Walking in Freedom

Miscellaneous musings along the way

Enter Into Their Pain December 21, 2012

Just finished a book about leadership and followership by John Perkins and Shane Claiborne titled “Follow Me to Freedom.”  The biggest idea that stood out to me was that a good leader leads out of the pain he feels for the people who are following him (or her).  When your passion turns into a person- their character and experiences, and especially Teen Angstthey’re pain- then you are at a place to lead.

 

Who better to look to on this than Jesus?

“He was despised and rejectedby men;
a man of sorrows, and acquainted withgrief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.”

-Isaiah 53:3-5 (ESV)

Our Savior knows pain.  He chose to enter into a world permeated with pain.  He not only bore the pain of rejection, but “he has borne our griefs.”  Before you were born, before youjesus-on-the-cross even knew your pain, he bore it- ultimately, on the cross where “he was pierced for our transgressions.”  In a strange twist, this climactic act of cruelty is the very event that opens the door to peace and healing for people- the people who were Christ’s passion.

 

I haven’t processed all of this yet- it’s all very fresh in my mind and heart.  But, God is starting to let me know that I can’t expect to lead or have influence in the lives of people until I know and share their pain.  yikes!  That sounds messy and quite possibly dangerous!  It’s not enough to be passionate about a cause or issue, although that’s a great start.  God has called us to love Him and love people.  His passion was for people, and ours should be as well.  Our life is to be about relationship.  And a huge part of relationships, as shown in the work of Christ, is deciding how we will deal with and respond to pain.

 

This Christmas, I’ll be reflecting on the God who chose to send his son into a world where he would experience great pain- for our sake!  May Christ who chose to expose himself to real brokenness and hurt be the guiding example in my life, especially as I interact with my students!  A leader worth following knows and shares the pain of the people!

 

Here’s a link to a Chris Tomlin song called “Mighty is the Power of the Cross” that includes some of the Scripture above 🙂 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x8sw-g6P544

 

Emmanuel… still January 16, 2012

Filed under: Faith — songofjoy88 @ 6:53 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

So, here’s the “more reflective post about Christmas” that I alluded to a couple posts ago.

 

You may be thinking, Christmas?!?!  That was forever ago!  You’ve gotta wait another 300 or so days before you start talking about it again… Well, this just can’t wait that long.

 

It’s pretty crazy how the hype about Christmas crescendos the month or two before the big day.  And then all of a sudden it’s Boxing Day (aka Dec. 26th) and it’s like a subito piano when it comes to the dynamics of the holiday hype.  It’s not such a bad thing that the mad rush of shopping and gift giving is over, but I quickly forget the message of Christmas along with all the materialism.  Maybe you do too?

 

In part through a great song by Casting Crowns titled God Is With Us, God was stressing to me this Christmas that it should be a reminder that God is near.  And not just for one day, but every day of the year.  But don’t take my word for it, let’s check out some passages in His Word:

In Matthew 1, an angel appears to Joseph letting him know that Mary is pregnant by the Holy Spirit.  This fulfilled prophecy in Isaiah 7:14 where it says: “Therefore the Lord himself will give you sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.”  (Immanuel means God with us.)  Jesus’ birth was a celebration of God coming to dwell with man.  We sense John’s excitement when he writes, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” (John 1:14)

 

This was great cause to celebrate for the people in those days, but Jesus no longer walks on this earth.  So, is he still with us?  Can we still sing songs giving God the name Emmanuel?  The final words of the gospel of Matthew address this reassuringly.  Just after Jesus commissions his disciples to go forth and make disciples, he finishes with these words: “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  (Matthew 28:20 b)  And how will he be with us?

 

When Jesus is having a heartfelt conversation with his disciples, he assures them that “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” (John 14:18)  And later, Jesus explains that “Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you… But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth.” (John 16:7b, 13a)

 

What a great truth to hold on to: God is with us!  By now, maybe you have already forgotten the presents you gave and received this past Christmas, but may you never forget His presence!  Emmanuel! 🙂

 

Merry Christmas! December 29, 2011

Filed under: Colorado,Just for fun — songofjoy88 @ 1:05 pm
Tags: , ,

Merry Christmas (a few days late!) from the beautiful state of Colorado!  Some heavy snow last week ensured that we would have a white Christmas. 🙂

 

My time out here has been great!!!  I guess you can’t expect less when you’re in a great place and spending time with great people (and eating great food!).  While out here, I attended a Christmas Eve service with about 20 relatives, celebrated Christmas with close to 30 relatives (who live as far as LA, Canada and Pennsylvania), celebrated my sister’s upcoming wedding with realtives, walked through Garden of the Gods, hiked through the snow and “bowled” snowballs along the way, helped finish a 1000 piece puzzle in a day, stayed up late watching and making fun of “Toddlers in Tiaras” with my cousin… and my trip isn’t even over yet! 🙂

 

On Christmas, we watched an awesome modern day version of the Christmas story.  Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

A Social Network Christmas

 

Also, I thought this was pretty great:

Stay tuned for a more reflective post about Christmas! 🙂

 

The Christmas Tree December 22, 2011

Filed under: Faith,Just for fun — songofjoy88 @ 1:52 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

The phrase that replays

It stays in your head for days-

“Jesus is the reason for the season.”

It’s thrown around like a cliché

But at the end of the day

We may implore

“What is Christmas without Christ?”

But lemme ask you something more-

What is Christ without the cross?

That’s why I’m thankful God’s the boss.

 

See, Christmas is just the beginning of the story

Jesus lived a perfect life and even more he

Gave up his life to bring God glory.

This was all God’s plan even before he

Sent His son down to our human territory,

Purposed to die on a tree- that’s grace- not by works, but for free.

 

So the wood that matters isn’t just the manger

If we forget about the cross, this is the danger:

We don’t remember why he came-

But would my life be the same,

If my Savior didn’t take the blame?

 

So as we celebrate this season,

Remember Jesus is the reason.

Cuz Christmas can become all about gift after gift

So we gotta be discerning- we gotta sift

Through- to find the most important one

Look past the three gifts the magi gave the Son.

God came down- the gift of Jesus’ birth.

Such humility to walk upon the earth.

Perfect life sacrificed- now that’s a gift of priceless worth!