Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year! :)

Posted by Christoph

I wish you a happy and blessed year 2014 - may it be a great one!
Ich wünsche dir ein glückliches und gesegnetes Jahr 2014 - auf ein wunderbares Jahr!

„I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.
Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You're doing things you've never done before, and more importantly, you're Doing Something.
So that's my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody's ever made before. Don't freeze, don't stop, don't worry that it isn't good enough, or it isn't perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.

Whatever it is you're scared of doing, Do it.
Make your mistakes, next year and forever.”
― Neil Gaiman

"Ich hoffe, in diesem neuen Jahr wirst du Fehler machen.
Denn wenn du Fehler machst, dann machst du neue Dinge, du probierst Dinge, du lernst, du lebst, du bringst dich über deine Grenzen, du änderst dich, du änderst deine Welt. Du tust Dinge, die du noch nie zuvor getan hast und am allerwichtigsten: Du TUST ETWAS!
Das ist mein Wunsch für dich, für uns alle, für mich selbst. Mach neue Fehler!
Mach herrliche, fantastische Fehler! Mach Fehler die zuvor nie jemand begangen hat. Bleib nicht starr, hör nicht auf. Mach dir keine Sorgen, dass was du tust nicht gut genug oder nicht perfekt ist, was auch immer es ist. Kunst, die Liebe, Arbeit, Familie oder das Leben.

Wovor auch immer du Angst hast: Tu es!
Mach deine Fehler, kommendes Jahr und für immer."
Neil Gaiman


Friday, December 27, 2013

About Feelings of Inadequacy

Posted by Christoph

So I've been thinking a bit today. The result of my extensive (almost caught you with that one, didn't I? Extensive.. hilarious!) thinking is that I want to write about feelings of inadequacy. So here goes:

Absolutely everbody on the planet has such feelings every once in a while, I'm sure! Some more than others and maybe me more than you (or you more than me, I could never know).
Another true story is that usually, we don't really go out of line and talk about them. It's hurtful and embarassing and even though it would actually do us good, we just don't get our insecurities out in the open. Well, in many cases that is probably good. I won't advocate for being vulnerable to everyone, EVERYTIME. That wouldn't be very wise.

What I want us to think about today, is change. Change is tough!
Just about every time in my life when I thought that certain things have changed or were actually close to changing, reality has tightened its grip and thrown me back.
What I was (and am!) left with, is the seemingly unshakeable feeling that things will never ever change. That I would never ever change. Whatever bugs me, you name it. I might make nice experiences, but sooner than later I seem to slip back into the same old stuff, struggling, seemingly unsuccessful to change my life, as much as it felt like it a moment ago. Something is trying to snatch that winning, conquering mindset from me.

A lot of my own insecurity comes from my handicap. It really depends, but let me just say that every once in a while it bugs me. It bugs me, when I can't climb a flight of stairs because there's no handrail. It bugs me, when I see father's picking up their kids. It bugs me when I need help carrying my suitcase. It bugs me when I fall.
This of course, has a lot to do with pride. I struggle with preconceived ideas of what a man should be, what a man should do and what makes a man manly. 
Some of these ideas that I have may even be valid, even though I really should let them go. Some of them are downright stupid. None of them should make me feel bad, but darn it, sometimes they just do.  

I could strech this post now and e more specific, be more vulnerable. I don't think I need to. I want you to listen to this instead:

Abraham was first named “father” and then became a father because he dared to trust God to do what only God could do: raise the dead to life, with a word make something out of nothing. When everything was hopeless, Abraham believed anyway, deciding to live not on the basis of what he saw he couldn’t do but on what God said he would do. Romans 4:17-18

Isn't that amazing???!!
From one second to the other, the whole picture changes! Why?
Because I no longer look to my own imperfections and "dis-abilities".
In the blink of an eye I'm face to face with hope. 
You see, I may not be able to do many things. I may do a lot of stupid things as I try to figure out life. I may make wrong decisions.
Yet God is infinitely and definitely more able than I will ever be, even were I the closest to perfect human being on earth.
And you know what? This verse doesn't even talk about what God says he could do, but about what he would do!
Do you get it? This is not a "if I feel like it", "if I feel you deserve it", "if I have spare time and energy" kind of situation. This is the maker of life, creating-life-out-of-nothing, wonderful loving God, DOING THINGS because HE SAID HE WOULD.
If that's not encouraging, I don't know what is!

Well maybe this is:
“I think there should be a rule that everyone in the world should get a standing ovation at least once in their lives.” — R.J. Palacio

If you feel insecure, or scared or hopeless, remember this!
From my very soul, I promise I'll root for you!


Wednesday, December 25, 2013


Posted by Christoph

Had someone asked me a while ago, which way I would like to be loved, I'd probably have said: "Well RIGHT NOW, and passionately!"
Love is a tricky thing - almost every time I think I got it all figured out, I realize how little I know at all. Anyone who's gone through the agony of heartbreak can probably testify to this. Especially to one's blindness to one's own incapacity to love.

The thing is not that I did not love. The thing is not even that I did not love much. The thing is I did not know how to love WELL!
I absolutely love Philippians 1:9, especially in The Message translation where it reads:

"So this is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well."

I think this is so so true! It continues to say that our love should be circumspect, not sentimental gush. Other translations read:

"And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,"

The thing with love is, I didn't know how to love well and wisely. I didn't know how relationships worked. I was little child, handed a grown-ups thing. Well, I guess I wasn't handed it, I guess I took it. Different story.
I was selfish, I was insecure, I was unforgiving, I loved being right, I had sin in my life...
The list of my shortcomings is long - I was to busy blaming someone else.

I feel that each day I'm learning a little more what true love really is. I'm still far from where I think I should be. But I hope that one day, I'll be able to love well. In fact, I have many people around me, and I can already start to love them. My family, my friends. 
If you ask me now how I want to be loved, I'd say: First I want to love. If then I should get loved back in return, that's great! I'd say that first and foremost I want to love my family and friends, the people closest to me. I want to love Jesus wholeheartedly. I want to love myself. I'd say that I'd rather prepare for the day that there might be room for a special someone.
If you asked me today, I'd say I'd like to love unconditionally. And that's the way I'd like to be loved.

How wonderful is the fact that I'm already loved like that?
The Bible tells me that God himself loves me like that! 
We're celebrating the proof of his love these days: He became human to be close to us! To open up the way for a relationship with himself. He paid for our shortcomings, if we let him.
In that way, he subsequently made a way for any other relationship as well.
In the forgiveness of our sins, we find the strength and possibility to forgive others. 
Thank you Jesus, for loving me unconditionally!
Thank for for coming anyway, even though you knew we wouldn't love you back.

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."
John 3:16


Saturday, December 21, 2013

Christmas Poem

Posted by Christoph

Christmas poem

There are a million bright lights illuminating the night sky,
as people shuffle through crowded streets into their crowded homes,
when will we realize that happiness is not in what we buy,
be it new T-Shirts, new TVs or new phones.

There are a million bright lights illuminating the night sky,
as people shuffle through crowded streets into their lonely homes,
There is no one there to sing „Angels We Have Heard on High“
As the cold spreads into their hearts and into their bones.

There are a million bright lights illuminating the night sky,
as the family gathers to sing those traditional songs,
and no one has heard the mother’s desperate cry,
after he hit and hit again to tell her where she belongs.

There was only one bright light illuminating the night sky,
leading both wise men and shepherds to a throne of hay,
what began there that night is the life that saved my life,
yes in that deep darkness dawned the brightest day.

There are a million bright lights illuminating the night sky,
as people shuffle through crowded streets into their crowded homes,
but there has never been a brighter light in any sky
the day that God himself on earth was born.


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Advent: Churches & Bars

Posted by Christoph

What if I told you, there is absolutely no difference between a church and a bar?
What if I told you, I want you to go to a bar as much as I want you to go to church?
There's just no difference. 

I want you to listen to this wonderful song called "An Introduction" by David Ramirez, before we explore together what on earth I am talking about. Enjoy, it's brilliant music! 
Listen to the lyrics, of course!

Here's the part that I want you to pay special attention to:

"Tell me where to find
Tell me where to find the Lord
How the hell am I supposed to knock on Heaven if I can't even see the door
Tell me where to find the Lord
So I traded in my pew for a bar stool
Trying to find redemption in the mind of the youth
We'd sit tall with our cigarettes and disheveled uniforms
Oh I never, no I never saw the Lord."

You know, my first reaction would be very evangelical on this one. Honestly, a tiny part of me wants to throw Matthew 7:7 at this guy and be like "Knock and it will be opened to you". Thank God that part of me is only very tiny, cause I don't think that would help at all.
The question these lyrics make me ask is: Where did we go wrong?
Where was it that we turned away from a living vibrant relationship with Christ, so it happens that people don't meet him when they come to our churches? The Bible tells us that the church is the bride of Christ. We've become a lonely couple, only one half of the deal, a wife without a husband.
That could be one part of the problem, but in reality, there's more.
What really bugs me is that you should be just as fine to meet Jesus in a bar. 
When we look at the Jesus of the Bible, he was being critisized by the religious folk because he was "eating with the sinners". It seems not logical to me, that we've confined him now to live in a nice and holy building, where everybody can meet him each Sunday at around 11 am. No, he'd be out there, finding people where they are, just as he did 2000 years ago. That is how a church and a bar are exactly the same thing.
Maybe this is a good start to preparing for Christmas: Remembering that it is not about us finding God, but God coming down into our mess to find us. What a story :)

"Still, we belong to a God who never stops seeking us, and my experience has been that faith is not so much Lost then found as it is being found again and again and again."
~ Addie Zierman


Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Quotes once more :)

Posted by Christoph

I simply love quotes! I love learning what people have to say about life.
I love spreading wisdom and with quotes, it's so much easier, because I don't have to come up with it ;)
I have several posts in draft, please be patient! 
By the way, since I'm not on Facebook right now, I'm gonna need you to share and spread this, please - I count on you! :)

"I strongly believe that my gift from God for His glory isn’t photography or even another outlet like design, but it is to love the humans. That is the ultimate art. That is what we were created for. To be vulnerable. To not care about “awkward” situations, showing direct eye contact, expressing deep feelings; when was it that the world told you to be afraid of speaking life into others? To love God and to love people. To let Christ use you for His divine plans. What an honor that is. What a gift we’ve been given." 
Keaton Webb 

"It’s like, it doesn’t honor God to pretend like everything is OK. That’s the beauty of Jesus that so many people miss. The beauty is that he died on the cross for our sins, but also that he existed the way we exist. He understands what it’s like to lose a friend. He’s not unfamiliar with those emotions. He’s not unfamiliar with the difficulty of human life. To me that’s what makes Jesus as God beautiful. He totally understands. He went out of his way to prove to us that he understands our situation. So when he has something to say, it’s not coming from this high and lofty standpoint. It’s coming from this person who understands intricately the perils of human existence." 
John Mark McMillan  

"Still, we belong to a God who never stops seeking us, and my experience has been that faith is not so much Lost then found as it is being found again and again and again. And to become more like Jesus is to learn the holy work of finding each other."
Addie Zierman

“Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid.”
Frederick Buechner 

“Turn around and believe that the good news that we are loved is better than we ever dared hope, and that to believe in that good news, to live out of it and toward it, to be in love with that good news, is of all glad things in this world the gladdest thing of all. Amen, and come Lord Jesus.”
Frederick Buechner