Tuesday, April 29, 2008

the beauty of the mountains

Two days ago I spent some time hiking around the Absaroka mountains in western Montana. I snow-shoed it with my buddy, Joel. He's a much more avid hiker than I (you'd never guess given my stout appearance...haha) and I'm sure at times he would have loved to hike longer but, thankfully, he slowed and we went at my pace.

I love the mountains. Why? Because there are few places on earth (that I have been)that so encompass the enormity of God than in the mountains. They are huge, they are beautiful, they stir up fear and love, and I long to know them. The same is true of God: he's huge, he's beautiful, he causes fear and love, and I long to know him more.

I wish that each day I could wake and experience the joy of the mountains (not for the joy they cause but for God's.) But I don't want to have to depend on some created thing for a call to worship the greatest thing. Wouldn't it be a great life if each day it was no effort more than to open our eyes and be in love and in awe of our great Savior? O, Lord...let today be the first of those days.


Saturday, April 26, 2008

the Gospel amazes me...and makes me crazy

My sister, who (along with my entire family and many friends) has been a great encouragement during my break with reality, asked me if I had not only known the great forgiveness of the Gospel but also truly accepted it.

Well. It's a hard answer.

I've accepted forgiveness. By that, I mean that I know and believe that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is absolutely true-that belief in Him as Savior and Lord truly saves us from hell and despair and into newness of life with the ability to magnify God.

But, I still struggle with it. Not because I don't believe it but because I do and it is hard to deal with believing it when you know the wickedness of your own heart. The Gospel is such a huge thing and has such an ability to confound the mind that it is difficult at times to understand it...even if you believe it.

How can a good, just, righteous, holy, magnficent, creator God ever love and embrace as His son one like me-or you? It is at that point, realizing the pit of my own heart that the Gospel is the hardest and makes me upset. To know that despite myself that God loves and that is the reality of the Gospel can sometimes be bittersweet because I, by myself, can't love like that. None of us can.

Forgiveness of people (including myself) only comes through an understanding of the forgiveness of God-which results in salvation.

The grace of God truly is amazing...but it still makes me crazy. I cry with the hymnest "Be of sin the double cure, save me from its guilt and power."


Thursday, April 10, 2008

sometimes i just want to go away

Don't you? Aren't there times when the problems in your life (even though they are small) seem to add up to the insurmountable? That if you could, you'd just take what you have and run away and set up a new life?

Well, if you ever catch wind of a Bill Mahoney in your neighborhood and I've come up missing, then there's a good chance that I've done it.

But seriously, sometimes it is very easy to let those soft whispers in your ear about failure morph into thinking that you will never be able to talk of the good news of Jesus. Well, here is some encouragement for you.

Luke 22:31,32

"Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers."

Oh that Jesus would be praying this prayer for me and you. Truly, Satan prowls like a roaring lion but Jesus, in his grace, says this "I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one."

His grace comes and relieves our doubts and fears so that we are restored.

Read Richard Sibbes The Bruised Reed.


Sunday, April 6, 2008

a relaxing weekend

I came home late last night after 3 1/2 days spent in Indy doing nearly nothing. It was a great relaxing time with good friends and good food. I needed it after last weekend.

I actually had planned to go hiking over those days but the vehicle me and my buddy, Matt, took broke down so we didn't end up going. (60 miles in 4 days is one thing. In 3?...that's a little much when you haven't hiked in months.)

So, I'm back in the ol' Rochester on my way to watch (in a cruel twist of fate) I am Legend for the second time in three days.

(I just noticed how many numbers I used in this post. 6 (now 7...dang...9) times is probably the most I've used in a post this small.

This post sucks but I'm leaving it anyway.


Wednesday, April 2, 2008

my family might be crazy

This is a stick of dynamite:

This is a GE washer:

This is what is going to happen to the washer:

This is not a joke. My uncle Kevin is supplying the dynamite and my mother is going to light the fuse. The washer has broken 4 times in the last two months and is less than 2 years old. GE refuses to fix it.

We used to sell appliances, so...it really perturbs us.