Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Listening to your Rhythm

Here's the cadence of your heart,
Beating, as my ear lays on your chest.
As I place my hand on my heart,
I sense the off-beat rhythm of blues.
Sin and shame clog the rush of blood,
It hardly has a beat of it's own.
Father, your heart races with life,
untainted and immaculate,
nothing interferes with the blood,
coarsing through your veins like water.
I look into your eyes and whisper,
"I want the rhythm of your heart."
He reaches his hand out to me,
He breathes life into my lungs,
My hand to his heart as his to mine,
Together they beat as one.
He sends me off with hope,
"In every murmer or palpatation,
Do not fret, look to me,
And I will make all things new,"

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Here's a Thought

Do yourself a favor and do something stupid today, or silly, or outrageous, or just make yourself laugh, anything that'll remind you of what it feels like to loose control of yourself. A shock, a jolt, a zap to the brain reminding you not to take life so seriously. It's come to my attention that I might be a little eccentric, a little out there, a little weird, and to people who know me and believe that, I challenge you to do the same.
Today, I went for a walk at 1 in the morning, and then it began to rain. I stayed in the rain for a little bit, shuffling along, hurridly making my way back to my apartment, when it occured to me that why was I so worried about being caught out in the rain. Immediately, I took off my shoes, threw off my hood, and just began to embrace the moment that I was in. I'm sure there was some judgemental soul riding around, assuming I was a hobo of some sort, but it didn't matter.
There are too many smart people out there. Too many people who've got it figured out. When really, the biggest piece of wisdom I can impart to you, is that I know enough to realize how much I don't know. This world is so vast, people are so complex, God is so big that I will not begin to let on that I've some how miraculously got the answers to everything.
Here's the deal. If you think you're a mystery your not, you're just trying too hard. You'd do yourself and everyone else a favor if you just lightened up and realized the only thing in your control is the amount of fun you allow yourself to have, so have as much as you can handle. The wisdom of man is exceedingly inept to the vastness of the universe. Here's a thought, maybe you should realize how much more foolish it would be to believe you're more wise than the fool who believes.

*I don't really know who the "you" I am referring to is, but what does it matter, go have fun regardless.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Throw it all in front of me

I've been giving much thought lately as to what I would do if God threw all the worldy things that I wanted in front of me. What would happen if everyone loved me as much as I wanted them too? What would happen if I was given the career I always thought was best for me? What would happen if I lived in the place I always thought I would settle down in? What would happen if I had the family I always dreamed of? What would happen if I fell in love with the girl I always thought I'd fall in love with?
Lord, thank you for reminding me that you're my portion. Thank you for making it clear to me that if I had all that I wanted, I would find that I was sadly decieved into believing any of it could be enough. Sometimes it scares me that the Lord might actually give me what I want. I know that the outcome would just be disappointing. A part of me would just rather settle with the fantasy of my desires. There's something comfortable about desiring the things of this world, atleast there's something comfortable to me about it. The things of this world seem more practical, if I put the works into it, I'll get it.
Lord, thank you that you are not a God of works. I believe the hope that is Jesus Christ is in the knowledge that it isn't by works that we are saved. It's by His grace. He is enough. He is sufficient. This all reminds me of those movies like the Mummy where there is this huge treasure hunt that turns into some epic quest. Only to find, that when anyone reaches the treasure it all turns to sand...Likewise, it is my fear, and my affirmation for faith, that if we got everything we wanted, we would find some way to ruin it. Find some way for that treasure to slip right through our hands.
"For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." Ephesians 2:10
Lord, in you there is no darkness. In me, it's sometimes hard to find the light. My heart is where my treasure lies, and my treasure lies in the Kingdom. Father, thank you for your sovereign protection. You protect my heart, my soul from slipping away like the sand between my fingers. I find so much encouragement in the fact that in order for me to realize the beauty of desiring your will in my life, I must fully recognize the emptiness of a heart rested in worldly treasures.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Man in the Mirror

When I look at myself in the mirror, I used to wonder how many ways I could change myself to be better and look better in the eyes of the world.
When I look at myself in the mirror, I started to see that I wasn't beautiful, not when there is someone who conquered the grave, not when there is someone who lived a spotless life, blameless..not marred by the sins of this world.
Now when I look in the mirror, I try to see what you found in me that was worth bearing the weight of my sin, bearing the sins of this world. I try to look past the person who may be beautiful in the eyes of the world, but ugly with the sin painted across my face.

I see my sin everytime I face myself with the truth, but I'm sure you see it too.

Why do you look past that?

Here's the truth, when I continue to look at myself the way you see me, I see a new world of opportunity. There's something freeing about that. Even when I fail, the closer I pull towards you the more I continue to form into your image. A child of Christ. I won't forget what it looks like. It's beautiful, not because of who I'm seeing on the surface, but because of the completeness of the work of my Savior in me. This complete person, stays within the confines of my bathroom mirror, and the more I roam the world the more I forget what he looks like. One day, I won't forget what he looks like. One day, I won't have to remind myself every morning of the man I'm meant to be. I will always remember what it looks like to call myself a follower of Christ. A child of the Father who was, and is, and is to come.

Here's another truth. I'd rather spend my days hating the ugliness of sin within me than emulating the beauty that man renders sufficient because the beauty of man isn't sufficient. A body is vacant, a corpse,without the completeness of christ. To edify the ways of this world is a never ending tragedy-a war of want, to edify the Spirit of Christ within you is a divine romance-a conquest of the human condition.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Jesus on the Curb

I was outside of Panera Bread, the other day, eating some dinner when a strange, homeless man came up to me and asked me for some spare change. I did the curteous thing and told him that I had no change to spare, even though I knew I had a couple bucks in my pocket. I lied, but can you blame me? I think I've been trained to refer to a series of mental processes to handle situations just like the one I was in.
1. Who is this guy?
2. Is he telling the truth?
3. How do I know if I give him the money, he won't just spend it on drugs or alcohol?
I don't know who this guy was but, after I left him on his way, I couldn't get him out of my head. I felt guilty. The one thing that kept poking in the back of my head was the verse, "The King will reply,'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me." (Matthew 25:40) Why wasn't this the first thing that I thought about? What's more is that I thought of this man as an inconvenience to me. More than just a homeless man, I see them all around Tallahassee, this man became a neusance to me the moment he approached me. If someone with nice clothes, a fresh shave, and a maintained hygiene came up to me, I would've probably given him more of my time and money. But this man, with tattered clothes, scruffy beard, and aweful body odor not only asked me for money, but he made me uncomfortable and apprehensive.
I would like to say I went back to this guy and bought him a meal or gave him the shirt off my back, but I didn't; however, I do think I accomplished something. I think God is showing me that I can't just arbitrarily choose who I am going to help and who I am not because I will always choose to favor comfortability. No, I need to be uncomfortable. I have to stop viewing my life as MY life and my time as MY time. I belong to the King of Kings. If He is truly the Lord of my life, than I have to lay down my life for His glory. That man asking me for change was the proverbial Jesus of the gospel. If I turn my back on him, I turn my back on the one who paid my debt on the cross.
Lord, you hear my thoughts and you know my heart. Make me less and you more. I may not be at a place where I can comfortably chat with a homeless man on the curb, but I can do all things by the strength you provide. If I turn a blind eye on the very people you came to save, then I never knew you.I may be blameless in man's eye, but only you can redeem a sinner of his debt. Grant me opportunity.


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I camp funk


You'll notice that I didn't express any endearment adressed to the reader or readers (hopefully) of this post. In fact, there is no endearment in the fact that I'm inviting people into my folly, my insecurities,and my ineptitude; however, catharsis tugs on my heart more than pride, so I'm lead back to the keyboard...hoping to bring glory and honor to the King of Kings who provides endless mercy and gace to a sinner such as myself. May His love continue to pour out of his wounds and into my soul.
I spent this past weekend in Auburn with people I love dearly. They are more like family to me at this point. They know a lot of my fears and struggles and still long, just as much as I do, for my life to be a mold in the potters hand. For that weekend life seemed to stand still. Any stress I had before I arrived in Auburn lifted off my heart. It's as if the events that happened over my summer are objects placed on a canvas, like a still image of sorts. Everytime I meet with these people I call family, it feels like we all assume the same position we had in that still image. Of course, life resumes and we go on, and that is when I'm reminded of my folly, my insecurities, and my ineptitude. The weight of sin falls heavily upon my heart.
I drove. I drove with a heavy heart-This is where the story gets thick, revealing the incomparable difference between the strength of our Father and the depravity of the human spirit.I drove. I drove through the back country of Georgia. A three and half hour journey that feels like it takes an entire day. I didn't have a map, I didn't have a gps, and cell phone service was at best scarce. All I had was a slim sense of direction and a couple of road names that I was supposed to look for. It was raining periodically shifting between a heavy down pour and a light drizzle. The clouds cast a gray shadow on everything around me. I felt lost, I felt alone, I felt angry. I was angry with the Lord. My heart was heavy with all this and I didn't know why. I spent an incredible weekend with loved ones. How could that not be enough? It wasn't enough because I felt deprived of the Spirit. I wasn't- I am not- where I wanted to be with the Lord, and I knew it immediately when I left.
I knew that I needed this time on the road to spend with God. This funk had to be sorted out immediately. I threw on the Passion soundtrack in hopes that it would help me sort out my thoughts. I guess I felt like singing praises would help bring me to a place of honesty and humility with the Lord. The Lord showed me everything I needed to know. This is what I know: meeting up with family from the summer put me back into the still frame that characterized my summer. The summer was a time where I felt one with God, where I felt one in community. For that one weekend, things vaguely resembled that one"ness" that I think we all had over the summer. When I left, it was like I had just removed myself from the picture again, revealing all the flaws and imperfections that are so vividly stained across myself. This revelation destroyed me. I could see my stains.
My camp directer, Brad Barnett, told my team that after the summer was over most of us would have what is called a "camp funk." This camp funk encompasses everything that makes us miss the summer, all the memories that remove us from our lives we live today. That moment on the drive where I could see my stains, was the same moment that I realized my camp funk. I realized the difference between who I am and who I want to be. I want to be stuck in the picture of that person I was in the summer, but I can't. I am a sinner. I talk too much, it's mostly unwholesome and not constructive. I hate this about myself. My tongue can start fires, and it scares me because I choose not to tame it. I disobey the Lord when He asks me to keep His word in my heart. I have barely kept up with my scripture reading. I disobey, I disobey, then I disobey again.
The amazing thing about the Lord's grace is that it keeps pouring out like water even when I think it's run dry. My three and a half hour journey was figuratively the manifestation of my walk with Christ. I was alone on the road, a narrow path, with no cars in sight. The rain was my anger and confusion. I was a little lost with only a sense of direction. The Lord showed me, in every way possible, that He wanted me in there to show me His majesty, His power, and His grace. I am a life in the potters hand. I recognize, now, that my camp funk isn't a bad thing. It doesn't allow me to settle for anything less than what the Lord requires of me. Act Justly, Love mercy, and walk humbly with my God. I know when I am not doing this because I know how it felt at one point or another. My life isn't a still picture frame, but it is a moving picture that will hopefully one day display the glory of our Father. He showed me in every way that weekend that it is only by His grace alone that I will ever live the life I am called to.


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Post-It: Compassion

Evelin Argentina Reynosa,

I don't know what it's going to be like when someone informs you that you are a sponsored child. How does a nine year old process something like that? Joy? Praise? Shock? We are on an adventure together, Evelin. From now on it's me and you. I will sponsor you with my money, and you will sponsor me with your heart. Together, we will give glory to God with our lives. There's so much I want to tell you, but you're only nine. Nine years old, and you are the child God is using to free me from the chains of sin. I can't tell you that I come from a family that is a slave to money. Money is the source of our strife, our fears, and our security. How could you understand? How could you understand that we are starved though we eat like gluttons? How could you understand that money is crippling us from being free from this world? I want so badly to tell you that I am running, running away from all the things that are keeping me attached to this world, but somehow I always find myself back in my own fortress of comfortability. A fortress that seperates me from the Almighty God. Our God who sent His Son to the cross to carry the weight of my shame. I build my fortress with the same money that He has blessed me with. I buy and buy and buy until the walls of my fortress are so high they thwart the Son from relaying the light to my soul. But you, you Evelin are the hammer God has chosen to break those walls. He will use you to free me, but how do I tell you that? A nine year old? God has chosen Evelin, a nine year old, to free me from my idols, and maybe one day free my family as well. So how do I tell you that? A nine year old? I guess I'll start with this:

"Hello Evelin, my name is Alex. I want to tell you that Christ has brought us together in His great love. My prayer is that we grow in faith together. Jesus loves you, and so do I. You are beautiful in the eyes of our God. Don't ever forget that. Know that I am praying for you and your family as you guys are now my family as well."

With all my love, Alex