Who Are You?

Who are you?
Simple question, right?

Recently I heard a church leader say, “the longer you are in youth ministry, the more it becomes who you are.” There is terrible truth within her statement. In fact I believe it goes far beyond youth ministry. She could say, “the longer you are in (fill in the blank with your profession), the more it becomes who you are.” What a sad reality. Although you and I know that there is more to you than just what you do for a living, it is hard to look beyond your work (I know for certain this fact is especially true for men but I suspect it is also relevant for women). You have depth and dynamics that reach far deeper than the one dimensional profession that we so often define ourselves by.

Why do we define who we are by what we do? Jim, he’s a teacher. Sally, she’s an accountant. Carl, he’s homeless. Maybe we define our lives as well as the lives of others so haphazardly because well, its easy. Maybe it’s because our job is always demanding attention. Regardless of the reason, I decided to look beyond what I simply do to provide for my family and seek much of who I am. The good and the bad. The happy and the sad. The heart and the brains. Below is my developing list of who I am.

I am a husband; father; sinner; server; current mourner of losing the tv shows Lost and the Office; mower of a seemingly never-ending yard; fan of many Ohio sports teams; pizza connoisseur by both choice and force; horrible responder to text messages; dreamer; wannabe drawer, painter & musician; author; speaker; train conductor in the game Ticket to Ride; homeowner; shortstop; taxi & bus driver; horribly impatient; theme park fan, especially Disney; taxpayer; the guy who takes 12 strokes to complete a par 4; prince Eric; not yet but should be diagnosed with a case of Starbuck’s pumpkin spice latte addict; know-it-all; an American who is acutely aware that he is first Christian, secondly American; bowler; in many ways a germaphobe; emotionally and spiritually a bi-polar person whose heart can quickly move from selfishness to being broken-hearted for those in need and back again to selfishness; heavy user of Ortega Mild taco sauce; an individual that desires right; surrounded by an incredible family and friends; child of God…

I think I will stop there but most certainly if I kept searching my mind and heart, I would discover more of who I actually am. So, who are you? Easy question…right?

Take a while, think about it. You may just surprise yourself.

One of the Greatest Things I Have Ever Learned

You know the individual I’m about to write about. He or she is the person that knows how to say the right thing at just the right time thus driving you insane. They have the unique ability to push all your wrong buttons so that your blood begins to boil. Other individuals may fall within the lesser evil of simply hard to communicate with or understand. Regardless of which category the individual falls within, they are part of the greatest thing I learned in my time at Asbury.

The greatest thing that I learned at Asbury, maybe one of the top ten lessons I have ever learned, is that the unlovable individual actually has a gift to share. I firmly believe in God’s grace. I will never earn His extravagant love. I also believe that prevenient grace is a great way to describe the love we receive from God when we are unaware that we have need. When an individual is unaware of their need for God and yet He still imparts that love to her, that is prevenient grace. If you and I believe God gives prevenient grace then we should also believe the most unlovable person has a gift from God to share. The individual that drives us insane, the outcast or the lowly can actually share something great with us if we’d only listen.

The greatest thing I learned while at Asbury is that every individual has something from God to share and I should not, under any circumstance, completely write off an individual. Gaining this perspective on prevenient grace and the gifts that God gives has dramatically impacted how I view people. Would love to hear what you think. Have you ever spent time with a challenging individual that actually shared something of great value with you? Is there a person that you have written off and maybe you need to listen again to what they have to say?

Lyrical Mondays: “My Hope Is Built On Nothing Less”

English: Boulders, Embleton Bay Embleton Bay h...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For this week’s “Lyrical Mondays” we are reflecting on the lyrics from the song, “My Hope Is Built On Nothing Less.”  As you read these lyrics may your heart be blessed and your spirit realigned to that which is the foundation of our lives, Jesus Christ.

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name.

On Christ the Solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

When darkness seems to hide His face,
I rest on His unchanging grace.
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.

On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

His oath, His covenant, His blood,
Support me in the whelming flood.
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my hope and stay.

On Christ, the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh may I then in Him be found.
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.

On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

Written by Edward Mote

Have You Waited Lately?

English: Putting toothpaste on a toothbrush. T...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As you walk into the room, you notice a distinct feel.  The room is a small room- its just large enough to fit a long table, a couple of cabinets and a few uncomfortable chairs.  The walls are painted white as if to give the impression of cleanliness, except of course for the old tile that is on the floor.  The floor tiles have a certain school meets hospital look about them.  When you sit on the table, paper crinkling underneath, you hear the door shut.  The door, although a light door, sounds of heaviness.  It shuts with a roar and a seemingly endless echo.  Suddenly the waiting game has been ushered in with a roar but continues with silence.  As you wait for what seems to be hours, you are helpless.  The whole time you begin to wonder, why can’t the doctor be on time for their appointment.  A minute turns to two and ten minutes turns to twenty. The passing time accentuates your lack of control and inability to do anything other than wait.

We’ve all been there- helplessly waiting for the doctor, the job, graduation, that last bit of tooth paste to be released from the toothpaste tube, a diagnosis, the promotion, a spouse, a baby, a friend, retirement or financial freedom.  The possibilities of what we wait for are endless. As my family and friends could attest, I am not a patient waiter.  I am a person who likes to be active, who likes to make things happen.  I see my ability to organize and lead, or make things happen, as gifts from God.  Waiting, feels to me, is the exact opposite of making things happen.  A person like me feels that waiting is equivalent to suffering.  Therefore, I wrestle with the gifts that God has given me and the reality that God at times requires us to wait.  In fact I understand that waiting can be a valuable tool.  It can strengthen our faith in God, in people or situations.  Waiting can remind us that we are not ultimately in control.  Waiting can increase our influence and develop our character in profound ways.

As I continue to wrestle with the balance of waiting and doing, I’m curious to hear about a how you have dealt with waiting?  Has there been a time in your life that waiting has strengthened your relationships with God or others?

I remain confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the LORD
in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the LORD.

Psalm 27:13-14

Expecting: A Reflection on Psalm 5:1-3

Sunrise. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hear my words, LORD!
Consider my groans!
Pay attention to the sound of my cries,
my king and my God,
because I am praying to you!
LORD, in the morning you hear my voice.
In the morning I lay it all out before you.
Then I wait expectantly.

Psalm 5:1-3 (Common English Bible)

What if we all gave God our first moments everyday and then waited expectantly for His presence?  I imagine we would see His moving more clearly throughout our days, weeks, months, years and entire life.

In what ways have you recently seen God move in your life and in this world?