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Not Just A Bucket of Parts

Not Just A Bucket of Parts

Lately I’ve been reading Psalm 139. One of the more well known verses of that psalm, and of the Bible at large, is this: “I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” This is what I hear: “Tim, you are not an accident. I didn’t just throw you together from a bucket of spare parts. You aren’t here to fill space, you aren’t here because I was bored. I created you with intention, care, and purpose. I know you intimately. Like everything else on earth, when I created you, I was pleased with what I made. I knit you together in your mother’s womb, I knew you before you were conceived. Does that sound like an accident? Does it sound like I don’t care?” Ok. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. By the creator of the entire universe, who apparently knew me before I was even a thought in my parents’ heads. We have a problem in our world. It has to do with self worth, identity, and meaning. We as humans, have an innate desire to belong, to matter, and to be accepted. We crave approval and attention. Even those that claim they don’t care what people think about them want everyone to know and accept that fact. The problem is, we seek these things from sources that are severely lacking in their ability to deliver them. 5 minutes on the internet will tell you this. Facebook, Youtube, (insert social networking site here), etc, etc are all testaments to this. I struggle with self esteem. I struggle with my identity. I struggle with my sense of...
You Can’t Earn It

You Can’t Earn It

When you were growing up, did you ever offer your parents cash or chores for your Christmas or birthday gifts? Like, “Thank you so much for the Nintendo 64. Here’s some cash; that should cover it.” I didn’t either. There’s a reason that your parents bought that stuff for you. The reason is that there was no way you’d ever be able to afford it on your own, and I get the sneaking feeling that most parents like to bring joy to their children. We were not required to earn those gifts, just to enjoy them and take care of them. It would be silly of us to try and pay for something that was given to us as a gift. Why, then, do many of us try to pay for our salvation? We can’t earn it, it’s already been paid for. God knows that we’d never be able to pay the cost for our salvation, so he paid it for us. With his blood. Perhaps it’s an overwhelming, albeit misguided, need to DO something that drives this need to earn our salvation. God’s way seems too easy, surely he wants me to earn it a little bit. Perhaps we feel guilty. Guilty that we sin, guilty that we aren’t perfect, guilty that we aren’t good enough, guilty that we aren’t worthy of the cost. This guilt paralyzes us, it shames us, and it makes us believe a lie. In Hebrews 9:14, it says that the blood of Jesus cleanses our consciences from sin so that we may serve God. Romans says that there is no condemnation for those in Christ...
Rockstar or Servant?

Rockstar or Servant?

I love hitting the stage. I developed a love for music in middle school and have never been able to shake it. In fact, I despair at the thought of a life without it. I have played on many different instruments, in many different settings, in many different venues, to many different types of people. I have played to audiences that couldn’t care less that I was there, to audiences who shush talkers because they want to hear every nuance of what I’m doing, and to every audience in between. There is a time to entertain, and there is a time to lead. As musicians, we all have, or have had, illusions of grandeur. Leading worship is a dangerous position for an attention loving, approval seeking musician. You see, God doesn’t share glory. He is jealous for His glory and honor. Every time I step onstage to lead worship, there is a danger that my self will fight for the attention and glory that is due my Creator. There is a fine line between humility and a modesty that sometimes hides a desire for recognition. Leading worship is service. We are serving God with the gifts He has given us to bring glory to Him, and to bring attention to the truth of who He is and who we are in relation to Him. We are serving the Church by using those gifts to draw people’s attention to Him, not ourselves, and to facilitate an environment that allows those we serve to worship God. We aren’t rockstars; we’re servants. Biblical leadership as modeled by Jesus equals service. How do...
Maturity

Maturity

Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom. (Psalm 145:3) He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted. (Job 5:9) Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. (Isaiah 40:28) There is a common theme running through these three verses. They illustrate an attribute of God that you may not hear every day: His incomprehensibility. God is incomprehensible. It means that we can never FULLY understand him. There will never be a point that God will say “I have nothing left to teach you, nothing left to reveal to you about myself, and nothing left to say to you.” Our relationship with God will never settle into the kind of comfortable silence reserved for couples who have been married for 200 years and have nothing left to say to or learn about each other. This means that God ALWAYS has something NEW to say to you. Something NEW to show you. Something NEW to teach you. About him, about you, and about you in relation to him. How many of us miss out on this because we are stuck learning the very basics of our faith? Or because we lean only on what God has said and not what he’s SAYING? The author of Hebrews chastised Jewish Christians who struggled with this very thing. “…you are slow to learn. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers,...
Someone to be weird with…

Someone to be weird with…

The other day, my wife and I were sitting atop a dune in White Sands National Monument in New Mexico. We were enjoying the setting sun, nice wine and good conversation. We tend to get a little weird when we’re alone together, as I’m sure is common with any other couple, and I remarked “You know, life is all about finding someone you can be weird with.” I immediately filed that one away for my future kids. Aside from that, I began to think about how weird my wife and I are when we’re alone together. We have stupid jokes, strange pet names whose origins have long since been forgotten, and the worst discography of original songs since Ugly Kid Joe. I absolutely love it. These things only occur between my wife and I; they are ours alone and we don’t share them with anyone. I can be as weird, as childish, and as stupid as I want and she not only accepts it but, more often than not, joins in and one ups me. She is the most tangible, visible example of unconditional love that I have ever experienced from another human. If it isn’t obvious where I’m going with this, don’t fear, it will be soon enough. In the first chapter of Jeremiah, God tells the prophet [Jeremiah] “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you…” Psalm 139 says “O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. You see me when I travel...
Dependence

Dependence

Lately, I’ve been thinking about dependence. Our world, society, culture, whatever you want to call it, tells us that dependence=weakness. Women, you can’t depend on a man. Men, you have to figure things out by yourself, asking for help shows that you are dependent on others, and as we’ve said before, dependence=weakness. The Bible teaches us the complete opposite of this. Paul, whose letters comprise much of the New Testament, actually teaches us to delight in weakness. In 2 Corinthians, he says: “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions,in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” Paul knew that true strength came from weakness and dependence on God. Even Jesus, during his earthly ministry, said this: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” He also said “…by myself, I can do nothing.” It would seem that even Jesus was dependent on God’s guidance and strength during his life. If he, the son of God, the physical manifestation of The Word, was dependent on God, then we should feel no trepidation in depending on Him as well. Dependence on God does not equal weakness, but strength. I am utterly dependent on God to be a good husband, a good friend, a good leader, and a good example of his love. By myself, I can do...