Monday, March 29, 2010

The Affairs of Man


Today I want to share with you some of my thoughts and feelings about our country. I usually refrain from mixing politics, policies, or government with this blog but I feel like I need to say something. This blog is not meant to be a platform for one candidate or the other or one political party or another. This blog is about opinion! That means that my opinion is not always going to match with your opinion. That is why they are called opinions. People disagree, it's ok. As much as I believe my opinions to be correct so should you. If you don't think that your opinion is true then you should change it. I have said all that to say this...I have an opinion about our country and I am going to share it with you today.

I worry about our country. I worry about it because I am a firm believer that God pays attention to the affairs of man. Let me say that again, God pays attention to the affairs of man. People's belief of what or who God is usually falls into three categories: (1) Grandpa God- This God is the grandpa of his creation. He took his time creating the world and now he has slipped into a comfy rocking chair on the porch of heaven and watches what happens to his creation. He doesn't mettle into its affairs, he doesn't try and fix problems, he just sits there watching and worrying. (2) Dictator God- This God refuses to let his creation ruin his creation. He sits upon his mighty throne refusing his creation any choice or free thought. His creation is too valuable to leave it up to mere mortals. (3) Parent God- This God parents his children. He protects them, loves them, and lets them make their own mistakes. He intervenes when necessary but always gives his children the opportunity to achieve and fail on their own.

I am a "Parent God" person. I believe that God has given us free will so that we have the opportunity to decide what is right and what is wrong. He watches us closely to see if His creation is drawing closer to Him. However, He is also a God who punishes His children when they need it. What good parent wouldn't? Yes, I believe that God is the best parent there is and that His parenting decisions are always right. That brings me to my next opinion and the reason for this blog.

I believe that God is watching our country and I believe that He is saddened by what He sees. I am not going to debate the details in this writing but I would be happy to do it any other time because I believe what I am saying. Our country is close to being disciplined by God. As I said before I believe that God pays attention to the affairs of man. I believe that He watches his creation and disciplines those who turn away from Him. I believe that our country, as a whole, is turning away from their creator. I am not talking about any one individual. To do so I would have to put myself on the top of the list. I am referring to the direction our country has taken.

Whether you believe that our country was founded on Godly principles or not we have called ourselves to be "one nation under God". At some point in time our country decided that which God already knew...we are God's creation! We were created by Him, called into a covenantal relationship with Him, and given the desire to be called back to Him. This country, all countries, finds themselves under the Lordship of Christ. Whether that country decides to obey that Lordship is something entirely different.

I watch the news each day. I read the newspaper each day. I am the weird guy that you find turning the channels so I can get to C-Span as quick as possible. In my ministry I see the effects of abuse and poverty. In short, I look at our country and I can't find God. That doesn't mean that God isn't represented in our nation, He is. What I mean is that the choices that are being made by our country, the course we have decided to follow the manner in which we have decided to present ourselves to each other and to the world has reached a critical mass. We have traded the sovereignty of God for ungodly practices and have called it acceptance and tolerance. We have turned our backs on the very things that God calls a nation to be and do and we call it progress and open-mindedness. We have taken the love of God and returned it void of what true love means. We hate and kill, abandon and abort, and lust for power and for each other. We have replaced the Almighty God with the almighty dollar and a day is coming when we will answer for the choices we have made.

Scripture tells us in 2 Chronicles 7:14 "if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land." God wants us to turn back to Him. He gives us the very scripture to do so. Many people would say that those are words for Israel in Old Testament times. I believe those people are wrong. Scripture is given for all people at all times. That which was written in Old Testament times speaks to us with the same clarity today.

There has been a battle raging in the courts for years regarding the removal of the words "one nation under God". Many believe that, since government is not allowed to intervene in the beliefs and faiths of its people that those words should be taken out of our pledge of allegiance. I totally agree! I don't think that government should be allowed to interfere in my religion but that is not why I think those words should removed. I think they should be removed because we don't mean those words anymore. Our country is not one nation under God. Our nation has propped itself up and claimed that we are God!


Brothers and sisters, if I have learned anything on my journey home it is this; we must find our way back to God! To do anything different is to be in direct disobedience to the Word He gave to us. I do not like what we have become! Yet, hope remains! We need to be a nation that gets down on its knees and prays for forgiveness. I am not that person who says that we need to return to the day before microwaves and cell phones, computers or electricity. I like those things and they are not what is causing our country to turn its back on God. We have turned our back on God and we made the choice to do it. Let's put the blame where the blame exists. We chose the world over God, we chose to worship other things besides Him, we made the mess and the mess can be cleaned up. However, the one who holds all the cleaning supplies sits on the throne of grace. "One nation under God", we use to mean it and we can again!



Sunday, March 28, 2010

Holy Week


I want to talk about Holy Week. Some of you might be thinking of something different than what I am referring to. There are different holy weeks to different people. To some, Holy week might be the week leading up to the Super Bowl. To others it might be that one precious week you get for summer vacation. And to others it might be that one week during the year when your kids go to summer camp. I could see how that could be considered a very holy week. While all of those might fit into the broad definition of a holy week I want to write about the Holy week.

Holy week is the week that begins with Palm Sunday and ends with Easter Sunday. It is a week when Christ was heralded into Jerusalem by the very same people that would scream cries of "Crucify Him!" only days later. Holy Week is special to me. Along my journey home I have found it helpful to me to notice the mile posts along the way. Anytime you go through a traumatic event and survive it you have a tendency to notice things that had, beforehand, gone unnoticed. Holy week is one of my mileposts.

I think it special to me because I get to see the human side of Christ. During this week we see him sweating blood in the garden as he prayed, praying to his father to "take this cup from me", and, finally, we see him carrying his cross up the Via Delarosa towards the hill at Golgotha. I'm not sure why it helps to see the human side. I suppose I spend so much time studying the divine I forget that there is another side to him. Our creeds tell us that Christ was begotten by the father and that he was fully human and fully divine. That takes allot of thinking to grasp that the chestnut!

For me, I think the one thing that makes Holy week something important in my life is the fact that Christ could of given up on but he didn't. Think about it, Christ had, just a short time ago, asked his father to take the cup from him. He didn't want to go through the pain and suffering. In this we see a normal reaction of a human being. Who would want to go through that torment? Yet, he was so in tune with the father that he continued the statement, "if not, then your will be done"! What a statement!

In Christ's struggle I see what I strive to be. I want to be the person of faith that says , "I really want to do this but, God, if you don't want me to then I won't". Or, even, the opposite that says "God, I really don't want to do that thing that you are calling me to do but, if you really want me to, I will"! I see the obedience that Christ had to his father!

For me, Holy week is about choices. Christ could have chosen to give in and give up but he chose not to. Jesus didn't have to walk that lonely path towards the cross of Calvary but he chose to. He chose to be our sacrifice, he chose to be the savior of the world. It was hard but he chose it anyway. His human side must have agonized over the "fully divine".

Max Lucado wrote a great book entitled He Chose the Nails. In his book Lucado builds the idea of Christ choosing Calvary for each of us. Choices, that is what Holy week means to me. Choices that make differences in the world, choices that make positive impacts on my future and the future of those around me, that's what Holy week teaches us. Christ chose the nails for me and I choose to honor that. My salvation means something more to me because of his choice. Because he chose those nails I can choose to share his story with others. Because he walked that lonely road to death I now have power over death itself. Choices, that's what life is about!

I challenge you this next week to make good choices. Each choice that we make affects more people than we can ever imagine. Some pretty big choices were made during the week we will be celebrating. Let's pray that the choices we make will honor the sacrifice that was made for us. Amen.



Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Break From Reality


If you follow my blog you will notice that there has been a big gap between my last blog and this one. I want to take a moment and explain why that has been the case.

In one of my latest blogs I spoke of forgiveness. In that blog I poured out words and feelings that I have had trapped inside me for many years. In examining that blog I realized that I needed to get a grip on my forgiveness situation! So, I decided to take some time off from blogging about my journey home and work on my journey!

I have to say that is has been a wonderfully productive time! I have been studying and praying about the subject of forgiveness in a deeper and more truthful way. I went back and read scripture and writings about forgiveness (see Chapter 8 of The Traveler's Gift). In my study I was brought to my knees at the foot of the cross in anguish over this unforgiveness in my heart. I had gotten to a place where my unforgiveness had started to take a physical toll on me. I started have seizures because of the stress I would experience every time I thought of certain individuals and circumstances. It had to stop!

Through the Word of God, prayer, and help from colleagues and close friends, I have now come to a place in my life where unforgiveness no longer has a hold of my life. It has been an exhausting journey but a good one. Obviously, I have not completed my journey of forgiveness. It will continue throughout my life. However, I do feel like I have better tools to cope with any situation that might pop up from time to time. I have realized a few things regarding forgiveness and I would like to share those things with you today.

First of all, forgiveness is not for the other person it is for me. I have come to a place in my life where I have realized that unforgiveness is a stumbling block between me and God not me and someone else. If I want to have the kind of relationship with God that He wants me to have I need to remove the stumbling block of unforgiveness. My heart can't hold that burden and still be open to the will of God in my life. I forgive because I have been forgiven. I love because I am loved. I show mercy, compassion, truth, and grace, because those are the things I received from my Creator. True forgiveness is experienced in our hearts not in our words.

Secondly, I realized that the act of forgiveness can only be real in my life by the working of God's Spirit in my life! For many years now I have tried to forgive with my own strength. I would say the words and act as if those words meant what I wanted them to mean. I was wrong and I spent those years living in the trap of unholy forgiveness. Forgiveness is only real when it is backed by the love of God. Simply saying the words gets me no closer to God. I have to have the strength of God's forgiveness behind those words. The power of the forgiveness of the cross is the strength that I needed!

Finally, I realized that the forgiveness that I need to show to others is the same forgiveness that I have received from God. How arrogant I found myself to be in thinking that I could show forgiveness to whomever I deemed worthy enough to receive it. Through the cross God gave His son as a perfect sacrifice and though that sacrifice I have been forgiven. If the God of all creation can bestow forgiveness to me can't I find it in my heart and my life to show that forgiveness to others? We are called to share the gospel of Christ with others not hoard it to ourselves.

Over the past month I have taken a journey of forgiveness and I am a better person because of it. The sun seems to shine a little brighter, the air seems a little fresher, and my relationship with God is stronger because of forgiveness!

So, I want you know that I am back! My journey home is no different than yours. There are certain times when you have to stop for a moment and take stock in what you have gained and lost in your walk towards the cross. We all get off the path. I know I did. But, glory be to God, our loving Father always encourages us to stop and check the directions for our journey home!

May God bless you in your journey today and always! Amen.



Friday, March 5, 2010



Very seldom, on my journey home, do I talk about the impact my surgeries have made on my family.  Jacob, my son, wrote a poem in his English class and I would like to share it with you.  It gives you a brief glimpse of how the terror of brain surgery impacts a son.

This shouldn’t be happening.

Not to us.
Dad never did anything to anyone or to God

But reality showed that what was happening was real.
My dad was laying in a hospital bed with a six inch scar running down his head.

I sit in a hallway
In front of the surgery wing.
Being 10 seemed to shield the thoughts of the future from my mind.

Doors open.
And my life would be changed.
He was ok

But we knew that the effects would last an eternity.
We all worked.

We all worked to help his memory,
His skills,
His thoughts.

Today I have my dad
He is well.
But the symbol of pain
And love….

Is a six inch scar that runs down his head.

I am proud of my children.  Through so much fear and doubt they have endured!



Tuesday, March 2, 2010

I Am Ordinary!


I want to thank all of you for taking the time out of your busy schedules to follow me on my journey home. For those of you who keep up with my blogs you can attest to the fact that it has been a rough journey. Nevertheless, it is the journey that God has placed me on I will do my best to make Him proud!

Today, I want to share with you some of the thoughts that have been weighing heavy upon me lately. One of the statements in Andy Andrews' book The Traveler's Gift has gotten me in quite a fit! The statement is "I will greet this day with a forgiving spirit". Crap! I can tell I am not going to like this one right off the bat. However, I have tried and I am trying to make this statement come true in my life. I want to have a forgiving spirit. I want to be able to say that people don't have control over my emotions. I truly believe that God wants me to be a forgiver. BUT....I just can't let people off the hook like that!

Are you that way? I hope there is somebody out there who is reading this blog and saying to themselves, "I know exactly what you are talking about Derek". I pray that I am not the only one who is struggling with this. Surely, there is someone who will stand up and say, "I have trouble forgiving people too!" Of course the reason I want to know that there is someone else out there is because I don't want to be the only bad guy in all the internet!

We are like that, aren't we? We like to know that are other people doing the same bad stuff that we are doing. It makes it sound better if it's more than just you breaking some moral code. We like company in our sins. It makes us feel a little bit better. "Well, so and so is doing it too". Something about a bridge and you doing it as well comes to my mind. Why do I want to know that there is someone else out there who is having trouble forgiving? What in the world does someone else's life have to do with me and my hang-ups? I will tell you why.

I like to know that there are others like me because, in my mind, in our minds, we all want to be pretty average. Now wait, before you start calling me names and deleting this web site from your computer hear me out! From a very young age we are taught that we can, pretty much, be anything we want to be. Isn't that true? Mom or Dad says, "What do you want to be when you grow up?". Of course the answers of fireman, policeman, astronaut, and professional athlete are the ones that come to mind. In reality the statement you can be whatever you want to be is just a flat out lie. You can't be whatever you want to be. I wanted to be a major league baseball player but I am not. Why? Did I not want it enough? I mean I really WANTED to play baseball in the major leagues yet, somehow me wanting something and it actually happening are two different things. You can't be whatever you want but you can be whatever God wants you to be!

This is where I get to the average guy. You know who I am talking about. It's the person who is average. The one who goes to work and pays his bills. He goes to church on Sunday and loves his family very much. That's where most of us live. We don't make millions. We don't have advertisement deals or walk red carpets to some awards show. We watch other people doing that! However, when we really get down to the brass tacks we like this guy. We want to be average! We want to be average because, when you think about it, those are the types of people that God uses all the time. I know I have a problem with forgiveness. I know that my heart hardens toward some people. I know that I am a sinner. But, what I also know is that even in the midst of my unforgiveness and sin God still uses me. And he uses you too!

Think of David in the Bible. He was murderer, an adulterer, a liar, and a cheat. Still, he is one of the most familiar individuals in the Bible. Through David, God let His word be heard. David was average, well as average as king can be! But what about the other Bible heroes? Weren't they average. God picked ordinary people to be prophets. Twelve ordinary people became the apostles of Christ. God loves ordinary. He loves to take the ordinary and make them extraordinary for Him.

So, you are probably thinking, "Derek I have no idea what you are talking about! What in the world does this have to do with you not being able to forgive?" Well, here it is. I try to have a forgiving heart, I really do. But what if my inability to forgive begins to eat away at me? What if this flaw that I have begins to tear away at the fabric of my faith? What if I begin to believe that, because of this unforgiveness, I am not worthy to serve God which I' not! But thanks to the grace that God has given to me I am worthy! When I begin to believe that my sins make me unworthy and incapable of serving God, then the devil's got me!

I have trouble with unforgiveness but I am trying. I am a sinner but God still uses me. I am average, ordinary, and mediocre at best. But with God in my life I become more. There is nothing wrong with wanting to know that others struggle the same way you do. It's encouraging! What's even better is knowing that God is using those people too. I WILL seek to have a forgiving spirit and I am doing better at it! However, not being all the way there doesn't keep me from serving God. When we start to believe that we have to be perfect to serve our creator then the creation will never become what the creator intended his creation to be! Did you get all that? Let me make it simple...You are a sinner, you are average, you have unforgivenss in your heart! So do I! But God loves us! He loves the people who say, "Holy Moly I have got some problems in my life. I try but I just can't forgive so and so!" He loves the people who can admit that they are not perfect but that they can be through the blood of Jesus Christ!

So, you go on being average. Continue being normal! Strive to be ordinary! Because the ordinary become extraordinary when they let God into their lives! My name is Derek Hutchison and I am ordinary! Yeah for me! Until next time.