Archive for July, 2009

Walking in Memphis

Posted in Randomness on July 28, 2009 by jaymallow

What is a day of rest?  Is it just taking a day to not work, to lounge about and do nothing?  Is it rather taking a day to enjoy the day in the day and leaving tomorrow to fend for itself.  Yesterday I purposefully took a day off driving cross country to enoy Memphis and particularly Beale street.  I could talk about the music, how sweet my first beer in two days was, or the food, but it was the mentality of the day that I thought I’d write about.  Why in the world with limited funds, and a need to get to Chatanooga ASAP would I take a day to spend about $200 in food and drink?  Because faith is more than just moving into the unknown, it is living while moving into the unknown.  It is taking an opportunity because it is there and enjoying every second entrusting the future to God.  This is what I think Jesus meant when He said, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”  God means for us to enjoy our rest and the moment and leave the future to Him.  It’s apart of how He designed us and this world.  Sadly I think all of us can get to caught up in what we “should” be doing and miss the good that we can enjoy. (Mary vs. Martha)  It is a liberating thing to not check an account balance before taking in a pleasure.  To simply trust that this moment is worth all the money in the world.  To paraphrase a movie, quote, “There’s always MONEY, people are printing more of it all the time, but THIS, this is an EXPERIENCE.”   I’m coming to the firm conviction that fun requires more faith than we think…

Neverending Story

Posted in Randomness on July 25, 2009 by jaymallow

I hate the nights where you know you need to sleep, you’re even tired and yet you can’t drop off.  So you “force” yourself to try and sleep trying to think of anything to relax and bring about sleep.  You think over the day, the last month, your life, then somewhere in the night dream and rememberance begin to twist together.  Fact and fiction meld and you can’t tell for a time what really happened.  That made me think this morning of that old movie The Never Ending Story where the book reflects the kids life and the kids life is mirrored in the book.  I think life is more like that than we realize.   How we look back on the past, how close or not you were to particular people, even weather or not a period of time was a “good time” is an amalgamation of “fact” and “fiction”.  There is the actual things that we experience and then there is the “fiction” of our interpretations.  But that isn’t to say that the “fiction” isn’t important, it’s deadly serious because we make decisions based on the “fiction” we make up.  What’s amazing is that God not only orchestrates the “facts” in our lives, but can also use our “fiction” to shape our lives as He wills.

A perfect night

Posted in Randomness on July 19, 2009 by jaymallow

A car ride with friends bickering and cutting me down mercilessly for my driving ability.  Getting “lost” then through the miracle of the iPhone magically finding our way there.  Fellowshipping with my “brother” in Christ John about the risky moves God’s called us to.  Sitting in a corner of a pub with friends and Aaron’s kids playing Wii.  Tickling Adelee (Aaron’s little girl) and eating her offered french fry.  There are few times in life where loss strips away the pretense of life and you have a moment of meaning.  All of a sudden you see what really matters.  You want to drink everything in, remember it, and cherish every second.  Then you realize that this has been normal.  This has been your life for so long, and only now you realize how precoius it was.  To quote a favorite movie, “Nothing is trivial.”  Part of me wants to weep for the loss.  Partly for the loss of what I could have had if I and others hadn’t let “schedules” dictate our lives.  If we had been just a bit riskier with our hearts and emotions in “hanging out” with others, what memories could we have made?  However I’m so grateful to God for the myriad of memories that flood my mind of “trivial” times of fellowship.  I wonder if Heaven won’t be so much singing choirs and streets of gold surrounded by millions, but more like sitting in a pub off the golden street (ask anyone of English, Scottish, or Irish descent there WILL be pubs in Heaven) with friends you know and know you fellowshipping and loving one another.  It’s so easy to loose sight of the times where we pass through the Shadow Lands and enter another country altogether.

Goodbye For Now

Posted in Randomness on July 19, 2009 by jaymallow

It’s funny how time works. You look back at a period of time and have the dual sensation of feeling like you’ve been somewhere forever and simultaneously feel like you just got there. I can still remember cresting a mountain late one night and seeing L.A. county for the first time. I can still remember the first time I attended Abundant Life Church (now Sovereign Grace Pasadena), walking in and only knowing less than a handful of people. Then I remember almost four and a half years of Sunday mornings, caregroups, trips to Disneyland, WCR concerts, serving, friends and fellowship. I’ve lived within walking distance to the church for two years which is the longest period of time I’ve lived at one address in my adult life. I’m a native Californian, long hair and all. I’ve been here my whole life, and I just got here yesterday.

Kevin DeYoung in his “Just do something” message at Next pointed out that the Latin root for the word “decide” literally means “to cut off or to kill”. To make a decision to move in a direction you have to “cut off” all other options and possibilities. Would that deciding to pursue my gifts through education wasn’t “cutting off”, in a sense, all the wonderful “possibilities” in California and this church with the people who have been my family and friends!

But just as I packed my newly bought truck and drove westward into the unknown I’m now packing a newly bought vehicle and driving eastward into the unknown. How like God to close a sojourn of faith with a call to faith. God has worked in this decision as He has done in the past: months of prayer, counsel, steps of uncertain outcome, and then weeks of purpose and providence. The “suddenness” has traditionally and in this instance revealed His hand in the call to depend on Him as He supernaturally opens doors and provides.

However, God’s direction is a comfort but not a total comfort in leaving the “family” I’ve loved and been loved by for so long. Words cannot express my gratitude to God for all in this church. In my mind I recall so many memories of laughter and love, serving and being served, and challenging and being challenged. So many in small and big ways have provoked me to faith and a greater love of Jesus Christ by your fellowship. (And some of the “small” ways were the biggest “ways”.) “Thank you” seems so empty, so small, perhaps it would be better to say you have reflected Christ and at times been Jesus to me.

For those in Christ we never should say “Goodbye”, it’s always “See you later”. One day, one way or another, we’ll recognize each other in the throng with absolute certainty. At that moment of “recognition” we’ll not only know each other but know exactly what God has done through us and how much His grace flowed through our relationship. Then we’ll turn and praise God’s wisdom and grace unhurried to “catch up” since we’ll have eternity to do so. By God’s grace this “see you later” in this life is temporary. (I joked with a friend that now I have a permanent vacation destination.) But either way, “See you later” Your Brother in Christ, Jay

Moving Mountains

Posted in Devotions on July 15, 2009 by jaymallow

Faith gives us the ability to move the mountains of impossibility that rise in life.

“And I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt… you say to this mountain, ‘Be removed and cast into the sea.’   It will be done”

The mountains do not move for our ability to believe or lack of doubt.  They do not move on our accord.  However it is belief in the one who makes the mountains tremble and the earth shake, that He can unmake the mountains just as easily as He made them.  Impossibilities rise in life like high mountain ranges.  Daunting, unmovable, and seemingly unscaleable obstacles and doubts rise continually before us.  Yet all through the trials of life our confidence remains in the one who upholds everything through His word.  He ultimately is our only assurance.

Unexpected encouragement

Posted in Randomness on July 12, 2009 by jaymallow

It’s always funny to me how God provides much needed encouragement on the path He leads.  In the midst of sorrow of leaving the comfort and love of friends I am bolstered by this article http://artofmanliness.com/2008/03/04/the-warrior%e2%80%99s-guide-to-true-manliness/  Using death as your guide… priceless truth.  More to the point of the Christian, “Using Eternity as your guide”.  We all face eternity every day.  To quote Gladiator, “What we do in life echo’s through eternity.”

The “Time between times”

Posted in Randomness on July 9, 2009 by jaymallow

I always get wierded out before traveling.  You have this thing where you know a vacation or trip is coming yet surreally you’re living your life day to day as if it isn’t happening.  You’re both in anticipation and a little bit of dread that at the last second your plans will all fail.  It’s almost like you’re in a constant out of body experience, you see yourself going through the motions knowing that shortly it’ll all be diferent.  Then comes the time where you actually have to pack and think about weather or not you’re taking enough clothes for the journey. (and if you’re like me you’re wondering if you have enough clean clothes)  You pack up and then comes the really freaky part, you actually leave.  But on a vacation or trip there’s a comfort.  No matter what happens you’ll come home.  You’ll come back to the familiar, comfortable daily grind.  But then there’s moving.  There’s leaving a life you lived behind forever and knowing that you can’t undo your decision.  There’s no “Oops, I made a mistake.  My bad everyone.”  You know that even if you do come back it won’t be the same.  It won’t be the comfortable apartment and furniture you’ve had, that your job will now be done by another.  I’ve wondered why this move has been more difficult than the two other “faith moves” I’ve made.  I’ve come to the realization that in the other moves I really had nothing to lose.  At best I’d just be in a different locale.  Same job, different yet similar friends, and at worse I’d be no better off for moving.  Now I’m leaving a job I’ve done for ten years, a home that’s been “mine” for two years, and a unique church and mixture of friends that I know I’ll never find again in the same way they exist now.  I’m leaving the comfortable drudgery of a job I can do without thought, an apartment that looks the same every night as when I left it in the morning, and friends that I’ve known for years. (even with our “difficulties”)  Luke 17:33 has been piercingly meaningful during this time, 

33 Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it.

This verse has become more real to me in the last month than I ever imagined.  Even in my attempts to transport/ship my furniture this verse smacked me in the face.  I was attempting to “preserve” a little of my life from California and the question of, “Where is your real comfort?  What exactly are you trying to hold on to?” have kicked me in the gut.  I’m leaving a life.  I’m leaving a lifestyle.  And where I’m going isn’t all that comfortable.  I’m nearly 32 and going to college full time for the first time.  I have few connections where I’m going, and that I’m purposely entering into a conflict with my family that it would be so easy to be a continent away from.  God’s provided enough for tuition but not for living  and I just bought a new car.  I want to trust and be in faith for all of these things, but the weight sometimes feels crushing.  That and the knowlege I’m hurting those I love by leaving makes for sleeples nights and long blog posts.  Yet I’m selling off my stuff.  I’m packing up the little salvaged of my life in California and trusting God to return a hundredfold for good or ill.  Maybe I’ve never made a real “faith move” till now.  Maybe a “faith move” isn’t simply heading into the unknown.  Maybe it’s letting go of the known good and trusting that God somehow, in some way, has better.