Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Work Of God

"Then they asked him, 'What must we do to do the works God requires?' Jesus answered, 'The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.' So they asked him, 'What miraculous sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? Our forefathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written: 'He gave them bread from heaven to eat.' Jesus said to them, 'I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.'" - John 6: 28-33
The generations before us had a reputation for hard work. Our grandparents, for the most part, were known for their "pick yourself up by your boot straps" mentality and work ethic. Such is their reputation, that their generation was named "The Builder Generation." It's an attitude that permeates our American culture. When it comes to social justice, benevolence, or welfare, most USAmericans believe that you get what you earn. And we, like them, often times shift into "make it happen mode," knowing that God helps those who help themselves (that's not Scriptural thinking, though). I know that I find myself in that mindset often: If I am going to succeed or survive, I've got to do more and do better. I awoke this morning amazed at the fact that I have a house to live in, and took a certain amount of pride in the fact that I make my house payments and I am a provider. I actually earn enough money to provide a house, utilities, clothing, food, cars, etc. for my family. And it feels good. Then, during my quiet time, I came to this passage. Isn't it funny how often the Bible speaks to us in a relevant and timely fashion? In my morning of triumphant thinking, God brings His Word to my mind to remind me that I do not really provide for my family. It's Him who provides. The Jews of Jesus' day were guilty of similar thinking. They had given credited Moses for their provision instead of God. And now they were asking Jesus to provide for them like Moses so they would know He was from God. As always, Jesus' response is prolific: I am your provision. Initially, they ask Jesus what work they must be doing to be in good standing with God. He tells them that God's work is to believe in the one He has sent. So they tell Him, "If God sent you, provide for us." And Jesus reveals His nature to them as the provision they are seeking. That ought to be comforting, wouldn't you think? But, by the time this dialogue is over, Jesus has offended everyone and only His 12 remain. Does the thought that it's all up to Jesus offend you? Your gut reaction may be an emphatic "NO!" But think about it this way: do you really, truly, honestly trust Him and look to Him as your provision? If the answer to that is an emphatic "NO!" then maybe there's some work to be done; the work of believing in the One God sent to be your provision. In the midst of hard times, struggles, and turmoil, where do you look? Are you looking for a miracle? Are you trying to figure out how you could work harder to make things happen? Or do you look to the One who is your provision and trust Him to provide? Easy words to say, hard words to do. But necessary, none the less. Remember the words of Solomon, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Do not depend on your own understanding. In all your ways remember Him. Then He will make your paths smooth and straight." (Prov. 3:5-6 NIRV)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Speaking of Big Catfish

My friend, Madd Matt, sent me these pictures taken at Lake Conroe near Houston. This catfish is slightly smaller than the one that produced the skeleton in my last post! Yes, that's an inflated basketball in his mouth.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

One BIG Catfish

Here's a picture of Jeremiah, who is just over 4' tall along side a catfish skeleton that is just over 4' long! Pretty huge. I read about a catfish that was just over 4' long and it weighed over 150 lbs. The fisherman trying to catch it was drug out of the boat to his death! 150 lbs. is a big fish.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Much Needed Vacation

Why does driving make you so tired? We spent about 7 hours driving yesterday to see Caryn's parents and hang out with some of our friends at Mosaic Arlington. And, for some reason, sitting in a car for that amount of time wiped me out.
Caryn's parents (Jim and Peggy Kean) are the park attendants at a state camp site. It's a primitive camping only facility, so it's not very busy in the heat of August. The humidity here is stifling. I know we grew up here, but how did we ever breath with all the water in the air? The Kean's have a 40' fifth-wheel trailer that is very nice, and sits within 100 yards of Lake Lavon. It makes for a great view, but the humidity is off the chart. We just got back from playing in the huge "sand box" (which is really a net less sand volleyball court), and Pawpaw is hosing the kids off outside. I can hear them squealing outside.
It's good to get away from home on a non-business related trip. I traveled a lot the last 6 months, but almost all of it was for ministry. So a trip like this offers the chance to not think about what's waiting at home.
Tonight we will get to spend some time with fellows church planters/pastors from Mosaic Arlington. We'll swim, cook out, and just catch up on life. And then, tomorrow, we'll get some of the best catfish in the world as we trek back to Lubbock. We really ought to do this more. I realized yesterday that my kids are growing up. Hahahaha, they just walked in from "showering" outside. They are running through the trailer naked and just giggling. Anyway, I was looking at Jeremiah's face yesterday and he has changed in the last week. He's growing up and even looks different. Our time with them will be gone before we know it. I am amazed that I spend so much time thinking about work (which will always be there and always need to be done) and not enough time with family. I'm going to make it a goal to take a family trip once a quarter, and to keep our weekly Family night sacred. After all, it does no good to reach the world and lose your family! If you ever need a place to get away to, come see us in Lubbock! We'd love to see ya!Peace, Jase.

Monday, August 13, 2007

The Muppet Show

Have you ever seen The Muppet Show? There are these two character that sit in the balcony. Thier names are Statler and Mr. Waldorf. Well, imagine those two guys standing around my table at the coffee shop every morning and you'll have a great picture of my mornings...
Today's topic: that the word "expression" has it's roots in the same germanic word as "esspresso," meaning "in a hurry." Never mind the fact that "expression" is spelled with an "x" and "espresso" is spelled with an "s." As I try to convince them that the word "esspresso" is not spelled "eXpresso," Mr. Waldorf gets aggitated and begins to get louder as he tries to convince me that they are still the same. Statler eventually walks off to do "useless things," as he puts it. If only Fozzie Bear would show up and do a comedy routine to make this more bearable.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Post Mortem

As I discussed my love of writing with a friend this morning, we began to talk about how many authors and artists realize fame and influence following their death. We joked a little about that, not really knowing why, but landed on something else: our best work and effort is realized after our death, too. I understand this much more deeply than the author thing. When we die to ourselves, our hopes/dreams/plans for our future, and yield to Christ, we become something far greater than ourselves. And the only thing that can stand in our way is really us! The great part is that we don't have to physically die to watch what Christ does. If anything, just the contrary is true. We don't truly live until we die. People like Mother Theresa are shining examples of that. While authors like C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, or Dietrich Bonhoffer and artists like Buddy Holly and Keith Green achieve their greatest point of fame post mortem, the same is true of us, but we still get to be involved. When we lose our lives for Christ sake we find real life, and accomplish our greatest point of impact and influence. We are truly living sacrifices. Just a jiggy musing from a conversation this morning...

Saturday, August 04, 2007

They've done it again.

I must say that few bands impress me with their grasp of theology and culture. But Jars of Clay seems to be the exception. In "Love Song For A Savior" they show a deep understanding for the doctrine of Salvation. And, in their latest song, "Work," they capture the essence of the human condition. I am moved when I hear these lyrics:
I cannot trust these voices; I don't have a line of prospects that can give some kind of peace. There is nothing left to cling to that can bring me sweet release.
I have no fear of drowning.
It's the breathing that's taking all this work.
Do you know what I mean when I say, "I don't want to be alone"?
What I mean when I say, "I don't want to be alone"

On the nose! Life is hard. And no one wants to be alone.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007


Man, I've had NO time to blog, and now my blogging vein is clogged. I've got so much to get out there that I'm not sure where to begin. My summer traveling schedule has had me swamped, but now it's winding down. It seems like it was just yesterday when I thought, "Well, it's the end of May. Summer is coming." And now it's all but gone. So, all that to say there will be more coming...and very soon.