Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Imagine, if you will, a vast array of hexagonal shaped tiles. Picture in your mind’s eye, a seemingly endless floor beneath your feet, covered in these six sided tiles, each one connected to six other tiles on each side, one after another. From your perspective, there seems to be no beginning and no end. A continuous union, interwoven and dependent on each other, yet each uniquely independent in it's own right.

Tiles are not something that we typically give much thought to, are they? Thoughts of them don't consumes our day and usually not something that will enter into common daily conversation. It is not until we look closely at the tile community that we realize that they actually illustrate something more significant than simply covering a bathroom floor. Let me explain what I mean.

Looking closely, we can clearly see that at any given time, an individual tile can be the center of six other tiles. Going further, we see that the same tile can be the center of twelve tiles, twenty four tiles and so on. But, in an infinite surrounding of tiles, that same individual tile could be the center of the entire tile community, and if intently focused upon, the only tile in view. The only one that exists.

If only a connecting tile, it matters not where it is placed in the endless connection of tiles, but its value is the same as the center tile. So much so that it too can also represent the center tile at any given time, along with the infinite others that surround it.

So, why am I rambling about bathroom tiles? Well, Romans 12:4 & 5 says, "Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others." After reading this, it occurred to me that the Church is somewhat like the group of endless tiles. Each member is connected to one another, and is vital in the existence of the tile community as a whole. One by one, six by six, twelve by twelve, and so on, we are each joined together in an infinite pattern of unity. None more important that the other, and all connected by a spiritual "grout" that holds us all together as one.

But at any given time, one person can stand as the center tile. As God looks down and views the endless array, He sees each of us as the center, and if focused on with intensity, as the only tile that exists. Six, twelve, twenty four, in a cosmic system of spiritual connection, it doesn’t matter who is joined to whom. From God’s view of this beautiful mosaic, we are all connected, and are all mysteriously the center. The only tile that exists.

Friday, July 16, 2010


One of the greatest dangers that we face in our journey with God is the self. How many times have we fallen on our knees in prayer, asking God to reveal Himself in a deeper, more real way, and all the while our focus is turned inward? It's easy for us to do this, isn't it? We are born into a culture that teaches us from day one that the self is the center of all that exists. And as we grow in our relationship and understanding of God, we find that we have already been conditioned to be obsessed with the self. The created being becomes more concerned with itself, rather than the creator.

As we walk through life, we find ourselves in a constant search for a feeling, emotion or experience in our relationship with God. We automatically want to place our faith and trust on that which is tangible. We long to cling to things we can see, smell, touch, taste, feel, etc. The most tangible thing in our existence is the self, and in an ironic quest, the self will always strangle off any hope we can manage to grasp hold of drawing closer to God.

Colossians 3:3-7 is one of the clearest passages of scripture concerning the self. In it we read that the follower of Christ should consider himself essentially dead. The self died, was buried and was raised with Christ. It's not an easy concept to grasp, but the self cannot exist in our relationship with God. The two are in constant conflict with one another. The self has no real existence, but none the less, continues to strive for significance, relevance and even superiority. It's a futile battle, but rages on each day of our lives.

So, how then should we see ourselves? Are we insignificant beings? Does our existence mean nothing? Does following Christ mean that we become mindless robots, walking the earth only to be controlled by a divine puppeteer? Absolutely not. We have each been created by God, possessing individual minds, with a vast array of gifts, talents and various aspects of personality that make us who we are. But the one thing we must consider, is this: the created being was not made to glorify in itself or be glorified by others. The created being was made for the sole purpose of glorifying God. And it is in that place of submission that we find our true identities, and the essence of what we seek from the self in the first place.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


It would be good for us to rest in the uncertainty of the supernatural; a realm that is beyond our comprehension at times, but strangely rises in us as welcoming and constant, and all the while, resting in the resounding truth that our God is a God of order, not disorder. A God of certainty, not confusion. (1 Corinthians 14:33)

It is true that we cannot see God, hold Him, touch Him, verbally dialogue with Him, or smell His sweet aroma. But in a divine paradox, He is the most tangible thing that our human souls can witness in this journey of life. Beyond time and space, God moves in a reality that almost seems to be non-existent, yet exists more clearly than ourselves. Closer than the air we breathe, He is within us, enveloping us and transcending us.

But in a feeble attempt, our natural tendency seems to want to put God into a box, that neatly fits into our realm of comprehension. Attempting to do this is like trying to capture the entire ocean in a cup, or counting every last grain of sand on the earth. To do so would be impossible, and yet we continue to live under the false impression that we can completely comprehend that which almost seems to have no comprehension.

To say all this is to also agree that despite the far reaching arms of the supernatural, we also have a very tangible hold on God's existence. As nature revolves around us and we witness the incredible beauty and miracles of creation, it cries out to us that God exists in a very real way. (Romans 1:20) The universe cries out to us, "Hear this! In the same manner that you cannot comprehend me, you cannot comprehend that which made me! But His existence is all the more real because you behold my existence!" (Psalm 19:1)

So I rest in the fact that although I cannot always comprehend God and how He works in this world or in my life, I am sure of His existence because the supernatural breaks through the realms of the natural, screams to me, grabs hold of me and pulls me under until I am drowning in truth. A paradox, yes; but still with no contradiction or defiance to intuition.

Monday, July 5, 2010


Do we really like choosing sides? Issues that cause us to choose sides are usually avoided these days, aren't they? At least that's what I've recently noticed. Another thing I've noticed is that discussion over issues that cause us to take a radical stance has the potential to cause division and anger. It becomes frustrating and a lot of times, people just want to blend in with the crowd, completely avoiding confrontation. In my own life, especially in ministry and the church, I've seen opposing views cause much pain and much less unity, leading me to wonder if it's worth encouraging discussion at all.

Especially when it comes to the issues that relate to today’s culture (controversial social, economical, political, etc.), our culture seems to be quickly evolving into a morally relative mind set. Issues that encourage a moral choice are becoming less popular because they cause us to put things into one of two categories. They cause us to look at culture from a black and white perspective, which causes us to make decisions. We don't like to make decisions, because that classifies us. And we don't like to be classified, because that puts us into a category. Isn't it easier to just blend into culture? Isn't it more difficult to stand out? To contrast? To be polarized?

I'll admit, I may not always take the "black and white" position on some issues of life. It's not always so easy to take a side, and sometimes it's seems better to just agree to disagree, doesn't it? Choosing points of unity rather than increasing the distance of our division seems to me to be a better route to take, especially when it comes to the Church. But one area that I've become convinced of is the reality of good and evil. Think about it. Things like murder, child abuse, theft and rape are not just questions of preference; they are in fact “evil”, and no amount of moral relativism changes that.

This morning I was reading through Psalm 34 and came across a verse that sums up my thoughts on all of this. Verse 14 tells us to, “Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.” Think about this for a second. This tells us two very specific things: first of all, there is good and evil, and we have a choice to make in terms of which path we take. It also tells us that by choosing good, we promote peace and unity in our lives.

I don’t think anyone would argue that we witness a lot of evil these days. We are living in difficult times and there is always the potential to allow fear to move in and make itself at home in our souls. It seems that every day we are bombarded by what seems like an endless onslaught of injustice, violence, hypocrisy, anger, etc. The list goes on.

But scripture paints us a picture that clearly illustrates that we have a choice to make. We can conform to culture and follow the "moral" relative path that seems to be growing wider and wider, or we can venture onto the increasingly narrow path and choose what is good. But let's pause for a second and ask ourselves a question: Is that decision so easy to make?

Listen to what it says in Isaiah 5:20 & 21, "Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; who substitute bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and clever in their own sight!" Remember what I said about moral relativism? Who sets the standard? Who decides what is right and what is wrong? Is there really such a thing as good and evil? Who are we to decide what is right for one person and what is wrong for another? That fact is, none of us have that authority or are capable of such decisions on our own. “He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Matthew 5:45) In reality, all we can do is follow our own moral compass that, if grounded in God’s truth, will enable us to follow what is right, true and good in our lives.