image

Shawn Smucker co-wrote a great book, Refuse to Drown. It’s the story of a dad coming to grips with an awful choice, faith, and family in the midst of a terrible tragedy. The title, Refuse to Drown, is a metaphor about how that man, Tim Kreider, faced the circumstances which threatened to sink him: he refused to drown. He would not washed overboard, or swamped by the tides of life. His is a story of hope in the midst of terrible times. And this book is well worth yours. Because if Mr. Kreider–like Noah, Joseph, Jeremiah before him–can trust God through the hard times so can we all.

As it says in the Scriptures, “weeping may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning.” And God is our morning–our perpetual morning. Especially when it’s dark, and we don’t understand. He will be the eye of our hurricane if we let Him. It’s a paradox I don’t understand, but surrender seems to be the only antidote to a life spiraling out of control. The more we try to control, the more things slip out of our hands. Kreider learned, in the most heart-wrenching way possible–that there were indeed things he couldn’t control. He couldn’t bargain his way out.

His only recourse was surrender.

He could well have surrendered to:

Drink

Sex

Drugs

But he chose to, despite his lack of understanding, and his inability to control (and protect), surrender to Christ. Let that be a lesson to us: surrender is the answer, but it’s all about Who we surrender to. We may cede our rights to all manner of things (some of which are listed above), but while those things medicate they don’t give us the one thing we’re all looking for:

LIFE.

Only God can do that–give us life.

———————

As I mentioned above, Shawn Smucker co-wrote this book with Mr. Kreider. I’ve read a number of his books, and I felt his deft touch on every page bringing the words of Kreider’s journal to life. There’s a vibrancy, a potency, and immediacy to the narrative as it unfolds. I as a reader felt as if I was there–down in the valleys, and back out again. This book will break, and re-make, your heart in the best way possible.

And all while pointing you to the Giver of Life. Which is why, in the post title above, I said this is not a book review. Because, ultimately, refusing to drown isn’t so much a book, as it is a way of life.

Get your copy: Refuse to Drown on Amazon You won’t be sorry.

I’m Here For You

randomlychad  —  March 10, 2014 — 4 Comments

Hi. How’s your day today? If your night was anything like mine you went to bed far too late and were awakened far too early.

Since:

Becoming a parent

Entering my forties

Being diagnosed with sleep apnea

I have more nights/days like that. Rest is a fleeting commodity. Add to that work pressures, comitments, obligations, family issues, and sometimes I want to pull the escape hatch.

I’m sure you’ve felt the same, right?

Sometimes life is too much.

But I’m a guy. I’m supposed to be tough, stong…

I’m suposed to be able to handle it. Thing is, I don’t always. I don’t handle it at all well. Sometimes, my coping strategies involve just about exactly the wrong thing.

I have struggles I don’t want to have.

My prayer of late, after trying to lay ahold of kingdom promises, has simply been:

“I’m not strong, I don’t have it altogether. God, be merciful to me, a sinner.”

How about you?

If you’re a guy, and you’re going through something you’d rather not be, I want you to know:

YOU’RE NOT ALONE.

I’m here for you. This blog is a safe place. It exists for our mutual comfort and encouragement.

I’m here for you.

Can I count on you when life is hard?

image

This Son of God themed prize pack includes:

A novelization of the recently released feature film.

A movie soundtack CD

And a 1,000 piece puzzle for hours of family fun.

Enter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I want to tell you about my friend.

My lunatic friend.

You wouldn’t know it by looking at him. No, from the outside looking in he appears to be as normal as anyone else. He’s calm, cool, collected. Has his stuff together.

Or at least appears to.

But in his chest beats the heart of a beast.

Yes, despite all appearances to the contrary, he doesn’t have it all together. He knows it, and it drives him up a wall!

He is a mass of conflicting desires, thoughts, emotions, pent up frustrations. He wants life to get easier.

But it never does.

It never does.

You see, my lunatic friend can fake it with the best of them. He can pose.

But in his heart he knows:

He’s not strong

He hasn’t got it all together

And prays everyday, “God be merciful to me, a sinner.”

You might know my lunatic friend. He’s me, you see. He’s me–and you, and everyone who’s ever lived.

“For the flesh lusts against the spirit,and the spirit against the flesh. The two are contrary to one another.” And no matter how long we walk with Christ the flesh never gets better. We can get better at resisting its allure.

But it is never sanctified. Our souls are. But not our bodies. “Who shall deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

We, as long as we are here on this earth, shall never be sinless. But let us pray fervently to sin less and less. And let us remember to be as forgiving towards the lunatic friends of others as we are of our own. That to my mind is what it means to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.

Are you brave enough to admit you have a luntic friend? Are you ready to do something about that? Put it down in words below.

God bless you!

'Film Matrix: a choice in your life' photo (c) 2006, surfstyle - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

The Matrix is a 1999 film directed by the (then) Wachowski brothers, and starring Keanu Reeves as Thomas Anderson/Neo. At a point early in the story, Mr. Anderson has been arrested, and is being questioned by an agent. The agent, Mr. Smith, says to him, “You’ve been living two lives, Mr. Anderson. By day, as a developer for a respectful software company. By night, you operate under the hacker alias, Neo. Only one of these lives has a future, Mr. Anderson.”

Now within the context of the movie that agent–Smith–is trying to scare Anderson into conformity, keep him a slave to the Matrix. In our world, the paradigm is parallels that of the story: the world, the flesh, and the devil comprise the wool the which has been cleverly pulled over our eyes. As in the world of the Matrix, we have to escape the seemingly gravitational pull of a world that wants nothing more than conformance with the status quo. Like Neo in the movie, Jesus has come into our world and upset that Apple cart.

He came blasting into a culture which prided itself on conformity with the rules, and turned everything upon its head. He said the we needed to be “born again,” to die to ourselves. That indeed it was only on death that we would find life. That it was for freedom that He came to set us free.

We, like Mr. Thomas Anderson, could continue to confirm, toe the line, play it safe. Or we could launch our coracles out into the vast ocean of grace. The late, great C.S Lewis said that “our passions are not too strong, but too weak. We muck about with drink and sex when all the pleasures of Heaven lay before us.”

As the Bible says, “There is a way which seems right unto a man, but the end of the ways thereof is death.” Put another way, and in the words of Bob Dylan, we’ve “gotta serve somebody.”

The question, then is who? Who will we serve?

Self (the devil), or God? “Only one of these lives has a future.”

Choose you this day.

“Only one life, twill soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will last.”

What say you? Speak on it?