Luke 6:41 NIV

Luke 6:41 NIV
"Why do [I] look at the speck of sawdust in [my] brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in [my] own eye?"


Subculture or counterculture?

so i'm sitting here before my computer with my starbucks, my cell phone still turned on and facing me so i can see the screen, the wii-mote and i'm gazing intently into the eyes of my 21" computer screen when it hits me.  "i'm just like them".  

i had a moment like this a couple years ago.  i was in my honda minivan taking my wife and kids to the beach with our towels in back, lunch packed, chairs, beach balls and inner tubes for my two.point.five kids.  everyone was singing, even the dog and we didn't even have a dog.  i had a starbucks sitting in one of the 18 drink holders that littered various corners of the minivan interior and as i was sitting at a traffic light i could see the guy across the intersection from me.  at first glance i thought, "man, poor guy...probably has no freedom."  i could see the activities inside his honda minivan, the two.point.five kids, wife, dog, singing songs, going to the beach (as was evident by the family pack of matching sunvisors) and as he lifted his starbucks cup up to his lips it hit me..."i'm just like them."

in high-school i fought against everything "trendy".  as captain of the soccer team, i raged against the machine.  as an honors student i shook my tiny fist at "the man" and cursed the government whenever the opportunity arose.  this continued into college where the lifestyle took me on a very rapid downward spiral.  it wasn't until years later when i came home from college (re: kicked out) and was listening to a neighborhood girl ramble on about the same things i had rambled on about.  and then it hit me..."i'm just like her."  now i'm different.  i have a wife and family, i go to church, i sing songs, i read the Bible, i have a facebook, i have a blog, i love starbucks and i'm so different...finally...yeah right.

so where in the world do i go to be in the world, but not of the world?  one of the great appeals of the "emergent church" is it's ability to disguise things of the world with a veil of spirituality...or vice-versa in some cases.  jesus is my homeboy...?  the emergent church movement is replacing "religion" for "spirituality", "truth" for "experience", "knowledge" for "feeling".  what exactly is the church emerging from, and is this really a good idea?  a youth pastor friend of mine named "bob" (name has been changed to protect the guilty) said Christians have become a subculture.  bob went further to explain that a subcultures, while "different" in immediate philosophies are no different that the rest of the culture as a whole.  meaning, they still travel in the same direction as everyone else, just on a sub-level.  (in sub i mean different, not inferior.)

the revolution of Jesus Christ, however, was that of a counterculture.  yeah, He lived on the same planet, but His goal was the cross.  i fully understand that Jesus "met people where they were at" and paul was "all things to all that [he] might win a few".  this doesn't mean they lowered their standards and watered the Word.  Jesus never compromised His morals to heal or preach or minister.  Jesus went against the culture ... raged against the machine ... not to be different, but because He truly was different.

so here i am...
here WE are... with this paradox before us.  
be in it, not of it. 

God, forgive me for bringing so much of the world into my life while not taking YOUR life...light...into the world.  help me to truly be a light for You, to shine for You and to follow You...

If there's one thing I've learned over the last 2 years, it's this: Be v-e-e-e-e-e-e-r-r-y careful when you ask God to show you what it means to live a life of FAITH!

I had no idea how fragile faith is. Four of the first five examples of faith (in the NIV) regard it being broken. That's becoming more real to me as the days go on. The first real life example of faith God ever showed me was with my eldest son Ethan. I was getting him ready for bed one night...he was about 2 or 3. I had changed his diaper and put his pajamas on. He was still on the changing table, which had a little rail that prevented the diaper recipient from rolling off the top.

I would sometimes have Ethan just stand up on the table after I had changed him and I would tickle him or talk to him or we would look at things in his room together. This particular time I thought I would take it a step further. He was used to standing up at the edge of the table and was rather comfortable with it because as we would talk, he would lean on me...over time he realized there was no danger of falling off the edge because he could always lean against me.

This particular time I decided to step back a little bit. As soon as I could see he was standing stable, I took a couple of steps away...still close enough to catch him should he fall, but far enough that he could tell something was different. I was still within arms reach, but this time it was my arms...not his. I stepped back a little further and he reached out to me. He didn't panic, but I could tell he was uncomfortable...but it was pleasant. It was almost as if he were accepting my challenge. So there we stood...both of us had our arms outstretched, both of us looking at each other as to say, "Now what?" 

I played out all the different scenarios in my mind, imagining which way he may go, would I be able to catch him, will he jump, etc. I fully expected Ethan to take the safe route and step up on the rail and then with his other leg, step out over the edge. As I inched back a little further he realized that he was no longer close enough to just drop into my arms...then the panic set in. His face began to get that lonely look of desperation. I said one word...COME.

I imagined God looking at me in my life. I was safe in the Air Force...4 or 5 years under my belt. Total security. I wasn't even CLOSE to the edge! And I thought to myself, "I wonder if this is how God asks us to step out." God the Father. Ethan's response changed me forever. He never touched the railing, instead he stepped right over it and I watched, horrified, as his little leg attempted to step onto absolutely nothing! I jumped forward and caught him, startled, surprised...thankful I wouldn't have to explain a broken arm to momma! 

God spoke to me so clearly in that moment. He said, "That's how you need to step out into Me." And it made sense. I expected Ethan to take the safe step up on the ledge and get his balance first, and then carefully step over the edge. Stepping on the ledge would have brought just a couple inches closer to me. But that wasn't the route he chose. He just answered my call...COME. With childlike faith he just did it. And the look in his eyes and the smile on his face told me he trusted me and he was proud of himself. I was proud too...learning a little about him, a little about me and a lot about God in just one small action.

Is God saying "COME"? I think too many times I've stepped up on the ledge to get my balance get just a couple inches closer to Abba before I actually take the plunge. Am I ready to go over the edge? Oh to have the faith of a child!

2 Timothy 2:22 "...pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace..."