Unsatisfied By Average

The Musings of a Stubborn Believer

Category: travel (page 1 of 2)

This Much

Sometimes it’s the things I’ve known longest, the things most taken for granted, that break me widest open…

Like there, opening arms as if to a long-lost friend, pausing with abandon-joy to savor the song that is the sea– the crashing sound of surf, the salt on the breeze, the endless blue.

His words come out of nowhere, His tone utterly casual. But His eyes twinkle.

So, you know how much I love you?

No, how much?

This much.

Standing on the edge of this expanse as endless the circumference of a circle, my heart gives way, before a truth I already know.
He loves me, this much.

And the salt in my eyes then doesn’t come from the sea.
Or does it?

Australia in Retrospect [This is My Confidence]

The highest heights are often to be found in the least expected places…
Least expected, that is, to a world quantifying success with finite formulas.

I’ve been to the heights. And not standing on a stage before thousands. Nor on some glittering crest of conquest. (As high as those honors are…)

One thing is always the same. I’m always shorter on the highest heights… By the distance of heel to knee.

PC: James Tregenza doanddare.org

This time, it was on a dusty bit of ground surrounded by benches, throbbing hearts, deep attention.
I have never climbed higher. Never seen the world wider than I saw it then. Never looked smaller in my own eyes. Never felt closer to Heaven.

No surprise.

To those who have found eyes for higher glory, though the beauty of the high places always surpasses our dreams, it is never entirely unexpected…

“As long as I live, I will remember his words– 

‘…Mostly, I’ve met God properly.’

That broke me wide open As though standing on holiest ground, I was filled with a smallness; a trembling… How is it that I am even allowed to touch what is this holy?“*

Though every memory fades at least a bit eventually, my wonder will never cease.
Nor will love for new friends with a beautiful foreign accent.
Nor will firm faith that we’ll meet again, if not on this round earth, then inside pearly gates.

“Hey– remember when…?”

Yes, I remember.

morning stars: checkout | PC: Jasmine Tregenza

Before it was over I had the opportunity to try to crunch the essence of 40 pages of worship notes and days and days of prayer and pondering onto 5 minutes of film. 

This is my confidence.

morning and miracle bend
later: snowy mountain living
friends in Victoria

*journal entry, January 20, 2014

Live By It [Motto #142]

I already have a motto.

But I write new ones constantly anyway.
Because I live best by truth thus synthesized. And because they come back when I need them when I do.

Seek nothing until you have sought God;
            Seek nothing you cannot seek for God.

Because if what you are after can’t be pursued for the sake of Jesus Christ,
it isn’t worth pursuing.

Waiting for Me

Allow me to pull you into my throbbing heart for a second, won’t you please??
Then don’t leave. We need to stick together; work together.

Photo, Joshua. Post processing, me.

Suddenly at the edge of the clearing my feet shuffle to a stop, eyes find the ground. A strange lump grows in my throat.
I’m struck with the sense that in this moment, God is here. And this, is holy ground.
I step, but oh so carefully, eyes still down. And just to the edge of Ascension Rock.
When I lift them, all burning and moist, all is quiet. All but my throbbing heart, crying out. Soft, I speak to the God so close, I can feel Him.

“My God, what have we done?

Why are we still here?”

My question trails into the breeze. But only for one moment.

Then, His voice. Silent as it is, I have never heard one kinder.

“Why,… I was just waiting for you.”


Another Great Awakening

A half-dozen Nebbletts merge into the foot traffic while checking apps for the departure gate. 
Charlie twenty-two.
We’ve got three hours. There’s no hurry. 
Soft, the hum of smooth wheels on polished floors fills my ears. 
These sights and sounds are almost familiar enough to be home, but still there’s a spark. I recognize wonder in it all… 
I watch faces. Note destinations. 
Count three 747s in a row, all in preflight at the terminal’s heart. 

Manilla, Narita, Seoul, 
London, Amsterdam…
From Detroit?
Suddenly, I’m struck.
The world is so small.
So small…

I finally settle into a sun-bathed seat at C22 after extracting a vibrating iPhone from my pocket.
And I’m reminded just how large is the family of faith we belong to…
Big family, small world.
That email was typed in Europe. As were the 6 before it. And 40 others like it I’ve received today. They’re proof that something is happening on the other side of the Atlantic, and around the globe, something it’s our privilege, our duty, to be a part of…
I call it another great awakening.
And it’s fueled by prayers, and tears, and sweat, and blood…
The question is, is it fueled by me?

In a few months time, I’ll be among the number flying to Austria for GYC in Europe. I hope some of you will too… 
But do you know what I hope even more?
I hope somehow we’ll all come to understand how small the world is. 
How much we need to pray for one another.

And I hope you’ll fuel the awakening in Europe especially, with your prayers, with your friends.
In your bible study group. Or youth group. Or on Skype. Whatever. 
Let’s fuel the fire, and change the world. 

What Really Counts

Around the world, and back again…

Part of my heart is still in Southeast Asia. 
What remains of me has been completely transformed. 
I’m an American. Make no mistake. 
But I don’t see the world like the typical American. Not any more…
I cross the threshold back into my office/studio/bedroom at 0300, clap twice. Soft lights around the perimeter of the ceiling surge, illuminate the place. I stop and stare.
Is this my world?
Morning light comes. (3 hours later.)
I press the silver button that will bring my MacPro to life. It doesn’t. 
I hear the sounds of a failing hard drive.
Thank you Jesus!
No, I’m serious. That’s exactly what I said. 
Do you know that stress is a choice?
Do you know that life is about much more than emails, work, school, stuff?
Or shall I say, much less?

Ask my Cambodian friends.
I work in the garden instead of the office. Then I leave home again, after 48 hours. In my flip flops. My dead computer stays. I thank Jesus for [another] Seagate failure all the way to Oklahoma… 
Because to eat, to sleep, to pray…
To serve,

this is life. 

And my computer, and my email, and my to-do list… These other things that dominate when someone asks me what I’m going to do today? 
Those are actually accessories.
On this trip, the accessories stayed home. My iPhone went to Europe in Joshua’s pocket. 
And I just loved people.

I’ve never felt so alive.

Journal 2

3/17/12 0520
But of course I want to be a world-changer. Of course I’m ready to see selfish hearts warmed and broken by sympathy and love…

But if I’m ever to take part in such a revolution, my own life must be controlled by sympathy and love – exclusively.

My, but how selfish is the human heart! How eager to move from the difficult to the easy… How bravely we talk, how sheepishly we work.

Mist springs up from the ground and it’s morning again… And I think of beautiful people stirring in their huts. And I think of hunger, and suffering, and hard work. And I think of the “house” that was pointed out to me yesterday… where children are exploited.

And I realize, only the blind can be selfish.
But I am still far too selfish!

So, I must be blind.

We must be blind.
Oh God, open our eyes.


The blog still sits silent. And what day is this?

Blame it half on sketchy internet, (usually down when I’m ready to roll) and half on photos and stories coming so fast I can scarce get my pictures dumped before the next thing calls. 
I’m resorting to something new. I’ll just journal here real time, and post in as-I-can time. I conceive that will be better than nothing in the end…
March 15
Sometime ask me about the meal extracted directly from the jungle, prepared by hands that loved…
And dirty feet. And taming jungle with Acts 2 in my ears… And a wild (5 hour) taxi ride across the country. Ask me sometime…
March 16, 14:39
Mango and Sticky Rice in the works. (yes!!)
Have a deeper sense of the glory of being climbed as Hs own…
Got it while sitting barefoot and cross legged, listening while the inhabitants of the third Pnong hut in a row insist to Cara that I must be one of them. Or at very least, my grandfather must be Pnong…
Well, no. But I couldn’t love them more if I were.

Irresistible Road

All the way down row 12 on an MD90 homeward bound, laps are filled with open Bibles– still, at 11:00 am.

We are totally sold on this Gospel of the Kingdom. Totally sold.
This ship sails, and clouds slip silently beneath us, the only indication that miles pass quickly by.
We sail with a plane load of strangers all going to the same place, but for totally different reasons…
Our hearts remember cold so cold the lungs reject your first breath when stepping out the door. We remember handshakes long, embraces warm, faces eager, Bibles open, questions cards, brunch lines, and hearts softened by the Spirit…
Including our own.
Our hearts, our prayers soar, and the world gets strangely distant below us… behind us. A glance earthward reminds me time is slipping quickly by. 
We leave a gym full of friends going to the same place, for the same reason: 
This world is not our home.
This road is beautiful in solitude, irresistible in company.
So glad we can travel it with friends…

City of Miracles

From home to Houston, and back again.
The words of my brother Sebastian ring in my ears still–

It’s a new day.
It’s a new day

What a way to start the year.
My stare rests blank on blank journal pages… Empty lines pleading to be filled with the fullness of days behind me.

Of waking high up, under Hilton-branded down, exhausted. Of learning to trust each new logistical catastrophe with the Ultimate Authority. Of joy overflowing while directing thousands of people through registration line. Of listening to 7,000 people sing I’ll Go Where You Want Me To Go right at my feet. (There is nothing, nothing like it in the world.) Of praying with seasoned soldiers, and nervous musicians. Of watching eyes water at God’s goodness. Of investing in beautiful young lives. Of having my burdens lifted by the Merciful God through my humble, brilliant team. Of hearing God’s name praised over my broken efforts. Of 190 voices and instruments singing Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah!
Of quieter moments. Behind a lens. Behind the stage. Discussing purpose with one friend, and the 85 Prime with another. Of grabbing my little sister’s arm every time I saw her. Of the joy of walking back over to the Hilton and finding 5 other Nebbletts in the room at random in the middle of the day (if only for 45 seconds). Of sunrise over Houston from the skyline patio 23 floors up. Of words– words from old friends and new that gripped; moved; changed.

My spine tingles.
And that’s not even the start. I don’t know where to start.
So I won’t even try… not now.

I’ll just tell you the bottom line. The thing I most want to remember from GYC 2011.
You’ve heard of Murphy’s law, no doubt?
I’ve learned there’s one greater.

Maybe we should call it Houston’s law.
Houston: City of Miracles. Where almost every dept. encountered some kind of logistical catastrophe, but nobody ever noticed. But called it instead the conference of conferences…

Because when the enemy is against it, but God is in it

Anything that can go wrong, will be extra fuel for Glory.

It’s a new day.

Older posts