a letter to the wanderer. 

Hey there, wanderer.  
I call you a wanderer because that something that binds my heart with yours. We both know what it’s like to walk away from all that is holy and come back with empty arms and hearts. It’s something that breaks my heart over yours. I wish that you would look up from the mire where you are living, remember that your name is beloved, and come home.
When I think about you, my friend, I think about Peter. When I look at myself, I find him in my own heart, too.
Peter was one of Jesus’ disciples. Leading up to the crucifixion of Jesus, Peter told the Lord that he would never deny Him. Jesus was under trial for blaspheming God — by people that were blaspheming in His earthly face. Jesus knew the truth in Peter’s heart and told him that before a rooster crowed two times, Peter would deny Jesus three specific times.

True to Jesus’ word, that is exactly what happened. Two separate groups of people asked Peter if he was associated with this Jesus on this night, and three times Peter said that he did not even know of the man these people were questioning him for. Peter denied the man he had seen transfigured in glory, seen feed the thousands, he heard the joyful shouts of blind men healed.
Instead of again denying Him, again let us praise the name of Jesus.

As recorded in Mark 14:72, “And immediately the rooster crowed a second time. And Peter remembered how Jesus had said to him, “Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.” And he [Peter] broke down and wept.”
After Peter denied Christ, He died and there was despair for three whole days. Three days of Peter grieving his sin and wondering if he could ever be redeemed. Three days of righteous weariness.

Let us break down and weep over the areas in our lives that don’t shout the name of Jesus.

When Jesus had risen, he first appeared to Mary Magdalene, then a small group of disciples, and soon follows: seven disciples including Peter. Jesus approaches them on the beach. The seven disciples were fishing, and similar to when Jesus first called them, He instructs them on where to drop their nets in order to catch more fish. When they followed His instruction, the net was so heavy they could not hold up the abundance on their own. One of the seven exclaimed, “It is the Lord!” (See John 21:7)

Days led under our own leadership become void. Walking with Him? Our nets and our hearts break from not being able to hold all this abundance.
When Peter realized it was the Lord, he grabbed his tunic and jumped in the sea swimming straight towards Jesus.

No matter where you have been lately, you don’t have to be afraid to jump all in to your Redeemer.

Today, I urge you, I urge all of us – jump off the boat and swim towards your Redeemer. We’ve got to be okay with looking ridiculous if we are to make our lives about this ridiculous love. 

He is waiting on the shore. He will sit with us over a handmade feast. His message to us is clear: Wanderer, if you love Me, if you truly love Me back? Show me. Feed my sheep and keep them close to Me. Point them to the love we have. Walk with me. We’ll start here, and I won’t be leaving you alone in the gory and glorious fight.
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I would just love it if you dropped by to read the rest of this post HERE @ The Rising!

a slice of nostalgia

Thank-you, Jesus, for nights that bring peace in a homesick season and a memory that comes home like an old friend even after many years.

Here’s to holy and slow moving stories, unforgettable summer nights, and beating the odds.

One of my favorite summer memories was laying on a wooden trailer in the middle of the woods. I was at summer camp and was working on staff for four weeks. It was a weekend, most of the staff had gone home to their families, and everyone that remained was more than a night’s car ride from home. It was a group of people that would have most likely never connected in normal settings, but we were a group of people sewn together with sweaty camp memories and by the God we all believed in. I remember it most, I think, because in spite of our differences in age, backgrounds, and personality, I was able to relax. In the cool of night as I was cautious of getting a splinter as I leaned back on the wood. Side by side, next to these friends, old and new. It was one of the only times I was able to have fun and relax and not worry about being somewhere on time that whole summer. That night I received my first unique nickname by a guy that I’d always looked up to and was grateful to call a friend. Even though the chaos kept going within my heart and life in the hours following, I have still never forgotten that night.

Real life is full of countless slow stories. Some move fast, but most of them are slow. Real, hard, holy life doesn’t make an exciting movie, it leaves a lasting legacy. So, here, right now as I look back on my short life thus far, I’m glad my life couldn’t be a movie – because it’s packed with moments that would make an audience yawn. It’s the most pivotal memories and heart melters that will never be captured best on a screen. Like laughing and laying next to friends in the middle of the woods and looking up at the vast sky where the shooting stars seem to be swallowed up by the tips of the trees.

daring to remember

I don’t know if you’ve ever had the chance to hear landing gear slam into the runway, announcing your arrival back into your home country. It provokes the realization of an ending of a trip that seemed to have aged you three years in two weeks. It welcomes you back into your own little corner of the world, whether you like it or not.

Then, as it always is, the days pass all too quickly. Two months later you find yourself looking at a picture from that foreign land that made you feels things you didn’t know were possible and you internally ask yourself, “Did I really fly across the world? Are those friends really mine? Are these lessons more than just writing on a page? Did I actually live these stories?”

Just because something changes you, does not mean that you’ll stay grateful for it. You have to fight for remembrance and for thankfulness.

I believe that this is why God tells his people to make memorials, and then why Jesus has instructed us to partake of communion. Build something great, if it’s only for the reason that you’ll remember the process. If it’s only for the reason that you won’t forget the people that humbled your egotistical heart. You’ll remember what brought you into festivities after 40 years of grumbling. You’ll remember what tore the curtain and brought us into hope of a better country. You’ll remember why you don’t like to spend frivolous money like you did before. You’ll remember why you speak gentler. You’ll remember why you look up at airplanes with both nostalgia and anticipation. You’ll remember that there’s a bigger world out there past your driveway and it is beautiful.

Memorials.

So you can remember, and give back all the glory to the only One it belongs to.

It’s God way of giving you this guaranteed AHA moment when you look back at each step of the way: “Oh look. He’s brought me there and back again, protected me when I wasn’t watching, and changed me on the road.”

Don’t forget the things that have made you who you are. Don’t dismiss the thoughts that make you fearlessly smile into the face of your future. Even if digging into the memories is painful. Even if everyone else thinks you’re romanticizing something that happens everyday. Even if listening to that soundtrack or looking at one more picture makes you want to scream because you hate how much you love those moments that fleeted before you had the chance to realize the monstrosity of their impact.

Write it down anyway.

Hang that picture up anyway.

Build your memorials anyway.

Taste and see the goodness of a God who loves you, and is molding you into someone who He alone can make look more and more like His Son everyday.

Dare to remember.

Because who knows what He’ll do when you surrender your state-of-togetherness, in exchange for a more broken, homesick, compassionate heart.