In the Midst of the Unexpected

Life is full of the unexpected. Our day, week, or entire life can turn upside down with nothing more than a phone call or text message. It’s in times like these that questions, fears, anxiety, doubt, and depression flood our hearts and minds as though a dam has erupted and the floods are upon us.

When these moments strike we need to learn to take it all to Jesus. I don’t say that as a flat, religious platitude or handing out an empty cliche.

Here is what can often happen: We encounter something that frustrates, flusters, or flattens us, and the internal battle begins. The dialogue rolls around in our brains and tension mounts. Teeth are clenched. Breath is held. Headaches ensue. Distractions are sought to ease the mind, but often to no avail.

In those moments, in all moments, go to Jesus. Place before Him every last bit of everything.

Our vision is often clouded in these times and here’s what we fail to see; He is already aware of it all. He knows the four letter words and unholy introspection that’s going on. Even then, He says “Come.” He pulls up the chair and asks you to “Cast all your anxieties on him” and this isn’t because God is a mindless soundboard with no responsiveness, but “because he cares for you”. He’s a good Father and faithful friend.

Please do not push aside the point in familiarity. He cares so deeply and actively that He asks you bring your mess to him. What is the promise that He imparts? “He gives grace.” That is to say, His love and mercy are in full operation toward those who simply approach Him. There is no prerequisite to have it together, polish our prayers, and get on our Sunday best. He simply says “Cast it, throw it, launch every last bit of what you are feeling and thinking and wondering my way.” He gives permission to be messy and promises grace. Remember, He already knows.

What God asks of us all is that we stop dealing with Him in the third person as though He is a distant deity. There is a constant refrain throughout scripture, of God communicating with His people His desire for them to turn toward Him in all circumstances, especially when the unexpected hits. We must fight to not drift from the reality of relational intimacy with Him to impersonal ideas about Him.

God demonstrates this most clearly and fully in coming to earth. In Christ, He shows us that He cares enough to come personally and tangibly into our mess. He relates, He knows, He feels our hurts and meets us there.

So when the unexpected strikes, press toward Him amid the mess. Do not be content to deal with God in the third person. He already knows the good, the bad and the ugly, yet still invites us to lay it before Him. From there you can trust. You can know that His Spirit is alive, He is active, and He cares. He is there in the middle of it all, working for His glory and our good.

Lumen Deo Easter Recap

When we planted Lumen Deo in the fall of 2012 our simple, yet earnest prayer was (and is) that Jesus would bring people to himself through the people of the church plant. As we celebrated the resurrection on Easter Sunday we saw God answering that prayer as we baptized four new followers of Jesus and marveled at the continuing work of God through this community of faith.

Yavapai Territorial Gospel Rescue Mission

In the fall of 2012 I found myself near Granite Creek Park talking to a group of 4 homeless men about their stories and needs. What I learned in that conversation was that the homeless in the quad cities can find food and supplies for living on the street everyday, all year long. What is lacking however, is a secure place to stay as they look to transition from the streets into “normal life” seeking out jobs and better living conditions. In God’s grace and providence I received a call two weeks later from a couple that was considering moving to Prescott to serve the needs of the homeless by starting a rescue mission. Since that time God has continued to open doors and pave the way for this new ministry to begin and we as the people of Lumen Deo are incredibly blessed to be able to support this ministry through our prayers, help, and financial support. This video helps in telling the story and showing the need as the mission begins to take off.

Redeeming the Everyday

Life is extraordinarily ordinary. Days quickly melt into one another. Work trudges on. Bills need to be paid. Dishes need to be cleaned, laundry needs to be done, kids need to be dressed, groceries need to be purchased. Every. Single. Day. Pretty mundane, right?

In light of that, we can often hope for a different life or even look into another’s world and long for something more adventurous, more exciting, more together. But that longing is rooted in a lie that something different, something else, ANYTHING else is where the good life is. It doesn’t end. It can quickly breed an unholy discontent, depression, and worst of all, a failure to see the goodness of God with where you’re at now.

Where is the hope? Where and when do we see change? In the gospel we are freed from that cycle to see the grace of God in the everyday. Not only that, we are given the perspective and power to redeem the situations and circumstances that we presently find ourselves in. It was the Apostle Paul who encouraged us to “Make best use of the time” – It’s not accidental that he writes those words from a Roman prison cell. He was maligned, mistreated, and falsely accused yet he still went forward redeeming and making best use of the opportunities that God had given regardless. Not only did he trudge through, but he used every opportunity to demonstrate the grace that had been extended to him in Jesus through both words and deeds. Everyday is an opportunity to redeem the ordinary with the extraordinary grace of God.

So where has God placed you? Where are you frustrated? Where is it difficult to find satisfaction and fulfillment? Where are you everyday?

God has placed you there to show forth and reflect HIS grace and HIS goodness. In Christ HE has freed you from the endless cycle of discontent, impatience, and restlessness to find your rest in him. To see and show HIM in the mundane is to redeem the everyday.

Grace Upon Grace

With the quickness that seemed to match the blink of an eye, another year has come and gone. I really enjoy the last couple weeks of the year. I’m fascinated in thinking back over all the life that has taken place in the span of 365 days; the foods tasted, friendships formed, books read, movies seen, and miles traveled. All of that coupled with the adversity experienced and trials faced. 2012 has been no exception. This year has been full of celebration and trial. Joy and heartache. Rejoicing and grieving.