Ultimate love


Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. This is something I’m learning all to well, and it’s not about me waiting but rather for some others. I’ve finally come to peace on the fact no matter how “at peace” and “reconciled” I am about something, I sometimes need everyone else to reach that point on their own.

I tend to regain trust and forgive people quickly, sometimes at a fault, and many times within God’s boundary. However, there are times where as much as I feel things need to move faster, it simply can’t be rushed, my convictions cannot be used to convince others to trust.

Rather my role is to pray, listen, and speak truth of God’s kingdom. Patient endurance is both ugly and beautiful. My heart longs for both reconciliation and healing and sometimes the healing piece takes time to grow so that reconciliation and love can thrive.

The ultimate love is free will without interference.

I hate small talk… and other random things.

This post isn’t prompted by anything, well I guess it kind of is, but nothing specific, and not b/c of any recent conversation.  One of the reasons I have not been posting as often, is the thought that I need to entertain, write something very interesting, or I have such a passionate thing to write but feel like no one really cares… all of this is just my stupid performance complex, and it doesn’t really matter.  I like to write, I like to talk about all kinds of things, but I don’t like small talk.  I don’t like conversations that have sentences ending with “um yeah”, or “anyways”, or “and so, yeah, how about them Mariners?”

Life means a lot to me, yet I don’t really talk about why so much these days… except with the “safe” people at Church, but so many of “them” are to busy doing something to actually go beyond small talk.  So I end up not being satisfied with many of my conversations… but I don’t blame anyone, a little bit of my self, but I know I’m only human so I don’t beat myself up too badly.  Well enough of this small talk, let’s move forward, ok?

Giving a little

I’m being reminded throughout my days that even the small acts of giving are huge for many people.  Giving a smile, or holding the door just a moment longer, sticking your hand in a closing (old) elevator door for someone far down the hall, can speak volumes to people.  For some reason though my “default” mode of “thinking ahead” often times hinders me from catching these moments to serve and give a piece of who my God.  When I am in the right mode though, and I am thinking beyond what I need to do next, it is an amazing thing to watch how listening to God on these things opens doors into the soul of another person.  My soul thrives when I give up myself, when I choose to burn a bit of my needs for those of another, my soul thrives to water others.

Life is about God and people, and His love in ourselves and in others is what I want to focus on.  Most days though I am simply “in default mode” – my prayer is for “default” (read as doing what I’ve always done and don’t really like to do, but do it anyway) to redefined to reflect a life of giving in the little areas.

Afraid of confrontation?

I do not like confrontation, and even though I have found it to be necessary, and many times the best and most healthy thing to do, I find myself wanting to avoid it at all costs.  Sometimes, I still physically have tremors in a confrontational situation.  However, after resolving the conflict I am always grateful that I got to the bottom of it and found resolve.  I have a fairly strong belief which I live by, and it’s the idea that leaving things unresolved creates holes between people, and causes even the little things to eventually build up into feelings that take a long time to untangle.

In the Church this is even more critical and I believe it is a necessity if we want healthy churches.  I could go on and quote a lot of scripture, and I know it’s there but I’m too tired to go look it all up right now, yet these things are more of a learned idea then a studied one.  We don’t have much of a choice in the Church to avoid confrontation, we should be living together reconciling differences, and sharpening each other.  When we notice something of another person, we should be able to confront them in love. This last sentence though comes with a lot of weight, our culture doesn’t cultivate loving confrontation very well, if at all.

Instead of lovingly correcting, encouraging, or pointing out flaws, our culture likes to put people down, discourage, and give “last chances”.  It isn’t that a “last chance” is wrong, or even that it isn’t necessary at times – it’s that within the context of the Church that people get treated like the rest of the world.  Jesus didn’t say to give people a last chance (that’s his job), he directed us to do the most we can do here on earth to encourage people towards him.

I could write a whole lot more, and I probably will.  My last thought for tonight – without honest, loving, graceful truth-filled confrontation the Church can’t function as a light.  We need people to be built up, lovingly guiding, encouraging, and confronting.  If people are over promising and under delivering in the Church, that isn’t light producing, and it requires adjustment, and many times it will be you who needs to help adjust another part in the body.

Voices of the past

I have been reading Don Miller’s “Blue like Jazz” for a week or so now, on my daily 1 hour commute each way.  The MAX can be quite the cultural experience, and for the most part I like it.  But combine a challenging book such as “Blue like jazz” and you might just end up frustrated.  You see, this book gets to the core of what Christianity really is, really “should” be, the spiritual piece, not the standard life-behavior rhetoric we usually hear.

But this triggers voices inside that are at odds with my origins.  First of all I’m suddenly convicted of not caring for people when I thought I did – my head does, I know what is right but if I don’t actually do it – then do I really believe it?  For example, there was a guy who got on the train at the same place as I, he was quite confused, a little slow, and kept bothering people on how to get to some place he had written on a piece of paper.  The whole time I heard God telling me to help him, possibly go with him the whole way to his destination… but the voice of fear said otherwise, and I kept reading the book – which threw me into a tornado of thoughts, and made me realize how much I fear rejection – even though I don’t let it emotionally bother me – but that’s probably because I don’t let it happen anymore.

None the less I am sure God put another person on the train – because moments later another guy got on and sat next to the confused dude, and within minutes he was describing to him in details how the Portland Transit system works, and where to get off to get to his destination (which apparently didn’t make sense, something like take the Yamhill bus to 10, and 10 to Yamhill… ummm).  Anyway – this is just a very small example of the thoughts going on from about 6am to 7am and 3:30 to 4:30 these days.

Being real

A while back I wrote about how much I loathe the fund raising process, the ups and downs, the stress, and everything else that goes along with something based on faith.  Still, I have a philosophy about my Christian walk that I believe is important, and it’s being real.  While it may have a whiny tone, it may be jaded at times, I find it freeing to express myself (without slandering, hurting, or otherwise giving bad connotations about others), my doubts, my concerns, my opinions, and in this I find blessing from God.  I find that my relationship is something based communication and love, not just “knowledge”, pat answers, and “should haves”.

I believe too that because of this, this creates a relationship with God that I feel is real.  I am always aware of his voice, because I’m always telling him things, and hearing back how (at times) rediculous I am in my rantings.  Yet, it’s always a fatherly kind of thing (and sometimes motherly, in fact).

So what’s the result of all this?  Amazing trust, and a God who never fails to build my faith in Him.  Over the past 24 hours we have recieved four donations to our trip (which we leave on Saturday for) totaling, get this, $1,950!  I know it’s because I keep putting my faith where it belongs, even though my mind doubts, God knows our weaknesses, and He knows our stregnths, and he works in both!  Amen?  YES.

Running away… not a choice.

I know we’ve all had those times in ministry, leadership, family, with friends, etc, that we just want to run away from.  You know, the relational crap that makes you sick to your stomach?  While I don’t have any relationships that are in dire straights, I do have some crucial conversations on my horizon.  

What is messing with me the most is that I’m sure I communicated some things one way, very specifically to prevent the mess that has happened, but what the people in question heard was exactly the opposite of what I wanted to communicate.  I even clarified the conversations… So this seems like a case of remembering what you want to hear… or something.

So I sit here, unable to sleep, because relationships are the most important things in life, and while no one hates me, I can see where relationship growth has been hindered.  It grieves me, and all I want to do is drive far, far, away, not because it would help anything, but maybe my mind would be put at ease…  maybe.

Titles in the Church

Maybe I’m over sensitive, maybe I’m jaded, but one of my biggest pet peeves in the Church is the usage of titles – “Pastor Joe”, “Sr. Pastor Bob”, etc…  It bugs me because it is such a cultural thing to “elevate” people.  By adding titles to positions in the Church I think we alienate the humanity of the person.  Scripture does not have an extensive use of these titles, most of the time the apostles and other New Testament Church folks used them to point out a gift in a person, not the position.  Today we seem to use these titles on par with Doctor and President.

Paul did make a point to differentiate the different offices of the Church, and he did call himself Apostle, yet within context it wasn’t as a title.  I see Paul’s use as more of a point of the authority Christ gave him, in which some were arguing against at the time.

I do believe it’s important to recognize a gift in a person, and I think it can be done in a less “elevated” way.  So when pastoral (and other) callings need to be communicated on paper and in voice, I think something like “Joe – Men’s pastor” suffices.  I cringe every time I hear someone call out “Hey Pastor John”…  Moreover, when a pastor refers to him/her self, then I really have to control my thoughts and love the Church.   I know that when the time comes and I am a pastor, I just want to just be called Travis, people will know without question who I am, not what I am.

Why Church?

Today’s Church is a whole lot of everything, but to many its a whole lot of nothing.  With all the differences between churches, and all the crap that goes on, it’s a wonder we have a Church at all.  When I say “Church” I mean the family of God that calls themselves Jesus followers.

I believe in critical thinking, processing information in a holistic way, such as with peers, teachers, elders, and youth, getting other people’s perspectives.  It doesn’t mean we have to be in agreement, and it doesn’t mean we have to seek approval or confirmation from others – it does mean we need to have an honest assessment of our own thinking and how it may affect others, and for us followers, how it affects the Church.  We are all responsible for the state of the Church, when we decide to disconnect, slander, or be apathetic, we choose to allow poor behaviors to harm others – this is not love, this is not the greatest of the commandments that Jesus speaks about.  In fact, in my view, this is the complete opposite.


I ask for your wisdom in living amongst your people, I get how to love you (or so I think I’m gaining in that area), yet I am grieved and disheartened by people, and to love on people who seem so bent on doing their own thing seems like a waste of time – and yet, I know I must continually act in Love and not on my own understanding.  So I ask for your heart, your words, and your love, for mine does not understand.  – In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Making my own religion…

I’ve come to a conclusion on something, I think a lot of Christians make up their own Christianity… it seems the basics of the Cross are always included, but that’s about where things end.  A lot of people don’t find value in meeting together anymore, they call “hanging” and “having a beer” as the fellowship… while I have really no problems with those activities, I don’t agree they are what the apostles did in Acts, or even most of the new testament.

There is a lot of value in meeting, talking, discussing with fellow believers.  While Church as we know has a lot of issues, it is what God has allowed to happen, therefore we need to both strive for new ways, and not forsake what God is doing.  We must allow ourselves to be challenged by others, and must love on others even when we are in disagreement with them.  Nowhere in scripture do we see permission to simply disconnect ourselves… yes we are given the choice, but we’re not really given permission, see the difference?

I could write a lot more, and I will.