Saturday, November 1, 2014

"This is Victoria, the mother of my son..." Baptism Pt 1

“This is Victoria, the mother of my son, but not like that. You see I’ve had her son in my home in foster care for the last 4 ½ years and now I have adopted him as my son.” Those were words of introduction at a recent church baptism celebration.

He is Mike and for several years now I’ve come to expect his unfiltered heartfelt passionate approach.  But on this day it was not the raw beauty of his words that took me aback.  Nor the fact that he described the relationship with the nervous mother he was preparing to baptize as one of, “having much disdain for one another”. No, what struck me on this day is what I saw, not what I heard.  It caused me to take pause and reflect back a couple thousand years.

In Acts 2 the Bible does not describe the feeling for the 3,000 other than they were “cut to heart” right after Peter received the Holy Spirit and preached the new church’s first sermon.  In a way I’m glad it was deficient of detail because now I’m allowed to use the imagination that God blessed me with.   On this Sunday I see 21st century church mimicking 1st century church like we should be.

I have intentionally not interviewed either party, the baptized or baptizer, because there is oh so much beauty in God’s deliberate mysteries. You or I could go get all the answers but why should we?  Just for a little while let’s experience the splendor that comes with the gift of free will and in free will we are given the gift of imagination!

The closer Victoria drew to the baptistery the more hesitant she became.  She had seen 4 people go in front of her so there was no reason to wonder what to expect.  There was something else causing her tentativeness.

On the day Peter preached, 3,000 people said to him and the other 11 apostles, “What do we do now?”  They replied, “Be baptized…”  Right then and there they went to the water.  Who was the first?  Who was the last?  Who cares?  Billions have been baptized since that time but the mystery for the unbaptized still exists.  What happens when I go down in that water?  More importantly, what happens to me when I come out?
On this day I felt like I was looking into the face of one of 1st 3,000.  From my position I could see it all; the water, her face, the steps that she stopped on for what seemed like eternity.  Victoria looked intently down into the water before she turned back to blow a kiss to her son’s now adopted mother.  Good heavens God is good, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house!  If you don’t like that you need to stop reading right now and go for a walk with Tin Man in search of a heart!

I picture Peter and the other apostles having the same view looking into the faces of 250 people in each of their 12 lines stretching from dry land down to the water edge.  I image each new convert hesitating at water’s edge wondering the same thing.  “What will happen in there?”    

Victoria slowly eased ankle deep into the baptistery, hands out with a hint of tremble to them. Her face did not seem scared, but sheepish. Then shin deep and another pause.  This hesitation was long enough that I wondered, “Is she going to go?”

“What kind of tug-o-war is going in her head?” I thought to myself, “Is she thinking?”…

“I’m nervous in front of all these people.”

 “Do I really need to do this?” 

“This water is colder than I thought.”

“I’ve waited for this day all my life.” 

“Am I good enough for this water?” 

“Jesus I can’t wait to show the world the choice I’ve made for you and I want to cherish every moment.” 

Whatever it was, it caused her to pause in the shallow end as long as I have ever seen anyone hold up during a baptism.  The lengthy wait was sensed by our crowd of believers too as they couldn’t help but cheer her on alongside Mike and his slow rhythmic fist pump that reached high into the air again and again.  Be it the encouragement of the crowd, fulfillment of her relishing, overcoming of fear or tugging of the Holy Spirit – whatever it was, she eased slowly forward and deeper to the spot where she was now seated at a chest deep level. Here she awaited her final words of encouragement from Mike before heeding the 2,000 year old command to wash away one life and rise in another.

3,000 times in a single day the apostles saw the same trembling hands, slow shuffling feet and wondering faces come to them over and over and over again.  The 12 had never seen such a movement minus Jesus by their side. The bewildering questions must have filled the air that day too and not just from the crowd but from apostles themselves.

“Am I worthy of this?”

“Am I good enough to do this?”

“Am I doing this right?”

 “What happens in that water?”

“What happens when I leave that water?”

When Victoria was pulled up from the water her face and body were emotionless and silent.  It was an expression that spoke of, “what just happened to me?” 

Mike’s signature fist pump was in overdrive as he stood over her. 

The crowd was excited, cheering, celebrating but waiting in a “How will she react?” kind of manner.

After yet another seemingly eternal pause, it came!  Her arms burst to the side slinging water onto the stage on one side and front row of seats on the other!  Her face and body expression now proclaimed a resounding, “YES! Yes! Yes.”

1 Corinthians 2:9-12 (The Voice)

9 But as the Scriptures say,

No eye has ever seen and no ear has ever heard
and it has never occurred to the human heart
All the things God prepared for those who love Him.

10 God has shown us these profound and startling realities through His Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep mysteries of God. 11 Who can see into a man’s heart and know his thoughts? Only the spirit that dwells within the man. In the same way, the thoughts of God are known only by His Spirit. 12 You must know that we have not received the spirit of this rebellious and broken world but the Spirit that comes from God, so that we may experience and comprehend the gifts that come from God.

We were blessed on this day to imagine the miracle going on in Victoria’s mind, in the 12 apostles and 3,000 new converts that we’ve only gotten to read about.  Because of her obedience she was blessed to the receive the revelation of what God had prepared for her through baptism, just as the church has done for 2,000 years and we will continue to do until He comes back for us. What Victoria pondered and He revealed to her that Sunday only she will know.  Let’s leave it that way and enjoy the beauty in the mystery that God has given us.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Positive Thoughts from an Aging Germaphobe

The last couple weeks it seems I’ve been surrounded by an overload of worldly negative.  My consumption is fueled, for better or worse, because I follow the news pretty closely.  I am getting old and a moderate germaphobe; not good right now…not good at all.  In case you’ve been desensitized by American culture and media or living under a rock I’m talking about Ebola in a bordering state to me in the USA for goodness sakes, ISIS, bombings everywhere, shootings in Canadian parliament, shootings and riots in our own Midwest, dirty campaigning, and the coup de’ grace - Honey Boo Boo’s mom is now dating a registered sex offender.  I could easily lengthen this list with one click to my favorite news page.  So today I thought I’d throw out something positive.  Just some go ol’ positive stuff.  I love the word “stuff”.

Philippians 4:8 The Voice (VOICE)
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, fill your minds with beauty and truth. Meditate on whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is good, whatever is virtuous and praiseworthy.

Proverbs 17:22 New Living Translation (NLT)
22 A cheerful heart is good medicine,
    but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.

Philippians 4:6 New Living Translation (NLT)
6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.

Ephesians 4:31-32 New Living Translation (NLT)
31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.

Romans 12:2 The Voice (VOICE)
2 Do not allow this world to mold you in its own image. Instead, be transformed from the inside out by renewing your mind. As a result, you will be able to discern what God wills and whatever God finds good, pleasing, and complete.

Matthew 21:21-22 The Voice (VOICE)
Jesus: 21 I tell you this: if you have faith and do not doubt, then you will be able to wither a fig tree with one glance. You will be able to tell mountains to throw themselves into the ocean, and they will obey.
As Jesus says this, one or two disciples probably glance around the shadows of the early morning, confused and afraid. Jesus has just paraded into Jerusalem and upset the vendors and leaders with His bold talk. Now He is challenging His disciples to expect the physical creation to respond to their commands and faith. But Jesus isn’t finished. [commentary from The Voice]
Jesus: 22 If you believe, whatever you ask for in prayer will be granted.

And here are a few positive news stories to check out.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Open Letter to Pastors v. 3.0, pastor appreciation!

For the third year running here is my October open letter to pastors since someone selected this as the month to show our appreciation.  At least that's what they said on KLOVE anyway. I feel so strong about my message from last year that I've virtually reposted it unchanged.  I believe God molds and changes many of our views overtime as we go deeper with Him but after rereading this from last year I stand behind it more now than ever.

To preface, I fully understand we are ALL called to be ministers to the world.  Believe me I know!  Pastors are not able to do their jobs to the fullest without the ministering body.  As I’ve heard said before, “a church is healthiest when it’s body is ministering to the body.”  But just for a brief moment in time, just for this post, I want to focus on pastors and my appreciation for them.  


I hope to connect with you, sympathize with you, strengthen you and honor you today.

Looking back I was a horrible church member.  I held my previous pastors to a crazy lofty standard that I now find to be embarrassing. I was such a Pharisee! I’m convinced that had I been alive when Jesus walked the earth he wouldn’t have lived up to my standard either. I would have yelled from the crowd, “crucify him” without a second thought. Maybe even worse than imposing my personal set of self-determined  standards on the pastors themselves was that I also had unreal expectation for their families as well.  I know there was nothing biblical in my rationalization at all. No, I was good enough to come up with it all on my own.  Yeah me!

It wasn’t until I was called to the ministry and started interacting with people like my cousin who has his own church, friends whose families are in the ministry and finally experiencing it for myself that I realized what a high toll pastors and their families must pay. I say “must pay” because what we endure is exactly the treatment Jesus promised to the apostles as he attempted to prepare them prior to his leaving (John 15:18-25). Make no mistake to whomever you are reading this today that, we will ALL pay an earthly price each time we answer God’s call.

Fellow pastors I want you to know, that I know.  More that anything know that you are not alone.

The majority of people will never know or care to know about our middle of the night phone calls, bombardment of opinionated conversations, emails and texts, impromptu counseling sessions, and the suggestion boxes that our spouses have become.

They will never know that we are not just on call Sundays, but we are always on call.  “Pastors only work on Sundays right?”

They will never know the people we cry for in the privacy of our bedrooms because when we’ve invested our hearts into lives and they fail, we feel we have failed also.

They will never know how desperately we try to balance between the church we love and family we love.  And though we do a really good job of appearing the two coexist together it’s more like a constant tug of war.  How we lie awake and wonder if our wife and kids will continue to see the church as the bride of Christ or eventually will they see Her as the mistress that stole all of their time.

They will never know the pressure we put on ourselves when we ponder the possible repercussions of the advice we give to those who see us as the last resort.

Brothers and sisters, the things above are part of the job description.  It’s what comes with being a part of this elite group and by elite I don’t mean well-to-do, but rather selected. We were called by God for this specific work!  He chose us because He knew He could entrust us with this. 

When we look back at the things above its easy to relate to what Pastor Steven Furtick said in a message one time, “Sometimes it’s easier to believe in God than it is to believe God entrusted me.”

But in these times of doubt. 
In these times of confusion. 
In these times frustration. 
In these times of wondering if it is all worth it, remember this,

2 Corinthians 2:14…thank God! He has made us his captives and continues to lead us along in Christ’s triumphal procession. Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume.

God has not chosen us to be just a specialist in our areas of lead, missions, college, youth, kids, worship or whatever it is in your given church structure. No, he chose us to be pastors.

He has chosen us to make decision that impact the spiritual welfare of those who call our local church home and often those we reach to outside our doors.

He has chosen us to bear burdens for those that no one else will.

He has chosen us to make unpopular choices because sometimes it’s what’s best for the church body.

He has chosen us to change the perception of the word “Christian” in a country where the word is becoming less and less popular because of the people who have been hurt by those claiming to be Christian but don’t act anything  like Christ.

He has chosen us to breathe life into those who are just here to mark the Sunday attendance box and on the same day give hope to those who are wondering if they are even worthy of life.

He has chosen us to lead people to be the light of the world when they are being told there is no light in this world.

He has chosen us because He sees something deep within each of us!

He has chosen us because He believes we can accomplish His mission with Him and through Him!

He could have chosen anything, anyway and anybody to do this work but he didn’t, he chose us.  So he must believe in us!

He has chosen us to be pastors!!

1 Peter 2:9-10 (MSG) But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you—from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted.

I appreciate the sacrifice each and every one of you and your families make! 

I love all of you!

 I apologize if I have ever judged you.  

And, do not grow weary of doing good.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Brace face!

Yes, they need braces; both of them, said the orthodontist.  That’s when the ringing started in my ears while a simultaneous euphoric glow emanated from my oldest and youngest children.  Even with dental insurance I felt an immediate stinging to my left cheek.  Not my face either!  I’m talking about the cheek that pins my wallet into my jeans.  The very wallet whose goal I set every day to, go in to these jeans at sunrise and don’t come out until sunset. Yet I will continue to proclaim, despite the objections by my beautiful bride, that I am not cheap, I am thrifty.  And as I have just discovered, there is nothing thrifty about braces.  

But what has inspired this post is not a rally cry for an orthodontic Groupon or buy one get one free packages for siblings, no, this is about the uncontainable giddiness of my kids to be fitted with a mouth full of uncomfortable metal.  You would have thought the sleigh just landed on the roof in September!  Come December though, those two will realize Santa did deliver early when all they find is boxes and boxes of wrapped floss and toothbrushes under the tree! Thrifty I say, NOT tight!

I remember being in Mrs. Spence’s first grade class and the girl who sat behind me would put a metal bracelet in her mouth and try to convince me she had braces.  I also thought back to when I got braces in middle school and how I was excited too.  My beautiful bride even told me a story of how she attempted to wear her older brother’s retainer to school when she was kid.  Threw up in my mouth a little bit the first time I heard that story and obviously she didn’t tell me before we were married.  That’s one you save until after the knot has been tied. 

This is not even about the braces either. Come on, there is nothing attractive about braces but they are socially acceptable. Right now the same goes for eye glasses.  And not just any ol’ glasses, big bold black rimmed glasses like my Dad’s 60’s senior picture are what are in!  Used to when I was kid (I’m officially old for using that line) getting told you needed glasses was a social death sentence.  It meant very sophisticated words like dork, nerd and four eyes would be used on you.  If you played sports, especially basketball, it meant a pair of Kareem Abdul Jabbar prescription goggles of the 80’s!  You young Oakley wearing kids of today have no idea what the sports goggles back in the day looked like. Not good for the dating scene, not at all. 

Braces and glasses are just small blips on a large map full of things we use to display our individuality.  Today some common areas to express ourselves are in tattoos, shoes (guilty), top knotted hair (guilty), bow ties and skinny jeans for you hipsters, animal print purses, piercings anywhere, cars and on and on and on. 

Why though?  Why do we feel the need to be different?  Because we live in a world where there is a constant struggle to stand out, a need for uniqueness, something that will set us apart from the rest. And honestly it’s okay IF AND ONLY IF it was all taken away and you could still rest in this…

Psalm 139 13-18 (The Voice translation)

13  For You shaped me, inside and out.
      You knitted me together in my mother’s womb 
      long before I took my first breath.

14   I will offer You my grateful heart, for I am Your unique creation,
       filled with wonder and awe.
      You have approached even the smallest 
      details with excellence;
      Your works are wonderful;
       I carry this knowledge deep within my soul.

15   You see all things; nothing about me was hidden from You
       As I took shape in secret,
       carefully crafted in the heart of the earth before
       I was born from its womb.

16   You see all things;
       You saw me growing, changing in my mother’s womb;
       Every detail of my life was already written in Your book;
       You established the length of my life before I ever tasted 
       the sweetness of it.

17   Your thoughts and plans are treasures to me, O God! I cherish 
       each and every one of them!
       How grand in scope! How many in number!

18   If I could count each one of them, they would be more than 
       all the grains of sand on earth. Their number is inconceivable!
       Even when I wake up, I am still near to You.

Can you find rest in that? 

If you can image whatever uniqueness you enjoy was removed from you in the next hour would you still know you were unique and loved?
Do you find rest in being known you are unique and wonderfully made by the same Creator who dotted each and every star in the sky and then made you; His greatest creation? 

If your answer is yes, then pull up that hair with pride, guys!  Go down a size in those skinnies.  Get another tat!  Heck, so long as you aren’t my kid, get braces and a retainer at the same time!  

But if and only if you can rest in Psalm 139.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Hide and Seek

About once a year I post about a song that has a deeply moving affect on me.  I don’t look for an “annual” song, it just kinda happens this way.  Believe me, much more than one song consumes me yearly; I’m highly motivated by the power of music.  I’m frequently sending screen shots of songs along with my thoughts to our Worship Pastor, which usually fires up some good conversation between the two of us.  Last year a song from Bethel called One Thirst became my obsession to the point that I sent him so many messages he finally said, Dude you’re becoming a One Thirst zealot.  I agreed. I know I’m weird like that.

Today’s song though is called Out of Hiding from Steffany Frizzell-Gretzinger (The Undoing album).

Know this though, what I’ve gotten out of this song, or any song for that matter, may not be the writer’s inspiration at all.  This is just what moved me.  I urge you to explore too and let the song take you where it will. 

Come out of hiding
You’re safe here with Me

There's no need to cover
What I already see

You've got your reasons
But I hold your peace
You've been on lockdown
And I hold the key

'Cause I loved you before you knew it was love
And I saw it all, still I chose the cross
And you were the one that I was thinking of
When I rose from the grave

Now rid of the shackles, My victory's yours
I tore the veil for you to come close
There's no reason to stand at a distance anymore
You're not far from home

I'll be your lighthouse
When you're lost at sea
And I will illuminate

No need to be frightened
By intimacy
No, just throw off your fear
And come running to Me

'Cause I loved you before you knew it was love
And I saw it all, still I chose the cross
And you were the one that I was thinking of
When I rose from the grave
Now rid of the shackles, My victory's yours
I tore the veil for you to come close
There's no reason to stand at a distance anymore
You're not far from home
Keep on coming

And oh as you run
What hindered love
Will only become
Part of the story

Baby, you're almost home now
Please don't quit now
You're almost home to Me

Wow, right? Here’s what I thought the very first time I heard this song, Ah, confession and repentance.  Wait!  Don’t let that run you off.  I know those words often strike fear in Christians. Sad but true.  Notice how I started my thought? I’m putting emphasis on the, Ah part.

If you grew up in church, in the Bible Belt and you are my age or older you might correlate the words confession and repentance with memories of a pastor in a bland colored suit, veins popping from his neck, pounding his fist against a large wooden podium as he demands you to repent!   Let me be clear, I’m not disputing the importance of the command to repent at all.  I’m writing in support!  It is a necessity to our salvation. How can we possibly acknowledge a desperate need for a Savior and a turning our lives in a different direction without it? What I want to do is serve the topic to you a little differently. Instead of force feeding it to you like the yellow Triaminic of the 1980’s I want to offer it to you like a warm apricot fried pie from my Grandma’s dinner table.  I want you to imagine confession and repentance the way Jesus presented things to people; never forced, always loving.  Somehow through the years we’ve made this process demanding and harsh.  But I just don’t know how, if we are seeking true repentance and not lip service, that we think harsh and demanding produces the peace, healing, mercy and love that is offered through guiltless obedience to this command. 

Recently in my own life and in the lives of those around me I have seen firsthand the BEAUTY and FREEDOM of loving, Holy Spirit led confession and repentance. This was intended to be a positive thing and I feel like He’s beckoning us to run to Him because He is safe and cry out!  Listen to it in the words of this song when it says, 'Cause I loved you before you knew it was love- And I saw it all, still I chose the cross- And you were the one that I was thinking of- When I rose from the grave- Now rid of the shackles, My victory's yours- I tore the veil for you to come close- …just throw off your fear- And come running to Me…

I don’t know about you but most of my life I never thought of repentance to be beautiful and freeing until I experienced it for myself.  Then I saw God wants us to obey this because an unrepentant heart separates us from Him and those gifts of beauty and freedom are offered only on the other side confession.  He desperately wants to remove that weight we are carrying around our neck, not punish, shame or embarrass us.  Yet He also loves us enough to allow us to make that choice for ourselves, never forced only urged – ah, the beauty of free will.  Remember Jeremiah 29:11(NIV) For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Go back and reread those lyrics again.  Or better yet, spend 99 cents and download a copy.  You won’t be disappointed.  Soak in the words. 
In closing, if you still doubt God has lovingly provided confession and repentance because He is for us and loves us just read these scriptures. (all emphasis below is mine)

1 John 1:9 ESV  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

James 5:16 NLT  Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.

Proverbs 28:13 ESV  Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

It's not a race.

This is NOT a post about racism.  Honestly, my emotions fall somewhere between outrage and sadness that I live in this time and place and feel I must preface my thoughts with that statement.  On the flip side, my family is biracial now so I do feel compelled to at least scratch the surface with a few comments on race and racism before I can present to you my very off the wall Tyson Brown Theory (TBT). This TBT I’ve wanted to write about for almost a year but I’ll probably spend more time on this opening than what is really on my heart to say. But, reality is, this is reality. This is our broken world and God chose broken people like me to work through to mend it.
So let’s get this racism thing out of the way.  I’ll only be using comments and scripture from a very small portion of Pastor Perry Noble’s powerful message on Interracial Marriage.  Then I’m leaving it at that.  Not open for debate or discussion, I’m merely removing some stones to lay my foundation.  Again, racism is not the theme of this blog.  If you are offended by the facts I’m about to put in front of you then there’s no reason to waste your time reading the rest of what I have to say.  Being a former racist myself, I’ve been there.  I know your feelings. I will pray for the softening of your heart and opening of your mind just like God did in me.  How’s that for pastor transparency and the evidence of the power of God to completely transform someone?  God is that good and He never gives up on anyone, I’m proof of that. I would strongly encourage everyone to listen to Pastor Perry’s entire message; you can go to the link here InterracialMarriage. Take a listen; it’s worth 35 minutes of your time.

Race facts from Pastor Perry’s message:

1.  Whites are the minority. (maybe not in America but globally it’s not even close)
2.  Jesus was NOT white.
3.  Whites, most of you do not know the name of your great great great great great grandfather.  So, how do you know he was white?
4.  Jesus had two interracial marriages in his lineage.
5.  John 3:16 says, For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that WHOEVER believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. [emphasis mine]
If whoever is good enough for God then it is good enough for the people of God.
6.  Revelation 7:9 says, After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. (John’s vision of heaven)
If the nations worshipped together in heaven then why would God try to keep us separate on earth?
7.  When we refuse to believe the truth it does damage to our heart.
8.  Do you want to be held accountable someday in front of a God who is not racist?
Okay, now that’s all out of the way.  Let’s get to the good stuff with a TBT.  I have absolutely nothing biblical, historical, or otherwise to support this. This is the place my mind went to when I saw this picture in the National Geographic October 2013 edition.

National Geographic
October 2013
Photograph by Martin Schoeller

I thought to myself, this is one of the most beautiful human beings I have ever seen!  Now I know what some of you are thinking here, but listen, this was not a guy seeing a girl in a sexual kind of way.  No this was like, Wow, look at God’s creation.  Think of it like this.  I saw this picture like you would see an unexpected beautiful sunrise.  You didn’t know it was coming until you saw it and now you find yourself in awe at God’s masterpiece.  It was like that. 

So then I wondered, Why did I feel that way about seeing that picture? I surmised that it had to be the article I was reading that contained the picture that made me think differently.  It was called The Changing Face of America (We’ve become a country where race is no longer so black and white).  In a very watered down summary it was about the explosion of mixed races in America and well, the subtitle kind of sums it up.  Anyway the article was filled with picture after picture of God’s beauty and below each person’s pic was what they called their Self-ID, basically, what mixed races each person claimed to be.  There were black/white, Dominica/ Korean, Jewish/Eskimo, Filipino/Chinese/Spanish/Indian/Hungarian/German Jew, etc.  My personal favorite was the lady that described herself as biracial/human being.  Some simply had, mixed race/multiracial. 

For several days, weeks and now months I have pictured those faces and pondered the combinations of mixed races. I’ve especially dwelled on the simple biracial/human being

All of that led me to this, my TBT, Is the more we interracially mix, and further we get from any single identifiable ethnic group, in actuality bringing us closer to what God’s own image really looks like? 

Genesis 1:27 So God created human beings in his own image.
    In the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them.

Think about it?  Scripture says we were made in his image so play along just a bit.  Haven’t you ever wondered, even if it was just when you were a child, what color or race is God?  Is God African, or Caucasian, or Indian or Asian or whatever? Wouldn’t God being God really be everything?  Why would He not be? 

Look back to the Revelation scripture from earlier, there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne… Maybe what John saw wasn’t uncountable separated races before him.  Maybe what he saw was this, a multitude of mixed people in the image of God.

National Geographic
October 2013
Photograph by Martin Schoeller

Is this the face of the new heaven and new earth he also speaks about in Revelation 21:1?  Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared.

After all, wouldn’t every nation, tribe, people and language still be represented the more mixed we become?

Come on, it’s okay to play along with me!  Dream for a while only something that God could craft.  This very well could be a divinely orchestrated masterpiece that only the Creator of the universe is capable of pulling off!

Again, this is my own Tyson Brown Theory and I have not a single thing to support this other than my imagination makes it happen.  I am not a theologian and have never been to seminary.  The validity or fallacy of this doesn’t make a hill of beans difference in the salvation of lost people, but I’m being honest this is where my mind strolls off to sometimes.  This is why on every single report card of my life the word daydreamer was written on it somewhere.  So, I urge you, don’t take a believe or not believe side on this. Just for a moment let the imagination God gifted you with roam the courts of heaven and earth when you look into the eyes of the people you encounter this week.  You’re looking into the eyes of God and maybe even closer to Him than you think.


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Back from da funk!

Well hello world!  I’m back from the depths of a long writing funk, be it for better or for worse.  Last winter I had some “stuff” happen in my professional life that bled into my personal life and completely took the wind out of my writing sails.  

Writing, namely on this blog, is an emotional outlet God’s given me that has even birthed the beginnings of a book, but in December all that came to a screeching halt. 

Since my unplanned writing sabbatical, God being God and sovereign the way He is, has taken me to a deeper, richer place and has revealed things to me I never knew were possible. This will influence the content of my writings from here forward, though only He knows in what way. 

My style of writing though will remain.  I still believe in honesty especially when it hurts, satire laced with sarcasm presented alongside an occasional country embellishment that every good storyteller is entitled to.  I’ll be hard on the American church and churchy religious people, but will have an overabundance of grace for those hurt by them and new believers trying to break their way in. For that I continue to make zero apologies.  We stand to learn something from the faith of the Third World church and the passion of new and miraculously restored believers!

So, if you are still with me just let me say, thanks.  Let’s give this another go!