Bartering With Jesus

Jesus said to me, “I want all of you.”

I said, “Here are my Sunday mornings.”

“Thanks,” he replied, “but I want all of you.”

“Ok here are my Wednesday nights too”, I replied.

“That’s great, but I want all of you” he insisted.

Reluctantly I replied ,“Ok, I get it. Here is the music I listen to, the movies I watch, my hobbies, and… here, here’s some money too.”

“Thanks, but I already owned all of that,” he replied. “I want all of you.”

“Well now you’re just being greedy,” I replied.

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In The Notebook, when Noah finally comes to a point where he’s done settling for just a little bit of Allie, everyone and their mother began to wipe tears away as they watched Noah say, “So it’s not gonna be easy. It’s going to be really hard; we’re gonna have to work at this everyday, but I want to do that because I want you. I want all of you, forever, everyday. You and me… everyday.”

Clap, clap, clap, bravo, sniff, clap, clap, tweet, gush, clap, hug, clap… 

PEOPLE EAT THAT UP in a romantic comedy, but when God asks for the same thing from us we become offended!

When Noah demands all of Allie’s love, it results in sixteen awards at the box office.

When God asks for all of my love, I want to barter with him at times.

We humans are frustrating creatures, far too easily pleased.

Yet he pursues us still. 

“I asked her what was so scary about unmerited free grace? She replied something like this: “If I was saved by my good works – then there would be a limit to what God could ask of me or put me through. I would be like a taxpayer with rights. I would have done my duty and now I would deserve a certain quality of life. But if it is really true that I am a sinner saved by sheer grace – at God’s infinite cost – then there’s nothing he cannot ask of me.”

“The Prodigal God” by Tim Keller

A Life Few Have Ever Dreamed Of

I came home from school in the Fall of 1993 to find my dad passed out drunk on our couch. He had taken a steak knife from the kitchen and dragged it repeatedly across both of his forearms. I’m not sure if he was trying to kill himself, punish himself, or just feel something

By the time I got there, the blood had dried. I called 911, then poured what was left in his bourbon bottle down the drain. He’d been fired from his job as a lumber salesman that day, and that was the tipping point for his brokenness. He’d never recover. 

He’d been drinking heavily in secret since his mid-twenties, but his secret was exposed now. He would get drunk right in front of me for the next few years, shamelessly tipping that 2-liter of bourbon all the way back. He’d even take the plastic piece off that controlled the flow from the tip of the bottle. He was in a hurry to disappear. 

I spent the next 4 years trying to help him; I was what experts call an enabler. I just thought I was being a decent son. 

When he died in February of ‘96, he left behind pages and pages of poems and songs he had written (usually when he was drunk). When we found him on the night of his death, he had been journaling, and this is the last thing he wrote: 

If this mess should become my demise, so be it… I’ve lived a life few have ever dreamed of.”

We buried my dad when he was 44, but he died when he was 25. He had spent most of his life drunk, died very young, and missed thousands of miracles that have unfolded in my life… but on his last day he was convinced that he had lived a dreamworthy life. 

I’m sitting in a coffee shop at a summer camp right now, preparing a message on the life of hope and beauty God invites us into. I’m realizing how small some men’s dreams are.

Exciting Announcement

My job titles keep changing! 

Back in December I was the High School Pastor… then I was the High School & College Pastor… then, I don’t know what else… 

Then our world flipped upside-down. 

Now I’m excited to announce that I’ve accepted a position as Teaching Pastor & Student Ministries Pastor here at Mission

That means I’ll teach on the main stage at least 25% of the time from here on out, as well as in some other ministries as needed. I’ll also oversee our Student Ministry team, which is led by an amazing group of pastors, interns, volunteers, and one very busy administrative assistant! 

When we find our new Lead Pastor, he’ll teach 50% of the time, and we’ll hire another Teaching Pastor soon after he comes on board to cover the other 25%. 

This new position is EXACTLY what I was hoping for! Linds and I talked and prayed a ton about whether or not I should apply for the Lead Pastor position, and I was invited by Mission’s leadership to apply if I felt led to do so, but we decided not to. I think that this position gives me the best opportunity to use my gifts, talents and abilities here at Mission. I really feel like I’m stepping into my sweet spot.

It’s been an amazing five years on staff here at Mission, and I truly believe that our best days are ahead of us.

ash wednesday by Thomas Merton

steveryancarter:

an excerpt from a short essay written by Thomas Merton in 1959

“The purpose of Lent is not so much expiation, to satisfy the divine justice, as a preparation to rejoice in His love. And this preparation consists in receiving the gift of His mercy—a gift which we receive in so far as we open our…

ash wednesday by Thomas Merton