3 Cups Of Coffee For This Little Cowboy
(read Mark 15-16; 1-4; and finished “Beautiful Outlaw” by John Eldredge)
In the re-creation of the world, when the Son of Man will rule gloriously, you who have followed me will also rule, starting with the twelve tribes of Israel. And not only you, but anyone who sacrifices home, family, fields—whatever—because of me will get it all back a hundred times over, not to mention the considerable bonus of eternal life. This is the Great Reversal: many of the first ending up last, and the last first.” – Matthew 19:28-29
I’ve enjoyed my early mornings more this year than in study breaks past. My time is richer. My anticipation greater. A larger gospel and a renewed earthly Kingdom that has come and is coming has made my Bible reading much thirstier. Like a kid getting an old box of baseball cards from his grandfather’s dusty attic, I can’t wait to look at each one… but excitedly move to the next. Each card is a gem. Each picture portrays a hero baseball player from 50 years ago when baseball received it’s “golden age” label. Each dusty card has perfect corners and is worth about a million dollars a piece.
Each morning I pour about 3 cups of coffee into my travel mug and hit the sand at about 6:30. I’m mostly alone with a few die hard exercisers walking past. I think, pray, worship (using mostly Gungor music), and read Bible. This morning I was straining and tilting my head back as far as my spine would allow just to drain the last drop of coffee from my mug. My straining was a living metaphor of my drinking in Jesus this week, and how I wished my morning times would not slip into the afternoon sun and tourists covered with oil.
In previous years, I knew my morning prayer and quiet times were important, but I was anxious to get on with my other reading to find cutting edge vision and strategies to take back to the church I was leading. It’s Tuesday of my second week, and I’m not sure what the strategies are. That makes me a bit concerned about what I will say when people inquire about next directives for our church.
However, I am sure of a deeper awakening. I am sure of a bigger gospel. I am sure of a Kingdom Jesus preached that will one day be fully restored in me and on earth. I’m also sure that unfolding an epic gospel is resonating within my wife and kids as we have been gathering and talking after dinner. It’s interesting to see a Genesis of Revelation in them as well.
So far, Matt Chandler (The Explicit Gospel) has pushed for an epic, explicit gospel — and not an assumed smaller one most have grown up with. N.T. Wright (Simply Jesus) has given great theology to such a Kingdom in relation to the person of Jesus, his work, and the thinking behind entering finite space, time, and matter in order to point to a renewed space, time, and matter (weightier thinking and slower reading to be sure). John Eldredge (Beautiful Outlaw) has made Jesus real, touchable, and intimate. In tangible ways, Eldredge helps bring the Kingdom and the King down to earth for us to grab onto and live out. Eldredge points to experiences of Jesus that are still as possible today as we read and wonder about in the New Testament.
Not coincidentally, I received an email from a close friend whom I give great credibility to concerning her experiences with Jesus. She shared with me a painting/vision Jesus gave her about me… and what it might possibly mean. I wondered if in my intentional seeking of Jesus, this was perhaps, maybe, hopefully… one of those beautiful experiences of Jesus that I was receiving. Part of my time this morning was pondering and asking Jesus what this could mean. I wondered if my visionary friend had ever seen an ancient picture of me dressed up like a cowboy. I wonder what people would think if I shared this vivid painting. And so I share the picture somewhat reluctantly. Boldly I say, “This is not for you to tell me what you think!” This is between Jesus and me, and He gave me great indications of purpose and reason this morning. So cool. Maybe I’ll tell you someday.
I do hope you will soon get your intimate experience with Jesus exactly because the good news and the Kingdom is more beautiful than you’ve ever imagined. This little cowboy is already anxious for another 3 cups of coffee come tomorrow morning!
I see you as a little boy, maybe 10-12 years old, wearing a cowboy hat and boots. You are sitting in the living room next to a hobby train that is running and keeps circling on the track. You are holding one of the cars of the train, which is either red or black, I’m not sure. And, you are studying the car though I sense you should put it on the train so it is attached to the rest of the cars. There are other presents in the room, but you are not playing with them, some are half opened and some are unwrapped. Your mother is in the kitchen and she is calling out to let you know that dinner is almost ready but you are not in a hurry to go. You have a sadness I believe you are missing your father.
Your heavenly father is calling to you. It is good that you study the gifts that he gives you. You intimately know the part of the train you are holding. In detail you know this part yet this part is not connected to the whole train. This is why the train keeps circling back to you, so you can connect it to the rest of the cars and complete the train.
The living room is your life and the train is your journey with God. You stopped along the way to examine a piece of it and study it, but it is time to move again. There are other gifts in the room that he has given or wants to give you but you’ve not been very interested. Hook up the train and see where the journey will take you. See what he has in store for you.
Your mother represents the Holy Spirit who is preparing nourishment for you. Why do you hesitate? Taste and see that the Lord is good.
You grieve over the absence of your earthly father, but your heavenly father wants you to know how much he loves you, more than you could ever know. He is the one you can lean on when you need support and direction. He will not lead you astray. He has never left you nor forsaken you. He is there and his gifts are good. Enjoy his gifts and the journey. There is more for you. Taste and see that the Lord is good.