Thursday, December 27, 2007

On peace and feces

Perhaps you've heard that the toilet was invited by a guy called Thomas Crapper. I finally decided to look it up tonight. What a jip. Thomas Crapper didn't invent the toilet but he did have a very successful plumbing business and had his last name plastered all over manhole covers and toilets. Quite the legacy.

So I've been going through some crap for the past two weeks.

Emotional crap is tricky business. Just when you think you've got a lid on it, something happens and you get to deal with the crap all over again. I feel flushed. I feel totally wiped. Heh. Seriously.

Anywho, I've been wrestling with some severe emotional heartaches and heartbreaks lately and trying to keep my eyes on God for some sanity. A friend of mine had a verse for me tonight:

"You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You." Isa. 26:3

Interesting. All I have to do for the peace I so desperately crave right now is to keep God on my mind and to plain ol', flat out trust Him. Hmmm. That isn't so easy when I feel like crap.

I found a few other verses that go along with that..

"'I create the fruit of the lips:
Peace, peace to him who is far off and to him who is near,'
Says the Lord,
'And I will heal him.'" Isa. 57:19

"..Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives I give to you.." John 14:27,28

"..and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." Phil. 4:7

So I guess that my conclusion is that crap is going to happen and it's going to stink. It must be dealt with eventually. As much as I wanna pick up the phone and make a bigger mess of things, I'm going to keep my mind on the Lord and trust Him. He knows what's up. I don't need to panic or be depressed. What's important is that I recall to my mind that my God is orchestrating this season of my life and will work out the crap that seems to be stinking up my world at the moment.

OH and I just remembered another verse about crap..

"Then Ehud reached with his left hand, took the dagger from his right thigh, and thrust it into his belly. Even the hilt went in after the blade, and the fat closed over the blade, for he did not draw the dagger out of his belly; and his entrails came out." Jgs 3:20-22

The sword went in and the crap came out. So, too, the Sword of the Spirit goes into my life and the crap comes flowing out.

Here's the magic of the whole thing: God can actually take our crap and turn it into a thing of beauty and value. I have no idea how but God is really good at doing that. Earlier this month, I heard about the International Rhino Foundation auctioning off dried rhino poop on eBay for wildlife conservation funding. How much more creative and ingenious is my God than those rhino people?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Pass the fruitcake..

Have you ever heard Christians talk about being fruitful?

Fruitful. Bearing fruit. FRUIT. What the crap? Are they all gay? Health nuts? What then?

"Fruit" in the Bible is symbolic. Just like an apple tree produces apples, healthy Christian produce fruit. Track with me and lets explore this..

What exactly is the fruit that the Bible talks about? Here are a few specific examples:

Turning from sin and leading a holy life (Rom. 6:22)
Good works (Col. 1:10)
Leading people to Christ (Rom. 1:13)
Praising God (Heb. 13:15)
Giving tithes and offerings (Rom. 15:28)

And these are all summed up in the ultimate fruit
LOVE! (Gal 5:22)

Soooo.. you may be saying, "Bill, that's great but I really don't care!"

Do you realize that God doesn't exist for you? YOU exist for God. (Col. 1:16) You and I were created for HIS pleasure and glory. I cannot find satisfaction in life if I'm not bearing fruit!!! It's true. I've tried it and so have zillions of other people but to no avail. I must bear fruit to find contentment, satisfaction, and to bring pleasure to God. After all, the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.

Check it..

On his deathbed, Jacob referred to his favorite son Joseph:
"Joseph is a fruitful bough,
A fruitful bough by a well;
His branches run over the wall." Gen 49:22

Joseph was fruitful in every one of the ways I mentioned earlier. So, what's the secret of Joseph being fruitful? Simple: he was by a well. See, throughout the Word of God, the Bible is symbolized by water (Eph. 5:26). Joseph planted his roots in the waters of the scriptures. He grounded himself in God's truths and precepts. "He [the person that delights and meditates in the Word of God] shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water that brings forth its fruit in it season, whose leaf also shall not wither, and whatever he does shall prosper." Ps. 1:3
That's the key, Gang! The fruit naturally starts popping out as we're meditating on the Word of God. Joseph's roots were sunk deeply in the waters and it kept him from shriveling up and drying out.

Here's the key to this whole concept..

Jesus said in John 15

"I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away [or lifts up] and every branch that bears fruit He prunes [or washes], that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoke to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing."

The word for "takes away" is "airo" in the Greek. It means to lift up. In a vineyard, the vinedressers lift up any branch that is down in the mud and prop them up on a stick or something so that they can start bearing fruit. The ones that are already bearing fruit are pruned (or washed) so that they'll bear even more fruit. This is what God is doing with you and me. How? The very next sentence says "You are already clean because of the WORD..." That's it! As we ABIDE in Christ and let the waters of the Word wash through us, we'll produce fruit. Fruit cannot be faked (well, not for long). It just naturally starts popping out as we're attached to the Vine and receiving the waters of the Word.

The last part of Gen 49:22 mentions that Joseph's branches ran over the wall. The idea is that his fruitfulness affected people around him. (Actually, a whole nation was saved from famine because of Joseph, but that's for another day.) As you and I bear fruit, our families, coworkers, friends, and neighbors will get blessed and refreshed by that fruit.

We're never supposed to try, force, or strain to be fruitful. Just hang in there, Homie. Be a branch, hang in there, and abide in the Vine. Let His truths and scriptures permeate your life. Without even trying, you'll find yourself loving people and producing much fruit. God will be glorified. You'll be satisfied. People around you will be blessed and refreshed. Woot, woot.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Totally righteous, Dude!!

What's up mah Homies?!

I've been chewing on this rockin verse this week -

"For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." 2 Cor. 5:21

Jesus died for me. I get that. I'm a big fat jerk and Jesus died in my place for my sin. However, the second part of the verse is blowing my mind this week. Not only did Jesus die for my sin but I have become totally righteous as well. It's the doctrine of substitutionary atontment.

You're saying, "umm, what?"

Ok, look. Jesus died a brutal bloody death for my sins. On that day, Jesus was totally butchered and nailed because of my crap. God treated Jesus AS THOUGH HE HAD LIVED MY LIFE.

But that's only the first half….

God now looks at me AS THOUGH I LIVED JESUS' LIFE. See, Jesus was absolutely perfect. He never had a temper tantrum as a baby. He never stole his brother's toy as a child. He never flipped through a Playboy as a teen. He never got caught up in money and greed as a young man. He was totally righteous for 33 years. That perfect life is now pinned on ME. God treated Jesus on that day as if Jesus had lived my life and God now views me as if I had lived Jesus' life.

This is why Jesus didn't come for a weekend, die on the cross, and go back to heaven. Why did he live 33 years on this earth? It was not primarily to relate to people or teach or be an example, though that happened as well. The primary reason Jesus came for that many years was to switch lives with me (and you, too). He lived the perfect life on my behalf and then died the death that I deserved. AMAZING.

How does this change me today? Today, I am totally convinced that God is going to bless me, take care of me, and have incredible favor upon me. It's not because I'm a good guy – I'm not. It's because I have literally BECOME the righteousness of God IN Christ. I don't totally get it but I'm really glad about it.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

My hair is on fire!

We hear a lot about "faith to heal" but what about "faith to be sick?" We hear, "have faith to succeed," but what about "faith to be in last place?"

Check out this rockin verse.

"Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him." - Job 13:15

Job lost everything - his family, his stuff, his health. Job busts out a crazy faith in God that's the REAL DEAL. Job declares that even if God zaps him down for whatever reason, Job will STILL trust God and follow him.


This past week, a very close person to me wrote a suicide note and prepared to end it all. Why? Because life got too difficult and uncertain. Financial problems, marital issues, health dilemas - and it was just too hard to cope. Even doing her best, everything was still falling apart. She landed herself in the emergency room from such intense stress and anxiety.

The type of faith that Job is touching on is genuine. Sure, trusting God will often times bring you prosperity and success. However, that is not the ESSENCE of faith. Real trust in God does not attempt to manipulate. Real trust in God holds up even when the world collapses down.

Even in the darkest and most depressing day, you and I can have this type of faith in God. Without faith, it is IMPOSSIBLE to please him. When Job said his piece (read it again at the top), Satan lost the game.

Remember those three godly dudes that wouldn't bow down to Nebuchadnezzar's golden idol? Nebuchadnezzar told the three of them that he would throw them into a huge furnace if they wouldn't bow down and worship the idol. Check out this JOB-LIKE FAITH in their response:

"Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up." (Dan. 3:16-18)

They CHOSE to trust God REGARDLESS of the outcome. "Tourched? Great. Deliverd? Great. Whatever God chooses is cool with us so we're just gunna trust him."

Lately, I've been going through some pretty dark days. Everything is up in the air. Many difficult decisions have been made and troubling conversations have taken place. I don't understand why certain stuff has happened in my life. No matter what does or does not happen, God wants me to trust him..


He wants you to trust him. Just trust him.

You may love God but do you trust him? Trust is a greater compliment than love. Ever seen a relationship where there is love but not trust? Those types of relationships absolutely suck.

The greatest compliment you can give to your God today is to tell him that you ABSOLUTELY trust him. That is what God wants from you and me while we're going through crap and unsure what the hell is going on. If you're not trusting, you'll have restless nights and be full of anxiety. However, trust annihilates anxiety.

So how do we trust God?

First, just give up. You won't find peace and serenity until you surrender. Give up trying to control your situation and surrender the outcome to God.

Next, be content with whatever you have and wherever you are. Be cool with where you're living, who you're married to, the job you work at. Want whatever you get and nothing more. Be thankful for exactly what you have because that's what God has hooked you up with.
Finally, realize that God gives his best to us when we come to him with NO agenda and NO demands. Try it. Have a quick chat with the Father and tell him that you absolutely and totally trust him. Tell him that you don't care what the outcome is and that you simply give it up to him to figure out. And mean it. Suddenly, you and I will be able to have incredible peace and serenity regardless of our circumstances.

"Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him."

Sunday, August 5, 2007

pondering my mood

Preparing for my adventure that begins tomorrow, memories since moving back to ATL last winter are floating around in my head. Dominating my limited attention is the beautiful romance I shared with a terrific young lady. I didn't bargain for the heartbreak that has followed an intensely passionate journey yet I'm thankful all the same. So many lessons to be learned while exploring the art of loving others, it reminds me just how moving emotions can be. I wrote last year on this blog about loving with all your heart regardless of the consequences. It was easier to scribe those words at the time because my heart felt fine. I still believe it today, though it now comes with a lump in my throat. As Dave Matthews sings, don't burn the day away. Our lives are short and so very uncertain. I'll continue to live each day in the fullest way I know how. Sure, there are regrets at times. None of us really know what we're doing. While learning to go through a surprisingly difficult post-breakup depression, I'll still be the advocate for loving everyone without limits or boundaries.

And with that said, what a perfect time for this trip. I'm looking forward to blocks of several hours completely alone in the wilderness. Jesus made time to get away and hang out with the Father. I've sadly neglected that time with him this summer and I'd like to jump back in head-first. He's the source of my joy and healing so I need to just sorta chill with him and get my mind straight. Meetin the hippies will be a blast as well. My djembe has been acting as my nightstand for six months - what a tragedy.

As for my status, I'm off the market for awhile. This next season will be one of restoration and renewing: physically, financially, emotionally, and spiritually. I'll probably write more often during the next several months so stay tuned for new episodes from my screwed up brain.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Is anyone else tired of weddings?

I'm not anti-wedding.

I'm just tired of them this season.

I woke up this morning after another wedding nightmare. There I was, running around in a panic at my own wedding and decided at the last minute to leave. Sorry, Sweetie. Your fella just left you with a room full of guests and a now-available extra spot on the honeymoon cruise you've been looking forward to. Ya, I've had several of these similar dreams lately.

I'm in yet another wedding this month and I'm eating peanut butter sandwiches so that I can put away the money required for the $145 tux and super-expensive bachelor party. Is anyone else getting tired of shelling out money and going through the motions or is it just me? If I ever get married - which I'm not planning on doing - it's going to be very simply and enjoyable. Stick me on the beach in my shorts for a 20 minute ceremony and I'm good to go. Why do we tend to make everything in life so complicated?

Ehh, I'm not the party pooper. I'll be ready to go in two weeks with a smile on my face, a champagne flute in my hand, and a polished best-man speech to tickle the ears. I guess all the hoopla is all for the bride anyways.

Friday, March 16, 2007

$370 million

For the past few days, the talk at work has been centered around this huge lottery that's breaking records. We've had several team lotto pools (everyone chips in to buy lots of tickets and agrees to split any winnings)..
I found myself this morning pondering the possibilities of what I could do with tens of millions of dollars. Before long, my mind painted colorful fantasies on the walls of my imagination.

I remembered a few truths tonight as I worshipped at 7|22. A couple lyrics in particular from one of the songs brought me back to where I needed to be -
"Jesus, you're the well that won't run dry. Jesus, you're the drink that satisfies... we will thirst no more when we drink from You.."
Yeah. The money is not what I need. It would not satisfy me. Not even $370 million could fulfill the longings in my heart and soul. I'm already rich and already have infinately more than the lotto jackpot. I have Jesus and He is the one and only source of real life. Regardless of what my bank account looks like, I have the option each day to be filled with joy and life or to be empty and miserable. It all depends on what source I'm drinking from to quench the thirsts of my desires and appetites.

Tonight, I choose to find my identity and wholeness in the person of Jesus. That makes me one rich dude. Jump on board with me. I want to see heaven crowded. I want to see my friends living awesome lives and being used for radical purposes until then.

Monday, February 12, 2007

I am Afrika

So I went to an African wedding tonight, complete with a Tanzanian choir. It was off the chain. I danced like a crazy white boy in the middle of a crowd of Africans for three hours. I even snagged a number off the only white chick there under 50. I did chat up this one girl from Kenya with a huge headwrap but I think a little short dude was ready to fight me for his African princess. WOOT.

I'm moving to Africa tomorrow. I'll catch yall on the flip side..

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Jewish Alligators

I randomly came to Savannah this morning and got a hotel for the night on Hilton Head Island. After letting myself in the hotel room I decided to have a little stroll on the beach in the moonlight. In front of the hotel is a large pond with beautiful trails all over the place. As I was walking on the path towards the beach I noticed signs on the waters edge (only 5ft from the path). They said in large red letters:



I freaked. Wouldn't you? There was no way of telling how many alligators there were or how hungry they might be on a lonesome Sunday night. Thus, I'm back in the hotel instead of braving the wild.

I thought about these stupid signs. If the signs weren't there, I would never have freaked because it would not have occurred to me that alligators could be just a few feet from me. It reminded me about a huge reality about God.

Why did God give the law and commandments? It was not to save us. It was simply to educate us on just how messed up we are and then point us to Jesus. If God never gave His laws then I wouldn't have realized that I needed a savior. However, just like those alligator warning signs, the law of God shouts out to you and me:

Warning! You're a sinner! You're not perfect!

The Bible says that the law was given as a 'schoolmaster' to lead us to Jesus.

Christianity is not comprised of a list of Do's and Don'ts. It's simply folks that realize, by reading the 'alligator signs', that they aren't perfect and need an alternate route to God. Be thankful for the impossible law that God gave because it will lead you to Jesus and a simple love relationship with Him. Once there, you can just chill in the truth that the impossible commandments have been fulfilled perfectly and credited as if you did it yourself. It's a sweet deal.