Your Pain

When it comes to the subject of pain, I hesitate to offer any advice. Pain is very real and can be debilitating to our lives. But if you live long enough, you learn some things about pain. Here are some things I have learned. I humbly offer them to you for your consideration.

First, pain is real. There is no sense wasting time trying to be macho by telling everyone you’re not hurt. If you’re hurt, name it. You can’t move on until you do.

Second, once you’re hurt, the pain is yours to deal with. It may not be your fault, but it is your pain. Therefore, you and only you can deal with it.

Third, God has given us the awesome power of choice. We can choose to do whatever we want to do with the pain. We can wear it as a badge and let everyone see how wounded we are. Or, we can choose to offer it to Christ to see how He will use it to make us more like Him.

If you are hurting, the next move is up to you.

First, can you find the courage to admit you are in pain?

Can you own it as yours?

Now, what are you going to do with it?

Live with it? (Sometimes, you have to).

Learn from it? (Most of the time, this is a valuable use of pain).

Transform it, through the power of Christ’s resurrection, into energy for change in your life?

After all, it is your pain and, in the power of Christ, you can stop pain from robbing you of life and redeem it to give energy to your life.

What is stopping you from being free of your pain?

The Relationship Drives the Reading

When I first met Jeannie, I wanted to know everything about her. I wanted to know about her growing up. I wanted to see her childhood pictures. I wanted to hear all of her stories. I wanted to know what she liked and what she didn’t like – I wanted to know everything. Finding out all that I could about Jeannie practically consumed my life…in fact, it HAS consumed my life for almost 32 years. She still intrigues me.

And for the Apostle Paul, the divine encounter with Christ on the Damascus Road drove everything in his life. “I want to know Him,” he wrote in his letter to Philippians. Everything else, he wrote, is garbage.

Here is an important but overlooked point for us…the relationship with Christ drives our study of the Bible. We read the Bible, not to get smarter, but to KNOW Christ! We want to find Him in every story and on every page. We want to understand how He thinks and how He works. We want to know everything about Him we can possibly know.

It’s when we find out a little more about Him that we love Him all the more.  Those are the moments I live for.

This morning I was studying for the Hebrews study (Wednesday night in the sanctuary at 6pm) and I came to the end of chapter 2. Verse 18 says, “For since He Himself was tested and has suffered, He is able to help those who are tested.” I meditated on the descriptions of Christ… tested… suffered… able… and I found myself weeping in sudden worship.  When we go to Christ with our troubles and temptations, He has faced them too, and he has overcome them. When evil breaks our hearts, He has walked that path. He is able to help… We have a Savior, not just for the end of time, but every moment of our lives.

I open the Scriptures to find Jesus, and this morning, while I was looking for Him, He found me. That’s why I read the Bible.

The Gospel of Yes

The Gospel of Yes will be released by Waterbrook Publishing on June 5, 2012.  As you probably can tell, we are excited about the project! The conversations that sparked the writing of the book came out of conversations with young adults at Kairos. As we would talk, I realized most of these young men and women were living “against.” That is, they were living against past mistakes, shame, guilt, anger — always defining themselves by what they are not.  Few of them were living from their “Yes” in Christ. The Yes of knowing your identity in Him; your Yes of knowing your gifting that matched your purpose and most of all; knowing the Yes of His unchanging love.

So I wrote the book and as I was writing, I realized all of us are pretty much in the same boat. We are told all of our lives in so many ways all of the things we are not.  Christ came, to be to us and to bring to us, the Yes of God. That’s why I wrote the book. I want to help as many people find their Yes in Christ as possible. As Paul reminds us in 2 Corinthians, “In Him, all of the promises of God are Yes.” My prayer is, as you read the book, you will be able to find your own Yes in Christ.

Love Jesus but Not His church?

A lot of people have sent this video to me and wanted my opinion on what the young man was saying.  First of all, the guy is pretty good. Not all of his rhymes work for me, but I can certainly appreciate the guy’s talent.

And second, this isn’t anything new. People dissing the church and claiming to love Jesus is a very old line.  Now, don’t get me wrong.   I know the church is a mess. You can’t tell me anything about the church or church history or church politics or well…anything else…about the church I don’t know.  I know the church gets a lot of things wrong…BUT…