01 October 2013

The Tale of the Irritated Neighbour

When I was a boy at summer camp staying overnight away from my family for the very first time, I remember being homesick. I remember going out walking into the field to talk to God, and while I was out there, praying that when I got back to camp, there would be a phone call waiting from my parents at home. A little while later, I walked back into camp, having forgotten what it was I had prayed, when over the loud-speaker a voice announced, “Daren Redekopp to the office, please. There’s a phone call for you.” It was my parents. My prayer had been answered.

But what if I hadn’t prayed for that? Would the phone call still have come? Did my prayer really change anything?

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05 September 2013

The Secret to Facing the September Terrors

If there's any single key to all the problems we face, it has to be this: the resurrection of Jesus. That just sounds right to me. It sounds like THE thing, if I really am a Christian, that I have to believe deep down where it hurts. But so often our problem isn't in what we believe, it's in drawing a connection from what we believe up to the struggle of this present moment. 

Like... what if you find yourself absolutely terrified this September, of returning to a job that feels like a waste of time and a complete dead end? What could Jesus' resurrection possibly have to do with something like that? Or what if your health is fading? Or your husband doesn't look at you the way he did ten years ago? What are you going to do? Wriggle in worry until it gets better?

"Life is more than food," Jesus said, "and the body more than clothing... Instead, seek God’s kingdom, and these things will be added to you."

What Jesus was saying is that the real source of our life is hidden in something more dependable than our shifting situations. And if anyone ever found himself in an unhappy situation, it was him. Cold-shouldered by those he was born to deliver, denied his rightful place in this world, Jesus had every opportunity to wriggle in complaint.

But our Lord had a different philosophy. He had an outlook on life that wasn’t dependent on having things all go his way. He called it, “the kingdom of God,” a reality that followed him into his ugliest days.  And when the Spirit of his Father breathed new life into his corpse after he died, that outlook was vindicated once and for all. 

What this means is that as you step into September, you can know that your life is bigger than the fulfillment you find in your school or work, health or romance. There's a reality to be carried into your ugliest days. If you really are in Christ, then no matter what does or does not happen in this unpredictable world, you have a unique identity that cannot be harmed, and you are free to do just what Jesus said: seek his Father’s kingdom.

Above all, remember this: because Jesus rose from the dead, you have already arrived.

20 June 2013

The Smile of the Law and the Sigh of the Prophets

 For three of Jesus’ closest followers, the curtain was drawn aside one day. How much time had they spent looking at this man––the almonds of his eyes, the callouses on his hands––and yet never really seen him? But then one day, something happened, and they saw him. It happened, Luke tells us, eight days after Jesus had hit them with these sobering words...