Saturday, April 26, 2008

Thoughts on Faith and Activism

For the past month I have been in a constant struggle of what the balance between faith and activism should be for myself. What I mean by that is, if we never look at the heart of the issue isn't it just liking cutting the grass of a lawn filled with weeds? It grows back, sometimes stronger. But I also know that Jesus has a pretty big thing for the poor. He loved them to the point to say that by helping them you might be entertaining angels (and no, I will not proof text loving the poor with the out-of-context James verse).
So where does this leave me? I could continue to focus on the short term of great things but that falls short because it never gets to the heart or I could focus on the long term but then exclude everyone who doesn't agree with my intentions, which I don't want. 
So where has my struggle gotten me? I think its an individual heart issue. All things not done for the glory of God is sin, and I think "all things" was pretty serious. There are people who work for non-christian groups who are living out the gospel and doing it all to the glory of Jesus and there are people who are with Christian groups who are doing everything to the glory of their own name. I am starting to think it has a lot to do with intention. You see, before the foundation of the world God chose me, for no reason of my own He decided to love me to the point that he sent his son to die for me. This kind of love can't be static, it has to move forward and must be shared. So whether it is a "christian organization" or not, when asked why you are doing things your response is "because Christ loved me, I want to love you and love you by (humanitarian work)" but then say to someone who doesn't have the same religious views as you "but look, if you don't like my intention but like where I'm going with this... join me in building this world."
But I don't have this "resolved" in my head and probably never will. And as far as a christian group that doesn't cater to immediate needs.... I think you're a joke.
So for some secular groups that have some killer Jesus-loving people working for them check out Invisible Children or Data and for some christian groups doing great things check our Mocha Club or Blood:Water:Mission.
Your thoughts?

Thursday, April 17, 2008


A little under a year ago, I went to a mexican restaurant with my family. We were on the way to take me to the airport where I would be leaving for a long time, until the next may. This was my chance to say goodbye to the wonderful greatness of Tex-Mex before I embarked on the journey I now find myself in. We arrived at Dallas Love Field where I said goodbye, my mom and brother cried, my dad and I gave each other a hug that should have been a hand-shake. I should have cried but in my excitement wasn't able to. I checked in a was on a plane ready to go to San Diego to begin my work with Invisible Children.
I arrived out of the gate, picked up my bags and met a guy named Seth. He carried a sign that read "Welcome Schools for Schools Rock Stars", we went outside to his car and drove to the roadie house or The Big Blue House. That weekend I met 30 people that for the next 9 months would be my family. We played the name game but I don't think any of us really knew what would await us the next few months. These people I met I would learn to love deeper than I have ever loved that many people.
In September I left for my first tour. I travelled up the west coast and got to see a generation of young people rise up and work to help a problem they saw. They broke the trend of only thinking about themselves. I saw people who saw that "There's more than this". It was truly a life changing experience. At the same time, this tour was the most spiritually draining thing I had ever been through. In my heart these new doubts started to arise. Shortly after I began to pray that if the God of the Bible is God that He would reveal himself. He was faithful and did that.
In December I went back to Fort Worth for a short Xmas break. God was so good in drawing me near through my church and through my friends. Since then, God has really been teaching me what discipline can look like on the road. He has taught me to throw away what robs me of joy in Christ and to cling to what gives me more of him.
Well, I've been on tour since february and God has been doing so much (read "a new fort worth") and I've learned so much about myself (I am really selfish) but I am ready to come back. I will always look at this time as one of the best in my life. I love tour but I know that this isnt' for me long term. I need to have "roots" planted somewhere. I want a constant community that can hold me accountable to things (given that teammates are great for that, but its still different). My heart is starting to be back in Fort Worth and Denton.
So this may, I will go back to the airport and say goodbye to this wonderful experience. I will praise God for the work he has done and will continue to do through Invisible Children. I will go back to a great community of friends that I love deeply. Some of my friends I really can see a friendship with for the rest of my life. I really can say that I have something close to Acts 2 and I praise God for that.
Hopefully I can look back at this post and praise God for the work He did in me at this time.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Future Career?

Today, I was at Subway with a friend enjoying some lunch. Well, I was about to enjoy lunch but at this time we were ordering. We noticed the sandwich that sits on the counter as an example of what "the works" looks like. We noticed that the meat and tomatoes looked good but the lettuce was a little shady. But a question popped into my mind, who came up with the idea of making plastic food? What 23 year old, college grad said "you know what I want to do with my life, make plastic food!" 
Its crazy to imagine the conversations in the office, "we're going to have to make some cut-backs and your lettuce just isn't cutting it", "Tommy, your roast beef will take you straight to the top of this company"

Monday, April 14, 2008


For the first time, that I know of, I am starting to understand grace. Don't get me wrong, if you had ever asked me I could have given you scripture, a good Piper or Bone quote and a good book to read on it (future grace is really good!) but I don't know if it ever made sense. 
I always felt that grace was something that happened in response to my better behavior. Even if I wouldn't say it, I felt it. So I'd read my bible a lot, pray  a lot and talk about Jesus often but as soon as I stumbled in any kind of outward sin I'd think I was beyond grace and give up, feeling "not worthy" to approach God or scripture. The issue with it isn't that I'm not worthy, it is the theology in it. Had I not (outwardly) sinned, would I have been any more worthy to go to God without the covering of Christ' blood? One thing I like about the book earlier (Future Grace by Piper) is about the "purifying power of future grace". Knowing that Grace is there in future just as it was in the past and there must be a constant state of repentance but only through Christ and Him crucified can I ever approach God. Not that I have it figured out, but it is so liberating to know that even as I sin that God's grace is still there. 
I'm not saying
 that it is freedom to keep sinning though. But once Grace is given there must be obedience. I'm reading The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer and that has been teaching a lot.  Here's a thought I've been thinking about....

"Cheap grace is preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.
Costly grace is the treasure hidden in the field; for the sake of it a man will gladly go and sell all that he has. It is the pearl of great price to buy which the merchant will sell all his goods..... Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it cost a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life"

I'm at this constant struggle of learning to be obedient and learning to accept grace. I think this struggle comes from thinking that they are separate. I am starting to learn that I'll never be perfect, I'll mess up all the time but repentance must be sought after again and again. Every moment, I must pursue Christ. I pray that I can learn this and not forget it. 

Saturday, April 5, 2008

A New Fort Worth

For the past few years God has really been working in me about church planting. I attended a boot camp for Acts 29 a few years ago, and the things I learned haven’t ever really left me. For the past few weeks God has been putting Fort Worth in my mind and on my heart. I always thought that I would end up moving to Portland or Seattle but the more I think the more I am starting to realize that for now, Fort Worth is the place God has called me to. I started thinking about a conversation a friend and I had about a church plant in Fort Worth, because of how few Gospel-Centered churches there are (please don’t get caught up on that statement). I talked to my friend Steve and he shared a vision similar to what God has been speaking to me.
What if a few people prayed for revival, What if we prayed for God to speak to that city? What if malls closed because people weren’t materialistic anymore? What if men loved their wives and lived out the Gospel to their families? What if God united Christians in the Fort Worth area, centered in Christ and Him crucifies to transform the city? I know it may seem like Fort Worth already had a strong Christian population but what if we prayed for more? I believe that God is faithful and will come through on this for His glory. So I ask, please join me in this prayer.
Back to the conversation with Steve, he said to me “But if you are wanting to an elder (or in leadership in general) then read 1 timothy and pray that your life might bare the fruit of an elder”

The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office or overseer; he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church?...- 1 Timothy 3: 1-5

I will not lie. As I read this I am reminded of how much I am in need of grace. I am reminded of how much I need to work on. In each of these I see where I am not fit for this. I am now praying that my life be molded to this example. It is good to read this though because it keeps me humble, it reminds me of how much of a mess I am and how much I need God and His grace.

On a side-note- I am reading the journals of Jim Elliot and am again humbled at my unbelief. There is someone who is worth reading and following the example of , he isn’t perfect but again, that just reminds me more of how we are all in need of God’s grace.
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