3 Things Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis Teaches Me

CODzL-XW8AAPGCdLast week, a county clerk in Kentucky blew up your social media feed. The Supreme Court legalized gay marriage earlier this year. In light of this ruling, James Yates and Will Smith went to their local courthouse to obtain a marriage license. County Clerk Kim Davis refused to issue a marriage license to them.

Mrs. Davis has cited her Christian beliefs as the reason for refusing the marriage license.

She has since been held in contempt of court for refusing to comply with the orders of the federal court system.

If you search for #kimdavis on social media, you're going to spend most of your time reading about somebody on the fast track to sainthood and a new American hero...or a simpleminded, bigoted law breaker.

We continue to demonstrate that we aren't very good at having a discussion in our society, but we're great at having arguments.

We've been trained by 24 hour cable news and politicians and various other outlets that the best way to communicate my viewpoint is by trashing the opposing viewpoint. If you don't agree with me, you're not just wrong, you're also evil and dangerously stupid.

As somebody who wants my faith to impact my daily life, I don't want to be part of insulting, hateful arguing. So what can I learn from this situation - that is, how can I be part of conversation and discussion rather than fighting?

1. Start with respect.

Kim Davis is not a monster. Neither are James Yates and William Smith, the couple who tried (unsuccessfully) to get a marriage license on multiple occasions from Mrs. Davis.

None of them wake up in the morning and ask "How can I undermine the fabric of humanity today?"

Clearly they have different viewpoints on what is right and what is wrong in the case of gay marriage.

We'll get into that in a minute.

As a Christian, I must believe that each person in this argument - including internet trolls on both sides - are made in the image of God. Every single person bears God's imprint.

Next time you're about to call someone a moron or an idiot, remember Matthew 5:22 where Jesus says:

"But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell."

Now that probably hits our ears as a threat - if you get angry and insult or curse someone, you're going to get some kind of spiritual payback. God's gonna get you, so to speak.

But what if Jesus isn't threatening us, but he's warning us in a loving way? What if he's essentially telling us that when we start making ourselves superior to other people, it can lead to our own destruction?

Jesus loves us. If he's giving us a warning, it's for our own good. We need to start with valuing other people - not devaluing them -  because God loves them as much as he loves us.

2. Seek to understand the other viewpoint.

Let's take a minute and get introspective. You have an opinion on gay marriage. The way you got to that opinion was by running the topic through your personal worldview. That worldview is influenced by your experiences, your culture, your faith, your family and peers, your education, etc.

Realize that it is completely reasonable for a person with wildly different experiences, culture, family, friends, etc to come to a different conclusion than you.

The preachers outside the courthouse are doing their best to help people. The people ripping those preachers to shreds online are doing their best to help people.

If you can start from that assumption, that the 'other side' isn't satan's personal envoy to you, you can actually start to talk instead of argue.

3. Don't choose a side. 

When you pick a side, it becomes necessary for you to prove the other side wrong.

So don't choose a side. Choose to love people.

You can hold an opinion, but when your opinion is more important to you than other people, you're out of line with God's values.

Jesus shared plenty of unpopular opinions, but he did it in such a loving way that everyone wanted to be around him, including what Matthew 9:11 refers to in one translation as the 'scum' of society.

Pretty much everyone (except the exceptionally self righteous) wanted to be around Jesus because he was the most upright, noble person who ever lived and he made them feel better about themselves. He made them want to have a better relationship with God.

Christians are not God's police officers. We are God's ambassadors. If Azerbaijan sent ambassadors to DC who walked the streets telling Americans how bad and dumb they were, nobody would want to go visit Azerbaijan.

People won't hear what we have to share if all we're doing is trying to prove them wrong.


We have an amazing opportunity to have huge conversations across the globe thanks to social media. Wasting that opportunity on insults and vitriol is a huge mistake.

I love Kim Davis, I love James Yates and I love William Smith and I want to be part of the conversation they have prompted.

I want my involvement to point to the fact that we are all made by God and loved by God so that people want to keep hearing what I have to say. Because the best way to have influence of any kind is to be invited to participate. Maybe that's why Jesus made such a difference.

How to Respond to Tragedy

aylankurdifatherWe live in an amazing age where people anywhere in the world can get up close and personal perspectives on tragedy happening in other parts of the world. The effects of the war in Syria, the actions of groups like Boko Haram, labor and sex slavery, and many, many others show up in our twitter and facebook feeds.

So how should a person who wants their faith to inform and affect their daily life respond to the ability to learn about the heart breaking realities in our world?

Let's start with what not to do. A to-don't list, if you will.

First, don't respond by ignoring them. These stories are upsetting. They hurt to learn about. We must follow the example of our creator, who, even when we hurt him, refused to ignore us. We are part of this world and when we refuse to allow anything to interrupt our starbucks-work-gym routine, we're going to miss out on a large chunk of our makeup - with is an individual called to be in community with other humans who are also made in God's image.

Second, don't respond with guilt. You have a computer or smartphone that you can use to surf the internet. Endless entertainment and distraction is available for your leisure time. That doesn't make you a terrible person for relaxing or enjoying life while others are in hellish circumstances.

Lastly, don't respond with pity. I know this may seem strange, but pity is shaking your head, saying 'that's terrible' and wishing you could do something about it - but knowing you can't and giving up. Pity helps no one.

So what is the right way to respond?

Respond with compassion.

Compassion seeks to care about the pain others are experiencing and asks 'what can I do to help?' Here's three things you can do in order to have a compassionate response.

1.Learn the stories.

2.Weep with those who weep.


Discovering the humanity in tragedy helps us to have compassion. Hearing that refugees are fleeing is a news story. Seeing the body of a toddler washed ashore and hearing his father talk about watching him perish is a human story. I have a three year old son. I wept when I saw that picture and read the story. I hate crying. I'd rather ignore or gloss over these painful stories, but I'm not called to avoid caring about others in this life. The story of the good Samaritan says I'm supposed to keep my eyes open for people who are beat up and laying on the side of the road so I can offer help. Helping starts with knowing and caring. Jesus wept when he arrived at the tomb of Lazarus - and Jesus knew he was going to resurrection the guy. Luke 7:12 and Matthew 14:14 both talk about Jesus being moved with compassion into action. You probably can't walk away from your current life and invest yourself into personally resolving one of these issues. Even if you could, you can't do it alone and there are many different problems. So what are the practical things you and I can start doing today which can contribute to a better future?

1.Pray unceasingly

Prayer is a limitless resource available to you. God is very clear in the scriptures that he wants us to ask him for his help and involvement. After learning about a tragic situation, you can spend as much or as little time as you like asking our loving Father to bring life and healing into situations of despair and death.

2.Donate generously

Find worthy organizations that can and are helping. World Vision is a great one, Salvation Army does wonderful things. Do your research and sacrifice some of what God has given you to help others.

3.Invite others to join you.

Most people would be happy to help others, but they need some encouragement and direction. Guilt or information overload may have them frozen in place. Ask some friends to join you in praying for Syria this week. Tell facebook how you’re donating $20 a month to help the refugee crisis and ask everyone to join you.

You can’t solve any crisis on your own, but the thing is: you aren’t supposed to. This whole ‘Body of Christ’ thing that God has given us is about each of us contributing and all of us together as a whole making huge differences. It’s why Jesus said in John 14:12 that his followers would do even greater things than him. If the 1-2 billion people who follow the teachings of Jesus each do something, together we’ll be an unstoppable force.

So don’t try to boil the ocean. And don’t get discouraged that you can only do a little. Do it, and invite others to join you, because that’s the mission of the church.

History and the Next Great Decision

history-booksDo you ever wonder how you would have reacted if you lived during different eras in history? What I mean is this:

Had I lived in the civil rights era in this country, would I have had the courage and understanding to stand with those who were fighting for equal treatment?

If I had lived in Germany during the 40s, would I have hidden Jews from those seeking to kill them?

Would I have criticized Abraham Lincoln when he led the process of introducing the Emancipation Proclamation?

Had I been alive at the time, would I have joined the crowd shouting ‘crucify him’ before Pontius Pilot?

Silly as it may seem, these questions scare me.

Mostly, because I know how imperfect I am. I worry that in the midst of these situations, I could have come to the wrong conclusions through arrogance and selfishness.

And when I talk about the wrong conclusion, I don't just mean the one that lost. We all know that history is written by the victors.

What happened to the Armenians in Turkey was wrong. Dropping nuclear weapons on civilian populations was wrong.

Obviously, I'll never know the answer to these questions. But it makes me look for the people groups and issues in our day that need people to stand up and courageously speak out.

Where are the issues that I need to apply the values gained from studying the scriptures and work for what is right?

There's many issues we argue over today: gun rights, universal health care, gay marriage, minimum wage, etc.

How can I be sure that I am pushing on the side 'of the angels' as the phrase goes?

I believe it comes down to a simply concept - that I must always chose the side of love.

I love this quote by Napoleon:

“Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and I have founded empires. But on what did we rest the creations of our genius? Upon force. Jesus Christ founded his empire upon love; and at this hour millions of men would die for him.”

Love is willing to give and sacrifice whereas force is willing to kill and take.

Where can I pour out my time, and energy and resources and efforts and possible my life for a cause greater than myself?

I believe this question will lead us to the places where we can work for redemptive and creative causes.

The Universe

Science isn’t sure whether our universe is actually infinite or not, but they say it’s “at least” 93 billion light years in diameter. One light year equals 5,865,696,000,000 miles. I’ll tell you what, let’s just go with ‘really, really big’.

Some people wonder whether we are alone in the universe. Is there life out there on other planets in other solar systems or galaxies?

I have heard the question asked ‘how can we be so silly as to think that in a universe as amazingly vast as ours, that we are the only life’?

But what if the whole, unbelievably enormous universe wasn’t made for us? What if it was made for a different purpose?

David said this in Psalm 19:1 “The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship.”

What if God made this astounding creation for the purpose of showing how great he is? To give us some kind of hint as to his expansiveness?

A creation does two things: it points to the skill of the one who created it, and it points to the greatness of the one to whom it is given.

Imagine a kings crown, made with purest gold, inlaid with resplendent gems and jewels. It reveals the skill and creativity of the craftsman who made it, but it also points to the greatness of the one on whose head it sits.

John 13:3 says “Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God.”

This great creation points to the one who is greatest of all.

So if this universe - in all its greatness - isn’t actually about us, but rather has the purpose of pointing to how great God is; I wouldn’t say it’s too big or too grandiose.

I’d actually say it’s just about the right size.

Comfort Levels

I’m reading a book right now called The Sacredness of Questioning Everything by David Dark. It’s an interesting book. There’s a quote in it that hit me: “If the words of Jesus of Nazareth…strike us comfortable and perfectly in tune with our own confident common sense, and our likes and dislikes, our budgets, and our actions towards strangers and foreigners, then receiving the words of Jesus is probably not what we’re doing.” (emphasis his)

Jesus isn’t here to help us build a little cocoon of faith that we can nestle comfortably in while the rest of the world goes to hell.

He’s trying to get us to do to opposite. Get out of your little world and into the big wide one that needs to hear about a God of love. It’s going to cost you time, energy, money and perhaps your very blood.

If you think the Bible is a book designed to make you feel content and comfortable, then I respectfully submit (in agreement with the quote above) that you’re not really reading it.

It’s not a book designed to make us happy.

Moses, Solomon, Noah, Isaac, Paul, Stephen - these are just some of the stories in the bible that don’t end in a feel-good, happily-ever-after kind of way (at least on this side of eternity).

Jesus talks about taking up your cross before you can follow him.

The Bible give us food for thought…ideas expressed, often imprecisely or unclearly that we must wrestle with. It’s a book that is trying to get me to take a good, hard look at myself: Why do I do the things I do? Do I hate? Lust? Love the things of this world in a disproportional manner?

It refuses to let us stay the way we are. It’s whole purpose is to help bring about change in our live. Real change isn’t easy. And it usually isn’t fun. So I guess it’s not surprising many people don’t read it at all. And some who do, don’t take it too seriously.

Doing so is really tough. Everyday you see how far short you fall. And until you understand that, God’s grace is just a nice concept.

But seeing yourself as you really are is tough. A mirror that reveals imperfections can cause you to start doing something about those imperfections, or cause you to avoid the mirror.

I avoided the mirror for quite a long time. Now, as I am looking into it daily and letting God work in my to change myself, I can say most assuredly it’s tough.  I screw up all the time.

Some days it seems like it would be easier just to let myself and God down rather than to pick myself up again and continue walking this difficult path.

But I know that’s not really an option. After all, where else would I go? Only in Jesus can I find the words that give eternal life. (John 6:68)

Two Kingdoms

I believe that there are two kingdoms. The Kingdom of God and the kingdom of his enemy.

I believe these kingdoms are at war on the earth today.

The Kingdom of God has already secured the ultimate victory, but his enemy is unwilling to lay down his arms and peacefully surrender. He wants to cause as much damage as he can before he is destroyed permanently.

The kingdom of his enemy does not require any oaths or commitments. Everyone is by default a citizen of this kingdom from birth.

The Kingdom of God requires one to commit their life to the service of the King and renounce their citizenship to the kingdom of the enemy. It requires one to lay down his or her plans, desires and purposes and instead work only at the command of the King.

It does not require effort to advance the kingdom of God’s enemy, because disunity and confusion advance his purposes. Everyone may set their own agenda: money, power, comfort, religiosity, sex; these are all common individual purposes in the kingdom of the enemy.

It is also the reason that the enemy’s kingdom will not stand. It has no unified purpose other than to consume all that it comes in contact with. It is at war with itself all the time.

As as the Kingdom of God unifies behind the King - not behind a particular denomination or doctrine - he leads us in a great campaign of sabotage against the enemy.  He sent his son to lead our campaign: “the Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8)

Our purpose is two fold: to press back the advancing lines of the kingdom of the enemy from his attempts to rule over the people of this earth, and to rebuild what his army has destroyed. He uses a slash and burn campaign, destroying anything he cannot have.

We share the secret that anyone in the kingdom of the enemy is free to defect. The miserable existence they lead now under the oppression and infighting of the enemy can be left behind.  The Kingdom of God is exclusive in so far as it is only for those who will stand with the King.

I serve at and for the pleasure of the King. And by my life or my death, I will advance his kingdom on this battleground called earth.

I don’t do this in my own strength, but in his. For unlike the kingdom of the enemy, who only takes from his denizens, our great King actually puts his life into us. He doesn’t make us hired soldiers. He makes us sons and daughters. He adopts us.

I stand with the King.


Solomon is one of my favorite characters in the scriptures. 1 Kings 3:12 indicates that he’s probably the wisest man who ever lived (with the exception of Jesus - Luke 11:31).

He wrote deeply and extensively of the very nature of all things. Proverbs, Song of Solomon and (probably) Ecclesiastes were written by him.

And yet, he screwed up.

That’s right. Wisest guy who ever lived, who was divinely given an unequaled amount of discernment, acted stupidly.

It gives me so much peace to know that. I’m no where near as smart as Solomon, but even still, when I do something dumb I’m relieved to know maybe he could have done it, too.

He totally could have locked his keys in the car. Or dropped his phone. Or forgot to return that Redbox DVD before 9pm.

Here’s what Solomon really did: he married a bunch of women that God said not to marry. Those women, over a thousand of them (!!!), led him to worship the idols of their homelands.

Yep. Solomon. Smartest dude ever. Starts worshiping fake gods. For those keeping score, that’s commandment #1. Probably a bad one to break.

So fulfilling God’s will doesn’t mean you have to be the smartest person in the room.

It means being obedient to him.

We learn so much through Solomon’s insights. Yet even with all his insight to the nature of everything, he still deceived himself.

He told himself that he could have all those wives even though God said not to and he would be fine. He was wrong.

It’s the garden of Eden all over again. God says ‘don’t’, but we find a way to believe he probably didn’t really mean it.

I am all for education, all for refining and improving on your brain - a wonderful gift from the Lord. But, like all else, it must remain in its proper place: obedience and service to God.

In the end, Solomon loved women and power more than faithful obedience to the Lord.

His wisdom and intelligence, as great as they were, still weren’t as great as God’s. Solomon decided to make his own path and in the end, it led him to lose the inheritance given to his father, David.

That’s why I like Solomon. He gives me hope. He shows me that even if I became the highest version of myself that could ever exist, I still wouldn’t have any hope without God actively helping me.

That even at my best, I’ll never be able to do it on my own.

I embrace this failure, this short-coming of mine. And that’s the place where I accept Jesus.

False Promises

You know, it’s funny. When Jesus called Peter and Andrew to be his disciples he didn’t say “Come follow me, and it’ll be a cake walk.” (see Matthew 4:19)

But I act like that’s what he said.

I also don’t think he said “Things are going to go really, really smoothly because I’ve overcome the world.” (see John 16:33)

But again, that seems to be my expectation.

I don’t know why I act like my life is supposed to be easy. It’s not. Even the best of us has struggled trying to figure out what God’s will is.

When Peter had the vision of the sheet descending from Heaven, he was like ‘what the heck are you talking about God? I’m not eating any of that stuff!’ (Acts 10)

When Paul wanted to go into Asia, the Holy Spirit blocked him (Acts 16:6) Not to mention when he asked three times for God to remove the thorn in his flesh and God said ‘stop asking’ (2 Corinthians 12:6-8)

Jesus himself didn’t want to have to endure the agony of the cross. (Matthew 26:39)

What marks the difference in their lives is simple: obedience. They obeyed God because God is worthy of our obedience. Not because it’s fun. Not necessarily because they understood it, but because our job is to do the will of God.

We must not make up false promises. Or accept them. Any person who essentially turns faith in God into a way to make money, live in luxury and/or avoid any sense of discomfort in our lives must be rejected in the same way Jesus rejected Peters effort to avoid a life of sacrifice: “Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.” (Matthew 16:23)

Instead of deciding what will make me happy and then demanding or expecting God to give me that, I will learn to take joy from obeying him.

This, I believe, is the dying to myself I am called to by the scriptures. So that I may be made alive in Christ.

In the life he gives, not the life I try to ‘get out of him’.

The Way of the Cross

When God came to strip away my sin, I was glad. Sin only ended up making me miserable, and in the end, I was a slave to it. He freed me. When God came to strip away my selfishness, I reluctantly agreed. I knew it wasn’t a good thing. Focusing on other people is what I’m supposed to do. But this wasn’t fun. It wasn’t as enjoyable as being freed from sin.

When God came to strip away the plans I had made for my own future, I wanted nothing to do with it. I had cobbled together my own hopes and dreams. I had looked at all my possible paths and decided on the ones that would be most fulfilling to me.

God was no longer taking bad things away from me, but good things. Things I wanted, not things I wanted to be rid of.

But this is the way of the cross. God is not a cosmic garbage can, where we only toss the things that we don’t want.

We have been called to surrender everything to him. So that he may remove from us whatever he deems necessary for reasons that may often remain his own (at least initially).

The way of the cross is the opposite of ‘what’s in it for me?’ Rather, it’s ‘what is asked of me?’

This is where I’m trying to incorporate ‘The Path Proverbs’

Proverbs 14:12 There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death.

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.

If I set out to navigate this life based on what I can see, it’s not going to end up where I want. Remember those puzzles in kids books where you have to trace a line as it twists and turns among other lines, almost like a pile of spaghetti? I think life is a lot like that. But this one is so complex and convoluted, only God actually knows which start point gets to which finish.

As I feel like God has been sending me in a different direction that what I would have chosen for myself, I am choosing to trust in him. I trust that if he has me on my current path, it is to keep me away from ending in disaster or disappointment.

I don’t think hopes and dreams and a vision are inherently bad things; I only think they are if they get placed above trusting the Lord and following his lead.

God is the potter I am the clay. How can I get upset about how he is molding me when I don’t know how he will use me? If I think I’m going to be a planter, a handle would be silly. But perhaps God knows I will be a pitcher, and he therefore knows I need a handle.

The way of the cross doesn’t stop at God removing the bad stuff from our life. It only begins there. The way of the cross comes in accepting that God’s will for our life is going to encompass all of who we are. Not just our ‘spiritual life’, but our whole life. Mind, body, spirit, soul, finances, time, focus, etc.

Jesus gives us this example in the garden of Gethsemane - “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” (Matthew 26:39)

He was giving up his life then and there so that he could lay down his life in the hours to follow. It was an extraordinary life, lived in complete and total service to God. Jesus deserved accolades and adoration, not torture and murder. But God’s path led him through Golgotha.

But it didn’t end at Golgotha. It ended in eternal life. Not just for him; but also for you and me. It led to the defeat of sin and death.

From his human perspective, Jesus wanted nothing to do with the path God was leading him on. But in his obedience to God, he followed it and in the end God had led him on the path of life.

Jesus followed the way of the cross. The way of humility. The way of downward mobility.

He calls us to do the same.

Dying and Christianity

Jesus gives us some tough things to wrestle with sometimes. You want to be first? Make yourself last. (Matthew 20:16)

You want to lead? Start serving. (Mark 10:43)

You want to live? Learn how to die. (Luke 17:33)

I think the main message Jesus gives us in these teachings is that the Kingdom of Heaven, in many ways, functions the opposite of how this world is organized. Makes sense, seeing as how the person currently in charge of this world is the devil. (Ephesians 2:2; John 12:31)

I started wondering how I could tell whether I had died.

Then I recalled what Jesus says in John 12:24: “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives.”

The way you can tell if a seed has died is this: there’s a ton of life growing where it used to be. Ever see a field of crops? Full of life, flowing with the wind, reaching high for the sunlight? Well that’s a field where seeds died.

The defining attribute of death in Christianity is the abundance of life.

Remember John 10:10 where Jesus says “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly”? Well, look at the life the Holy Spirit has brought to the world. It’s there because Jesus died.

So I think that the way to tell if a Christian has died to themselves is when you see “life more abundant” in the place where it used to be just them. Is the Holy Spirit bringing joy and peace and love and patience? That’s because the anger and depression and hate and frustration that used to be all you had is gone. Because the old you died.

Paul, in 1 Corinthians 15:43, talks about being planted in weakness, but raised in power. He’s talking about our current bodies versus our resurrection bodies, but I think it also applies to when we leave behind our carnal lives and instead allow the Holy Spirit to flow in us and through us.

Jesus, in his death, assured the defeat of Satan. In mine, I can be a part of his Kingdom expansion. Where there was once just me, soon there will be an abundance of life.

God the Artist

I think God is the ultimate artist. An artist works with material to express themselves. They may use paint or clay or music or a million other things. But what they are all attempting to do is take something within themselves and express it to others through a medium.

An artist is the opposite of a manufacturer. A manufacturer wants to make the same thing, over and over again with as little variance as possible. A manufacturer is out for profit, not self expression.

Making lots of the same thing is easier, faster and cheaper than making each item an original, unique piece.

Sometimes, manufacturers even try to reproduce a unique item. For instance, “Portrait of Dr. Gachet”, painted by Van Gogh sold in 1990 for $82.5 million. But you can buy a duplicate for as little as $140.00 at You can buy as many as you want. They can make more anytime they need to.

God is not in the business of manufacturing Christians.

He is in the business of uniquely crafting sons and daughters.

If God is a painter, I actually think that he only paints one thing: a self portrait. But each one looks a little different. Some are modernist, some are impressionist, some are abstract; some are oil, others pastel and on and on and on.

If you put them next to each other, they’d initially look very different from one to another. But each one, if you watch as he paints, shares the same theme. It begins to look more and more like Jesus.

Some paintings are early on and you can barely see any similarities. Others, he has been working on for some time and they are nearly done. You can totally pick out aspects of Jesus in those paintings.

But by looking at only one piece, we wouldn’t know very much about the artist. By looking at just ourselves, we can’t see much of God’s work. It’s when we look at many different pieces that we start to know his handiwork.

We may like some of God’s paintings and not like others, but God loves them all. The main point in his art is the message, not the material he is using. As we spend our time wandering in his gallery, we get more familiar with his message and less caught up in his varying mediums.

Maybe at first the only thing we’ll see is how different every piece is. Maybe his only tenancy is to be completely unpredictable. But as we look and examine other pieces, I think we will start to see the common thread across the various styles and materials. That each piece has a little of himself in it.

God is an artist, not a manufacturer. And in you, he’s making another beautiful, unique self portrait of himself.

Bumping Into Jesus

In Luke 8, we read about the the woman who had been bleeding for 12 years without stop. You know the story: Jesus is walking among a huge crowd on the way to help a synagogue leader with his ill daughter. In the midst of all the jostling and bumping this crowd is causing, Jesus stops cold and says ‘Somebody touched me’.

The disciples must have been wondering if Jesus was joking. Imagine you are leaving a huge sports event through a narrow gate, squeezing yourself through the crowd, almost being smooshed, then suddenly shouting “Hey - who just touched me?”

The disciples are like ‘Um, Jesus, it’s kinda crowded.”

But then Jesus says this: ”Someone deliberately touched me, for I felt healing power go out from me.” (Luke 8:46)

This is amazing to me. I have no doubt that every person in that crowd has something going on in their life, some issue where they could really use the power of God. Why else would they be swarming him unless they had needs which needed to be met?

But the people who inadvertently bumped into Jesus didn’t receive a blessing from him. It was the woman who, out of faith, touched Jesus with a purpose in mind.

In Velvet Elvis, Rob Bell discusses Malachi 4:2: “…the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings…” He points out that the ‘wings’ discussed here are the tassels at the end of a prayer shawl.

This woman didn’t happen to touch the edges of Jesus’ robe. She knew exactly what she was doing. She had a specific purpose in what she was doing. Her touching Jesus wasn’t on accident and it wasn’t haphazard. She set her sights on the edge of his robe because she believed he was Messiah.

I see people who go to church on Sunday, but who don’t actually follow God as being people who are bumping into Jesus. Every Sunday for a couple hours, they’re like ‘hey! Jesus! How have you been? Nice to see you! Well you take it easy for the rest of the week now, you hear?’

You don’t get anything out of accidentally bumping into Jesus.

But when you reach for him with purpose and with all your mind, strength, spirit and soul; you’re going to receive the blessing of his presence in your life. Notice that Jesus doesn’t bestow a blessing on her. It happens automatically due to her faith.

Let us in the Christian community stop being part of the mob that’s kind of going around spectating what Jesus does, occasionally bumping into him, and let’s instead set our target on connecting with him and receiving the healing and blessing he wants us to have.

Stop bumping into Jesus and start grabbing hold of him, even if it’s just the strands of clothing at the very fringe of his presence.