Living things grow and change. A redwood tree begins as a seed in the ground. Then it grows, it changes, it transforms into a noble conifer more than 300 feet tall. An eagle begins as an egg. Then it grows, changes, and transforms into a great bird who can see what others can’t, and can soar where others aren’t capable.
Things without life don’t grow. They don’t transform. Things without life, they just rearrange. A sand dune shifts its shape in the wind. The waters of a flood are really just waters rearranged. Even an avalanche, as awe-inspiring as it may be, is just rearrangement. It’s not alive.
God was so good to us in 2014 here at God Running. The highlight for me personally happened when Kathy and I were able to meet up with a few readers on the other side of the country from where we live in Oregon. (If you’re interested, you can read about that here: Brothers in Christ)
Of course anytime you like you can see what’s trending at the present moment on God Running, simply by looking at the list of titles in the right hand column on the home page. But if you’re interested in which posts were the most popular for 2014, check out the list below. (not in reverse order–for your viewing convenience)
1)Steve Mays’ Life Of Suffering (And how God healed him) Growing up, Steve Mays was a good student and a well behaved son, at least until junior high school. That’s when he was molested, by a teacher. And that event changed his life. After he was sexually abused, Steve raged against any authority figure, including his parents. He struggled with drug addiction. He joined a motorcycle gang. The police were after him for murder.
If you’ve ever wondered whether or not you’ve received the outpouring of God’s Holy Spirit (in the way Jesus’ disciples did when God used them to save the souls of 3,000 men in one morning) then this is the post that will answer your question.
The photo at the top of this post is of my family and me during one of our past Christmases. Christmas takes different shapes for different people different years. Today we identify five different types of Christmases and what they look like. As you read about them, see if you recognize yours.
1) The Going to Dad and Mom’s Christmas
On the way to Dad and Mom’s, your stream of consciousness sounds something like this: “I’m bored already and we’re not even there yet. The Cavs play the Heat tomorrow, and I won’t see it. I wonder if any bad blood will boil over. I hope Dad doesn’t bug me about my job. Battle of the 5 Armies is out. No chance we’ll see that. I hope he doesn’t tell me why he thinks libertarians are “clueless.” Yeah, “clueless.” That was the word he used last time. I think I have one of the Lord of the Rings movies on my phone–maybe, if I sit at the table and hold my phone low…”
2) The People Coming Over Christmas
Oh those three words, people-coming-over, and what they mean. The People Coming Over Christmas means, do these things, and do them fast: Clean the house. Fix the broken doorknob. Run to the store and buy a new doorknob because you couldn’t fix the broken doorknob. Hide the Continue reading →
Ken Hutcherson was born eight days after his mother’s fifteenth birthday in Anniston, Alabama. The year was 1952. His grandmother, who Ken called “Big Mom,” was the true mother figure in his life. Ken says his biological mother was more like a sister to him. His father lived on the “right side of the tracks” and wasn’t involved in Ken’s life. He was an illegitimate black child in a world that looked down on blacks. And even other blacks looked down on illegitimate blacks.
Ken’s Role Model (Not The Role Model You Were Expecting)
With his grandmother as his only source of stability, one of Ken’s role models was the person who lived next door. This person ran the “local liquor house.” This role model was distinguished by a long scar that ran across the right side of the neck. This person didn’t take any flack from the liquor store patrons or from anybody else. According to Ken Hutcherson this person was the toughest person he ever knew.
This person was Ken’s Aunt Mae.
The cause of the scar was a woman named Essie Mae who lived across the street. Aunt Mae was having an affair Continue reading →
I attended a memorial service for an atheist friend last night. And I want to share my heart with you after experiencing that service.
He Was Made In The Image Of God
My friend was made in the image of God. That’s what I remember about him. I say that because of the way he loved his granddaughter with all his heart. And in his awkward way, he also loved other people too, even people who had a worldview opposite of his own. I know from talking with his family members that he was funny and anxious to cheer people up when they were down. I remember him bringing his granddaughter to family gatherings when her grandmother was too sick to come. The last time I saw him he was bringing his granddaughter to the local YMCA to swim, something he did often. He was a fixture in her world. He was consistently present for a little girl who didn’t have much stability in her life.
The Secret Things And The Revealed Things
There’s a Bible verse that says,
“The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us…” (Deuteronomy 29:29)
The way I described my friend is the way my friend was revealed to me. But the secret things belong to the Lord. And death is one of those secret things.
Death is a hard thing to accept. When we lose someone we love there’s a tearing that happens to our soul. Life has its rhythms but death can come to anyone, at anytime, in any place, in any way. We just don’t know what each day might bring.
I just saw my friend one Saturday, an everyday average Saturday where everything was as normal as could be, and then Continue reading →
Continuing our series on suffering, in this post we’ll look at how forgetting God’s name contributes to suffering and a crushed spirit.
Forgetting God’s Name
I’m just going to be frank here. Many times you and I as believers suffer in a way that’s not necessary simply because we forget God’s name. Oh sure, we believe in the redemptive work Jesus Christ did 2,000 years ago on the cross to pay for our sins. And we believe somewhere down the road we’re headed for heaven, ultimately. But there’s a huge truth missing that dramatically affects us as we suffer, and even when we don’t.