Reckless

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Reckless Love – Live cover (youtube)

Before I spoke a word, You were singing over me
You have been so, so good to me
Before I took a breath, You breathed Your life in me
You have been so, so kind to me

O, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God
O, it chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine
I couldn’t earn it, and I don’t deserve it, still, You give Yourself away
O, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God, yeah

When I was Your foe, still Your love fought for me
You have been so, so good to me
When I felt no worth, You paid it all for me
You have been so, so kind to me

There’s no shadow You won’t light up
Mountain You won’t climb up
Coming after me
There’s no wall You won’t kick down
Lie You won’t tear down
Coming after me

This song has been in my head since Sunday night when I heard it amazingly sung live. I bolded all of the action God takes for us as described in this song. I had the urge to breakdown what this song means…to me at least.

Verse 1
Before we were even born God had a plan and a purpose for me. He is the one who gave me life. He is so good to me and I’m not sure why.

Chorus
God’s love overwhelms me and makes me feel kind of nervous. When I really stop and think about all the ways he shows his love for me and those I care about. It is reckless love because he is pouring all of his love onto me when I am just going to squander it and not show love back. I have always contemplated whether or not to donate money to someone on the street corner out of concern that they will use my money on drugs or something insignificant. That’s what this is saying to me, God loves me and chases after me to bring me back even though He knows I am just going to screw it up. He leaves the 99 that have not gone astray behind and goes after the one lost lamb (Matthew 18:12). I did nothing to earn this kind of love and my selfish heart certainly doesn’t deserve it, yet He gives everything for me.
One of the saddest things in the Bible is the story about how Peter denied knowing Jesus. Peter was one of the strongest disciples of God. This is the same Peter that walked on water. Jesus poured everything into Peter and was nothing but loving and helpful. Yet, when threatened he denied Jesus. Jesus knew Peter was going to do this and still He loved him and used Peter to build His church. Jesus loves me the same amount that he loved Peter! Recklessly.

Verse 2
When I was younger and living however I wanted, paying no attention to anyone’s concerns but mine, God still fought for me to bring me back to understanding. When I felt empty and shallow after chasing all those desires and felt no worth in the grand scheme of things, He was still there. He paid it all to give us a chance to follow Him. He has always been coming after me and all I had to do was surrender my own empty chase. Now I’m chasing after Him, how could I not? I still screw things up and wander from the flock, but he never stops coming after me.

Bridge
He kept me from harm when I should have been wrecked, injured, mangled, and maybe even dead. He shined a spotlight on the darkness in my life. He let me make my mistakes. I wanted to try and live life on my own terms. It was never nearly as good as it is now that I am not alone. I was empty trying to do it on my own. God never stopped coming after me, He reached out his hand and I’d slap it away. But finally I took his hand and I have come to realize that He set me apart for a purpose and a mission. I don’t deserve any of it but He fended off evil, lies, and kicked down walls to call me by name so that He could use me.

The creator of the Universe want’s to use me for His good work! That’s reckless, and I am Overwhelmed by that kind of love.

Being Wrong

 

I have been reading through the book of Genesis the past couple weeks.  Okay, actually I listen to it on my drive to and from work.  What I have read, or listened to rather, are these stories that sometimes leave me in unbelief at some of the details.  Stories that if Netflix made a series about characters like Lot, Abraham’s nephew, in Sodom and Gomorrah there would probably be some viral outcry against it. Ironically probably especially so from the Religious community. Read Genesis chapter 19, or listen, if you don’t believe me I don’t know maybe I’m wrong.

I know for me though, when I read the Old Testament and see these kinds of books full of laws and stories, it can be hard to understand and even confuse me. The reason it confuses me is because there’s a whole lot of people doing some really messed up things. They are not acting how Christians today are taught to live. But that’s the point. They are wrong. They are making wrong choices and are convinced of their own rightness. Gods story is not told through perfect people, His story is honestly told through broken messed up people. Therefore we don’t have to pretend like we are perfect either. The story in chapter 19 is not to teach us to act like Abraham’s nephew Lot, it’s to reveal to us the character of God! God uses foolish people. God is merciful and just.

It’s okay to be wrong, don’t act perfect

Personally, I can frequently get defensive and into pointless arguments because I don’t want to be wrong.  I’ll twist the argument just to maintain rightness. It’s almost like it’s part of my DNA…deep down I have this gut feeling that I have to be perfect or have everything figured out.

In this video Kathryn talks about a cultural understanding of being wrong.  I want to pull out a couple quotes that show how this mindset could be ingrained in all of us. When you receive bad grades in school…”So by the time you are 9 years old, first of all you’ve already learned that people who get stuff wrong are lazy irresponsible dimwits and second of all the way to succeed in life is to never make mistakes.”  “Getting something wrong means there’s something wrong with us.” These quotes from this video (watch the video) impress on me this widely ingrained belief that we can never be wrong. Think about any argument that you have ever been in. Was it time and energy spent because you couldn’t stand to be wrong? What kind of relationship does that create? When I twist arguments to maintain rightness or pretend like I have it all figured out, I believe that I am wasting my energy. The mature and wiser approach, would be to accept that I may be wrong and look to improve my understanding.

The point is…IT’S OKAY TO BE WRONG! This means it’s okay for others to be wrong as well. There’s some things I am very experienced in and am very confident about. In these moments though rather than being shut off to others who may wrong, listen and ask them questions. Focus on the issue rather than who is right or wrong. Lincoln said he always learned something from everyone he met, whether it was something to do or not to do. If we always need to know something then we are really seeking relationship and human diversity. We are human, and we are not perfect and we are not all created to think and look the same.

Naturally in our world today we experience disagreements and form assumptions about those who disagree with us.  We generalize people who disagree with us as either ignorant, an idiot, or evil.  Through those three stages as explained in the attached video we become more intent on our own rightness. It sounds like our politics doesn’t it.  “This attachment to our own rightness keeps us from preventing mistakes when we absolutely need to and causes us to treat each other terribly.”

I think Socrates May have been on to something when he said “the only true wisdom is knowing you know nothing.” For me I don’t know exactly what he meant but I think this is saying always be approachable and listening. Ask more questions, and stop providing all the answers. I think a better way to put it is true wisdom is knowing you always need to know something.

Much of the Old Testament are stories about people being wrong, and Gods love is always constant. People screwing up, just like you and I are continuing this story. Sometimes it is down right despicable what we think and do. But there’s more to the story. God uses all of us broken people full of wrong to fulfill his promise and tell a much larger story.

So these are my thoughts tonight, but maybe I’m wrong about some stuff. Let me know.

 

Align

I spent a long period of my life acquiring knowledge about God.  I learned his commands and stories.  I listened to a lot of Francis Chan sermons over the years. I also found the philosophical approach to morals and purpose very interesting.  I would try to live out these morals by trying harder and just having a stronger will power and being disciplined.

It didn’t work.

My will power is not very strong, in fact it’s terribly weak.  While God tell us to be a man, follow him and ignore what the rest of the world is saying. I said to myself I’ll learn about Him but I need to fit into this world so I tried to do things my way.  I was not aligned with the Bible’s way of living and Jesus’ teaching.  I was all head and no heart.

I had all this knowledge from growing up in church and continuing to listen to some sermons when I was feeling pumped up.  An experiential relationship with everything I said that I believed was thin if there at all.  Over the past few weeks I have been reading a book called Experiencing God.  This book speaks exactly to this problem I had.  It is in the process of exposing to me all of these areas in my life where I am trying to do things my own way.  I often boast about Christianity being the only religion that requires no deeds or work from it’s followers, in fact it says there is nothing we can do to earn God’s love.  We are loved because we exist, because we are His grand creation.  The only thing he asks is that we give up trying to be the creator and allow ourselves to be the creation. He is the potter we are the clay.  God wants to use us and work through us but first we MUST know him. This is what it means to be a Christian.  A christian is so overwhelmed by the closeness of God and what he’s done, that it moves us to join in His will for man kind.

I am in the process of letting go of all the things that I try to do my way.  I am slowly handing this life of mine over to God.  My experience over these past few weeks has been the deepest peace and confidence I have ever known.  It’s freeing to realize that this life is not up to me.  I don’t have to be great because my God is.  I am trying to place myself in uncomfortable situations so that I can gain experiences.

That’s what I’m about right now and that’s what I’m about in 2019.  I am chasing experiences.  I want to put myself way out there and let God show me who he is.  The people in life with the most fascinating stories are those who are constantly putting themselves in uncomfortable and uncertain situations.  2019: I’m chasing experience and I’m aligning with my God!

Freedom

It’s easy to get lost in our environment and start to slowly become the examples we see in the workplace as the daily grind of work takes its toll. It’s hard to stand apart from the environment and not be influenced. I’m thankful I have my faith in Jesus because I’m selfish, prideful, and lazy but Jesus knows that I’ve hurt people through these sins and yet He gives me a clean slate and a fresh start…for free!  John 8:36 If the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed. 😵

“The real job of a leader is not about being in charge…but about taking care of those in our charge.”

-Perspective

-Empathy

-Sacrifice

Simon Sinek Leadership talk> Most Leaders Don’t Even Know the Game they are in

The shallow prayer

I am guilty of not spending consistent time in Gods word. Often times I feel like my prayers are shallow and limited. Prayer and knowing the true God are synonymous. If you are like me though it’s possible we aren’t even praying to the real God. Without knowing God through immersion in His word and fellowship with others we are creating a God that doesn’t exist because it’s based on what we want and can understand so we end up basically talking to ourselves. That’s what today’s devotional was about, I bolded some key points…

Edmund P. Clowney wrote, “The Bible does not present an art of prayer; it presents the God of prayer.”We should not decide how to pray based on the experiences and feelings we want. Instead, we should do everything possible to behold our God as he is, and prayer will follow. The more clearly we grasp who God is, the more our prayer is shaped and determined accordingly.

Without immersion in God’s words, our prayers may not be merely limited and shallow but also untethered from reality. We may be responding not to the real God but to what we wish God and life to be like. Indeed, if left to themselves our hearts will tend to create a God who doesn’t exist. People from Western cultures want a God who is loving and forgiving but not holy and transcendent. Studies of the spiritual lives of young adults in Western countries reveal that their prayers, therefore, are generally devoid of both repentance and of the joy of being forgiven. Without prayer that answers the God of the

Bible, we will only be talking to ourselves.

Excerpt from PRAYER by Timothy Keller

Depth

I read a devotion this morning from Timothy Keller that I thought expressed clearly the great depth of God love. It really does this by pointing out the fact that love is a verb. It needs action to fulfill the depth of it’s potential. There is an old hymnal written in the 60’s that was inspired by John 13:35, it goes something like; “and they’ll know we are Christians by our love”.  They’ll know by the depth of our actions.

Excerpt from PRAYER by Timothy Keller

The reason that the love of God in Christ is infinitely wide and infinitely long is because it is infinitely deep.

How deep is the love of god?
Without Jesus Christ, talk about the “depth of God’s love” would be simply an abstraction (the quality of dealing with ideas rather than events). Without Jesus Christ, God could send you sixty volumes, with every page saying, “I love you deeply, I love you deeply, I love you deeply,” but it would still be an abstract concept, not a life-changing reality. To genuinely understand the depths the depths of God’s love you must know the depths to which Jesus Christ went in order to love you.

How deep did he go?
“My god, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” That is hell. He was thrown into the deepest pit anybody ever went into, and he went in voluntarily. He went down and down and down – to the depths. Because of the gospel, you can know that God’s love is infinitely wide and infinitely long because it was infinitely deep.

Matthew 27:46
And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

The depth’s of God’s love is action. If we want to love God deeply we must show the depth of our love with action, obey. If we want to show the depth of our love to our spouse, children, family, friends, or strangers then we must make it more than an idea.

for deeper thought Read- 1 Peter 1: 13-25

Kindness cocked and loaded

Say weird things. Say strange things. Say uncommon things.

Let me give some backstory first. Our company did very well in 2017. Because of this all employees are blessed with a large bonus. We just found out how large that bonus is the other day. We are all excited about it.

I was working at my desk this morning and the director of the property and casualty underwriters was working next to me. He got up to go get coffee and stopped to tell me thank you for everything our team did to work towards our company’s goals. We’re not even in the same department or anything, my team didn’t do anything special…he was just noticing the small things we did do and recognizing it.

I kind of smiled and nodded because I didn’t even understand what he was saying at first. Like why would he be thanking me!? No one has ever thanked me like that before just randomly at work. It caught me completely off guard and seemed very strange. But then I thought about it and he clarified after probably seeing the confusion on my face and I was blown away.

Why is this random act of kindness so strange to hear? He went out of his way to simply say thanks and pay notice to me and my team and the small role we play in our company. That really brightened my day, it gave me some purpose and energy.

After he walked away I thought what a weird thing to say. What an uncommon thing to do. Ultimately though what an impact this man is leaving by being and looking different than the world. He has a killer instinct! He is out fighting the good fight no matter what the world looks like or what others may say.

That’s my encouragement today. Be a Killer! Read more about having a Killer Instinct!

His actions really reminded me of Romans 12:2 & Philippians 2:3-4 (my two goals for 2018) Read my blog for 2018 – Intentional Reflection

Go out of your way to be uncomfortable and give someone props for what they do. Just put others interests above your own even if it means acting strange and doing something that people don’t typically do.

Look for opportunities to lift someone up and see if you don’t catch some joy in the process.