Friday, March 30, 2012

A Little Madness in March

We started a new Bible study by Angela Thomas on Wednesday mornings. It's titled Beautiful Offering and it's a study on the Sermon on the Mount. As Johnny says, "the greatest sermon ever preached." Such a preacher kinda thing to say. It's my first study by Angela Thomas but I selected it because I so love (I know, I'm trying not to over-use the word love but I think I really do love it) the Gospel of Matthew. Johnny and I spent an entire school year in it and it gets me every time. Anyway, in the study today I came upon the following question: "Which words best describe your relationship with God right now?" There were 5 choices. I really wanted to check the last one:

running toward a God life, desperate to know Him more

But, to be completely honest, I checked the one above it:

walking toward God, sometimes distracted

I then went back and put a check by both and wrote in the margin that I vacillate. It's true, I do.  I told the following story to my Life Group this past Sunday:

Johnny and I have been trying to eat better and we're generally just trying to have a more healthy lifestyle. Most days, I do it. For lunch I have a wrap and fruit instead of a sandwich and chips. It's delicious and I like it. But, last Saturday we went to a movie and Johnny said he was getting a snack. I walked right up to the concession stand and said to the teenage guy, "I'm so excited about this." He thought it might be because we were seeing Hunger Games, the hot movie out last weekend. We weren't even seeing that movie but, instead, October Baby. So, I said (even though I know he didn't care), "No, the popcorn." What does that say about me that I was excited about popcorn? But, here's the point I was making in our class - some days I get up and I'm living that all-in follower of Christ kind of life. I'm denying self and taking up the cross daily... (Luke 9:23) and some days I'm just eating popcorn.

It's those popcorn eating days that keep me from checking the box in front of running toward a God life, desperate to know Him more.

So many things can creep in, jump in, be thrown in, that distract me from the running toward God life. Sometimes it's important things like family issues or even health matters. Sometimes it's meaningless stuff like March Madness. I made my brackets for both the men's and women's tournaments. I've followed each tournament. And, btw, I'm 100% on the Final Four on my bracket for the women even though I only got 50% for the men. (The teams I got right are Kentucky & Ohio St; I missed Louisville & Kansas. Yes, I did pick Ohio St to beat Syracuse. But, Baylor beat Kansas in the Big 12 tournament so I wasn't expecting them to beat NC)

Jessica and I are headed to Denver to watch the NCAA Women's Final Four games on Sunday and Tuesday. I'm so excited that our Baylor Lady Bears will be there. I'll be cheering them on to, hopefully, a national championship. But more than I want the Bears to win it all, I want to be desperate and passionate about my pursuit of God. It's a daily choice, a daily discipline.

Some days I'm walking and eating popcorn. I wanna be running. I like the way that feels. It really is the winning life.

Serving the King,


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

I'm Jealous

Happy Spring Break to you! My 2 oldest have gone to Colorado to snowboard but I'm here, home in Mansfield. The best part of that is what arrived in the mail on Monday. It was White Flag, the cd from Passion 2012. I've been listening to it frequently since Monday - it really is so amazing. I have it playing on my iTunes on my Mac right now. Really, in the last 6 months or so I've purchased 3 of the best cds ever - 10,000 Reasons Matt Redman, Give Us Rest David Crowder Band, and, of course, White Flag.  

The big thing going on right now is that Johnny and I have started a new Life Group at our church and we are teaching from the book of Philippians. I like it so much. The book of Philippians, that is. I like how you can almost read Paul's intensity, how passionate he was for the Gospel and for the people in the churches he founded and pastored. In 2 Corinthians 11:2 he wrote, "For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy." Paul so wanted his readers to get the Gospel, to be sold out to it, to be committed to Christ. Paul warned them so they wouldn't be led astray.

Last Sunday Johnny and I were in the first few verses in the book of Philippians. In that chapter, Paul wrote, "And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment." Christ's love is central - His love for us, in us and to the world through us. I told our class about how I have prayed for my children - because they have been in church their entire lives and, because of their dad's vocation, have been taken there just about every time the doors are open - to not just have head knowledge about God but for it to be heart-knowledge. Like Paul, I want my kids to really get it. I don't want them to just know the right answers but I want them to really know - the experiential knowledge of really knowing and discerning. Is that repetitive? Yeah, I think it is, but I'm jealous for them with a godly jealousy.

As I am writing this the song that started playing on my iTunes is "One Thing Remains." Part of the lyrics are as follows, "Your love never fails, it never gives up, it never runs out on me." That's what I'm jealous for my kids to know. To know with such a depth of knowledge that they know they can count on that whatever happens, where ever they go.

And that's what I want for the folks in our Life Group to know, too. I don't know if I will always adequately relate it but, just like the passion Paul had for his original readers, my passion is for our people to know and believe and, as a result, to live out the all-consuming, never failing, sustaining, empowering love of God. I'm jealous for them to that end.

Serving the King,


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Their Belief in the Value of All Human Life

I think I've started every post lately with a statement about the inactivity on this blog. All the nonsense that could be typed here is now limited to 140 characters and takes place on twitter. Let me warn you right now, before you read one more sentence - this is not a light and frivolous post about the random happenings in the Dickerson house. This contains my repeated theme and constant source of contemplation - the sanctity of human life.

Unlike my partner-for-life, I do like to be up on all things current and cultural concerns. I twitter and facebook and follow, friend, and like all sorts of random organizations and people. Much to the displeasure of one of Jessica's professors (if he knew me or my situation) I do get my news from twitter. So, this morning, when Jacob brought up what was trending on twitter today and I didn't know I so wanted him to fill me in. Did you see #stopkony trending? Do you know who Kony is? Jacob's known for years. He learned about it in school 2 or 3 years ago.  In case you don't know, Kony a terrible, horrible person who leads an organization in Uganda that kidnaps, terrorizes, and forces horrible things on children. Thousands and thousands, tens of thousands, of children. They (the kids) have been known as the Invisible Children.

There's a video on youtube about the situation called "Kony 2012." There's a movement building to actually stop kony in the year 2012. I think he should be stopped. I think he should be hunted down and no stone should be left unturned until he's found. I think those that have followed him and helped him should be stopped as well. I think children have the right to be children and to be taken care of and to be protected.  In the video, the filmmaker talks about the film being "an experiment" to save the invisible children of Uganda. The movement, he says, is being funded by "an army of young people" who "put their money toward their belief in the value of all human life."

Amen. I believe in that. I was there at Passion 2012 when we heard about 27 millions slaves - more slaves on the planet now than any time in human history. I gave to support the effort to abolish slavery in my children's lifetime. Everyone has the right to be free. Freedom...

But, the words of the filmmaker haunt me, "their belief in the value of all human life." When does human life become valuable? When a heart is beating? When fingers and toes are formed? When there's movement? When? What defines when the life of an infant begins - life that demands rights, the chance to live and to take breath, the God-given breath of life?

I've been hearing about the link between our current President and infanticide. I want to know facts and not just what news show hosts or anchors have to say. You won't find the mainstream media types talking about it but it's definitely out there thanks to Newt Gingrich. Apparently, as far as I can tell, there was an attempt made at writing a law protecting "born-alive infants" back when Obama was chair of the Health and Human Services committee in the state of Illinois. It never made it to the floor to be voted on - couldn't get past that pesky HHS committee. Those "born-alive infants" included babies born alive from failed abortions. Imagine, a law to protect babies born alive was deemed necessary by someone.

"Their belief in the value of all human life..."

Back to the filmmaker, toward the beginning of his video to Stop Kony in 2012, he shows a clip of the birth of his son. He says, "every single person...because he's here, he matters." Unless, perhaps, he happens to be born alive by mistake. Because of a failed attempt to prematurely end his life.

I'd like to start my own experiment. The one that calls not only for freedom but for the chance to live. For everyone. My everyone definition just happens to start with conception. I know, it's not a popular belief. It's just the one that moves me. That makes my heart beat faster and compels me to give my time to make a difference. Even if only for one, the breath of life for one.

Serving the King, the Creator of life,