A Hope-Inspired Existence

The early church was a raucous bunch!

Stumbling, bumbling, and fumbling their way into this new-way-to-be-human the Gospel so clearly proclaimed.

You don’t have to read too far into the New Testament to pick up on the sense of dynamic power at work within and among them!

They (the earliest followers) are not a second-guessing kind of people.

They aren’t a “Hey, I wonder-if-this-is-true” study-group kind of people.

We don’t find them huddled up in bible-study groups complaining about how bad the world is.

Nope.

None of that.

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Ministry, MLK, and Making Time to Write

Wow!

It’s been nearly a month since I’ve blogged.

I’ve been locked in a busy season of life and ministry.  For many involved in full-time (or even part-time and volunteer) ministry, the Advent Season is full and vibrant.  Busy but rewarding.

I find that, when ministry demands are high, moments for writing are few and far between.

That’s when I have to create space to write.

Time to Write Doesn’t Just Happen

This morning, I looked at my calendar and was stunned to find that it’s already January 10th.  We are ten days into the New Year, and I’ve not written (at least not for this blog) one single word of reflection or encouragement.

So, I am stopping everything else to take time to write.

If you love writing, as I do, then I’d encourage you not to wait until you have time to write before you write.  No, make time to write.  Even in a post-literate society (one that don’t read :^)), we need our authors.  We need to hear from those who help us put words to what we feel, sense, and perceive but are unable to articulate.

So today, on this day that’s already quite full, I am going to pause and reflect on the hope Martin Luther King once had of our world.  It seems an appropriate topic since we will celebrate his life in just over a week.

His hope, though not his only hope (after all, we cannot narrow any one man or woman’s entire life down to one idea, no matter how grand) was that Love would win the day.

He did, in fact, repeatedly propose that love is the only hope any of us have.

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Imagining Heaven: The Day Without Night

Year in and year out, I have one post that gets more attention than all the other ones.   It’s one a wrote nearly three years ago.  The piece is a vision of heaven, the hereafter, and the moments in between.  It’s designed to give hope to those who go to rest in the arm of the Lord.

This year, as in the previous two, this will be my last post of the year.  I pray it will bring you hope!

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Everyone is Drunk on Something!

We are all drunk on something.  We are all drunk on someone.  For nearly two decades of my young life, I was drunk on pornography; addicted to the high of false love and half esteem.  The power of porn’s addictive magnet has decreased significantly.  Though porn’s magnetic force is and may always be present, its power is wonderfully diminished; it’s grip surprisingly broken.  Porn’s gravitational pull has been disrupted in the most unlikely of ways.

Others caught in porn’s addictive grip (or any addictive grip for that matter) have asked me, ‘how has this happened?’  Or, ‘How have you broken free of porn’s grip?’ My answer is surprising:

Porn’s gravitational pull was disrupted as I began to surrender my distorted desire the joy God takes in me -and the hope He has for my God given desire.  Surrendering to Him and His great unending love and joy shapes my desires and aligns them with His presence.   The outcome of desire surrendered is delight! Delight discovered as God became my end!

I have been asked by those who struggle with distorted desires, “Biz, how do I suppress this relentless desire?” To which I reply, “you’re asking the wrong question.”  Let’s face it: most of us were raised in a “your desire is bad so run from it” (i.e. suppress it) climate.

We tried that.

Guess what we discovered?  Our desires chase us down.  They haunt is in the dark of night and wake us from our slumber. They fill our moments of being alone with dark whispers and deep yearnings.  Morphing these moments of being alone into terminal seasons of loneliness.  Such seasons distort desire and end in despair.

Suppression of desire fails because it is the “stop by starvation” approach.  Suppression fundamentally and falsely assumes that desire starved will die.  Rather, the opposite happens. Desire starved becomes ravenous: she becomes fierce, ever and always seeking delight!  Ravenous desire is desire detached from beauty.  It consumes anything, anyone, anywhere to sate his hunger (this explains both the internal soul brokenness we feel as well as the external relational brokenness we experience). Author Christopher West paints a vivid picture of this common reality:

When we’re starved for beauty, something dangerous happens. As with an unfed dog, our hunger can become ravenous. If, on the one hand, we scorn truth without beauty, on the other hand, we porn beauty without truth. . . When this is our approach to feeding eros, we’re missing the divine banquet we’re created for and settling for “fast food.”¹

Desire seeks delight and is easy to distort.  We are all drunk on something. Rather than suppression of all desire, I have discovered another more robust alternative: Surrender My Distorted Desire.

At the core of my being is an ever firing furnace of desire always in need of fuel.  Though birthed in clay, we were crafted in a fiery kiln of holy desire: warmly molded by the creator Himself and shaped into this being human reality we call life.

I wonder if the fulfillment of all desire is the beauty of and truth toward which the Incarnation points? This week’s Gospel reading, Luke 1,  gives a hint of such beauty as the virgin Mary receives God’s word – His presence – as her end.

Luke 1:38, And Mary said, “Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

Mary surrenders.  As she surrenders she conceives.  Where old desire lived, new desire is birthed: not in suppression, but from surrender.

We are all drunk on something.  We are all drunk on someone.  The question seems to be, “On what or who are my desires drunk?” Consider the following (some noble, some ignoble) desire shaping and consuming ends:

  • Work?
  • Myself?
  • Esteem?
  • Spouse?
  • Children?
  • Christmas?
  • Porn?
  • Fitness?

Few are drunk on God.  As Christ comes, our desires stir and yearn for more of Him and less of self. When He comes desires leap – as did the baby in Miriam’s womb, when Mary approached – for joy.  They long for hope fulfilled.

Perhaps Advent – our time of waiting – could become a season in which distorted desire is surrendered as new desire is birthed.  I long to be drunk on God.  As God becomes my End, my desire become aligned with His presence; His delight becomes my home

Happy Advent!

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¹West, Christopher. Fill These Hearts: God, Sex, and the Universal Longing. New York: Image, 2012. Print.