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Waiting for My Matthias Moment

Last night in Bible study, we read through the first chapter of the book of Acts.  This entire book is filled with incredible and nearly impossible-to-believe stories of the early Church right after Jesus was raised from the dead.  Chapter one starts with Jesus' final words and then describes a change in personnel within the twelve disciples.  It reads in part:

15 In those days Peter stood up among the believers (a group numbering about a hundred and twenty) 16 and said, “Brothers and sisters, the Scripture had to be fulfilled in which the Holy Spirit spoke long ago through David concerning Judas, who served as guide for those who arrested Jesus. 17 He was one of our number and shared in our ministry.” 18 (With the payment he received for his wickedness, Judas bought a field; there he fell headlong, his body burst open and all his intestines spilled out. 19 Everyone in Jerusalem heard about this, so they called that field in their language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.)  20 “F…
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The Faith of Isaac

For more than a month, I've been savoring the story of Abraham and Sarah and God's faithfulness in their lives.  As one of the greatest figures in the Bible, there is so much to learn from Abraham's life.  But this morning I saw a sentence I'd never really paid attention to in all the times I've read this story.  Here's the story in full from Genesis 22: 

22 After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 2 He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” 3 So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac. And he cut the wood for the burnt offering and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. 4 On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place from afar. 5 Then Abraham said to his young men, “St…

Security and Surrender in the Traffic Lanes of Life

When I lived in Manila, I learned very quickly that some of the things that appeared the same were actually very, very different.  I could tell you some pretty funny and embarrassing stories, but let me just give you a few examples:

Pets: it seems most everyone in the US has a pet: cats, dogs, and small rodents are all popular choices.  People in Manila had pets too -- but their dogs were guard dogs, the rodents weren't invited or named, and cats were kept around to dispose of the rodents... the only real "pet" people kept in the same way we keep cats and dogs were CHICKENS.  It wasn't uncommon to board public transportation and have people bringing chickens on and off with them.  Never a dull moment, I tell you.

Spaghetti -- same name for the same concept in both places.  In the US, this is a SAVORY dish of tomatoes, meat, and noodles.  In Manila, it's SWEET -- like a dessert.  Definitely a shock to one's palate when you order it without knowing the differen…

Believe You Belong

Do you believe that you belong?

I mean, when you look at your life: your social circles, your co-workers, the daily grind that you live -- do you fit in?  Or, when you wake up every day, do you constantly think through questions like,

What will so-and-so think?
What if I make this person mad?
Were they just talking about me?  Did I do something wrong?
Should I tell so-and-so about this situation or would it hurt our friendship?
I couldn't tell the whole truth -- they'd never welcome me back if they really knew...

Honestly, I've spent more years of my life trying to fit in than I care to admit.  I believed lies that said I had to look a certain way, act a certain way, be friends with these people, go to that school, know whose opinion matters, achieve X Y and Z in life... and what I've learned is that this list is endless.  There will always be more people to impress, more things to learn, more opinions to honor.

When I was in 5th grade, I remember being so sick of bein…

Faith, Hope, Love

One benefit of being a young professional who lives alone is that I have a lot of time to think. I mean, really sit and process and ask questions about bigger things than just "what's for dinner?"  Don't get me wrong -- I have hobbies, but sometimes an idea just comes to me that requires a bit more pondering.  Here are the questions I'm wrestling with this week:

Where does hope come from?  How does hope interact with faith?  And where is love in all of this?

When people talk about hope, often it's in a positive way.  We sometimes use it as a synonym for faith, but I think the two are different.  Hebrews 11:1 tells us that, "FAITH is confidence in what we HOPE for and assurance about what we do not see."  So, hope has to come before faith otherwise faith would be directionless, but where does it come from?  And, is it possible for hope to be a bad thing?  Like, what about when people say, "Oh, don't get your hopes up" or "we were o…