Thursday, February 13, 2014

legos . GOD. free will

This past Sunday we launched a series at church based off a book called The STORY. It’s basically the Bible, somewhat condensed, giving framework for the story of God. It’s said to be in chronological order, and goes through the narrative of Scripture. (If you’re interested – Beach Cities Christian Fellowship : Sundays @ five)

This week we also launched what we’re calling STORY.groups. They’re smaller groups intended to provide room to discuss in greater depth each chapter, each week.

As one would expect; The STORY begins @ the beginning. Genesis. Chapter One.
In the midst of creation… God did something very interesting. He gave us the ability to choose. Just as he chose to create : he gave his creation the ability to choose. to create. to think. to love. He gave his creation free will.

Free will. It’s an interesting thing.

Last night was the first session of the material, a beautiful analogy was given.


The Lego Movie came out this week and I’m excited to go see it with my son. Almost every day he asks me to play Legos with him. We go to his room, plop down on the floor, and build. It’s always fun to get a new Lego kit : a new car, a truck, a building. To put it together and watch it take shape.

When my son got his first kit, I had to do everything. But as he’s growing, he’s able to do more. He might not be able to work of the map yet, but he can piece them together.

Right after Christmas we had every Lego Kit built. They sat on his little table. He played with them. He admired them. He enjoyed them.

I loved watching him. It brought some joy, some sentimentality. And it brought excitement for when he would begin (on his own) to build and create.

A month and a half after Christmas, there’s not a single fully intact Lego kit. They have all been modified. Pieces have been removed, and others installed. Buildings torn down and new ones put up. His imagination is going full-bore.

As we discussed chapter 1 last night, what I found interesting about creation, free will, and Legos is this: In Creation, God has a plan. He built. He said it was good. He then gives us free will and allows us to use it. Using our free will often takes us off track from the original blueprint. But it’s ok.

Sometimes I go into my son’s room to see what he’s built. He’s excited, and practically jumping off the ceiling telling me about it. I head up the stairs and enter his room to see what? Not the perfectly placed car that was just built from the map. But a modified car with 6 windshields and no doors, lights that stack 10 high and 3 steering wheels. And a smile upon his face.

Sometimes I walk in and am sad that I can’t remember what the original fire truck looked like. I know I couldn’t put it back together, not from memory, not without taking other things apart.
I think this is like the free will God gave us.

He took us out of the packaging, put everything together, sat back, smiled and said “this is good.”
He then let his kids begin to play. They took pieces apart and put them in weird places.

One time, he stopped, and took everything apart,
and started over. He saw the hurt and the damage it did to his kids. He swore to never do that again!

Instead, he joins us, sits down on the carpet. Sometimes he’s guiding, other times just listening. But he’s always there, ready to be involved in the creation that is our lives.



Free Will.

Monday, February 3, 2014

intuition or something more?

Wednesday (last week) I took my son to preschool and headed to Newport Beach for an all day conference. As I drove east on Artesia, headed for the 405, I had an odd feeling – I just didn’t want to go. I couldn’t pinpoint why. However a few thoughts came to mind : the conference was at the same time of another meeting I wanted to attend, none of my friends were going  to this conference, and I didn’t want to fight the traffic. Silly reasons right!?!

Since I was already in the car, had already paid for the books that accompanied the conference, and had to pick-up the books at the event – I pressed on.

I arrived to the venue, found a seat, and did my best to wrap my attention around what was being shared.

To my surprise, my attention was quickly averted (and not by my doing)!
Before lunch my wife called.
My son’s preschool called.
He broke his arm.

Here’s what’s been spinning around my head for the past few days : Is there a connection between me not wanting to go and what happened that morning? What is intuition? and what role does it play?

Merriam-Webster defines it as:
 noun \ˌin-tü-ˈi-shən, -tyü-\
: a natural ability or power that makes it possible to know something without any proof or evidence : a feeling that guides a person to act a certain way without fully understanding why
Wednesday morning, a feeling swept over me, I didn’t want to g
o to the conference. I couldn't explain it. It didn't make sense.

Over the past few weeks my wife and I have been watching Warehouse 13 (from the Sci-Fi channel). If you’re not familiar with the series, one of the main characters (Pete) has what he calls vibes. He gets these feelings in his stomach. He doesn’t really know what they are or what they mean, but he has learned to pay attention to them and respond. Pete get’s a “vibe” something bad is going to happen and it puts him on high alert. Along with his sense of humor, Pete’s “vibes” prove to be a fun part of the show.

Sometimes in the Christian community we might attribute an experience like this to the workings of the Holy Spirit. Scripture says the Holy Spirit has come to guide, instruct, and journey with us. The Gospel of John 16:13 says this of the Holy Spirit : “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future.” (NLT)
As a pastor, one who has devoted one’s life to “knowing” God & his ways – I still have so much to learn. Sometimes I wish I could be more like Pete – and simply recognize the “vibe” I’m experiencing, reflect upon it, and respond.

My son’s arm is in a bright red cast.
Holding him back from donkey kicks or a playground won’t help him grow and develop. 
But being receptive to the workings of the HOLY SPIRIT : THAT IS what I want to live and teach!