A great friend and spiritual mentor came from San Diego to teach our college students. He's the teaching pastor at Journey Community Church (click here for his blog); he was my youth pastor for one year back in Omaha. Ed is one of those guys whose life with God is something I've strived to imitate. As vast as his wit and theological knowledge might be, it's matched with an intimacy with God. It's sad to say, but there aren't many pastors with the kind of inner life that should be imitated. I don't want to be that guy.
I wanted our students to be exposed to his teaching, because it leaves you expecting. It's like getting an injection of faith. You walk away thinking, "The God of the universe wants to use a shmo like me to do miraculous things."
I heard similar messages from him as a freshman in high school, and believed it. As a young, insecure 15 year old with no special gifts or talents to boast about, that was a defining moment for me.
My kids love Ed- he makes them laugh. The last couple days they've been asking for "Ed stories."
From the Messages
"Following Jesus at a safe distance keeps God safe...and distant."
"Elijah was a man just like us" (James 5:17-18) ("homeopathos"- same feelings). This is almost unthinkable that James would say this to the new, mostly Jewish church. Elijah was the guy who has an empty chair reserved for him at Passover Seder meals. He is one of the most important figures in the O.T. As Ed said, this story is for emulation, not adulation.
Elijah- "Eliyyahu"- his name means "Yahweh is God". He declared to Ahab, "I live before the face of God"
God often sent Elijah "away"...Is it more important for me to act, or for God to act?
Book recommendations: Letters from a modern mystic (Frank Laubach), Imitation of Christ (Thomas a Kempis), Life Together (Deitrich Bonhoeffer), Richard Foster's bibliography
"Defiantly put God first, even (especially?) when it seems crazy"
"Avoid like plague the cruel insidious effects of guilt and shame. They turn you away from the one you need when you need him the most. Guilt and shame is way overrated as a method for change. God is not about conformity, but transformation."
"The hardest thing I've had to deal with- more than anger, greed...- is discouragement."
"Don't make decisions in despondency (i.e. times of desolation)"
"What are you doing here?" (God to Elijah in 1 Kings 19:9). Invite God into your dark places...
“The process of becoming conformed to the image of Christ takes place primarily at the point of our unlikeness to Christ’s image. God is present to us in the most destructive aspect of our cultural captivity. God’s involved with us in the most imprisoning bondage of our brokenness. God meets us in those places of our lives that are most alienated from God.” (Invitation to a Journey by Robert Mullholland)