Thursday, July 31, 2008

Take note... they've been with Jesus.

I had a conversation with a friend a while back on the existence of God and he's probably the most honest agnostic I've ever met. He told me, "Look, I don't have enough proof to say that there isn't a God but at the same time I don't have enough proof to say that there is one. So I'm just here and I'm ok with that. I try to be good to people and live by my set of morality." Honest. I liked it.
Needless, I was still thinking to myself, 'What can i do to help this guy out? How can I prove to him that God exists? Can I give him a scientific book that PROVES there is a higher being? Can I have him sit down with some really smart people and have an in depth discussion?' And as I was contemplating all of this, he went to church with one of our friends.
We started talking about Jesus again this week and he told me, "Oh yeah, I went to church on Sunday." (I was a little taken aback that he would even go!) And when I inquired as to what he thought about it, he said the most profound thing, "I was amazed at their passion, at their joy and their conviction of worshiping God."
I don't think this guy's opinion has changed THAT much on whether there is or isn't a God, but what struck me was that the thing that peaked this guy's interest was not some scientific argument or profound word of wisdom, it was people living a life of FAITH.
It makes me think about Acts when Peter and John stood up and proclaimed truth from God's Word. It says how amazed the teachers of the law were by what they said because they were ordinary and unschooled men. And then it says, "They took note that these men had been with Jesus."

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Far from Boring...

Have you ever experienced adventure? Have you wanted to? I think most people do… each person’s great “adventure” looks a little different but at the core of each person, I think there is a desire to belong to something and to be involved in something that MATTERS and is edgy.
This week I was told that you had to choose either adventure OR Jesus. When I heard the guy say, “Do you want adventure? … or do you want Jesus??” I almost stood up and opposed him to his face. As I went home that night I realized that this is what most people think, ‘If I live my life for Jesus it will be boring. I will have to sit with my Bible in my lap, praying and singing Kumbaya.’

Tell me something; does this sound boring to you?
Receiving 39 lashes 5 times… being beaten with rods 3 times… stoned… shipwrecked a handful of times… in danger from everything under the sun (and everyone for that matter!)… going without sleep… hungry… thirsty… cold and naked… and constantly worried. This was the adventure that walking with Jesus got Paul.

I do not claim to have the most adventurous or dangerous life. Believe me, there are people around the world who will suffer more today than I will in my entire life. But can I tell you a little about what God has allowed me to be apart of in my short 26 years of life? I have been all over the world and met all different kinds of people. I have seen forgiveness given to a father who did not deserve it by a daughter who had held on to her anger for far too long. I have been able to walk with a teenage girl as she’s struggled with the daily pressures of teenage life. I have seen an apathetic kid take a huge step into missions and watch God rearrange his life. I was able to hold my friend’s hand as she took her first step into an Evangelical church. I’ve cried over a glue-sniffing Guatemalan girl as I mourned her lostness. I’ve seen the face of a crippled child as he held out his hands to a sun he only sees once every week. I’ve been yelled at and accused of not loving when I was giving tough love. I’ve had people not speak to me for months because of sensitive information that I had to tell their parents. All of these experiences, both good and bad are part of the adventure that the Lord has for me. And in each one, I can only say as Paul did, “Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weaknesses.” When you live a life sold out for Jesus, you won’t live a boring life, but it also won’t be pretty. You will live a life full of PAIN and full of JOY. Try it out, I promise you won’t regret it. Paul didn’t and neither do I.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Give to Anyone who has Need?

When you see people hurting what do you do? I am always tempted to turn the other way... to walk in the other direction... to ignore the problem. Well, today I came face to face with this exact thing. I need to preface this with something I heard on a podcast the other day. I was listening to Matt Chandler's series on Luke. He was talking about turning the other cheek, giving people your cloak and giving to anyone as he has need. It's something that stuck with me because he said it wasn't our job to judge if someone was scamming or not; if you felt God telling you to give, give without looking for anything in return.
Well, today I came face to face with this exact situation. A woman walked into our shop with a sob story about her son being in the hospital, being from another city and not being able to buy his medicine. So, we went to the local pharmacy and bought her the medicine she needed. I talked to her a while about her children and her situation. I prayed for her and went back to work.
About an hour later, she came back to tell me that she needed the receipt for the medicine because she needed to return it. As I inquired as to why, she burst into tears telling me that her 8 year old son had just died. My heart broke for her. The other wise women in my shop were a little more weary that I, so one of them took her back to the pharmacy and it turned out that she tried to take the medicine back before to get the money, but couldn't without the receipt.
Gloria came back to explain all this to me and told me that I had been played by this woman. This woman had used my concern for her to try and get money.
At first, I was mad. I can't believe this woman used my concern for her benefit! And then I thought about that verse in Luke and how many people "used" Jesus to get what they wanted (and he KNEW they were using him!). But he gave as they had need. If the only thing that this woman got today was $15 and seeing that someone had concern for her, I truly believe it was what I was called to do without casting judgment.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Missing something?

This weekend I have had more than one conversation about this topics... purpose, meaning and the point of life.
Yesterday I called one of my friends to hang out and she told me that she was really upset and couldn't place why. Over lunch we talked about it more and she shared with me that she felt like she was missing something in her life. What if you could know WHY you were here on this earth? What if you could know that you had purpose and that life meant something? Wouldn't that be great? I shared with her how empty my life would be if I didn't have Jesus. She just nodding and smiled, but I could tell that the wheels were turning.
In our Saturday Bible study we are reading through the book of Colossians and we were talking about why Paul made such a big deal in chapter one about who Jesus was if the people he was talking to were believers. And we discussed how often we as "Christians" MISS the focal point. We miss JESUS. As we talked about who Jesus was and his death and the life we find in him, I got so excited. Jesus isn't just the answer for those who don't believe, he is the answer. JESUS answers these questions. He IS how we can have purpose and hope and meaning and true life.
Then a guy at Faith night expressed his desire to truly KNOW that all this "stuff" was true. And as I shared with him about the saving grace of Jesus, I got really excited again. Later that night, I shared with my roommates that I think so often I FORGET about the grace that I have because of Jesus's death and resurrection.
Are you missing something? Are you lacking something in your life? Maybe you need Jesus. Or maybe you have Jesus, but you've forgot that he is the POINT.