Living the questions and trying to think theologically... and practically. Learning that these things are more synonymous than I once thought.

Location: Dallas, TX

Sunday, June 06, 2004

Feeling More Like Home

Yesterday I drove back to Waco, and this time I didn't cry upon first glimpse of the city. I was excited to come back and see folks and go to church this morning. I may have even cracked a smile. Maybe this place isn't going to be as bad as I thought.

It bothers me that I don't like living here more. There are so many things about seminary I love, but making the connections is still really hard. I talked to a few people at church this morning, and I was excited that they remembered my name. I'm way to skeptical of folks- always assuming they don't want to be my friend or that I'm just not cool enough to be friends with them. The people at UBC seem so great. I just feel like it's hard to get to know folks at first. There's all kinds of UBC stuff I could go to this week, but I'm kind of scared to go without Josh. Buddies from previous lives are like security blankets in new surroundings. What if I go and no one wants to talk to me? I wish I could snap my fingers and make my insecurities vanish. I've been to a few things there before and haven't felt too uncomfortable, but I've always had Josh. Maybe I'll grow up, get over it, and just go.

The pastor at UBC is a guy named Kyle Lake, and we really love what he has to say. I think I could tell you something about every sermon I ever heard him preach. Today his talk was good, but it was one that was hard for me to hear. He was preaching from 1 Peter 1, and talking about how we shouldn't be controlled by our emotions and feelings. How if we don't pray when we don't feel like praying, we'll never become people of prayer, etc. He said that it seemed strange to talk about this in a place that is really big on authenticity and being real. We don't ignore our feelings, but we don't let them dictate our lives. It did seem strange, but I fully agree with all he said. I'm an emotional person; I can't deny it. Many times I think I'm not the person God wants me to be just because I don't feel like it. I'm good at legalism. I'm good at being a slacker in my walk. However, I'm not good at being disciplined, and that's the only good way to go about it. If discipline is the sign of a mature Christian, and I think it might be, I'm not there yet. Sometimes I feel like I'm trying too hard. Then I get really frustrated with myself for acting so fake, that I stop trying all together. You get nowhere that way. Lord, please show me the middle ground. Show me the way you intend for me to live.

Here's a little of the passage we focused on this morning in 1 Peter 1. It's from the Message by Eugene Peterson, which is quickly becoming one of my favorite things.

So roll up your sleeves, put your mind in gear, be totally ready to receive the gift that's coming when Jesus arrives. Don't lazily slip back into those old grooves of evil, doing just what you feel like doing. You didn't know any better then; you do now. As obedient children, let yourselves be pulled into a way of life shaped by God's life, a life energetic and blazing with holiness, God said, "I am holy; you be holy."

You call out to God for help and he helps- he's a good Father that way. But don't forget, he's also a responsible Father, and won't let you get by with sloppy living.

Your life is a journey you must travel with a deep consciousness of God. It cost God plenty to get you out of that dead-end, empty-headed life you grew up in. He paid with Christ's sacred blood, you know. He died like an unblemished, sacrificial lamb. And this was no afterthought. Even though it has only lately- at the end of the ages- become public knowledge, God always knew he was going to do this for you. It's because of this sacrificed Messiah, whom God then raised from the dead and glorified, that trust you God, that you know you have a future in God.

Jesus talked about denying yourself to follow him. This does not often seem fun at the time, but we can really trust Jesus more than our feelings. The way that I can commune with him in prayer, the way I see the Father in him in the scriptures,and the way he shows me how I can relate to the Father is worth more than all else I could possibly want, no matter what I am feeling at a particular moment. This is the deep consciousness of God that I long to live in.


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