Friday, August 24, 2018

The pallbearer 

In 1949, Sarah Margaret Chaney glided down the center aisle of First Methodist Church in the small town of Clinton, Louisiana radiating beauty and joy. Sixty-nine years later, a photo of her vibrant smile graced the front and center of that same country church as her family and friends gathered to visit, pray, sing, reminisce, and celebrate her life so well lived and her heavenly homecoming. Her daughter Susan beamed her usual joy as she took her daddy’s arm and walked under the huge and ancient cedar tree to the burial site. Uncle Kenny made us laugh (he always does) and Barbara’s eulogy made me reach for my handkerchief. The great grandkids ran around and broke the silence bringing us all great comfort- these new little lives in the midst of loss. We had our sweet tea and fried chicken and jambalaya and banana pudding in the church’s fellowship hall where the neatly painted cinder block walls have bathrooms labeled “men” and “ladies.” We’re on the road home but I’m thankful for the time together (I’m kind of the smartest person ever for marrying into the sweetest family on earth) and for this kindhearted lady who made such an impact on so many. Our lives are short- but a breath- but they really do mean something for forever. See you soon, Ms Sarah. Give my daddy a hug for me.  

Monday, August 20, 2018

Where are you?

It was right after I had a fleeting thought that maybe studying the Bible was getting old, doubting how could I learn something from a passage I've read so many times, when it was almost like a splash of freezing cold water on a sleepy face- these aren't just words. They are living and breathing gold mines that go deeper than you could ever know.

Case in point.

After the first sin- the biggest and most consequential act of disobedience- God simply had one question.

"Where are you?"

Doesn't that speak volumes about who this God is?

If it were me, I would have and could have raged with anger saying things like...

"What were you thinking?"

"How DARE you?"

"I gave you ONE rule."

"Do you realize that you have screwed EVERYTHING up?"

"Do you know how much pain and suffering you've caused for the entirety of all of the world for ages to come?"

"Was all of Paradise and unencumbered relationship with me not enough?"

"Did you really think I was holding out on you?"

"Why did you doubt my love for you?  Did you think I was lying?"


God doesn't say that.  Because God's ways are not our ways and God's thoughts are not our thoughts. He loves us more than we can understand.

He simply asks, "Where are you?"

He doesn't shame because that's not God's nature.  Shame is a big, damaging, relational death bomb.  In fact, I think that's why so many of us are running from God, hiding from God even now just like Adam and Eve did because we are afraid that God will shame us.  We perceive our guilt and there is still a serpent accuser still whispering lies about who we are and what we've done and who God is when in fact, all God is saying with a big heart of love is...

"Where are you?"

So where am I?  Where are you?  Where are we?

Are we running to God in our weakness and fear and frailty or are we running away?

Let's run back to Him.  He's ready to receive you with open arms, healing balms for our wounded hearts, and a covering for our sin that cost Him everything.

If you want to and you're local, you can sit on my back porch on Tuesdays at 8:00 and laugh with me and my ridiculous know-it-all notion that I had the Bible figured out.  Because learning about God together is the best way to go about it- hands down.  And if my back porch doesn't work for you, find  a group that is running to God and join them.  Because no matter how far away we are from Him, I am certain all of Heaven rejoices at that first tiny step back.

Find your tribe and do life together- this is God's best for us.  Just check out the data!  God doesn't want us isolated, hiding in shame and fear.  God wants us living in community and relationship- eyeball to eyeball.  Let's run together. 

Where are you?