You Can’t Fly a Watermelon

Watermelon Rocket

You can’t fly a watermelon to the moon. Its rind is not resistant to exiting and entering the atmosphere. It has no fuselage. No fuel. No propulsion. It was not designed to fly to the moon. That’s not even rocket science!

Nothing works right unless it conforms to the realities of its intended trajectory, or path. This is shaped by both external circumstances and intended purpose. In simpler terms that means something won’t be very good at doing a thing it wasn’t meant to do. A rocket flies because engineers account for aerodynamics and gravity. It was designed to meet the specifications needed to navigate external circumstances in order to reach an intended purpose along a planned trajectory. That is rocket science!

God designed you with a purpose in mind. You were built to fulfill his mission in this present reality. Until your life begins to match that purpose—until your desires, thoughts, and actions pursue His purpose—you will be out of sync with his path for you. Until you begin to do the thing you were meant to do everything else will seem underwhelming, unfulfilling, and incomplete.

What’s your trajectory? What’s your course? That is the path he has laid before you. That’s the destiny he wants to rocket you toward.

Have you known all along and been to afraid to engage? Don’t be afraid. Stop. Turn around. Run toward that burning fire in your bones. God put it there. It’s rocket fuel. His Spirit is alive in you pushing you past the point of your fears into the providential place of his purpose and plan.

Have you been inadvertently bouncing around like a pinball? Tilt the table. Lean into God. Ask for his help. Seek him. Say it out loud. Get a little mad about it and tell him how you feel. He knows already. Reject the apathy and confusion that you may have had. Go to the God who has the unmatched perspective. If you’re stuck let God get you out. He will send you right back on track.

You can’t fly a watermelon to the moon, but you can enjoy the sweet refreshing fruit inside. You can enjoy it’s intended purpose, but only by asserting an external force to reach the delicious fruit inside.

God is the architect of physics. He is the engineer of the principles that actually go into real rocket science. He is also the designator of your design. He planned you. He purposed you. He willed you.

The Old Testament prophet Jeremiah was freaking out over the calamity and depravity the Jewish people were going through. Stuff they had brought on themselves through generations of neglecting their purpose. Here is what Jeremiah heard from God…

“I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen. When you come looking for me, you’ll find me. Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed.” GOD ’s Decree. ‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭29:10-13 ‭MSG‬‬

You get that? God decreed it. His plan for you comes from the same vocabulary as “let there be light” and “it is finished”.

God said it. God did it. His plan. His purpose. Your path.

Not Even A Little Bit

 
How much does God want to see you suffer? Not even a little bit.

He is for, beside, around, inside you. A lot. It’s his peace that carries you past the point of understanding the incomprehensible. His joy that flexes in the face of the frailty of our fear.

How much does God want to see you fail? Not even a little bit.

His Word is the way that lights up our every possible step. It shines into our every season. His Spirit is the still the small voice that pierces uncertainty and calms the raging of tumultuous emotion. 

How much does God want to see you quit? Not even a little bit.

His hope is our help. His Son is our sure thing. His favor our final word. His Church is our cheerleader. His mission is our motivation.

God wants every bit of who you are to love and lean into him. How much is he willing to leave to you for yourself? Not even a little bit.

WALKING WITH GRANDPA

  

Today my parents came to visit us. It was a really good day. We didn’t do anything too out of the ordinary but it still stands to serve as a day that will mark a special place in my memories.

One of the best moments of the day came after lunch. The fellas in the family; my oldest son Ethan, my brother Brian, my father, and myself all went for a stroll outside—in the woods. It was great. Perhaps the best part of the whole affair was the simplicity of it. We just went outside, for a walk, together.

At one point I looked up to see my dad, who has never been an overly affectionate man, holding my three-year-old son’s hand. It was touching. Why? Because it was a perfect picture of rare and raw masculinity at work.

My dad is a man’s man. He loves the outdoors. He would rather be outdoors than anywhere else you can imagine. He likes all of the kinds of things that the men of his generation enjoy about the outdoors, but mostly he just enjoys experiencing God’s creation.

Back to the walk in the woods…

This picture perfect masculine moment came when my dad, a hard working outdoorsman of the rarest kind, used his strength in a way that offered my son protection. It was the simplest of gestures. But it carried so much meaning for me. It was more than my dad holding my son’s hand.

It was a multigenerational extension of strength, identity, and initiation—all wrapped up in the protecting hand of a grandfather. Something that is becoming rare in our society today.

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We are no longer at a crossroads in our civilization. No, the crossroads has long since passed, and may indeed no longer even be visible from our rear view mirrors. We missed the turning point. Men stopped being men. Fathers stopped being fathers. A generation grew up with dad’s in their homes that were not dad’s in any other capacity that mattered—and having lived that way they have believed that fatherhood is optional. My sons’ world is a world where the numbers of kids who know their dads is fewer than it has ever been, and the number who know their grandpas is fewer still.

I will be there for my boys. As much as I can be. My dad has always been there for me—and will be a grandpa to my sons. But what will the continuing repercussions be for a society that finds itself lacking grandpas who want to hold their grandsons’ hands?

What will the implications be for boys, of all ages, who don’t have someone to model strength for them? To tell them who they are? And give them a loving push into manhood?

The answer is all around us. It’s in our prisons. It’s in our broken sense of honor, justice, and morality. It’s found in the depravity that permeates our culture like a dirty poisonous fog. It’s death.

Without the guiding embrace of a man, on some level, a boy cannot become a man—and a man cannot truly live.

God walked with Adam in the Garden. He showed him strength, purpose, and identity. He showed him fatherhood. And ever since the Fall we’ve been fighting to get it back.

Thanks for reading. Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

The 3rd Lament: God’s Great Faithfulness

When I think of Lamentations it’s not usually a go-to source for encouraging scripture. But Lamentations 3:19-24 paints an incredible word picture of the beauty of God’s love for us. I want to visit this wonderful passage over the next few days in hopes that it will encourage you as much as it has encouraged me.

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… there’s one other thing I remember, and remembering, I keep a grip on hope: GOD ’s loyal love couldn’t have run out, his merciful love couldn’t have dried up. They’re created new every morning. How great your faithfulness! I’m sticking with GOD (I say it over and over). He’s all I’ve got left. (‭Lamentations‬ ‭3‬:‭19-24‬ MSG Emphasis Added)

How great is the faithfulness of God? Have you ever considered that question? I mean, after all, what is faithfulness? It is the condition of being full of faith. An ongoing permeation of belief in something.

God has great faithfulness. God permeates faith.

After all it is by him that we believe in him. It is by his words that we have faith. It his because of his great limitless love that we are adopted in.

God’s faithfulness is not measured by moments, actions, or attempts. It is not defined by works, not even those wondrous things by which we come to him. God’s great faithfulness is measured only by him. That is to say, God is inseparable from his great faithfulness.

He will always believe. He will always be the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of the unseen. (See Hebrews 11:1) Or as one translation puts it, he is our confidence.

God’s great faithfulness is as reliable as he is. Always. He has great faith. Both in himself, and in his love for you. Yes, God’s great faithfulness means something for you. It means God always believes in the you that you could be. Because the blueprint for your potential rests in the grace of God alone.

God’s great faithfulness is pointed right at you.

The 3rd Lament: New Every Morning

When I think of Lamentations it’s not usually a go-to source for encouraging scripture. But Lamentations 3:19-24 paints an incredible word picture of the beauty of God’s love for us. I want to visit this wonderful passage over the next few days in hopes that it will encourage you as much as it has encouraged me.

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… there’s one other thing I remember, and remembering, I keep a grip on hope: GOD ’s loyal love couldn’t have run out, his merciful love couldn’t have dried up. They’re created new every morning. How great your faithfulness! I’m sticking with GOD (I say it over and over). He’s all I’ve got left. (‭Lamentations‬ ‭3‬:‭19-24‬ MSG Emphasis Added)

Every morning. That’s how often the prophet Jeremiah realized that God’s mercy rolls back around. God’s willingness to extend his love and kindness is in step with the dawn; and its always dawn somewhere.

Every morning the mercy of God is hand crafted. The creator of the periodic table preempts every element of grace you find yourself needing with the passing of each day. It’s custom. For you. For everyone. For every situation.

In the face of such terribly compassionate love and mercy, how can anyone think themselves unworthy of God’s affection. Forgiven much. Love much. (See Luke 7:36-50) That is the opportunity. That is the reality.

Custom grace. A love tailored for all humanity. That fits every individual. It’s not a bandaid for your burdens. His is a lifeline for your soul. A legendary leg up.

Maybe that’s exactly what you are needing right now? Failure has gotten old. The same tired patterns of behavior may have left you feeling a little more than broken. Well, the sun is always sweetest at dawn. Move out from the darkness of our own designs and embrace the caring nature of the Father.

Every day is a new day. A new dawn. A new chance to walk the path God has for you.

The 3rd Lament: Loyal Love

When I think of Lamentations it’s not usually a go-to source for encouraging scripture. But Lamentations 3:19-24 paints an incredible word picture of the beauty of God’s love for us. I want to visit this wonderful passage over the next few days in hopes that it will encourage you as much as it has encouraged me.

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… there’s one other thing I remember, and remembering, I keep a grip on hope: GOD ’s loyal love couldn’t have run out, his merciful love couldn’t have dried up. They’re created new every morning. How great your faithfulness! I’m sticking with GOD (I say it over and over). He’s all I’ve got left. (‭Lamentations‬ ‭3‬:‭19-24‬ MSG Emphasis Added)

Jeremiah went through a pretty horrible time. He is often called The Weeping Prophet. And his writings portray much of the anguish he must have experienced.

Like Jeremiah we ourselves face difficult things from time to time. The thing that gives me incredible hope in the love of God is the great opportunity we have in those hard moments. In difficulty we find a fight or flight scenario. We can run. Forget. Abandon. Or we can step up (or be lifted up) to be seized by the kind of certainty that can only come through a faith that has been tested and tried. Faith isn’t easy. I would submit to you that anyone saying total faith in God is easy has probably never had to live where the rubber meets the road.

This kind of fighting faith was Jeremiah’s every waking moment. Instead of throwing in the towel he went round for round. He stood toe to toe with all of the craziness happening around him. Stuff like death threats, starvation, imprisonment, and assassins. He never quit. He didn’t give up on God. Why? Why did he keep his grip on hope?

Because Jeremiah remembered the inexhaustible love of God.

Jeremiah knew that God’s love is loyal. Even when we quit God will never leave us or forsake us. (Read Dueteronomy 31:6)

Jeremiah knew that God’s love has an endless source, namely God himself. This Loyal Love is rooted in the very nature of the one who wields it. There is always more for those who go looking to find it.

Jeremiah knew that God’s love is merciful. The love of God is full of undeserved grace. That unending, unmerited, supply of affection comes to those who certainly do not deserve it. Yet it comes. God’s love is the merciful product of the God of mercy.

Jeremiah knew that God’s love couldn’t have dried up. It may have felt that way, looked that way, or seemed that way—but the prophet knew. Deep down in the Well of Living Water is an unquenchable source. The love that does not run dry is the love that defies all apparent circumstances.

Jeremiah knew this. I believe it kept him going through the most difficult times. You can be sure that God’s loyal and merciful love is in full supply for you. Today. Wherever you are. Whatever you’ve done. No matter your circumstance. Ask him for some and watch the floodgates open.

Hate the Sinner – Love the Sin

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If you are a professing Christian chances are pretty high that you have uttered the phrase “hate the sin, love the sinner” at one point or another. At the least you have probably heard it tossed around here and there.

The sentiment is fairly straightforward. It conveys the idea that you can entirely disagree with, and be at odds with someone’s behavior, while still caring deeply about them. The idea itself is fine. We really are at odds with a lot of dangerous behavioral stuff in this life. Hopefully we’re more at odds with the junk in our own closet rather than someone else’s. The problem with this idea isn’t that it’s untrue. It’s that we don’t actually mean it.

Generally whatever particular sin issue is driving the conversation usually dominates said conversation. This leaves little room for lovingly engaging people who might be neck deep in the issue at hand. God is amazingly loving, and forgiving, but how can you demonstrate that to someone if you are too busy telling them how much God hates what they’re doing. It’s like trying to give someone a brand new car by running them over with it. Or giving someone dying of thirst a drink by tossing them in a lake.

Christian, you are the face of God to this world. You are Jesus with skin on. Often people will respond to God in accordance to how you respond to them. Not always, but many times.

Also, you need God too. We all do. “Hate the sin, love the sinner” is a fine description of how God feels about the situation, but it’s a pretty crappy summation of Christian human reaction to sin.

God does hate sin. He hates all sin. He is completely good like that. God does love sinners. He loves all sinners. ALL OF US. He is completely good like that. But I have yet to meet the Christian who hates all sin equally and loves all sinners equally, and that certainly includes myself.

No, we pick sins that are obvious and we hammer them, leaving those trapped in that sin beaten and broken like some old rusty nail. Never mind that Jesus allowed himself to be beaten, battered, and nailed for them. All the while we ignore our pet sins and keep them in our most secret places. Even the villainous religious leaders from John chapter 8 had the good sense not to throw stones because of their failures. Would we? I have met a lot of people who went looking for God at some point in their life and wound up battered and bruised by the stones thrown their way.

I’ve spent over a decade reaching out to college students. I’ve had hundreds of conversations with non Christians. It is amazing how many people are turned away from Christianity, not by Jesus, but by the people who represent him. In their eyes we hate the sinner, but we love to talk about their sin.