The words of Job.

when I sing…

I’m dancing a fine tightrope, teetering on the edge between chaos and melody, frolicking in and out between explosive, ecstatic joy and thoughtful, brooding contemplativeness. It’s like drifting, between losing oneself and maintaining sanity.

bad poetry.

Ohh how I hate being stuck in the present… where progress is nowhere to be found and joy is a lifetime away.

I pine for the past, it’s sepia-toned nostalgia… maybe it’s the more recent past that grinds at my bones… the kind of carefree existence that is unsaddled by stresses and guesses, only a future as bright as the clean presses that printed news for a bygone day.

I yearn for the future, that big ol’ unanswerable colossus. What do you have up ahead? What’s coming? What’s on the way? What won’t make it there? What’s the dealio, oh future?

But we are here, some way, some how. And I suppose we’re to make the best, of where we are now.

Good night.

"It is finished."

First:

Second: Thoughts.

“Why should I gain from His reward? I cannot give an answer.”

Perhaps that is the beauty of Grace. That He takes away our need to answer for our sins. His answer for us is grace. We are washed clean: fully and utterly clean and pure and secure, without blemish.

“But this, I know with all my heart, I know that it is finished.”

“It is finished.” - John 19:30

With those words, sin was broken forever. Our wounds were healed. Our wretchedness was awful, but is now no more. 

He has taken every stain and wiped them all clean with an awesome, cosmic Tide stain remover. We have been given a clean slate. As the heart ponders this impossible idea, the soul begins to quietly rejoice… not quite with jubilance as of yet. It is the rejoicing of one who has been dead to sins, gingerly rising, stretching cracked bones, shaking off the rust and dust… like one who has dwelt in dark caves for many years, who slowly crawls into the light and squints at the brilliance. 

And then, Joy. Boundless joy, only to be found for one owing an immeasurable debt, forgiven. Completely. Wholly. Unconditionally.

This is Amazing Grace. This is Unfailing Love.

not made with hands.

"For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens… so whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him." - 2 Corinthians 5:1 and 9

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Years ago, one of my favorite movies was the Civil War history drama “Gods and Generals.” One of the more impactful moments for me as a 13-14 year old was this scene, in which Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson reads 2 Corinthians 5 with his wife, his “esposita,” Mary Anna Jackson.

I remember feeling emotional, like a part of the soul I didn’t know existed yet was knocking at my heart, saying “hi! I exist!” Today, for some reason, that verse came back to my mind and is currently wrecking me. I now know why I felt that small tug years ago. 

Here’s a quick background to set the context for this clip, though. The 4-year bloodbath, the most mortal conflict ever fought on American soil, was on the verge of boiling over. Jackson, loyal to his home, Virginia and the South, was about to head out to war. Before leaving, he read this verse with his wife. I’m not sure this happened in real life, and it’s been quite a few years since I fostered my Civil War-era nerd-ssession, so I can’t confirm that I’ve read of this singular moment. But that is besides the point.

Check it out. War is bloody, messy, and offers no guarantees of survival, even for high-ranking officials such as Stonewall. For wives who had to stay behind like Anna Jackson, there was very little solace to be had in human wisdom. It was more likely than not that Anna knew her husband would not return the same way he had left, if ever at all. But this verse offered what little comfort could be had for the Jacksons. 

These bodies we live in are not forever. They are temporary, and can be destroyed. But thank the Lord above that we are not tied to this earthly abode. We toil, groan, fight, and claw while here on earth, but our hope and our sights are for a place we’ve known all our lives, yet have never really known – a place “not made with hands.” Sometimes, that part of our soul we hardly remember is there awakens and says, “Hi! I exist!” And we realize more and more each time that we’re designed for greater glory, and greater purpose, not fashioned by human designs but by the Divine.

And yet, until that day comes, we are entrusted with the here and now: The Present. That’s why they call “now” a “present.” You know, it’s a gift. We are gifted with an ability to feel, to experience joy and delight, and to love. And amidst pain, we are gifted with Hope.

We fight. We sit still in peace. We build where God has placed us, and move when he moves us. "So whether we are at home or away,we make it our aim to please him…"


And until the day when “what is mortal may be swallowed up with life,” we continue on. On and on and on.

heading home.

Ever driven with the windows down?

Ever been brushed by the wind’s soft-swaying crown?
The California sun is creeping lower, over the hills
we’re heading home, heading towards the evening still

my little friend, the bird.

I was walking on a trail the other day. It’s a normal-ish trail, except for the fact that it was made of pavement. But it did crawl through some of the hills in my town, which is aptly named Chino Hills. While it was warm and sunny out, it was also a rather blustery day. So as I walked through the hills on this blustery day, I came across a little bird.

This bird was having a heck of a time flying against the strong wind. I saw him hanging in the air, just staying put… like he was stuck. As he hung there, he began to flap his wings, but the winds kept pinning him back, until he finally had to come back down to the ground to regain some strength. Soon, he began to fly again… or attempt to. Again, he was stuck, hanging in the air in suspended animation. He flapped furiously, but seemed to be making no headway.

Finally, he began to dip and fly back up. Now, I’m not so sure about the mechanics or science of bird flight, but he began to make progress! Slowly but surely, dipping up and down again, he began to slice through the harrowing wind and fly further. 

He kept at it, but had to fly back down to the ground again – the wind appeared to be far too strong for him. But as I walked away from that little scene, I had little doubt in my mind that my new feathery friend would fly back up and try again, dancing about in the wind, making headway here, sinking back down there. Yes, I’d say it looked like a dance.

I couldn’t help but identify with the bird a little bit. Many times throughout my life, I’ve felt like I was flapping furiously against the wind, struggling towards the great lights of progress, only to get beat down again. I’m sure I’m not unique, either. But maybe the key for us, is that we try to be like my little friend the bird, and adapt to what the winds of life throw at us. We dip through little highs and little lows, sometimes needing to sink back down to the bottom of who we are before rising up and trying again. Perhaps true progress requires navigating the lows and the highs. Perhaps life is all about dancing in the wind.

calling.

I want to talk about a little thing called calling. There are several meanings for the word “calling.” For one, the word “calling” represents an event in which one person calls another person via a thing called the telephone.  For another, the act of “calling” involves yelling at a person to come over. Also, when someone finds their “calling” in life, they engage with it and move forward.

But the funny thing is, almost every meaning for the word “calling” involves a conversation. When you call someone, you talk to them. When you yell at someone, you’re also talking to them. When you look for your calling in life, you’re having an inward dialogue with yourself or with a higher being or power. Whatever.

The results of that conversation would naturally inform your next step. After your conversation with your friend, you hang up and go on with your life; whether the conversation went well or went badly decides how you go on with life. When you yell at someone, I suppose your next step would be to punch him in the face or give him a big hug. (I don’t say “her” because punching girls in the face is wrong, and giving girls hugs is un-Christian. Just kidding.) But the manner in which you call to that person will determine how your interaction with him goes. And, once you wrestle with God or your inner self, and decide to act on your calling, you move forward and do it.

All of that to say, I want to talk about a little thing called calling. The God-wrestling, inward dialogue kind of calling. I’m of the persuasion that God tells us to do things, and we decide whether to do these things or not. The people who normally do what God tells them to do change the world, and the ones who don’t, don’t.

But how do we know if what we hear is God or our inner thoughts? Are we having that inner dialogue with our heart or with our God? I suppose I don’t know the answer to this, which explains this rambling, poor excuse of a note thing.

——-

James Goll, a preacher who came and talked to me a couple weeks ago about stuff, just tweeted this 15 minutes ago:

"We can no longer afford to hear the urgent word of the Lord and walk away passively."

——-

James Goll looks like this:

——-

I like James Goll. He looks a little like Santa Clause. I half expected him to bring out a sack of presents and give his books away. But he didn’t. He just put his books on a table and signed autographs.

But he spoke something to me that made me think; without going into detail, he said a few things about God’s plan for my life that sounded very similar to the words another guy told me a few months back. James and that other guy don’t know each other. James and that other guy didn’t and probably don’t still really know me. But they said the same thing to me about God’s plan and calling in my life.

I don’t like confusion. It bugs me. I hate not knowing. But sometimes, God makes things clear in our lives in a way that makes all confusion unnecessary. The frequency with which he reveals things might be overwhelming, but probably shouldn’t be ignored. If your baby wakes you up in the middle of the night, he/she won’t stop crying until you address him/her. I’m not saying God is like your baby, but I suppose he was a baby once. But I also suppose God will keep telling you what to do until you do it; he keeps telling me what my calling is through James Goll and that other guy, and that one girl before him, and that other guy.

But I hate confusion. I hate it so much that I confuse myself all the time. Don’t confuse yourself. It’s bad.

So I guess I was supposed to talk about this little thing called calling. I don’t know what your calling is. I’m still figuring mine out.

So… I guess you should just pray and maybe God will send Santa to come and tell you what to do.

"But, Grace."

Luke 15:11-24.

He has restored everything. I feel as though I am a new creation… still fundamentally flawed, and yet no longer guilty of said flaws. Still sinful, but also washed clean, like a beautiful, glorious contradiction. A counterfeit soul, and yet genuinely made whole.

And it’s all because God said, “But, Grace.”

new Switchfoot song is awesome.

finally playing with the D600. she’s a beauty. #vscocam (at Anaheim)

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