Friday, May 30, 2008

Spelling Bees

I love watching the spelling bee on ESPN. First, it's really exciting and dramatic to see these kids spell crazy words and get all nervous. Second, it's always interesting to watch these uber-smart, socially dysfunctional kids, many of whom are indian or asian, probably because it reminds me of my sweatsuit-wearing, crooked glasses-donning, 4 foot 8 inch middle school self (the socially dysfuntional part not the uber-smart part). I'm watching right now, and I just saw a kid with the fullest peach-fuzz mustache I've ever seen in my life.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

How can I love God?

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. (1 John 4:10-11)

I've heard people say quite often: "it all boils down to this: Love God and Love People." And after all, that's what Jesus said. But to me the very next question is always: well, then, how do I love God? In fact, it usually sounds very burdensome to me: I know I must love God...God, how can I love you? I want to love you so much, but I'm always failing! God, I feel like such a failure!

But perhaps the key to Loving God and therefore to loving others isn't "how do I love God?" at all. 1 John 4 says the key is "do you know God's love for you?" And then the task becomes really knowing and grasping that radical love...which is the most counter-intuitive thing to do in the world. And then perhaps we can love God...and then perhaps we can love others.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Peeling back the layers

We had a chance to spend some time with my friend/mentor, Elton, who is a church planter in San Jose, and he said something that stuck with me. He was telling me about someone he went to seminary with who took a job at a church that fell through. Stripped of his title of "pastor" and without a church, he was devastated, to the point of questioning his faith. Then he said, "if you peel back the layers of your life and at the core, it's not Jesus...well, then, you're basically screwed."

For myself, I have to wonder what's at the core it the hope of a successful pastoral career? Is it my wife? Is it my own need to control my life and circumstances, maybe even through religion? Is it the approval of family or friends or people I look up to? Or is it at the core, just being a child of God? Life is about peeling back the layers...if I don't do it, God will do it for me.