The Rough Cut


“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”

Matthew 13:44

There is an old folk tale told by the Arab people.

Weary travelers meet up with a man while on a hard journey. “Two more miles, and when you stop, fill your packs with the rocks along the road” he said. “In the morning light, you will become happy and sad at the same time.”

It was dark when they arrived. They were pretty much exhausted, and hardly took any time to think about picking up rocks. They needed food and sleep and there was a few hours to rest; who had time to ponder the odd riddle of an old man?

But there were a few that listened; several went and picked up the gravel– the stones they could find in the dark. Those who listened filled their bags– some little, others more so. The majority did nothing. Who wants to carry rocks in their packs? (What ‘idiocy!’)

The morning came too early, and soon they were back on their journey. There was little time for anything but packing up to move. For some their packs were heavier, and they stopped to inspect their load.

Suddenly, someone shouted out. “Oh my God! Check your packs!” The one who cried out held up an emerald the size of his fist. Others cried out with excitement as they discovered rubies, diamonds and jade gems. You see, the rocks they had picked up in the dark were really jewels of staggering wealth.

Of course, it only mattered to those who had listened. What some regard as a burden becomes something of significance in the daylight. Perhaps our trials will become more than we could ever fathom. It is worth consideration.

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”

Romans 8:18

P.S. Don’t doubt in the dark what God has shown you in the light.



Superglue Your Crown On


“Because you have obeyed my command to persevere, I will protect you from the great time of testing that will come upon the whole world to test those who belong to this world. 11 I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take away your crown.

Rev. 3:1o-11, NLT

The crown you wear is vulnerable.  Sorry.  But the truth is that the crown we wear can be snatched, and taken away from us.  The dark enemy would love to lift it up, and the hoards of evil would rejoice over their victory in a dark demonstration of their power over you.

Jesus has issued a command.  His instruction communicates to us an awareness of what evil is about to do.  He tells us that there is a testing, and that there is the need for endurance.  We can so easily be led into darkness, and the enemy is pressing us with all his might.

Our crowns can be taken.  They will not be returned, at least not without issues.  Evil will come from this failure to keep watch.  Our spiritual life has been harmed and weakened.  Our crown becomes Satan’s trophy, and he gloats as shows off his collection.  We will become destitute of spirit, and our life starts to reflect the darkness.  Evil repeatedly does this, and we should realize that this. We cannot give in to this intimidation.

Remember, the crown the Holy Spirit gave you is extremely important.  It has a significance.  We look at our crown, and we can draw conclusions.  First He has given us an authority, and a place in his kingdom which is secure. He meets our needs as we work out the kingdom in this world. He works hard to turn us into a ‘marvel’ of grace.  We are royalty; princes and princesses of the High King. We serve Him alone.

My dear brother or sister, you wear a crown that sets you apart.  Wear it, with a spiritual awareness that you are special.  You are of a kingly lineage.  Rub shoulders with all that is good.  Become a companion of all those who are friendly to the truth.  Walk humbly, yet boldly. You must hold on to everything that belongs to you.




The Real Treasures, [Weaknesses]


As Christians often our theology tells us that mental illness, depression, and bipolar disorder have no place in the believer’s life.  So we hide, sneaking into our sessions with our therapists, and change the subject to minimize our exposure to direct questions. We have had to hide our issues really well. 

But I would submit to you that it is we who are closest to the Kingdom of God. It is far easier for us to approach the Father, in our brokenness, humility, and general lostness. We have needs; a sound mind, a healthy body and we know it. We have no illusions of wellness, nothing can convince us that we are well. We are not.

We are broken and only our loving creator can mend us.

You might say that the Church needs us. An Archbishop was given an ultimatum by the Huns who surrounded his cathedral. “You have 24 hours to bring your wealth to these steps”, the war-leader demanded. The next morning the Archbishop came out leading the poor, the blind, the lame, and the lunatics. “Where is your treasure? Why have you brought out these… people?” The Archbishop simply and quietly replied, “These are the treasures of the Church, these who are weak are our valuables. They make us rich.”

We often can value giftedness more than weakness.

I am afraid the the Western Church no longer sees its “treasures” like it should. In our pride and self-centeredness we have operated our churches like successful businesses. We value giftedness more than weakness. We definitely have no room for the desperately weak. I suppose it’s time for the Church to begin to act like Jesus.

Church isn’t where you meet. Church isn’t a building. Church is what you do. Church should be a verb.  Church is who you are. Church is the human outworking of the person of Jesus Christ. Let’s not go to Church, let’s be the Church.



Rolling Stones Theology

I was time travelling today.  I journeyed back to Christmas, 1972.  I had told my parents that life could only have meaning, if I could have just one thing.  I held out in hope that on Christmas morning, that I would open up a “rock tumbler.”

I was an 11 year old boy, and I imagined that I could turn gravel from the driveway into polished gems.  I would make jewelry for my mom, and then I would go on to know the thrill of turning ugly stones into precious jewels.  Somehow, doing this would give me a profound purpose. I guess I wanted to become a alchemist– turning gravel into gems.

This is all I wanted.  I dreamed of having my polisher– a rock tumbler that would be all and everything I wanted.  I was fixated, and just knew this was my destiny.  I would become a lapidarist! Today, I haven’t changed, I am always looking for the right stone.

Opening up our gifts, I had eyes only for my new rock tumbler.  I ripped open my present and tore into the box.  Within 10 minutes I had it up and going.

The principle was simple:

  • Step 1— Add the stones, and the “grit.” Resist putting in too many stones.
  • Step 2— Measure out the water.  The idea is to make a “slurry.”
  • Step 3— Let the machine run, don’t open the drum every 30 minutes. This takes time, and patience.
  • Step 4— A trick– add a tablespoon of sugar to the final polishing stage. It adds an extra gleam.

The Church is a lot like a rock tumbler.  The Holy Spirit places us in a fellowship with others.  We are rough and drab, we show nothing that would suggest a polish or gleam.  There is nothing beautiful about us.  We really understand this.

We join others who have been picked up.  Different grit is then added.  There are special types– some are very coarse and others are quite fine.  Water is added.  (The whole process is to parallel what happens at the beach, but purposefully accelerating it in your drum.)

As the drum rotates, things are constantly changing as they move.  The water and grit roll between the stones.  The stones themselves move with each other, sometime counter, but they smooth out all roughness and coarseness.  Some rocks are harder, and not easily polished.  Sometimes, the grit will need to be changed to speed up the process.  Whatever happens, we need to trust Him to do the right thing.

I really don’t want to bore you with all the different details.  But each step has a connection to authentically spiritual things.  We are a mixture of stones with different shapes and angles. There are a lot of variables, and it gets tedious.  The polishing takes a lot of time. There is the need for patience.  We often bring ‘a thirst for the instant,’ and for the quick work.  Polishing a rock takes a lot of time– months.  And we take years– maybe sometimes even decades.

“And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are his holy priests. Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God.”  1Peter 2:5, NLT

We are all in this process, what is hidden is being revealed.  We may bounce off each other, (here comes that ‘flinty’ sister again!)  But the Spirit is the superintendent of the process.  He will change the grit, add more water, or add others to the tumbler. He knows exactly what He is doing. No one will get overlooked.

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