Friday, February 5, 2010

Just stay in the tower, Please

I had lunch with a sweet friend and her amazingly adorable baby yesterday (Side Note: I've seen a lot of cute babies in my life, but this one is definitely on the top of the list!)
Our discussion started to bounce around relationships, I made the statement "Girls, although they have a there own box of pressure and weight in relationships do in fact have the easier end of the deal." "What!?", exclaimed by sweet friend. "How so?" This is what followed....

A woman gets to sit back in here castle tower and wait. Wait for her knight in shining armor to come storm the castle and come get her. And you'll know when he comes because you you'll hear the clanging of swords and shields outside of your door. And so, you wait. You don't even have to unlock the door because he will donkey kick it down when he gets to it. And so, you wait. And at last when he comes marching through the door YOU get to say "yes" or you get to say "no". How great is that! ...But here is the problem. While waiting in your tower you start to think a couple things. One, this could be a long wait and two, what happens if he doesn't come? Well, Maybe I should unlock the door for him...or maybe I should crack open the door. Ya know better yet, I'll lower the drawbridge as well and go wait outside for him, because he might pass by and miss the castle. Ya know, come to think of it maybe I should go out into the woods and look for him because you know men, they tend to be bad with directions and he might be lost out there. So you leave the tower you leave the castle you go into the woods and get all of a sudden get swooped away by the troll living under the bridge. And then you sit back and say to the world, "why is it that all I get are the trolls?" "Is the whole world filled with trolls?" Meanwhile back at the ranch...or the castle in this example...the brave young knight has fought his way up the tower through flames and dragons only to find the you gone and being carried away in the arms of a troll.

Remedy: Just stay in the tower...wait. This doesn't mean do nothing or be nothing. Contrary, prepare yourself. Stay faithful. Trust. Believe.

Here's the second thought that goes through your mind..."What if he doesn't come?". or "What if he isn't who I thought he would be." What happens if Shrek comes marching through those doors. What if he isn't what I imagined. My question is this: Could he be better then what you imagined?

Is there a difference between want and need sometimes? You may want a six pack, flowing locks of golden hair and a huge bank account. But what comes is a dangerously skinny guy with strange facial hair and a few bucks in his back pocket...but, what is unseen is a truck load of love and faithfulness and hope and integrity and honor and protection and loyalty. Want and need. We might want to start wanting what were needing more.

And maybe you have ventured out of the castle and into the woods and got picked up by a troll and are lost and looking for your way home. How do you get back?
Let the Lord take you back and return you to your tower, restore you, love you, rebuild your heart and then help you wait..again. This time don't even unlock the door. When the time comes you'll know. Listen for the swords clanging and just stay in the tower, Please.

I know this is a fairytale example and life doesn't work out like a storybook and it may seem pretty extreme...but, doesn't it ring true somewhere deep down inside all of us. Doesn't this possibility sound better. Maybe not. Maybe I am just a dreamer, but I don't think I'm alone.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

In Your Arms

Where did you go last night
Without even leaving my sight
Your head went to the stars
Your heart went to the sea
And your eyes grew dark enough to not see me

In your arms
I'm finally free
In your arms
I finally see
In your arms
I finally know
I'm free to be me and I'm free to let go

Look at you now running away
From all of the world and all of your shame
Well where will you go and what will you do
When out run tonight but tomorrow still finds you

-music by jerrod steven

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Gift of Receiving

I am discovering an area of weakness in my life.


My initial reaction to this idea is to answer with a common phrase i hear, especially around Christmas time "It's better to give than to receive"...
Now I agree, on some levels, but what I have noticed is that I can be a real good giver whether it be gifts, compliments or hugs but receiving them on the other hand is a whole different story. And I don't think I'm the only one.

As a culture we are raised to believe that it is indeed better to give than receive, and so we spend all of our time learning to be better givers. But what happens when it comes time to receive? your met with something like this:

"That's a great shirt"
"oh's the only clean one I had"


"You look great, have you lost weight?"
"Ya a little, but not as much as I need to!"

or if your like me maybe you have been in this scenario...

"What a great message tonight Jerrod."
"oh it wasn't me, it was all the Lord"

Wait wait wait that last one is true, right? Is it? (before you pick up the stones hear me out) Yes, the Lord is the producer of all good things, and is the inspiration for the production of those things, but there had to have been a joined effort on my part (or your part) for Him to accomplish those things. So is it humility when you brush off the compliments or is it just inverted vanity? A false sense of humility. Because we really do believe that things the people say, but we surely can't say we agree with them because that would be prideful! (this is inverted vanity) we care more about the appearance of humility then actually being humble.

We invest so much time being givers that our ability to receive suffers. This is where my concern comes in...If we don't learn to receive then how can we really experience what God has given. We wont. What He offers is not based on what we give or do or produce or make up. It is rooted in HIM giving and US receiving what HE gives.

I need to get better at if you would like to help we could start by you giving me something?

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Twenty Ten

It is a new year.

Why is this such a big deal?

I walked into Panera (this is a common theme in my weekly life) As i held open the door for the couple leaving the house of bagels, I was greeted with a smile and two friendly "Happy New Years"

What is so exciting about the start of a new year?

Gym memberships. Champagne toasts. Resolutions. The idea of a fresh start rises in the minds and hearts of each person who desperately longs for one. Those who are so deep in emotional or spiritual slumber look to the year and feel no sense of change, or hope of change.

Can there truly be a fresh start?

Yes. The wonderful answer we all hold our breath for. Yes, there can be a fresh start. There can be a new thing. A different way. A better way.

"Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland." --Isaiah 43:18-19

Drink deep weary soul. Believe once again cynical heart. Trust wholly fearful heart. The Lord has never, can never and will never change. But He will create in you a new thing, a better thing.

The chances of magical laser beams shooting from heaven and creating something new in your heart or even in front of your very eyes is slim ,but coupled with your cooperation this new year there WILL be new things spring forth from your heart, mind & soul. A path in the overwhelmingness of this life & refreshing streams in the driest places of your heart. Work with the Lord this year in submitting to His lead and bowing your humble knee to his holy, unshakable, indispensable will.

You will see changes, good changes. You will see not a better version of you, but a clearer picture of Him in your life.

He is on the move...let Him move in you.

Welcome to Twenty Ten.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

So take a new grip with your tired hands...

So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees. Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong.

Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord. Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many. Make sure that no one is immoral or godless like Esau, who traded his birthright as the firstborn son for a single meal. You know that afterward, when he wanted his father’s blessing, he was rejected. It was too late for repentance, even though he begged with bitter tears.

You have not come to a physical mountain, to a place of flaming fire, darkness, gloom, and whirlwind, as the Israelites did at Mount Sinai. For they heard an awesome trumpet blast and a voice so terrible that they begged God to stop speaking. They staggered back under God’s command: “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned to death.” Moses himself was so frightened at the sight that he said, “I am terrified and trembling.”

No, you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to countless thousands of angels in a joyful gathering. You have come to the assembly of God’s firstborn children, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God himself, who is the judge over all things. You have come to the spirits of the righteous ones in heaven who have now been made perfect. You have come to Jesus, the one who mediates the new covenant between God and people, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks of forgiveness instead of crying out for vengeance like the blood of Abel.

Be careful that you do not refuse to listen to the One who is speaking. For if the people of Israel did not escape when they refused to listen to Moses, the earthly messenger, we will certainly not escape if we reject the One who speaks to us from heaven! When God spoke from Mount Sinai his voice shook the earth, but now he makes another promise: “Once again I will shake not only the earth but the heavens also.” This means that all of creation will be shaken and removed, so that only unshakable things will remain.

Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe. For our God is a devouring fire.

- A Portion of the book of Hebrews

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Tale From A Flight From Bakersfield to Pheonix

I took a trip to Arizona this last week and meet a woman named Margarette, she was a woman that had been through the ringer of life and was still standing. I was reading a magazine from a christian environmental group and ready for the quick trip when i felt this woman staring over me to peek at what i was reading. "what is that?", she said with hope in her eyes. I told her "It's was an environmental magazine..."
the hope began to fade from her eyes...

"...a christian based environmental magazine." I added. And the hope quickly flooded not just her eyes, but her entire body. Everything in her changed and she shifted towards me ready for share time. "i knew you were a believer, well i thought...well i was hoping!"

We went on to discuss her amazing life journey of being married to a man who did not believe but she was fervently praying for him through his battle with addiction. She was in her 60's and had been running a web design company. She told me about html code while rummaging through her apps on her new iphone.

I was impressed.

but what was most impressive of this woman was that she LOVED to talk about the Lord. What He had done, what He was doing and what He is going to do. She had battled through some of life's toughest situations and still had her eyes fixed upon Jesus. She spoke of the beauty of God in her tomato garden and the hope of Jesus she has found in the bruised and broken people she has encountered. No matter how many times the world has told her its not worth it she has stood up and shouted with the fire of love in her lungs and said "My hope is built on nothing less. Than Jesus' blood and righteousness"

When we were getting ready to leave the plane she grabbed my arm and said, "This is the greatest gift, to share in Gods goodness with those who have seen it and those who desperately need to"

These are the stories worth sharing.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Salty Chocolate Chip Cookies

This is an interesting season of life. The kind that makes you wonder what the Lord is doing and if He is even aware of what is going on (blasphemy, I know). So I asked Him. And my mind immediately went to Chocolate Chip Cookies. Why? Great question! I didn't know at first. I started to think about the ingredients for the cookies and there filled with amazingly delicious things. Butter. Sugar. Flour. Simi-sweet chocolate chips. But then I thought about Salt and baking powder. These are key ingredients in chocolate chip cookies. Now I love cookies, with a passion that burns deep in my soul, and could eat them everyday, but I never have a hankering for a spoon full of salt or baking powder. But if those ingredients were missing form the recipe the cookies would not taste as good. The Lord is cooking something in my life and I do not know what it is. I do know it is good, because He is a good god who gifts us good things and moves with infinite love and compassion towards me. He is the master baker and I have to trust he knows the recipe and not just a recipe but the perfect recipe for this season. Although there are ingredients that taste real salty and I wonder if He has added too much, I must believe He knows what He's baking and that it will be wonderful and leave me full of wonder. The fact is that without these few things that hurt and leave me dazed and confused this new season would not be as good, these are not just flipped ingredients, but necessary ingredients and some of the most valuable. In fact in Roman times, the emperor would pay the roman soldiers in salt because it was so valuable. So instead of running or winching at these salty ingredients as a burden I should embrace them as invaluable and a gift in and of themselves.

here's to the master baker, who I trust to have the best recipes, know the right measurements of ingredients and has the perfect timing for all things.

.....looking forward to sharing the cookies with you when there done.