Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Waiting................still waiting...... maybe listening?

Wait is a four letter word! I must say that waiting in NOT fun for me.  Grrrr! I don't get the attraction.  I'm not sure I get waiting at all. 

There are many passages in the Bible about the advantages of waiting.  Like Isaiah 40:31

"But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint."

Why is it so important to wait?   I feel like I have been in a holding pattern for a long time! Actually, the whole earth feels like it is in a holding pattern to me.  I'm thinking it has to do with timing.  

When I think of waiting on the Lord I have a picture of a small child having run way ahead of his Father but running into a fork in the road.  He doesn't know which way to go and so he waits until his Father catches up.

 The fact that I am waiting on the LORD sort of implies to me that I have run up ahead of Him... again.  Waiting for me is living in the future... wanting the present to catch up with my dreams.  But where does listening come in?  My picture of listening is more a child standing beside his Father... relating and listening as they go along.  If a child runs up ahead he is not getting much benefit from being with his Father.  So how do I get back to Him and listen when I have already run up ahead and am waiting there for him to tell me what is next?  I'm not sure but perhaps the fact that we have run ahead and are no longer beside the LORD is what makes waiting so uncomfortable? Then again maybe if we waited with Him rather than cut and run we would have renewed strength and run and not grow weary.  I know that I only have the strength to do what God intends for me to do when He intends for me to do it... which means if I wait for His release with it comes the strength and power to accomplish the task.  Hmmm

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Listening to God

I used to walk in a boldness that is escaping me right now.  I am wondering when the switch happened.  I believe in listening to those little nudges.  Years ago I read a book by Charlie Shedd called "The brush of Angel Wings" In the book Charlie talks about making a deal with God that he would give himself permission to blow off the first two nudges but if he was nudged three times about something he would do it... no matter what. 

That made sense to me.  I am not always sure I am feeling a nudge. Sometimes I wonder if I am just making stuff up.  But by the time I get that third nudge I'm pretty confident of it's origin.  The book is a bunch of stories about what happened when Charlie got a nudge and followed it.  Like the time he was nudged to go and visit a member of his church.  He was planning a romantic meal with his wife at the time and didn't want to go but on the third nudge he adjusted his plans and found himself being at the right place at the right time.  Just as he arrived a young wife was receiving the news that her husband was killed on the job.God does amazing things when we listen! I can remember the day I was nudged to call an old friend many miles away.  He picked up the phone and said, "I bet you have no idea why you called do you?" Well, I did have an idea, I felt nudged and told him so, my suicidal friend got off the phone feeling as if he mattered to God.  It was awesome!

So why do I hesitate?  Sometimes God is audacious and sometimes I don't want to be?  Did I just say that out loud? The living bible translates the first part of Joshua 1:6 like this "Be strong and courageous for you are the one..." God, I don't feel very strong or courageous right now. But I want to be... or at least I want to want to be strong and courageous. (listening)  I believe it is time for courage. (listening) Hmmm the picture I have is of Jesus in the garden and of the angel that comes to strengthen Him and of Stephen who was stoned to death because of his passion for Jesus.  While he was being stoned to death he sees heaven open and he is so geeked about what he sees that it's like he doesn't even notice the stones.  The picture I have is that courage is supernatural not something I have to make myself be more like something I can receive if I want to.

cool! God give me courage!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

How can we make a difference: Part two

I am still pondering.  I supposed my post yesterday might have sounded bleak but that was not my intention.  I just want to be wise and put effort into something powerful and life changing instead of just doing something that makes me "feel" like I am doing something.  (if that makes any sense)

I know in other places it says, "Go and Preach" but in Matthew 28 it seems much more clear that,  "preaching" is a lifestyle, not a singular act.  Matthew 28:18-20 says, "And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, Baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen." 

I wonder if much of what we do ministry wise is avoiding discipleship.  We swoop in and swoop out almost like a big game night.  I'm not talking about missionaries that work in the field but more the average folk... if there is such thing as average anything. How do we "make disciples"? What does discipleship mean anyway?  What would it mean in this age of entitlement?  Is it even possible?  I think discipleship is a much bigger commitment than our idea of "preaching".  It takes time.  It takes coming along side and walking beside.  I wonder how to without stepping outside of our culture.

Monday, February 13, 2012

How can we make a difference

I have had an amazing week.  There has been so much to consider.  It started by meeting a man who asked thought provoking questions.  He is a free spirit who has plenty and yet doesn't have much interest in money.  He wants to do something to make a difference in people's lives.  He started by building schools out of plastic pop bottles in small villages in South America.  No fooling, the whole community works hard to fill the bottles with trash and then they are used like bricks to build a school.  It's a great idea, not just because it is an inexpensive way to build a school but also because it requires a huge effort by those who will use the school. Who would mar a school that you build with your own sweat and blood?  By the end of the project, people also have the knowledge to build again if they want to. But, the question was asked, were these people really helped?  We teach reading, writing and science, all things that will get you ahead in our culture but what do people really need to know to thrive right where they are? Does it help people to thrive when we give them tools to be like us? 

I once went on a mission trip to build houses in Mexico.  We, the totally inexperienced Americans, built a two room home in three days.  I know that the people were grateful but I was saddened by the things we Americans arrogantly assumed.  We treated these people's poverty like a freak show.  We took pictures to stir pity in the hearts of those left behind like we were the benevolent "haves" and they were the pitiable "have nots".  I am not convinced.  We had money and time and the need to feel good about ourselves.  But the people we served seemed to have much more.  They were a loving family in a community that was cohesive and I think happy.  They knew how to laugh, and dance and sing.  We were not their betters.

There is a Church in Southern California, I have forgotten the name of the preacher but he writes a book called "Do Something!" I want to, but I don't want to do something worthless. I want to do something intelligent. inspired. So God, where do I start?  What will really make a difference?  I don't want to help people become like me.  I want to help people become like you.  What does it mean to "Go and make disciples?"  I believe that is a totally different cause altogether.