In the past year for my family and I, a lot of things have fallen
apart. The washer, drier, air conditioner, roof, the car, the truck,
espresso machine, the building flooded, and even my bones. There was
even one Sunday before church I asked God, “What else can break?” As I
was tying my shoes, my shoelace broke. I couldn’t help but laugh. The
hardest things that fell apart have been some close relationships,
which have taken serious devotion to prayer, forgiveness, and letting
See, these things falling apart have not been a curse, but rather a
blessing. About a year ago, Kasity and I said a prayer, asking of God,
“If it is not real, if it is not important, let it fall apart. Let us
see the world as you see it.” And so it began. Ultimately, the washer
and dryer don’t matter. The building doesn’t matter, nor do the car or
truck. My back will heal. Even the lost relationships will find God
continuing to work in all lives involved toward the furthering of His
kingdom, even if we aren’t participating side by side.
See, we Christians are called to simplicity, yet live in a complicated
web of demands, bills, things that break, and things we want or feel
we can’t live without. We are called to deny our body and feed our
Spirit, but our body has its way of demanding constant attention,
especially when it is uncomfortable. We are called to relationships,
even though some present a problem of sacrificing righteousness for
While on vacation in Massachusetts, we happened upon Walden Pond,
where Henry David Thoreau spent two years, two months, and two days
living in relative solitude. A plaque near where his small cabin was
quotes his explanation of the retreat, “I went to the woods because I
wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of
life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach and not, when
I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”
We have no plans to retreat from the woods, but are trying to retreat
from the things that do not matter and sort out what, in serving God
with our lives, does matter. As a paraphrase of Thoreau’s purpose in
solitude, let me state for our Christian life:
I prayed for God to crumble all that does not matter because I wish to
live in such a way that does, to hold fast only to what is true, to
front only the essential reality of faith, and see if I could not
learn what it had to teach and not, when I came to die, discover that
I had only partially lived out my faith.
It is not that we are to sell our washers and driers, cars and
computers, but to see them for what they are, things that break,
things that don’t bring life. It is that we are to seek and find what
really DOES matter in living with the belief in a good god who is
constantly prodding us to deep life, which does require a grand
abandonment for great faith. This is what Jesus was talking about when
he said “I have not come to abolish (Greek for decay) . . . but to
fulfill (to bring life).” -Matthew 5:17
Let us see the world as it is, see what falls apart as what falls
apart, and hold fast to – and participate in what brings life. The
world should be allowed to crumble, and in those times we should also
allow God to (at the same time) give us life. It’s not the matter of
his giving, it’s a matter of our seeing and receiving.
See you at the watering hole.
Ah, summertime in Texas. That blazing fire we can feel from nearly 93
million miles away on our necks as we pull weeds from the garden, on
our arms as we drive to visit family, and on our back after we’ve
splashed in the lake until dinnertime. That heat is what makes
watermelon sweet and glasses of iced tea sweat.
It’s a time when I am extremely thankful. Thankful for air
conditioning! I won’t ever complain about the weather, but that
doesn’t mean I can’t avoid it. But today it got me thinking. I was
outside for just a few minutes and I felt like I was melting. It
reminded me of a speech I once heard.
The speaker told us to imagine driving in a car with a chocolate bar,
then to imagine parking and forgetting that we’d put the chocolate bar
on the dash as we walk out into the hot Texas summer sun. Hours later,
we return to the car and find a horrible mess of a surprise on our
dash. What happened?
What melted it?
You’re wrong. Here’s the kicker: isn’t heat the same thing that
solidifies bricks in the oven? Isn’t heat what turns a liquid egg into
that perfect golden omelet? It’s not the heat that melts you, it’s
what you’re made of.
In the Texas heat I sometimes think about Matthew 3: 11. Before Jesus
started his ministry, John the Baptist said, “I baptize you with water
for repentance, but he who is coming after me . . . will baptize you
with the Holy Spirit and fire.”
Yeah, that’s why there are so many Christians in Texas. We get
baptized with fire 3-4 months of the year. Or do we?
As Jesus comes to purify us with fire, to melt our hearts and harden
our convictions, do we feel a little heat and run back in the A/C
where we are comfortable? When Jesus comes with fire to transform our
state of what matters, do we hop in the pool and claim we’re baptizing
for repentance (again).
What are we afraid of? That we’ll burn? No, for the Christian who is
willing to go through the fire, who accepts the discomfort of a little
sweat, and is willing to let the world around them be subject to the
same fire, they will not be burned. They will be transformed.
So this summer, don’t be afraid of a little spiritual heat. Know who
made you and what you’re made of. And know that he made you to be
brought through the fire. And the best part is, you’re never ever ever
See you at the watering hole.