Posts tagged: now and not yet
Ramon, my brother. I miss you. I remember a year ago clear as day in my mind.
I remember the excitement. Most importantly I remember the joy on both of your faces. I remember being so priviliged to stand by your side, next to your blood family and watch you marry this beautiful woman of Jesus.
Ramon, you finished well. I am proud of how you lead and stewarded the gift of a wife God gave you. Your story, will be one I share from the pulpit many times. I am so proud to have done life with you and her - together.
On a side note, if you ever get the chance, ask Allie about So Cal freeways and when CHP do a thing called a "round robin". One of my favorite stories ever.
Placing myself under God’s sovereignty.
Surrounded by brothers.
Wanting my friend to come back.
Missing a brother.
Longing to have him back.
Angry at cancer.
Stoked he knew Jesus.
Praying for healing.
Wanting people to meet Jesus because of Ramon Vidaurri’s life of obedience to his Savior and ultimate Healer.
Creation. Fall. Redemption. Restoration. These are the four acts of Scripture we find. Creation and Fall have come and gone. Jesus has come, so has Redemption. Now we live in between Redemption and Restoration.
The Now and Not Yet.
Without these two theological concepts I’ve listed above I don’t know how I’d be able to get through life right now. My soul is heavy. My heart hurts. My mind is weary. My body is going through the motions.
I am still in shock this is happening. He’s too young. He’s my brother. They’ve only been married for seven months - it’s not long enough. I was in their wedding. We’ve walked through life together. I saw them the night he proposed almost a year ago. Even before this incident it has been a long year - now it has been a really long year.
The Now and Not Yet - the world we live in - the world of the in between.
This is the world where pain, suffering, brokeness, sin, death and evil exists. Inside this world, cancer exists. It fills and surrounds. It brings strong men to fall on their faces. It brings their community to their knees.
Here. Now. All. Around.
The wolf shall dwell with the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat,
and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together;
and a little child shall lead them.
The cow and the bear shall graze;
their young shall lie down together;
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra,
and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den.
They shall not hurt or destroy
in all my holy mountain;
for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD
as the waters cover the sea.
(Isaiah 11:6-9 ESV)
We don’t live in this world. Yet, that’s the one I long to live in. I long for Restoration to come. The Kingdom is here, but it is not. Jesus has come; cancer has been beaten; yet, it still exists.
Kingdom please come. Jesus, please bring healing to my brother.
Holy Spirit bring our Father glory.
I haven’t needed Sunday to be here this badly in a really, really long time. This past week has been painful. It is has been hard. It has been trying. It has been long. It has been a week I largely want to forget. If I could, it would never have happened.
This thought is not how life works.
These are weeks God uses to do things in my soul - I guess I should be grateful.
Monday night hit and I knew it was going to be a bad week. I had that feeling. A final was looming on Wednesday and that always makes things gloomy. However, my Sunday last week got to a worse start - but at the time no one knew how bad it really was - until Monday.
As it turns out now, one of my best friends, a man whose wedding I was in back in May, has a tumor behind his left eye. Right now, it appears the best case scenario is that he’ll lose his left eye. They fear it may be already inside his brain. They fear it may be cancerous. This will change his life forever. It will change his marriage forever. It will change me forever.
He was married in May.
I was in his wedding.
He is a brother. His wife is a sister. Now, this?
I haven’t cried yet - I really want to - but I have told myself I won’t cry til I know more of the fate.
I get to see him and his wife tomorrow. I will pray for healing. I will pray for them. I will mourn with them. I will hopefully, be a harbinger of Jesus to them.
They need prayer. Pray for my brother Ramon. Pray for healing. Pray for miraculous healing. Pray for my sister Allison. For strength and wisdom. Pray for the doctors. Pray for me.
Oh ya, this week, I had to take a final without studying for it because of the stomach flu. Yet, it’s funny how life allows you to keep the little things in perspective…
Sunday, thank you for coming. I need a new week.
Sunday, thank you for coming. I need to hang out with the saints at RockHarbor Fullerton.
I love my church. Is that a hip or cool thing to say any more? I love my local expression of the Kingdom of God, here on earth, that is my community and family of God. I love it.
Tonight, was one of those moments where being inside a community you love just overwhelms your soul with the way God works.
My weekend has been marked by remembrance and celebration. It has been one of contemplation, reflection and thanksgiving. After all, celebrating God saving your physical life, five years prior, is something that just radiates peace and gratefulness.
In an irony of Godly proportions, RockHarbor Fullerton, as we are going through the book of Mark, took the opportunity to preach on Mark 5:21-43 - the healing of an unclean woman and Jairus’ daughter. In our community’s culture of intentionality, we long for the words and stories of scripture to shape us. We long to be formed by this book, because we know the Kingdom is near, at hand. We know, one day Jesus is coming back and He will make all things right. But, we also know how He has given us His authority to go to the ends of the world and help usher in His Kingdom. Thus, we want to live expectantly, allow God to work and step into what He is doing in the world around us.
To sum the previous up in one sentence, we believe God is healer and still heals today. The story of the woman and Jairus’ daughter was not just a story of then, but one of now. The disciples healed. The believers in Acts healed. Church history since then is full of miracles and healing stories.
I am a story of healing.
I am a story of God’s Kingdom being near.
I am a miracle God chose to heal, save and make a testimony of how He still heals today.
Not because of anything I did.
Not because of me earning it.
Not because my community earned it for me.
God chose to heal me.
Don’t get me wrong, there was all kinds of prayer and petition. People I didn’t even know were praying for me. People all over the world were praying for my healing. (And I was, but more on that later…)
RH Fullerton hit me hard tonight. The only other time I have been hit this hard with the realization and truth of God saving my life, was on the one year anniversary. I was overcome with gratitude.
Five years later and I’m blessed to be alive.
Five years ago, God showed me He is still in the business of healing.
Five years ago, God healed me.
Five years ago, God granted me life.
Five years ago, my story got interesting…
So grateful five years later I’m alive, at RHF and stepping deeper into the reasons why God has me alive.
God heals, I’m proof.
Do you believe God heals?
If you’ve been following my blog for any amount of time, you know I talk a lot about the Now and Not Yet. This past year has been full of learnings and trials of the now and not yet.
Last night and today are another one of those.
I have been blessed with a great brotherhood - brothers from another mother - that through life, mission, passion, calling and Jesus we have bonded and become brothers. The relationships I have with these men are not something I ever want to sacrifice; instead I will willingly and joyfully sacrifice for them. They are critical and important. With many of these men, I feel and understand the relationship between David and Jonathan in the book of Samuel.
Well, today, I am driving down to hang with a brother, who had has dad pass away from cancer last night. My heart and soul are grieving with him. I am honored to be able to support him and his family in this time. I am thankful to know that his father loved Jesus. I am grateful that Jesus lived 2,000 years ago, was fully God and man, lived a life without sin and willingly sacrificed his life on the cross for the sake of everyone who ever lived, wiping out sin and rising three days later conquering death.
Without this, moments like these would be extremely difficult. Mind you, they still are extremely difficult. The now and not yet is a wonderful and dreadful thing because Jesus has conquered death and sin - yet - the world and people around us are still suffering. Cancer still exists. Fathers still die.
Jesus even said the Kingdom is here. But, it’s not fully here. It’s here - but it will be coming, fully, powerfully, in the future. One day, all will be restored. One day, lions will sleep with sheep. One day, tears of sorrow will be eliminated.
But we live in the middle of the now and not yet. Sin and death are conquered, but they are still here. We live with hope - biblical hope. This is not hope that is wishful, or fanciful. This is expectant hope because it has already been guaranteed us, because Jesus has already won. Easter Sunday proved it.
So, today, I drive down to SD before I close for work, to hang, mourn, grieve and celebrate with a brother.
Please be praying with me.
There is a Hebrew word that is used frequently in the Psalms. It is “selah”. To explain it simply in English, it simply means to pause or to wait. This word, used in Hebrew worship music, is what I want to use to describe today - Saturday - or the day after Good Friday and the day before Easter, Resurrection Sunday.
We westerner’s are bad at pausing and waiting. We want immediate gratification. Why should we pause and wait when we can just swipe our little plastic card and get it now? Yet, that is exactly where we are left today - the day in between Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday. It was in this moment as NT Wright says that "Jesus’ disciples knew what they had been hoping for, and it was all gone… Holy Saturday is the moment when everything stops and waits."
From the moment Jesus let out “It is finished” to the moment the women discover the tomb is empty, we are in a moment of selah.
Too often we as Christians jump ahead from Good Friday to Resurrection Sunday. Why do we do that? It’s because we know how the story ends. We know that Sunday is coming. But I wonder if we are missing something by doing that. What if we were to participate in a moment of selah? Would Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday effect us differently?
On Good Friday, Jesus hung on the cross, took our place, died for our sins and ended his 3 years of earthly ministry precisely the way he intended to do it when He resisted Satan during the 40 days in the wilderness. Jesus refused to take shortcuts to usher in His Kingdom. On Resurrection Sunday, Jesus showed us that He alone has power over death showing us that He truly was fully God and man, thus His death alone could satiate what God required for our sin and now pull us into His story and Kingdom.
Yet, what do we do with Saturday? What did His followers do on Saturday? What did the Roman Centurion who uttered the words “Certainly this man was innocent!” (Luke 23:47) do and feel like? Where was Peter on Saturday? What was Pilate like? What were the the Jewish leaders doing? How did Joseph from Arimathea and Nicodemus feel? What was Thomas doing?
I don’t know what they did, but I can probably guarantee that everyone was watching.
Not one of these people knew how the story was going to end. We do. Jesus followed through on His promise that Sunday would come - we see that fully now. They did not.
These are the thoughts I wonder as I selah.
As I selah, I realize, that the gap between Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday is the now and not yet. It is reflective of the time that we live here on earth. NT Wright says "Holy Saturday is therefore the sabbath rest after the completion of the work of redemption." Yet, we all know that not everything has been fully redeemed yet.
See, the Kingdom is here but yet it is not. Jesus has come and He is coming again. We live in the theological, Church history time of selah. And, how we live in this time - matters - because the world is watching. How we live out the message of Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday until Jesus comes back matters - not just for the Church, but for the world around us.
We live in a different kind of Saturday. We look forward to a different kind of resurrection. We hope for restoration. We want to bring as many others into this story of redemption, hope and restoration as possible.
As disciples of Jesus we have a tendency to skip ahead like we do from Good Friday to Resurrection Sunday that we do with the world in which we live. We have our ticket to heaven, we know it will be a better place, so we try and fast forward ourselves to heaven, instead of sitting in the now, in selah, and pulling others into the story.
Let us live out the Kingdom. Let us live in this time of selah, while using what waits ahead for us as a motivation to live well in this time.
3.6 billion dollars have been spent on this years campaign…
How can we, as Christians, as the Church, put an end to this?
Why do I not like politics or government? This is why.
This money could be going to things that are so much more important. Things that make a difference.
Honestly, this money is spent and given to broadcasting companies that already have more then enough money.
This money is spent out of the excess of rich men who have a lot or those who feel so strongly about politics they donate it (great thing to do) but what if they were to donate it to: http://www.onedayswages.org/ or even http://www.one.org/us/ instead? Or to http://www.heifer.org/ where they can buy a cow for a village instead?
Am I anti-government? Am I anti-politics?
Not at all. I just wish it was time American politicians stopped being so ethnocentric and saw outside their party lines and causes.
I would vote for any politician who was actually truly for the poor. Who was willing to sacrifice and not smere campaign, but instead use their money wisely - advertise less, but advertise with a purpose. Or maybe, do a one for one advertising campaign like TOMS does with shoes…
These are just my thoughts. But, I long to see us as the Church model this before any politician or government does.
Maybe I dream too much? Maybe I just long for the “not yet” part of the “now and not yet” or “indicative and imperative” to ring true and fully represent itself on earth? Maybe, just maybe, I dream too big of dreams?