Thursday, February 20, 2014

When are you most alive?

"In the zone", "on a roll", "can't be stopped" are all phrases given to athletes or artists or writers that are in the midst of doing what they do best, doing it at a high level, and enjoying it thoroughly.

The only thing that really matters in those moments seems to be. . . the moment.  Each person takes in those moments in different ways; it's a part of the Olympics that is so enjoyable for me to watch.

In order for these moments to keep their place, a person must learn to cherish them, not try to read more into them than what is there, and definitely not try to repeat them, right?

As I've been in Chile almost two weeks now, I am learning to enjoy these moments thoroughly without asking too much of them. If we seek to make life statements in or through these moments, we tend to mourn not having more of them rather than thank God for them and simply celebrate them.

So how do we make sure we experience more of these moments?  I suggest that we don't!  As the Bible indicates, when we seek His things first, the other things will come (Matthew 6:33) and God will bless us in his timing and in His way (John 12:25,26).

A basketball player cannot predict when he'll have 50 points, a writer can't predict which of her stories will be a hit, and no one can predict when God will move in a new way.

As I anticipate leading a time in the Word tonight with some Chilean youth, it is pointless for me to predict or presuppose on The Lord. Rather, I prepare, come with His backing and energy, and leave the results to Him. All of this while enjoying the moment thoroughly.

No matter what we do, what we're really good at, or how often we're "in the zone," we can thank the Lord for each moment and truly live life fully alive.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

I Think I Can't

I think I can, I think I can, I think I can. Hey, If the little red engine could, why can't I, right?

A key part of living life to the full is living life BEYOND full. A lesson God wants to teach His creation is that if you ONLY live life to your fullest, the results will be, at best, large amounts of human recognition.

The way I'm learning this lesson while in Chile is that the more I look for recognition for what I do here, the less effective I am. On the other hand, the more I ask for prayer to make me effective for God's Kingdom plan, the more freed up I am to give myself away and be much less concerned about myself.

God is answering those prayers, though the seemingly constant struggle is self-consciousness and concern for the opinions of man. My times of "giving myself away" have been, literally, the most fruitful and fulfilling times of my trip so far.

May Jesus be magnified, my own insecurities be minimized, and God's Kingdom be expanded because of it all.

I can now truly say, "I think I can't" with full confidence that because of this healthy dependence on God, what I accomplish will be much bigger than me and will be more beneficial for all involved.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Accumulating stuff

As I prepare to leave for Chile in about an hour, I am blown away this morning by a very clear truth:  What I spend time and energy accumulating reveals where my heart is.  Here's where this truth came from:
I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see.  Revelation 3:18

Though it is not wrong to be motivated by things like earning earthly money, earthly trophies, or earthly accolades, none of those things should be our sole desire.  Once the next raise, or a Super Bowl trophy, or the ultimate promotion becomes our very life, we allow the world to determine our worth.  Rather, let's accumulate stuff that can only be purchased from God Himself.

I want to invest in things that will last into eternity.  I want to be content with my radiantly white garment purchased with the blood of Jesus.  I want Him to heal my eyes so that I see what He sees.  This is how I want to go about my life and, right now, how I want to approach and walk with God while in Chile.

May my heart change as I accumulate God's things.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

If prayer won games?

As a Denver Bronco fan of more than 40 years, I wonder whether it would have been appropriate to actually pray for a win.  Actually, nothing could be further from the truth.  Next to Jesus and my family (both blood and Christian), the Broncos rank up there as one of my passions, even to the point that a Bronco win or lose plays with my emotions.  Yet, it would be absolutely stupid for me to pray for a Bronco win.  Why?  It's about not just what you love, but what you worship.
Peyton Manning was asked, again, about his legacy and he wanted to be known for giving it his all and that did he did all he could so that his teammates could as well.  Some no-it-all sports talk show guys said something like, "I think he wants his legacy to include being better than John Elway and Tom Brady and, right now, he isn't."  That epitomizes the difference between someone who loves sports and someone who worships sports.  I don't know what Manning believes about Jesus, but I do know he has a pretty good perspective on sport's place in life.
If prayer won games, then, I still wouldn't do it, for my God is much bigger than that and cares for His creation way too much to allow them to elevate sports to that level.  So, let's utilize our requests of the Most High God for things having to do with things that the Most High God would honor.
A humiliating loss in the Super Bowl does not compare to the possibility of leaving for Chile this Wednesday and spending 16 days away from my family, for nothing.  We must pray for God to move!  As a result, please pray for the following from now through our trip (see previous blog for itinerary) and beyond as the Lord leads:
  • Revival amongst the pastors and leaders for make disciples and multiplying.
  • Establishing a network of mutual encouragement across cultural, geographic, and language barriers.
  • Freedom to proclaim God’s Word.
  • Solid commitments to Christ and His Kingdom.
  • Sensitivity to the Spirit’s leading, doing EXACTLY as the Lord leads.
  • Our growth in the Lord and that God would grab ahold of our hearts.
  • Healthy interaction and relationship-building between us three as well as the two others going (Alex & Julie Mandes, he is the Hispanic Director for EFCA).
  • Gateway Training (Feb. 8-9) would lead to not only solid theology but practical application as well.
  • Church Planting Boot Camp (Feb. 15-16) would be ultra practical with God’s truth.  Carlyn, Manuel, and I will have opportunity to teach during this time.
  • Mutual encouragement and refreshment amongst fellow workers for the Kingdom.
  • My ability to understand and speak Spanish.
  • That we wouldn’t fall off the side of the mountain.
Of infinite more value than winning games, join me in the real battle.  The real battle is doing all we can to convince people that the only way to live life here is to not live it for the "here and now" but to give it to the One in charge of the "here and now" as well as the "there and then" and beyond.