going-through-jared-stump
✈ Southwest Airlines Flight 711 // Dallas → San Antonio Dallas was wrapped in rain as we ascended into the sky. Love Field quickly disappeared beneath the low-hanging clouds. We were speeding through the low-hanging mist, and I was unwillingly oblivious to what was taking place around us. In that moment, I wanted to be back on the ground. I wanted to be home in my bed with Enoch, my five-pound chihuahua, sleeping the morning away. Instead, I reclined in my seat and leaned my head back. Staring at the ceiling of the aircraft, I whispered to myself, “We’re going through.” Often in life, we encounter storms. The kind that make us want to hide away from the elements and wrap ourselves in whatever is familiar. But I have found that these are the times when Jesus takes my hand and calmly says, “Come on, son. We’re going through.” He then…Continue Reading
flight-southwest-speed
✈ Southwest Airlines Flight 4237 // Baltimore – Los Angeles I glanced out the window on a flight from Baltimore to Los Angeles. We were somewhere over Missouri, the cities and towns growing further and further apart than they were on the East Coast. Another commercial airline caught my eye, heading in the opposite direction. As the jet whizzed by, I thought to myself, “Wow, they are moving way faster than we are.” It was then that I realized that the other plane wasn’t moving faster than my plane at all. In fact, they were likely moving at the same speed. The other plane appeared to be flying by, while my plane seemed to be moving at a snail’s pace. When you look out the window of your life, it often appears that the people around you are moving forward and getting ahead, while your own life stays stalled. But…Continue Reading
Photo by: Flickr - B-Sides 23 - https://www.flickr.com/photos/barkbud/
Today was perfect. On Instagram, at least. In reality, I didn’t get out of bed until noon. For the first hour or so of the day, I ate breakfast and wandered around my house, trying to figure out what I wanted to do that day. I had a to-do list of work long enough to keep me busy for months, but I was still in a haze. It was one of those moments where you have so much to do that you can’t bring yourself to sit down and do anything. Sounds ridiculous, but it is what my life has looked like for the last several months. I am a writer, and to write means to be alone with yourself and alone with the silence. But if the silence is deafening, and you turn introspective when you’re alone with yourself, it can be the occupation from hell. Finally, I decided…Continue Reading
Worship Judgement God's Eyes
One morning at church, I noticed that the guy in front of me was sitting down during worship, casually scrolling through Facebook. “Wow, he has no respect for God at all,” I thought to myself as I silently judged him (which means I was sinning too). As worship went on, I couldn’t get this off my mind. I don’t know why it bothered me so much, but it did. I wanted to be mad at this random guy that I didn’t know, because he wasn’t behaving the way I wanted him to behave. After letting these thoughts run wild in my head for upwards of twenty minutes, I decided to ask God how He felt about this guy’s behavior. But the funny thing was, God didn’t talk to me about his behavior at all; He talked to me about him as a person. God doesn’t see like I see. He…Continue Reading
night-billboard-paradox
I was driving across the river into my city the other day when I noticed a billboard. There was a photo of a woman, with text at the top that read “She’s somebody’s daughter.” Below that, it read “Building communities that honor women.” As I took this in, I couldn’t help but notice the billboard that followed it. This one also had a photo of a woman on it, but it was much different, as it advertised a strip club. Taking the next exit into my neighborhood, I began to think about how this fits into my own life. These billboards represent a vast paradox that we often see as we seek to proclaim the Kingdom of God in a broken world. We can build a place where people can connect with God and humanity is restored to its original design; a place where broken relationships become whole, where we…Continue Reading
Fame and Greatness - Photo by Kenny Louie FLICKR
I was sitting in the living room of the missions base where I live when I saw three leaves on the hardwood floor. As I pushed them into a pile, I noticed that the leaves were three different colors: green, gold, and brown. I quickly made the connection that the green leaf had fallen from the tree right before its change of color, the gold leaf had fallen from the tree at its peak of color, and the brown leaf had fallen from the tree after it peaked. My mind was beginning to ponder the topic of the rise and fall of celebrity status, primarily due to the recent #AlexFromTarget craziness sweeping across Twitter in the States. Sure, you can become famous overnight—apparently for doing absolutely nothing—but how long does that really last? Like the leaves, you never really know when you’re going to fall from the tree that held…Continue Reading
Coffee Christians Tips Generousity
I was tackling some work at a coffee house when a couple of guys came in lugging sound equipment. A stampede of people followed. Before long, the coffee house was so full that I had three strangers sharing my table. I stayed huddled at my end for most of the evening, though I occasionally took out my earbuds and enjoyed the music. A gospel group was playing, except they weren’t playing gospel songs. I only knew they were a gospel group because the lead singer kept telling us, and I wasn’t sure why. Perhaps she was trying to tells us she was besties with Jesus, without actually saying it out loud. Throughout the evening, she reminded us that the coffee house did not promote any specific religion, which made me wonder why she kept promoting hers. The night concluded with an altar call. Yes, the lead singer pulled the classic…Continue Reading
Take Off by Kainet FLICKR (no Manipulation)
Night was falling over Alabama as we pushed back from the gate at the Birmingham airport. As we began to accelerate down the runway, I realized it took a lot of confidence to fly. You only really have one shot at taking off. When you’re speeding toward the end of the runway, your only choices are to fly or to crash. As we ascended into the night sky, I realized that I often lack the confidence that is needed to charge down the runway at full speed. I prefer to take things slower, so I can stop and turn around if needed. The only problem is, if I’m not moving fast enough, it’s impossible to take flight. When God calls us to something, it’s important that we say “yes” before we arrive at the airport. We can’t take the time to count the cost at the gate, because there’s always…Continue Reading