Saturday, February 23, 2013

Potter's Wheel

This is one of my first blogs & what occurred that day was instrumental in leading me to that point where I finally let go of the wheel of this life. Not that I don't still try to do the driving at times. But I realize that my life seeking the path God wants me to have is better than what I may think I need. 

Isiah 29:16 You turn things upside down, as if the potter were thought to be like the clay!

Would it seem peculiar if I point to a certain Sunday morning service as being instrumental in my seeking the path the Father had already laid out? Probably not, but what if I told you I can't recall one word spoken or one worship song sung that day? What if all I can recall is linked to the image below?

The event occurred soon after I returned to church, after a lengthy absence. I had spent many years being angry with God for my lot in this difficult life. I didn't care what path he desired for me. At times I tried to modernize God. Bring him up to our times. But always placing what I desired first.

A lady spoke while a man with a physical deformity in his hand silently molded an object with the potter's wheel. I don't recall any particular thoughts or any great epiphany as I watched. That would come later.

As I was leaving the service I heard a Father gently reaching out to his prodigal son to return home. "You have tried to mold me into what you wanted me to be. It does not work that way. I am the potter. You are the clay and it is not the other way around."

Imagine the possibilities if we viewed ourselves as the clay to be molded each day by a loving Father. Picture a simple flower pot being created.  It will not be a beautiful work of art each day because we are flawed and imperfect.There will be blemishes but the good news is that they can be repaired and made flawless.

I had no idea as I reflect back on that time that God would bless me so richly. I only knew that I had failed miserably in trying to do it my way. What did I have to lose? 

Thursday, February 21, 2013


Our ministers have been teaching a series on the book of Galatians. What a fascinating little book. Do we live under the law, grace, or a bit of both? I am certainly no Biblical expert but it appears clear that Paul leads us to grace.

Years ago I took a class in college on Introduction to the New Testament. It was enlightening to study how the New Testament was put together. You could take a cynical view and say this was put together by men and so it is flawed. Another view point might be God breathed spirit into these words knowing we would need them not just then but centuries later and they would be as relevant as the day they were written.

The retired minister who taught the class had a couple of sayings he said frequently. He spoke of how the church used fear and control to keep the congregation in line. He would follow that by saying, "Is that New Testament living?" He also said the reason the church used fear and guilt was that it works. But does it really?

I understood the minister's logic about the church using fear and control. Grace unrestrained would allow people the freedom to live any lifestyle.

As I have sought more the path God would have me on it seems simple enough that if I sincerely ask him to take up more residence in my heart I won't need a list of what to do or not do. Galatians 5:16 So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.  It says the Spirit, not what society thinks.

I have witnessed people working as ministers pat people on the back and say, "That was for back then." My question is if this is so when did the scriptures become irrelevant? Was it the tenth century, the twentieth, this century? What time was it where God said the scriptures no longer apply?

I find it hard to believe anyone who is seeking intimacy with the Father can read scriptures with an open heart and discount it as something written long ago. It lives and it literally breathes.

Even during the days where I shunned God and wanted nothing to do with him I always took comfort in a simple scripture. Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. We don't get to change him or mold him to what we need him to be. We don't get to fit him into what society accepts. It does not work that way and believe me I have tried. He waited for me to turn back and he welcomed me with open arms. Not with judgment or condemnation but love and yes grace. Abounding and unlimited grace....


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

What Is Holding You Back Dad?

My son, Micah has an amazing recall of the events of his childhood. Truthfully, considering the mistakes I made I sometimes wish this were not true. Often he says, "Dad remember when..." and I would think no way this happened. He keeps providing details and eventually I would recall the event. Many times I would joke with him that if he continually held on to every thought, every event, that his head would run out of room and a mass explosion might occur.

It was early 2002 and I was mired in a deep black hole. Often I have referred to depression as the devil's own disease. Those of you who have suffered with it know the hell I speak of. This particular bout was brought on by emotional exhaustion. During a six month stretch the previous year I had watched a Father I battled with all of my life slowly die. I had surgery on each knee within four months. Between the surgeries according to the doctor I either had a strange bacterial infection in my sinuses or a chemical reaction. I lost fourteen pounds in two weeks. I was sicker than I have ever been in my life. I had a whirlwind relationship that began at the time of my father's death and came to a crashing finality on my son's birthday. The sight of my son with dark welts under his eyes on his fourteenth birthday because of my breakup with a woman he loved brought guilt to me that I could not forgive myself for.

I was hurting, lost, lonely, and could not find a moment of peace. Remember Lt. Dan in Forrest Gump in the storm cursing at God? I did that daily but I was far angrier than Lt. Dan. I begged God to take me from this world. Each morning I was angry to find I was still alive.

It was Saturday night and Micah and I attended a church service. The theme of the minister's message was  "What is it that you hold on to that is keeping you from fullness with the Father?" At one point my son turned and looked at me and with clarity and a weariness in his voice and said, "What's holding you back, Dad?" The boy that remembers everything has no memory of this event. He takes comfort in the fact that he knows I have had supernatural moments with God. I tell him that he has experienced this as well. I thought it a strange thing for him to say that night and as time went by I realized God was speaking through Micah but I was to angry and to set on what I thought I needed in my life to listen.

Fast forward a few years later at Passion 2012 where I asked God to break off whatever else I was holding on to that kept me from intimacy with him. Moments later I was weeping, exhausted, and broken. A few days after that I recall driving down the road and saying "Father, I have made a mess out of doing it my way. I am so tired. You take the wheel. I will go where you say." He knew I meant it. Life has not been the same. The things I thought I needed I don't. What he has granted me has exceeded my dreams.

Why is it we insist on doing it our way? The results at least in my case were not good. Still, we cling to old habits, our achievements, and what we think we need to be happy.Is it a certain relationship we think we need? Is it financial security? Pride? Religious behavior, a certain lifestyle? Do we really trust God to give us what we  need? That was a big stumbling block for me. I did not trust.

He is a jealous God and he will not accept the idols we place in front of him. But he is the consummate gentleman and it will always be our choice.

What's keeping you?