The Siren’s Song

There’s a pain, a numbness, a vacancy left inside one who is molested. It doesn’t matter so much the degree to misuse or abuse… The hole presses in with the smallest infraction. There’s a shame that comes with the wounds made then that make the scar now that much more noticeable – a guilt that […]

Life is loss.

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In Ann Voskamp’s book “One Thousand Gifts” this is her admission, her announcement, her proclamation. Life is loss… when, what, who will you lose? It’s not a matter of will I lose, but solely when will I lose.

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Raising Cain

Today while I was reading my Bible, I focused in on Cain. Strange, as Christian children in Sunday School we are told over and over that he is the bad brother and are told to picture the innocent blood of sweet little brother, Abel, seeping into the dust. How dare we focus on the brother that offered wilted greens, when his brother sacrificed a savory choice lamb?!

But the truth is: We can relate to Cain. Honestly, Abel is a bit of a pansy. Sure he was a shepherd so the conjured image of pretty boy with beautifully manicured nails has to slide away, but really…I don’t see any gumption in him. Instead we watch this amazing story unfold of bitter anger and jealousy and revenge, at the hands of Cain.

Anyone who has siblings can relate. There is a part of Cain in all of us. There is a Cain in every family. Matter of a fact, when I hear the story of the prodigal son, isn’t Cain the picture of the worldly womanizing sibling, and Abel is more accurately the jealous son that feels slighted by his father’s treatment of the stupid brother that didn’t have any more sense than to squander his inheritance? And, there is always an Abel. The sibling that does everything right, that gets all the good grades, everyone sees as the “good son.” Maybe if we’d seen more of Abel, we wouldn’t be so darn quick to sneer at Cain.

God didn’t.

At the moment that Cain is caught, almighty God, Creator of heaven and earth, confronts him. “Where is your brother?” Cain cockily rattles off, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Wow. Can you imagine? I mean, I’ll be the first to admit that I have had my mouthy moments with God, but in front of His face? I wouldn’t dare to be so bold! Then they chatter a bit and God tells him that he has to leave. “But where will I go? They’ll kill me!” God doesn’t rub His hands together and with a maniacal laugh say, “Precisely.” NO. He assures Cain, “No. They won’t. I will put a mark on you and anyone that touches you will have ME to deal with!” (Okay, that might have been a little loosely translated.)

But, I find that beautiful. I find that fully in keeping with the character of God. You see, He didn’t despise Cain, look at him in disgust and wonder why He had ever created him. He didn’t feed him to the dogs to suffer payment for his sin. He didn’t do anything of the sort. He offered him protection. He marked him as His own, moments after his sin, while Abel’s blood still cried out from the ground. Marked – as God’s own.

This hit me today as I was reading. These short few verses of interaction spoke volumes about the love of God. And yet, it’s not a point that is brought up very often. We glance over this story of love and forgiveness for Cain and reach right into the prodigal son’s tale. We look over the heart of God for a murderer because somehow it feels more correct that He would forgive and take in a swindler and an irresponsible pig feeder. Or maybe it’s the influence of the Speaker that moves us to relate to the parable over the history lesson? No matter. Christ who spoke the object lesson of the wayward son witnessed the moment. He knew the love and compassion of the Father because He’d seen the first time it had played out, with Cain.

It plays out now.

I listened earlier in the week as someone spoke of the horrible fate of the young man that killed his parents a month ago. It’s since been announced that he will be tried as an adult, and that his sentence (though not deliberated yet) will most likely be life in prison with no chance for parole. It was said in an almost “He’ll get his” type voice. Almost approvingly, she announced that for the rest of his life this young man would be jail bait. Oh how my heart ached. This is not the heart of God, the plan of God, the desire of God for this young man! Oh that He could speak to the heart of this boy and assure him of His protection like he did the heart of Cain! He would. Maybe He is. We don’t know.

But we do know that God’s heart was compassionate toward Cain; His affection didn’t end with Abel. He reached past the blood of sin and offered assurance to a scared convict…a murderer…a liar…and a punk. And, more than that, He marked Him as His own and sent him with a promise. That gives me comfort…because I have played the part of the liar and the punk and but for the grace of God, and for the love of Pete…I have yet to commit a murder…and after my last blog, I don‘t think anyone will tempt me. 🙂

I Dare You to Move

On September 10, 2010 while everyone else in the country was preparing themselves for the anniversary of 9/11 and arguing whether or not a Muslim Quran should be burned, we woke to an eye opening tragedy. A young man at a local school committed suicide. The belief is that it was due to circumstances involving his pregnant girlfriend. Another young man, from the same school, killed his parents in cold blood and threatened his girlfriend with a text that she was next. After an hour or so of the school and students being in lockdown, the boy was arrested. The girlfriend was spared, school was let out and parents were called. As teen eyes blinked at the shining sky, they began to understand what had happened. The town was in a panic, the rumor mill churning, and lives were forever changed. This was written in response to the tragedy.

Our community has come face to face with the plight of this generation. After three people are dead and families are mourning and teachers are confused and youth leaders are embracing and reassuring and young girls are blaming themselves for what was not at all their fault, we can see for sure that satan is on the warpath for this generation. And for some, the spiritual battle began long before the news got out.

I know that God is with us. I have felt His love and His peace. There are people that know and understand and are impassioned to act out in defense of and in pursuit of this generation. The handwriting has been on the wall, there are signs all around us of a world of young people that are being targeted and greatly destroyed. It’s sad. There are those of us that are burdened for these kids that it takes our breath away. We are overwhelmed and tempted to be overcome but we stand up and we stand out and we beg for them to look our way because we have a message from God. We are trying to communicate the voice that we hear. We are trying to share with them just the tiniest fraction of His consuming love for them. But, we are small in number when you consider the affect that could be had.

WOE to you parents that have ignored your children for the pursuit of your pleasures.
WOE to you parents that have neglected your kids for your jobs and your schedules.
WOE to you parents that refuse to get involved and initiate conversation.
WOE to you parents that choose to blindly turn away from their problems and dismiss it as “hormones”.
WOE to you parents that would rather spend the weekends playing golf or sculpting your bodies instead of spending time with your kids.
WOE to you parents that put everyone else in your lives before your family.
WOE to you parents that think that if you don’t acknowledge it it doesn’t exist.
WOE to you parents that abuse your kids and make them feel worthless.
WOE to you parents that harm and hurt your kids to somehow make yourself look bigger and better and more powerful and strong.
WOE to you parents that wouldn’t think twice about selling your child’s body.
WOE to you parents that speak with such anger in your voices that they are scarred for life.
WOE to you parents who withhold love.
WOE to you parents that could care less.
WOE to you parents that put high expectations on your kids that they can never live up to.
WOE to you parents that are not taking your kids to church, not living like you go to church, not sharing the love of Christ, not protecting your kids.
WOE to you. WOE to me. WOE to us.

We are failing this generation. Collectively we take the blame.

Say what you will: “It’s video games”; “It’s movies”; “Its their peers”; “It’s the music”; “Its the environment.” YOU have the authority to promote, allow, or deny those things.

Satan is on the warpath. And we are the adults. I think some of us have forgotten that. We’re so busy amassing things that we aren’t treasuring our children. What’s wrong with us? We are more interested in what’s on Facebook than what is on our children’s minds. We are more interested in our kids being popular than protecting them from peer pressure. We are more interested in what’s in it for us, than what we are willing to sacrifice for them.

I say we because I too am guilty. But today, again, it became clear that this generation is in deep need of a love revolution.

Real LOVE. Pure LOVE. Christ’s LOVE.

He is the only answer for their longing hearts.

I have a gift. It’s a strange gift and it is a supernatural gift, but I asked for it and so God has given it.

I have the ability to feel what the Father feels…and what I feel, no matter what the situation is LOVE.

When the news of today hit me…His love knocked the wind out of me. He loves everyone of us so deeply. He showed me His heart, and I felt His desire, His passion, His need for us to see and to help minister to a broken and endangered generation.

This young man that killed his parents. God can use him. Has a plan for him. Longs to reach him. Yes, he did the unthinkable, but Father God loves him.

The young boy that killed himself. God loved him. His heart aches for what might have been. His heart is moved for a family that misses him and feels acutely the loss. He hurts for the parents that will bear the guilt no matter how often He tries to tell them it wasn’t their fault. He longs to make something beautiful out of tragedy that seems to have no purpose. He loves them.

The young girls that are even now blaming themselves, separately but the same, for something that they had no control over (despite the taunting of the enemy), who do not deserve this, who are not responsible, who must not believe that they are evil or guilty or unworthy or anything else the enemy haphazardly shoots to the heart. God longs to speak truth to them, His Truth, His Son. He longs to embrace them and tell them over and over they are precious to Him, they are special and they will survive. He loves them.

The educators and leaders that saw these kids, knew these kids, struggled with these kids. You did what you could. Feel no guilt, shame, blame for what has happened. You had no part in the work of satan. God needs you to keep doing what you are doing. One tragedy doesn’t mean a ministry that failed. Two tragedies does not require you to throw in the towel. He loves you and can use this to teach you that some, sadly, will not be reached. It was their choice, free will took its stand.

The students and friends that are left in shock over this. You are not alone. The fear that you feel surfacing, the tears that you cry, the confusion that you can’t shake, He sees, hears, and knows it all. He loves you so much and wants you to see that life is not guaranteed. Eternal life is, in Christ Jesus. His Son that He gave up for you because HE LOVES YOU SO!

Parents, yes, this generation is different. They have to be. It’s a rougher world they are living in. That rebellion that refuses to conform can be a good thing if shepherded. They are creative and inspirational and entertaining and charismatic. Their music is different. They like tattoos. They experiment with hair styles and funky clothes and they find our generations fads worthy of repeating! Let them be who they are, but instruct them in the ways of wisdom and self control. Wait. On second thought. Just lead them to the CROSS. Jesus can handle the rest. I’m pretty sure He likes them being different. It sets them apart, and isn’t that what He desires from all of us?

Community, we are all in a state of shock, I think…but now it is the time for Christ to take center stage. It is time for us to win back this generation for Him, with His power, in His strength, and overwhelmingly share His LOVE.

Youth… Stand up. Stand out. Be counted. Live. I dare you to forget this day ever happened and go about your daily lives as if we are not on the battle field. Your apathy or your defeat will affect more than you…it will fail the next generation that is desperate for help, hope, love and instruction. And that my friends, in the words of your uber cool and anointed generation, is what we would call an EPIC FAIL.

Matthew 19:14 (Amplified)
“But He said, Leave the children alone! Allow them to come to me, and do not forbid them or restrain or hinder them, for of such is the kingdom of heaven composed.”