Tag Archives: jesus

Buddha doesn’t need your apples (a photo essay)

During my last trip to East Asia, I had the opportunity to visit a new city, one that was far removed from the bustle of the mega-city I was used to.  As I was walking around, I came upon a couple of temples, one Buddhist and one Hindu.  The experience was bittersweet.  I loved being around the architecture and the history of the temples.  The carvings were ornate.  The colors were vivid.

The feeling was ominous.

As a believer in a living God, I was left speechless as I watched person after person bow down before inanimate objects and shiny statues.  Visitors would bring apples to place at the statue’s feet. What’s a Buddha statue going to do with your fruit?  Christ was the final sacrifice.  No more sacrificial offerings are needed.

My heart broke for the elderly woman who could hardly walk.  She spent all the energy she had spinning prayer wheels as she labored around the temple.  Her hope was that she would build up favor by spinning these around and around.  Buddhists believe that spinning the prayer wheels can have just as much effect as reciting the actual prayers.

Christ is alive!  God wants us to talk to him.  I couldn’t have a relationship with a God who would accept me spinning my Bible round and round in the same as actually having a prayer-filled conversation with him.

I was teared up and humbled as I looked down at the prayer mats.  They were worn, stained and molded to the knees of thousands of people.  I have nothing in my home that is so worn because I was on my knees in front of God.  What a convicting moment.

I hope you enjoy the following photo essay.  They capture beautiful buildings and some emotion, but that is all.  They do not capture hope.  That can only be found in Christ alone.

 

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Preposition proposition

How many of you dreaded doing these in elementary school?

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I’m a sick and twisted kind of geek and actually enjoyed diagramming sentences.  I’ve always believed that everything had a place and there was a place for everything.  I liked finding a place for every part of a sentence and understanding their function.  I was especially good at identifying the prepositions in sentences (Mrs. Lessard would be so proud).

I remember learning the tips on identifying prepositions.  We used to think of things that could be done with a dog and a box.  A dog could be in the box, around the box, near the box, on the box or run through the box.  I’ve seen plenty of other ways of remembering prepositions, including this one that just makes me want dessert.

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The function of a prepositional phrase is to modify nouns and verbs while indicating the relationships between subjects and verbs.  I think about how my relationship with Christ looks as if it were a prepositional phrase.

Am I truly living in Christ, with Christ, near Christ?  Prepositional phrases have the ability of adding incremental elements of color and description to sentences.  For writers, it’s important for them to understand the impact of the usage in order for them to make the right choices.  Likewise, we should be able to diagram our lives as Christ followers so we can see if we are adding the same type of emphasis.

For example, are you living life among the lost? If so, maybe you need to step out of your silo surrounded by other Christians.

Are you living opposite of God’s will in your life? If so, maybe praying for focus is in your future.

Are you sharing the result of your life since following Christ?  If not, maybe you should practice writing out your testimony and presenting it clearly and concisely.

Have you considered how Christ defeated death after crucifixion and burial? or how he forgave us despite our sins? or how the Holy Spirit dwells inside of us? or how empty our lives might be without God’s mercy?

In order to grow spiritually, I need to constantly be evaluating where I stand in relation to Christ.  In order for me to modify Christ as a preposition modifies a noun, I need to bring something to the table.  The preposition provides detail or context.  My life needs to provide a strong witness that accentuates Christ and gives Him glory.

Sentences kinda have it easy.  The words are always the words.  Words don’t change.  Words don’t sin.  Words don’t rebel.  Words are consistent.  I am not.  Even in all my effort to modify Christ, I fail and fall short.  Just as diagramming might helps a writer figure out how to craft a wonderful sentence, I need to have the same assessment so I can craft a wonderful life as a disciple.

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I Spy Something Jesus-y

Photography is precious to me. 

Creating something beautiful results in an amazing feeling.  It makes you feel alive.  It makes you feel proud to have actually made something.

Photography is also an incredible form of worship.  What better way of honoring God than by capturing moments in time that He created?  Photography is not possible without light.  After all, photography is fundamentally the studying and capturing of light.  Even at night, in what would typically be called ‘pitch black’, with a long enough shutter, you can still capture some light.  Eventually, light prevails.

Our culture is filled with darkness.  Finding those moments, those emotions, those fleeting sunsets is a way to preserve beauty, hope and light.

On a trip several years ago, I was on traveling underground on a tunnel car in a foreign city.  The tunnel was filled with lights and there were a couple of those inflatable-wavy-arm things that sit outside cell phone stores and car lots.

I braced my camera against my body while resting it on a handrail because of the low light and shot periodically as we moved along.  As I walked back above ground, I noticed this image:

ImageI froze in my tracks and immediately zoomed in on my display screen.  Now, I’m not saying I captured the Virgin Mary on my grilled cheese, but check out that upper left corner.

As to not skew the response, I showed the image to some friends and asked what they saw.  Everyone said “Jesus with a crown of thorns.”  Here’s a side-by-side rotated comparison.Image

Now, do I actually believe that God said, “I declare the image of my son to appear in this camera!”  No, of course not.  But, I do think that it’s awesome to have captured something that reminds me Jesus is the King to those people and is a light in a dark, dark place.

Greater things are yet to come in that city.

 

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