Sunday, April 30, 2006

Gracious Uncertainty

This morning Mandy and I read from My Utmost for His Highest. We read today's devotional, and then decided to read yesterday's as well. Yesterday's was titled "Gracious Uncertainty."

Our natural inclination is to be so precise—trying always to forecast accurately what will happen next—that we look upon uncertainty as a bad thing. We think that we must reach some predetermined goal, but that is not the nature of the spiritual life. The nature of the spiritual life is that we are certain in our uncertainty. Consequently, we do not put down roots. Our common sense says, “Well, what if I were in that circumstance?” We cannot presume to see ourselves in any circumstance in which we have never been.

Certainty is the mark of the commonsense life—gracious uncertainty is the mark of the spiritual life. To be certain of God means that we are uncertain in all our ways, not knowing what tomorrow may bring. This is generally expressed with a sigh of sadness, but it should be an expression of breathless expectation. We are uncertain of the next step, but we are certain of God. As soon as we abandon ourselves to God and do the task He has placed closest to us, He begins to fill our lives with surprises. When we become simply a promoter or a defender of a particular belief, something within us dies. That is not believing God—it is only believing our belief about Him. Jesus said, “… unless you … become as little children …” (Matthew 18:3). The spiritual life is the life of a child. We are not uncertain of God, just uncertain of what He is going to do next. If our certainty is only in our beliefs, we develop a sense of self-righteousness, become overly critical, and are limited by the view that our beliefs are complete and settled. But when we have the right relationship with God, life is full of spontaneous, joyful uncertainty and expectancy. Jesus said, “… believe also in Me” (John 14:1), not, “Believe certain things about Me”. Leave everything to Him and it will be gloriously and graciously uncertain how He will come in—but you can be certain that He will come. Remain faithful to Him.

A few thoughts on this...
More and more this is becoming for me the essence of the spiritual life with God. It's the life of faith. Our culture teaches us to take hold of our life and make something out of it. This involves being in control, in charge. The spiritual life is about giving everything up to God. I am discoving that there is more confidence and strength in this type of life. I may be uncertain about tomorrow, but I can be certain about God's role in my tomorrow. Notice I said "I can be." It is my choice. When we give up control to our lives, yet then cease to walk in faith, it can be one of the hardest, most depressing, things. We were never meant to do the first without the second. We have to continue to believe. Once we surrender, trust and obey, he "begins to fill our lives with surprises." Two nights ago Mandy and I were sitting outside, just marveling about this house. Even six months ago, we would not have dreamed that we would be living in a place like this. I chalk it up completely to a blessing from God.

We talk about the upward, inward and outward journeys. This would fall under the upward journey. The great thing is that it also affects the outward journey. One of the greatest ways to share Christ is to walk in faith. Many people around us are tired of being in control. They realize that they're really not that much in control anyway. Surrender is a tough discipline to master, though. When people encountered Jesus, they were so captivated by his presence that they often did crazy things. The person of Christ no longer walks this earth, so it is up to us as the Church to live a life that would so captivate people. How do we do this? By living a life that is completely surrendered to Christ.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Incredible Video

Go to this site and scoll down. It's on the right, where it says "Click Play for a Special Treat."

You'll need a broadband connection.

I promise, you will be moved!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Long-overdue update

Sorry for the long absence. Things have been very busy lately. Here's an update on the last few weeks.

We bought our first home. It's been great. A few problems here and there, but nothing major, which is good for a house built 85 years ago. We still have a few boxes left to unpack, but otherwise are pretty much settled in. We love our neighborhood, and have met most of our neighbors.

My days as a temp are once again over (at least until I plant another church). I'm now in a permanent part-time position (three days a week) at a Science company. I'm doing AP and AR.
We've had several projects with the house. This weekend we're putting together a storage shed. We don't have any storage right now, and need somewhere to put a lawnmower (once we buy a lawnmower).

Last weekend I spoke about Project Mustard Seed twice. We've had a lot of great response.

I just got in a few books from Amazon. I'm halfway through Mark Driscoll's newest, and will probably post some thoughts soon.

I think that's enough catching up for now. I'll try to do this again soon.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Our house

We close on our new house next Wednesday. That's also Mandy's birthday. This house was built in 1922, but was remodeled last summer. Here's a picture pre-remodeling, followed by a few current pictures.


March Madness

Tonight is the championship game - Florida vs. UCLA. I hope it will be a good game. I was really bummed that neither Duke nor Memphis made it to the Final Four. I also have to confess that Mandy might just beat me in our brackets challenge. Guess who she picked to win it all???

I was shocked by her pick. In fact, I made fun of her every chance I got. She said she had no real reason for this pick. She just made it.

Can you guess who she picked?