Archive for December, 2014

the annunciation

December 18, 2014 6 comments

In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to the Galilean village of Nazareth to a virgin engaged to be married to a man descended from David. His name was Joseph, and the virgin’s name, Mary. Upon entering, Gabriel greeted her. “Good morning! You’re beautiful with God’s beauty. Beautiful inside and out! God be with you.”

 She was thoroughly shaken, wondering what was behind a greeting like that. But the angel assured her, “Mary, you have nothing to fear. God has a surprise for you: You will become pregnant and give birth to a son and call his name Jesus. He will be great, be called ‘Son of the Highest.’ The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David; He will rule Jacob’s house forever—no end, ever, to his kingdom.”

 Mary said to the angel, “But how? I’ve never slept with a man.”

 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, the power of the Highest hover over you; Therefore, the child you bring to birth will be called Holy, Son of God” (Luke 1:26-35, MSG).

Surely we’re missing something here? Luke told us everything, and then he told us nothing. How can it be that the one who birthed THE supernatural of all that is supernatural, did so without proper credentials and qualifications? There is nothing in the text that specifies Mary’s morality, credibility, or preparedness. For heaven’s sake! No ministry school of any kind? No training for supernatural ministry—nothing even close to it? How can this be? Honestly, that would not fly in most of our spiritual cultures. We place a high premium on our confidence in being “qualified” to host supernatural activity. Right? See our degrees and certificates? Bring it, God! We’re ready and able!

annunciation1I wonder which has more weight—Was Mary chosen to be the bearer of the Greatest Gift ever given because she was void of certitudes, or was it because she was more than willing to just say “yes” and stay out of the way of what God ultimately wanted to do? Yeah, it’s probably both.

I’ve thought more about the Baptizer and that young virgin a great deal this Advent season. Pivotal players, to say the least. John (thunder in the desert) knew he was only a voice and somehow he had already embraced his own descent. While most of us clamor for our ascent, John fulfilled his job and reached his destiny by embracing descent. What? When is the last time you encountered that spirit in a religious system? When is the last time you encountered that spirit anywhere?

Then, you have a 13-year-old girl, who stands before the angel of God, and only mumbles her agreement. “Ok. Whatever you think is good with me.” Although she was confused (who wouldn’t be), she demanded nothing. She didn’t shout, she didn’t solicit clarity, nor did she withdraw because she didn’t have enough data. Can you imagine her social complications in that religious environment? Talk about a cluster of problems. Wow!

We’re trained to manage our spiritual lives. That is what we do. It’s so opposite of these people who were helping transition this world to grace, which again is totally supernatural.  It almost too much to consider.

I love this quote by Richard Rohr:

“We tend to manage life more than just live in it. We are all over-stimulated and drowning in options. We are trained to be managers, to organize life, to make things happen. That is what built our culture. It is not all bad, but if you transfer that to the spiritual life, it is pure heresy. It is wrong. It doesn’t work. It is not gospel. Whatever God gives us is always experienced as totally unearned grace and never a salary, a reward or a merit badge of any sort. In fact, if you do experience it that way, it is not from God and will not expand your heart, mind or soul.”

Maybe we need to rethink our approach in trying to facilitate the supernatural, kingdom, or plain ole spiritual health. Maybe we should reconsider our management of God? Who loves and cares for the people on this planet more than He does? Should we wonder more about what He is doing before we crank out another dose of, “I got the answers… so, what’s your question?”


Categories: Uncategorized

a word for the engaged

December 2, 2014 16 comments

Patti and I are wrapping up the interviews for our new book project – SPOUSE:  Until death do us part.  I can’t even begin to prepare you for the stories in this book that will pretty much liquify your heart.  It has been one of the most amazing seasons that we’ve been privileged to participate in.  There is something for everyone in these stories if you’re willing to absorb the wisdom.  We are pretty stoked about the possibilities.


Jordan & Danielle 2009

Last week, I interviewed Jordan. He lost his first wife in 2011 because of a rare form of cancer.  She was only 28 years old when she died. They had been married for 10 months when she was first diagnosed, and then died 10 months later. The overall story is hard to wrap your mind and heart around. The interview was brutally honest and beautiful, yet it had nightmarish elements. One specific question I asked Jordan centered on his advice for newly engaged couples.  His words are indeed a WORD!  Holy mackerel!  Check out the seasoned thoughts of a guy who has been to hell and back:

“Take all your ideas of marriage that you gathered from romantic comedies, put them in a vita-blender, let it run for 10 minutes, and then throw them all away.  Sprinkle them like the ashes of a burnt corpse. Your spouse will absolutely disappoint you if that is your expectation. Then you’re going to have to make a decision on whether or not you’re going to remain true to the promise of love that you made.”

DAAAMMMNNN!  Yup, he nailed it.  Honey, if you’re supporting a new rock that defines how much that guy really loves you, you might want to pay attention to what Jordan shared.  Dude, if you’re about to purchase that rock… it applies to you too.  I’m telling you, this is spot on!  It’s not going to look like what you think, but it will only be what you two are willing to make it.

This project is full of this kind of insight about the gritty cost of real love and staying at the table no matter what.  I can’t wait for you to meet these people.  They’re really something.


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