Fight Lust

Lust will never go away this side of the Eternal City. The empty satisfaction that the things of this world lure us with every moment of everyday are a reminder that we are creatures awaiting to be eternally satisfied. This is clear in the Apostle John's first letter,

For everything in the world--the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does--comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever. (1 John 2:16-17)

Lust must be filled with something that will not pass away, which John reminds us of here, is the destiny for the things of this world. This is contrasted with the one who does the will of God, implying that, when God's will is fulfilled, so to is our lust or our ultimate satisfaction.
So in fighting the lust of your eyes amidst all the sparkling empty things of this world, look to the better promise: That Jesus has come and will come to fulfill the will of God, and in Him and through Him, find eternal satisfaction. If you're going to lust, lust for Jesus.

Jonathan Dodson, lead pastor of Austin City Life, has articulated a great Gospel-centered approach to responding to lust. Check out this article and other great resources on Gospel-centered discipleship here.


Local Natives

I recently came across some great tunes by a band called Local Natives and I've been taken in by their album Gorilla Manor. The song, "Shapeshifter" has some great lyrics....
Why does the soul hallucinate?
I've got control, I shift my shape
If flesh and bone do not contain
The mirrors don't reflect my face
The song "Wide Eyes" is another one that stands out lyrically, as it seems to present an honest and desperate desire to make sense of the world around us. Musically and vocally this band makes these poetically thoughtful lyrics really come alive. I love it when bands have layers to their music and lyrics like these guys, instead of just throwing some pithy cliches together and having some sound mixer put some beats to it. Highly reccommend listening to the whole album (sample it on their website).


Cultural christianity

Funny...yet, sadly when you use the term "Christ-follower" to identify yourself, you may get a strange look from your "Christian" friends. Yet another sign that cultural christianity is becoming more and more pervasive throughout the U.S.


"Being" Missional

"To be or not to be, that is the question." Famous lines of the Great Bard, Shakespeare. A concept that is worth spending some time in self reflection over. What is it that we are to "be?" One may quickly recognize that "to be" is an active verb, meaning there is no place for passivity when we are "to be" _________.

Many of us spend so much time, money, and energy "being" something whether it is a coffee barista, an accountant, a lawn care specialist, a wife, or a friend. Stop and think how much of you is required simply "to be" whatever it is you are. Would you say that it is always easy, always natural, always enjoyable, or always self-promoting? The reality is "being" requires obedience, whether it is obedience to a boss, a landlord, a system, or even a conviction. And do you ever notice that the greater the authority to which you are obedient the greater amount of effort it takes to "be" that which we are "being." Perhaps that is why "being" missional is not always easy, natural, enjoyable, or self-promoting. To "be" missional requires obedience to the God of All Reality, All Essence, and All Existence. Certainly this is no task we can achieve in and of ourselves, for that which is opposed to God cannot obey God and thus cannot be an agent of God (Rom. 2:10-11; 3:23). Yet from our model of Creation we see that God breathed life into humanity so that we would "be" those who represent and reflect God to all of Creation (Gen. 1:26, 28; 2:7). As followers of Christ, we are called to “be” part of something drastically and unfathomably bigger than our vocation, our culture, and our time period. Hence, “being” missional is a major endeavor.

However, "being" representatives of God, "being" proclaimers of Christ, "being" missional is also a struggle because of the smell of that Old Master that once took residence in our lives--the Master of Sin--constantly taunting our New Master--the Master of Life, the Holy Spirit (Rom. 6:11-14; 8:2; 1 Cor. 2:10-12; Gal. 5:17). “Being” missional involves living in battle, a battle that is fought in the unseen realm yet manifests itself in the physiology and psychology of our bodies, in the weariness of our minds, and in the cravings of our stomachs. Hence, “being” missional anticipates opposition.

So, if "being" a school teacher, computer tech, or pastry chef is not all you thought it was wrapped up to be, consider "being" missional. "Be" one who exudes the desire for seeing your co-workers come to know and love and be loved by the One who created them. "Be" one who spends time, money, and energy connecting with your cubicle buddy so that he would see a shadow of the persistent initiating love displayed by the Incarnate Son of God. To "be" missional is not easy, but it is "being" at its core.

My wife and I have been striving to connect on a deeper level with some friends who do not follow Christ for the last two years. It has taken as much planning and preparation as it does for my wife and I to go on a date. Perhaps this is more indicative of our perpetual business, but it is also a reality of our here and now and we are commissioned to "be" in it. We have sought to hang out with these friends at least once per month and often times these get-togethers turn into parties at their house giving us little face time with our friends. Needless to say, I walk away from those gatherings frustrated because that was supposed to be my shot at telling them about following Christ. Yet a month later, we'll get a call, or my wife will have a conversation with this friend at work, inviting us to hang out with them again. What boggles my mind is that this invite will be at their initiative. How unexpected is this response simply because we took the time to "be" with them in their world, a world they are fully aware that we may sometimes feel uncomfortable in (e.g., "How many beers can you drink in an hour?"). This is when I am reminded that "being" missional, as difficult as it is, does matter.

Sometimes, simply "being" is all it takes for a friend to respond to the grace you have exhibited. And that is what we pray for; a response of faith in the greatest "being" of grace: Jesus Christ


where did all the daylight go?

Last night, my wife observed something subtle, yet something that effects everyone on the planet: the days are getting shorter. No, I'm not saying that time itself is decreasing, but if you take a moment to step outside this evening, you'll notice that the sun is beginning to set a bit earlier. Wow, what a revelation! It's nothing new, it's to be expected right? But we often forget this subtle change that takes place year after year, season after season until we're in the midst of the dark asking, "Where did all the daylight go?"

I've been feeling a bit like this lately. As a graduate student about to begin my fourth and final year, I pause wondering where all my time and energy has gone and how I am to have enough to embark on what will most likely be the most hectic year thus far: 15 hours of courses each semester, working a part-time job I really don't like, submitting resumes and interviewing for future jobs, loving my wife, keeping up with friends, and participating in ministry. Needless to say, I doubt too many posts will be seen on this incredibly awesome blog of mine...

But I must go on, I'm already 4 1/2 hours away from darkness and there must be something significant for me to accomplish. Ah, there it is. Did you catch it? Perhaps we struggle with the reality of losing time in the day because we have the perspective that it is I who must gain some sort of accomplishment, only to discover that that accomplishment was not enough to satisfy our craving for more and so we strive to accomplish more in the ever decreasing daylight, only to have more on the list to accomplish tomorrow (with one less minute of light). Perhaps if I grasped true significance, that is, being chosen by the Light Giver, the Creator of all things, the One True God, to have a part in the Grand Story, a part that offers endless significance, a part that calls me to a task that is never complete in my day because it is only He, the one who brings us significance in the Grand Story, Jesus Christ, that can complete His task on that Great Day of His Return. It's about coming to terms with, and being satisfied with the apostle Paul's great life lesson: "In my weakness He is strong." In the meantime, I get to play a part in the Grand Story today because He has given today to me, rather than me giving today its significance by what I have labeled as an accomplishment.