The Great Migration

 
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He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time.

2 Timothy 1:9

Of all the wonderful and mysterious things we’ve discovered in nature, migration has got to be my favorite. Have you ever heard of the Arctic Tern? This marvelous bird migrates from the arctic waters all the way to the antarctic waters. Just to make sure we are all on the same page here, that’s across the whole world! Who teaches them to do this? What compels them into the unknown? What pushes them forward? There are no great explanations for this phenomenon, but the most beautiful things can rarely be explained. Instinct? Call it what you want, but somehow, with the help of something bigger than themselves, they find their way home.

In some sense, I think the love of God works this way. It's as if the center of gravity that God’s love creates is so strong it just beckons us toward it. It is patient and persistent, but never passive. Always working, always calling.

Every moment of everyday we are given the opportunity to follow that call of the Father. A choice crackling with potential and endless possibility. Every time we say yes, it closes the gap between who we thought we were and who God has made us to be. That is the great migration.

 

Through the valley / Through the river / If You’re calling / Then I’m coming / Over mountains / Through the wasteland / If You’re calling / Then I’m coming

 

Step into the Light

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light.

Ephesians 5:8

Wake up, sleeper,

    rise from the dead,

    and Christ will shine on you.

Ephesians 5:14  

Do you remember the moment when everything changed? It is surely impossible to put perfect language around the human heart bursting to life for the first time. But, do you remember? When all of a sudden, the voice of God sounded like singing. All anxiety was overtaken by destiny, and fear was overrun by faith. Purpose replaced aimlessness, and pride was no match for surrender. You were a nomad given a home. You were a peasant made royal. You were once in darkness, prone to wander in the shadows, but now you are light. You have been crowned with a new name; “child of light.”  

Or is it possible that you are lost today? Still struggling to find some way through the darkness. Don’t try to carry this life alone. You were never meant to. Come trade your ashes for beauty, your mourning for dancing, and your sorrow for joy. This whisper of the Father never stops. Can you hear it today?

 

out of the shadows / it’s time to let go / let freedom take hold / come alive / come taste the morning / the fathers calling / don’t waste a minute / step into the light

 
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Live Again

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            When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.

Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!”

Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”

John 6:5-8 

Feeding the five thousand is such a wild story. That’s a lot of hungry people, and hungry people can get irritable and even dangerous. All the gospels have an account of this story and in each of them you can feel the nerves and tension among the disciples. They had a big problem, a very big problem, and all of their ideas and solutions were not big enough. Apparently, they just weren’t thinking small enough. As it turns out, Jesus had all He needed in the open hands and open heart of a small boy and his small lunch.

The ministry of Jesus was full of miraculous events. Marvelous signs and wonders demonstrating a breathtaking collision of heaven and earth. Jesus called it the Kingdom. If you are anything like me, I find it interesting which events we put in the “miracle category” and which ones we exclude. For example, most of us would throw Jesus feeding the five thousand in the box right away, but what about the woman at the well? In this story there is no grand event, there is no physical evidence, there is no spectacle, but this woman was completely transformed, from the inside. Everything that had once been touched by shame and regret and guilt was now touched by hope and grace and love. Sounds like a miracle to me.

 

The blind will see / The sick will stand / Sing hallelujah with confidence / Let healing come / Let mercy in / Sing hallelujah and live again

As we live and breathe today, let us not be so stunned by the large problem that we miss the small step of faith. If we are too caught up in searching for the grand spectacle, we just might miss a conversation with the King Himself.

The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”

Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”

John 4:25-26


Can’t Live Without You

Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

Genesis 2:7

The Genesis account is mesmerizing. What a beautiful, challenging, powerful, mysterious, compelling, and tragic beginning to the story of creation. While reading the account, one can’t help but get the sense that God is creating with a smile on His face. He is excited. Everything He makes He calls good. Well, except for us, humanity that is, He calls us very good. Human beings, dirt and breath, flesh and spirit.

Apparently, according to the text, it is not oxygen that sustains our life. No, it is the very breath of God that is the life animating source coursing through us all. God Himself is in us, with us, connected to us. How marvelous! Deep in the soul of humanity we have been pre-programmed to need communion with God, which also means that it is in the very heart of God to want to be in communion with His creation.

He did not make you to stare at you from a distance. You are not a life size board game. You are not a science experiment to be poked at and tested. You were made for love and by love. Love is not a game to be won; it’s more like the home you needed all along.  

I can’t live without you / the closer I get / the closer I want to be / I can’t live without you / The deeper I go / the deeper you’re calling me

 
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Bigger Than I Thought

I throw all my cares before you / My doubts and fears don’t scare you / You’re bigger than I thought you were

            There is a very beautiful and challenging story found in Mark 9 starting with verse 14. It’s about a man who is trying to get his son some much needed help. Help that could only come from Jesus. You should read it. Ok, you probably have loads of questions after reading a story like that. Good. So do I. After meditating on this story, here are the two things that left me compelled and encouraged.

            (1) Put yourself in the shoes of this father. His son is in really, really bad shape. This man has got to be gripped with all sorts of fears and questions and possibly some anger or doubt; all the kinds of things that life has a way of throwing at us. But, instead of running away from God with all those things, he ran straight towards Him. He threw it all at the feet of Jesus. Even his honest faith. “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief” (Mark 9:24).

            (2) Jesus doesn’t turn him away. Not only did Jesus heal the boy, but He also helped the Father surrender. In the Kingdom of God, surrender always leads to freedom.  

Are there hurts, fears or doubts in your life that cause you to run away from Jesus instead of toward Him? Don’t be afraid. He won’t turn you away. He’s bigger than that. The King is on your side. Surrender it all. Find your freedom.

I will leave you with this passage from Philippians 4: 6-8.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

 I pray this over your life; your present and your future. May you never let your fear or anxiety rob you from the fullness of your Fathers heart. May you never shrink the world down to only the things you understand. And, may the scope of His majesty and love grow fuller in you with every sunrise. He is bigger than you think He is.


All Praise

 
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Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

Psalm 42:5

Have you ever swum underwater with goggles? I remember my first time like it was yesterday. Growing up in Florida, I was in the water more than dry land it seemed. We were coastal kids. Pools, lakes, and ocean fronts were our playground. One summer afternoon, my dad came through the door with a few pairs of goggles. Not the Olympic swimmer kind that look like glasses from the future (or maybe the past). These were the ones that cover your whole face with a snorkel strapped to the side. He tossed them to my brother, sister, and me and we all made a mad dash for the pool. With the goggles suctioned-cupped to my face, I jumped. My body took its instinctual cannon ball shape and before I knew it, I was underwater. I had done this thousands of times before, but this time it was different. I could see. Clear as day. It was a whole new world. Well, it had always been there, but now I could see it. Perspective is powerful; at least, Jesus seemed to think so. He spent so much of His time and energy helping people wake up to a new way of thinking, seeing and living. He saw through the setting or circumstance and went straight for the heart. We see this most often in His parables. The Master takes everyday situations and flips them upside-down and inside-out, with each story causing you to think rethink, reexamine and relearn what it means to be human. Jesus wasn’t only concerned about getting you into heaven, He also wanted to get heaven into you. As followers of Jesus, we don’t get to know the details of every chapter of this story, but we do know the ending. In light of where we believe this is all going, we’ve got to let that inform the way we view our life right now. It's all praise.

every breath it is a gift / every moment is a treasure / every table is a feast / every heartbeat is an alter

I fix my eyes upon you

 

Praise The Lord (Brighter the Morning)

Your faithfulness endures to all generations; you have established the earth, and it stands fast.

Psalms 119:90 

 

Life is full of contrast. These rhythms are woven deep into the nature of our world.  There is no gain without loss. There is no victory without defeat. There is no hope without suffering. There is no spring without winter. Our days are set up this way. A morning and an evening, a sunrise and a sunset. The very air we breathe in to sustain our life we must breath out again. Attempting to continuously inhale will result in the same fate as an endless exhale. It must be in and out and in and out again. Our hearts work the same way. In and out and in and out again. Somehow, we know each experience more deeply by also knowing its opposite.

This beautiful mystery sits at the very heart of our faith as well. Death and Resurrection. You can’t have one without the other. But, the gospel inserts the most marvelous amendment to this vicious cycle. The death and resurrection of Jesus tells us that the worst possible outcome doesn’t have to be the final outcome. Death does not get the final say. Only Life has that power. That is God’s way; the cross proves it.

We all need reminders. The more we allow the promise of resurrection to invade our day to day, the more we will see the faithful heart of the Father on our mountain tops and in our valleys. It’s interesting how easily we forget the faithfulness of God in the face of adversary. Sometimes I picture the Lord whispering through a gentle smile, “I’ve gotten you this far haven’t I…”

  

the longer the journey / the more I remember / moments of rescue / years of relentless love / O how You never give up

 out of the ashes / there’s resurrection