Friday, October 19, 2012

The Better Part

Robert, Robert, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying, she chose the better part, which would not be taken away from her.
--Luke 10:38-42

I have those days—those days when I feel lost and rather useless. I don’t feel like I’m particularly good at anything, including things I thought I was good at. Maybe I’m not bad at them…just not of any real use.

Yet my head is busy. I'm worried and distracted, fussing with seeking after purpose and acknowledgment. All the while I miss the one thing needful—to let go and be a child at the feet of my Father, an attentive apprentice to the Master.

Guidance, purpose, and acknowledgment won’t come from my busy mind or even my busy body. They won’t come from myself or even from those I might serve. It is only my first Love who can give me what can never be taken from me.

So I sit…listening…being. This is my purpose today. 
This is the better part.

Your Invitation:
_________, ________, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Come, rest at my feet and listen to what I have to say. This can never be taken from you. It is the better part.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Treasure Chest (Wealth, Part 2)

...Part 2 of Wealth

Now about another parent and child. Mary is this teenaged girl. She has met an angel who told her she’s going to give birth to the Messiah, conceived by nothing less than the Holy Spirit of God in her womb. She sings a powerful worship song about the greatness of God, the Mighty One who has done and will do great things. 

She finally gives birth to this Anointed One of God, with the sky ripping open in front of some shepherds and angels singing and the shepherds coming and seeing this little Holy Family and then running off to tell the good news of this newborn King. 

And what is Mary’s reaction to all this? But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart (Luke 2:19). The scene could easily have ended with the shepherds going off to tell everyone what happened. But Luke chooses to come back one more time for a close-up on Mary treasuring up this holy moment.

Time passes. Mary raises this Messiah, Jesus. Do you think she ever stops encountering God, ever gives up singing her worship songs? Or do you think maybe she watches this child of hers grow and is constantly amazed to watch God work in and through him? She likely even teaches and models for Jesus what it is to live a life of worship. Maybe he notices her periodically stopping and taking something in, treasuring up God’s greatness and pondering God’s mighty works in her heart. She teaches him that every moment is sacred, every step part of a holy journey. He should treasure up the wonderful things he sees God doing and ponder them in his heart. This is what it is to live a life of devotion, a life in the company of the invisible God. 
This is worship.

Then Jesus steps out and begins his public ministry, working miracles and teaching and preaching about God’s kingdom. And what is one of the first and primary things he teaches?  Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Matthew 6:19-21).
This is worship.

How is your worship life? What do you treasure? They are so connected as to be basically one and the same. We all have our preferences for style of music and wanting a worship service to be interesting and memorable. And there’s nothing wrong with that. But if you can’t worship no matter what, can't thrill at the treasures of God no matter how they're presented, then your treasure may be in the wrong place…and so your heart may be in the wrong place.

True worship is the result of treasuring up God throughout our week and throughout our lives. True worship is the result of pondering God in our hearts and expressing how much we value the Lord. It’s actually the very definition: “worship” comes from worthscipe, God's “worth-ship" and worthiness of praise and honor and glory.

My heart breaks for a generation that has not been taught this as Mary taught her son Jesus, for a generation that has been taught “if you’re not getting anything out of worship, go somewhere else or just stay home.” It never dawns on such a one that the problem is that their heart is an empty treasure chest.

If your life could be opened as a treasure chest, 
what would be inside?

So how about your treasure chest… If your life could be opened as a treasure chest, what would be found inside? What is it you treasure and seek after? Where is your heart? Do you ever watch for God and even join God in what he is doing all around you? Do you ever pause for a moment to treasure up something and ponder it in your heart? 

Or have the moths destroyed some worship high you once had that you keep chasing? Have the thieves of worldliness come in and stolen your joy over worldly treasure, so that there just never seems to be enough? If there are children in your life, what are you teaching them to treasure…what are you teaching them to worship?

Now is the moment to begin filling your treasure chest with the things of God. There are many treasures all around you every day—moments that, millions of years from now, will still glisten like precious gems. This is treasure. This is life. 
This is worship.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Random 5: Insanity Videos

#5 "Magic" by The Cars

#4 "Comfortably Numb" by Pink Floyd

#3 "Falling to Pieces" by Faith No More

#2 "Crazy" by Gnarls Barkley

#1 "Basket Case" by Green Day

Thursday, October 11, 2012

After My Skin Has Been Destroyed...

I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end
he will stand on the earth.
And after my skin has been destroyed,
yet in my flesh I will see God;
I myself will see him with my own eyes—
I and not another.
How my heart yearns within me!
--Job 19:25-27

These words from thousands of years ago, long before most of the rest of the scriptures, seem among the most profound ever spoken or written. They are a promise and a hope. But there is something more.

These words are a threat. They are a threat to every power and principality, every god or tyrant or king, every system or scheme or power-grab or plot in the human heart.

They are a threat to my own sinfulness and my own death, a threat to the fears and anxieties and doubts and dread that darken my chest and cloud my head.

Empires will fall and nations will scatter. The earth will be shaken. Mountains will turn to rubble, seas will roil and overflow their shores, fire will consume forests and wind will level horizons and turn skies to blood with scattered earth.

And when the dust settles, the Redeemer will stand, will bestride the narrow world like a Colossus. And I will look upon him with my own redeemed eyes. How my heart yearns within me!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.
--Luke 2:19

The other day my 6-year-old daughter looked up at me eagerly, her large brown eyes beaming from underneath the hat she wore. She extended both arms, hands bent back to expose her wrists.

“Smell!” she ordered.

I bent over and sniffed. “Oooh, very nice. What is that?”

“Puhfyoom,” she said, her young speech still unable to get the “r” sound of “perfume.” “Weal puhfyoom!” (Real perfume!)

“Wow!” I said, trying to match her excitement. “Where’d you get that?”

“Mommy let me have some!”

She ran off to get her backpack for school. I stood in the kitchen and thought about what just happened. I was surprised to find tears coming to my eyes. I thought about how young she is. The littlest things like wearing real perfume are such major events—at least for the moment. 

I know she’ll grow up and life’s pace will quicken and she’ll move through other major events, each making previous events look smaller, and each becoming a blur of memory. Little things like wearing real perfume will give way to schoolwork and sports and performances and failures and dating and driving and dances and heartbreak and graduations and all manner of things I just don’t want to think about. 

So I stood there in the kitchen—needing to get her to first grade and myself to work. I stood there and I treasured up all these things and pondered them in my heart.

We slurp so much of life 
that is meant to be savored.

We slurp so much of life that is meant to be savored. Parenting has many moments that sneak up and push us off balance, leaving us shaking our heads and wondering what just happened. There is something real about such moments, as if something alive has happened—not calculated or meant to advance us—something other that yanks us outside of ourselves.

Sometimes God’s hands grab our shoulders and he stops us. We lean in and look under the brim of a hat. We look into the big brown eyes of eternity. We are invited to celebrate a little bit of joy, to share the excitement of a moment, to smell the perfume of innocence--real perfume. We are given treasure to store up in our souls and to ponder in our hearts. Believe me when I say, this is wealth.

...Read Treasure Chest (Wealth, Part 2)...

NEW BOOK--An Untold Story: Heroism, Mysticism, and the Quest for the True Self

"There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you." ~ Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings About the Boo...