Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Healthy Discussion

I had a fascinating discussion with my Dad on Sunday night about baptism. In looking for a church-home in Tulsa, he was telling me that he had noticed that most of the churches didn't seem to place the emphasis on baptism that his background and study has led him to. He asked me what I thought about it, and we talked until quite late that night, just sharing thoughts about the issue.

In discussing this with him, several things were impressed on me.

First of all, my knowledge of the scriptures is woefully inadequate. Dad had book, chapter and verse in mind as he explained his understanding of the scripture. My side of the conversation basically amounted to 'I think it says somewhere that...' and 'so-and-so commented once that...' Honestly, I was more than a little embarrassed. (And what a blessing to have a Dad who knows the scriptures, as mine does!)

Second, while I don't think my Dad and I have the same perspective on the purpose of baptism, my Dad (as usual) was so patient and calm throughout the conversation -- so graceful, really. That's not much of a surprise -- Dad is one of the most level-headed and patient people I know -- but I guess it was particularly impressive because I've had other conversations about faith issues with people who disagreed with me, and often I've seen them turn into angry, awkward discussions, or even angry, awkward relationships. So to see my Dad be so open to hear my point of view, even though he clearly disagreed ... I don't know how to describe it, but it made me proud to be his son.

(Incidentally, I suppose someone might be inclined to wonder what our perspectives are with regard to baptism. I would characterize my Dad's position as being that baptism places us into Christ, and it is essential for salvation. My position is that baptism is a command of God and should be obeyed, but that it is an external action representing a decision made in the heart, and that a believer can be 'unimmersed' and still reach heaven, although this is of course disobedience to God's command and is therefore sin which would have to be covered by the blood of Christ.)

I am so thankful for my Dad, for the faith that he and my mother passed on to me, and for his heart for God.


Thursday, May 26, 2005

What If...

Pondering a few imponderables.

What if the hokey pokey really is what it's all about?

What if I had been committed to God in high school and college, instead of only toward the end of college and beyond? Would I hear God better today? Would I be more obedient?

What if God were to teach a class on the 7 days of creation? How long would the class take?

What if I had joined the Air Force as I considered doing during my 3rd year of college? Would I have seen the world, and have more appreciation of my homeland?

What if the amount of human weight in the world were constant, so that when you lose a pound someone else has to gain it? (And vice versa!)

What if I made a better effort at being a good husband and father, every single day?

What if we used a number system based on 12 instead of 10? Would we have a $144-dollar-bill? (Did I lose anybody on this one?)

What if God really has me right where he wants me, and this is really it? Could I get past this feeling of discontent about my career, and get back to looking for His will in my everyday existence? (And I must comment here that a 'normal' person would probably be very happy with the career God has given me thus far; I am quite blessed.)

What if blue was actually green, green was actually red, and someone read my blog on a regular basis?

What if, when I spoke to a close friend a year or two ago about whether God could be calling me to ministry, and when he asked me to give him my resume so he could pass it to a few people...what if my answer (no, no, this isn't the right time, I think God wants me to get my house in order first) was just so much smoke, and I was (am?) too afraid to step out and see what God might have in mind for me?

What if God made our nostrils the same size as our fingers for a reason ? (Hey, its a valid question.)

What if I just go to bed and figure all this out later?


Friday, May 20, 2005

Deep Breaths

This is the air I breathe
This is the air I breathe
Your holy presence living in me
This is my daily bread
This is my daily bread
Your very Word spoken to me

And I...I'm lost without You
And I...I'm desperate for You
I'm desperate for You

For some reason God has used Michael W Smith's song Breathe to convict me over and over about the fact that, while the lyrics reflect who I want to be, my life often says otherwise.

The air I breathe smells more like my work or my family or worship ministry in general rather than God's presence. My daily bread tastes suspiciously like friends and family rather than the Word of God. And to really hear His word spoken to me? Not just to read the Word like a newspaper, or to hear a good sermon or discover a deep thought, but for God Himself to speak directly to me?

My faith tends to be less like breathing and more like bathing -- something I do regularly, but not constantly; something I do because I know I should, even because I sometimes long to be clean, but not because I realize that I would whither and die without it.

And so the chorus becomes a cry to God, to say that I long for the verse to apply to me, to describe me, but I'm lost, desperate, if He doesn't help me get there. There have been times when I've been singing this song, particularly when its been just between God and me, and if I let Him He'll sometimes use this song to...well, to ruin me. In a good way.

In the last couple of weeks I've seen this 'breathing' theme appear over and over again -- relating to the need to consistently surrender to God all day long, the need to continually communicate with my wife, the need to 'pray without ceasing', and on and on.

Oh that I would fully respond to God's Spirit rather than pulling away and getting wrapped up in anything and everything else. If I would more fully engage with Him, surely He'd resolve this ache, this longing for more purpose and direction in my life, for a career that makes a real impact on the world.


Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Hurry Up and Wait

Seems like I'm in that kind of mode lately. For example, here I am posting on my blog, so you might think I have some free time on my hands. However, I'm actually running a data process on another computer, and killing a couple of minutes while it finishes. Then I'll scramble to get the results of that data process sent to a couple dozen people, and move on to the next task.

Similarly, as I've posted a few times, things are so busy for me personally that I feel like I'm hurrying all the time...and yet I am most definitely waiting on God to point me in a new direction. I'm asking, begging, pleading, and even feeling what I think are leadings that that is coming. Just not yet.

So I wait. Oh, gotta run, too much to do.


Thursday, May 05, 2005

Go Go Go

Just a quick post.

It's been a stressful couple of weeks, with my work in its peak season, and most weeknights taken up with church activities, not to mention redoubling my efforts to get close to my family. But for some reason, at this time, I really feel pulled toward God, a strong desire to seek Him, and I can't tell you how much I love that. Worship gets sweeter, prayer gets more passionate, and trust deepens.

The trust is probably the best part. I tend to like to be in control of things, or at least to have a plan, and when things are going so fast like this it often feels so chaotic to me that I don't make time to spend with God. Not that I shouldn't be spending more time with Him than I do, even now, but I feel like He's beside me sometimes lately, more often than in the past.

If he'd just talk a little louder. :-)