This sounds strange, but…

This is going to sound so totally random tonight…

One of the things I love about writing this is that it gives me a chance to reflect back on what happened through the day, what God showed me and did for me during the day. But this morning I heard this, and I thought immediately, “that’s what I’m writing about tonight!”

My pastor gave a really awesome message this morning (well, technically I suppose it was yesterday since I’m writing after midnight…again) about being dead to sin, not letting sin rule our lives as Believers. He took it from Romans 6. One of those services that becomes very real to you, like the Spirit is whispering right into your ear the whole time. And then, like that wasn’t enough, something absolutely profound happened at the end of the service.

The worship leader is praying to close everything out. I love hearing this guy pray because you can tell he’s seriously talking to God, I mean conversationally, not in some rehearsed speech or contrived language. He just talks to God when he prays, like he’s really just saying this to God and the microphone just happened to be there…the way it should be when we pray. But this morning as he starts to pray, he pauses for a second like he’s searching for the right words to say, and he prays, “Father, help us to live like we’re dead.”

I walked out of the building totally hung up on how profound that was.

I mean, think about it. The entire thrust of the morning was about truly living in God, in the freedom that Christ has given us, and therefore being dead to sin…accepting His life, and dying to the lusts of the flesh. What better way to sum it up: live like you’re dead. Because isn’t that what we’re supposed to be, is dead to the world? In the world, but not of it, and all that? Paul said we’re “crucified with Christ.” We’re dead to sin. We should live that way. We can, if we accept His victory over it.

“Father, help us to live like we’re dead.”

I guess we should all spend more time praying that this week, shouldn’t we?

The butterfly syndrome

So I have this friend who has ADD (Attention Defecit Disorder), and he told me one time that he joined this online discussion group called, “I’m A-D-ooh, look it’s a butterfly!-D.” I was joking with him over lunch today that the butterfly comment has since become this hysterical inside joke with us…he’ll get distracted, and I’ll make some comment like, “Oops. Butterfly.”

I guess you’d have to be there.

The only reason in the world that I even bring that up is because this in going to be a string of completely disconnected thoughts tonight.

I’m completely addicted to coffee. Today I haven’t had any. Purposely decided that I was going the entire day without it. I almost dozed off around 4 this afternoon, but otherwise I’m strong! Of course, tomorrow morning before class I’ll shoot my 24 hours of sobriety, but oh well…it was an achievement…

I hate daylight savings time! (or rather the lack of it) It was dark by like 6 this evening! That’s so depressing!

I’m streaming jazz in the background again…

Mid-terms almost killed me this semester…

Halloween is so screwed up…

So I was watching CNN a little while ago (while trying to do homework…yeah, that was productive), and this pastor was on there talking about this ministry he did called “Hell House” and how it was attempting to present sin and hell in the horrible reality that they are. And all these other fundamentalist full-of-themselves Christians (the kind that give us all a bad name) were on there preaching about how horrible it is that they were doing something that portrayed violence and sin and death and hell.

I get so sick of that. There’s a world full of Gen-Xers and Emergent Generation and youth that just aren’t going to respond to a pink flower and doves version of the Gospel. So somebody finally listens to God and goes outside of our precious box and gets creative in how to present Christ to the lost, and some straight-laced Baptist somewhere gets all offended and uptight. For crying out loud, loosen your tie and get over it. Jesus wasn’t the most polite and diplomatic and politically correct when He was presenting His Good News. Maybe we should follow that example. After all, it is His Good News. He probably knew how to present it.

Too many people are going to hell because we’re busy being diplomatic. Just a thought.

I love jazz.

Oops. Butterfly.

There’s something about jazz

So, we have this huge youth event tonight, and several of the kids in my youth group are in my car browsing through my iPod, and one of them finds a jazz album and starts playing it. Then the others are starting to make fun of her (and me), and they’re like, “Jazz? You’ve gotta be kidding me!”

But as I’m sitting down this evening to write this, I’m streaming a jazz station in the background, ’cause there’s just something about jazz. I almost always write with jazz in the background, study with jazz in the background, and sometimes I even go to sleep with jazz playing. There’s something about it that’s stimulating and relaxing at the same time. It helps me clear my head and focus.

I don’t think people who are into really structured thinking like it, though (I could be wrong…you know somebody’s going to leave a comment about that one). Jazz tends to be kind of sporadic in a way…kind of a creative flux. I knew this guy in college that always got really nervous whenever he listened to jazz. Couldn’t handle it. It was like caffeine to him or something.

Oh, well, different people like different things. Jesus loves all of us anyway, and hey, life would be pretty boring if we all were into the same things, right?

But for me…there’s something about jazz.

Flying Solo

So this afternoon, I got together with some old friends, and we went to see a mutual friend’s band play, hung out at Starbucks, you know…Friday night stuff. But I guess I was thinking today about friends, and how important they are. One of the most tremendous blessings I have in my life is that I have so many wonderful friends, Godly people. People who don’t just hang out with you on weekends (sometimes we have a few too many 3 a.m. mornings at IHOP on weekends), but that are there for you when you need something. People who will really get your back when you’re struggling with something. And even better, friends that are really praying for you when they say, “hey, I’m praying for you.” When they ask, “how are ya today,” they actually care about the answer. Real friends, not just fake exteriors.

There have been times in my life when I’ve been lacking in the area of friends, so I guess I appreciate it a lot.

Anyway, after a really great night (hard to find something to eat, though…why are there so few restaurants open after midnight?), I sat down to watch some TV, and I just found myself thinking about how amazing it is to be blessed with such incredible friends. And when we’re friends to each other like that, we’re not the only ones who notice. Jesus said that, “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35, NASB). Those around us who aren’t Christians should be absolutely blown away by the way we love each other as brothers and sisters. It should be amazing to them. And it should be amazing to us.

And I guess it challenges me, too. It challenges me to be the friend that I should be all the time, to listen, to help, to care, to pray.

So to all of my friends who read this, know that I love you guys, and I’m here for ya! Thanks for being who you are!

Fighting through a forest

I’m in kind of a somber mood tonight, so I’m not entirely sure how this one’s going to turn out…

Remember in James, when he said, “Every generous act and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights; with Him there is no variation or shadow cast by turning.” (James 1:17, HCSB)

When I first started walking with God, I stumbled onto that verse, and it was probably one of the first verses I memorized. I think it’s because that’s one of my favorite names for God in the Bible: the Father of Lights.

Everything good comes from Him. And He promised us in so many places through His Scripture that He would take care of us, never leave us or forsake us, always give us what we ask in His name.

I was thinking about that one earlier today; “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5b, NIV). I guess I was thinking of it in the context of His never leaving even when it feels like He has. Even when we feel totally alone and screwed, our logic has to kick in and remember that He promised He wasn’t gonna leave us out in the cold. Today I really didn’t go much further with it than that, but tonight I’ve come full circle.

Because tonight I’ve realized that it just doesn’t take a lot for us to feel like He’s ditched us. We have all those good things that come down from Him, all those “perfect gifts” in our lives, but one little aspect gets wierd, and we start to think it’s all a trainwreck. We get all depressed and ticked off over the smallest things. I had something happen to me this morning that was really unexpected, something that brought back a lot of memories and frustration…something that really wasn’t that big in the grand scheme of things. But I let it totally come back and hammer me thoughout the day, effect my thoughts throughout the day, mess up my motivations for doing things. By the time I sit down to write this, I’m close to feeling hopeless about some things. All because of one little event…just one. Suddenly I couldn’t see the forest for the tree.

But that doesn’t mean He ditched me, or checked out to help someone on the other side of the planet for a while, or got frustrated and stopped caring. He’s still here. He’s in me. He’s beside me. He’s taking care of it. He never left. He never stopped.

And He hasn’t with you, either.