Experience: Life

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So I quit my job two weeks ago.

My new job starts on Monday.
While it has been a nice break, some other major life changes are in the works that I am super excited about as well so I have been a bit anxious but in a good way.
More like an anticipation.
All of this has given me time to think, have fun, be lazy, be active, see family, reflect, and make time for people like I have been meaning to, something that is super important to me.

I do however have a bit of an embarrassing story to share that mostly fits into the lazy category.
(I shared this with a friend yesterday and based on his reaction I must WARN you, BEWARE THE CRINGE!)

About a week ago I was early into my break and just did not want to get out of bed.
It was probably about 11am, and I cannot say I am proud of this, but, I lifted my head just slightly and saw a book on my shelf titled “Houstonian”.
I considered the energy it would take to get up to find out what was inside and I decided against it.
So what did I do?
I did probably one of the saddest things I have ever done.

I took out my phone and attempted to google what this book was.

Immediately I put my phone down and thought to myself, “Self, How often do people learn about life, people, and art but not experience it?”
(Google failed me and I still do not know what Houstonian is. If you find out please let me know.)

We see pictures of mountains and scenery.
We read magazines, internet stories and use facebook to find out about the lives of celebrities and even sometimes our family and friends.
We will never know these things truly unless we are willing to get up and experience them.

 

Question?
What do you call someone who wants to know everything about someone but does not actually know them personally?
They might read about them, watch what they do, have pictures of them on their wall.
What do you call someone like that?

A STALKER!

The Greek word for “to know” that is used in the Bible does not just mean to know about someone or something.
It has an element of experience to it.
An intimate experiential knowledge of that thing mountain, person, or place.

CS Lewis in his book “A Grief Observed” talks about his tragic loss of his wife.
He talks about how he has pictures of her, how he can have imaginary conversations with her in his head and how he can imagine how she would be, but it does not even hold a candle to how amazing she really was.
To experience her in her fullest and not as a shadow or a memory was to truly know her.

Regrettably we can even do what CS Lewis was speaking of with  Jesus.
We can have pictures and icons, imagine how He looks, smells, what He would say or do, but to truly experience Him is to know Him.
To know real life.
To know real joy.
To know real peace that is so great in the midst of circumstances that it baffles people.

I met a girl in the hospital today who knows God.
There was a peace that she encountered tonight that did not even make sense but it opened her up to dreaming again.
She talks with Him and He talks back.
She has dreams and when she dreams she is dreaming with Him.
He likes to do things with her and likes to do what she likes to do.
Like a good dad.

Real life.
Resurrection life.
The kind of life Jesus died for you to have,
it looks like something.
It is like that time you ran downhill through that field with the wind in your hair with people you loved and laughed and smiled bigger than you ever have before, maybe not even knowing fully why.
That moment in a monotonous day where you find true enjoyment in your work, with the people around you and that feeling pops up.
When you are in a hospital alone maybe feeling rejected and you are met with kindness for the first time in you don’t know how long.
It’s kind of like that.
It will change you.
Jesus wants to enjoy those moments with you.

The God who made a good world participates in it and wants to participate in it with you.
Wants you to know that real life, that real joy and that peace that does not make sense.
Even if you have your own plans, I promise with Him they are always better.
This is the God that always trades up and He wants to work in the world with you.
It is the greatest adventure I have ever been on.
I promise no matter what you go through He will never leave you, in fact He will get closer to you in and through it.

Invite Him into your dreams.
Come and participate with Him and a love that never fails.
Know intimately the life He died for you to be able to freely experience with the one who made it possible.

Experience LIFE,
Drew

P.S.
As you can see from the photo above I did eventually get out of my bed and walked frozen lakes, ran around mountains and felt alive with the ones I love.

Thanks dad I love you.

First Respond

Firstresponse

Everything changes but nothing can change my love.


I wanted to share something I noticed this week.

It seems like people get outraged really easily.

A certain movie that I am not going to go see, but not for moral reasons, was released in theaters and certain people groups are outraged. (There is something to be said about holy living but Still the response to those who may not be is not outrage)
I have been joking about a group of mothers standing outside of a small town theater with their arms crossed glaring at people as they walk by as if to say, “we are not angry, we are just disappointed”.
That may sound ridiculous but some reactions I’ve seen really make it seem like things could head that way (or worse) quickly.

This is the problem though.
Reacting in outrage.

Outrage says, “I am so mad and hopeless about this situation”.

Once in a drug rehab facility I picked up a piece of paper that talked about the difference between reacting and responding.

When something makes us uncomfortable and we do not feel like we have control we can often times react.
This can at times look like an emotional outburst or a recoil in fear.
Either way we are letting our emotions and opinions drive us to act quickly without thinking.
Sometimes we feel justified in our split second reactionary judgements based on
whether or not we are morally justified.
We are right and they are wrong so it is ok right?

I say no.
It is never worth it to react.
I know I have lost friendships from making split second judgements in moments that I cannot get back.
Reacting based on whether something or someone is behaving immorally also causes us often times to create a separation between us and them.

The enemy want us to be outraged and react guys.
These lead to bitterness and seclusion from a world that needs to really see what the living freely and lightly that Jesus talked about looks like.
I am more and more realizing though that I need them.
I need people.
Isolation is the enemies greatest deception.

This truth was for drug addicts who may feel powerless to combat their situation but I believe it applies to outrage addicts as well.

So what is the alternative when we see some injustice that makes our stomach turn?

The paper I picked up earlier also detailed what responding to a situation we may encounter in our lives looks like.
Thoughtfully responding can lead to a solution or greater understanding than rash decisions and emotional outbursts ever would.
When some injustice stirs us, that is good.
A friend once told me that is God giving you a heart to do something about it.

Thoughtfully approaching a situation to think of solutions or being solutions that can make the world a better place is what I believe we are on earth for in the first place.

Reacting to a sensitive issue like abortion can look like picketing clinics and causing others to live in shame. A culture full of outrage and shame says to someone you need to behav right before I accept you. 
The Kingdom of God does not do that. God says you belong before you behave. 
So Jesus Prayed to the Father “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven”.
We get to bring heaven to earth in these situations that stir us.
It is a calling! A kingdom response looks like bringing heaven into the situation. 
Responding to this injustice can look like aiding in reform of our adoption system in this country, working with pregnancy resource centers locally, or working in relationship with the girls themselves.

God is not phased by this movie that just came out.
If it stirs something in you that this is not ok, do something about it.
Seriously I do believe that means you have it set in you to create or be a part of something greater. 
A solution and not a reaction.

Be the solution.

What if we were known as a culture that did not react but responded in love with kingdom solutions to issues that stir us?

I have heard it said, “don’t be like a thermometer that just reads out what’s happening in the world, be like a thermostat and shift the culture.”

We have true power to reproduce life. 

What if the church was the most innovative when it came to art, music, movies, science, and literature?

I believe we have it in us to be.

Experience Hope,
Drew

Wait… It’s Getting Better!?

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Only in looking back can I see the redemptive nature of much suffering in the world.

 

This absolutely blew my mind this week and I could not wait to share!

The World Health Organization, the same W.H.O. Peter Capaldi played a Doctor for in World War Z (Doctor W.H.O.), says that in 1820 92% of the world was in poverty.
In 2013 it was 21%, and a recent news report said that in 2017 it will only be a predicted 9.6%.
God is still not done redeeming the poor.

There is less slavery in the world today than ever before in history.
God is still not done redeeming those in bondage.

The same World Health Organization in September stated that 2015 was the most peaceful year in the history of mankind with less deaths due to war than any year on record and it is not even close!
God is still not done bringing Peace.

Life expectancy in Jesus day was 31-32.
By the year 1550 it jumped up to 37 years old and by 1850 it jumped to 51.
It stayed there until 1928 when penicillin was invented, jumping to age 79!
God is STILL not done redeeming!!!
It gets better…

In Jesus day, orgies as temple sacrifice and the sexual assault and rape of Children in the streets were common place.
The University of Washington just put out a study saying that the generation turning 30 right now has had half of the sexual partners of the preceding generation and got married much older (30).
I guess previous generations were just more private about it.
God is not done redeeming sexuality!!!!

All of this in mind, how is it we focus so much on the negative?
I suppose our world view and view of our nation tends to come from media. Media really does put it more in our face and they’ll only show you what gets ratings (sex, violance, bad news.)
That worldview though is contrary to the truth and the faith I proclaim in Jesus Christ’s work.

If you want to go back to a “better time” where would you go?
If you were not white or a woman you wouldn’t make it.

Would you rather have had dental work done today or in 1950 or 1850 or in 1550 where they just helped you pull your teeth…

 

If you ever hear anyone saying “God is in control” and “this world is going to hell in a hand-basket” (that would have to be a pretty big hand-basket) they probably really don’t believe that God is in control.
Certainly that He’s not good and that He does not get what He wants.
They believe in a weak monster God who enjoys to watch us suffer as things get worse.
Thankfully this is not reality.

Point is this world is getting better!
It is not a lost cause!
WE are God’s answer to the suffering in the world and redemption is for the WHOLE WORLD that God so loved!

Experience Hope,
Drew