Reconciliation in Christ المصالحة في المسيح

A blog site dedicated to showing the world the reconciliation that God offers to us and between us through the blood of Christ--the blood He shed in love for us and for all nations, to make us one with Him, and one in Him, for eternity.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Water from the Rock

Exciting news broke today that data from the Indian spacecraft Chandrayaan-1, along with data from Deep Impact and Cassini, have all confirmed that water exists pervasively on the surface of the moon, if extremely diffusely. The results are "unequivocal," according to scientists who've seen the data and analysis.

I got excited reading this news, since it means lunar exploration, either robotic or human, could utilize this water for life support systems, rocket fuel, or other needs. The most popular theory at the moment is that extremely fast protons in the solar wind (H+ ions) slam into the Moon's surface, knock off oxygen from oxidized compounds in the lunar soil like aluminum oxide, and then the hydrogen and oxygen bond together. Much of this then evaporates and escapes the Moon's low gravity, but the solar wind continually replenishes the surface with a very, very disperse "coating" of water molecules.

After reading about this, I picked up my Bible to read before going to bed, and the very first words my eyes saw were these, in Numbers 20:

"Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water. You will bring water out of the rock for the community so they and their livestock can drink."

Wow. Will God one day "pour out" water from the Moon's rocks for humans to drink, just as He did for the Israelites in the desert? Perhaps. If so, I pray the humans will give glory to God and thank Him for what's He's given them. But one thing is for sure: Jesus is the Rock that pours forth living water, and the true satisfaction for our souls' thirsts. As Paul says of the Israelites in 1 Corinthians 10:4, "they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ."

Many scientists and space enthusiasts will be excited when they read this news about water on the Moon. I doubt very many of them will be as excited about the living water that Jesus gives us. May God help them, and all of us, to recognize the meaning of the water that pours forth from the Rock, and provides for us in this dry and weary land. As the Psalmist aptly said, "The heavens declare the glory of God." (Psalm 19:1)

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Hope Triumphant

I just wrote this to a friend, and thought it might encourage other people too. :)

It's really encouraging when I think about how God fulfilled his promises in Christ, and what that means for my life. The Jews in exile in Babylon must have felt so abandoned, lied to—didn't God promise David, after all, that "Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever" (2 Sam 7:16)? So why is the king, the son of David, now cut off and humiliated before the power of Babylon? Why is the temple destroyed? Why has God abandoned us, and abandoned His promises to us? When you read Psalm 89 in this context, it's so heartbreaking—in verses 19-37 the writer (Ethan the Ezrahite) talks about the promise God made to David:

"Once for all, I have sworn by my holiness—
and I will not lie to David—
that his line will continue forever...

"But you have rejected, you have spurned,
you have been very angry with your anointed one.

"You have renounced the covenant with your servant
and have defiled his crown in the dust."

What is going on? the psalmist wonders. How can God break His own promise, which he swore to David He would uphold forever?

And yet, the reality of God's promise to David was so much bigger than simply having a descendant of his to always reign as king over the political state of Judah. God's promise was fulfilled in Jesus, in a way that was so much bigger and greater than anything Ethan and the other exiles could have imagined—something that took the people of Israel's sinful desire for a king and turned it into a glorious expression of God's faithfulness.

The same thing can be shown with the crucifixion and the resurrection. What must the disciples have felt when they saw Jesus rejected, crushed, humiliated, and killed at the hands of the Romans and the Jewish leaders? What kind of teacher were they following? They must have felt so let down, disappointed, maybe even deceived in a way. No wonder Thomas didn't want to believe. Behind his doubts was his broken heart, his broken hopes. "I don't want to hope again until I know without a doubt—it would hurt too much to be disappointed again." Jesus understood and was merciful to him—he came and showed him the reality of God's promise fulfilled. The cross was not a failure, but the most incredible and shocking triumph of God in history. And God was shown to be faithful—even if the way He fulfilled His promises was not always what the people were expecting, it was much better than they could have imagined.

Praise God! When I think of how He's done this in the past, it encourages me to believe that God can and will fulfill His promises to me, even in times when I can't see how that could happen. It makes me want to never lose hope, to always believe and trust in God even when I fear my hopes being broken and my dreams being shattered, because even if God does end up breaking some of my hopes, the reality of what He replaces it with will always be better than I could have hoped for, as in the end we will all clearly see.

Read the entirety of Psalm 89 here.

Monday, October 15, 2007

O Magnum Mysterium

We're singing Morten Lauridsen's "O Magnum Mysterium" in choir this semester. I think it might be the most beautiful choral piece I've ever sung. Thinking about all the glory of God in a helpless infant, lowly and rejected by His society, born "out of wedlock"...the amazing love of God, that He would come to us not in power and terror but in humility and poverty.

The Hebrew word for "to bring good news," or to bring the gospel, is yevaser, from the root basar or flesh. So the power, beauty and glory of the gospel is that God, infinite in glory and majesty, became flesh--human, weak, ordinary--to show us what real love is, and to give us real life. This is a truth of incomparable beauty, and I can't think of a more beautiful song to express it.

Here are the words (in Latin, then English):

O magnum mysterium,
et admirabile sacramentum
ut animalia viderent Dominum
natum, jacentem in praesepio!
Beata Virgo, cujus viscera
meruerunt portare
Dominum Christum.

O great mystery,
and wonderful sacrament,
that animals should see the new-
born Lord, lying in their manger!
Blessed is the Virgin whose womb
was worthy to bear the
Lord Jesus Christ.

(Video of the song can be seen here.)

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Europa Rising

Wow!! Gorgeous!!

Monday, May 07, 2007

Run For the World 5k

Hey everybody--

I'm helping to organize another Run For the World 5k this year, to raise money for building an orphanage in Zambia. Here's the basic info:

Saturday, May 19th @ 8:00 am
$15 registration
($17 the day of)
At Coot Lake, northeast side of Boulder Reservoir
All proceeds go to our friends at World Orphan Relief to help build an orphanage in Silembe, Zambia

How can you be involved?

1) Run!! (or walk, or crawl, or hobble on crutches...) Register online

2) Volunteer! Contact me if you want to help on race day or the night before to help set up, take down, time runners, etc. We'll need at least 15-20 people to help out.

3) Sponsor other runners (like myself)!! Go to the registration page for details.

4) Tell others! Get people at your church, work, etc. involved. Not only will it be a great time in a great location (I had an absolute blast last year), we'll be helping to build a home for orphans in a country where more than 10% of the population are orphans.

Hope to see you there!


(PS The registration page is

Run For the World 5k Race
Sponsored by Sambah Naturals and World Orphan Relief

Monday, April 09, 2007

Loving is Healing

I was reading through something I wrote to a friend recently and realized it was good stuff, so I wanted to put it here (with a few slight edits). For background, a good friend of mine, Laurie Mansdorfer, recently died of cancer. This was written right after I went to her memorial service.

Just got back from Laurie's memorial service; I was really glad I got to go. Wish you guys could have been here too. They're such a sweet family; it was great seeing Jacob running around, Hannah being her beautiful shy self. It's gonna be hard for Mike...but I know God will bring them through, just like He sustained Laurie to the end in faith and love. They'll be in Indiana the next week or two; we're gonna do everything we can (and everything we'd be needed with, of course) to help them along in the coming months.

Going to the service, thinking about Laurie and life and death, made me think we were wrong in the way we were talking the other day. Not that death isn't a release from pain and suffering and sin--that's what makes Laurie's death bearable and not quite so tragic--but the implication that life is merely to be endured. I think that attitude's been dominant in me for quite a while. But the wonderful thing I saw with Laurie, from the stories people told and the lives she impacted, is that even when she was suffering she was still reaching out to others, giving to others, spreading God's love to others. Now I'm sure she wasn't doing that perfectly, but she wasn't letting her suffering ultimately prevent her from fulfilling the purpose God had for her life.

And I guess that's what really hit me tonight. "What is the purpose of my life?" Is it just to get through without screwing too much up? Is it to make lots of money on airships? Is it to sell lots of soap and lip balm and build schools and orphanages in Zambia? Well, maybe on the last couple in a way...

But the ultimate purpose of my life, I realized, is to love. To love God, and to love others as myself. A life full of God's love, pouring out to Him and others, is what we were made for. Anything beyond that is meaningless, ephemeral.

I feel like I've been so focused on myself recently--ironically stemming from my desire to be a more godly person, yet debilitated by the sadness and frustration I feel at failing so utterly in that--that I haven't had hardly anything to give in love to others. The solution to my problems, the solution to my pain, is simple: Love. If I let myself be hungry for God, trusting that He will satisfy me, if I give myself in love to others, care about them in the same way I want others to care about me, then I will in that very act of love be healing myself. In other words, I've felt that what I needed was for others to love me. But that was completely wrong. What I needed was to let myself really love.

Oh Lord, help me to live this way, to trust in you that giving is more blessed than receiving, that when I give of myself I will end up having more of myself to give.

Thursday, January 25, 2007


I just woke up from a dream I had, where I showed up to a big gathering at Horizons (dressed in a toga, actually), having forgotten that I was supposed to give a talk to the audience. I literally hadn't prepared a word. So I quickly got up front, my mind blank, saw the rather large crowd on the bleachers stretching out before me, saw the beautiful fall day around me, and started (like any good speaker) by talking about the weather. This, more or less, is what followed.

A lot of people say fall is their favorite season. I know it's mine. The crisp air, the beautiful leaves in all their glorious assortment of color--it's like nature's reminding us of what it's capable of. I love to go up in the mountains as the aspen trees are changing color, and see the beautiful sea of delicate, quivering leaves, splashing their color onto the canvas of the mountainside.

One might consider these beautiful colors as the last words of dying leaves--the last glorious shout before their end comes. One might even be tempted to think of it as a desperate cry for attention before their inevitable death overtakes them: "Look at me!! I'm valuable! I'm beautiful! Love me!!"

But most of us don't think this way. We seldom see the leaves falling as something truly tragic. Why? Because we know that after the winter has passed, spring will come, the leaves will grow again, and their beauty and life will be restored to us anew. We don't see the fall as a tragedy because we know the spring will come. We don't see the leaves' death as a tragedy because we are sure of the coming rebirth.

Sometimes, though, winter comes early. I remember a few seasons in Colorado where an early snowstorm would hit in September or October, before the trees had let their leaves die. What happens? If there's enough snow, the weight of the snow collects on the leaves and eventually breaks the branch. I remember taking a chain saw to these huge branches literally covering my backyard after one particularly heavy early snow. These branches looked strong and powerful, but they were swiftly felled by the unexpected winter.

I believe most people live their lives like these mighty branches, believing that what matters most is to make themselves strong and beautiful, decorating their lives with glorious leaves that glimmer in the summer sun. We strive for success, we strive for others to love and value us, to see us as beautiful and strong and important. "If I can show the world how beautiful my leaves are, then I will be happy." They might even think, "Come November, I'll have created my beautiful life and will be ready to leave in style."

But those unexpected storms have a nasty habit of showing up. And unlike in Nature, where snow might come in September, but surely never in July, we never know how short our lives might be. As the Psalmist said, "Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom" (90:12). We simply have no guarantee for the future of our lives, no matter how strong and beautiful our branches may be.

Jesus said in the gospel of John that "Unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds" (12:24). You see, there is a death that is not tragic, but beautiful. The kind of death that leads to rebirth, like the leaves falling in autumn, is beautiful and glorious. It is the leaves submitting to God's way, allowing His hand to bring them down because they know He will lift them up. Only if the leaves refuse to die, insisting they remain strong and beautiful and "alive," will the snow be able to destroy them. Only that death is truly tragic.

The beautiful colors of the falling leaves are not tragic because of the rebirth to come. Jesus' death on the cross, though terrible and sad, was not ultimately tragic, because, as Peter preached in Acts, "God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him" (2:24). There was so much life, love, and beauty in Christ that death simply could not contain him. Even better, unlike the spring which eventually turns to summer and then fall again, Jesus' death for us destroyed the very power of death itself. "For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God." (Romans 6:9-10)

As we identify with Christ and submit to the loving hand of the Father, He will bring us down so that He may lift us up--beautiful, umblemished and eternally new, free forever from death and sin. If we die to ourselves to live in Christ, if we allow God to kill our selfishness and pride and envy and all the other things that we fear giving up--that we we fear we will not be strong enough or beautiful enough without--then this death will be like the falling of the leaves, radiant in their beauty, even in their death full of life.