Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Pain’ Category

I drove home from Memphis in silence today.

This was a long day that began with news of the death of a church member and then ended with the experience of being with another family while they said good-bye to a 15-day old child (the father has written a stunningly beautiful reflection on his son’s brief life here).

So, at the end of this painfully long day I made the 90 minute trip home in silence. My soul could not bear one more word, note, voice, or sound. Even the rhythmic bumping of tires against the pavement on I-55 seemed to blur into the grief that encapsulated the drive home.

(more…)

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

The news came via text message in the middle of staff meeting on Monday: AUNT JOAN DIED. My father likes to text in all caps so when the message flashed on my phone I immediately knew who sent it.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

When the planes hit the towers on September 11, 2001, I was in a staff meeting. Jennifer Hart, on staff at the time, came into meeting late talking about radio reports of something strange happening in New York. After staff meeting, I went upstairs to lead a Disciple Bible Study. During the breaks I would go down the hall to watch the news. None of us understood the enormity of what was unfolding before us.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

Disclaimer: If the thought of a pastor (or particularly your pastor) entering a tavern/bar/pub is damaging to your soul, then you should probably skip this post. Maybe check out this or this. Or even this. Come back and visit tomorrow.

Background: My wife’s family owns a home in Water Valley, MS, just outside of Oxford, MS. We use it several times a year when visiting The School Up North. The entire time that I’ve known Water Valley, from college days to the present, it has been a dry town (for non-Mississippians: think prohibition. No alcohol sales). That changed a few years ago. And when I visited this summer I noticed that attached to one of the better restaurants in town (Doc’s Table–if you go, try the Chicken Bacon Cheddar Sandwich) was a tavern (Doc’s Tavern). Doc’s Tavern has the distinction of being the first and only bar in Water Valley. After eating at Doc’s Table one evening, curiosity got the better of me: Who goes to Water Valley’s only bar? So, I walked down the alley to the door of the tavern and had what I can only describe as the defining moment of my sabbatical. I met Elvis. This is the story of one unforgettable night in Water Valley.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

Over the course of my 6-week sabbatical, I kept a journal of my travels and experiences. I’m sharing some of those to give you a flavor of how God spoke over the course of my time away. Sometimes I’ll share an entire day’s entry. At other times, just a partial/edited post. After the journal entry, I’ll share some of my post-sabbatical reflections on that entry. Each day I started with a quote, followed by my reflections on that day.

If you “follow” the blog (upper right on the home page), you’ll get automatic email updates when I post the next entry. You can find previous posts in the links to the right. At the bottom of each post, you’ll notice some “share” buttons. Feel free to share this with others if you think it would be interesting to them or help them.

June 26 – Day 35
11 p.m.
Water Valley House

All great Christians have been wounded souls.
~ A.W. Tozer

It’s quiet here. I can hear frogs and crickets singing outside. Inside the sound of the struggling air conditioner is all I hear. This final time away will be a time of silence and listening.

Today’s quote from A.W. Tozer is important, I think. Often I look at Christians I admire (like Len Sweet, Andy Stanley, Homer Peden, Nancy Bishop, Willis Britt, etc.) and think that they suddenly became great examples of how to live as a follower of Christ. But the truth is that all of them in one way or another faced the crucible of pain and loss. Some of their stories I know. Others I have no clue what their pain has been. Yet for all of them, whatever their pains were transformed them into the people they are today. They allowed God to shape them. My prayer is that I’ve allowed God to do that for me over these weeks–and will let God shape me in the week ahead.

Tozer reminds us that the scars and deformities brought to us by the battles of life are to be reminders of our weakness and God’s great power. For most of my life I haven’t known what to do with my scars. I’ve hidden them, ignored them, or pretended they were inflicted upon me. This time, though, the hurt was too deep, the fear too real to ignore. I believe that I have embraced the pain, the scars, and the wounds. The wounds have made me different. Better in some ways. More aware of blessings. More expectant of joy; more willing to receive instruction. The wounds have made my relationships better. As painful as they were to receive, the scars are sign-posts of a great victory. Not my victory, but Christ’s victory. For in my weakness His strength has been revealed.

May I never forget these scars.

Come, Lord Jesus. Come.

Reflections on Day 35:

All of us, at some level, have a sense of embarrassment about our failures. Our brokenness. We want others to see us as strong. Unbreakable in the face pain. So, we hide our scars. We act as if they didn’t exist. But our scars are not just our scars. They are reminders of God’s incredible power to save us even from the darkest pits of life. Our scars are part of our story and part the story that God is writing through our lives. Our scars provide us opportunity to talk to people authentically about pain and joy; despair and resurrection. But we have to be honest about them first.

In one of the Lethal Weapon movies (there were so many I can’t remember which one with out watching them all again), where Mel Gibson’s character and his girlfriend (Rene Russo, I think) have this moment of comparing scars and bullet wounds. They’re proud of what they’ve been through. Maybe we don’t have to proudly brag about our scars and wounds. But maybe it’s time to own them. To claim them for what they are–evidence of God’s strength in our weakness.

Question: What scars and wounds in life do you need to own?

Read Full Post »

Over the course of my 6-week sabbatical, I kept a journal of my travels and experiences. I’m sharing some of those to give you a flavor of how God spoke over the course of my time away. Sometimes I’ll share an entire day’s entry. At other times, just a partial/edited post. After the journal entry, I’ll share some of my post-sabbatical reflections on that entry. Each day I started with a quote, followed by my reflections on that day.

If you “follow” the blog (upper right on the home page), you’ll get automatic email updates when I post the next entry. You can find previous posts in the links to the right. At the bottom of each post, you’ll notice some “share” buttons. Feel free to share this with others if you think it would be interesting to them or help them.

June 9 – Day 18
6:50 p.m.
Condo Balcony

I do the impossible!
~ Vitaly (Madagascar 3)

(more…)

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: