Curtain Call

In Uncategorized by Caleb

And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Luke 23:45

When Jesus died, the Temple curtain tore in half. That might seem like a random sentence, but it has incredible significance. 

“The curtain” was the barrier between God and regular people. It meant restricted access, where even the highest regarded religious elite had to jump through hoops of ritual and over huddles of cleanliness to get near the inner circle of the presence of God. 
Then, Jesus. 

When he died, so did religion. (When I say “religion” I mean trying to be good enough and earn God’s approval.)

The curtain tore. No more barrier. No more proving ourselves. No more posturing. No more pretending we’re okay, let alone “holy.” 
Jesus’ death represented the death of our struggle to overcome sin. We can’t. He did. 

Access granted. You can be as close to God as any other human in existence. In fact, God’s inviting you to walk that path.
If you want to talk with me more about this concept, come to a First Dinner in Orange County this weekend.

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Loaves and fish, part 4

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When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten. John 6:12-13

This is yet another time when Jesus re-emphasizes that he’s in the fulfillment business. Not in the fame and future business. But fulfillment. 

And, it turns out, that’s what we’re all actually looking for. 

My LITTLE in Jesus’ hands can become A LOT in the service of others. And I’m willing to give what I have to Jesus because, in some beautiful way, God fills me up when I empty myself out. When I give, I receive. When I trust him, he reinforces me with blessing. When I realize my weakness, he shows up strong on my behalf. 

You and I don’t have to have all the answers as to how this job gets done. We can do the math, accept our limitations, and offer the little bit we have if Jesus says to TRUST. 

Note: The miracle usually doesn’t happen all at once. How long do you think it takes 12 guys dudes to feed 12,000 (give or take) people? Twice as long as it would have taken 12 women, but nevertheless. Not minutes. Hours. And with every person the disciples wonder, will this be the row that we run out? 

Faith—reach in the basket.
Trust—reach in the basket. 
Hope—reach in the basket. 

We’ll keep on feeding as long as Jesus keeps on multiplying. 

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Loaves and fish, part 3

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Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” John 6:8-9

A little boy saves the day. Why? Because he doesn’t see the world through limiting lenses. He doesn’t have the filter that chokes the life out of dreams. He doesn’t lead with “how.” And, as a result, he’s about to get a “Wow!”

Boy: “Sure, it doesn’t make a lot of sense. But it’s Jesus. Here you go, sir.” 

What an incredible lesson the boy received! (I wonder if it had a more lasting impact on him than even the disciples.) 

My LITTLE in Jesus’ hands can serve A LOT of people. 

I need that lesson, do you? I’m sometimes plagued by the insecurity that what I have to offer isn’t enough. Why try? Why start? Why keep going? I’m not sure the math is going to work on this. And it makes me feel like I’m not the right guy. 

Then, Jesus gets our attention. “How about you just trust me with what you have. The time… the money… the creativity… the network… And see what I can do.” 

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Loaves and fish, part 2

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Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!” John 6:7

I’m like Philip. I often hit a roadblock when I think about time and money. 

“No one person could possible give up so much.” 
“We don’t have the time to get this done.”
“The resources are too little.” 

Look, we MUST consider time and money. They are real and they are the enablers of vision. The best things take time and the best ideas are worthless without money. 

The problem was that Philip thought Jesus meant YOU—as in Philip—feed them. “Me. There’s no way. I don’t have enough. I’ve given up so much already just to follow you.” 

Is Jesus testing his math or his faith?

Math is critical. Do the math. Understand what the limitations are. Then, if Jesus says give me what you little you have, you do it, and see if it multiplies. 

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Loaves and fish, part 1

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When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward Him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” He asked this only to test him, for He already had in mind what He was going to do. John 6:5-6

For the next few days I want to talk about the the amazing story of Jesus multiplying fish and loaves and feeding lots of people. This verse, above, is how it starts. 

“He already had in mind what he was going to do.” 

There’s something about the realization of our limitations that gives Jesus ideas. 

But I don’t have the money. 
But I don’t have the time—with a full-time job. 
But I have young kids. 
But I was saving that. 
But last time I tried that…

The limitations of your present circumstance are giving Jesus some ideas. Maybe He’s testing you because a miracle is on the way.  

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Hilary Hijack: new language

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I had the luxury and privilege of living in Spain for two years in my twenties. I worked really hard to learn Spanish, and had so much fun doing so. By the end of my time there, not only did I speak Spanish really well, but I felt like my eyes were opened and brain was exposed to a whole new world. I felt like I had opened a door that I didn’t even know existed. 
In fact, I was able to express myself more deeply in some ways than I could in my native tongue. There were things I understood in Spanish that didn’t translate into English. 

This past year, I went through a really difficult, and unfair season. But I’m realizing that the pain of this past year has taught me a new language. What’s more, it’s given me new eyes and a new heart. I believe that nothing in this life happens by chance—and God is actively working it all together as part of a bigger story. 

A story that, through my new eyes and voice, I can hopefully reflect an even more beautiful version of Jesus. Because in my weakness he is made me stronger. Because I have a new depth of empathy. I have a new understanding. 

If we imagine ourselves as prisms that reflect God’s love uniquely through us, perhaps when we walk through pain and we are being cut and trimmed, it’s just to make more angles and beauty to reflect through us. 

My new language is a language of love and grace that I otherwise couldn’t have understood without deep pain. My eyes have the ability to see more, my heart has more empathy for others and a desire to care for those who are hurting. 

Perhaps whatever it is you’re going through is to teach you a new language of love.

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Girls/Guys Trip

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Do you have a trip planned? 

I just went on a guys trip with dudes from my life group. The skiing was a bust (for me), we didn’t sleep well, and we were buried in snow… but it was fantastic. 

It was great because we could be boys, have fun, and deepen friendships. 
Guys need other guys. Girls need other girls. 

Families—especially when you have young kids—can be all-consuming, and finances tight, but I still encourage you to fight for some time with a few friends. Look at the next six months. Grab 2-5 people. Think of connections that can keep costs lower. Save money. Make it happen. 

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Priority Member

In Uncategorized by Caleb

One of the more annoying things in life is standing in the airport terminal, waiting for boarding group 9 as 100 people get on the plane in front of you. Not that I really care to be siting in a cramped space for an extra 10 minutes, but still… When they say, “And now we’d like to welcome our Priority” blah blah, I can’t help but roll my eyes. 

You’re probably a Priority person on some airline, so no offense, but hear me out. The reason why people are a Priority to an airline is that they spend more money with that airline. Period. We’re clear on that. 

But it’s not that way with you and other people. It can’t be. 

Jesus tells a story where this is the driving point: 

“Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

In the spiritual, there’s a disproportionate emphasis placed on caring about people who can’t return the favor, or when it doesn’t work to your material advantage. It’s just another way God tries to remind us to see beyond what we see. 

So, today, your “priority people” aren’t the ones who make you the most money. God might be wanting you to see someone else. 

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Timekeeper

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My boys watched a Spy Kids movie for Saturday Morning cartoons. The premise was that a villain—The Timekeeper—built a machine to turn back time, making up for things he had missed as a kid. Turns out, the Spy Kids foiled the plan—phew.

Time is funny. It’s a non-renewable resource. We don’t get more, and we don’t know when it runs out. 

Everyday, we make choices how to spend the time. With family… with friends… making money… resting… playing… exercising… And none of these things are wrong. And they don’t even, necessarily, need to be completely balanced. But the time you dedicate to the above should be purposeful. 

When your time is purposeful (and intentionally allocated), you’re using your time. When time-management is lacking or ignored, you feel as though you’re losing time. 

Take a look at your calendar today. Are you purposefully directing your time? 

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Appendicitis

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Recently, I had appendicitis. I tried to sleep it off, but turns out, the appendix needed to come out. 

Urgent care sent me to the ER. They admitted me and got me tested quickly, confirming the problem. But the operating room was busy and I would be squeezed in at some point in the day. 

Twelve hours later, I’d eaten nothing, had no water, and was still waiting for my surgery. Stomach in pain and risking a rupture, I was growing irritated. I was tempted to complain and demand someone do something. But I decided two things were important. 

  1. Pray for all the people being operated on ahead of me. Most of them were likely in worse shape than I. 
  2. Push the nurse for action. 

Both these things are are necessary. I don’t want to be ignorant or ungrateful… And I won’t be passive. 

Most of the time, there’s a way to get things moving without burning people or being obnoxious. Plus, keeping our cool under pressure (or in pain) is better for our health. 

Pray + Push

It’s usually both… not either or. 

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