the loose cannon

today there was a moment. it caught me by surprise.

i was laughing, most likely a little bit too loudly, in such a way and in such a place and at such a thing that it probably disturbed a few people around me. yes, others were laughing too ... but i was the disruption. and i caught a look ... you know, a look from someone. it read quite clearly, "annoyed."

the look was like a mirror to me. and i had the thought again. like so many other times, when i speak too quickly or assume too much or get preoccupied or distracted or just plain inconsiderate [in other words, self-centered], i saw in that mirror: there goes the loose cannon. the variable. the unstable element. the volatile one.

i really, really hate being the loose cannon. i'd much rather be dependable, respectful, the epitome of grace and propriety. i hate being a loose cannon.

but you know what is incredible?

God loves a loose cannon.

i mean, really? really, Lord? you have quite a knack for picking the rejects. you pick the loose cannons, and the failures. the cowards. the bumblers and the stutterers. the control freaks and the out-of-control tornadoes. you pick the crippled and the bruised, the tattered and torn, the bed-ridden and the blind, the deaf and the dumb. you pick the unpredictable one.

yes, God loves me, the loose cannon. and he picks me. because i've got nothing to boast about in myself. i'm the failure. the reject. the crippled, blind coward. so if i can bring Him glory, if i can bring the lost to Him ... it says nothing about me.

and it says everything about Him.

"i will rather boast, therefore, in my weaknesses ... so that the power of Christ may dwell in me."

if this is what You want to do, Lord, who am i to interfere?


new old hymns

i love hymns. for several reasons, i think. i first loved them because i have many sweet memories of singing hymns in church next to my dad, him taking the bass or tenor lines and myself the alto. as i've gotten older, i have learned to love the way hymns speak about God. i find them much more profound that most praise songs i hear on the radio.

one that i've been hearing a lot lately is "for the beauty of the earth" ... it's pretty good :D i first heard it at staff retreat, then i heard barlow girls' (i think it was them, anyway) christmas-ized version on the radio. so as i was driving home last night (and fighting to stay awake), i was compelled to re-vamp the good old hymn and write a few verses of my own :D

for Thy total sovereignty
over every fleeting life
for Thy loving plan we see
in the midst of sorrow'd strife
Lord of all, to Thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise

for the straight and narrow way
lit by naught but Thine true Word
for the dark and cloudy day
when each faithful servant yearns
Lord of all, to Thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise

when all doubts and darkness rise
when dull apathy invades
when we conquer satan's lies
claiming Jesus' empty grave
Lord of all, to Thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise

should i lose both health and name
riches, kin, or closest friend
i will trust You e'er the same
praise You now, and when in Heav'n
Lord of all, to Thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise


it's been a long december

and there's reason to believe
maybe this year will be better than the last.

so, has it been a hard year for anyone else? hah, don't answer that .... because i already know.

today, as i was getting frustrated with God (i might have been yelling at Him a little?), i was thinking back over some of the things that this year has taught me.

eternal perspective.
security in the nature of God alone.
selflessness (ok, actually, maybe just that i am selfish).

and in myself, i saw that talk is cheap, but how i spend my days is what actually reveals what i believe about the world and myself and God.

so now i'm thinking about how i've spent my days.

and what i really believe, apparently ...

... and i'm thinking that maybe my heart is a little crusty.

it's been a long december
but there's reason to believe
maybe this year will be better than the last.


grace ... like rain.

i've been thinking a lot about grace.

grace never gets old. i never stop needing grace. grace never stops loving me. it's always new. it's ever relevant. utterly relevant ... perhaps THE most relevant thing in life.

in the drought of my soul, grace tastes good like rain. like the purity of water to a parched throat. it's freeing. cleansing. amazing.

i wear grace like clothing. it covers me ... all my flaws and insecurities. it keeps me warm against the cold night of the soul and it breaks the winds of change so that i am not knocked over.

my next step is by grace.

my current place is by grace.

my [hi]story is all by grace.

grace ... the gift. freely given from God's hands.

and all is gift.

"the reformation was a time when men when blind, staggering drunk because they had discovered, in the dusty basement of late medievalism, a whole cellarful of fifteen-hundred-year-old, two-hundred-proof grace--bottle after bottle of pure distillate Scripture, one sip of which would convince anyone that God saves us single-handedly. the word of the gospel--after all those centuries of trying to lift yourself into heaven by worrying about the perfection of your bootstraps--suddenly turned out to be a flat announcement that the saved were home before they started ... Grace has to be drunk straight: no water, no ice, and certainly no ginger ale; neither goodness, nor badness, nor the flowers that bloom in the spring of super spirituality could be allowed to enter into the case." --robert capon, as quoted by brennan manning in "the ragamuffin gospel"

yes, by the free-gift grace of God, i am what i am. one untimely born, not fit to be called an apostle, the last and least of all the apostles.

pass me that bottle. i'll drink it to the dregs.