Monday, April 29, 2013

no matter what (Kenya repost)

*i originally wrote and posted this to renown on September 25, 2010 from Nairobi, Kenya. i can still remember the many emotions that surrounded Crystal and i on that very day. i can still hear the sounds, smell the smells, taste the dust and dirt from the road in the air... it was an awesome and powerful time for our faith.

i have to admit it was WAY different driving off on our own on Friday! Driving through Nairobi after everyone we knew had left was a different experience. being the only Americans around was a different kind of feeling.

For me it was fine. i actually kind of like it, but it was still different not knowing anyone and being "on our own". i know for Crystal it is much more scary and it takes big courage from her. she is so awesome and so brave. she's a trooper.

i thought it was awesome that the 1st thing i read while still in bed Saturday morning was this:

"Let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love, for i have put my trust in You. Show me the way i should go, for to You i entrust my life." - Psalm 143:8
wow. God was speaking to me through this. 
driving through Nairobi Friday night, i know Crystal was scared. no idea where we were heading. even driving through a couple slums. millions of people were everywhere.
we were with our new friend Maggie we had met like 30 minutes before and planned to stay with her all weekend. Maggie is awesome and a super cool lady (i'll tell you more about her later). but there was a BIG need to TRUST GOD NO MATTER WHAT.
so Friday night was a little "rough". Crystal and i prayed together for safety and protection and to be aware of God's presence with us. 
it was so fitting that i have been studying Psalm 91 for several weeks BEFORE we came to Kenya! i even spoke on it recently. i really love that passage and it's so appropriate for us being here. in Psalm 91 God invites us to live in the SHELTER and REFUGE that is HIM! it's beautiful. When we make HIM our HOME we have rest and protection from everything.
Crystal and i read Psalm 91 together Friday night. it's awesome that it doesn't really matter where in the world we are if our "HOME" is still in God. He is our HOME in any country.
Then we read the Psalm that i read when we 1st got to Kenya. Psalm 139:5-12 = God is with us WHEREVER we are. there is no place we can go to get away from God's presence. we read that together and it filled me up with such peace and confidence in a God that i can trust no matter what. no matter how "unsure" our surroundings might be.
so, when i woke up Saturday morning - because of the roosters crowing at 4am - the sun started to come up shortly after. i read the next Psalm = 143 & verse 8 was shouting to me as the new day and sun peeked into our room = "let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love." and it did. the fact that we woke up safe and sound in this place that for many Americans may feel the opposite... pointed to the fact that God won't fail us. His love for us won't ever stop. i literally felt the sun bringing me news of God's unfailing love.
in America we have to "trust God" all the time. most of the time it's "different" though. Friday/Saturday Crystal and i were learning to trust God at another level. we are literally following this verse "to You i entrust my life." and that is a very beautiful thing.
i'm 100% confident in our God. He is with us and we trust Him no matter what.
going to church now with Maggie in Nairobi... then leaving for Meru = 5-6 hour drive. update when we get there.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

you need the glasses, man

One of my best friends wrote this recently literally while sitting in his car in a traffic line. He and I talk about everything - whatever thoughts cross through our brains. So he wrote this and shot it to me.
i loved it and asked if i could post it as a guest blog. so here it goes, from the amazing brain and heart of my blood brother, Ed Williams... his thoughts on John 1:37 and the narrative surrounding it as the apostles decide to up and follow Jesus when he poses the offer...

Here are these men who, upon meeting Jesus, get up and leave their jobs and homes and begin to follow Him. Did they know they wouldn't be coming back? Did they leave all of their possessions? Did they even have any or much? How much does a middle eastern fisherman make?  A  Jewish, Roman-tax collector has to make a pretty good living.
I think it had to do with how, suddenly, the fog of the day in-day out blew away. They saw clearly that life was about MORE. And that MORE had just walked by in a pair of sandals. That MORE was their key to God and greater contentment and purpose than dragging nets and collecting money and things. They felt alive, invigorated in the idea that they had finally found something that mattered, something that made their previous worries and concerns trivial... something that gave their short existence here purpose.

It makes me think that people who live their life without God are like people who bought tickets to one of the first 3-D movies.  They only know a tiny little bit about the movie. They've read about it and the reviews are mixed.  As they walk in AND throughout the film, people say to them, "oh, you didn't get your glasses.  Here put these on." But the people refuse. They're not going to put something on their faces during a movie.  "I see just fine! I've seen movies before, I don't need glasses to watch a movie."  "But your missing the whole point!" say those with the glasses.
At the end,  people RAVE about it while others say it isn't that good and they don't get what the big deal was...they didn't see the same stuff that the other people saw and sometimes wonder if they saw the same movie. "It wasn't as good as as I thought it would be. There were some cool parts, don't get me wrong... but the whole thing... it just seemed a little fuzzy the whole time."

BOOM. love it. brilliant.

as long as he keeps scribbling on his iPad in the traffic line at school, i'll probably keep having some awesome guest blogs to post.

Friday, April 26, 2013


it seems to me as though the Church in America has become extremely moralistic. Entirely in some pockets.

and i mean moralistic/moral/morality based approach as opposed to a focus on who a person actually BECOMES. who they actually are. their character. their raw, true, real self.

and the 2 focuses are VERY different. radically different. they produce 2 different types of people. 2 different kinds of "Christians" really.

Moralism is a SHAME BASED approach.
Moralistic Christianity doesn't really give a rip about WHO a person is. character doesn't matter as long as the person follows the moral code.

and that shame based system dies hard.

one is about being inwardly "good" - being a passionate and radical follower of Jesus.
the other is about conformity to a moral standard.

one requires a transformation of the heart.
the other only requires a fear of punishment or being judged.

maybe this is why the American Church has notoriously and vehemently opposed homosexual people, socialism (or should i say anything that's not capitalism), etc... in fact, Christians have made a name for themselves by specializing in opposing practices like these and condemning the people who do them.
BUT American Christians have been much less famous for opposing injustice, racism, and poverty.


i'm not making a comment as to the right or wrongness of homosexuality and/or capitalism. i'm just asking WHY? why oppose those so vehemently but not the other things i mentioned?

because Christianity in America is pretty much just moralism.

not much emphasis on a for real transformation of the heart.

but when that happens you can forget the moralism. all that stuff takes care of itself in a much more organic and beautiful way.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

my wife's beautiful thoughts on the boston bombing (guest blog)

about a week ago my wife wrote some raw thoughts on the bombing in Boston. it was basically her reaction to the general public's reaction as reflected by the media.
i love my wife always, but when she writes things like this it makes my heart skip a few beats because our hearts are in rhythm. Our 2 hearts are in sync when it comes to loving all people because God loves all people.
It makes me so proud to be married to a woman whose heart comes out like this. i love her transparency and raw honesty and she and i feel very much the same way. She just wrote about it in a nicer and more beautiful way then i would have... hence i'm posting what she wrote below instead of writing myself. (the emphasis in her piece is mine)
"As I watch the unfolding coverage on the Boston bombings I am heartbroken.
I am of course incredibly saddened for those injured & the families of those killed. I have felt nervous for those living in the area who have been on lock down all day with the suspect at large in their community.

I am completely taken aback by the comments that I have heard about these 2 suspects. By no means am I justifying their actions or belittling the situation.

What has repeatedly come to mind throughout this whole thing is that God created these brothers & God loves them. 

I know the natural human response is extreme anger & wanting revenge. I feel some of that too, but it makes me sick to my stomach to hear some of what is being said about them

I have seen or heard comments such as "thankfully hell has a new member tonight & we hope it adds another very soon", "we are so happy that this man is dead." Those are pretty cruel & harsh statements!

I just don't think that someone dying or being in hell (if that's where he is) is something to be happy about.

The fact is that God loves this suspect just as much as he loves you or me & that God would forgive this man if asked.

That's a hard pill to swallow & I'm not sure that I can wrap my head around that right now. What I do know is that I am thankful for safety. I am thankful for police, FBI agents, healthcare workers who have worked so hard throughout this whole ordeal. I know that I am happy that the situation seems to be over. I hope that the city of Boston will be able to rest easier tonight. I hope that you will join me in praying for the people of Boston as they start to move forward & try to recover from this attack. I hope that I will be able to get past the anger & the desire for "justice" that I am currently feeling & get to a place where I can pray not only for the victims, but also for the suspect."
- Crystal Mitchell

old man winter

i don't like the cold -- at all. if it's in the 40s that is much too cold for me.

Thankfully it's usually not too bad here in Charlotte. But we do get the occasional snow during the winter.
i'm hearing that it's been snowing in different parts of the country over the last week or so... that makes me even more thankful for this beautiful 75 degree weather!

but not that long ago it was snowing cold here in Charlotte and my good friend Ed made an Old Man Winter snow sculpture in his front yard. crazy impressive.

i had to blow it up from the low res facebook pic, so i hope you can still appreciate the detail.
pretty amazing.

meant to ask him how long it took to make that?
i'm thinking this should be the new trend at weddings instead of ice sculptures of swans.

this makes me most of all thankful that winter is in the past because i hate the cold.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

we can find God in all kinds of places

just some thoughts i've had lately on the unforunate way we MISS God all the time in our world. we walk right by God and don't even know we missed Him.

God is intersecting with the world in all kinds of ways, but for some reason we only notice God in overtly "Christian" ways.

If we bump into something in life that is truly beautiful, something true, something good, and something that is a better way to live - that's from God. It doesn’t matter where I find it, who speaks or lives it, or what they believe -- they are showing us God!

our narrow mindedness has been costing us something very valuable. we've been missing God in the world.

because it's not that God is over here and real life is over there.  If it is real, then it’s showing us God. Remember that because God is the AUTHOR of that real/true/beautiful thing, originally. He is the foundation of that truth we are seeing.

you can't tell me that's not God because it's not directly linked.
sure it is. God thought that up. He designed that way of life. he designed the world to work this way! 

so i see God all around me, intersecting with His creation through people and systems and principles and flowers and poems and songs and books and every little corner of life.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

r u kidding me?

r u kidding me? with the cuteness...

daddy's little girl, no doubt.