Monthly Archives: October 2008

A Flattering Morning

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My favorite time of the day... morning.

My favorite time of the day... morning.

I woke up refreshed this morning. It’s amazing the difference a good night’s rest will make.

I was out of coffee this morning which gave me the perfect excuse to go to Starbucks and get a “grande, sugar free hazelnut, no-room-but-a-dash-of-soy-milk, Americano.”

I got to the office at 6:55, chatted with our lovely receptionist and then headed up to the fourth floor of our Global Ministry Center (a.k.a. world headquarters).

The lights were off, cubes were quiet, and I was contently sipping my coffee as I checked my personal email accounts.

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Music of the Heart

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My only regret thus far is not having learned to play

My only regret thus far is not having learned to play

For those of you who know me at all, you know that I have an affinity for music. Not because I sing well or know how to play an instrument, although I wish I did. No, I take pleasure in music because of the way that I come to identify with it.

Perhaps I am even misleading in this. I identify and take pleasure in the word-pictures that are sung to a moving melody. The confessions, metaphors, and lyrics that are gently said, nearly whispered, in harmony and to the rhythm of an acoustic guitar or piano. There is something indescribably pure and innocent about music that I find solace in.

There are a handful of specific artists that seem to sing my life song. Songs that sing of enraptured joys, struggles, triumphs, the pains of growth and refinement, and the hope of plans yet to be realized.

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Cliché, but true.

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I don't cheer when I write my checks, but I am grateful that I can write them at all.

I don't cheer when I write my checks, but I am grateful that I can write them at all.

“You can’t out-give God.” We have all heard it. Every pastor says it during the part of the service when they take up tithes and offerings. It a trademark line; a way of convicting (or convincing you) that if you give to the Lord, He will give back to you.

For the longest time, before I actually started tithing, I thought it was “scammy;” a little on the disingenuous side.

And it bugged me.

“How can they say that? How do they know that the Lord will give back?”

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Me and Pete

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a floaty... just in case.

a floaty... just in case.

Have you ever read your Bible like a fiction novel? I don’t mean to imply that you should or that it is not completely true and non-fictional. It is conclusively the infallible word of God. I simply mean that sometimes, taking a step-back from the pre-determined and instructed form of studying it may grant us the perspective that is more potent and penetrating to our emotional souls than to our spiritual minds.

My favorite books of the Bible are more filled with characters and testimonies of the human struggle than with world history. For example, I prefer the gospels and Psalms over Numbers or Deuteronomy. I suspect that many may agree, but allow me to explain why.

Within the gospels is the story not only of our Savior, but of the men that followed. His disciples consisted of a collection of fishermen, tax-collectors, doctors, and writers. Normal. Average. Not particularly special for any other reason than the fact that they were called and responded.

That being said, I often find it encouraging to read the accounts of Jesus’ miracles (feeding the five thousand, healing the lame, giving sight to the blind, ascending into heaven, etc.) not merely because of the signs and wonders of our God, but because of the response of his followers.

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The Great Game of Spiritual Chess

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I tried learning once... it didn't go well.

I tried learning once... it didn't go well.

Sunday was a great day. For a lot of reasons. For starters, the weather was absolutely stunning. Crystal clear blue skies that were merely intensified by the spectacular rays of sunshine that seemed to brighten everything they landed on; the warmth of the sun on my cheek as I sat outside with a friend over lunch felt like a gentl kiss, romancing my whole spirit. It was intoxicating. It was a great day to be in the house of the Lord, praising Him with His church, His bride.

Church was another reason that the day was extraordinary. We had a guest pastor…from Texas. I don’t know if I have ever mentioned that I am from Texas. His southern twang and use of distinctly southern adjectives and phrases made me feel right at home.

Now, I have been told on a number of occasions that I don’t sound like I’m from Texas. A fact that I am proud of. However, I do appreciate the southern draw, especially when I am far from the motherland.

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Elliptical Epiphany

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I like to work out. And due to some extensive knee surgery in high school, I like to stick with the elliptical. Despite the fact that my gym has roughly seventy-two TV’s, they are never turned to any channel that I find interesting enough to keep my mind off my work out. Listening to music doesn’t help my attention span either. Talking with someone is my preference, but my lack of oxygen prohibits me from having a conversation much longer than three words. So how do I pass the time?

I have started listening to podcasted sermons on my ipod.

working out to hermanutics and such

working out to hermanutics and such

It has proven to be the best way to hold my attention and focus. Not only does is not get boring (because I haven’t heard them before like the songs on my play list) but I can actually work out longer because I am no longer constantly looking down at the clock on my machine. I’m concentrating on what is being said. Who knew?

A few days ago while “elliptizing,” I was listening to a sermon called “Hands and Feet” by Matt Chandler at The Village Church in Dallas, Texas. And something hit home… hard.

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Comfort in Company

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getting in is the hardest part

getting in is the hardest part

I take comfort in being able to identify with people. I like knowing that I am not alone. For example, the other night while my roommates and I were watching the Olympics I randomly spoke up and asked, “When you moved into your first apartment and really broke ground for your independence, were you nervous? Were you anxious at all about how it would all work out and whether or not you really had what it took to do it?”

The looked at one another and smiled (they are both slightly older and therefore much wiser). With simple nods and loving explanations they recapped their first-time apartment experiences.

 

There is something about knowing that you are not the first one on the boat headed down a new river that is reassuring. You put in and push off into calm and fluid waters; gently flowing forward with soft ripples tenderly breaking the glassy surface. Yet, it is inevitable that rapids will come; turbulent waters will approach, especially when it rains and the waters rise. More than being afraid of the rapids, I tend to be afraid that I am and will be the only one to face those particular waters.

I have never been one for white water-rafting. I don’t get a thrill from putting myself in potentially dangerous situations. Ironically though, every time I have gone (and by that I mean, pressured to go), I always end up having a great time. I think there are several reasons for this.

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