Sunday, September 28, 2008

Take the Lead

As you watch them float across the floor you think she must be a professional, but little does anyone know that is has very little to do with her.
The other night I went to watch one of my friends sing with her band and afterwords people started dancing and as per usual, the salsa began. One of the guys walked up to one of my friends and asked her to dance.
For the next 20 minutes we all sat and stared as he led her across the dance floor as if they’d been dancing together for years. He pushed her where he wanted to go and all she did was just follow his lead through the twists, turns and steps.
As I sat in amazement the Lord spoke to me heart, ‘That’s what I want to do with you.’ At first I was a little confused. The Lord wants to teach me how to salsa? But as I watched I realized that this guy was making my friend look good. He displayed her beauty for all to see. There were only 2 or 3 times where it seemed like they didn’t know what was going on and you know where that was? When she tried to lead and when she didn’t follow his lead.

Here are the words He was speaking to me:
‘I want to lead you where I want you to go. I know how to show your beauty to the world so that they see ME in YOU. But the moment you step forward and try and take the lead, my glory will not be displayed in you. The moment you don’t follow my urgings is the moment you will fall. So let go, take my hand and let me take the lead.’

If you have ever seen me salsa, you know that follow-the-leader is not my strong suit. I can salsa with the girls, having fun and playing around, but the moment that another person steps in the picture trying to lead me around the floor is the moment someone’s feet get stepped on. I like to know what I’m doing, where I’m going and who’s in control. The Lord has made that clear to me. To have the adventure of my life, I must let him take the lead.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Not sure if it made me want to Laugh or Throw Up...

Here is a random little story that may brighten your day.

I was thinking back on the PICKY people that I used to have to serve coffee to when I worked at the Starbucks in North Dallas... my favorites were always the 1/2 splenda people that YELLED at you when you accidentally put in 1/2 equal... God forbid.

But today I got a fun one. The girl who was waiting tables came into the kitchen and said to me, "Prestame una cuchara de mantequilla." (Which means, give me a spoon of butter)Obviously at first I thought my Spanish was failing me, so I asked her again and she said the same thing. I asked her why and she said that a guy at one of the tables wanted it. As I thought back on his order, I realized all he ordered was tea. I asked for a third time just to make sure he REALLY wanted a spoon of butter. She assured me that he did as she took the butter out to him and he proceeded to put it in his TEA. Yep... some people like 1/2 splenda, others like a spoon full of butter. How do you take your coffee??

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

My friend...

I am intrigued by his life. He shares it so freely, but yet his pain is so hidden. When he talks about his family, its as if the pain they’ve caused him isn’t real. When he talks about his ex, its like he thinks if he talks about it he won’t really feel it. When he talks about his life, he wants to do good, but can’t quite put his finger on what this life is all about. This is my friend.
I think back to the day we met. It was a Sunday I happened to walk through the market to get home instead of taking my usual route. When we met, I never thought that he would share so much of his life with me.
The other week he started sharing with me his journey. He’d been reading the Bible with our Jehovah’s Witness Spanish teacher for 3 hours this week and had a lot of questions. I am always caught off guard by his honesty, “I know a lot of people ask questions like the one I am about to ask just to try and prove you wrong or get in an argument, but I am honestly curious. How do you know that what you believe is right? I mean, what’s the difference between what you believe, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Catholics, Hindus, Muslims or any other religion for that matter?”
As I shared with him what were the differences and the “proofs of the faith,” I didn’t neglect to tell him what the Lord had done in my life. Don’t neglect the power of testimony.
My friend is an interesting type… in HIS daily life, with his relationships, friendships and the like, he is extremely emotional. To be quite frank we give him a hard time about being a girl, but truly he is a feelings based type of guy. But when it comes to God, it’s as if we do a 180. “You can’t prove to me that there is a God, but I can’t prove to you that there isn’t and I’m ok with that.” Or statements like, “I just don’t have faith.” He always comes back to the “set of rules” he has set for his life; doing good verses doing evil.
The other night I prayed for a lot for wisdom as I was talking to him because I knew that it was going to be ME that was going to do any convincing at all. It was going to have to be the Spirit of the Living God. So we talked about Jesus. We talked about his life and who he was, but more importantly who he wasn’t. He wasn’t about a set of rules. He was about coming to set us FREE. As I spoke about Jesus’ relationship with the Samaritan Woman I saw a softness come over my friend. Even if he didn’t understand me or other Christians, I think he has some sort of connectedness with Jesus.
That was my challenge. “If you are at all interesting in the possibility of a God… If this guy Jesus at all intrigues you, isn’t it worth checking it out?”
When you talk to my friend about why he chose to come here, it doesn’t make a lot of sense. But if you were to ask me why he came here, I would say it would be to hear about Jesus. He is jus starting his journey to Jesus, but even as I write that, I think of Paul the Apostle’s words to King Agrippa, “Short time or long- I pray God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains.” (Acts 26:29)
Its God’s work and I am amazed at how he does it. He speaks to people through the testimony of his followers, through the Life of His Son, through His Word and through whatever the heck he chooses to use. You know why? Because He really is God.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Does it really happen like this??

That morning I had prayed for more opportunities to share the gospel. I had prayed that the Lord would bring people into the café who needed to know him. And that afternoon she walked through the doors.
A cute small dark haired Ecuadorian came up to the register when I happened to be sitting there (doing nothing because there wasn’t anyone in the shop). She asked me if I knew of any churches she could go to, so I started to tell her that we all went to different churches and she could come with us to any of ours. And then I asked her what her story was and how she heard about El Sendero and she stood there in front of me at the register and began to cry.
I offered her a seat and a tissue as she began to share a part of her story. I quickly found out her name was Carmen and she was 26 years old. Her family is Catholic and her brother is evangelical and she just knew that there was something missing in her life. She looked at me with all sincerity and said, “I want to have a relationship with God but I don’t know how.” (If that’s not an introduction to the gospel, I don’t know what is!) I asked her if I could share with her from the Bible how she could have a relationship with God and she said she would really like that.
Sidenote: for some reason my Spanish was really awful that day. So as I spoke I just prayed that she understood what I was saying. This is where I am SO glad that the Word speaks for itself and that God is more powerful than my Spanish mumblings.
I asked her if any of what I had just said made sense, and she said, “Let me see if I understand, so you’re saying…” and spit the entire gospel back to me. YES! That was what I was trying to say, but didn’t think I was doing a very good job at it!
Over the past 2 days, Carmen has come with me to youth group and church. My church is a little full on, but she seemed to like it. As we walked to church yesterday she began to cry again as she explained to me that he dad was a Catholic and he would not approve of her coming to church with me, but that she knew this was right and desperately wanted to know God.
Today at 3:00, we are meeting to start studying the Word because she wants to know. Please pray that Carmen would truly understand the love of God and his desire to have a relationship with her.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Does God care about Taxi Rides?

If you don't know, my wonderful friends came to visit me. Over the past week and a half Steven, Allison, Julie and I were on 4 flights, 2 major bus rides, 2 minor bus rides, 2 train rides and about a million taxis... and somehow each and every one had something crazy that happened.
I have to tell two of my favorites. The first was in a taxi on the way to catch a flight to Cusco. We agreed with the man on 20 soles (which i still thought was a rip off, but decided it wasn't worth arguing over the other 2 dollars) and got in. Half way to the airport we stop because has to get gas. He gets out of the car, leans his head back in and says, "I need 10 soles now so I can buy gas." Of course I refuse, but he insists that we will not make it to the airport unless I give him the 10, so I cave. He then proceeds to usher us all out of the taxi in order to pump gas (why is STILL beyond me). We finally all pile BACK into the taxi and head off once more to the airport. When we were about 5 minutes away from the airport, he starts digging around in his glove box to find his papers to get into the airport. I hear Allison gasp right before we hit another car. (Allison, use your words!) Luckily it was only a slight fender bender. So he gets out of the car to check damage and talk to the man in the other car. Two minutes later he pokes his head back into the car to ask for the other 10 soles that I will owe him in 5 minutes. Of course, I refuse (yet again) but he assures me that he will get us there and we WON'T get to the airport in time if I don't give him the other 10 soles. Hesitantly I handed it over and needless to say I made sure we never got in another taxi with that man.
Story number two... we were staying with some friends of ours in Cusco, but the main purpose of our visit was to go see Machu Picchu. The lady at the travel place told me about 10 times that we need to be at the train station at 6:30am because the train left at 6:50 (and NOT Ecuadorian or Peruvian time either!) So we worked it out with a taxi driver to pick us up at 5:45 so as not to be late (since they lived about 30 minutes outside of the city). At 5:45 that morning we were waiting and ready to go. We were still waiting at 6 and at 6:10... by the time 6:20 rolled around, we were sweating it. FINALLY the guy shows up and I tell Al I don't even WANT to know what time it is. Let's just say this trip into town definitely INCREASED my prayer life. It feels so dumb now, but at the time I was pleading with God for a miracle. I knew it was just a trip, nothing life or death, but it was going to be a royal pain if we went all the way there and didn't see Machu Picchu. So we're praying and the really late taxi driver is driving like a mad man... Al has stopped looking at her watch at this point as to not stress even more. We FINALLY hit the train station, Steven throws money at the man and we grab our stuff and run into the building. We bypass a bunch of people and jump over ropes that are supposed to keep us in line. And there it is, our miracle... the train hadn't left yet. We got on the train at 6:48 and no joke the train left 2 minutes later. Praise God for small (or not so small) miracles.
All that to say, we had a LOT of fun and got to see God show up in big and small ways.