Monday, February 16, 2015

Glory and the Longing To Do Great Things

Some men long to do great things.  Nay all men, worth their salt, long to do great things.  They long for heroism, for the epic and adventurous.  Some may deny they feel this way and others will defend their apathy, that they are just different and that’s okay.  But I don’t believe God made men to be average, to coast along in the ordinary.  There is no ordinary person made in the image of God.  No, that is quite extraordinary.  In the Bible, God calls it Glory.  There was infinite Glory for God before the world began.  He created the heavens and the earth to declare the Glory.  And He created us to share in His glory, that we may be little glowing containers of it.  It is all around.  In the mountains and the sunsets. In the eyes of a beautiful woman whom you love. In symphonies and snowfalls.  It inspires. It builds. It melts.  How is it possible that the human heart, the self, that space right above your gut we call the soul, can be so filled with awe and butterflies that we can stare at water falling off of a cliff for hours on end and leave longing for more? 

Monday, February 9, 2015

IHOP, APEST, and The Danger of Playing Para-Church

(Note: this post was written several months ago after the release of the Rolling Stone article "Love and Death in the House of Prayer." I hesitated to publish it then but am publishing it now that time is passed and I feel good about it. Understand it is coming from a place of love for both IHOP and the Church, desiring "to build up the body of Christ, until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God's Son.")

I have spent a lot of time at the House of Prayer lately.  Not the International House of Prayer (IHOP) in Kansas City, which has been doing 24/7 prayer and worship since 1999, but the local off shoot here in Des Moines.  IHOP Iowa (IHOPIA, which is almost just as long as far as abbreviations go) is open 4 hours a day during the week and features live musicians occasionally, but mostly plays a live feed of the IHOPKC worship room.  Lately, I have been spending 1-2 hours there a day and playing guitar once a week. 

There a lot of things I really like about IHOP. I attended One Thing, their big conference every year, this past December and had some profound encounters with Jesus. Since then, I've really been learning a lot. The greatest thing I enjoy is the chance to break out of the usual routine of 15 minute spiritual disciplines and instead take the time to spend an hour or two in the presence of God.  It forces you to actually engage with a God usually relegated to the margins of our schedules.  In a time when I am beginning to raise support for my new job with InterVarsity, this time has deepened my intimacy with Jesus and trust in Him in profound ways.  

Thursday, October 9, 2014

If You Read One Poem This Week, Make It This One: Gods of the Copybook Headings

AS I PASS through my incarnations in every age and race,
I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.
Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.

We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.

We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place,
But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.

With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch,
They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch;
They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;
So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.

When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "Stick to the Devil you know." 

On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
(Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "The Wages of Sin is Death." 

In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all, 
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul; 
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy, 
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "If you don't work you die." 

Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began. 
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire, 
And the burnt Fool's bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins, 
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn, 
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return! 

Rudyard Kipling, 1919

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

August and September Update: BEING A CAMPUS MISSIONARY IS TOTALLY AWESOME and other new stuff

Wow, it is the beginning of October and I am about to turn 24 on Friday.  The last month and a half is an absolute blur. I finally understand the hectic NSO (new student outreach) season. There have been so many new students and events and cool Jesus things that I could write an update for each week!  Nevertheless, I will hit some of the major events that God brings to mind.

Being on Campus

Man, I love college students! Overall, I am just thrilled to be working on campus. I am living in a house right across the street from campus with a couple other recent college grads. I am grabbing meals with students to talk about life and Jesus.  I am playing pickup basketball with students.  It kind of feels like I'm back in college but instead of going into debt I am getting paid, instead of going to class I meet with students and do Jesus stuff, and instead of doing football all the time I am playing ultimate frisbee. It's the life! I am truly experiencing that "if you love what you do it won't feel like work." I am unbelievably grateful to God for calling me here and so blessed by how He has prepared me to bless these students.

From our event "Muffin Mania," giving away muffins on the first day of class.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

When Planned Parenthood Goes After Joni Ersnt, She's Gets My Vote

I've been seeing these Planned Parenthood ads going after Republican Senate candidate Joni Ernst and all I can say is: she's got my vote.  That means that she is a threat, that she takes her pro-life position seriously.

 Maybe it has something to do with the fact that Planned Parenthood in Iowa has closed 11 clinics in last two years and if Ernst is elected, they face even greater resistance and restrictions.  The abortion industry is big business.  In 2009, they performed 332,278 abortions and made just 977 adoption referrals.  That makes up 37% of their income, which has led to 500 million in profits over the last decade.  If you do the math, thats $185 million dollars in profit from killing the unborn. They give few to no mammograms.  They frequently recommend sadomasochism, bondage, and torture (and worse, like fecal play) to underage girls.  They have been found to encourage and cover up statutory rape and child sex abuse, help and hide child sex trafficking, and encourage illegal sex-selective abortion. Basically, they are evil and should be opposed on all fronts.  There is nothing they do positive that your local pregnancy center doesn't do.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Pictures, Thoughts, and Prayers in Ferguson, MO [graphic][updated]

[update] I am encouraged by pictures and reports coming out of Ferguson tonight.  From the reports I read, the Governor called off local police and instead sent in state highway patrol troopers who, in civility and without riot gear, joined their fellow citizens to peacefully march and protest.  This is a victory for freedom and an answer to prayer.  Now let's pray that other officers and prosecutors will do their job well and gather the evidence for seeing that justice is done.

[original story]
When the small St. Louis community of Ferguson witnessed the death of an young black man at the hands of the police, it is appropriate to respond like this to such a tragedy: