Quotes of Jesus

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.
I came that they may have life and have it abundantly!"--Jesus

A Special Message from Andy

If you are new to this blog, I invite you to begin reading the We Are At War series with its first installment The Reality posted in January 1, 2012. All other installments are posted in sequential order.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Same Old Thing

Just the other day, I was asked how my day was going. "Oh, same stuff, different day." As soon as the words left my mouth, the Holy Spirit checked me. Where did that come from? Are those the real thoughts about my life? Have I come to a place where everyday is just the same old thing?

We've all been guilty of thinking like this. Life, at least for most of us, goes on with very little day to day change. My goodness, we're practically repeating the ramblings of that old Teacher from Ecclesiastes, "There is nothing new under the sun, ever."(1:9 NIV, italics mine)

According to Eldredge, losing paradise was not the worst thing to happen to this world. (Desire, p. 9) The fact that we're very much used to it is. We brush our teeth. We go to our jobs. We watch the news. We go to bed fully expecting to get up the next day only to do it all over again. Why? It's the way things are supposed to be, or at least, that is what we tell ourselves.

Just take your life the way it is right now. Someone has just given you the news that from here on out, your life will never change. Your health, your finances, your relationships, all of it will not get any worse, nor will it ever get any better than what it is right now. React to that with as much honesty as you can muster. What conclusions do you come to? My guess is the heart has little patience for "the same old thing".

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Shouts of Lament

Grandma's House. If you would have told me when I was a kid that one day I would lose all of that joy and adventure, I wouldn't have believed you. It just didn't seem possible that life as I knew it would change. But change it did, dramatically.

I was in my first year of college away from home when the telephone rang. The memory is so fresh. It was my father on the other end of the phone. Through choked up tears He broke the news. "Grandma is gone."

Grandma was the closest person to me to die. She had lost control of her car down an old country highway not three miles from her home, my personal paradise. The news was devastating.

Looking back now, I realize I lost more than a grandmother that day. I lost access to my boyhood proving grounds. Not long after the funeral, all of her possessions were sorted through and the home was sold. Please understand, that land was more than just a piece of real estate. It was an intricate part of my masculine journey. It was the only place in my little world where I felt most alive. Able to be my truest self there, it was my sanctuary, my holy ground.

Just like that, it was all gone, torn away. Disbelief set in, as for most people when they suffer significant losses and devastating disappointments. Divorcees, amputees, and surviving spouses know what I'm talking about. At the moment, our hearts reject the reality. Again the secret to our hearts rise to the surface. This is not the life we want.

Even more devastating than Grandma's death is the dilemma that I, like so many others, got use to my loss. We come to a point where we embrace the idea that this really is the way things are supposed to be. As a result, we struggle with the truth that we were not made for this.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

June/July 2011 Web Update

Just archiving a web update from the previous months. Enjoy!!
June/July 2011

It had been nearly a year since Peter, Edmund, Susan, & Lucy had stepped foot into the Land of Narnia. However, a thousand years had passed since a Narnian had laid eyes on the "kings and queens of old". What they found was a very different place than what they had left.

I'm speaking of the book now made into a movie, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. In book 2 of the series, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Aslan, the great lion, with the help of the four children, defeated the White Witch and her army. There they stayed and ruled as kings and queens. As adults they stepped back through the wardrobe only to return to this world the same age as if they had never left.

This time things are different. Narnia has "aged." The great castle, Cair Paravel, lays in ruins. Most of the animals no longer "talk" as they did before. The children are not as familiar with the lay of the land due to a thousand years of change in the terrain. Evil and corrupt men from Telmar are in power. Most of the "Old Narnians" have gone underground struggling to survive. Aslan is nowhere to be found. Narnia has become a very dangerous place.

Hope is found in one young man, Caspian, a telmarine who must take his rightful place as king of Narnia. He must unite the Narnians, dethrone his evil uncle, and bring peace between the Narnians and the Telmarines. 
He will need the help of Aslan and the four children to accomplish this.

As I reflect on this fantastic story by C.S. Lewis, I'm reminded of the perils of letting our kingdoms go. As men and women, we are meant to rule.(Gen. 1:28) It is the inheritance we have in Christ Jesus.(Col. 1:12, 1 Peter 1:3-5)

We rule in a variety of ways. Fathers rule over their families, entrepreneurs over their businesses, pastors over churches, officials over countries, landlords over their properties, children over their rooms, etc.
Ruling requires taking responsibility for those under our care. It means tending to the "things that matter." Prince Caspian is just an example of what a kingdom goes through when it has been abandoned. It is the result of not tending to the "things that matter." This can happen in our homes, families, businesses, churches, and especially and most importantly our own hearts.

Take stock over your life right now. How are things holding up? Take a look under the hood of your heart. What might you find there? Are there some things that need tending? Maybe you're not too sure what are the "things that matter."

At RPM, we want to help you. Take this as our invitation to re-establish your union with the King of kings, and with God's help then reunite with your loved ones, dethrone the evil one, and bring peace to your life.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Echoes from the Past

I know, I know I've been gone for quite awhile. Well, I'm back and I plan to pick up where I left off. I've been doing sort of a retake on John Eldredge's book "Desire". Here you'll be able to see my own dialogue with the book as I journey through. I hope to be able to bring a little more illumination to the importance of desire in our lives.

Growing up, I used to enjoy Sundays when my mom and dad would take my brother and me to my Grandma's house for Sunday dinner. Every week it was like a small family reunion as aunts, uncles, and cousins would enjoy the meal together. My Grandma lived out in the country with no signs of the city within a ten mile radius. It was a little boy's dream.

After dinner, all the adults would talk, watch Sunday football, and nap while the young ones would go and try to find some sort of mischief to get into. We had plenty of opportunities. We had trees to climb and woods to explore. There were tractors to pretend with and dried up wells to play in. Introduce some small firecrackers and BB guns, and the fun tripled. Even now as I write there is a flutter within that desperately wants to go back to the way things were. (Is there a place in your past that you would like to go back to?)

My how we try to hold on to the past. Some will work to recreate it. They get into activities that would in some way regenerate their past feelings of joy. Others will choose the path of reminiscing by holding onto childhood memorabilia, no matter how insignificant. Ever wonder how cameras and scrap booking got to be so popular? We're afraid of these moments fading away into oblivion. "Our losses seem to say that the life we prize will never be ours, never come to stay."(Eldredge, Desire, p. 6)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Our Hearts' Deepest Secret: Whispers of Joy

I love Christmas. It is always a wonderful time of year for me. This past Christmas was no exception. I will admit it was a humbler one in the fact that we just couldn't buy as much as we have in the past. This, however, in no way dispelled the whisper of joy I get this time of year.

While your experience might not be the same as mine, there is something about the time we have with family and the time to come away from work. There is also something to be said about the overabundance of food, sweets, and the worry-free life until after New Year's Day. Let's not forget the decorations and the mystery of wrapped presents under the tree that bear witness to the joy we share this time of year. Even our nativity scenes issue us a small whisper of joy, a time to be glad.

Through it all, we are caught off our guard. Our desire is unearthed.

Like every holiday, though, the season and the feelings that go along with it do not seem to last. We are left frustrated. For all we get is just a whisper, a fleeting moment of joy that is gone just as fast as it came. It is life as we know it, and it feels so...cruel.

What if cruelty is not the reason we get these little whispers of joy? What if there is more to these whispers that we might be missing? Remember a time you felt glad, when life was a joy. What was going on? Who was there with you? What movie were you watching, or what book were you reading? Was it an event, special holiday, or vacation spot?

Go back there for a moment. Why was it so special? What was the whisper to your heart? If we perk up and listen, perhaps we can further unveil the mysteries of our own hearts.