Category Archives: God
After the D6 conference, I received an open invitation by Lantz Howard to guest blog about my experience. The opportunity was open to anyone so I decided to write about Dr. Kevin Leman’s talk on how parents can get their kids to understand parental authority and ultimately the authority God has in their lives.
A psalm of David.
The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
he leads me beside quiet waters,
He guides me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD
When I was a kid, the church we went to had a huge tapestry in the foyer. Depicted on it was a pasture with nearly a hundred shades of green. Etched around the edges was this psalm of David. Passing by this every Sunday morning, evening and Wednesday night numbed me to it’s beauty and the power it’s words have for life. I can’t say that I have ever heard a sermon preached on it. I don’t think it was ever one of my required memory verses. I have recently come back to this neglected verse and it has become a source of strength for me.
God is always doing one better. It is not enough for God that he provides physical nourishment with green pastures – he restores my soul. The journey he is taking me on wanders deeper than beside quiet waters – he guides me in paths of righteousness. The darkest evils are ignored when we realize his presence is greater, his rod and staff mightier and his comfort so assuring that we can feast at his table right in front of our enemies. When God anoints with oil…
Abiding in him, love and goodness follow.
This is where I want to serve from. What would happen in my family if I lived in the 23rd Psalm. How would the ministry God has given me be affected if it is out of the overflow of what he is doing in my life? If I were walking in paths of righteousness for HIS namesake instead of mine, what would look different?
The LORD is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want … but to follow.
There’s nothing like a baby being plopped on top of you and the smell of ammonia rousing you into wakefulness. Being a dad has it’s perks and lately they seem to come in especially pungent smells. With the addition of cloth diapers into our family’s daily parenting rituals, fatherhood has entered an all new state of nasal excellence!
While on the one hand, being woke up by the smell of diaper death does not make for a happy morning, it was a sweet reminder that I am a dad. I can think of a million more pleasant smells that remind me I am a dad – playdough being squished under my feet, a bowl of soggy cheerios, melted chocolate on the car seat, baby shampoo, macaroni and cheese or peanut butter and jelly. Sometimes we can quite simply “smell” our kids coming from the other room.
I wonder what we smell like to God. In 2nd Corinthians chapter 2, Paul says,
“But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life.”
He says that we are to God the aroma of Christ but then says we are the smell of death to some (those who are perishing) and the fragrance of life to others (those who are being saved). I once had a friend who looked down on Christians. He would say things like, “that reeks of Christianity.” He had been burned by some Christian’s and the deathly smell of smoke still burned his nostrils. For him, the aroma of Christ was an unwanted scent that unfortunately was probably tied to a well intentioned Christian who just wanted to smell good. We never want to be the smelly kid in class. Sometimes the smelly kid was the one who tried too hard to smell good! In order for our aroma as Christians to be one that makes people salivate, it cannot be too overpowering!
We underestimate our sense of smell sometimes. It really is amazing how what we smell can give us cues about the world around us. Walking in the door and smelling onions being sautéed. Fight or flight mechanisms in our brain going into alert mode when we smell smoke. We say “something smells fishy” when we feel unsure. Smells remind us of familiar places and long lost memories. This morning I woke up with the smell of diaper death beating up the sunrise. For some reason, it made me think of all the smelly situations we can get ourselves in and how the aroma of Christ is clouded by a foggy stench of our own sin at times. Paul says that when we smell good, God leads us in triumphal procession! We are the smell of defeat or the smell of victory.
Smell good to those around you today!
“What does the palace look like?”, I asked.
“It looks like a human body,” he replied.
“Wow, that sounds neat! How do Jesus and God get inside?”
“You just ask them and they go in through your heart!”
I think at this point Andrew got distracted by a noise in the other room. He is seven years old yet I learn from him nearly every time we get together with his family or see them at church. He is truly remarkable and I cannot wait to see what God has in store for him. He is already using him mightily.
I just finished reading Brian McLaren’s A New Kind of Christian. I was not sure what to expect when I picked it up other than the fact the McLaren was rethinking how Christians think about things and sharing his insights with the world. After completing the first of the trilogy following the spiritual journey of Dan and Neo, I feel very similar to how Dan descibed himself at one point – very excited but mildly depressed. I am excited because I feel that McLaren has captured much of my own frustrations and anxieties over the current state of Christianity and the dialogue between Neo and Dan captures many of the questions I have had for some time and allows for dialogue – not necessarily answers – about them. The mild depression I find myself in is the result of a “now what” feeling I am left with. I think I am going to let McLaren’s words marinate for a while before trying to move on to the practical side of things. Right now there are certainly more questions than answers.