Thursday, December 29, 2011


WHAT A DAY!!! So the latest in my life would be to tell you all about what I have been up to over my term break. I haven't seen the Eiffel tower, or the Colosseum. I haven't eaten any bratwurst or had any gluhwein to drink. I have however been extremely busy. I have been working full time at White Stuff and making visits out of the chaplaincy office at Addenbrooks once a week. For those of you who do not know; I was offered the opportunity of a lifetime for my studies here in Cambridge! That being the opportunity to have some practical training out of a very large training hospital (Addenbrookes) in Cambridge. 
Every day that I work at Addenbrookes I am invited into the lives of several different people. Amazingly wonderful people! People who remind me of the richness in the gifts God gives. The people I visit all come with their own unique stories and backgrounds but all have one thing in common. They have all been taken out of the world and detained in the 'Addenbrookes bubble." If you haven't noticed already; I am quite fond of the greatest theologian, Dr.Seuss, who defines this bubble as "The waiting place." This place is a place where people have far too much time to contemplate life or perhaps lament life or even wonder when the next time someone is going to visit them. I am blessed to be that someone to visit them. 
It is a humbling experience to visit the sick and dying. It makes you realize at times that there are no words. I have found myself at a loss for words in the presence of a weeping elderly woman, in the company of a lonely old man, in a room filled with incubators filled with babies who made their entrance into the world far too early. Words are lost in the presence of young men and women who should be beginning to enjoy the fruits of their youth but instead are being injected with drugs to kill cancerous cells that have slowly been taking over their bodies. Words have no place in the company of a family who realizes that their loved one is going to be departing the world earlier than anyone had ever expected and they are not ready to say "goodbye." 
One thing I have noticed in my many visits with people is that while words may fail me, presence doesn't. There is one thing I feel I share with the people I visit and that is the need to feel the very real presence of someone. Christians and non-Christians alike all have a need to be connected. We all need to know that when all the words have been said, there will be someone there to just hold a hand, smile or even cry with us. I am learning that all the theology I have read and learned manifests itself in the silent physical presence of one who genuinely cares enough to sit through the uncomfortable silence that abandonment, loss of autonomy, sin, disease, decay, and death brings to the hospital bedside. What is more is that I get to do this. Who am I that I should be so blessed to be brought into the sacred space of these peoples grief and suffering? It is my prayer as I go and make visits on the many patients of Addenbrookes that God would allow my able body and limbs be used and taken advantage of for as long as I am given these gifts. I pray that I never take advantage of my own personal mobility, autonomy and ability to surround myself with others who love me. God has blessed me so very much, not only with the above mentioned gifts, but also with the gift of his son who emptied himself much like those whom I visit, but he did it for all those I visit and for me and for you. One day victory for the patients of Addenbrookes, for myself and all under the effects of sin will ring forth and we will no longer know the sorrow in loneliness, grief or pain. 

God bless, and may you have a Happy New Year! 

Philippians 2:1-11

 1 Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, 2 fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. 3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. 5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

How the Grinch Skipped Christmas

In years past, about this time, I would record a voicemail message where I would read a bit of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” by Dr. Seuss. I am no longer in possession of a phone number for people to call, so in lieu of my voicemail message I have tried my own hand at creating my own Seussical ditty. Enjoy:
 This time of year is the most wonderful time of the year. Just ask Andy Williams, he sings for all to hear. Except for some, because I’m sorry to say, that for some it can be a dreadful season of sorts. It can come without ribbons, without tags, without packages, boxes or bags. These things are not needed for the whole Christmas season, for Christmas of course means a little bit more, Christmas comes without heeding, and sometimes without warning. But even so, it comes just the same, except when it doesn’t I’m sorry to say, for some the meaning of Christmas is lacking the love and warmth in their heart. For some it will come with lives torn apart, separated by miles, or the death of a loved one, the distance of love makes this season a sad one. Even still Christmas will come just the same, it will come. Whether you be Bixbee, or Bray, or Mordichi Allen, Von Ali, or Shay. The yule log will burn without presents, or gifts, without tinsel, or  mistletoe wreaths. It will come without puddings. It will come without pies. It will come without stockings, or Rare Who-Roast Beast. More sadly than most is the ones that you love, who make this whole season the most wonderful of most. It comes without mum, it comes without dad, it comes with sisters, and brothers, and lads. It makes me quite sad to think of this season, a whole celebration without any nieces. Without nephews, or cousins or even Andy Williams. So draw near to the ones that you hold oh so dear. Just remember for some the whole Christmas season finds them far too far away. They cannot hold, or even share in yuletide joy, for miles and time find them waiting and wishing for another day far far away from the day that is today (December 25th).
Wow! I sure hope that didn’t bum you out! This is however the Christmas I face this year. It’s okay! I promise, don’t feel sorry for me, I can do that for myself well enough. The real point I wanted to make was not to make a pity party but to share a different kind of gift I have received this year. A gift of solitude. It seems like an odd thing to consider a gift this time of year when we draw the ones we love close, but it is a gift just the same. You may be wondering how this is, and I will explain. 
This summer I was excited about the idea of ‘Skipping Christmas’  (another reference to a book about Christmas written by John Grisham). I am now discovering that you can’t really skip Christmas. Christmas is quite a commercialized holiday here in England. In fact the absence of a Thanksgiving holiday allows Europe to begin marketing for the Christmas season much earlier than Americans do (Imagine that!). Santa, bows, lights, music, all the beautiful things that I thought made Christmas feel warm and fuzzy are still here. 
I must admit that Dr.Seuss and I have a lot in common, like him, I really do not care for Christmas. I think it has something to do with being childlike and not being able to recreate that innocence found in Christmas from when you were young, but that is another blog. I however do love what Christmas points to. Easter! I tried to gain a new perspective of Christmas in viewing it from the perspective of not being able to get to the empty tomb unless you fill the manger (kind of a cool image). 
This year I have discovered another facet to this understanding of Christmas. First I have discovered “Skipping Christmas” doesn’t work. Second I have discovered that presence (not presents) is so powerful for what we know and understand Christmas to be. This season we celebrate Emmanuel (GOD WITH US!) Not only does God take on human flesh and come to us (LSB-332 Savior of the Nations Come expresses this wonder so beautifully) but he has placed his image upon all of humanity. Christ surely comes to us in and through those we love. 
I recently watched a movie about C.S. Lewis entitled “Shadowlands” in which C.S. states “the pain now is part of the happiness then” This is how my solitude this Christmas is such a gift. How would I know the joy in the presence of my family even with all the stress of Christmas, without the pain of being separated from them. More importantly how would I know the gift of ‘God With Us” without knowing the need of his presence in the manger. Point is; even in my so called “solitude” this season I am not alone. God is with me. He came robed in knuckles, knees, and toes to show his infinite love that goes beyond the American borders and follows me to England and is ever with me, you, and all who find themselves without family this holiday season. I hope and pray that your Christmas is merry and bright, but more importantly, I hope you find the presence of God the greatest gift we could ever be given. 
Matthew 1:23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” 
Joshua 1:9  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

How does he do that!!!

If you have been following my post you know that my first post since being in England was of a newsletter article my father wrote for our church. The article explained my day of departure for England coupled with the arrival of my new niece and now god-daughter. With that said I will draw attention to that finely orchestrated event later in this blog.
Since arriving in England I have made many friends at my place of dwelling (Luther Hall). There are several countries represented in our home; India, Germany, Mexico, Yugoslav, Taiwan, Croatia, and (The state that deserves to be it's own country) NEBRASKA!!!! Included in these many diverse cultures represented is Madagascar, of which my friend Jean is a native. I would like to tell you about him and how he has had an influence upon me and now hopefully for you too. Jean has been my source of Joy and encouragement for the past few weeks. Jean has been studying at Westfield for almost a year now. He came from his home country with his wife last spring to complete his studies. Jean and his wife live on minimal means, yet they trust in the Lord to provide and approach life with a joyful heart and a warm smile in all they do.
This fall Jean had to travel to England without his wife due to laws that the UK implemented just this year making it impossible for his wife to be present while he studies. This is not uncommon for most African men that study to be in the ministry, and in some cases even with American seminary students. We all leave behind something when we leave to take up our cross and follow. For Jean however he leaves behind not only his wife but his pregnant wife. Jean and his wife are expecting their first baby girl come end of January or beginning of February.
As stated earlier Jean and his wife live on minimal means. This means that Jean will not be able to travel home for the birth of his first born. Sometimes we approach these sort of stories with a certain sense of callousness and we try to rationalize our way out of becoming attached to such stories; at least I know I do this. As I said earlier though Jean has been a source of joy and encouragement for me which changes the way I approach this story. Midst his struggles and circumstances he wakes every morning, gives me the most genuinely warm smile and asks me how I am doing. I could go on and on about my new found friend but I will just say that in his poor estate God has made him exceedingly rich. I see a God so powerfully at work in Jean that midst a pagan society His goodness and mercy is being proclaimed in a way that cannot be silenced.
Yesterday Jean greeted me in a new way. He came down with a smile bigger than before, threw his arms open and said "Give me a hug!" I was apprehensive and gave him a funny look and said; "Why?" to which he responded "Jus do it. Give me a hug!" so I got up from the breakfast table and gave him a hug, and he told me; "today, I find out, I am father to a little girl" (meaning they just found out the sex of their unborn child, not that his child had been born). I rejoiced with him knowing something he didn't. Jean is under the assumption that because he cannot afford to go home that he will not be present for the birth of his firstborn. Jean; even with this knowledge praises the giver of all good things, and bursts with joy at the mention of being a father.
What Jean doesn't know is a few weeks ago the house decided that we would quietly raise money unknown to Jean in order that he might be able to go home and see his daughter's first breath. As I stated earlier, when the suggestion arose I was very much on the outside of the whole plan. I thought perhaps I can contribute a little but not much, besides it might not even be feasible for him to go home. A week went by where I had time to contemplate, and talk with Jean. He told me that he didn't want to talk about the life of his child because it only made him want to cry because he wasn't going to get to be there for the birth. I recalled my own feelings of June (my niece) and I began to empathize on some small level with Jean. I then began to think; "what a spoiled brat I am, seeing all of Europe cannot compare to seeing the miracle of life come into this world; let alone life that comes from your own genetic pool."
Somehow; I'm not sure how but at some point I ended up on the front lines of helping raise money between Westfield house, Luther hall, and Resurrection Church (all interconnected). I am now in charge of secretly collecting money for the endeavor of sending Jean home. We are two days into this process and I received contributions that brought tears to my eyes. God works through his people to show love to others in powerful ways. My housemates are contributing to this cause without reward or thank-you. Some have contributed in large sums, and some have given widows mites; the point is they are giving! I couldn't help but cry when I discovered a substantial gift for the cause. God made it possible for me to see my niece before leaving for a year, now I am able to see Him work in the same way for someone else. Sometimes we see God best from behind the scenes, and He is so good!

(It has been a few weeks since I wrote this blog and Jean now knows that he is going to be going home to see his firstborn child. Luther Hall raised more than enough money for the cause. God has been using some fine people here to make his love known.)

Psalm 139:13-16
13 For You formed my inward parts;
         You covered me in my mother’s womb.
 14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;[b]
         Marvelous are Your works, 
         And that my soul knows very well.
 15 My frame was not hidden from You,
         When I was made in secret, 
         And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
 16 Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
         And in Your book they all were written, 
         The days fashioned for me, 
         When as yet there were none of them. 

Friday, October 21, 2011

It has been about a month

Well, as I look at the date on my calendar I can say it has been a month since I left my home in Nebraska. I feel very much at home here now. I have been muddling through my studies and learning how to live in a house full of boys. I had a job interview this morning at a place called "White Stuff." You can look it up on-line, it is quite a quaint little shop. The interview went well, and now I wait. It reminds me of the profound children's book, 'Oh The Places You Will Go.' Dr.Seuss really knew stuff. There is a reason that beloved book has sold so many copies and it isn't just because people keep graduating from schools, although that doesn't hurt. It is because it is true:

"You can get so confused that you’ll start in to race down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space, headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.
The Waiting Place…for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come, or a plane to go or the mail to come, or the rain to go or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow or waiting around for a Yes or No or waiting for their hair to grow. Everyone is just waiting."

While I am waiting to hear back about my potential job, that is not the only thing I find myself waiting on. Waiting for inspiration on the exegetical paper, waiting for my classes to pick up, waiting to see what travel plans for break will look like, waiting for the internet to start working again, waiting for the street sign to change, waiting for everyone back home to wake up at 2:00 in the afternoon here. I'm just waiting! These are however minor things to be waiting on. I consider myself to be a patient person but recently I feel as though I am waiting on God. If there is anything that makes me impatient it is waiting on God. It seems that sometimes we pray and we wonder very much if God got the message, much like sending an e-mail. I wish there was a confirmation code sent back whenever we pray, something to confirm that you have been heard. Sort of a "now serving..." notice. Just so you know where you fall in the line-up.

Thankfully there is such a confirmation code or rather a reassurance given from God that he sits in heaven with an ear bent down to hear our cries. God does hear, he promises, just as he heard his son's cries at the tomb of Lazarus, he hears all his children's cries: "Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. And I know that You always hear Me...."(John 11:41-42) The very one who calls the dead to life, and created the foundations of the earth bends down to hear our pathetic cries for mercy. What is more is our God does not label those cries as pathetic, he wants to hear our voice and our cries for mercy. He even calls us to call upon him! 

Psalm 50:15
Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.”

While at times it feels as though we may wait longer than we like, it is a comfort to know a God who knows us, and hears us when we call out to him. Thanks be to God!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Travels to Cambridge

Butterfly Article
October 2011
“The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. [8] The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.” Psalm 121:7-8 (ESV)  

Yesterday, September 21, was a day that I will not forget, unless I lose my ability to remember.  
Yesterday, our Katie left for Westfield House, Cambridge, England, to continue her Deaconess studies.  She’ll be gone until June, after that she goes on a year internship (which she’ll get paid for, and then she’s done. Hallelujah!)  That day has been on the calendar for a long time, for both Katie, and her mother and I, for different reasons, but that is for another article.
Also yesterday, our granddaughter, June Rose decided to be on time.  Her brothers were both a week late.  They take after their father.  
Those two events collided with magnificent force.  First, Katie was travelling with a young man, a fellow student from the Seminary, who resides in Kearney, so we thought it would be hospitable to host the young man and his family for lunch (originally to include my son, his wife and their, then, two boys).  At 7:30 AM the call came.  “Mom and dad, we’re going in, can you watch the kids?”  My wife never passes that opportunity up.  So, we had two little boys, our daughter, a young man and his family for lunch, and then, shortly after noon, little June made her appearance.
Now here where it gets interesting; keep in mind that Katie is going to be gone nine months, and this would be the only time for her to see her new niece.  So, we had lunch, graciously dismissed our guests, who were very understanding, and then loaded up Frankie and Lucius, with Aunt Katie, and headed for Methodist Women’s Hospital.  The long and short of the story is that Katie got to hold her niece, and got on the plane, and I am assuming, is now in England.  What a day.
What came to mind for me were the psalmist’s words in Psalm 121, “The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. [8] The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.” Psalm 121:7-8 (ESV)  
Welcome June Rose.  God bless you, and keep you, most especially in His baptismal grace. And God bless and keep you Miss Katie, from this time forth, and forevermore.
That was my day, just thought I’d share it.
Pastor Ziegler

June Rose 1 hour old and 1 hour before I needed to be at the airport. I too will not forget this day. God is so good! Thank you all so much for your prayers!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Here we go!!!

In ONE week I will board a plane and tentatively not return to the states for nine months. I leave behind a sister-in-law who will deliver my very first niece, (due the day I leave for the UK) a dear friend who is due in October who has requested that I be god mother to her unborn child. I also leave behind dear friends who will be getting married who I had hoped to do their wedding cake, and many other life situations that I will now observe from afar. This is not to imply that I will not return and reenter into the lives of my family and friends and pick up on all that I missed out on. This is not a call for pity in a choice that I made to go and study in England. This also is not to imply that my adventures in England will not be an exciting adventure. This is only to say that for me I realize the choice I made and the impact it will have. This is to say that I need your help. It may seem strange but I can't do this alone! I need your encouragement and prayers as I can tell you for sure I will have my doubts and my insecurities packed in with all the other stuff accompanying me on this journey. In many ways I feel as though I take you with me. I am so thankful for the few who are following me in my blogging, you support me in my travels by doing so. Thank you and please pray for myself and all my family and friends. Pray for safe travels, peace of mind and God's presence to be made known as I learn to lean more upon my rock and shepherd and less upon my own reason and understanding.

Ps. 27:1 The Lord is my light and my salvation, of whom shall I fear? The Lord is a stronghold of my life, of whom shall I be afraid?

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Pall and The Aisle

Warning: This blog has little to do with England
I’m not sure what warrants a blog but I feel compelled, so here is yet another blog post:
“Ground of Being”
Her grip is firm, she clings to the cross
She fades from life with each passing day
How does she connect to the world around her? 
When all else fades 
When her grip is no longer firm 
How will she cling to an inanimate object reflecting her faith in a life there after?
Consuming the elements she takes the body of her Lord.
Making her one with sinners and saints
United through death, united in him
She makes herself at home, knowing this flesh too will fail
Assured in the end one thing remains; the God of the past, the God of her future and the God who sits with her as muscles weaken, and her body decays
Disease takes over uninvited, undeserved, unwanted, unearned
Sin and sickness envelope her reminding her of despair in this world and in this flesh that encases her
God whispers words of wholeness, perfection and victory, until on the last day the trumpet shall sound loud across the barren land. 
Christ has come in victors might, bringing joy, peace, and light
Rest to all, peace and pardon, Christ the triumphant, God her King.
This somewhat poetic/artistic writing I put together this past fall after church one Sunday. I remember the event that spurred the writing of this little bit. I saw a woman in a wheel chair in the back of the church. A woman I had seen several Sundays before now unrecognizable from the woman I knew. Somehow without recognizing her, I knew who she was. Uncertain of what exactly it was that allowed me to recognize her, perhaps divine intervention, (something I as a Lutheran should not talk about). I extended my hand and held it in what I like to refer to as the “pastoral hand shake,” this is where you shake a persons hand with both of your hands (Deaconesses are allowed to do this). We smiled at each other, and I remember feeling quiet uncomfortable being caught off guard by her declining state and the progression of her disease. She couldn’t speak much, if at all and I didn’t know what to say. I remember weeping when I saw the pastors giving her communion. It wasn’t that long ago that I felt uncomfortable being in a new school and wishing just to see a familiar face to ease the discomfort. This woman now fading from life was that familiar face for me. She gave me a big smile every day as I passed her in the halls of a foreign school. This woman who I saw not only at my high school but also at church never failed to ask me how I was doing when she saw me. Now I stood before her asking her how she was doing and knowing full well the state of her condition. 
Today we celebrated the Christian life Christ gave her here on earth and now in heaven. I had contemplated taking Kleenex to the funeral but I vetoed that since I am going to be a strong church worker and I have seen death and will see death many times in my life. I must confess, I didn’t even make it to the first note of the first hymn and I had water works out my eyes and nose. I wanted to shout the victorious words “He is risen indeed! Alleluia!” in response to the pastor’s “He is risen” but my throat closed up on me and my chin began to shake. HE IS RISEN! So why cry? Why the tears? I kept asking myself this and as I watched the coffin with the pall over it work it’s way down the aisle I lost it even further. I wanted to be strong, but I was just a big mess using my hands and arms to do the job of a Kleenex. How am I going to be a deaconess if I can’t keep it together?! How am I going to be a deaconess if I become uncomfortable in the presence of sin stricken bodies? 
I thought I would be able to be strong and keep it together but I was so wrong. At the first proclamation of a joy I crumbled apart, shaking, unable to calm myself. It wasn’t that I was sad that this woman had died, even though the evidence of sin in death is sad. It was more so the overwhelming reality of God’s grace and God’s riches poured out upon his people. The last time this woman’s flesh would make it down the aisle of her home church would be to proclaim Christ’s victory over her sinful flesh. How many times had she, mobile or immobile, gone down the aisle to receive God’s gifts? Now she rests in the triumphant victory over flesh. Now she no longer is enslaved to the decaying body that sin had taken it’s toll on. Now she is freely able to sing “Holy Holy Holy Lord! Lord God of Power and Might heaven and earth are full of your glory! Hosanna! Hosanna! Hosanna in the highest! Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. Hosanna! Hosanna! Hosanna in the highest!” Same as the saints above and below sing to our victorious King. Christ IS RISEN! He is Risen indeed! To this I cling. To me this is made known when a husband takes his final walk down the aisle behind the coffin of his wife knowing that this is the end of an earthly journey but not the ending. To me this is made known when the white garment that is seen throughout a Christians journey is finally seen over their body at rest, clothed in Christ’s righteousness. I cry because I can’t wait for the day. I cry because I want all to know the hope that lies there in. I cry because I am overwhelmed by the grace God gives and the battle that he has won for me; for all! What an overwhelming truth that is conveyed in the funeral pall and the aisle! We walk the aisle as in a journey or a battle until our final breath where we will be carried down the aisle, righteous before God through his son. 
Job 19:25-27
 For I know that my Redeemer lives,
      And He shall stand at last on the earth;
 And after my skin is destroyed, this I know,
      That in my flesh I shall see God,
 Whom I shall see for myself,
      And my eyes shall behold, and not another.
      How my heart yearns within me!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Skype me!

Some of you may have already received a friend request from me on Skype, if you have not then we need to hook that up. I am trying to set up my contact list for those who would like to chat with me while I am in England. Shoot me a message with your Skype name if you are interested in video chat while I am in England.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Lesser Things

I'm not refined on proper blogging etiquette but I thought I would try my hand at a blog just because I can. 
Jars of Clay not so recently put out a cd that is entitled "Who We Are Instead." I was introduced to this cd by a dear friend at a point in my life where the music convicted me and I must say it still does. Music is woven into the fiber of my being. I may not be able to play an instrument, I can barely read music, and I only sing somewhat respectably, I do however still resonate and communicate with music. Music is what gets me through a difficult day, it is what lifts me up and drives me forward, it is what communicates the very expressions of my heart that I myself cannot find the words to do so. 
Today, while I was on a run I listened to the earlier mentioned cd. There was a time where the most played songs on my i-pod were from this cd and that time was not so far away; last year to be exact. As the melody played its way into my run I began to think of the time I was first introduced to the cd. What is it that is communicated so deeply or effectively in the songs of this cd that it worked its way up into my most played list last year, but not this year? For those of you who do not know this cd, it is a religious cd communicating as the title suggests who we are in Christ and what that means for believers. I recall walking on Plum Creek trail on a brisk autumn morning working in a good walk before my day started with chapel. Without theological training I understood that in those walks I was participating in a larger reality, a bigger truth, something greater than myself. I was in worship and not the kind of worship where one gets in touch with the inner self and better understands who they are in relationship to God. No, I was being told who I was in relationship to Christ and what he did and is doing for me. 
Recently I have noticed a shift from who I was last year to who I have shifted into this year. This year I run, last year I walked. This year I have one year of theological education under my belt and I am moving on to finish my studies up in England, last year I studied psychology and lived in a small apartment in Nebraska with the only goal of getting through the next assignment. Last year I knew who I was, this year I have had my doubts. As my run came to a close the song "Lesser Things" by Jars of Clay started to play. I thought about how this year I am healthier and smarter from my education and running but I have sacrificed the greatest gift God gives; an identity found only in him. I was convicted of the fact that I have been trying to define for myself who I am and not who Christ makes me to be. I wanted to be a different me; not the me God had made me to be. I wanted to chase after the god of lesser things. What freedom can we find when the reality of God's claim on the believers life and the identity there offered is realized and accepted? 
I believe that this is what the ultimate continual struggle of man is; an identity crisis. Doubting the adoption received at baptism, substituting the riches God offers for lesser things, and striving to build our own castles of identity upon sandy soil. God offers however a rock to build upon, to attach ourselves to and to anchor to and cling to. However as enemies of God we do not always willingly and openly receive what he gives. Our hearts are restless. We will always want perfection while running after that which only offers mediocre results. I hope that as I continue to blog a shift can be seen in the way I communicate and a change in the way I identify myself to the world. With that I leave you with a scripture verse that says more in less words than I in this blog.

Acts 17:27-29

New King James Version (NKJV)
27 so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; 28 for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’ 29 Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man’s devising.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Let's get started

Really I can't think of anything that could be so interesting that people would care to read. However there are those few people who care for me enough to read rantings that I publish even with poor grammar and literary style. For those few people in my life who matter enough to care, I give you a blog to follow me as I travel down the various roads of life. This blog is just for you!
If you are following this blog you should already know that I am embarking upon quite the adventure this school year. Cambridge here I come! As the associate head (also from England) of my program said; "England will never be the same when you get there." I only hope I can offer something worth following and worth taking the time to read. For now I shall leave all this at that, and a Bible verse to think on:

Matthew 28:9-10 And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, “Rejoice!” So they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell My brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see Me.”