“For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters,
and hewed out for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.” –Jeremiah 2:13
Here in the start of Jeremiah, God is calling out His people for turning to their broken wells, but we read that doing so was only one of two sins they had committed. The other was that they had turned from Him, the only fountain of living water.
So it seems that turning from the broken wells that we have made for ourselves is only part of the answer. As going to them was only part of our sin. We must once again return to Him who is the fountain. For it is only here that we can be truly satisfied. It is only once we return to that fountain that we shall be able to drink our fill and be truly satisfied.
But in doing so we must confess that somewhere down there line there was a shift in our hearts. For each of us who has made a broken well there was first a belief that God could, or would, no longer satisfy us....
By now some of you have already lapsed on your resolutions and even more have felt the weight that life has, more or less, gone back to normal. It's in this season the dullness of winter truly becomes known. There is no holiday to look forward to, not gathering to tell ourselves will be perfect this year, no holiday specials promising more than they can deliver. And I am guessing that the result is that many have gone back to daily routine.
Unfortunately for far too many people that call themselves Christians, this means a cycle of fear and anxiety about what is going on. And what will come next. It's something that is far too easy to do. I can often find myself wondering what will come next. And wondering what I need to do to usher in the next season of my life, for I'm willing to bet that the one I'm in at the moment won't go down as one of my favorites.
I could list all the things that cause me to be anxious, to worry, to question w...
A few days ago I came across the list of goals that I had made for last year. Some of them were things that I desired to do, resolutions if you will, and some of them were things which I had little control over. I guess these could fall into the category of prayers that I had for 2018.
In looking over them, some I could place a check next to and feel happy that this year was a ‘success’ in those places. And yet there were the others. The things which I didn’t do. The prayers that I am still praying, yet unanswered.
And if you are anything like me, that second list, no matter how long, can make you feel as though this is how things will always be. These things on that second list become experts and robbing our joy and stealing our hope. We long for something new, and yet we feel as though we’re always coming us a day late and a dollar short.
And for many of us, we see the heralding of a New Year as a way to bring about this something new. We can look around and we know that this is not the...
This season if filled with scenes of mangers and wise men.
It seems as though everywhere there are signs of the Advent of Christ nigh two-thousand years ago. Even for those who believe that there is not enough of this, it is still all around us. Signs that point to a babe in a manger. A new King who has come to free us from something more than we ever dared imagining.
And though this is a great thing, to see and to celebrate the incarnation. To sing and savor Immanuel, God with us. But often we forget what I believe to be one of the most vital parts of this season. We celebrate that Christ has come to this world once, but then we go on living as if He's forgotten how to get back.
This season is called Advent, which means coming. And in this season that is what we celebrate. That Christ came. But for many of us, this is where is stops. We are happy that He came, but this doesn't do much for us now. We spend this season in expectation, but not the kind that should fill ever fiber...
Since last Thursday was Thanksgiving, it seems like the world is now in full Christmas season. Although a lot of department stores already looked that way before Halloween. (But let's not get into that here. Christmas season starts when you see Santa in the parade, but like I said, lets not get into that here.) I've even got my decorations up. Or I should say my decoration. My house, being both my home and my brother's studio, isn't conducive to decorations for any holiday. But I have one of those Charlie Brown Christmas trees. I have put it up the past four or five years. One day I'll live somewhere that I can decorate a bit more, but for now this does the job.
As a people we all love the Christmas season. It's a season which promises us that everything will work out. That no matter how bad things have gotten over the past year(s) things will make a turn for the better. It's what every holiday movie tells us and what every commercial is now trying to sell us. And if all we h...
Often times when reading Scripture we can find ourselves wishing that things would happen for us as quickly as they happened to those that we read about. At least this is something that I can often find myself thinking about.
At the moment I have been reading through Acts for my New Testament reading and it's halfway through chapter 23 that God tells Paul that He is going to send him to testify in Rome. And within 2 minuets of reading he has already made his appeal to stand before Cesar. His right as a citizen of Rome.
I'm not sure about you, but I often wish that a promise and a clear path to that promise coming to pass only too the two to three minuets it takes to read from Acts 23:11 to Acts 25:11. It almost seems as if the people that we read about might have had an easier go of it. (That is if we forget all the times that Paul was beat half to death and even a possible gladiatorial bout.*) But we read and we so often wonder why it is that these people were able to get a promise an...
It was this week twenty-one years back that I was standing at an airport gate and my life changed. This was back in 1997 when you could still walk all the way up to the gate. You didn’t have to wait to see someone at baggage claim.
Coming though that gate were the two people that 7-year-old me loved the most. At least most of the time. And with them, a little girl that I had seen a few months before, a thousand miles away.
Twenty-one years back my family got bigger. Because twenty-one years back my little sister became my little sister.
I think I may be a bad big brother because, honestly, it had slipped my mind until I saw my litter sister post about it being her A-Day. If you’re not familiar, that is short for adoption day. The same way that B-Day has become short for birthday.
My little sister was born into a poor slum called Lipstick. And it wasn’t named that because they sold cosmetics. The day that she was born the dice were cast, and she was born owing the house. Because of nothing...
I have been struggling. At least that's what I told myself.
A few years back I heard one of those sermons that stick with you. I was at a pastor's conference with my dad put on by World Challenge and Gary Wilkerson. It was up in NYC and the event was in Times Square Church. Gary was speaking last, but honestly I don't remember what he said. Tullian spoke the night before. And even though I still see him as a hero, I don't remember anything he said either.
Francis Chan preached the sermon that has long stuck in my mind. As he began I'm sure I bellowed out a few 'amens'. But what should have been a third of the way through he just stopped. He stopped and had a look on his face that led one to believe that he grew up in the south and his dog just died. It's the type of face that I have had a few times and hope to never have again. He stood in a pulpit that has housed giants and began to cry. As he did so he took his notes, balled them up, and threw them away.
Growing up I spent my summers in Mexico. Well, on the Texas/Mexico boarder to be more specific. My dad would take mission trips down each summer that would last a week. But since I was with him, I would be down there for most of the summer. Each Saturday we would spend the morning saying church camp good-bye's and spend each afternoon getting people settled into their rooms. Maybe that's why I expect relationships to be temporal and why I have become good and saying goodbye? But that's a question I should take to the Owen Center and leave out of my blog. This was back before the boarder wars really got national attention, and so we would have around 100 people each week. Every summer we would see around 1,000 pass through. Damn, I miss those summers.
Each Friday we would go to the beach to allow the teams to have some fun after working their asses off the days that came before. And each Friday night we would gather around as a team for worship, then my father would lead us in a sh...
The longest I have lived anywhere since I was 18 was about three years. This means that I have been a part of a lot of churches. But for the past twenty-four months I have been living in Opelika, Alabama and I have been going to 1st Pres here in town. And it has truly been a grace that God has given me.
I can remember the first time I walked through the door for service. I hadn’t slept the night before and I honestly wasn’t sure if I even wanted to go. There were a number of things I would have rather been doing that day. As the service progressed the congregation began to sing the old hymn ‘Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus’ and I sat down and wept*.
And today, a little over two years later I sat in service which started with the hymn ‘Great is Thy Faithfulness’. I almost had to chuckle at the providence of God in this. To hear this familiar tune play and think back over the past two years. A hard to years. A season where I have often asked God what He was doing, or if He was even there d...