Tuesday, October 12, 2010


"You never question the truth of something until you have to explain it to a skeptic."
Donald Miller

It is likely that you know what you believe. It is also likely that you only kind-of know why you believe it. So explain it to someone else - discover how much of your life you can back up with a reason.

1 Peter 3:15 "...but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect..."

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Have you ever flown in an airplane on a bright, cloudy day? It is without a doubt one of the most incredible things that we could have the privilege to do. Now don’t get me wrong, I hate sitting at the airport. I hate how you have to be there an inordinate amount of time before your flight actually leaves. I hate how you have to take off your shoes and belt to go through security. I hate how you have to press that stupid button and watch green or red lights decide how fast you can leave the building. BUT, I love some of the moments when you are actually flying.

When the plane takes off you get a rush in your stomach and you start to rise quickly. The city beneath you shrinks and shrinks until you are certain that you could pick up an 18-wheeler between your thumb and pointer-finger. Your daily world starts to look more and more like what you see in one of those images of earth that is taken by a satellite in outer space. And then, out of nowhere, it happens. The world beneath you disappears. For a split second, all you can see is white, and then you finally break through the top. You are literally on top of the layer of clouds and the sun is reflecting off of everything around you. I would have to say that it is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. I have tried to take photographs of it, but they never do the scene justice. It may be an even more breathtaking moment that seeing a Double Rainbow (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQSNhk5ICTI).

If you have ever experienced this moment, then you know what I am talking about. The clouds seem to be some puffy essence of orange light, and you feel like you could just walk out of the plane and land on one like a giant cotton ball. I cannot think of another moment that is quite like it. And the real reason is because God’s glory is all around you. In Psalms, David speaks over and over about how the heavens, the earth, and all creation tell of God’s glory. And this… this is the perfect embodiment of those scriptures. God’s glory is all you can see.

I have experienced more than one moment like this in my life. Times where I was just completely in awe of God’s creation. In awe of the fact that I am friends with a God who is big enough to make a scene like that - and only using words. And in a “church” world where people are constantly trying to be convinced of one doctrinal detail versus another, most people are confused about the fine points of what they believe, and one denomination of religious people publicly battles another, this is what we are missing. Awe.

We are the people sitting in the window seat who keep the window closed the whole flight. God’s glory is surrounding us, but we aren’t taking notice of the most important parts. God is incredible and incomprehensible. You can’t explain Him anywhere near the degree that you can experience Him.

A close friend of mine has always said that if we ever lose the awe of the cross, we might as well give up on doing any sort of ministry, and I think he is right. If it doesn’t inspire you that a God big enough to make this universe loves you enough to give His son’s life for you, then you are missing it. If it doesn’t overwhelm you that someone was caring enough to take on every sin, guilt, and pain you have ever felt, all in one moment, then you should take a long look at yourself. Because some of you might be willing to do so yourself, but I highly doubt that any of you would be willing to let your child die for me while feeling all my pain and guilt. And God loved His son way more than you could ever conceive of loving your child. This was a ridiculous sacrifice.

But even beyond that, God’s desire is not for us to love Him just because of what He has done for us. His desire is that we would be awestruck by His majesty, splendor, and brilliance. You know - all those words that I hardly ever use in a sentence that isn’t about God. And that is not because I am trying to be super religious or something. It is because I am trying to find words that are big enough to describe Him, and of course, still failing in the process.

So here is my question. When is the last time you spent time with God without asking for anything for yourself or for someone else? The last time you were in God’s presence without a hint of selfishness or guilt holding you back from Him? When is the last time you simply sat in the presence of the almighty, omnipresent creator of the world and just worshiped? Simple, pure worship. He deserves our worship every second of every day, and He deserves to have it without our intentions truly being about me. This has hit me over and over again lately, but it really will open your eyes when you realize that is ALL about Him.

Please, forget what happened today. Forget what problems you have. Forget what you are excited about. Go get lost in who God is. I hope you can’t find your way out.

- Zane

Friday, September 10, 2010

Cannot Keep You

"Cannot Keep You" by Gungor

Just a song to think about... click the title above to listen on YouTube.

They tried to keep you in a tent
They could not keep you in a temple
Or any of their idols, to see and understand

We cannot keep you in a church
We cannot keep you in a Bible
Or it's just another idol to box you in

They could not keep you in their walls
We cannot keep you in ours either
For you are so much greater

Who is like the Lord
The maker of the heavens
Who dwells with the poor
He lifts them from the ashes
And He seats them among princess
Who is like the Lord

We've tried to keep you in our tents
We've tried to keep you in our temples
We've worshiped all our idols
We want all that to end

So we will find you in the streets
And we will find you in the prisons
And even in our Bibles and churches

Who is like the Lord
The maker of the heavens
Who dwells with the poor
He lifts them from the ashes
And He seats them among princes
Who is like the Lord

We cannot contain, cannot contain
The glory of your name
We cannot contain, cannot contain
The glory of your name

We cannot contain, cannot contain
The glory of your name

Who is like the Lord
You took me from the ashes
And you healed me from my blindness
Who is like the Lord

Friday, August 13, 2010


"Look how You shine, so the blind can see."

- David Crowder*Band, “You’re Everything”

What if there was a light invented that whenever it was turned on, anyone who was blind could see everything that it illuminated? I would venture to say that every blind person who could possibly get their hands on one would own it. The feeling of being able to see when you have been blind - maybe even for your whole life - would have to be stunning. I can't even imagine that feeling.

I would bet that for people who are completely blind, even something short of this would be a rush. If a light was invented that simply let these people see light and nothing else, I have to believe that most every blind person would want one. When you have the ability to see nothing at all, light would have to be almost like a drug for you. An overwhelming sensation of something radiating in the middle of nothingness. The feeling of just turning it on and being able to see something.

As far as I know, a light like this is out of human reach at this point in history. That is not to say that technology will never get there, because some of the advances that are being made daily are astounding. But I can't help but think that this is what Jesus was talking about when he asked us to light the world - to be a city on a hilltop. We are that light that allows the blind to see.

I think we often downplay how lost you must feel (and truthfully, are) when your life is void of God. Personally, I like to imagine the people around me as simply dizzy. They just lost their way, and they can't find the right path back. But I don't think this is what God has been trying to portray to us. He wants us to realize that we are dealing with a world full of people with a very interesting sight condition. These are people who are completely blind, and many of them think that they can see perfectly.

Imagine if you had that condition in the physical world. Walking around completely lost, but thinking you knew where you were. How many times would you severely injure yourself? How many times would you fall off a curb, run into a stranger, or get hit by a car? This would be a serious condition! And this is how too many people are living. They are searching around thinking that they will find their way, and they have been injured so many times by the things that life has thrown at them. Things like depression, unfaithful marriages, unbelief, financial debts, abusive spouses, and lack of purpose. The problem is that they don't know why they got hurt, and they can't see well enough to find a hospital.

This is where the church comes in. The church being you and me – God’s literal house. We are to be a hospital for these sick and broken people. Our mission is to help these people heal, and once they are well, to send them back out into the world prepared. We have to illuminate the path for them - to give them vision using our incredible light. And then, we have to teach them to light the way for themselves. To use the light properly that has completely changed their view of life.

Do you want to know the best thing about this whole process to me? The best part is when someone who has been lost starts operating their own light. Not just because someone's life has been changed, but because I know many more lives will be. If I was blind and someone offered me a tool that provided sight, I wouldn't just live the rest of my life being able to see the world. I would find as many people as I could that had the same condition of blindness and explain to them how this light had changed my life.

We often want to know why the church in America isn't "growing" like it should. Here is your solution. Find blind people, offer them sight, and watch them do the same. Look past their confusion, and see someone who is bleeding to death - stumbling around trying to find a hospital where one doesn't exist. Lead them there at all costs.

I can't wait to see the world shine so brightly that our eyes have to adjust to this new abundance of light. Let's make it happen.

- Zane

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Defining Moments

Tonight I heard the statement that, “Most days have no impact on the course of a life.” The idea that most seconds of our lives have no substance troubles me. If that is the case, why should I ever even get out of the bed? It is safe and comfortable there.

However, there are days that I am inclined to agree with this thought. Some days are spent completing tasks that have to be done. Some days end with my mind running countless circles around the track of what more I could have accomplished with twenty-four hours. There are nights when I don’t want to go to sleep, so that I can just bask in the perfection of the day, and there are nights when I can’t get to sleep fast enough. Truthfully, there are nights when I have really lost the desire to even care. We all have days that could fit into each of these categories… but I don’t believe that anyone has ever lived a day that had no impact on the course of their life.

The opening quote sent my head spinning – thinking of all of the big moments in my life. You know, the moments that you would point to and say they were moments that shaped you, for the good or the bad. For you, it might have been graduating, landing your dream job, losing your dream job, falling in love, or finding out love wasn’t quite what you hoped it would be. All of these are reality. All of these feel BIG. But all of these moments mean absolutely nothing standing alone.

There are many ideals that I like to think mean something more than just one thought or moment can fully express. Words such as forgiveness, boldness, happiness, love, hope, trust, and redemption. But what do we know about these words without their counterparts? You know – those words that carry a heavier weight than can be described. What do we know about forgiveness without imperfection? What do we know about boldness without fear, hope without despair, or trust without betrayal? Nothing.

We certainly participate in moments that define us, but we often fail to acknowledge why these moments appear. They exist because of the everyday things. The small victories. The mistakes.

I am absolutely in love with my wife – but it isn’t because of the unbelievable chemistry between us that I can never shake loose. It is because we live life together. It is because of the times that I have been a jerk and she has shown her commitment just the same. It is because of the countless hours that we have sat on the couch together discussing that, “There must be a more entertaining way to spend our day in this big city than sitting on this stationary piece of furniture.”

I guess my point is that the small moments, and even the “junk” in life, are what make things so beautiful.

I am going to release a new album of songs in a couple months, and it is going to be an exciting day for me… but the reason it will be exciting is because of everything I have poured into it. The nights where I traded sleep for the frustration of trying to convert emotions to commonly understood words. All of the lyrics that found their way into the garbage can in the corner. All of the time spent writing music with my brother that didn’t quite have the right feel until that moment when it all came together. All of these things come together to make an album successful.

It is the same with relationships – the entire reason we were created. Our feelings of closeness to another person often stem from overcoming some sort of very personal hurt. The feeling of rebuilt trust is so much more overwhelming than the trust you would be holding if you had never been betrayed. The small spark of hope when it is too dark to see your hand in front of your face is more blinding than standing in the brightest sunshine for days on end.

So for today, be encouraged – but more importantly, be overwhelmed. Live for something bigger than yourself. Feel until your chest is about to explode. Be blinded by a spark that you would normally turn quickly away from. Or maybe even learn to sit in complete darkness and be satisfied with the fact that another glimpse of light is coming - one that will take your breath away. Just know that today does, in fact, have meaning.

Your next big moment will be made significant by every word that you speak, every thought that you linger on, every person you come in contact with, and every chance you decide to take today. Your next moment may be majestic. It may be the one that you have waited for your whole life. Your next moment may strip you completely bare and leave you naked - wondering where to turn next. But it will have meant something. It will have been beautiful. It will have found you living out an ideal that you can’t express in words and consumed by a moment that is the only thing you can even think about.

Love people just because you can. Run boldly after the moments that most people are terrified to stumble upon. You may or may not like what you find, but you will have grown – you will have lived. You will have found meaning in every day of your life – something that most people will never accomplish. Eighty-six thousand, four hundred seconds a day of real substance.

That’s a reason to get out of bed tomorrow.

- Zane