A Breath of Fresh Air

Glimpse the Living God.

Location: Virginia, United States

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Radical Creation

I have had an amazing artistic life transforming experience! I watched the movie Moulin Rouge last night. That movie captured everything that goes on in my head. It's what my world looks like - for all of you who were wondering, watch the movie! It's someone's unchecked imagination. Someone wrote what they were thinking - not what they thought they should be thinking. Too often, Christians temper their raw, crazy radical emotions. We try to make sense of everything, and make sure that all of our actions have reason and purpose.

People, wake up! Be free! Imagine, dance, sing, and be artistically naked! Our amazing all powerful mighty God did not restrain Himself when he created this world! What must it have been like when He spoke the universe into being? There was nothing, then God imagined a world - His world - and it was. He must have been full of life and joy as he let his thoughts run wild. Did he laugh hysterically when He stood back and surveyed all His hands had created? Did he run around in His creation, enjoying the feel of the wind and the grass under his bare feet? Did Jesus and the Holy Spirit look at Father God with a measure of concern as He went about in a frenzy, totally ecstatic to be living in His dream world? I like to think they joined Him in his childlike amazement at all that was now possible. It must have been with giddy excitement, flushed cheeks, and crazy hair that He turned to His Son and Spirit and said, "We've got to share this! This is way too good to keep to ourselves!" I think He even surprised Himself when He created humans. It wasn't just good - it was very good. He must have been on the brink of insanity as He gave His precious child a tour of the universe. So excited to show him everything that had been created for him to enjoy.

How can I take such artistic license with our creator? Is this blasphemy? I think not. Why not? Because we were created in His image! How do you feel when you have accomplished something great? What does your heart feel when you stare at nature - the stars, a mountain, the view from a mountain, the ocean? Does it not leap in your chest? What did you experience as you gazed at your child for the very first time? God has created us to share in His creation! Christ died so that we might have abundant life! The Lord has shared with us what makes Him extatic! The ultimate artist has blessed us with artistic gifts and talents. What a shame it will be to get to Heaven and realize that we boxed ourselves into our mundane thoughts without exploring what God has for us. What would this world be like if God had not allowed Himself to just imagine and dream?

So often, we turn ourselves away from dark, sometimes horrific art. In reading the Old Testament, I believe that the dark is here for us as well. The dark makes us who we are. Don't run from it - embrace it. When God brings darkness into your life, explore that too.

Judges 19:22-29
22 While they were enjoying themselves, some of the wicked men of the city surrounded the house. Pounding on the door, they shouted to the old man who owned the house, "Bring out the man who came to your house so we can have sex with him."

23 The owner of the house went outside and said to them, "No, my friends, don't be so vile. Since this man is my guest, don't do this disgraceful thing. 24 Look, here is my virgin daughter, and his concubine. I will bring them out to you now, and you can use them and do to them whatever you wish. But to this man, don't do such a disgraceful thing."

25 But the men would not listen to him. So the man took his concubine and sent her outside to them, and they raped her and abused her throughout the night, and at dawn they let her go. 26 At daybreak the woman went back to the house where her master was staying, fell down at the door and lay there until daylight.

27 When her master got up in the morning and opened the door of the house and stepped out to continue on his way, there lay his concubine, fallen in the doorway of the house, with her hands on the threshold. 28 He said to her, "Get up; let's go." But there was no answer. Then the man put her on his donkey and set out for home.

29 When he reached home, he took a knife and cut up his concubine, limb by limb, into twelve parts and sent them into all the areas of Israel. 30 Everyone who saw it said, "Such a thing has never been seen or done, not since the day the Israelites came up out of Egypt. Think about it! Consider it! Tell us what to do!"

That, my friends, is dark.
God did not leave it out of His holy word - why?
Do not blind yourselves to the reality of life, and do not shelter your children so much that they are ignorant of the world.

It is God only and not other Christians that we need to be comparing ourselves to. It is the Bible only and not any self help Christian book that we need to measure our lives by. Seek godly counsel, be accountable to each other, but at the end of the day, it is God only that you must answer to.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Bumper Stickers

To go along with a fish symbol on a car:
I don't hate you, I just love Him.

99.9% of the decisions I make for my life have nothing to do with you.

The way you think it is isn't always the way it is.

Do us all a favor and get over yourself.

In life, people will disagree with you. Love them anyway.

I'll be in my own world if you ever want to visit.

If no one is returning your messages - take the hint and stop calling!

Women's lib is for masachists - I'd rather be treated like a princess!

Even Satan believes in God - what makes you different?

Numbness Sucks

God is the ultimate artist - He painted the sky, He sculpted the mountains, He created life, He wrote the Bible, He composed songs for the birds, He chose colors for the flowers, He inveted scents like pine, lemon, and berry. (okay that was more of a random thought than a bumper sticker, but, hey, it's my blog! :-)

Friday, July 15, 2005

Somewhat disjointed thoughts about Teens

1Timothy 4:12
Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.

Last night, I had the amazing pleasure to attend a meeting of the first youth group of our newly planted church. The kids, ranging from middleschool age to High School age presented their ideas of what they want their youth group to be. They informed us of already existing areas in the church that they would like to participate in. The areas were:
Greeting/handing out bulletins, participating in drama and music, running the lights, sound board, and powerpoint presentations. They also presented a video that outlined some of the fun activities that they would like to do together. Things like camping, going to concerts, conferences, water parks, miniature golf, etc. The adults and the kids interacted throughout the entire program and there was a definite sense of unity. The kids were on fire for the Lord and for the start of their new group.

What I noticed last night above all (that was dramatically lacking in my youth group) was that the adults truly believe in these kids. They are not there to micromanage them, or to pound them into carbon copies of what they think a Christian should be. They are dedicated to the Lord and to the Bible, and they are there simply to guide these kids, stand back, and watch the amazing things that they will do for the glory of God.

There is a gender gap where adults have the tendency to try to provide for the next generation everything that they wish they had growing up. However, that is not good enough. The kids of today do not want or need what we wish we had 15+ years ago. Our duty as adults is to dialogue with these kids and find out what their heartbeat is. What do they wish they had? What do they need? We should not assume they will want exactly what we wanted. We should also not assume that if we had gotten everything we wanted, that we would have been happy.

When driving a car, we don't jerk the wheel around every time we veer slightly off course. We sit back, let the car go where it needs to go, and make slight corrections as necessary. Yet, when teenagers come up with unconventional ideas, we automatically reach for the wheel - for their own good, so that they don't screw up their lives, so that they don't have to suffer the pain of failure - or some other ridiculously "good reason". Hang on - it's just a slight veer, and it may not even be off course! If they do end up in the ditch - we have insurance, and they've learned a valuable life lesson.

The kids that I met last night are passionate about life, God, and their futures. Right now, they can either be built up, or torn down. We can pour life into them, or suck life out of them. We can encourage them, of deflate them. As adults, are we going to sit them down, teach them about their wings, how they work, all the safety precautions to take, what to do in case of an emergency, and our fears about actually using them. Or, are we going to say, "I'm here if you need me," and then stand back and let them fly?