Archive for March, 2008

The Trouble with Disneyland.

Posted: March 31, 2008 in Uncategorized

“Benjamin: “God’s beloved; God’s permanent residence. Encircled by God all day long, within whom God is at home.” Deuteronomy 33:12

NKJV: “The beloved of the Lord shall dwell in safety by Him, who shelters him all day long; and he shall dwell between His shoulders.”

Oh, I SO want this to be my very own scripture! At my funeral, I want people to say that my life was God’s permanent residence…that I lived safely in Him so that He could live safely in me.

And how cool is the part about “dwelling between His shoulders”? A couple of years ago, we went to Disneyland and in the process of standing in lines for rides and lines for food and lines for more lines, Josiah got tired and asked Steve to carry him. And here’s a weird thing: that didn’t make Steve mad and it didn’t make Josiah feel like a failure. They apparently have a deal: Steve’s the dad and Joe’s the kid and neither expects anything other than that.

God and I have the same exact deal.

He’s the dad and I’m the kid and sometimes I’m going to run from day to day with energy and excitement. I’ll feel strong and unstoppable as I forge into unknown territory with courage and confidence to spare. But on other days, I might get weak and confused and not know exactly which direction to go. I may wonder why He ever trusted me in a world as large and looming as Disneyland in the first place. And in those moments, I will ask for help and He will do what good Dads do: He’ll pick me up, put me on His shoulders and say, “Here, Bo. How about you watch the parade from up here?”

I’m in a season like that right now. And by right now, I mean RIGHT NOW. Even facing Monday on my own two feet looks unlikely. I guess I could try. I could fix my attitude, adjust my focus, scrunch up my courage and tunnel through. But I don’t think that’s how I’m supposed to approach this week. I really think that – at least for this week – I’m supposed to take a seat on His shoulders and let Him do the walking while I do the trusting. Trust isn’t my strong suit, so I hope I do good…I’ll let you know.

Determined to enjoy the view,

Bo

P.S. Thanks so much to those of you who prayed me through The Great Sickness so I could preach 4 messages this weekend. I’m blessed to be a part of the best Family in the whole world. And to the millions (okay, hundreds) who have checked out the Great Dates page…I hope you find a romantic little spot to call your own.

The Plague.

Posted: March 26, 2008 in Uncategorized

“I’m just one stomach flu away from my ideal weight.”

-Emily in The Devil Wears Prada

Recently, I spoke on the Ten Plagues. This week, I’ve experienced what certainly would have been number 11.

And you know, I’m keenly aware that you don’t want to spend precious minutes surfing the web at work only to read about someone’s brush with death…but I can’t help talking about it. It’s the elephant in the room. The monster under the bed who keeps growling and pawing at the mattress. It must be said:

I have been felled by The Stomach Flu.

I hate any sickness…but the stomach flu? Is a bad, bad guy. It’s wretched and wrong and this one has added several foods to my “Will Never Eat Again” list. Also, it’s sucked all the writing inspiration right out of me.

On the flipside: I lost five pounds!

Til Friday,

Bo

The Smell of Easter

Posted: March 22, 2008 in Uncategorized

Have you ever caught a whiff of a familiar smell and just been overtaken by emotion? That happened to me yesterday at Safeway. I walked by an Easter Lily and the smell of it…well, I’m embarrassed to say that the smell of it made me want to stop in the middle of the aisle between the tangerines and chocolate bunnies, lean over my cart and cry. So silly. But really, so great. Here’s my story:

My mom – the most lovely and gracious woman on the planet – loves Easter more than anything. We always had a big lily in our house from the very first moment they were available in stores. Lilies are an odd sort of flower, but beautiful in a strange-yet-stately kind of way. And the aroma that fills the room is absolutely outrageous.

I loved to sit by the lily and talk with my mom and she would tell me how much she loved Easter and loved the resurrection and it didn’t make a lot of sense to me at the time, but I knew whatever she said was important. And we would prepare food and special dresses and all the Easter accouterments, but we usually would NOT prepare Easter baskets.

My mom has a thing about bunnies and eggs.

She never expressed hatred for them, but she would offer regular – yet gentle – reservations. “Easter is just too important to be about bunnies,” she would say as she cooked or cleaned or sewed my dress. Her statement was never filled with anger at secular society, but rather a palpable reverence toward the work of the cross. And in these moments, my little subconscious gathered together the smell of the lilies and the food, the warmth of my home, the love in my mom’s heart for me and for the risen Jesus, and it created an indelible image in my head and on my heart. I can’t begin to express how thankful I am for this rich and wonderful heritage where the sacred stayed sacred. And that’s why the smell of Easter Lilies makes me cry.

So yesterday I was talking to my daughter and she said, “I remember when I was little and you used to say, ‘I love Easter – I just love the resurrection!’ and I didn’t really get it then, but today I realized that I totally feel the same way. I LOVE the resurrection!”

Generations of women, hunched over their carts, crying by the Lilies? That’s an Easter miracle.

(I love you, Mom!)

I could write a million words in a million ways….and still never say it as well as this.

Easter countdown: 4 days!

“And one of them struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his right ear. But Jesus answered and said, “Permit even this.” And He touched his ear and healed him.” Luke 22:50-51

It’s amazing to me that the events of that tragic and wonderful night were set into motion by the betrayal of Jesus by one of His closest friends. So sad. So unbelievably and wretchedly sad. If anyone has ever hurt you, ever wronged you, ever lied about you – well, then you know a bit of what Jesus must have been feeling as His dear friend sealed their relationship with a kiss. Heart wrenching – and enough in itself to make this a terrible night in the life of a young man living in hostile world, so far from home.

The second big moment tumbles in on top of the first as the passionate Peter uses his sword to stop the progress of the plan of God (I totally see myself here, weapon in hand, swinging wildly at the very thing that will eventually set me free.) This is not okay, so Jesus simply…fixes it.

Seriously? Think about it. Think of the just knifed-in-the-back Jesus, holding a bloody ear in His hand while the soldier screams in pain. Even in the midst of His own soul-deep agony, Jesus remembers this: He came to heal. So many times I get caught in the turmoil of the moment and forget why I’m really here. But Jesus doesn’t. He’s about to die to heal all humanity, so it would be the worse kind of hypocrisy to let this one leave the garden broken and marked for the rest of his life by the events of Jesus’ death. And so He heals both his enemy’s wound, and Peter’s mistake. Amazing.

Healing was – and is – an extravagant benefit of the cross. His stripes for our sickness. His wounds for our weakness. Every mark that landed on His body that day was filled with power and purpose. Every bruise on the sinless skin of the Lamb of God contained freedom from death and disease and despair.

Every one. For everyone.

Oh, how I love the cross!

Easter countdown: 5 days.

Luke 22:29 And I bestow upon you a Kingdom,just as My Father bestowed one upon Me.

Just before He died, Jesus gave you something. Not a small business or a huge corporation. Not a new car or a dumpster filled with $20’s (though how cool would that be?) All of those would be awesome – maybe even life-changing – but that’s not this. That’s not what He gave.

“I bestow upon you a Kingdom…”

I once went to Westminster Abbey in England. Here are my official impressions: old, cold, and gold-ish (everything seemed plated over in in really old gold – as opposed to covered over in really gold paint, as is the kingdom of many televangelists.) I know it’s only the “kingdom chapel” so-to-speak, but it was still remarkably ornate and opulent and it made me wonder how magnificent the actual palace might be.

So, what if I read a scripture where Jesus said: “I bestow upon you, Bo, Kensington Palace and all that belongs to the Queen of England”? That would be incredible. I’d want to move in! I’d want to figure out how the coffee maker works and where the crowns are kept. I’d roam the halls and order the butlers around – probably using a really awful and annoying English accent the whole time – and schedule a bunch of meetings with the Princes to give them relationship advice because that’s just what I do.

Bottom line: if I thought I had inherited a spot – even just a time share – in England’s royal house, I wouldn’t waste a second booking a plane ticket and going to find out exactly what it is that I won.

And yet, for thirty years this scripture – and it’s magnificent implications – slipped by me.

“I bestow upon you a Kingdom…” and check this, because it’s about to get way-over-our-heads-good…”just like My Father bestowed upon Me.” Um…wow…a Kingdom just like that? The authority and power of the One who established Heaven & Earth…that Kingdom? Is mine?

“I bestow upon you a Kingdom.”

If that one sentence from the mouth of Jesus hasn’t changed the way we think and talk and live, then maybe we’ve left some money on the table. If it hasn’t caused us to work in a way that brings the scepter of heaven to earth, then maybe – as we remember the beautiful cross this week – we need to go back and figure out just what it is that we won.

Easter countdown? 7 days!

Dichotomy.

Posted: March 13, 2008 in Uncategorized

Brutal: Deuteronomy 22-24. An R-rated, stomach-churning, bloody mess of impossible requirements for relationship.

Beautiful: Galatians 4. A passionate review of the grace-soaked benefits of the cross. Lost to found. Slave to son. Distant to dearly loved.

Brutal to beautiful, brought to you by the miracle of Easter (um, countdown? 10 days!)

P.S. Best .99 you’ll ever spend in preparation for Easter? This song right here.