Being Present

October 11, 2016 Leave a comment

What’s the good word? Before I came to Ethiopia this September, I had been struggling with something that I think is a bigger problem with us all if I am correct. For a long time I have been a “go” person. I have always been a more is more person, and something began to shift this summer for me. I began to look at my life. I had a brand new home, a wonderful family, and every thing a guy could want. Yet I felt something was missing. I was snippy. I was unhappy. I was there, but I really wasn’t there. I was being pulled left and right both by stuff on the home front, but also being a pastor of a church. My faith was struggling too. I have always believed that God’s Spirit dwells within all of us and also in this world. I’ve know that, but my life spoke differently. Something inside of me was saying “no more!” I looked and my little girl was now 6. What happened? Had I really been there? 

Not only that, but I also was feeling as though I wasn’t really making a difference. When I am hear in Ethiopia, I see the change. I see the difference. It’s hard to see that often in the church. It’s like turning a big ship, only that ship is being pulled the other way by 500 years of tradition. You hear the bad stuff, but you don’t always here the stories of changed lives. After all, isn’t that what we are supposed to be about? Changed lives for the sake of the kingdom? I question whether we are on the right track. Is what we are doing as “church” really what we are supposed to be doing? 

When I am hear I am forced to slow down. I am forced to be present. And that’s what I want when I go back. I want to be, as Shauna Neiquist says, “Present over perfect.” What I ache for these days is space, silence, stillness, and time with my family. I want to do what makes me passionate. I want to continue to see the work here in Ethiopia grow. I want to live our my call that God has for my life. I also want less of everything. It’s just getting in the way. I want less stuff. I want less proving. I want less hustle. I want less meetings that really don’t move the ship. I want simplicity both on the inside and on the outside. 

“God hasn’t invited us into a disorderly, unkept life, but into something holy and beautiful- as beautiful on the inside as on the outside.” 1 Thessalonians 4:7- The Message

That’s the good word for today. Be you. Do good. 

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Name

August 18, 2016 Leave a comment

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What’s the good word? So, I haven’t been blogging since February. I can’t believe it has been that long. I am sensing a need to get back into devotional time with God and I feel distant, so perhaps getting back to blogging will help me in that devotional life and processing life and faith. So where should I begin again? How about with my name?

My name Brad means “a broad clearing in the woods.” We all have a name. It means something. It is what identifies us to others. And sometimes that identity can be stolen. in the ancient near east, during the time of the Old and New Testaments your name was more than just words. Your name was your identity. It was a reflection of your character, your soul, your very being. In essence your name told who you were.

Many Christians end their prayers with the phrase, “In Jesus’ name.” The Bible tells us to believe in His name, to call on His name, to suffer shame for His name. So what is the significance of Jesus’ name? Ephesians 5:20 reads, “Always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Now Lord implies a master-servant relationship. Jesus said to those who call Him “Lord, Lord” should do what He says (see Luke 6:46). If Jesus is “Lord” we should want to obey and follow what Jesus says. Jesus is Joshua in Hebrew. It means “God saves”. Mary was told that this baby she would give birth to would “save His people from their sins” (see Matthew 1:21). Finally, Christ is Greek for the Hebrew word Messiah, meaning “anointed for a purpose”. Both priests and kings were anointed. The Jews of Jesus’ day expected the Messiah to deliver them from Roman bondage and establish His kingdom on earth.

So, as you can see, Jesus’ name means quite a lot. Jesus is our loving Leader, our sufficient Savior, and our daily Deliverer. There’s a lot in a name. You too have a name. You too have a calling that comes with that name. An identity, and it is different from what the world tells you. God created you for a unique purpose.One of my favorite clips is from the first Star Trek movie (the remake!). Watch it here. Here the young Captain Kirk doesn’t accept his path. And then the Captain of the Enterprise reminds him of how great of a leader his father was, and then dares him to do better. Could it be that God is calling us to do something greater with our lives?

My prayer for you is that you would do the hard work of the soul to discover who you are, made in the image of God. That is the journey I am setting out on. And that’s the good word for today.

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Lenten Picture February 22

February 23, 2016 Leave a comment

What’s the good word? Today’s Lenten word is: Save. For this word I have chosen the following picture-
 

This picture helps me to ponder more about what I can do to save the planet. We certainly haven’t treated the earth as good stewards, which was God’s idea from the beginning. I have loved teaching my daughter ways that she can help as well. And when I slip, you can bet she holds me to it! And that’s the good word for today.  

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Lenten Picture February 21

February 21, 2016 Leave a comment

What’s the good word? Had a busy couple of days and dozed off on posting Lenten pictures. So let’s try for a better week. Today’s word is: Wings. What else can I post but a picture of an eagle.

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I always loved the song Eagle’s wings based on Isaiah 40. It reminds us that while we run and run and run, the Lord does not grow weary and in our tiredness God will raise us up on Eagle’s wings and give us the rest. And that’s the good word for today!

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Lenten Pic of the Day

February 15, 2016 Leave a comment

What’s the good word? Today’s Lenten word is: Confess

There were so many good pictures for today’s word, so I decided to break protocol and post two pics. Whenever we think of confession, we probably think of a picture like this:

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I must say that it gives me a negative feeling about confession. And there’s the deal, confession is GOOD! It’s not legalistic, and it’s not about doing certain things in order to earn that forgiveness. Forgiveness is a gift that comes to us freely when we ask for it. For me confession is more like this:

CONFESSION_1

“Nothing you confess will make me love you any less, ” Jesus.

And that’s the good word for today!

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Lenten Pic February 12

February 12, 2016 1 comment

What’s the good word? Today’s word for Lent is: Return. 

  
There’s always this picture at the top of my Facebook timeline that reminds me of something that happened a year ago, or two years ago, or more. Depends on Facebook I guess. It always makes me return to a time and place in the past. Most of the time I get a smile or chuckle out of the picture. Today is no different. Today is my son, Logan’s 1st Birthday. At the top of my timeline there was a picture of him the day he was born, making me return to that wonderful day! Lent is supposed to do that for us. In the liturgy for Lent we sing: “Return to the Lord your God…” Returning to God to remind us of how gracious and merciful our God is. So today, take some time to stop and reflect. Return to God and remember! And that’s the good word for today. 

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Lenten Pic of the Day

February 12, 2016 Leave a comment

What’s the good word? It’s been a LONG time since I’ve been on here to blog. I really need to get back into it, for myself at least. I’m choosing Lent as the time to re-up my blogging. It gets me into a discipline at least. So, for Lent I’m taking on a challenge that I found online. There’s a word for the day and you have to post a picture that represents that word. Seems fun enough. 

Today’s word: Oppression

  
I love this picture. It reminds us all that in the face of oppression, whether to us or to someone else, we must stand up and say some thing. But I believe we must do more than just say some thing, I believe we must DO something. It goes without saying, faith without works is dead. Words without actions seem empty, they seem, well, to be just words. And that is the good word for today. 

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