Archives For failure

With all the bad news this year and challenging times, it is more difficult than ever to remain hopeful and positive. There seems to be a constant stream of negativity and pessimism.

When I began in missions 28 years ago, Americans were known around the world as hopeful and overcoming. This seems to be changing. We now seem to be negative and cynical proclaimers of doom and gloom.

As Christians, we are the only people in the world that have grace. This should help us to have a different perspective on hardship. The reality of grace becomes even more real during times of struggle.

When I see the Biblical authors speaking about grace during trials, it was not something they learned in a classroom or a textbook. It came from facing much more than we have. 

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Why is it we feel we must portray a model of perfection as Christians?

For as long as I can remember, the stereotypical Christian was one who cleaned up well and always answered the “How are you Doing?” question with positive enthusiasm.

Do we present a church which has arrived and is all together, or one filled with people on the journey of figuring it out?

Donald Miller, in his refreshingly candid book Scary Close: Dropping the Act and Finding True Intimacy says,

“Grace only sticks to our imperfections. Those who can’t accept their imperfections can’t accept grace either.”

A photo by Keith Wickramasekara. unsplash.com/photos/C-6TaN2fxK8

Sometimes it is these imperfections which bring beauty.

Miller would imply Christianity, at is core,  is an admission of weakness. We seem to grasp this as a way to enter the door of faith.

Which is better? To work at pleasing God or to focusing on trusting God?

Where should we focus more of our attention and effort?

In their book, The Cure: What If God Isn’t Who You Think He Is And Neither Are You, Bill Thrall, Bruce McNicol, and John S. Lynch explore this tension.

The Cure is part teaching, part allegory in the style of Pilgrims Progress. The book begins with the traveler facing two different forks in the road, one leading to Trusting God and the other to Pleasing God. Take a look at the description:

“I look up at the Trusting God sign. This has to be a trap, a trick question. It sounds good, but it doesn’t give me anything to do. It’s too passive. How will I make a difference? If God and I are going to be in sync, there’s got to be something more than trust. If the issue is me, I’m probably not going to future out my destiny simple by trusting God.

Weakness is Our Friend

July 30, 2012

Like many boys, my son, Garett, has a fascination with superheroes.

One day my wife, Lindsey, was home with our boys. She dressed our son up in his cape, and let him head off to the land of make-believe. He flew around the house for a while before retreating to the back porch. It wasn’t long until Lindsey heard a huge crash accompanied by the sounds of a crying boy.

Rushing outside, she found a pile of assorted lawn furniture that had been stacked into a platform, designed to be the launching pad for flight. Initially, she was concerned that he had been hurt as he sobbed uncontrollably, but as he calmed down, Lindsey found out the true source of his tears.

He crashed as he attempted to fly.

He had the cape, he built the tower, he believed with all his heart he could; still, gravity took effect and he crashed to the ground.

Our Story Is Not Our Identity

February 24, 2012

A few years ago, our family completed a journey to adopt and immigrate our son from South Africa. This process took over four years and included custody, name changes, countless documents, and finally culminated in him receiving his US citizenship and passport.

My son’s identity has changed. He has a new name, a new country, and a new family heritage.

This does not change his story. Where he came from will always be a part of his life, but how he is known is completely different.

It is this way with all of us. Our past is a part of who we are, but we have a new identity through Christ.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Cor. 5:17

This is so clear through the example of Abraham. Look at these two verses side by side and notice the difference.