Tag Archives: identity

Cabin 19: Footprints in the Snow

The wind was steady and the snow was blinding. I could barely see my own outstretched hand as I shuffled through the deepening snow. My bare legs were now numb from the cold as I plowed through drifts nearly up to my waist.

Jesus’ footprints were barely visible and disappearing quickly. I had to keep moving. I found myself running, stumbling, falling, getting back up — again and again.

My numb shins began to burn and itch from the prolonged exposure. My eye lids were nearly frozen shut. I had to keep peeling off the frosted flakes in order to keep my eyes on the trail Jesus was blazing.

Worse than the cold wind and blinding snow, was the deafening silence I was experiencing. Snow has an insulating effect, a way of dampening the sounds of around you, until all you can hear is your own breathing and your own thoughts.

And the last thing I wanted in the world right now was to be left alone with my own thoughts.

“Jesus!?” I had been yelling out continuously, but I hadn’t heard his voice for probably 30 minutes — which felt more like 30 hours.

In the ripe silence my thoughts grew louder. Have you ever listened closely enough to your thoughts to discern they often take on different tones? At one moment they had the voice of a scared child crying out for help:

Where is he leading me? How much further? I’m cold. I want to go home. Please slow down, Jesus. I can’t keep up.

The next moment my thoughts had the sneering tone of the Accuser:

This is all your fault! You brought this upon yourself! You should just lay down, close your eyes and fall asleep into peaceful oblivion. 

Then the voice of truth again:

No, follow Jesus’ footprints! That’s all I need to do. He will guide me through this.

But the snow only increased and the tracks were beginning to disappear. A huge blast of wind came suddenly, and I found myself stumbling forward, face first into a drift. In the few seconds it took to gather myself, I had somehow lost my sense of direction. Which way was I heading? My cold, numb muscles struggled to pull me to my feet.

When I finally stood up and looked around, the footprints had completely vanished.

Continue reading Cabin 19: Footprints in the Snow

Redefine Me (by Danny Evans)

Co-dependency is my tendency.
I worry what others think.
I analyze every move considering if
it was a wink or just a blink.
Always apologizing even if I didn’t make a mistake
is agonizing to take.
I rely on the praise of people,
but now I worship the One in the steeple.
The Holy One defines my worth
and not those here on earth.

Adventures in Mark 1 (1:9-13)

Today we begin an ongoing series of reflections on Mark’s gospel.  Saddle up for a discipleship adventure!

At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. As Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” At once the Spirit sent him out into the desert,and he was in the desert forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him. (Mark 1:9-13)

The problem at the heart of the biblical narrative could be simply labelled “an identity crisis.”  Ever since Adam the human race has been trying to figure out their true identity, and from that their true purpose on earth.  The Israelites continually forget who and whose they are.  And we follow in their footsteps daily.

Jesus is portrayed as the “second Adam” (Rom 5; 1 Cor 15) and the true, faithful Israelite throughout the New Testament.  Here in Mark’s story Jesus’ 40 days in the wilderness are meant to evoke both the 40 year period of the Israelites who forgot their identity and fell into temptation, as well as Adam and Eve in the garden surrounded by wild animals who also let temptation overcome them.  In this episode, Jesus shows us the necessary pathway to and pattern for spiritual faithfulness.

The pattern is this: We first need to be reminded WHO WE ARE in order to withstand the snares of the evil one and all the temptations of the flesh. Continue reading Adventures in Mark 1 (1:9-13)

Re-Born Identity: “Kingdom Exchange Principle”

2699The Christian life is filled with counterintuitive paradoxical truths.  One of my favorites is Jesus’ strange warning that “Whoever seeks to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it” (Luke 17:33).  On the surface this is ludicrous.  I mean the last time I lost $10 I was poorer and not richer; and when I lost that golf ball in the pond on the 9th hole the only thing I gained was a penalty stroke!  

But a second look at Jesus’ kingdom wisdom should reveal that the main point isn’t really losses and gains — though that is involved.  He is really talking about making an exchange that will involve a specific kind of loss and a specific kind of gain. More specifically, Jesus is recommending that we exchange a self-oriented life for a God-oriented life.  Kingdom living demands we give up trying to be in charge and give control over to God.  I call this the “Kingdom Exchange Principle.” Continue reading Re-Born Identity: “Kingdom Exchange Principle”