Friday, March 2, 2012

Humanity perfected

So I was reading the book of John, chapter 4 today. I was really struck by something about Jesus. Aside from the fact that he's God in the flesh and that's way cool, he was really comfortable in his own skin. See I think we often forget the humanity of Jesus. Of course he was and is God but he was also very human. He got tired and hungry and impatient and was witty and funny and serious and apparently lost his temper some as well. Of course, in all his humanity, he never sinned. That makes him incredible. That makes him divine.
Sorry, back to John 4. Like I said, Jesus was really comfortable with who he was. Would that we all could be that comfortable with ourselves. When Jesus deals with the Samaritan woman, he almost seems rude at times, right? I mean, he basically calls her a slut. He's like, 'Oh I know you're not married. In fact, you're shacked up with some dude'. At first glance, in our politically correct society, we read that and kind of push back, right? We're thinking 'what's up with the name calling, Jesus'?
But Jesus makes no apologies for the truth. He just speaks truth and lets everyone around him feel the weight of it and the weight and force of his personality. The truth is that Jesus is so kind, so loving and so true that he cannot be anything else. He is humanity perfected in God. Think about that for a second. Jesus is humanity perfected. The perfect human. Nice.
See, I want this. I crave my own perfected humanity. I want to be like Jesus, to walk so closely with him that no one can tell the difference between me and him. Does that sound arrogant, impossible? I don't think so. After all, Jesus himself said we are to be perfect (Matthew 5:48).
I think the way to this is to be perfected in Jesus. To let him so completely take over all that we are that we cannot be anything other than perfect. Then we will be humanity perfected.

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Twitter plunge

Ok blogger followerers (is that a real word?), I'm taking the Twitter plunge. Find me on Twitter: @BScottGarrison. Holler!!
But here's what I'm tripping on this morning. The apostle Paul was the man! I love his writing because, not only was his intellect amazing, but so was his life. Paul lived what he preached. His lifestyle fit his message. Shouldn't we all do that? Shouldn't we all live like we mean it, like we actually follow Jesus? If you follow Jesus, live like it!!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

A story to tell

So I have discovered how much I love to tell stories. I know that is shocking for some of you (tongue firmly planted in cheek) but stay with me here. Not only do I love to tell stories but I’ve found that I really really really love to tell stories about Jesus.

Stories about the love of Jesus.

About the mercy and grace of Jesus.

About the provision of Jesus.

About how cool it is to live with Jesus as my savior and best friend (even on the bad days).

So I have a new story to tell. When we moved to North Carolina, we had (and still have) one car. The car that Laura had before we got married. It’s serviceable but it ain’t a limo. It has a lot of miles on it and pulls kinda weird to the right when you brake etc. We knew that we were probably going to have another vehicle. Problem was (and is) that we don’t have the money to buy a car. So we’ve been getting by on one vehicle. It helps that we’ve both been unemployed and live really close to campus.
Anyway, we knew we were going to have to have another vehicle at some point in time. So we prayed. We prayed that somehow, in His perfect timing, God would provide another vehicle. See, I see things like this: everything on this planet, indeed in the universe as we know it belongs to The Creator. So, it’s already all His so I figure that if He wants to share, that’s cool. If not, that’s cool too. It is His after all.
Today, God spoke.
Today, God answered our prayer out of His riches. And I’m still trying to wrap my head totally around it.
I was in chapel this morning when my dad texted me, asking me to call him when I could. So I called my dad while walking home. He told me that someone had walked into his office this morning, asking if we still needed another vehicle. He said we did and asked why. This person (and I have no idea who they are) then told my dad that they had felt that God had told them to give us their car. Let me say that again. They were just giving away a car. Out of faith. Out of obedience. Out of love.
I just started laughing. Because I didn’t know what to say or what else to do. Because all I could see in my mind was a picture of Jesus standing there with a huge smile on his face, watching his child unwrap their present. Watching his child, his friend as their eyes light up with surprise and joy and laughter. “It’s just what I wanted,” we cry! And he smiles and says, “That’s why I got it for you.”
Oh my friends, don’t miss this! Jesus loves us and he provides for us! If we will be faithful and obedient, he will provide! It won’t be easy but Jesus himself is with you, in you (if you know him). I knew when we launched out on this adventure that we would utterly fail without the One True God. But I also believed (and still do) that He will provide. I don’t know how and I don’t need to know. But I promised Jesus that I would never stop telling his stories, nor will I.
God is good, my friends! God is faithful, even when we are not. Fall on your knees and thank Him for His faithfulness!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Ephesians 6 prayer

The armour of God.
May you find me ready at all times, as all good soldiers are.
May I rest in your strength alone, for mine is insufficient.
Help me to recognize my enemy.
Give me the humility I need to realize that I cannot do this without you, Lord.
I need your armour, your word surrounding me, encompassing me, in my very heart and soul.
May I always speak the truth and put on your righteousness; my human efforts are worthless.
May I walk with the peace of your gospel so that I am prepared.
May I take shelter under your shield of faith, for my enemy is fierce.
May I wear proudly your salvation.
May I wield wisely and boldly your word, my sword.
Above all, grant me humility to realize that I cannot stand until I kneel before you in prayer and adoration, my King.
My life is yours.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Miracle

I love to tell stories. I really love to tell stories about Jesus. So, I have a Jesus story to tell; my own personal Christmas miracle Jesus story.

As you know, I have recently applied to and been accepted at a seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina. As Laura and I have prepared to move, it has been a bit worrisome how we were going to pay some bills, my tuition etc. Walking away from sixteen years of your career is a bit stressful. But, I know that the Spirit has led us to this and so we have been walking forward with Jesus in this adventure.

A few weeks ago, I was talking to Jesus about how exactly we were going to pay for all this. To be honest, I was having some doubts. You know how it is; the enemy creeps in and whispers lies in your heart: “Are you sure about this? You can’t do this. You’re going to be homeless and destitute. It’s safer here.” Those kinds of lies. So I told Jesus, “I don’t know how you’re going to do this but you have to do this because I simply cannot.”

I’m one of those weird people who assume that when I pray about something, Jesus will answer. I’m learning that the answer he gives might not always be what I want to hear. But, he will answer. So I talked to him about it, applied for financial aid and that was that.


Laura and I were visiting with my family in Alabama the week before Christmas. One morning I noticed that I had just missed a call from a number in North Carolina. When I checked my voicemail, I heard this (not the exact words but you get the point): “Mr. Garrison, this is Southeastern financial aid office. I was calling to tell you that we were going to offer you financial aid. However, this morning someone has donated $6,000 for your tuition. If you have any questions, please feel free to call me.” I just deleted the voicemail and kinda stared at my phone for a second. I mentioned the call to my wife and parents. My dad, the king of understatement, said “Well that’s good.”

Just a few minutes later, my parents shared their Christmas presents with Laura and I and my dad handed me a Christmas card. I opened it and inside it was a letter. The letter was from some people who know my family but shall remain nameless (at their request). In the letter, they detailed how the Father had impressed on them to provide us (Laura and I) some financial assistance. They said something along the lines of us stepping out in faith to follow His call on our lives and that God had told them to give us money to help. So, they are donating up to $18,000 to my tuition for seminary (up to $6000 a year).

I just sat there, holding the letter with what I’m sure was a dumbfounded look on my face. I looked at Laura and she was smiling at me. I looked at my dad. He smiled and said, “Wow. God is good.” King of understatements. I could feel the tears and a profound sense of relief wash over me. Then, in my heart, I could hear him. Laughing. I could see his face thrown back, roaring in sheer delight at my reaction, my surprise. Jesus was so happy for me, so pleased at this Christmas miracle he had just pulled off. I was just stunned. That’s a crap-load of money and, if things go right, could pay for my entire education. Later that night, as Laura and I prayed before bed, I wept tears of joy for his care for me.

Oh what a Saviour we serve! Jesus!! I will never stop telling this story! His provision is unbelievable! I don’t know what other cares we will have along the way but I know that he will provide what we need (notice I didn’t say what we want).

Celebrate with us our Christmas miracle friends! More importantly, celebrate Jesus!! He is all that matters!!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Today my life changed and, no matter where I go from here, things will never be the same. I was accepted to seminary today. The official letter is coming in the mail but I got the email today. And now I must admit that I am terrified. Not of God and His purposes but of the unknown. I am forced to admit that I don’t have it all together, I don’t have it all figured out. And that terrifies me. It forces me to face both myself and my Saviour and tell Him to His face that I’m afraid.

I would ask this of all my friends and family. Please pray with me now (I know you have been). There are still decisions to make and some things to do. I have some options, of course, as far as seminary goes. I can do some on-line classes if I want or I can, of course, move to North Carolina. I will not, however, need to move immediately as I’m late for the fall semester so would not start until spring; if seminary is indeed what He has for me.

I have no means to move, no vehicle to move with etc. etc. It’s funny in an ironic way that God knows how much I hate uncertainty. I’ve spent my entire adult life keeping things around me as safe as possible. The irony of this whole thing is that everything about this is uncertain. Weird, right?

There’s so much more I could say but I’ll leave it at this for now. Thanks for coming on this journey with me and praying with me.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The right thing

I find great personal comfort in the fact that all the dudes in the Bible that we now look up to were seriously jacked up. Take Abram (before he was Abraham). He starts out so good, right? Genesis chapter 12 (read it). God tells Abram, “Go to a land I will show you.” God’s obviously not into details very often, I see. But He tells Abram, ‘Hey, pack your stuff and take your family and start walking. I’ll let you know when you get there.’ So, Abram does what he’s asked.

What faith!
What courage!

I wish I had Abram’s faith and courage sometimes; the faith to obey without question, the courage to act without hesitation. To pick up and go when God says go and to be unafraid to obey even when all those details that I love so much are missing.

Then, a little while later in Abram’s story, he steps on his crank. I’ll explain…probably should after saying it that way (somewhere my dad just cringed). So Abram and his wife, Sarai, are going to Egypt because there is apparently a famine going on everywhere else. So as they’re headed in to Egypt, Abram says to his wife, ‘Honey, you’re pretty hot and these Egyptians like their women hot. So let’s do this. If anybody asks, you’re my sister. We have to tell them that or they’ll take me out to get the hot chick. Cool?’ (my translation of the original Hebrew). And, inexplicably, she agrees to this. So that’s what happens. By the way, Abram probably would have gotten murdered for his wife. Apparently, she was really hot and the Egyptians were really evil.
So, here’s where I don’t get it. Abram has done so well up to this point. He has been obedient, faithful and courageous. And then this. What a cowardly and selfish act on Abram’s part. He totally failed. I mean, if you’re gonna bomb something, go all out…and he certainly did. He whiffed on this one. And then what really boggles my mind is that God doesn’t punish Abram for his lies; He punishes Pharaoh for getting’ it on with Abram’s wife. Did I miss something? I read this and was like, ‘Hold on, if I was God, I’d smack Abram.’

Then, God reminded me that I’m a coward as well sometimes. I sometimes keep my mouth shut when I should speak up for Him. I sometimes fail to act because it’s uncomfortable. I sometimes fail to trust Him, follow Him and have courage. Sometimes doing the right thing might get me whacked…and who wants to get whacked, right?

See, even in our worst moments, our monumental collapses, He is still there. He still waits to be merciful and forgiving to His children. That doesn’t mean we won’t be punished but His mercy is always right and His ways are always just, even when it hurts. So, I guess we have to learn to stand on His promises and trust His provision even in the land of uncomfortableness and sacrifice. Hey, I’m not crazy about the idea either but doing the right thing, the thing He commands us to do, might be hard but it’s always right. And He will reward our faithfulness.