Motion

Hope Against Hope

 

I found this poem the other day when I was looking up the phrase “hope against hope” in reference to Abraham in Romans 4. I thought it was good so I decided to share it with those who join me in the blog action.

 

Away, dark thoughts, you autumn clouds!
A golden spring is here!
Shall it be thus in sorrow and in lamentation
That my youthful years pass away?

No, through all my tears I still shall laugh,
Sing songs despite my troubles;
Have hope despite all odds,
I want to live! Away, you sorrowful thoughts!

On this poor, indigent ground
I shall sow flowers of flowing colors;
I shall sow flowers even amidst the frost,
And water them with my bitter tears.

And from those burning tears will melt
The frozen crust, so hard and strong,
Perhaps the flowers will bloom and
Bring about for me a joyous spring.

Unto a winding, flinty mountain
Shall I bear my weighty stone,
Yet, even bearing such a crushing weight,
Will I sing a joyful song.

Throughout a lasting night of darkness
Ne’er shall I rest my own eyes,
Always searching for the guiding star,
The bright empress of the dark night skies.

I shall not allow my heart to fall sleep,
Though gloom and misery envelop me,
Despite my certain feelings
That death is beating at my breast.

Death will settle heavily on that breast,
The snow covered by a cruel haze,
But fierce shall beat my little heart,
And maybe, with its ferocity, overcome death.

Yes, I will laugh despite my tears,
I’ll sing out songs amidst my misfortunes;
I’ll have hope despite all odds,
I will live! Away, you sorrowful thoughts!

 

So whatever you’re dealing with, there is always hope!

 

Refocus

As you probably are already aware of, East Texas has been devastated by fires over the last few days. While nothing has really come close enough to our home to consider it a threat, it definitely has caused me think about what is really important.

Seriously, if everything that I own were gone tomorrow how much of it would I really miss or even know was gone? This is one of those things that we know, but sometimes we don’t act like we really know it. We know that all “things” are temporal and lose their value almost immediately after we get it. But we still pursue them. We know that our house and its contents don’t define who we are, yet we spend the majority of our time working to fund them.

The point of this rant is really short, simple and sweet: Let’s make sure that we are devoting the best of ourselves to the people and causes that deserve it. I heard a quote one time that really drives this idea home. “Those that are closest to you deserve the best from you.” Our spouses, kids and friends don’t deserve what is left over from our devotion and commitment to the pursuit of passing pleasures. As far as careers and endeavors are concerned, give your time to what is going to allow you to do the most good and leave the most lasting impact.

I think it’s a good idea to take the extrinsic happenings around us from time to time and let them be a reminder to refocus our attention on what really matters. The best way I can think to explain this is like a car. As nice as your car may be, even if it cost 100k, it will still inevitably need a realignment to keep everything in line. We’re not much different, are we?

A Thought On Hope

On September 25th, the last Sunday of this month, we will have our last monthly experience at Motion Church (we will start weekly the next week, which really means we start weekly that week… confusing I know) We’re doing a series right now called Motion Is… in which we break down the Mission of Motion.

So far, we’ve talked about Leading, Living and Moving. The next topic is “Being”. During my preparation for the message I found some pretty interesting things about this concept of having our being in Jesus. One part of the definition of esmen (being in Greek) is “to have hope”. I thought that was pretty fascinating. When you put that wording in the context of the scripture that we stole to create our mission statement it makes even more sense.

Acts 17:28- In Him we live and move and HAVE HOPE.

Whatever difficulty you may be facing, there is reason to hope. As bleak as your situation may seem, you have a help in your time of trouble. There really is a light at the end of the tunnel (and it’s not an oncoming train).

As beneficial as that is to us, I think this has some more elements to it. How we respond in hope to our desperate situations could be the answer that those around us need so desperately.

It’s not just that we have hope. It’s also that we are hope. 

I’m certainly not trying to make light of your struggles. But I do know this: God is good and He is for you. So whatever it is in your life that seems hopeless, remember there is always a reason to hope. That reason may be for someone else to have hope.

 

Birds of the Same Feather…

You’re probably familiar with the old adage, “Birds of the same feather flock together.”

This axiom has particularly stood out to me as of late as a result of various situations. I know that we know that it is important to have the right people around us. We’ve all heard quotes like, “Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.” But what fascinates me is that in spite of knowing this, people still allow birds with the wrong feathers to have influence in their lives.

I heard a really good analogy that explains this. Pretend you’re on a boat in an ocean. Let’s say you’re clumsy and manage to fall off the boat and cut your leg. Now that you’re in the water, the blood will soon begin to pour from your wound. It won’t be long until you find out what or, more importantly, who is around you. Maybe there are some dolphins. We’ve all have heard the stories of the heroism of dolphins and how they help people in trouble. Conversely, there may be a shark in the water. Of course we know what happens when a shark smells blood.

Although birds and sharks are quite different, we can still learn much about them as a result of adversity. Sharks react violently. Birds get their feathers ruffled. When feathers get ruffled, and they will, inevitably some will fall to the ground.

My suggestion: STOP AND CHECK THE FEATHERS OF THOSE AROUND YOU. 

If the feathers don’t belong to birds that can fly as high as you plan on flying then you need a new flock!

Rather than taking the time to kill birds with stones (or two with one stone), I want to celebrate the birds that are in my life. Specifically, the core team of Motion. These guys give countless hours to serving, giving, meeting and planning the various aspects of the church. They always find a way to overcome disagreements, show honor even when it’s not easy and do what is best for the whole instead of the individual. I’ve never been more excited about a group of people. T.D. Jakes said, “You can tell what God is trying to build by the people He places around you.”

If that holds true, God is building an amazing thing at Motion Church.

What We’re For

As we were developing the Laws of Motion (our core values), I looked at several different churches and pastors that I respect for direction. One day, I came across the Honor Code from Elevation in Charlotte, NC. In that,  I heard about a principle that has challenged me deeply.

WE ARE KNOWN FOR WHAT WE ARE FOR.

Unfortunately, churches are full of drama. That is, of course, because it is made up of broken people trying to figure life out (and some tares… if you don’t know what that is read Matthew 13:24-30). We have plenty of opportunity to tear other people down to make ourselves look better or to justify why we do what we do the way we do it. But, it just isn’t right.

Every time a church leader makes a mistake we are forced to make a difficult choice. Do we jump on the bandwagon and condemn them? Or do we take the high road and focus on the life-giving grace of God?

We all know that bad news travels way faster than good news. We also know that it is easier to talk negatively about situations (that may even deserve it) than to speak life. But isn’t that what grace is? God doesn’t give us what we deserve, and that is really good news!

The simple truth is that when we allow the faults and failures of others to become a part of our conversations and platforms, we lose. We lose the respect of people who are searching for real hope. We lose the luster and appeal that the church should have to people who are sin-filled and in need of a Savior. I would even take it as far to say that we lose the Christlikeness that we are striving for as His people.

The take away is this: We have to choose between death and life. We know that “life and death are in the power of the tongue.” Our response to negative situations will fall directly under one of these headings. Which one are you a conduit of?