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Death Benefit #2: Healing

“And one of them struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his right ear. But Jesus answered and said, “Permit even this.” And He touched his ear and healed him.” Luke 22:50-51

It’s amazing to me that the events of that tragic and wonderful night were set into motion by the betrayal of Jesus by one of His closest friends. So sad. So unbelievably and wretchedly sad. If anyone has ever hurt you, ever wronged you, ever lied about you – well, then you know a bit of what Jesus must have been feeling as His dear friend sealed their relationship with a kiss. Heart wrenching – and enough in itself to make this a terrible night in the life of a young man living in hostile world, so far from home.

The second big moment tumbles in on top of the first as the passionate Peter uses his sword to stop the progress of the plan of God (I totally see myself here, weapon in hand, swinging wildly at the very thing that will eventually set me free.) This is not okay, so Jesus simply…fixes it.

Seriously? Think about it. Think of the just knifed-in-the-back Jesus, holding a bloody ear in His hand while the soldier screams in pain. Even in the midst of His own soul-deep agony, Jesus remembers this: He came to heal. So many times I get caught in the turmoil of the moment and forget why I’m really here. But Jesus doesn’t. He’s about to die to heal all humanity, so it would be the worse kind of hypocrisy to let this one leave the garden broken and marked for the rest of his life by the events of Jesus’ death. And so He heals both his enemy’s wound, and Peter’s mistake. Amazing.

Healing was – and is – an extravagant benefit of the cross. His stripes for our sickness. His wounds for our weakness. Every mark that landed on His body that day was filled with power and purpose. Every bruise on the sinless skin of the Lamb of God contained freedom from death and disease and despair.

Every one. For everyone.

Oh, how I love the cross!

Easter countdown: 5 days.

March 21, 2008 - 3:46 am

Cher - absolutely beautiful…and all the better because it’s all true.

Death Benefit #1: A Kingdom

Luke 22:29 And I bestow upon you a Kingdom,just as My Father bestowed one upon Me.

Just before He died, Jesus gave you something. Not a small business or a huge corporation. Not a new car or a dumpster filled with $20’s (though how cool would that be?) All of those would be awesome – maybe even life-changing – but that’s not this. That’s not what He gave.

“I bestow upon you a Kingdom…”

I once went to Westminster Abbey in England. Here are my official impressions: old, cold, and gold-ish (everything seemed plated over in in really old gold – as opposed to covered over in really gold paint, as is the kingdom of many televangelists.) I know it’s only the “kingdom chapel” so-to-speak, but it was still remarkably ornate and opulent and it made me wonder how magnificent the actual palace might be.

So, what if I read a scripture where Jesus said: “I bestow upon you, Bo, Kensington Palace and all that belongs to the Queen of England”? That would be incredible. I’d want to move in! I’d want to figure out how the coffee maker works and where the crowns are kept. I’d roam the halls and order the butlers around – probably using a really awful and annoying English accent the whole time – and schedule a bunch of meetings with the Princes to give them relationship advice because that’s just what I do.

Bottom line: if I thought I had inherited a spot – even just a time share – in England’s royal house, I wouldn’t waste a second booking a plane ticket and going to find out exactly what it is that I won.

And yet, for thirty years this scripture – and it’s magnificent implications – slipped by me.

“I bestow upon you a Kingdom…” and check this, because it’s about to get way-over-our-heads-good…”just like My Father bestowed upon Me.” Um…wow…a Kingdom just like that? The authority and power of the One who established Heaven & Earth…that Kingdom? Is mine?

“I bestow upon you a Kingdom.”

If that one sentence from the mouth of Jesus hasn’t changed the way we think and talk and live, then maybe we’ve left some money on the table. If it hasn’t caused us to work in a way that brings the scepter of heaven to earth, then maybe – as we remember the beautiful cross this week – we need to go back and figure out just what it is that we won.

Easter countdown? 7 days!

March 16, 2008 - 7:32 am

cass-a-rooh - um.
i’m going to need a day and three-quarters to process that. I feel like i just read a whole book and need to digest what i read before i can make a comment.

and then in the 2 minutes that i paused before writing this… i had like 10,000 thoughts about what you wrote…and um/wow are the two words. here is the thought that makes the most sense in my head:
I feel like i just figured out which key unlocks the door to discovering something amazing!– that something is a Kingdom!!!! I had the key in my hand the whole time, and yet i never unlocked the gate of what God gave me!!!!

what an adventure i have ahead of me!

March 16, 2008 - 3:20 pm

bolovesjoe - Cassie – remind me to show you something I just bought because of this crazy little scripture that’s been messing with my head since January.

March 17, 2008 - 9:47 pm

helenw13 - Bo…
I have clicked onto this post a half dozen times…just to read it again…and then I leave because how can I add anything to how exquisitely you put it down on “paper”…

So I will just leave this time with a quote from another great mind who had such an encounter with the Word as well…

“Indeed if we consider the unblushing promise of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” – C.S. Lewis

I am so glad you are writing regularly…it is a rich blessing to me and others.

March 18, 2008 - 12:17 am

bolovesjoe - Oh…wow. That quote literally (and I hate to use that word so you know how sincerely I mean it) gave me chills. So perfect for what I’m feeling in my life right now…such longing to want more than a glimpse.

Thanks for the encouragement. It means the world to me.

March 18, 2008 - 4:15 am

Jessica Carpenter - Are you going to be scheduling any meetings with the princesses to give them advice? Because I know of one who will be home on spring break next week… and might be stopping by your office unannounced! I don’t need relationship advice just yet, so maybe it will be a nice change of pace :).

March 18, 2008 - 5:10 pm

Katie - Wow, this is so what God has been showing me lately! The words “The Kingdom” have just been echoing in my spirit and it’s vast I just don’t know how to capture it – maybe I can’t. I feel like I’ve finally begun to explore the mansion I’ve owned for almost ten years though I’ve remained in the guest room the whole time. Bethany Dillon has a song called “The Kingdom” and it’s shredding my soul. A line says this,
“So I pour over pages, desperate to find out why
The cripple at Your table has what I’m longing to find.”

My prayer over the past month has been, “Show me the Kingdom.” The cripple gets it – it’s about time I step into this! Love you – thanks so much for writing!

March 18, 2008 - 7:20 pm

Bo - Jess – yep, I’m around next week…but maybe you could create some relationship drama so that I feel useful.

Katie – downloading the song ASAP. I love Bethany Dillon, but it’s been a long time since I’ve listened.

Dichotomy.

Brutal: Deuteronomy 22-24. An R-rated, stomach-churning, bloody mess of impossible requirements for relationship.

Beautiful: Galatians 4. A passionate review of the grace-soaked benefits of the cross. Lost to found. Slave to son. Distant to dearly loved.

Brutal to beautiful, brought to you by the miracle of Easter (um, countdown? 10 days!)

P.S. Best .99 you’ll ever spend in preparation for Easter? This song right here.

Failures.

So, last night I decided to make a big dinner to celebrate having the whole family home from Winter Camp. The whole family, however, ended up consisting of me and two kids. The rolls that I made (from scratch!) burned in the pan and the entire event careened wildly downhill after that. I could go into the dismal details, but here’s the recap:

Joe: “Um…mom?” (yeah, whatever follows these two words is never good news).

Bo (not very nice tone): “What Joe?”

Here there was a long pause while he worked up the courage to say:

“Um…I don’t so much like asparagus.”

This is where I should have paused and perhaps prayed for patience or wisdom. Nope.

“Um, Joe? I don’t so much care. You’re eating them.”

As I was adding them to his plate, I felt the sauce seeping through my oven mitt and onto my naked finger which ended up in the very same condition as the rolls. This made me the exact opposite of happy.

I realized at this point that my dinner was turning into a disaster, so I took a deep breath and decided NOT to care and – instead – to enjoy my kids and this time with them. And I even managed to do just that until Joe, skeptically eying his roll, said:

“Um, mom?”

Bo (Nice? No.): “What, Joe?”

Joe (trying to sound positive and hopeful so that I won’t recognize it as an incoming complaint): “My roll is pretty burnt.”

Seriously, say it like you’re telling someone it’s going to be a bee-yoo-tee-ful! day and you’ll have Joe’s strategy for confrontation in a nutshell.

Bo (snapping beneath the weight of the Very Last Straw): “You are a spoiled American. If you were in Africa, that roll would be the best thing you’ve ever seen!”

Yep, that’s right…it’s a brilliant argument and you can feel free to use it any time someone doesn’t like what you cook (that’s called “Take Home Value”, my friends!)

I silently and soberly reviewed the events of my celebration dinner. Failed food. Failed coping skills. Failed love.

A couple of minutes later, Tess – clearly reading the situation and going for a special spot in the will – said, “Mom, this was really good.”

And Josiah agreed.

And I hugged him and kissed his head and said Sorry for Being so Yelly Tonight – I Don’t Wanna be That Mom.

And he laughed and forgave me and said Can I be Done with my Chicken?

He and Tess did the dishes and I went downstairs to watch Rachel Ray make flawless Greek Chicken Kabobs. Did you know she makes $10,000,000 per year?

So that was it. Not a day full of failures, but definitely a dinner full of them. I’m really so thankful for the idea of tomorrow. For all the days and dinners that are to come. For lots of chances to have the perfect moment with my kids and for lots of motivation to keep working at it.

Failures? They just keep us humble and trying. And that makes them deceptively beautiful.

March 12, 2008 - 6:25 am

helenw13 - Been there…and by the way…Rachael Ray…just has dogs! They only whimper back and then take cover and take a nap!
Aaaahhhh…beauty in the mundane!

March 12, 2008 - 4:10 pm

bolovesjoe - LOL! SO true about Rachael Ray…so, so true. It seems unfair that someone without children to support takes home that kind of cash. However, it’s because of her that I learned the way to my dog’s heart is buttered toast and that has saved many house sitters!

March 12, 2008 - 5:25 pm

Katie - I can say Amen to that! Buttered toast = happy Abby (and thus happy, and much less scared, Katie)!!

March 12, 2008 - 8:30 pm

cassie - Can i say, THANK YOU?!

thanks for being a real mom… and a great mom!

my real-great mom has had many a night when situations were not so great and then the “sorry for being all yelly” talk that always made me cry, and say, “it’s ok mom.”

I love your blog.

March 12, 2008 - 10:45 pm

bolovesjoe - Cassie – it’s so good to hear from an actual well-adjust adult that a mom can mess up a few times (or more than a few – I hope!) and not have her kids end up on Dr. Phil. Phew!

March 13, 2008 - 2:38 am

Lindsey Diacogiannis - Bo… it is refreshing to hear the honesty of your blog! Keep being a great mom and being real!

many blessings! <

March 14, 2008 - 5:32 am

helenw13 - hmmm…buttered toast?! I think that is what our backyard neighbor has been throwing over the fence to quiet our sweet Hazel’s bark…very interesting!

March 15, 2008 - 7:50 pm

Cher - I wish reading your post wasn’t so deja vu! I thought for a moment you were revealing a dinner spent at my house.:) I will forever treasure your comment about the deceptive beauty of failure…and I will activily search for it in those moments when my flesh fails so horribly. The grace of God continues to give strength and new beginnings amidst the sadness of my failures.

What I Learned at Winter Camp

Steve, Josiah & I hit the road to join 400 teenagers (I almost said “screaming teenagers” but decided to be more positive in my approach…though that may be cancelled out by the fact that I told you what I almost said? Hmm…things to consider in my free time) at Wildhorse Canyon for Winter Camp 2008. We both got to speak and hang out with kids and meet some amazing people with really deep and passionate hearts who love teenagers enough to PAY to share their lives and cabins with them. I want to post some pictures and thoughts about this later, but for now, here are a few things I learned:

1) Dramamine. In spite of having been to Wildhorse at least 15 times prior, I still forgot to give my son – who gets sick in the car on the way to school – Dramamine.

2) Jr. High girls never fail to amaze me with their…um….fashion sense. One girl’s look could best be described as Marilyn Monroe meets Winnie the Pooh. Remarkable (and super cute in it’s own “she’s gonna hate looking at these pictures in 5 years but will still probably laugh really hard” kind of way).

3) Kids are hurting. I mean, not just the typical “growing up is hard” wounds but deep and defining things like a dad dying of brain cancer, parents who committed suicide…a kid who’s mom walked out on him two weeks before camp. Things like that flowed out this weekend in countless heart-wrenching stories. If we think this generation looks dark and brooding, it’s because they are, and with good reason. Their only hope for healing is Jesus and our only hope for the future is to help them find Jesus.

4) Parents who love their kids enough to send homemade cookies with them to camp are very rare and wonderful, indeed.

5) Parents who love their kids enough to pay the way of some of their friends to go as well are…simply put, heroic.

6) Don’t eat the scrambled eggs. Something just isn’t right there.

7) Though I speak in all kinds of places to all kinds of people, nothing in the world feels as weighty and important to me as speaking to 200 girls who are deciding what they’re going to do with their future, their bodies, their affections and their destiny. It’s just beyond beautiful to see them choose life. I determined this weekend to take – and to make – more opportunities to invest in this age group.

Those are my immediate thoughts on camp…I actually came home with my head just spinning with dreams and possibilities and ways to reach the young women of the next generation. If there are any other dreamers out there, let’s join forces and create something to equip these brave, beautiful ladies who are the moms and lawyers and school teachers and pastors and presidential candidates of the future.

March 10, 2008 - 3:42 pm

Cher - Amen Sisto!

March 10, 2008 - 8:52 pm

Kaci Bullis - My daughter came home so moved by your girls only session, we had the best talk ever! She said she feels her crown now!
I am with you lets find great people and join our “wonder woman bracelets” together and reach these girls

March 11, 2008 - 4:34 pm

cassie - hooray for Winter Camp 2008…

my blog will soon be posted with pics and stories!!!!

i must say YES AND AMEN to the statement about scrambled eggs and jr. high fashion sense!

Also…i’d love to join the force to love these girls more effectively…and watch them Hit the Mark for Jesus!

March 12, 2008 - 4:16 pm

bolovesjoe - Oh, Kaci – I LOVE the Wonder Woman bracelet! In fact, I often pretend to be deflecting bullets with them and people generally don’t get it.

And thanks, Cassie, for the affirmation on the eggs…I didn’t want to be alone in that.