The Puny Life of Freedom

An undisciplined, self-willed life is puny; an obedient, God-willed life is spacious. Psalm 15:32 (Message) Puny. Ever felt that way? It’s a very touchy-feely word. You hear it, and you can visualize it immediately. I’ve never really thought of what the word meant, so I looked it up today: pu·ny   /ˈpyo͞onē/ Adjective Small and weak. Poor in quality, amount, or size.   Synonyms little – small – petty – feeble – slight – weak – weakly That’s the definition of puny. Small. Weak. Petty…. yeah, that’s puny. Of course none of us wants to be puny. So we imagine the opposite… strong. big. massive. necessary. That’s what I want, yeah. The thing is, though, you can’t just flip a switch here. Being puny is the result of a life of “puny-ness,” if that’s a word. It’s the result of accepting your role in life as insignificant and “less.” The proverb for today on the Daily Audio Bible jumped out at me, not because of the word puny, but because of the alternative…. SPACIOUS. Not a common antonym, but accurate nonetheless. It make me imagine a Montana sky, although I’ve never seen one. An astronaut in orbit. A diver in the ocean. These situations do not describe the person. They describe the environment that person lives within… where they dwell. Those who live undiciplined live the puny life because they actually stick themselves in a box that is so SMALL only THEY fit into it. It may feel free and easy, but in reality, it’s not. It’s small, tight, cramped, and nobody else wants in. The life that’s lived in...

One of “My” Glimpses of the Bigger Picture

This past Sunday I was reminded about the reality of the bigger picture, even the “more real” world that The Matrix gave us a great picture of, although it was quite allegorical. Much of my world is nice and neat, surrounded by what I would imagine are God-fearing and God-honoring people. If I want to really reach out into the hearts of teenage kids, I need to go hunting for them outside my church doors, right? I mean, these guys and girls are doing fine, doing great, and loving and worshipping God at any chance they get… right? Right? Wrong. Dead wrong. And I should know better. I’ve seen how “hurt” a heart can get by just putting a mirror on my own. Not just hurt by mean people, but hurt by my own false impression of myself, of God, and my picture of what others think. Even if it’s totally false, I still bought into it. How much more so the young men and young women I’m getting to know better and better. While it’s not a mid-life-crisis as we often think of it, it certainly is a crisis, at least according to the definition Google gives me: “an unstable situation of extreme danger or difficulty.” How many kids get lost in the high school years? Lose their way? Lose respect for (or of) their parents? Lose hope? Lose confidence in themselves? It’s all over the place, and I saw a glimpse of it this Sunday. I grabbed a whiteboard this past Sunday as I taught Sunday School and asked the kids three questions. We were wrapping up...

Heart Freedom Isn’t Free Either

As we celebrate Veterans Day today, it’s rather easy to look around life and pick out the men and women who I know that have served me and my country through military service. I’m sure I’d miss some of them, but I can certainly name a few, and I thank them. But what about freedom of the heart? Who has paid THAT price? Certainly, Jesus did. The sacrifice he made for me on the cross completely paid the price for my Salvation, Freedom, and Life. But is that it? Is freedom of the heart like freedom of speech, where once it’s paid for I can just walk out the door and exercise it to my heart’s content? I don’t think so. I’m thinking today of three other places where the price for freedom must be paid. First is all the men and women who have fought for my freedom without even knowing my name. Missionaries, authors, speakers, and those random people you see on the street who make you think, “what do they have that I don’t?” Those people have paid a price to become the people God made them to be. They’ve let themselves go so that they can be used for good in others life, without having a clue as to the impact their lives will made. Anonymity. That costs something. The second is those people who do know me and are fighting for my freedom. They may know me well, or they may know me just in a moment of life, but they know I am in need of Life, and they have some Life to...

Freedom Isn’t Free

FREEDOM ISN’T FREE(I don’t know who wrote this) I watched the flag pass by one day, It fluttered in the breeze. A young Marine saluted it, And then he stood at ease.. I looked at him in uniform So young, so tall, so proud, With hair cut square and eyes alert He’d stand out in any crowd. I thought how many men like him Had fallen through the years. How many died on foreign soil How many mothers’ tears? How many pilots’ planes shot down? How many died at sea How many foxholes were soldiers’ graves? No, freedom isn’t free. I heard the sound of Taps one night, When everything was still, I listened to the bugler play And felt a sudden chill. I wondered just how many times That Taps had meant “Amen,” When a flag had draped a coffin. Of a brother or a friend. I thought of all the children, Of the mothers and the wives, Of fathers, sons and husbands With interrupted lives. I thought about a graveyard At the bottom of the sea Of unmarked graves in Arlington. No, freedom isn’t...

The Bigger Story

Finding Your Place in the Bigger Story  A lesson for youth on freedom and significance Tonight (10/14/2009) I’m leading our youth group,and want to start talking about “The Bigger Story.” This is actually much more than just what could be accomplished in a single night, much less even in an hour a week, once a week, for any period of time, so tonight I just want to start cracking the door open… seeing where they are, what their expectations and hopes are to what the future holds, and how they came to that “conslusion.” Are we aiming to be what the world has planned for us, what we feel we can accomplish, or what God has specifically designed us to be? That’s not all that hard to answer on a surface level, but down deep, who am I really LIVING as if I’m going to be when I “get big?” ICE BREAKER – What do you want to be? Give each person in the group two card to write on. On the first card, have them write their name, and answer the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Let them know the question is not meant to ask “what kind of job do you want?” or “where do you want to live,” but “what do you want to be?” It is a very subjective question, and they should open their mind to dreams they might really have in their hearts. On the second card, simply have them write their name on the top of the card. Collect all the cards. Set aside the cards...