Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Here in South West Ohio fall has come in full force. Despite the lack of rain over the past few months we have been blessed with a wide range of fall colors. One thing I love about this part of the country is we have the privilege of experiencing all four season of the year. Each season has something different to offer and experience. The cold nippy wind of winter along with a fresh blanket of snow provides a clean pure earth. The warm, pleasant breeze of spring, with all the flowers, the smell of fresh cut grass, reminds of rebirth. The hot long days of summer, with the wind whistling through the trees, makes you long to be outdoors spending time with friends and family. The changing of the air, the bright array of fall colors, brings a warmth, yet a chill, returning families to the indoors, brings with it a sense of comfort and strength.

Over the past few weeks I have felt in my own life that I have been going through a change in season. At times I feel I am walking hand in hand with God. I feel like I have God in my thoughts continually. I am in his word. I am praising him through song. I am somewhere in my head sharing my thoughts, my likes, my dislikes, my excitements and my heartaches. I am using tools to study his word in ways I have never done before. I am striving for his church in ways that cannot be stopped. But then, something outside my control enters in, and that season begins to change. Then I go through a time where I feel distant from God. I am not in his word, unless teaching or preaching. I am not picking up commentaries/study aides, unless in preparation for a lesson. I am not spending time in prayer, unless leading one for a class or group. I am not spending time in worship, unless on Sunday mornings.

Then out of the blue my heart breaks. It is much like the heart break I have felt when breaking up with a girlfriend. You know the deep pit in your stomach, the knot that ties up deep inside, the feeling of being all alone, the feeling of hurt that just changes your entire demeanor and attitude. Your outlook on life quickly becomes different. This feeling exist because in a way you are breaking up with God. You are feeling lonely, your attitude is affected, and you are hurting because you are separated from the one you care about so much. But we have an amazing promise.

As Joshua was preparing to take over the leadership role of Moses, God gave him this promise. “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” As a follower of Christ, I have that promise too. The writer of Hebrews reminds his audience of that in 13:5. In my seasons of separation from God, he has never left nor has he stopped leading. It is during these seasons where his leadership picks up. It is during these seasons that he uses his spirit to gently nudge me, to remind me of the relationship we have. It is during these seasons that he breaks my heart for him.

I thank God for constantly being there. I thank God that he continues to nudge me, even when I do a horrible job of living for him. I thank God that he still uses me for his service.

So what do your season of life look like? How does God nudge you to do something you should be but are neglecting to do? How does God use his spirit to break your heart?

(Above image was taken from the website for Bob Atkins Photography)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

My Thoughts on MACU Tragedy

On Sunday afternoon my wife was on her Facebook reading the postings of many of her friends when she came across one saying, “Praying for MACU.” MACU for those who do not know is Mid-Atlantic Christian University, the place where my wife and I met and the college I graduated from. The Facebook status left both Crystal and I intrigued so I began scanning Facebook for some sort of clue to what was going on. Since I could not find out anything more on Facebook, I called my good friend Robert to see what he knew. What I soon found out I was not prepared for.

On Sunday afternoon just before 1:00 a male student shot and killed another male student in his dorm room on the campus of MACU. This news took me by surprise. When I called Robert I did not expect this kind of news, or even this kind of tragedy to ever take place on that campus. Had there been disagreements on campus before? Certainly. Had their even been physical fights on campus? I am sure there have. But to have something like this, one student taking another students life, I just did not expect.

Because of these events, and me now living so far away, I have spent the past four days glued to the internet. I have been logging onto Wavy TV 10’s website multiple times a day, I have been watching my Facebook for updates from current and former students, as well as college faculty and staff, and I have been checking my email every time it dings to see if it is another update through the Alumni news.

While I have been a person addicted to the news for a good chunk of my life … I spent an afternoon as a high schooler watching a house fire on Fox News that was taking place in California … I watch tragedies for hours on end just waiting to hear that new piece of news that is so few and far between … this week the news has just drained me. I am left today with no drive, no motivation, just sitting in my office struggling to focus and be productive.

Then I found this video; a video about people doing the right thing; a video about people stepping away from their capitalistic conquest to help their competition in their hour of need.

What took place in the dorm at MACU on Sunday was a horrific loss of life, and unfortunately a time when the shooter was not acting with the love of Christ. But then to find this was an uplifting insight into who God calls us each to be. God calls us to be agents of love.

The reason for Christ was because of the love God had for us. God loved us so much that he choose a people, the Israelites, to be his instruments in bringing into this world his son Jesus Christ. Christ came to die so that we may have life. God has given us the indwelling of his spirit. With that spirit living inside of us, we are then to reciprocate that love to all of mankind. We are to be agents of love.

Would you please continue to pray for MACU as they are going through one of their toughest and most emotionally draining times in the history of the school. MACU is a place I hold near and dear to my heart. It is a place that has trained so many preachers, teachers, youth ministers, and lay leaders for the work of God’s kingdom. I pray that these past few days will only work to strengthen the school and it focus on ministry. I also ask that you pray for both families of those involved. For the family of the victim, that they will find peace and forgiveness. For the family of the shooter, that they will remain strong, that they will seek God, and they will be the support their son, brother, and grandson needs them to be. For the shooter, that he will find peace, that he will find restoration in his heart with God.