I Hate That Guy!

I have known what it is to live for myself, to choose me over those I love and to pursue every desire of my heart. I hate that part of me. I can’t stand it when that voice emerges in my head and encourages me to grab at what I want or to defend my rights. Truly, I hate that guy. I know him so well but also feel like he is an alien and a stranger in my own body. He does not belong there. And he is not welcome.

I used to invite that guy in. Knowing that he would ultimately do me harm but thinking I would enjoy his gifts. However, I have come to the place that his gifts are torture. Even the thought of them causes a physical reaction in my body. My back gets tense, my legs feel heavy and tight and I can feel my freedom beginning to slip away. I can actually feel death creeping into my heart.

As a result, my eyes dim. I walk with my shoulders a little lower. The cadence of my speech is altered. Little moments that would normally make me smile and fill my heart with joy are now lost on me or even irritate me. In my submission to the voice of that old guy, I am defeated and broken. In my pursuit of selfishness, I am actually destroying everything that I love. Yeah, I hate that guy!

But this is not the way of my Jesus. He has taught me a different way to live. One that is free. A life that is defined by comfort, intimacy and joy. A life of overwhelming love.

This is the life that dominates my heart and my thoughts. When I am living in it, I hear the voice of Jesus reminding me, encouraging me and celebrating with me constantly. I find myself smiling at young children and laughing freely with friends. I see people’s eyes and respond to what seems to be an unmistakable need, whether it be a hug or a probing question or a high five.

What’s amazing is this is a life that is not about me. I am constantly led to consider the person in front of me. To offer care and concern and challenge and love. This new life seems to be an upside down way of living. The more I think about other people, the more my heart comes alive. The more I serve my wife and my kids and my friends and the guy at the grocery store, the more my heart leaps.

It has even led me to a new way of dealing with conflict and struggle. I am reminded that the person I am dealing with has a heart that matters and I cannot be the reason for the lack of freedom in their life. That if humility and submission can serve them – then I can offer it. And I am challenged to not allow that old guy to rise up and attack both of us. Freedom is too precious for that!

The attitude of Jesus…no, I don’t always live there. But I love the days that I do!


Built To Last

The Passage finally got their foundation! After seven years of being a nomadic group of students who have moved from an off-site building five miles away, to a neighboring rental facility next door, to currently sharing space with our Journey Kidz children’s ministry…now, their long-term home is a very near reality. Our family at Journey couldn’t be more excited – not just because our youth ministry will have a place to call their own but primarily because of what they will do with it. The connections that will be made there, the hearts that will be cared for and the reckless love shared in the name of Jesus!

Last week, I stood at the edge of the construction site, watching truck after truck empty its cement into the huge trenches that crisscrossed this foundation and I was amazed at how sturdy this building would be. It’s not just a cement pad but underneath are enormous concrete beams that run several feet down into the ground. As I watched, I thought, “This is a building that is being built to last!”

And I think about Jesus.

I think about those beams supporting the foundation for a building that will house amazing moments in the near future and I think about Jesus – our cornerstone and our foundation. I think about how the name of Jesus is held up over everything else for the students in The Passage ministry and for the adults at Journey. How he is continually shown to be our hope and our life.

When we have him, we are more than secure! We are built into a structure that others will marvel at. He is our foundation of faith and supports our walk with God but he is so much more. When Jesus is truly present, he redefines everything for us. With Jesus, we have what we are looking for. With Jesus, the mystery of scripture is revealed. With Jesus, we find our true identity. With Jesus, we experience true family. With Jesus, we become a people of radical love. With Jesus, we can ignite the heart of a broken world.

I love watching this building grow!