What one person sees & condemns as chaos,
another sees & blesses as a beginning.
I'd not seen him before. No one at Poplar would know him. He didn't look up. He just kept staring into the bag of groceries I'd just given him. He just kept looking down.
"My life didn't used to be like this... where did it go wrong..." he said.
"There's something else....I've done something awful... I'm so ashamed..." A story of wrong choices, wrong friends, a drinking spree getting out of control, arrest, DNA swabs, cells & a rape charge has me sighing at the brokeness of what I was hearing.
The story told - he looks up into my face looking for rejection. I say nothing...
"My life didn't used to be like this... where did it go wrong..." I say nothing...
He half composes himself - "I'm in court next week... I'm scared..." I put my hand on his shoulder. "I'm sure you know if you are guilty" His shoulders shake as deep sobs interrupt the moment.
I look into his eye's "What do you want me to pray?"
Through his sobs he barely whispers "that justice will be done..."
We wish & work to walk with God & others & make a real difference in our corner of the world. But this walk is on a steep narrow road inwardly & a wide rugged road outwardly - Wide & full of potholes & perils:
Perils from evils & idols. Perils from distractions & temptations. And punches from other travelers who strike, shun, or attack perceived weaknesses in the name of God.
Getting up & carrying on takes courage. Getting up, carrying on, & gaining ground takes courage. To keep moving despite the bombs & bullets from both enemy & friendly fire takes courage.
Staying open & humbly vulnerable takes courage. Forgiveness takes courage. Exercising wisdom & compassion with the imperfections of others & ourselves takes courage.
Forging ahead on the faith mission God has given takes courage. Forging ahead deciding to leverage every trial for good, takes courage. Getting up, facing God, & surrendering all, knowing that you will still make mistakes, but must still carry on... takes courage.
To regularly & intentionally encourage & instill this courage in one another, we must. It is our charge & our call to en-courage one another.
It is not our differences
that is often
the real enemy
of true unity.
Before there was the 'all this' You called me to & set me into & keep in missional motion... Before there was the 'this & that', & all the ministrations & ministries which fill the bulk & span of my day's day...
Before there was an office, & a building, & a budget, & a pushing into the city with a mandate, & a pushing into men's hearts with a swab or a sword. Before all of this, there was You & I. And when all 'this' passes away, there will still be You & I. So here now, in the middle of the 'all this' that You started & keep going by grace; here I sit low to do nothing more than to seek & see You. Because for me it has never really been all about the 'what', but the 'Who with'. So... pardon my stare here in the wee hours of pre-day's start. And pardon my repetitive glances, down in the thick of this day's middles. And pardon my sins, too. To the One of whom I am cultivating an addiction, pardon the stalking tendencies I intend to display as I disentangle myself from the affairs of this life so that I may have a well tangled affair with You... and You alone.
I got to thinking about us, the way we were made…The way we are created for greatness, but can equally handle smallness if that sometimes be the road to it. The way we are allowed to take up the Life of Christ & let that deep shift transform, addict, & grab us body & soul.
I got to thinking about us -The way we are empowered to taste the Passover; judgment flying over we hidden souls behind blood stained doors. And the way we are subsquently empowered to passover transgressions from others with that same unshakeable & irresistible power of mercy & forgiveness. The way we are empowered to lay down our life for others as if it were an honor to be asked, instead of an imposition to be endured.
Got to thinking about us… Been thinking about how we are wired for greatness - The greatness it takes to take no account of suffered wrong, & to love strong enough for two when the love of one grows cold. For loving when hated. For embracing when rejected – Rejecting rejection when it comes at us like arrows. For interceding when denied- For standing against the tide… We're created for greatness.
Been thinking about how we've been given enough love for us & ours & for everybody else too. How we can take it, when required. And dish it out when righteously necessary. How we can go it, when the second mile is calling from out of some trying situation. Been thinking about how we can bend when flexibility is the better choice, & stand erect in the winds of foolish change.
Been thinkin' bout how we’ve been wired to hold the secrets of others & spread them spilling out like a whisper before the Lord alone in prayer. Bout how we can have that love of God spilling over, plenty for come what may protection against bitterness & criticalness offenses & grudges. Protecting one another instead of lashing out. Been thinking about how we are wired for twisting anger to peace with a calm response & gentle edifying words. For practicing ruthless mercy. For offering two garments & taking two slaps with the bigger picture in mind. For taking the high road when the low road seeks to evangelize us to its side.
Been thinking about us… About the way we are destined to bring shift change to our corner of the world with radical generosity & a revolution of goodness which runs headlong against the spirit of me, myself & I as well as the spirit of us & them. Yeah, we're called to greatness. Empowered to walk in it. Encouraged to yeild to it, to accept the truth of it. And with that acceptance, to "forever north crying freedom, run on unshakled"
But fear tactics, spiritual bullying, & intimidation, which many street corner or angry prophets undertake as tools to communicate an exaggerated, imbalanced or graceless truth, this instigates the opposite response.
Nevertheless, the same grace of God that offers unconditional love will indeed also offer unadulterated truth about the condition of our hearts & lives. Which is why when I go before God in prayer, it is with no assumptions about how far I've come or where I currently stand... except firm in His unconditional love. All the rest is up for grabs. Two prayers I pray: Show me Your heart, oh God. Show me my heart, oh God. And, at the time, whatever He wishes me to see about both is 'yes & amen'.
When Jesus lovingly declares a community of saints as largely poor, miserable, naked, & blind, no amount of faith confessions & self-declaring victory slogans, nor stanzas of "Jesus loves me" can change that painful truth - Only repentance. No amount of tallying up & listing off of current good works can be offered as a suitable response - Only repentance. And there can be no repentance if there is unwillingness to consider that that which Jesus spoke could, in fact, be true. As true as the truth of His unconditional love.
But know this, when He speaks such a hard truth, the yielding to it takes you way further upward than the trip you must first make downward.
Stop relating to others using a measuring stick
& you'll be closer to loving like Christ than ever before.
I'm not courting God like a ravished lover - No. Mine is a much messier quest. I'm courting Him like a cocaine addict - counting worthless & selling off anything that stands between having what I seek....
Scouring the deep recesses of all my comfort zones for any remnant of change that may have slipped between the cushions... every penny counts & everything that is mine is handed over that I might apprehend Him, know Him, walk in the pleasure of His presence, & in His resurrection life... Even if it means fellowshipping with suffering. Here, anchored in the sweat & snot & tears & shakes of a morning 'episode' .. my longing overtakes my logic & reason. I curse my brokenness, swear through a vow, & hand over all my gods & goods for another sight of His face, his heart, His soul... Him. I'm not courting God like a ravished lover - This morning mine is a much, much messier quest - I court Him like a cocaine addict.
Many of us have been
seeking to bless our lives with God’s help
without first seeking to lose our lives for God’s sake.
Perhaps that's why
many of us are experiencing God's blessings,
but few of us are experiencing God's Life.
And now comes the season of iron sharpening iron as we shoulder close to know God's heart, bear His likeness, & live out His message. In childlike wonder, engaging in the pleasures of this life, we drink deep from the people, places, & things that make this world provocatively beautiful. We live full. We play hard. We leisure well. We pray hard. We laugh deep - we kingdom eunichs. We, Christ-apprentices, who take on the yoke, take up our cross, & put on the mantle of serving others as we simultaneously engage every "Follow Me" discipline that will help in our swift pursuit of the holiness & wholeheartedness which enables us to see beyond the headlines & into the details of God. We'll live wide & deep in the joys of earth but remain willingly severed from that which would distract us from companioning the King & fulfilling His earthly desires. He alone is now our deepest delight.
Suspicion is not the same as true discernment.
Addiction to God's presence is not automatically synonymous with an addiction to God Himself. There is a difference between the two. There is a difference in the kind of fruit each produces.
When spiritual experiences are treated like consumer items we become not more but less missionally productive members of the kingdom, God is treated like our pusher, & spiritual experience, addictive as it is, becomes just the latest new drug.
The pursuit of spiritual experiences has too often been divorced from spiritual responsibility to others & to the One who gave those experiences. And instead of producing unconditional vibrant love, missional living, & radical obedience, it only reproduces hunger for more spiritual experiences. This is not an 'experience' issue but a heart issue.
Everyone who has driven a car has had the experience of approaching an intersection, slowing, glancing both ways, & then choosing to stop or slowly slide through. The sign says "full stop" but... that's only a guide, a warning; it doesn't really mean "full stop".
And stopping is so inconvenient; so time consuming & wasteful of gas & brake linings. It requires going against momentum of a vehicle already in motion, & a set of well practiced attitudes & choices in favor of ease & convenience. So we don't stop. We make truth relative to our own judgment, to our own needs, & our own subjectivity. "It says... but it doesn't really mean..." And then we wonder why the Spirit seems so absent from our lives, We're guilty of this, or offenses like it. We are all, to one degree or another, in one place or another, not coming to a full stop.
As long as it is convenient & serves our interest, truth, like a stop sign, is obeyed. When there is traffic in the intersection we are willing to come to a full stop. But what happens when there seems to be nothing to gain, no apparent benefit from stopping & some obvious benefits to be obtained from coasting through?
What happens when we like Eve in the garden, examine the forbidden fruit before us more closely & determine that it is good for food, beautiful to the eye, & able to make one wise" "God said don't eat... but what He really means is..." We might never simply disregard sin. We may slow down, provide enough appearance of obedience to satisfy ourselves & others, but it is just an appearance. The issue has already been decided. Once truth is made relative to our ends, however base or noble, it ceases to be an end in Truth that is relative to own ends is our servant. Only truth that is loved & obeyed for it's own sake, apart from its apparent utility, is our Lord. -P. Volk
About the people in your life...
When you let all the things they are not, blind you to all the good things they are, then you inadvertently have put cynicism, mote hunting, judgmentalism, or your expectations on the throne. Ditch that outlook. Don't even attempt to couch cynicism in spiritual language. That dog won't hunt. Instead, be led by love for one another. Live gratitude. Encourage one another in weaknesses. Carry one another's burdens. Consider one another's needs. Boast of one another's uniqueness, growth, & best qualities. Correct in meekness. Don't divide over differences. Practice relational hospitality. Pay attention to love each other well. This is the will of God concerning you. This is also powerful evangelism at work. For what is it really if you have all revelation, and angelic encounters, & understand all prophecy, & are knowledgable about many of the deep things of God, but have not love? If you must be known for one thing, be known for love. This is how the world will know that I have come. Love on full frontal display. This is what radical Christianity looks like when it's on the move.
-invade all of my habits - each and every one-
The N.T. story God is writing,
conceived in great love,
it all begins with the finished work of Christ.
All of it starts there.
But from there He also integrates the ongoing work of Christ. And this, this requires an individual's active partnership with what God desires to do not just for us, but also through us. Make no mistake, Christianity is more than just a loving acknowledgment of God's grace & what Christ has already done for us. It is also an active participation in God's discipleship & what He wants to do in & with us. This is the road upon which the best love, mystery, action & adventure plots are carried to their "well done", expected & eternal good, good end.
I think Jesus' goal was never to 'fix up' or repair my old life, but to replace it with His new life. Jesus did not simply come to give us truths - He came to make us true. More than simply giving us truths to live by, I think He came to live out those truths in us.
I think the rigorous commands He issued & all those wonderful & absurd high standards & second-mile edicts were not something He expected us to go out & attempt to fulfill. Rather, it was specifically for us to see that we could not - but to also go one step further & acknowledge that God could - and thereby consent to a lifelong partnership of us letting Him do in & through us what we could not do by ourselves. "With men it is impossible, but with God all things are possible"'
In entering such a partnership with God as the source of our life & goodness, & us as cooperative vessels of that expression, we thus step into the great life-surrendering, soul-transforming, power-displaying, love-immersing, mercy-receiving, gap-standing, schedule shuffling, wild, painful, messy, wonderful adventure called Life in Christ.
Those rigorously high standards Jesus both represented & presented for us to walk in were more than mere commands, they were descriptions - descriptions of God's own life & nature, & what our lives would look like if He was allowed to express His through we weak & glorious earthen vessels. This is why I believe the greatest thing God will ever ask of us is...... to yield. Hence our great grace deal begins not with us working, but with us entering into this rest. Not working to attain righteousness , but yielding to obtain a righteousness that is not earned, but freely given.
Who's got time to be the kind of Christian Christ said he wanted to make us all? In an attempt to try, we search our hearts & schedules for holes big enough to insert all we 'ought to be doing' & the less likely we see it possible to do all that seems to be required of followers of Christ. We tend to either ignore or expend great energy on "try to make space in our life for holiness, mission, morality & standard reaching", without first surrendering our lives up for the great exchange of old life' striving to embrace His 'new life' method - not of striving to attain, but of yielding to obtain.
Better to opt for absolute surrender, cease striving - enter into His Rest & let Him be the Life of this Christianity we signed up for. Agree to yield.
Scripture states that we are called to "walk in the power of an endless life." Pause & think about that.
How dismally small the number of us who do. Such passages remain to most of us a myth rather than a present experience. Paul stated that he counted all else dung compared to knowing Christ ...a-n-d walking in His resurrection life which was full of power. He regularly referred to Christ as his life. He said that in some viable way he was dead, & that the life being expressed in him was largely not his own, but Christ's. He repeatedly wrote that he was continuing to daily surrender up his own life so that Christ's own life could & would manifest through him. In several passages Paul called this consistently renewed surrender "dying daily". He specifically referred to our need to die daily as the whole reason for the cross Jesus told each of his followers they would need to carry. Paul clearly expressed that there was no "Resurrection Life" without there first being a death. Hence he repeated Jesus instruction that we carry our cross. This instrument of death becomes a doorway to Life.
Many of us know Jesus as the Way. Some know Him as the Truth. Few know Him as the Life. The entrance fee to knowing Jesus as the Life will cost us full surrender of our life, but the rewards are, well, ...endless.
By placing our expectation on His life not ours, we will still have to do stuff, even some of the same stuff we're doing now, still have to do boring stuff, hard stuff, painful stuff, smart stuff, we'll still have to engage spiritual disciplines, & we'll still have to go into hard broken places within & without & do our part of the work to mend & be made whole. We'll still have to find our stride on the narrow road.... Still dishes to wash, diapers to change. Still people to serve & mission to fulfill... The high standard will still need to be aspired to... BUT the "from where" will be the distinction & also the explanation for the level of grace, contentment, power & joy that will be ours because of this new way we chose to become His.
Knowing Jesus as our Life is not strictly for spiritual giants, it is what makes spiritual giants.
More to come...
Sometimes I feel like I'm Shrek, and the annoying conversations that go on in my head are like that donkey that followed Shrek around. I'm on this journey to awaken the sleeping princess & bring her to the king. There are hills to traverse & dragons to slay & dungeons to move through & towers to climb... And there's me - moving through this amazing techni-color journey while scratching my rear, belching the words to "I wish I were an Oscar Meyer weiner', occasionally cleaning my ears with my finger, wearing the same shirt for too many days in a row, & sometimes needing a serious attitude adjustment when either the donkey or the princess goes into a diatribe of whines & complaints over the nature of this journey. Add to all that the reality that a part of me really is "An Ogerrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!!!!!!!!. As I put on Christ for & in this trek, I become a Christian Oger, but an Oger nonetheless. I don't kill & eat towns-people any longer. Now I serve & protect them. But I still pick my nose... while slaying their dragons & keeping watch over the village. Turns out even Ogers have a unique purpose in the plan of God.
But you can give God more of you.
"If you abide in Me..."
In the kingdom of God, it's not about the dominance of God over you as much as it is about the partnership of God with you. If He wanted it to be about dominance, God would have set up His kingdom very differently. Instead, He wanted it to be about love & the divine 'with'. And that 'with' made by free will of choice. Not by force or fear of punishment. I think God expresses His leadership & kingly rule toward us & through us best not through dominance but through partnership. And that gentle posture spawns in us a desire to submit all we have & are to His loving rule. And what's more, it spawns the desire to grow & rise & become a yielded & worthy partner at His side. To walk worthy of that noble calling.
Immersing in the unencumbered 'whatever'...my 'Yeah, Uh huh. OK' given up toward a 'Your will be done'as I invite God to write whatever story with this life& its tedious striking seconds, hours, & daysa whatever story that serves His kingdom best.
- If the chapter God most needs written
- pushes this radical introvert
- ruthlessly further out into the world
- or relentlessly deeper into hiddenness from the world...
If a chapter needs to swing cliff hanger high
& I'm taken into a wilderness,
or thrown into a pit by my brothers,
or cast into lion's den by my enemies,
or brought low by my pride, so be it. - Whatever.
And what if this my sometimes waivering
but regularly heart-exploding God-love
gets tucked long inside the mundane & the ordinary,
a string of unadventurous weeks & months & years
spent plowing on the seemingly
barren backside of nowhere,
or if instead I'm pushed on my knees, & thrust over my head
into the wild of blazing revivals across many continents - Whatever.
Given my wide range of strengths & weaknesses,
if I need to be made an example of for good or bad
for the good of the kingdom - So be it.
Whatever storyline inside chapters His expanding kingdom
needs to see written & lived out
in this my frail frame harboring a great big heart
for that Nazerine - Whatever.
On the inside, vicious skirmishes & ambushes. Swords drawn - blood spilled. Hurling some aspect of my inflamed or inflated self onto that cross I drag everywhere I go.
Kill it, I say to God's Spirit in me. Crucify it, He does. When I hurl it up onto that splintered, blood splattered beam, my part is over & His begins.
On the outside, errands, starbucks, lease payment, parent, employee, & a quick goodbye. On the inside, at red lights, eyes close & head hits the steering wheel in worship. Messy, stilted, wordless pockets of worship at the red lights & stop signs, & in the starbucks addiction line. Gritty worship in the Fall winds - the cityscape ahead & my heart hurling itself ahead - head on into the oncoming come closer now of a hide & seek God.
On the outside, I'm tapping out these aimless words like a pregnant soul needing to deliver. On the inside, warfare & worship... tenderness & grittyness... fasting & feasting.... jagged-edged worship.
The 1st commandment is not all about God. It's all about you & God. It expresses that His most prized goal & jewel is holding highest place in your heart. It confessed that God's greatest treasure... is you. It says to all, that a mutually loving relationship is the thing God most desires most, & the place where all things obedience & Christ-likeness are conceived. The 1st command could have easily been, "Thou shalt obey the Lord your God". Instead God carefully crafted the sentence, "Thou shalt love the Lord Your God". Knowing full well that if God had your loving, yielded, whole heart, greater & greater obediences would be its ever bearing fruit, & the story of God's grace & your adventures in faith would be written for all the world to see. The 1st commandment is not all about God. It's all about you & God. It comes before any acts of obedience or service in missions. It even comes before "Thou shalt love others..." A full throttle relationship between you & God comes before all else & fuels the carrying out of all other commands. And if you engage it, it will remain when all else passes away - That's how highly He values & treasures you.
You might be a judgement-junkie if...
When you hear sermons about the unconditional love of God, you cringe.
When you hear someone talking to someone else about how much God loves them, & you immediatly want to go into a diatribe about God's anger if they don't submit & obey all God's commands, you might be a judgment-junkie.
If every time you hear someone talk about the mercy or grace of God, you feel the abrupt need to enter the conversation & turn it into a talk all about holiness, you might be a judgment-junkie.
If you think the sentence "God loves you." is always an unfinished or incomplete sentence, you might be a judgement-junkie.
If you think the words mercy or compassion are synonyms for weak & compromising, you might be a judgment-junkie.
If you think the phrase "God loves you because He loves you", is a sentence in desperate need of a comma, & that it should always end by covering what God requires of you, you might be a judgement-junkie.
If you are often accused of being harsh & unloving, but usually find a way to blame those accusing you as either blind, unspiritual, or simply not as devoted to God as you, you might be a judgment-junkie.
If you think God wants to fear-monger & intimidate people into submission, you might be a judgment-junkie.
If the phrase "God demands obedience", seems like a perfectly good way to portray God, but "God loves you" doesn't, you might be a judgment-junkie.
If you secretly think that 'kindness & gentleness' should not be listed among the fruits of the spirit, & you consider them superflous in communicating correction, you might be a judgment-junkie.
When you are easily irritated by people who don't hear you when you are calling them names & being condescending while communicating a 'truth' about right living, you might be a judgment-junkie.
Our knees too clean.
Our feet avoid the dirty places.
Our houses unsullied & unsoiled by the marginalized, poor, & homeless. So much cleanliness stemming from such unclean hearts living in such sanitized settings.
Camel meet needle's eye.
A proverb for this largely toweless, entangled, entitlement generation...
The richer, the poorer. The poorer, the richer. The cleaner, the dirtier. The dirtier, the cleaner.
Camel meet needle's eye.
He came into that skanky bar I hang out in, sat next to me, & bought me a drink. Holy & clean, everyone could see he did not belong there. What we couldn't see is that neither did anyone else. This was the news he came to bring. Kept it hidden inside his inside pocket. Brought it out only after we'd talked awhile. Well, I talked. He just listened. Listened like my mother, leaning over my crib, just to listen to me breathe. He seemed that cleanly fascinated with my story...& with me. He came into that skanky bar I hung out in, sat beside me, & shared His time with me. Shared His story with me. Shared his Life with me. Made me an offer I could not refuse.
it's hard not to Holy
even while i'm being broken open... HOly.
even as confidence dissipates like vapor... HOLy
even as God's plans stretch beyond my means... HOLY
in my weakness & worship,
fault & funk & fragrance all together say... HOLY!
it's my cuss & my chorus
& currently it's my unspeakable joy.
Pulled off the side of the highway now. Overtaken with the sound of shouts from a world crying out to the church, saying, 'Show us the Father'. What will be the church's response? Her greatest desires presently are not so much to have the Father glorified through her, as much as it is to have Him bless her, wash her, encourage her, impress her, entertain her, make her comfortable, keep her safe, treat her good, give her coping skills - But the sounds of radical surrender, impassioned pleas, the imperfect but diligent deeds of preparation & pursuit to be conformed into God's image, counting all things rubbish compared to the white-hot quest to know God's heart & bear His likeness - these are scarcely heard. We seem content to take from His hand, but apathetic & impatient toward seeking His face. Content to hear teachings on wise 'coping skills' to better our lives, but not to move up to the rim of our rule to lose our lives & behold Him who is Life. We've grown comfortable expressing our weaknesses, but have also grown weaker in being an expression of God's strength. It was never meant to be either or. -God, bring reformation........
-another day to lock gaze in God-wonder & a come nearer still. my heart leans hard right into it now. right into the wild, base, breathtaking simplicity of companioning a God both mystical & missional.
inside me: candles & altars. liturgy & incense-smoke. polyphonic chants & primal shouts. outside: dirty gym-shoes & clean justice. show-&-tell & disciplemaking & battlescars to boot. yeah, risk-taking & standing tippy-toed to reach into & serve out with age-to-come gifts & power. family & friends & confidants & counselors all in between the lines.
mistakes & outakes & whisky-strong jagged-edged worship all underneath the landscape - like lava spilling out over the low & high ledges, making new ground while changing the contours of the old. yeah, incense burning, sneakers going on, whisky-strong worship going up, & me headed into another day to lock gaze in God-wonder & a mad mission to come nearer still while going further out-
Activity & productivity are not one in the same.
Most of us want to skip over the disciplines & go right to the results & rewards of those disciplines. We want to have powerful prayer lives, but also want to skip over establishing prayer habits. We want renewed minds, but want to skip over the habit of carving out regular time for meditation & study. We want that land of milk & honey, but don't want to trek through any form of wilderness to get to it. We want transformed lives, but want to avoid at all cost life-surrender & the tediousness of establishing
spiritual disciplines. I think it's wisdom to look for the best approach, the best fit, & the right rhythm when it comes to applying spiritual disciplines to our lives. But even the most perfect fit won't be void of times when it meets resistance & you'd rather do anything else but spiritual disciplines... And yet, despite contrary feelings, you must. That's the nature of discipline; that when it meets resistance it breaks it down & breaks through it by continuing to press in. Any good trainer will tell you that learning to press through resistance is part of the training. I's during times of resistance that we are actually becoming strongest. but if we reject the hard parts of training we will never be fully trained. Regarding spiritual discipline, we can not simply follow the path of least resistance. That's called meandering. It may hide under the guise of rejecting legalism or 'still looking for the perfect fit', but underneath, it's still just an "I don't want to & especially when I don't feel like it, so I'm not gonna'. We have every right to have this posture, & God does not love us less when we do. but the issue is not God's love, it's the issue of fruitfulness, transformation, increase, effectiveness, & all else relating to your call to be the light of the world, the salt of the earth, the dwelling place for God.
Christian zealots often mistake their own zeal for the zeal of the Lord. This leads into many places & paces God's Spirit has not necessarily called them to. Many 'strange' fires & burnouts result. Zealots often inadvertently make zeal itself their guide, thus subverting the Holy Spirit's role in their life. Zeal certainly has an essential place. But zeal makes a bad God. Even if it's zeal for the things of God.
Zeal is a great catalyst, but a bad God. One leads to strange fires, flash fires, & spiritual burnout. The other, to holy fire, holy fruit, & a spiritual renewal that is sustainable. One leads to strain. The other, to rest.
I have a friend... who has been in the trenches with me, taken bullets for me, grabbed live grenades thrown my way, threw them a distance off, & resuscitated me when my breath failed. I have a friend, who has scars from the battle we've shared, who has tattoos for the mission we've shared, who smells of the worship we've lived, & who speaks from a heart giving itself away. Closer than a brother. Better than many friends of old. I have a friend who has never been perfect, & has sometimes disappointed me, but has never once failed me. Closer than a brother. Yeah, we're 'come what may' that way.