan of redemption very purposefully.

So why do I live my life as a follower of Christ so passively?

Because it's easy.

Making purposeful decisions to put others before myself and to serve them with unconditional love can be really difficult and really inconvenient. On my own, I have no desire to live that way. That's why I'm so incredibly grateful that "it is God who works in [me], both to will and to work for his good pleasure" (Phil. 2:13 ESV).

I can do nothing apart from Christ. I must rely on the Holy Spirit every second of every day. It's time for me to stop being so ridiculously passive and start living purposefully. It is time to "press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 3:14 ESV).

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Diving In

Today marked a major milestone for me. I went through the membership interview at Southside Fellowship this morning. I'm really looking forward to starting my journey with this group of believers as we live in community with one another.

This certainly wasn't on purpose, but I realized this morning that today is the one year anniversary of when I moved back to Greenville. I came here with hopes of a fresh start, and God has given that to me. It seems fitting that I took this step on this day.

A large part of the last two years has been very trying, but I trust that God has had a plan in all of it. There is a time and a season for everything. I'm diving into this new season with joy and anticipation of all the Lord has in store for me. :O)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Reflection on Goslings

You're likely aware that I love spring. There are so many things going on in nature that serve as reminders of our risen Lord that it's difficult for me to comprehend not loving spring (while I do extend a bit of grace toward those who suffer from allergies to such a degree that they can't help but harbor hard feelings toward spring).

This year, one of those reminders has been the goslings that hatched recently by the pond in front of the home office.

I watched them for a little while this afternoon as we awaited the beginning of a meeting. The interactions between the goslings and their loving, protective, instructive parents is quite fascinating. Their parents are instructing them on how to be mobile in different environments. I've seen them nudge them along the asphalt driveway toward our employee parking lot. A coworker told me how the parents teach the goslings to be brave and jump down off the curb and then teach them how to jump back onto it. Today, the goslings were waddling up and down a small hill, their parents just a few feet away, watching attentively.

As I think of the precious new lives waddling around the pond in front of our building, I'm reminded of our life cycle as Christians. God pulls us out of the muck and mire and transforms us. He gives us new life. We are new creations. (cf. 1 Cor. 5:17)

The growth process begins immediately. God builds and strengthens our faith day by day. As we study His Word and sit under godly teaching, our knowledge of the Lord expands and deepens. God reveals our spiritual gifts to us, and we begin to step out and serve.

God places people in our lives to assist with this process: elders, counselors, friends, family, new brothers and sisters in Christ. They are in our lives to nudge us along and keep us on track. One of the goslings has a tendency to lag behind and stray away from the group. The parents, very lovingly and gently, seek out the gosling and nudge him back where he belongs. Our fellow believers do the same thing for us.

Even more importantly, He has given us the Holy Spirit, an ever present advocate and aid. In John 14:26, Jesus told His disciples, "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you." What a precious gift from the Lord!

There are many days I still feel like a gosling, not because I'm growing and learning, but because I'm tumbling down the hill again. I'm very grateful for the other geese God has placed in my life. They help me get back on track, and they do so in a loving and gracious manner.

Take a look around you today. Are there goslings in your path in need of some encouragement? Maybe you're in need of encouragement. If so, I adjure you to seek out fellow believers and allow them to minister to you. After all, I'm sure you don't want to waddle around the pond forever. Don't you want to fly some day? I know I do. :O)