Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Victory of John Manalo

Death puts such a perspective on life. It's funny how the little things that consume our time and our energy are suddenly re-prioritized when the wave of death sweeps over.

Today my fellow CCMers and I just received the news that our brother and former fellow CCMer passed away last night. Videos and deadlines, once a consuming fire of our days here at CCM, took their place in the scheme of things, leaving silence to clean up the mess.

Amidst the noise and chaos of media consistently residing in these walls, a young life taken has penetrated the room to mere silent tears. Where words once filler of empty air, now none can suffice the silence suffocating our deepest thoughts. Like a vapor in the wind, we make our mark on this world before we are called home. 

I fear we have made our permanent residence in but a temporary passing.               

John lived in a world that did not deserve him, a world that could not hold him. A heart too big to be carried by this sinful place, is now held by the hands of the Man that conquered death. We ask, bewildered and entitled, why God took him from our midst, when he was never ours to begin with, nor was he ever meant to be. Made for a world where death has no sting, we still cringe at death's awful scream and ask God why it hurts so bad. He has reached the Promised Land, while we are still making our way through the desert. 

I am blessed beyond belief and overwhelmed by the Grace of God that allows us to consider life not loss but victory. Christ said Himself, to live is Him, to die is gain. Unfortunately, it often takes the sting of death to heed to these powerful words. Unfortunately it takes a human life for us to recognize the value of our own. Last night my brother and friend John Manalo was greeted into the arms of His Savior. The few years that John dedicated to knowing His Lord will now be paid off for the rest of eternity-- Which is why I dare not title this entry, The Loss of John Manalo, rather the Victory. For none could find more victory than the one at the feet of Christ.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Broken Alabaster Jar

Break your alabaster jar
and pour it on my feet
In the midst of hair and tears
is where our hearts shall meet <3

To think that I-
but far too gone
A harlot amidst the virgin--
Am but a stickler for broken hearts,
in dire need of a surgeon.
Surely the King
has chosen His bride;
 A lilly among the thorns--
He'll take the beauty;
the Spotless one-
of whom precious gems adorn.
He'll search the castles
and the priciest rooms-
in the rich man's master suite--
While I sell my purity 
for dollar bills-
 like a vender on the street
Surely, He'll seek the loftiest places,
for a bride to claim His hand--
a woman committed; fiercely submitted
not some one night stand.

I'll never forget that knock on the door
that came as such a surprise-
that a King might enter a sinner's floor
much less look me in the eyes.
No value to offer-
but this alabaster jar,
I threw my face at His feet--
between tears and hair and open scars
is where He said we could meet.

Between tears and hair and open scars
is where He said we could meet.

Inspired by Luke 7:36-50

Saturday, May 7, 2011

To live is Christ...

"But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you." Luke 6:27-28 It is easy to love when our lives are not negatively or directly involved with whom God is calling us to love. It is easy to love the man that raised us or the hands that clothed us, but what about the man that murdered our children? What about the man that raped our daughters? 
The same God that sent David to slay Goliath, said "forgive these men, for they know not what they are doing," when the soldiers nailed Him to a cross. What is true victory found in? Justice or Mercy?  Embracing persecution or conquering it? Fighting for freedom or giving your life in the hope that your enemy may discover true freedom? 
Perhaps I didn't come back with all of the answers, but I did discover some of the right questions. 
For the past three days, I was placed in an artificial environment to be given the opportunity to ask my self these questions. World Awareness-to be made aware of what is going on outside the walls of America's comfort and entitlement. Most men will never even dream of this kind of life. But for some, it is all they know. 
For three days I, along with the rest of the Internship, were refugees on the run from a tyrannical government that had just enforced a law of "Peace and Safety," - a title embodying the belief system that all religions lead to heaven in an attempt to bring about a Utopian Society in America. In a government like this, Christians were persecuted for their beliefs because they were viewed as intolerant of other religions, judgmental, and extremists. We spent the entirety of our time running from the government officials in 400 acres of woods, hopping from refugee camp to refugee camp to escape the next invasion. Some of us got the opportunity to be captured and experience life in what they called, "a Re-educational facility" in which half of the prisoners were forced to remain silent in individual shower cells , while the others worked pulling weeds in the labor union.
Suddenly, I was forced to ask myself how I would respond if this were to really happen. The age is coming and the prophesies Biblical. The Anti-Christ will first bring about a sense of false peace and harmony through establishment of a one world religion. Was my role as a Christian to simply persevere the persecution, or was I called to do more? If so, what? Do I conduct jail busts, rescuing my fellow prisoners? Or do I submit to authority, up until the point that it contradicts my faith, and show the love of Christ to the true Prisoners? 
We are one Body-but as tension and confusion from the enemy arose, I saw division slip between the cracks of our own flawed belief system and the Body was beginning to split amongst itself. As the church, we have been called to love, not passively or defeatedly, but passionately and victoriously
1 John 4:4 tells us that the Battle has already been won. So why then do we keep fighting and resisting as if it is still in our hands?
Jesus died for the murderer hanging next to Him. He died for the ones who hung Him, but most importantly, He died for those responsible for putting Him there--us. He lived to love. But mostly, He died for it. Perhaps true justice can only be attained when we have first claimed it for ourselves.