Hollow Eyes

A few years ago I had a dream to take a group of teenagers down to Central and South America.  I even met with a missionary from the country I was looking at taking this group to.  I had begun gathering information and resources to learn enough of the language for the youth to be able to communicate somewhat.  This was something I really wanted to do…

Last night I was driving in my car to Randy’s house.  I was listening to a CD I have not listened to in years.  The CD was by Petra and the song Hollow Eyes.  While listening to this song I began to recall the dream and the plans that went unfulfilled. 

Although, some 10 to 15 of these teens did go overseas to several countries over the course of 2 summers.  They traveled to Russia, South Africa, West Africa, Kenya, India, China, and Haiti.  Others went to the states of Maryland and Nebraska as well as the city of Los Angeles.

These teens answered the call to “Go into all of the world…”

Today I’m challenged – challenged at the faith and the commitment to do something totally radical that goes against our human nature.  I’m challenged to look into those “Hollow Eyes”.

The least of these is hungry.  The least of these is sick.  The least of these needs clothing.  The least of these needs drink.  The least of these knows sorrow.  The least of these knows grief.  The least of these has suffered pain and Jesus is His name.

Do you dare to gaze into His hollow eyes?

What’s His call for you?

Advertisements

Walking by faith

I have been listening to some vintage Christian music the past few days.  It’s been a very encouraging experience to listen to some tunes that are over 20 years old.  So much of the music I listened to then really shaped my young Christian life.  Petra, Whiteheart, Russ Taff, Stryper, Jerusalem, and U2… they each have had their place in leaving a mark on my spiritual life. 

This morning I was driving to the Men’s Journey Group I attend.  While driving I was listening to Russ Taff’s, “Medals” CD.  I will write more about that one later.  It was a very moving experience.  Tonight a song by Petra called “Not by Sight” has been running through my head.

God is speaking to me right now with this theme on faith.  I can’t tell you how many times Hebrews 11 and 12 have surfaced over the past month or so.  This morning in our Journey Group some of our talk was on this.  In my pastor’s Partnership Class, my pastor mentioned Genesis 12 and Abraham’s call to move… a huge act of faith… which is also referenced in Hebrews 11. 

Today I turn the page in Oswald Chambers devotional and Hebrews 11:8 is there to greet me, “He went out not knowing where he was going.” (In reference to Abraham).  I’ve pasted a portion of the devotional:

Living a life of faith means never knowing where you are being led. But it does mean loving and knowing the One who is leading. It is literally a life of faith, not of understanding and reason—a life of knowing Him who calls us to go. Faith is rooted in the knowledge of a Person, and one of the biggest traps we fall into is the belief that if we have faith, God will surely lead us to success in the world.

At this time in my life, I’m not sure where I am heading… but I do know I am heading in the right direction.  God has restored a lot in my life.  The stirring in my soul is difficult… yet I know it isn’t being stirred without a real purpose.  I’m excited about it all.

at the heart of it

I Cry

When peace cannot be found
And sleep won’t visit me tonight
A restless mind that I can’t tame
I walk the floor, I call your name
Finally silence, and the tears begin to fall

I cry and you’re the one who hears me calling
I fall so easily, but you’re there to catch me
Say the words that heal me
I’m safe with you
You touch my eyes
I can see

Oh the comfort that you bring
When nothing else can reach inside
Sympathetic friends are all around
Their soothing words fall to the ground
But in the silence I feel you here with me

I cry and you’re the one who hears me calling
I fall so easily, but you’re there to catch me
Say the words that heal me
I’m safe with you
You touch my eyes
I can see

Words: James Hollihan, Russ Taff, and Tori Taff
Heart: Mine

“Knife-happy circumcisers”

Ouch!

 Eugene Peterson’s way of wording in The Message is great.  The title “Knife-happy circumcisers” is from Philippians 3:2. 

It’s interesting to see  in just about every field of work, play, and even the church people want to be seen.  People want the recognition “due them”.  It cracks me up when I hear someone jealously interject their own input into something so it makes the resume or the newspaper… so it gets their selfish ambitions noticed.  Let me tell you hard work every-time will get you recognized.  No matter what it is you are doing. 

Paul says to watch out for those who put so much stock in the outward appearance, “Knife-happy circumcisers”.  When it gets right down to it – no matter what it is you are about whether it is work or serving the Lord there is a certain amount of push or faith that has got to come from within… it’s an unexplainable drive for accomplishment.  It’s called passion.  Passion to live out that one thing that drives you to get out of bed in the morning.  For me, it is passion to serve God and to do what it is that pleases him.  My desire is that in all I do Jesus receives full recognition and credit for “my” accomplishments in life.  As Paul states in Romans 12:1, “this is your spiritual act of worship.”

Here I am at 42 years of age and I am still seeking God’s will for my life.  I can recall when I was 18 years old – I surrendered my life to Christ (at a KISS concert none-the-less) all the time back then I spent seeking God’s will.  Literally making myself sick thinking God’s will was out there somewhere.  Today I get up and I serve him at home, at work, and the church.  I serve him in loving my wife and raising my children.  Getting “out there” everyday is all about being in his will and living it out.

God is great and everything we have to offer Him needs to be in an act of worship.  Giving Him our best.  Giving him the recognition He so greatly deserves! We need to get out there and work and not worry about who sees us but just know that God does!

How are you known?

spidey.jpgIf you know my son, you know that on any given day he could be any Marvel, Warner Bros., or Disney character created.  It’s so funny with each month that goes by his fascination with the various character’s change.  Right now it is Spider-Man 3.  He changes clothes and costumes throughout the movie.  I remember taking him to see Superman Returns at the theatre… he wore his Superman costume.  I’m not sure who got more attention my son or the movie screen.

Last Summer I had one of those moments that I would not have missed for the world.  We went to Six Flags and all of the Warner Brothers Characters were roaming the park.  He loved meeting them all.  But the moment when he realized we were standing in front of all of his Superhero idols… the moment literally took his breath away.  It was priceless.

He changes persona’s like the weather changes.  It’s fun to see a 5 year old change like this.  But I hope that when people look at me they see consistency.  I hope when people know they are going to be around me they know what to expect.  That my mood, attitude, interests, etc. isn’t always a guessing game.  More importantly I want my testimony in following Jesus to be consistent and growing.  I don’t want to ever be caught “playing games” with my faith in Jesus.

“If you grow a healthy tree, you’ll pick healthy fruit.  If you grow a diseased tree, you’ll pick worm-eaten fruit.  The fruit tells you about the tree. Matthew 12:33, The Message.

What kind of fruit is your life producing?

Spiritual Parenting

I have been thinking about this lately.  It could be the series at church that is sparking the interest… could be that Chili burger from Ross’.  No.  It’s got to be the series….

I mentioned in my Men’s Journey Group the other day about spiritually leading our children and being the dad’s God intends for us to be.  There are also children out there who don’t have a spiritual leader in their home who loves Jesus.  I’ve been thinking about that.  I’ve been thinking about how important it is to be looking out for our children’s friends too. 

When your kids or your kids friends are 40 who is it that they are going to say spiritually mentored them?  Are you spiritually fit to lead your children or others? Is it you who will step up to the call?  I hope so!

Below are some statistics I received from Don Miller from the Belmount Foundation.

The Cost of Absent Fathers

  • 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes. (U.S. D.H.H.S., Bureau of the Census)
  • 75% of adolescents patients in chemical abuse centers come from fatherless homes. (Rainbows for all God’s Children)
  • 70% of juveniles in state operated insitutions have no fathers. (U.S. Dept. of Justice, Special Report)
  • 85% of youth in prison had no fathers at home. (Fulton Co. Georgia jail population, Texas Dept. of Correction)
  • 90% of homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes. (U.S. D.H.H.S., Bureau of the Census)
  • 71% of high school dropouts come from fatherless homes (National Principal Association Report on the State of High Schools)

a clean heart

Humility.  Standing up for myself. Staying focused. Keeping anger in check.  Keeping quiet.  Being patient.  Confident. Filled with love. Living. Being a person of mercy and compassion.  Always hoping. Strong. Steadfast. Integrity.

The Bible tells us in Romans 3:23, “for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” (NKJV).  Knowing this helps me.  I’m no different than anyone else… I need freedom from this sin that I was born into.  Thankfully God has made a way for me… for everyone.  He has given us his Son so that we may have salvation and everlasting life.  “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16, NIV.

Romans 8:1 reads, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” (NKJV).

I am so glad to know that I no longer have reason to fear living in condemnation and regrets of past sins I have committed.  God, thank you very much for setting me free.  I’m not a prisoner any longer. 

I struggle at times with some people though.  I struggle with giving them the grace that has been given to me.  As if I can bring justice for the wrong that has been done to me or someone else.  I can’t do anything about it… at least from the flesh.  Sure – I guess I could – but that would only separate me from living in the power of God… I would once again return to my sin.  I’m reminded of Numbers 32:23, “…you can be sure that your sin will track you down.” (The Message).

Those things I wrestle with I must lay down before the Lord.  I must know that my Redeemer lives.  I know that Jesus not only watches over me and those close to me… he also watches out for all of mankind.

So in humility I must pray for my enemies.  We must all pray for our enemies.  We must allow love to conquer… To set us free from those things that bind our hearts.  David writes in Psalm 4:4-5, “In your anger do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent.  Offer right sacrifices and trust in the Lord.”

Thank you God for creating in me a clean heart… thank you for renewing a right spirit within me!