Friday, December 10, 2010

When People are Big and God is Small...

...then you should watch these videos! Louie Giglio does a fantastic job of pointing out how creation declares the glory of God, and then bringing it down to a personal level. It really helps put things back into the right perspective. If you haven't seen this message before, I highly recommend it.

These first two are about creation, and it's pretty amazing. If you only have time for these two, it's enough to make you think. But then he switches gear...

Here are the links to the other three parts.

How great is our God.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Perspectives, or Faith and Hope and Where They Belong

Today I went to a Christmas brunch at my grandma's church. A woman named Nicole Johnson spoke, and I really wish I'd taken notes or something because what she said was really powerful and anything I say won't do it justice.
First she talked about how so often she feels like she's invisible - her kids and her husband ignore her and don't appreciate all the work she's doing for her family. Then her friend gave her a book on cathedrals, and as she read it she discovered that most of the great cathedrals of England have no builder's name attached to them. Men invested their entire lives in these beautiful structures that took more than 100 years to complete, knowing that they wouldn't be remembered for their work, because they did it unto the Lord, and not unto men. Nicole went on to talk about how spending your life building a monument for yourself is a waste of time. People will never appreciate us as much as we wish they would, unless we tell them and then they express their 'gratitude' out of obligation. What's worth it is building a monument to a God who deserves to be worshipped with our lives. We may not see the monument completed in our lifetimes, but we will have invested our time and effort in something that is so much greater than ourselves.
Then she talked about the story of Jesus healing a man's shriveled hand on the Sabbath. It was mostly speculation, but there was a lot of truth in what she said. She talked about how the Pharisees may have baited Jesus with the man, egging him on and hoping they could trap Him, and how He saw their hearts and asked them a pointed question: is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath, or ignore the man and essentially do evil by refusing him help when Jesus could heal him?
Then Jesus told the man to stretch out his hand - not the good one, because he knew how to use that one and what to do with it - but the withered one, the one the man was probably trying to hide and maybe had been ridiculed for. The cause of the defect was unknown - a wound? An injury? Had it been that way from birth? It didn't matter, Jesus could heal it. But first the man had to stretch out his hand - to offer up his imperfection, to display his shame to everyone - and demonstrate his faith in Jesus' power to heal him. "This stretching," Nicole said, "separates fear from faith...hurt from hope...shame from trust."
The man stretched out his hand and was healed, and the wounded went away whole and unashamed. The Pharisees, on the other hand, full of their whitewashed selves and convinced of their righteousness, were left with their shriveled hearts and their wounded pride. Why were their hearts withered and cold? Had they been wounded? Injured? Jesus could have healed them, but their pride stood in the way.
Nicole went on to apply this story to our lives. She told us about her tendency to try and control her life and everything and everyone in it. She talked about how in order to grow, we need to stretch and offer up not what's whole in our lives, but what's shriveled and useless. Often we want to hold so tightly to those areas, afraid that if we let go, everyhing will fall apart. "And you're probably right," Nicole said. "But it may be the best thing that's ever happened to you."
It reminded me of that week in youth group when Mark Driscoll talked about the different views of Jesus, particularly the one that says that Jesus isn't king enough to rule over every area of our lives. Until we learn to let go of everything and trust that His hands are more than big enough to hold it all for us, we'll be fighting Him for control every step of our journey.
As temporary residents of a physical world, it's tempting to place our hope in things or people - which are all 'appearances' that will fade away. Reality - the truth of the Gospel and the promise of heaven - are where we should place our hope. Nicole summed it up better than I could: "I tell God, 'please take my hope and put it way up high, so I can't reach it, because I know if I hold onto it I'll put it in the wrong places.'"

Thursday, December 2, 2010


The other day, I was thinking about color - how many different colors and shades of colors there are, how different colors evoke different moods and memories, and how nice it is that we don't live in a black and white world. How boring would that be??
But even though the range of colors that humans have recreated is astounding, how many more colors is God capable of creating? I bet the number is somewhere pretty close to infinity. If you hold up any number of leaves from different plants next to each other, I bet you couldn't find any two that were exactly the same shade of green. The sky's blue isn't the same every day. The number of different colors on flowers and animals is probably near uncountable. Why would God bother to paint our world in such wondrous hues? He could have left it black and white. Seems pretty clear to me that it's an expression of His love for us - and also evidence of His glory and praiseworthiness.
Thinking about color led me to think about eyes, how we perceive color, and how I would venture to guess that no two sets of irises are exactly alike. Eye color is amazing - it's no wonder eyes are fascinating when everyone's are different. Then there's the function of the eyeball. Our pupils widen and contract involuntarily depending on the amount of light they take in. We've all heard this a million times, but if you stop and think about it - it's incredible! Most of us don't understand much about a camera, except that it has a lens and it takes pictures. But even cameras, with all their high-tech settings and program capabilities, can't match the superior design of the eye. While the camera lens position has to be manually adjusted to zoom in or out and focus, the eye lens not only does this automatically, it does it by adjusting the SIZE of the lens.
I don't know about you, but I think that's really cool. And that's not even considering the fact that we see things UPSIDE DOWN, and then our brain takes the images that we're streaming to it for about 16 hours straight every day, and flips them around so fast that we never see anything upside down.
I have a question. How does anyone in their right minds possibly believe in evolution? How can matter that came from who knows where create life that has the capability to evolve into the complex, rational being that man is today? Man is more intelligent than matter, and still no one has been able to prove or figure out how this is possible. I respect people who are evolutionists, especially those who have well-reasoned arguments, but I don't understand.
This is not what I planned to blog on today, but it's probably better than whatever it was I thought I was going to say. I love trains of thought like this - they lead me to a deeper appreciation for God's creation and a deeper sense of humility as I realize, by His grace, that there is no way that I deserve to be loved by a God this great.
All glory, honor, power, and adoration be unto Him forever and ever!!

"For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well." - Psalm 139:13&14