Where There's Smoke...

What breaks your heart?

Pick a cause, any cause. Slap a catchy slogan on a broken world, accumulate enough Facebook "likes," and change will follow, right?


Maybe it's heretical of me to say this, but it struck me recently that there is one thing that our God who has all things does NOT have. Because He has given us the choice to obey, He has willingly deprived Himself of the worship of those who decide on disobedience. Not that He is incomplete without our worship or in some way lacking, but since the Fall, He has been robbed of His glory.

When you recognize His love and respond to it, something strange happens. You begin to change. The things you once thought were everything... They really aren't so great after all.

"Dear Sir: Regarding your article, "What's Wrong With the World?" I am. Yours truly, G.K. Chesterton"

"You must be the change you wish to see in the world."

William Wilberforce, famed English abolitionist, had two aims: the abolition of the slave trade and the reformation of manners. He succeeded in the former, but I think that what he began to capture in the latter was a truth of far greater import: change starts with individual revival and reformation resulting in lovers consumed by desire for God and a will to see Him glorified throughout the world.

The buck starts here.


{burning ones}

Psalm 8:4//
What is man that Thou are mindful of him?

If you have never been blasted by anything you've read in the Bible, this verse is a great place to start. Why would a God who created the entire universe for His glory choose not to destroy completely that work when it decided not to give Him glory? As Andy Byrd told us, the greatest injustice in history is not genocide, is not sex trafficking or slavery, is not abortion. It is the fact that God has been robbed of the glory that is owed Him by His creation. If we were completely sold out to glorifying Him, all other injustices would cease to exist. We cannot glorify God and then proceed to debase the image of God in another human being.

Today in class, LCMI pastor Eric Smith said that foundational truths are of utmost importance because the enemy targets foundations. He will even allow a beautiful, perfect house to be built atop that crumbling foundation so long as he can distract us from its decayed state, and in allowing that, he receives greater glory as the beautiful house inevitably falls. But he cannot be forever successful. Many times, yes, he is, but his victory is fleeting.

"Why such hope?" you may be asking. As Chesterton notes in The Everlasting Man, our God isn't the kind of deity who gets overly bothered by death. He has, after all, overcome it and continues to overcome it. When the externally beautiful house of our works crumbles to the ground, as we lie among the ruins of what was fundamentally flawed, there is a breath of cool air that blows away the dust. The glory and power of that Psalm 8 verse is that though Man is nothing that God should be mindful of, yet He IS mindful. It is when we are humbled and brought low that we can hear what He has been saying all along but pridefully chose not to hear: "I loved you first. My thoughts are for you. I have given everything for you. Come as you are, beloved. Build anew, but this time lay your foundation of My undying, unchanging love for you and erect a home for yourself with My glory in mind."

And if you do have a house of works that hasn't crumbled yet, light it on fire. Take the torch of radical love and hold it to all the empty things you have held dear. As John Wesley said, "Catch on fire with enthusiasm and people will come for miles to watch you burn."

He is longing for a world of burning ones. Are you ready for the fire?


Like Ten Thousand Sparrows

I think a lot about the future. Not what I'm going to be doing. I have a decent idea of that, and even if I didn't, I could still trust that He who has the whole world in His hands didn't accidentally let me slip through His fingers. But there's a distinct uncertainty that held me back especially at the beginning of this school and that I still feel pushing itself onto the edges of my consciousness as I return from my weekend in New York City.

If I lived no differently before, what is going to prevent this from being a few seconds of passing breath and then nothing more than a return to old ways, old life, old settle-for-less-than-nothing? As the seconds flow like sand from a child's cupped hand, even after one month I have the breathless sense of the impending days after tomorrow's tomorrow's tomorrow. Days when I don't spend five days a week in the prayer room, and all that has been is not.

Lord, I have done this before. I have believed that I had all the time in the world, only to find that time was broken and all months end. I don't want to tighten my hands into clenched fists, stuck forever on these precious moments when You revealed Yourself to me over and over in a thousand ways every day. Pry apart my fingers if that's what it takes, lay to rest the anger and bitterness, and into my opened palms, uplifted to You, pour out Your Spirit in greater and greater abundance with every passing day. Laying down my will is a small price to pay if it means the greater peace of trusting You.



I've always thought that underneath the panic and the terror, there would be something surreally, heartbreakingly beautiful about jumping off a building. But then, to rephrase Chesterton, it takes a living person to appreciate the beauty of a suicide, if there can even be such a quality to it.

As you fall and know with absolute certainty that your descent will end in death, you feel the rush of wind in your face and rest on air. The immortal dream of man realized: flight.

Today was a strange day. Thanks to the exhaustion of going and going and going for two weeks without break, I, unlike the Energizer Bunny, crashed hard. And I'm fully prepared to go from this blog post straight to bed, so it's not over yet. In part due to that exhaustion, in part due to the overwhelming rawness of the concentrated human misery that I feel in cities like this one, all day I had the sensation of falling down, down, down. Except that in the midst of my beautiful flight, a strange thing happened:

He caught me.


Whispers From the Past

Or not a daydream, but a wish
For miracles of bread and fish;
And more than simply water mine,
I'd like for once to have some wine...

"Beauty in the present is that which foreshadows future renewal."


Life Prep 101

This week has been intense. I mean it. And not always fun intense, either. But it had its moments.

Somewhere between the twelve lectures/sermons that we sat through (and one still to come), the outreach team assignments, the hours of worship, the late night work duties, and the even later night diner runs... I feel like I've been running around like a maniac. We've been at The Fathers Speak conference that the Life Center has had this past week, hearing from men like Che Ahn, Bishop Garlington, Larry Randolph, and finally, Bill Johnson. I've been prayed for by a lot of people, blessed by even more, and prophesied over by a very nice lady who sat next to me on Friday evening. My elbows and lower left side of my back are sore from vacuuming. I haven't found any diamonds, but I rather think that after this morning, God has already showered on me with more than enough.

And at last, I feel like I can finish my end of the summer journal. Perhaps that seems like an odd conclusion to come to after my description of my week, but at last I know for certain that I will be staying at Fire & Fragrance. As I told Sharon (my prophetic lady), October 15th is like a door and I had faith that once I reached it, it would be open, but I was still praying for it to be so. This morning, my dad informed me in what is an absolutely astonishing burst of generosity (he is increasingly so, but generally more with church than with children, which is, in all fairness, quite just), that he was intending to pay the full amount of my outreach as his tithe on a recent inheritance. Since I still have outstanding program fees, I asked if part could first go toward that, and then the remainder of the outreach could be covered through support letters to relatives and church members. But the point is: not only did God provide for the rest of my program costs, but far above and beyond to my outreach as well! Glory to God forever :)

Now that I know where I will be for the next seven months, I think my season of rain is officially over. Or at the very least, the nature of the rain has changed. And so I can seal it off well and finally. Farewell, desert wilderness. Hello, revival fire.