What Do You Need?

What do you need?

Oh, I know that, most of the time, most of us actually need very little. We have the absurd luxury to say that we need more bread when we get to the last two or three slices in the bag. I dare say we misuse the word “need” more than we use it correctly.

But I am a needy kind of person (and that is, perhaps, the most loaded statement I have ever typed). In this stage of my life, the one thing I find myself most often in genuine need of is direction. I need to know how to proceed – as a pastor trying to lead a congregation and as a father trying to lead a family.

Continue reading What Do You Need?

Look Up

Our first whole day in Honduras was spent largely on a long hike – over seven miles.

One of the things you won’t find in the Honduras Visitors’ Guide is the simple fact that there is trash on the ground…everywhere. There are all kinds of trash on the ground even out in the more rural areas, though less than in the city.

And yet, it’s a beautiful place. When you add to the trash the numerous muddy spots in the road and a healthy smattering of horse manure…well, suffice it to say that you have to pay attention to where you step. And that is without any consideration of the terrain and all of the ups and downs and gravitational challenges for old and overweight folks like myself.

It’s easy to get so caught up looking at the messy reality at your feet that you miss the glorious sights around you.

As you can see, there are some amazing things to see.

Continue reading Look Up

O Come

This cool Christmas morning I find myself with a strange mix of gratitude and longing. I am blessed beyond description and am indeed the richest man I know in the measures that matter. I was given some very sweet and thoughtful gifts for which I am tremendously grateful.

In the midst of the gratitude there is still a longing for something that is yet to come.

This is the same sentiment that I think is so beautifully captured in the longing celebration of this song – beautifully rendered here by a group called Vineyard:

This song is rich with longing – the plea ringing, “O Come, O Come…” like the longing of a prisoner in hope of deliverance.

And yet it is a call to celebrate the reality of Emmanuel’s coming – “Rejoice! Rejoice!”

There is a beautiful simplicity in it. It captures what I am more and more convinced every day is the needful condition of our hearts. There is a gratitude-infused dissatisfaction with life the way it is – the way WE are. It is a peace in the present simultaneous with a longing for where we will be.

A grateful discontent.

This Christmas and every day going forward, may we be blessed with the grace to find this grateful discontent that relishes the joys of each moment and yet leans forward into the becoming that yet remains, It is that mingling of thankfulness for all that God has done and a hunger for what He is yet intending. It’s what makes us enjoy life here while still longing for that home to which we have never yet been. It’s the grace to recognize how far God has brought us and yet long for more of HIs grace in our becoming.

Let us rejoice because Emmanuel – GOD WITH US – has surely come to us. But let us, at the same time, long for more of His coming, His renewing of us, and His ultimate consummation of our blessed hope of an eternity in His presence.

For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. (Romans 8:22-23)