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Blog Deep Thoughts

Walking The Black Dog: Living with Depression

black-dogI’ve struggled for years with depression since I was in junior high. I’ve never been clinically diagnosed or medicated, but I know that I’ve spent some time walking the black dog.

If you’ve never heard this phrase before, you’re probably not alone in that. It’s not an incredibly popular phrase, but it’s definitely something a history major like me would use to describe his situation. You see, phrase was first used by writer Samuel Johnson and then brought into the modern vernacular by Winston Churchill.

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Blog Deep Thoughts Photos

The Simple Things

simple-things
I’m sitting next to my wife. She’s on her side of the couch. I’m in my wingback chair. It’s a quiet, spring Sunday afternoon. Our lovely daughter is sleeping before we head back to church.

We’re both relaxing after a nice lunch and some well-timed dessert. Birds are chirping in the backyard of our new house and just enough sunlight is pouring in through our windows so that we don’t need the lights on.

2015-02-23 23.11.57We’re watching some reruns on Netflix, and my wonderful wife is laughing deeply at an episode she’s probably seen a half-dozen times. I love that about her. Despite the ups and downs—and she’s had some pretty drastic downs lately, having had brain surgery and whatnot—she still loves to laugh.

It’s the simple things: the laugh of a loved one, the mischievous smile of a child, the sometimes annoying companionship of a tiny dog.

It’s the simple things that make up life, the simple joys of the life God gives us, glimpses of the life that God wants us to have.

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Blog Deep Thoughts Sermons

Holiness – Purpose & Purity

sermon-featured
Holiness is not purity, which is how we often think of it. Purity is only part of the whole of holiness. We remain pure for a purpose, to do the work of God. We must have both to be truly holy.

[Featured image via FreeImages.com/lumix2004]

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Blog Deep Thoughts

Psalm for the Depressed

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I’ve struggled with depression at various times in my life, and I read this psalm today as part of my Bible reading plan. It struck a chord with me in so many ways. If you’ve ever dealt with depression, I hope this passage connects with you, too. (Check out “The Black Dog” featured in The Weekly 1.6, also.)

How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?

Look on me and answer, Lord my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,
and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,” and my foes will rejoice when I fall.

But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing the Lord’s praise,
for he has been good to me.

‭‭Psalm‬ ‭13:1-6‬ ‭NIV‬‬

[Image via Michael Tuszynski/CreationSwap]

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Blog Deep Thoughts

Ragging and Bragging

Humility is not one of my most notable virtues. I may not always come off as arrogant, but I’m pretty sure that I’m more than sure of myself most of the time.

At the same time, I’m also prone to brutal self-criticism. Yeah, I’m a mess.

I walk and talk like I’m the most confident person in the world, and sometimes…sometimes, I even fool myself. But not for long.

No, I crash pretty quickly, and amidst the wreckage all I can find is self-doubt, second-guessing, and despair.

But enough about me and how I’m in this cycle of “bragging and ragging.” It’s time to break that pattern.

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Deep Thoughts

Re-Contextualizing Jesus

recontextualize-jesus
I love a good story, especially one in which I can place myself. It helps the story transcend the page and become a “mental movie,” an immersive experience that draws upon the imagination as upon one’s own sense of self.

The Bible contains many such stories. Stories full of flawed, broken people. who are just as flawed and broken as we, making the same stupid mistakes that we would likely make in their circumstances.

Of course, when we read ourselves into Bible stories, we run the risk of reading our own thoughts and interpretations into the Scripture as opposed to letting it speak to itself. But that’s not what I want to talk about today, though I probably should at some point.

For now, however, I’d rather talk about the dangerous practice of re-contextualizing Jesus.

You may have already heard the term “decontextualizing,” which happens when we remove something or someone like Jesus from His original context, stripping Him from the culture and larger narrative of Scripture. This happens all the time, but at the same time, it doesn’t. Confused? Good. That’s what I’m here for.