Thursday, August 21, 2014


In continuing to facilitate a study through David Platt's "Follow Me", I am again reminded that God is Sovereign in all things.
As the new Discipleship season at our church was approaching I was feeling no leading or guidance in which of the studies to take, assuming I would simply default to which ever study my wife decided to take. Until, one evening I received a phone call asking if I could be available to lead this particular study. Never being one to turn down an opportunity to teach, I agreed. Through 2 weeks now, and I am enjoying the words of David Platt, and his teaching.

In this morning's daily study, Platt writes this:
"When we consider what it means to follow Jesus, we typically think in terms of His leading us where He wants us to go. We think of Jesus out in front and us following behind. In our mind's eye there is always a gap between us and Christ- a separation."

Where do we get this imagery from? Are you like me, and when you think of Jesus and His disciples, do you picture a scene similar to Forrest Gump, running across America? A bearded, dirty, white guy out for a run, and a mass of people running behind him? Do you picture yourself in that pack? Are you running hard, trying to catch up to your "Jesus"? Aren't you exhausted?

The words of Jesus, the imagery given by Him, and the writings of the Apostles all point to a radically different picture. They offer us a Jesus calling to Himself all who are weary, heavy laden... offering rest and peace. We find the offer of a yoke that is light, and an abiding love. We find a Jesus who walks with His disciples, who brings them into and through the storms. Ours is not a Christ who runs to the horizon and yells back at us to keep up, He is a rescuing Shepherd that throws the sheep over His shoulders and will carry us home. We are told that we are united to Christ, co-heirs of the promise. Adopted sons of the Father.

To use Platt's example, we are branches of the vine. We are so intimately connected to the life-vein of Christ that we only grow as an outcropping of His life. As a vine branches, it sends itself into action, bringing forth new life as it grows into a branch. As the branch begins to grow, its core remains the vine, and the new life is created. The branch is cared for, pruned, prepared to produce the fruit for which it is intended to produce. The connection is intimate, the life is no longer the pursuit of a branch looking for a vine, it is a vine that has sprung to life in a branch.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014


It has been a rough season.

That phrase, and the many arrangements of it, have been commonplace in conversations around this house lately. Work-hours have been plentiful, and work-tasks have been stressful, time at home has been minimal, and filled with schoolwork. Money has been tight, though needs have been met, wants are amassing. Kids have been growing rapidly, both physically and in feist. Daily battles have been waged against the strong-willed defiance of a son... and while I appreciate the strength he displays, I don't appreciate the tears of my wife as she is often left to fight him alone. The season swirls on, and the path winds... not knowing how, when, where, or why it moves as it does, I have found myself struggling in resilience, tired, and discontent. I have been actively seeking a change in employment for over a year, and every promising lead has ended with a recalling on my lack of experience, or in an exciting offer accompanying a pay-cut. 

I hit the pillow with a desperately painful thud, and give way to the exhaustion of my soul. I long for days spent with my family, and of life spent among the day-dwelling, spirit-energizing friends God has placed in my life. I miss feeling alive. Then, one day last week, wrestling with these feelings, angry at the season, I finished a study of Romans and moved on to 1 Timothy... I have long loved the letters Paul wrote to Timothy. They have long felt like letter written directly to me. And as I read that morning, I was again convicted by the words of Scripture. This time it was 1 Timothy 1:6-10
  But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot   take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But  those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful  desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of  evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves  with many pangs.

A common passage, and one that I have read over many times... but on this particular morning, lamenting my current job, hours, status, pay-scale, etc... it struck differently. I definitely did not feel as though I was desiring riches, or anything along those lines, but I can easily say that I was not willing to find contentment in that which I have. I felt the warning of the text, saying that whereas I might not feel as though I was desiring wealth, I was denying the contentment of a life lived under the grace of Christ, and failing to live under the authority of Jesus in every aspect. I was threatening to find myself in love of money. And therefore, dangling myself over the fires of temptation. I saw myself running headlong back toward the path of ruin and destruction... 
No matter the "godliness" of my efforts in my life, and no matter the "righteousness" of my desires for a new job, and for better hours, and better pay... if I fail to live in contentment, accepting the God would have me here, in my current job, my current season, for whatever purpose He may have for me in the future, then I am opening myself to the temptation of the love of money. And willingly walking in that path risks a craving strong enough to lead some away from the faith, and accepting the piercing promised to those who choose to wander away.

I fell asleep in prayer that morning. But the desires of my heart were called on the carpet. I need to rest in the arms of an all-sufficient Savior. I need to trust that the plans He has for me are ultimately to the praise of His glory. I need to know that He will place me where He needs me to accomplish His will through my life.