Wednesday, February 28, 2007


Sometimes -

it's okay to not have anything to say or write.

God bless, and good night.

- Chris

Tuesday, February 27, 2007


Hope is an odd thing. It's a necessity, in many ways. We humans don't function well at all without it; it's an absolutely fundamental part of our beings to hope for something - a pay raise, a successful relationship, a good family, a new car... we hope for many things. That tendency to hope is a God-given attribute of humans. I can't say for certain, never having been anything other than human, but from what I've observed, I simply don't see hope in the animal kingdom, other than in this strange creature we call man. Anticipation, yes... but not hope. They are very different things.

Last semester was hard for me. I had a lot of my hopes crushed, a lot of dreams shattered and broken before my eyes. It's hard to describe what that feels like. The closest I've come was in a poem I wrote near the end of the semester. There's something truly terrible about having hopes fade away before your eyes - and not just one or even a few, but most, maybe all, of the things you hoped for in a given span of time. It was one of those semesters where I was dealing with difficulty in every part of my life: personal, relational, physical, spiritual. God's faithfulness has rarely if ever been more clear to me than it was in the midst of all of that. At least, up till that point, because it's become so much more clear to me in the intervening months than it was even in the midst of those trying times.

Interestingly, I'd have to say that, difficult as it was at the time, I'm immensely grateful that God allowed that. It was brutal, but it was also incredibly powerful, because it forced me to hope not in any person or circumstance, but in Him alone. The difference in where I was last semester and where I am now is remarkable, because He has taught me so much about leaning on Him. Just as importantly as where I am, too, is where I'm going. I could not have so completely let go of my old thoughts about my future and let God lead me had He not allowed all of my hopes and dreams and plans to be so thoroughly undermined. Sometimes what seems worst to us is really the very best thing that could happen to us. I don't know exactly where God is leading me, but I know it isn't where I thought it would be when people asked me that six months ago. I'm okay with that. Which is another change.

All of that to say that when we put our hope in things of this world - be that our own strength, the responses of others, or the circumstances of our lives - we will be disappointed, but often for our own good. Should we then not hope?

We should. But we should not hope in things here. We may hope for them - but if we place our hope, our confidence, in any part of this world, we will find those hopes and dreams crushed cruelly and miserably by this fallen world. We should expect nothing more, and nothing less, than that.

Yet we must hope! We cannot not hope; it is built into us as deeply as any other instinct. In what, then, can we hope? In Christ alone, of course. While we may hope for various events, circumstances, etc., to come to be, that hope must be centered on Christ. It must be a hope that is first and foremost centered in the hope - the assured hope - that we have of our secured relationship with Christ. We hope for things to come to pass in this world, but that hope is grounded in our faith in Christ's love for us and His perfect will for our lives. When those hopes do not come to pass, then, our disappointment is small in comparison to the contentment that we have in the knowledge that God's will for our lives is infinitely better than what we could even dream of. Those hopes, centered on His will, also tend to shift. We hope for things that are in His will. So less of our hopes are frustrated and fall short (though some, of course, still do, because this world is still fallen and broken in so many ways). And those that do - they do not shatter us as they once did. Our hearts are not crushed or downtrodden, because we know that in our great God's purposes are for a greater good than we can possibly hope to comprehend. We have joy and peace no matter what happens, because our hope is in the Hope, not an event. Then, when our hopes for various things in our lives do come to be, we rejoice in the One who brought them about, rather than in the circumstance itself. And that, too, is a greater and richer path to walk than one that is caught up in the event or happening.

When we hope in anything in this world, and it comes to pass, it is only a happening that can bring only happiness. When we hope in Christ for something, and it comes to pass, it is a reflection of Him that fills us with an even greater joy and gratitude.

That dichotomy is worth living out.

So my challenge to you is this: dare to hope again, if you have let the troubles of this world burden your heart. And dare to hope in Christ if you have put your hope in anything else.

My love to all of you, and above all, may you know our Father's love and grace. God bless you all, and good night.

- Chris

Sunday, February 25, 2007

His grace

I'm very tired, and I'm going to bed shortly. Hopefully I'll wake up tomorrow feeling somewhat better. I had a migraine hit me about ten minutes after worship started during Sunday School before church today. I slept for three hours between church, worked on homework as soon as I got back, and will work on a bit more before I go to bed. Probably. I may just go to bed and get up early (I may have little other choice, honestly). I'm going to try to find a doctor to see about this. It's now been fully seven weeks that I've had a headache every single day. That's way, way too long, and it needs to change, and soon. Most days aren't bad - and I've gotten so accustomed to the headaches that unless it's bad, like it was today, I often don't even notice - but days like today are exceedingly unpleasant.

What's interesting to me, though, is how God has been working in me in the last few months. Whereas in the past - as was often the case last semester - a hard day would leave me extremely down and depressed, this has not. It has been frustrating, to be sure. But when asked how I'm doing, I've honestly had to say that I'm doing well. I am. Yes, I have a horrible headache, I'm dizzy, and I'm slightly nauseous. But really: given everything else going on, and above all given that God is still Lord, I am doing well. My circumstances may be less than ideal; but so are those in many others' lives. What matters is not our circumstances, but our hearts' responses to those circumstances. And God be praised! He's been working in my heart so that I can have joy, can praise Him, can thank Him, no matter how my day goes. That is a testimony to His grace alone, because nothing I could have done could have effected this change. For now my testimony is slowly becoming that I'm content whatever my circumstance, and that I can do everything through Christ who strengthens me (see Philippians 4:11-13). This, then, is another opportunity for me to boast in my weakness (I do believe that is becoming a theme of my life!) and proclaim the strength of Christ alone!

God bless you all, and good night!

- Chris

Saturday, February 24, 2007


Today has been good. I'm doing something I haven't done in a long time: rest. I'm doing no work today. That's right. None. It's been six weeks since I've taken a day off. I will work again tomorrow, but today, I'm resting. I have needed this - immensely. It has been a good day. I went to the park with Travis and David and Anthony, and we flew a kite (before it broke), launched a small glider (before it broke), threw a frisbee around (that didn't break, gladly), and variously played on swingsets, climbed trees, and even enjoyed a playground. It was amazingly wonderful to simply relax and enjoy ourselves and have a good time. It's something I don't do frequently enough. The whole day has been filled with friendship, laughter, and fellowship. We need these times. I'm increasingly concluding that we should take them even - and perhaps especially - when we don't feel like we have time for them.

In other news, the wind is blowing so fiercely that up in here in twelfth floor dorm room, the window is literally vibrating back and forth with the pressure changes. The reflections in it are shaking and moving rather wildly. Strong winds indeed.

Now, lest this itself become too much like work, I'm going to say good night and God bless to all of you.

- Chris

Thursday, February 22, 2007


I'm a little disturbed by the darkness of my heart tonight. In the midst of some of my interactions, I caught myself becoming easily annoyed, frustrated, and caught up in a certain degree of arrogance. It really, really bothers me. The situation didn't warrant any of the above. And I'd just been in a place that should have been calling me to an attitude very much the opposite of what I was acting in. But there I was, becoming irritable at something that I had no place being irritated with; becoming frustrated when I ought to have been rejoicing, etc. It saddens me, and it breaks my heart.

I've found that sometimes it's the nights when I am finding myself most met by the goodness of God, most caught up in the wonder of who He is, that my flesh tries to rebel the most. I had a choice to make, and honestly, while my actual interactions may not have betrayed it, I didn't make the right choice for a little while. I did eventually. But it took a while - longer than I'd like. Longer than honors God. I didn't immediately take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ; I wasn't letting my mind be renewed. Instead, I was acting out of the flesh. It shouldn't really surprise me any more, that my heart still has so much nastiness in it, but it always does. It also shouldn't catch me so off guard any longer that when God is doing marvelous works in my life, when He is revealing Himself more fully to me, that my flesh would more actively rebel. Yet, all too often, it does. I need to be more aware, more on guard, more careful to prepare for the inevitable attack that the enemy and my own flesh will bring.


I want to go. Out, away, someplace where it's just open sky and thick forest, someplace with streams and at least some high hills. I want to just drive and not come back for a while. I'm feeling very enclosed right now, in a lot of ways. I don't really know how else to explain it, and I don't really understand everything tied up in that feeling myself in a lot of ways. I just know that I want to be free, to feel the wind on my face as I drive across country with the windows down, enjoying the fesh air and the sight of God's creation, just worshipping Him and praying and meditating on Him and His word. I don't really have time to go, and I don't really have money to go. But I want to. I'm looking forward to Glorieta, because there will hopefully be some opportunity to simply get out, up in the mountains, and be away a bit. But it's a ways away, and there's something else I'm hungry for. I don't know. I get this way sometimes, and while I think a good long drive might help, I don't know that it would actually deal with the underlying longings in my heart. I've come to associate this sense of wanting to go, along with several other related feelings, with my longing for my real home. Not Colorado, though it's beautiful. In a lot of ways Colorado makes me ache even more for my real home, because I catch deeper glimpses there of the beauty that we will see in heaven. It's less tamed, less covered in the fabrications of man, more true to how it was first made. It's still fallen, of course, and that's why it's just a hint. And there are other hints - the first glimpse of dawn in the east, the last fading color-laden hints of a sunset; the first morning of birdsong in the spring, the cool crispness of a late autumn morning; the gentle wonder of a descending blanket of snow, the rhythmic beauty of a sun-soaked beach...

I want to go. But there are things - many things, many wonderful things! - to be done here first.

God bless you all. I hope this rambling post is some encouragement to some of you, somewhere, at some time. Go in peace.

- Chris

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


Right now, I'm really tired, and I'm really frustrated, and honestly at an emotional level, I just want to find somewhere to go cry. Various things have contributed to that; some of it is simply an emotional low, and that's fine. I know my God, I know my Savior, I know the One who loves me like no other.

You alone
You alone are strong
You alone are safe
You alone never change
You alone love me with true love
You alone

When I'm tired and weary
When my heart is heavy in me
When my frustrations seem greater even than the mighty things I see you do
Then I remember that

You alone
You alone are strong
You alone are safe
You alone never change
You alone love me with true love
You alone

So I will love You too
And I will set my eyes on You
Not on these earthly things
Nor on these passing deeds
Nor indeed on anything I see
Because I know that

You alone
You alone are strong
You alone are safe
You alone never change
You alone love me with true love
You alone

I am choosing joy even in weariness, peace even in frustration. My God is great enough to supply my every need - and that means emotional needs, too. Thanks be to the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, who has not left us alone, but grants us Himself as Comforter to walk with us and hold us all our days. Grace be with you all.

- Chris

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

I don't really know...

I'm not really sure what I have to say tonight; and I'm going to try to keep this short since I have to be up early tomorrow. There are a couple things that have been bouncing around my heart and mind, but mostly I'm just tired. First, a song, by Aaron Shust, who really has a heart to glorify God immensely. Go check out the rest of his music!

I am not skilled to understand
What God has willed, what God has planned
I only know at his right hand
Stands one who is my savior

I take him at his word and deed
Christ died to save me this I read
And in my heart I find a need
For him to be my savior

That he would leave his place on high
And come for sinful man to die
You count it strange, so once did I
Before I knew my savior

My savior loves, my savior lives
My savior's always there for me
My God he was, my God he is
My God he's always gonna be

Yes, living, dying; let me bring
My strength, my solace from this spring
That he who lives to be my king
Once died to be my savior

That he would leave his place on high
And come for sinful man to die
You count it strange, so once did I
Before I knew my savior

My savior loves, my savior lives
My savior's always there for me
My God he was, My God he is
My God he's always gonna be

I pray we all come to understand the depth of those words. Our God does love and live, and He is always there; He is eternal and unchanging. That's a sure rock we can cling to, when we're weary and worn, when the waves come crashing in against us and we don't know what to do. I've been blessed to have relatively few waves this semester - indeed to see God restoring things I didn't know if I'd ever see come right this side of eternity; to see Him changing my heart in ways I could never have foreseen; to see Him fulfilling promises I didn't expect to see fulfilled for far longer. I am blessed beyond belief, beyond any curse that could ever be. And that is more than enough. Yes, there are trying moments - but He is teaching me to smile and even laugh in the midst of them, because it is His moment, not mine, whether it be good or ill. To be able to laugh when one's heart is breaking, because one has that joy inexpressible... that is a blessing beyond measure; and it comes from Christ alone. I'm not very good at that, yet, but I'm learning. I love you all. Grace and peace guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Oh... and please go read Romans 10:13-15 and Philippians 1:27-2:11. And then be encouraged! I could write a lot about both, but instead I'm going to sleep!

- Chris


Quick update: I accidentally forgot to post the link to Katie's blog last night. She's at, and that's now hyperlinked down below in the original post as well. Sorry about that!

- Chris

Monday, February 19, 2007

Two more blogs

I'm recommending another couple of blogs to read tonight. I know... not many for a while, and then a spurt of several in a row here. I've had the pleasure of seeing some friends who are very grounded in the Word and very attentive to the Spirit start blogging, and I've been blessed to find a few others while roaming the blogosphere. God has blessed me immensely through these!

The first one is my father's blog, Learning to Live in the Light. It's very different in tone from mine - or indeed from any I've read. It's also very much a blessing because of that. He brings a very different perspective to the table than most bloggers I've read. It has a more visceral, experiential feel to it, and because of that it communicates at a different level and in different ways than say, mine or Curious Servant's do. I think you'll be immensely blessed. Speaking from the vantage point of having him as my father as well as a friend and a fellow blogger, I can vouch for his wisdom and his heart to honor God with his words and his life. I hope you're blessed and encouraged.

The second blog is my friend Katie's. She's another person who's absolutely on fire for God, and completely sold out on the cause of advancing the gospel to the nations. She's got a heart for missions, and she's so passionate about the word of God that it really humbles me at times. Her posts are focused on exactly that: the word and its application. (Hopefully she'll post more frequently than she has been thus far!) You can find her at For His Glory. Be blessed!

I pray you are all filled with the wonder of who God is and how marvelous is His work in our lives. Grace and peace with you!

- Chris

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Known and loved

It struck me, today... again. I'm fighting off a bout of the annoying emotion that all too often I've let lead me down the path to self-pity and misery. Not so much today; God's grace is sufficient and His joy amazing. There's a choice before, me, of course: to either let the emotions rule, or to let God's truth stand supreme in my life. I'm choosing the latter. And in the midst of it, I'm being awed again by what God has done for us, in our hearts and lives.

Today's been a little off emotionally. I was struck repeatedly by just how much of our lives are lonely affairs. We long to be known; we strive to make ourselves understood - and often fail. Human existence is often a terribly sad thing: it is our deepest desire to be loved for all of who we are, for someone to comprehend us utterly and still love us. Yet we are in a fallen world in which that can never be. We are caught in an existence that leaves us hopeless of ever experiencing that sort of perfect intimacy. There are things about us that others are frustrated or annoyed by, and things about others that frustrate and annoy others. Sometimes we finally start to feel alive and passionate again, and then those around us crush that - quite unintentionally, without even meaning to or even realizing they're doing it. Because we're all so sinful. We can't abide ourselves, if we're honest: the foul blackness of our hearts is beyond discouraging. Our own personalities annoy us at times, if we're candid about it; there are things in us that frustrate us about ourselves. How, then, could we expect that someone else wouldn't have the same reaction?

Yet we have an undying, unyielding desire to be loved that unconditionally: for someone to know the deepest parts of us, to understand the full width and depth and breadth of who we are, and still to want us, not to mock us, not to be amused. That leaves us asking, then, the deeper question. Why? Why, we first ask, don't people love us that way; and then when we begin to contemplate the very simple answer to that question, another, deeper, appears: why would we expect that? When our every experience tells us that no one - not even our spouse, no matter how wonderful that relationship will be; nor our best friends, no matter how close - will ever even know us the way we want to be known, much less love us perfectly and unconditionally... why do we keep expecting to find that sort of knowledge and love?

Lewis wrote that our hunger for God, for things spiritual, is a real hunger - just as the desire for sex, for food, etc. And real hungers have real "food" to satisfy them. If we have sexual desire, it is because there is such a thing as sex. If we have hunger, it is because there is such a thing as food. If we want God, it is because there is a God. And if we want to be loved unconditionally, to be known perfectly, it's because there is unconditional love and perfect knowledge. They're not abstracted notions that have no correspondence with reality. To the contrary, they have the deepest correspondence with reality. Our lives are, in some sense, no more (as if one can call something so magnificent "no more" or "only" and have it mean what it ordinarily does) than perfectly woven parts of the ultimate metanarrative. And that metanarrative is the story of a transcendent God who knows every human individual in all of history perfectly, and loves each of them unconditionally - in spite of their (our!) terrible rejection of that love. We hunger for something we tore away from ourselves in our sin and our rebellion, and God, in His infinite grace and mercy, in His incomprehensible love and kindness, gives it to us still. We are undeserving, and our hearts ache because we know that we have no hope of ever having that deepest desire fulfilled.

And yet -

And yet we find that, hopeless, we have a Hope.

And yet we find that, friendless, we have a Friend.

And yet we find that, loveless, we have Love.

And yet we find that, lifeless, we have Life.

And yet we find that, though every expectation be to the contrary, we have a relationship with Someone who knows the very depth of our being, knows our every weakness and burden and sorrow and pain and all the evil that is in us, and Who instead of turning away as He by every bit of reason ought to rather pours out His love, gives ultimately of Himself to the point of dying: an infinite, unconstrained Supreme One being constrained by the finite bonds of space and time so that He might bring us once again into His presence, where we are known and loved like we could only dream of imagining.

No wonder, then, that we are so disappointed when our relationships here let us down. They were never meant to replace that sort of perfect fellowship. When we try to make them, they will inevitably fail. No. Let them be what they are: blessings that are reflections, however pale, of the immense and magnificent Love that comes from on high, from the King of Kings who is the sacrificial Lamb, from the Lion of Judah who is our Comforter: a strong tower in times of trouble and a mighty warrior who destroys every enemy; who abides within our hearts, convicting and encouraging, shaping us to be like Him, until we can love Him back with an infinitesimally small fraction of the love with which He has loved us.

We are loved. Unbelievable. And true.

God bless, my friends.

- Chris

Saturday, February 17, 2007


God is faithful. And I need to trust Him more. I already knew that, but He made it even more clear. I'm not under nearly as much crunch as I thought I was. I already paid one of those bills. I just didn't know it. So, while I still need some money, and relatively soon... God's faithfulness is greater than I knew, and His provision sufficient. Amazing how that works, isn't it? I had to come to a place of surrender about a lot of things first, though. It was very good for me to have all this seem to be a problem, odd as that might sound. Because it forced me to relinquish control over all of this. And, in talking to my dad today, it really clicked with me: this is why people struggle with tithing. Because sometimes, you don't think you have enough to give and to still pay all your bills. But really, if you give first and foremost to God, He does supply all your needs. And so long as you're honoring Him with your financial decisions in the first place, you will not lack. (Anyone who doesn't believe me, go look up George Muller and see how mightily God met his every need!) Anyway, that's about all for tonight for me. God bless you all. Rest in the knowledge that He is God, and that He is faithful, and that He is trustworthy!

- Chris

Friday, February 16, 2007


So, time for some brutal honesty here:

I'm afraid right now. Not a lot. Just a little. I am having to surrender that fear constantly. What am I afraid of? That God won't come through. See, right now, despite all my best efforts, I don't have a job. Which means that I don't have money. Which means I can't pay my bills. I have one that I have to pay online on Sunday, and another that needs to go in the mail tomorrow. Between the two of them, I have about $340 worth of bills; and with the other bill I have to pay in about two weeks, it goes up to nearly $400. I have only $283. That's enough for the car payment, which is $281.85. Why so little money? I had enough set aside - or so I thought. Then, however, I found that my books were significantly more expensive this semester than I had anticipated. I ran into small, unexpected expenses here and there in terms of supplies for the semester. And, I trusted God: I gave as I always do, and I signed up and paid in full for Glorieta. Foolish, perhaps, but as I prayed I felt that was what I needed to do. So now, I don't have enough money. And I'm afraid, just a little bit, that God won't "hold up His end of the bargain," so to speak. Yet I know that He is Jehovah Jireh: "I AM the God who provides." He has never let me fall thus far, and I know He won't. I don't know what His provision will look like, but I do know this: it will be perfect, and enough. It always is. So I'm going to watch and see how He magnifies His name in this, and I'm going to trust in His perfect power. As I mentioned to a friend recently, it's in our weakness that His power is revealed in all its glory (2 Corinthians 12:9). Now here's an opportunity to rest in Him and trust that He will do as He has promised.

May His favor be upon you all!

- Chris

Blog rec 2

I'm recommending another blog (I know! Two in just a few days!), this one from a friend just in the blog world. I've never met Ame, but I have been blessed by her repeatedly. I first ran into her on the Boundless Line blog responses, where her older and wiser perspective provided a nice contrast to most of the rest of us (gangling youths that we often are). I then noticed her posting on Curious Servant's blog - which, if you're not reading, you should be, as he's a very Godly man doing his best to glorify his creator in the midst of what are often very trying circumstances... and he's succeeding marvelously. Given both of those, I finally tracked her down to her own home blog, by which I have been blessed immensely. She writes deeply and passionately about her life as a single mother of two, with all the challenges posed by that situation - and with the grace of God to support her in the midst of it. I hope you'll take the time to read what she has to write. You'll be blessed, encouraged, and - more than likely - convicted by it. So go read AMExpression! Grace and peace be with you all.

- Chris

Big news

Well, at long last, I've finally managed to get my website ( up and working. It links to the primary version of this blog, has samples of my music, my writing, and even a brief bio! Do stop by sometime and let me know what you think, please! (As a related side note, the blogspot iteration of this blog may at some point end up being relocated to, but I'll let you know if and when that happens.) God bless, and good night!

- Chris

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Right place, right time

Oh, and one other thing...

Have you ever had that feeling that you are exactly where you need to be? That God has placed you precisely where you are precisely when you're there for a reason? That happened to me tonight. I won a $1200-value electronics package. Television, camera, video iPod... and I wasn't there to win it. I thought about going, briefly, but decided I needed to be at the BSU Coffeehouse instead. So I was there, talking to a friend, when I got a text message from my roommate noting that I'd won the package but wasn't there to get it, so they redrew and gave it to someone else. Pretty crazy, right? Not really. I knew that I was going to win something when I signed up for Housing next year (which is what put my name in the drawing). Just a moment of clarity, an absolute knowledge that I was going to win something. It didn't matter. I knew I was going to not win, because I wasn't going to be there. Instead, I got to be talking to a friend, and God used it for His purposes and His glory. What need do I have for those? I already have a television, a very nice camera, and a good mp3 player. None of those would have been any use to me, though they would have been a blessing. I hope and pray that they're a major blessing to whoever did win them, and I hope that God somehow uses them in that person's life. I was where I needed to be; God used it as a testimony in someone else's life (and I pray He continues to!). I don't think I've ever had quite so much joy in my life at not being present to win $1200 worth of coolness. God is incredibly awesome. I hope you're all blessed throughout the day ahead. Praise Him who is worthy to be praised!

- Chris


From the rising of the sun 'til the sun goes down
Let the Name of the Lord be praised

We're gathered to worship
becoming a choir to sing Your praise
Lifting our voices,
joining our hearts in this house today
People of God, in the power of God
for the Kingdom of God, we sing

From the rising of the sun 'til the sun goes down
Let the Name of the Lord be praised
From the rising of the sun 'til the sun goes down
Let the Name of the Lord be praised
From the sky to the depths, from the east to the west
We give You praise
We give You praise

We've gathered to go out
to cities and towns we'll take Your name
Into the nations,
shining Your light in the darkest place
People of God, in the power of God
for the Kingdom of God, we live

From the rising of the sun 'til the sun goes down
Let the Name of the Lord be praised
From the rising of the sun 'til the sun goes down
Let the Name of the Lord be praised
From the sky to the depths, from the east to the west
We give You praise, we give You praise
From the rising of the sun 'til the sun goes down
Let the Name of the Lord be praised
- Matt Redman, Paul Baloche

I want that song to be my anthem. Let the name of the Lord be praised. If we have even the slightest glimpse of His greatness, of His awesomeness, of His wondrous power, then how can we do anything but praise Him? I've been so in awe of His character over these last weeks and months, so incredible amazed at who He is and how mighty His hand is and how incredible and vast and deep His love and compassion are. God is beyond description, beyond even evocation, but I will strive for all of my days to evoke His incomparable glory. It makes me want to leap and dance and shout and sing and write a million symphonies for a million instruments to somehow, maybe, give Him just a fraction of the praise He's due. When was the last time you let yourself be awed by Him? To be swept away by the sheer incomprehensibility of His terrible greatness? If we did indeed sing from the rising of the sun until its going down every day for the rest of eternity, we still couldn't praise Him enough. I hope and pray that each of us will come to understand His immensity, His splendor, His passionate love, more and more every day. I pray we will be more humbled, more emboldened, more joy-filled, and more holy as we pursue a deeper knowledge of the transcendent and truly remarkable God we serve.

May the Spirit guide you and keep you. Walk in the power that Christ has given for us. Rest in the Father's arms. Be blessed, all of you!

- Chris

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Blog rec

I'd love for you all to read my friend PJ King's blog, Heading For Africa. He's prepping for a short-term (relatively speaking) mission trip this summer from May through August, and doing so with a lot of other immense responsibilities on his shoulders. He's been a blessing to me whenever I've interacted with him, and he has an immense heart for God and to advance the gospel. (And he's engaged to one of my best friends!) I hope his words are a blessing and an encouragement to you (and that he updates regularly!).

God bless you all. Happy Valentine's Day.

- Chris

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The notion of joy

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith--more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire--may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:6-9)

There is something incredibly deep in that passage. Travis and I have been talking a lot recently about the notion of "joy that is inexpressible" (or, as some translations render it, simply joy inexpressible). I'm sitting here grasping at the words to describe that joy to you - the overwhelming, passionate joy that simply defines one's existence when one is truly and deeply in love with God. It's a joy that has become infinitely more real in my life in the last few months. Try as I might, I'm finding that the verse is fundamentally true. I have no words, no melody, no equation, no idea how to express so great and so wonderful a joy. It fills your days. It brightens every moment, no matter how dark. It is the light than is behind the clouds, no matter how heavy and overcast the sky. In knowing Christ, we not only have peace beyond our understanding, but a joy that defies all our attempts to describe, that we cannot reconcile with our often dreary-seeming existence, beyond which we occasionally catch a glimpse of the magnificent that it was meant to be.

I was walking to my car last night, and it was raining. I was trying to tell my friend Andrew the joy the rose in my heart just because it was raining. There's something incredibly beautiful about rain. It cleanses. Just the scent of rain somehow communicates a sense of new life, a hint that the old is being washed away so that the new can come. It made me want to leap and skip about. I used to hate rain, actually. I've come to love it, though. As I tried to tell Andrew (and I'm not sure, really, how much I managed to express), I have come to love almost every kind of weather. There is so much beauty in it all. And when we start to surrender to joy, we can't help but be enthused by the wonder of all that God has made. When was the last time you actually stopped to think about rain? How it works? How much it accomplishes? How it can smell the way it does? And God made it all! Sometimes I want to leap about; I want to stretch my arms out wide enough to take it all in; I want to open up my heart enough to catch a little bit better a glimpse of eternity. It's like the lingering ringing of sound in the air after a beautiful symphony, or the image burned into your retinas after a moving film. It's like the fading hues of a perfect sunset, or the sound of birdsong at dawn. Heaven will be all that and more. And oh, the joy! The unending joy - every tear wiped away, all our sorrows forgotten, all our sins not only forgiven but far behind us, never to be seen again... if the joy we feel in this life is but a taste of that to come, we ought to long for heaven with everything in us.

I'm rambling a bit now, I think, but it's hard not to. My heart soars when I contemplate heaven, when I think on eternity, when I catch a glimpse of the magnificent splendor that being in perfect fellowship with God will be. I was speaking of joy. I've been learning in the last few months not only what joy is - that incredible, inexpressible response of the heart to God's touch, so much more and so very different from happiness, that wonderful (but in contrast so pitiful) emotion - but also what it means to really walk in joy. I've for a long time been a very serious person, and I still am. But I've also been a dour person, and that I do not have to be! To the contrary, every day should be one filled with joy. The moment when all of this finally clicked to me was in the midst of a conversation with Travis just before dinner a few weeks ago, when I responded to his question of how I was doing by choosing to respond - truthfully - that I was doing extremely well. It took a moment, so there was a pause, which he picked up on and followed up with me about. Why the pause? Because it had not been a good day at all circumstantially. Yet, I could choose to be doing well, or not. I could choose to walk in the joy and peace of God, or not. It's that simple. Really.

I didn't use to understand how one friend of mine could be perpetually joyful. Some of it is simply her personality and the shape God has given to her heart. I did know that it was often a blessing to me to see her on difficult days, because I could count on her to remind me to fix my eyes on Christ, and also to be full of joy herself, even on her worst days. I never understood how she could walk that way, and to be honest it rather awed me. I think I'm starting to understand it, now, though. One can simply choose every moment of every day to walk in the joy that Christ has given us, or not. So, given the choice, why would we not walk in that joy? Yes, it can be difficult, but also so very easy. It's a matter of surrender to Him, to the work of Him in His Spirit in our heart, and the continued dedication to pursue His glory over our own. When we are pursuing Him, the choice before us to walk in joy or not suddenly becomes so easy, because we are walking in His power, not our own. That's something beyond the power of words to describe. As well, when you're living all-out for God, you really can't not have joy very easily. The more aware that we are of what He has done, the more our hearts will be bursting with joy and excitement for every day. If they are not, it is because we are either allowing our circumstances to speak louder than Him, or because we don't really understand what an immense gift we've been given - or both.

So, to that friend who has lived in joy (you should know who you are): thank you for your testimony. To everyone else: walk in that same amazing, utterly inexpressible joy! Let your heart leap as you think about what Christ did for us, about the fact that we can have communion with God Himself, that our sins are forgiven. Let your heart dance as you come to know Him. And may your days all be filled with peace that surpasses understanding and joy that is inexpressible. My love to you.

- Chris

Sunday, February 11, 2007

The Word

Let us trembling come
With hearts undone
To the throne of
God Almighty
King of Heaven and Earth

Let us fall on our faces
let us kneel before the throne of grace
Let us give away ourselves
In absolute submission
Surrendering our all
To Christ

I've been reading through the Old Testament for the last couple months, though not so quickly as I'd like. I've let myself get distracted and "have too little time to read much tonight" more times than I care to admit, to be perfectly honest. I've found that, while I value starting my day with Scripture, I can truly dig in much better at night, so I try to start with a short devotional in the morning, and do my main study at night. That requires a good deal of discipline, though, especially when it's 3 am that you're getting done with homework. Which suggests that one should be disciplining oneself to use one's time better in the first place. Which is another thing I've been learning.

As I've been reading through the first half of numbers in the last week, I've noticed a couple things. The main themes that have really stood out to me have been about the Father's character. He's sovereign. He cares immensely for His people - so much so that He gives incredibly detailed instructions for their well-being. Going back to the laws in Exodus and Leviticus, there are moral laws for their spiritual and moral well-being, and physical laws for their physical well-being. The accuracy of the treatments prescribed for various ailments and so forth is astounding for a document of this age... unless it's from God. (It certainly excels comparable documents even from far later, like the Qur'an, which prescribes as medicine various processes and chemicals that are far from beneficial.) As well as all of that, though, Numbers brings home God's care for His people, and the reality and immediacy of His presence in His people's lives. He actively participates in judgment, correction, instruction, and protection of His own. He never leaves them alone. Even when He's punishing them and teaching them by sending them into 40 years of exile in the desert, He doesn't leave them. Though they were unfaithful to and untrusting of Him, He remains true and unchanging. There's such a glimpse into His character - into His unyielding, jealous love for His people - in these passages. There is an awe that He has been growing in me - and awe of who He really is. I never understood before in more than an abstract, intellectual sense why these books were here. Now, they're meaningful and real. I see His grace and my sin shown into sharp contrast by the light of His word - His law, His work in history. These books - books I've never really gotten before - have become a huge blessing and encouragement.

As I've mentioned before, I'm increasingly convinced that peace is really nothing more than knowing God. If we know who He is, we will trust Him, and if we trust Him - really, truly trust Him - then we will know peace; because nothing can ever surprise Him or shake us if we're in His hands. So while there are difficult things in my life right now, I can honestly say that they mostly don't bother me. Why? Because I'm learning to know my King.

Grace and peace to all of you.

- Chris

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Quantum, migraines, and God's faithfulness

It's interesting how much fun quantum mechanics can be at 3 am after a day when you've had a migraine and not enough sleep. That was last night. Amazingly, God blessed me with restful sleep afterward, so that in the five hours I actually got, I woke up well before my alarm went off, feeling rested, and then had an excellent day today. Still had a headache - though, praise be to God, the migraine I had yesterday was gone - but today was a good day. It was a choice for it to be so, at times, but it was a good day. I was reminded of God's faithfulness to His people. I don't plan on pulling a lot of those late-night study sessions - getting ahead instead is greatly preferable - but nevertheless it was a blessing to see Him meet me. Of course, the trick is, it wasn't for or about me. I had an opportunity to have a good conversation with a friend today about the divine nature (or not) of the Bible, and what we should do with the moral law in it if it is indeed direct revelation from God. It was a conversation I'd prayed for; and I was blessed to see how God has changed me so that it wasn't a debate and it wasn't about me... and it wasn't even about the topic we were discussing, but about God's character and about His word. That was a blessing.

Now, though, I'm increasingly aware of just how far I have to go in the area of not debating, of letting His word speak for itself, of getting out of the way so He can work. He's brought me a long ways, for which I give Him all the glory, but there is far for me to go yet. There always is. That's both a little hard to stomach and extremely encouraging. It makes me hungry for heaven. And that's a good thing. We need to be a lot more mindful of where we're going. If we're not, if we're not excited about heaven, it's because we don't have good understanding of where we're going and how awesome it's going to be to be with God all the time, in perfected bodies, in a perfect creation, without the hindrance of sin.

It's now bedtime, since I have to be up in time for Men's Fraternity in the morning. That's 6 am. Which is only 7 hours away. And my get-up time of 5 am is only 6 hours away. God bless, all.

- Chris

Saturday, February 3, 2007

To think, to dance

Relatively short post tonight (and I actually mean that!) - just two short things.

First, please take a look at this article on cities' active attacking of those who try to help the homeless if you get a chance... it's something that we need to pray about and guard against in our own communities. We have a responsibility ourselves to be helping these people where and when we can; and the sorts of actions being taken by these municipalities directly hinder our ability to follow Jesus' command to love these people. Having a "nice" city that's attractive to developers and the like is quickly becoming more important than these people's lives. I understand that, and I understand the benefit even to these people that having more development and business can have. Yet there is a better way than this to deal with the homeless. Much of that involves us - but we have to make sure we are still able to help. It also means making active efforts to help deal with the problems posed by homelessness for cities, but more so to help deal with the problems faced by homeless people... above all the addictions, mental problems, and so forth that many of them suffer from. We have the ultimate cure for all of those things in the person of Christ, and they need Him, as well as material support. We can give them both, and we should.

In other news, I went dancing tonight, which was amazing. I had a wonderful time, and I'm so very glad I went to that instead of the Oklahoma City Philharmonic concert (though I'm sure that was excellent). I needed a chance to dance... I love dancing. In the process, I got to spend good amounts of time with several friends, including Emily, Devon, and Sabrina. I also (finally!) got to meet Lori, who is as wonderful in person as she's seemed to be via the blogosphere. It was fun, too, seeing Jason (her husband, Sabrina's brother), Danny, Sarah, and others out in a different setting than I'm used to seeing any of them in - a "social" setting, for lack of a better word. Last but not least, I developed a nasty blister on my left big toe, thanks to a hole in that sock that went from trivial to throw-away-the-sock-now quality over the course of the evening. Lots of fun.

Anyways, I need to go take some time in the word, and I've got to be up in just over 7 hours, so I will now depart. Hopefully that post on men standing up can go up within the next few days; it remains on my heart to write. God bless, all!

- Chris

To consider

I'd ask you to ponder these two verses. Go study the context, too, and the reference. But stop and think about what this really means:

How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written:

How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace,
Who bring glad tidings of good things!"

- Romans 10:14-15

How, indeed? I want beautiful feet. And I've got a long ways to go yet.

God bless, all.

- Chris