Tuesday, September 29, 2009
I then proceeded to do something else you are all familiar with; I began building my argument of defense. I defined who was at fault, I concocted reasons for my behavior. I came up with some pretty good arguments in fact, strong and solid reasons why I was not completely to blame (you always leave room for some self-deprecation; you know -- always allow for the appearance of humility.)
I sent the family off to school and the day. Still feeling uneasy, I decided to sit down and read from a devotional book I purchased earlier this year. If anyone is interested, I highly recommend it. It's called Whiter Than Snow -Meditations on Sin and Mercy, by Paul David Tripp.
These are some excerpts of what I read:
"It was one of those times when you go where your desires and emotions are leading you. It was one of those situations when you know you should stop or walk away but feel you can't."
"...I knew I couldn't back away from this little moment (of regret). I knew I had to own my sin."
"The minute I thought this, an inner struggle began. 'I wasn't the only one at fault. If he hadn't said what he said, I wouldn't have become angry. I was actually pretty patient for much of the conversation.' These were some of the arguments I was giving myself."
"Rather than appealing to the mercy of the Lord in the face of my sin, what I actually do instead is function as my own defense lawyer and present a list of arguments for my own righteousness."
"Before you can ever make a clean and unamended confession of your sin, you have to first begin by confessing your righteousness."
Ceci and I were talking yesterday about people who it seems God is always having conversations with, and how a lot of those people are likely having conversations with Popeye the Sailor Man and Pluto as well.
Well I haven't been receiving messages from Bugs Bunny lately, but God definitely did speak to me this morning; gave me a swift kick in the ass, too.
I always say that this blog is for my children. When I say that, I don't mean so they can see how great their dad was, but who their dad was. It's hard to get honest. It's hard to put the blame on yourself. It's not much of an ego boost to get slapped in the face with the knowledge that you can't blame anyone else for anything going on in your life; that you need to own your stuff.
Sorry kids. I wish this blog could be about how great I am. The truth is however, I'm not so great. What I can tell you is this. I am His. I am broken, and I am His.
The greatest deterrent to me being able to get up in the morning and make silly statements in my head like, "I'm back on track" or "Ready to face the day" or any other "new start" comments we tell ourselves as we try to cover up our missteps and stumbling, is that "my sin is always before me". And on days like today, when I wake up blaming everyone and everything for who I am inside (who we all are inside), God slaps me in the face rather quickly and reminds me:
I am broken, I am His.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
My church printed this article I wrote, along with this photo, in our bulletin. For perspective, I attend Granada Presbyterian Church in Coral Gables, thus the "Granada Man" comment.
That’s me, New Years Day, 1981. My dad took me to the Miccosukee Indian Village. The whole family went, actually. But I don’t remember being with the family much that day. All I remember is being with my dad, the vast expanse of saw grass under a clear blue sky, men wrestling alligators, a beautiful young Miccosukee girl, and a knife for sale in the gift shop I wanted… badly.
This photo represents so many things to me. It represents those precious days of my youth; those rare occasions when we got out of the old neighborhood in the Miami suburbs to enjoy the natural treasures that surround us. We can miss them, these occasions, if we don’t take the time to experience them.
This photo also represents for me the heart of every man. The heart that cries out to be unleashed and experience this adventure called life. It is a heart that cannot be tamed. As I looked out over the saw grass, images of unexplored territory and trails to be carved came rushing in. There is danger at every turn. There are gators, panthers, bears… oh my. A person could die out there. Then I thought, cool.
So, here I am so many years later, still with so much left to explore. I find myself surrounded by other men; brothers with the same desire to explore and to conquer; to live. But it’s not just about cutting trails with machetes or catching a big fish to cook over an open fire. It’s about being the men God called us to be. We are not tamed, but we are His. What does that mean? It means we search Him out daily. We carve the trails, not because we are lone rangers on a selfish quest for vainglory; that is what small men do. We explore the wild and we explore it as brothers, because we desire to live out this adventure with Him, and for His glory; a quest we cannot seek on our own. Our hearts are calling out His name. This is at the heart of the men’s ministry we call, Granada Man.
And the single hawk bursts into flight
And in the east the whole horizon is in flames
I feel thunder in the sky
I see the sky about to rain
And I hear the prairies calling out Your name –Rich Mullins-