Friday, December 21, 2007

Harry and the green little men...

He threw his head back and let out a guttural, jolly laugh. What brought about his fit of humor? Me.
Janna was the first to meet Harry yesterday as we scrounged for a seat at a local coffee shop. We happened to sit in the two seats that sat adjacent to Harry. Janna struck up a normal Christmas conversation with him that led into what she was reading, the Bible. Harry lifted his eyebrows and said nothing more than, "Oh."
By the time I sat down, Harry was informing Janna and I how ridiculous the Bible and Christianity are.
As Janna and Harry discussed, I sat and prayed, 'Ok God, what do you want me to say? What can I say to convince this guy?' And do you know what I heard... nothing. So I sat and listened to Harry crucify my love and my relationship with God.
Finally, I just asked him, "Harry, what do you believe?" And that was all he needed to start into a hour long discourse on his belief in reincarnation, aliens and that every person decides what they are going to be, whether male or female, whether rich or poor, whether in the US or Africa. He told us that it was all for the experience. And at the end of your life, YOU would weigh out all the goods and bads and decide what your next life would be in order to mature your soul.
As we continued to probe, we found out that Harry had chosen this belief because of one specific book that made the most logical sense to him 30 years ago and he had lived by it ever since.
He told us of an aunt he had who was an "evangelical" and when asked why her views were right opposed to Buddhism or Islam she siad, "Just because they are wrong."
As we continued to converse I said, "I think it is important to keep learning... I love to learn about what other people believe... to hear about where they came from and how they got here. My prayer for you is that you would continue to search for truth." And he said to me, "I have done the hard work, I have searched and I know this is the only truth."
This same man who told me how narrow minded Christians are was himself just as narrow-minded. That's the problem, we are all narrow-minded. We all believe we have truth. But have you bothered to ask the hard questions, to search what you believe and why you believe it.
I am reading this book called, "They Love Jesus but they Hate the Church" by Dan Kimball. He talks about all the things that people in this generation find unbelievable about the church and you know what? Out of the 6 issues that Dan addresses in his book, Harry brought up 5 in the hour and a half long conversation we had. People are searching for truth, but are we willing to love, dialogue and point them to the Truth or do we just want to argue?
"You will seek me and find me when you search for me with all your heart." -Jer 29:13. Harry thought my relationship with God was cause for laughter, but I know that as I have searched for God, he has revealed his love, his power, and his truth. I praise God for the light he brought into my life through his Son, Jesus Christ and I can only pray that he draws Harry to His Light.

Monday, December 17, 2007

My hero... my sister

"Hungry, will work for food." What is your first thought when you see someone holding a sign like this on the street? Homeless? Dirty? Worthless? or Friend? My little sister's first thought is how can I help this friend on the street.
Last night she called home to see if she could bring home a girl who she'd met on the street and had no where to stay. Janna hung out with this girl all day yesterday, gave her a bed to sleep in, a shower, and is currently trying to help her sort through her things to take back to her dad's house in Jersey. My little sister is my hero. She has no thought of herself and how this will cramp her day, but only of the wellbeing of another.
When Jesus says, "When I was hungry you gave me something to eat, when I was thirsty you gave me something to drink, when I was in need you clothed me." I know my humble sister will say, "When did I do this for you?" And I am convinced that he will look at her, point at the hundreds of people that she has loved and say, "Whatever you did to the least of these, you have done unto me."

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Will you catch me?

Last night I went to my friends, Jon and Jen's house for dinner. They have two cute lil' ones that I just had a ball with. Hudson is independent and at 10 months is ready to take on the world... Devyn is 3 and fearless. To prove this point, Jon picked her up by her feet and threw her up in the air. For the split second that she was suspended in the air, she let out a cry of delight just in time for Jon to catch her under her arms.
In that moment, she had nothing to trust in except that her dad was going to catch her.
I would venture to say that many times in my own life, I find myself doubting in that split second. In those moments when I feel like everything in my life is spinning wildly out of control all I can think is: 'Will you catch me?'
It's easy for me to SAY, "God is good," but in THAT moment, I have a hard time trusting my Father. As I look back on the past year, I feel like so many days were spend in the air, and I found myself crying out, "What are you doing?!"
But the real question is: Why can't I trust like Devyn? She never had to question... she KNEW that her dad was good and KNEW that he would he wouldn't drop her.
God's asking me, "Do you trust me?" Instead of freaking out, he's asking me to take on the adventure of a lifetime. Instead of hating those moments of the unknown, he's asking me to cry out in delight knowing that I can trust my Father.
Will he catch me? Ask Devyn.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

What's your Story?

When am I going to learn that my plans and God's plans don't always line up. Tonight I was supposed to be in Chugwater, Wyoming in order to tell my story at my college church tomorrow morning. But, between the snow and ice (see picture above), I wasn't able to make it.
As usual I ended up sitting in a coffee shop talking to someone. I found out that he was a believer since he was 19, but had just started walking with God recently. He had a great story. His life was good. He had money, success, family and a good job... but one morning he woke up feeling empty... a void only God could fill.
Then he asked for my story and as I told him where God was leading me, he vocalized his insecurity about sharing his faith. I shared with him something I remembered hearing from Voddie Bachman. He said that if HE was God, he would have sent angels to share the gospel instead of humans. There are 2 things that angels are known for saying when they appear to people in the Bible... "Fear not" and "Get up." They are SO huge and terrifying if THEY were to give the gospel, people would move in hurry. But he said that WE have something that they will never have, the song of the redeemed.
And that's what I shared with my friend the coffee shop. He has something that s angels don't have. He has his own story of how God has moved and worked in his life... and when you share that with someone, it has power because of the Spirit of the living God.
After he left, I was reading the word and came to Psalm 107. "Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, his love endures forever. Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story."
As I read the rest of the psalm, I was floored because the psalmist gave 4 different stories... just to show how each story of redemption is different.
Verse 4: "Some wandered in the desert... they were hungry and thirsty."
Verse 10: "Some sat in darkness, prisoners suffering in iron chains."
Verse 17: Some became fools through their rebellious ways."
Verse 23 "Some went out on the sea in ships... they saw the works of the Lord, his wonderful deed in the deep."

At the end of each story was the same line... "Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love." (Read Ps 107 if you get the chance...)
Your story of redemption is unique to YOU... God met you where you were and saved you through his unfailing love... You don't have to have eloquent or persuasive words... you don't have to be as massive as an angel... you just have to be willing to tell your story and let God do the rest.

He is constantly reminding me... its not about ME, it's about the Spirit of God who lives inside of me. Have you ever told someone your story?

Monday, December 3, 2007

The Art of Sitting

A study was done about Ecuadorians and their work habits. Someone noticed how Ecuadorians in the US where st
unned at how much North American worked. In responce to this, someone did a study on how many actually work hours (hours spent DOING work... not just hours AT work) an average Ecuadorian in Ecuador was doing. Wanna guess? 3 hours. Do you know WHY? Because they value RELATIONSHIPS. They would much rather sit down and talk to you and find out about how you are then go to work and make money.
Now if you know me at all, you know that I like to get things DONE. I like to check things off a list. (I know I'm a big dork) I do love people, but I have not mastered the art of sitting.

In the past several weeks since I have been back in Colorado, I have done a lot of nothing. And it has frustrated me to extreme, but God is teaching me slowly how to just sit in his presence. He is teaching me that there are things that I must work on BEFORE I leave. And as a wise friend of mine recently reminded me, sitting is good... thats when I can finally slow down and listen to what God is trying to tell me.

I have even had an awful time sitting at Starbucks (GASP! i know right?) I usually sit around for a bit and then get to talk to someone interesting. But NO, not here. Every time I go in to a coffee shop, either (a) no one else is there or (b) no one else is there who wants to talk to me (aka they are with someone and want to talk only to them). So. as I am slowly learning the art of sitting, I decided yesterday that I would begin praying for the people who I saw... even if I couldn't talk to them. And believe it or not, the coolest thing happened: I overheard the couple sitting to my left starting a semi-conversation about God. I thought it would be rather odd to lean over and say, "So I hear you're talking about God, can I talk with you?" ... so instead I practiced the art of sitting. I sat and prayed.