the questions, observations, laments, psalms, classic anecdotes, prayers, & stories of jeremiah aja. enjoy it like a sweaty plastic cup filled with strawberry lemonade & crushed ice.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

ruined

The biggest reason I began this blog a couple years ago was to share my story. And the many stories within it, past and present. Not only my story though, but The Story. Which, If God is as big as some say He is, this Grand Story can be found everywhere, in every detail, at some level. The things that happen to me are not just for me. I believe they're to be shared, retold, and unfurled in new places.

Keeping true to the goal of this space, here is something that a dear friend encouraged me to publish. It is a FB message exchange from a high school student. I have had the pleasure of hanging with him for 2 years in a row at his Winter Retreat. May these lines unfurl onto the cynical, fearful, and dark places in your life:

HIM:
Hey, I was remembering what you said at last year's retreat that Grace ruined you and you hoped it would ruin us; well I totally forgot what you meant by that. Can you give me a recap? I would highly appreciate it. Peace.
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ME:
grace COMPLETELY ruins the whole game.
what you get is NOT what you deserved - grace is getting what you dont deserve.
read that again and keep it with you.
grace is getting what you dont deserve...but He says your worth it.

our whole mindset, especially as americans, is subverted by this world shattering thing called grace. what we end up getting from God is more and more and more and more and more and more- LOVE, FORGIVENESS, REDEMPTION, RESTORATION, HOPE and the list goes on.
and what have we done to deserve it?
nada.
to continue with the crude analogy- typically the way things work is - what you put into something is what you should get out of it. God says, even if you put nothing into it, I will rain down more love than all the clouds of the sky. the output is far more than the input.

it is by grace alone that it comes to us THROUGH JESUS.
no matter how hard you try bro, God wont love you any more than he already does.
no matter how bad you screw up, he cant love you any less.
you, me, and the most holy man or woman you know will ever be able to completely get a handle on his love for us.
it will make your head hurt, for real.
GRACE takes our preconceived notions of performance validation (if i perform well, i will be validated and accepted from ___) and turns it inside out. This is true because, no matter what we do (perform), his grace still outlasts our efforts...amd our mistakes.
this is crumbling.
this is humbling.
to know that a Being could love me, the real me, even with the dirtiest parts of my mind and most heinous acts I have done - and He still says, "Son, you are My Beloved. In YOU I am well pleased."

song lyrics i love - "if grace is an ocean, we're all sinking." -John Mark McMillan

GRACE shreds up the gold star chart we thought floated in the sky and says, "I love you still"
GRACE burns the spiritual ribbons and trophies we were trying to win and says, "You are the most valuable thing in the world to me."
The game i was playing with God and with myself (and i always had this shameful feeling I was LOSING horribly) is thrown off the coffee table and says, "You are priceless."
GRACE has ruined me.

I am ruined. We are ruined. We dont have to keep striving, straining, and breathlessly trying to be loved by God based on what we do. By GRACE alone, through Christ, He already does....and he wont ever stop.

better bro?
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from wilmore, with Love.

Monday, December 08, 2008

what grade did you get?

In light of finals week, here's a lil' something called Twitter Grader. Based on your followers, your updates, and the "strength" of those whom you follow, it produces a grade. Interesting (a bit ridiculous as well) stuff. Let's just say I'm rockin a D-. A few others (@chaddbrooks and @jdwalt) are doing a bit better. What's your score?
Do you twitter yet?
Most of the people that pop in here periodically do and you should too. In the spirit of Gob Bluth- "c'mon!!!"
*insert peer pressure here*
PS- yes, twitter grader is here to further reinforce the insecurity and performance validation we all love to suffer from. But then again, and even more important- don't take yourself so seriously.

from wilmore, with Love.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

They have arrived!

I posted this over at our seminary blog and wanted to let EVERYONE know who may be a part of the Asbury Community, but not a frequent reader of blog of ATS.
1st off - check it out at http://www.asburyblog.net/
2nd, brace yourselves...
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Our bookstore has them now. An entire end-cap FULL of them. I saw them with my own two eyes this afternoon. They're beautiful. Their presence made my day and I simply had to share.

That's right.

Moleskine Notebooks are at Asbury. All kinds of them.

Charley, as pictured here, is the one to send all of your comments like, "Whoa. This is absolutely incredible. Thank you so much." She made it happen and she slightly resembles Vanna White:
IMG_0072

Perhaps I'm a bit too excited, I admit it, but I will not apologize. For the past two years, I haven't written ideas, thoughts, stories, prayers, or notes on anything else but a Moleskine. The durable cover and sturdy binding, the lifetime guarantee, the handy pocket in the back - simplicity and beauty like diamond solitaire...almost . Blame my passion on someone else, who may or may not be standing and expressing joy here with me:

IMG_0074

So for other Asbury Moleskine users- and if you aren't, you're a bit curious and tempted to go and see, aren't you?- no more paying shipping to Amazon or driving to Joseph Beth's for your Moleskine needs. Head into the campus bookstore, tell Cassie the bookstore manager that Charley needs a raise, and smile with us.
Does Cokesbury do Christmas layaway?

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From Wilmore, with Love.