Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Abraham picked up and left all he knew in order to wander around before he became the Father of a great nation.
Joseph was a slave and sat in prison before he saved his brothers from starving to death.
Moses watched sheep in the dessert before he saved the Jews from Pharaoh.
Jesus was a carpenter for 30 years before he saved the world.
The list of people throughout history who waited in insignificance is overwhelming. How many times do you think Jesus thought: 'Why do I need to walk back to Jerusalem? I could just fly. Or better yet just BE there.' Or the 100s of times that Moses looked around and said, "I'm watching sheep. Wasn't I just the prince of Egypt? REALLY?"
Recently I've looked at my life and said, "I'm a barista at Starbucks. Really God?" My life has felt small and insignificant. And all of the sudden I realize that I am BACK to where I was 4 years ago when I said to God, "You have nothing for me. You have no plans for my life." That statement was followed by the most amazing experience in my life and falling in love with the most amazing man. But even AFTER learning what a great God I serve, I still ask the same question, "Really? I'm supposed to be HERE?"
Today I was reading in James and the famous, “Consider it joy…” when? When you face trials. And I thought to myself, I am NOT facing trials like the early church! I’m not being persecuted, tortured or fed to hungry lions… I seriously have NOTHING to complain about. The interesting line comes in the next statement… “For you know that the testing of our faith DEVELOPES perseverance. Whether our trial is physical, spiritual or emotional… James says that you are developing perseverance. I am developing a deeper trust for my Father when I wait on him instead of take life in my own hands.
During my time at Starbucks, I haven’t felt like I’ve done much for Jesus. I just go to work and go home. No big deal, right? I heard this weekend at the Family Life Conference that being a parent is a “Character Job”… and I’ve decided that EVERY job is a character job. If you are ministering to people at your job they watch every move you make, every careless word and judge your “Talk about Jesus” by your ACTIONS. In the past week, I’ve gotten the opportunity to talk to two of the guys I work with about Jesus and what He wants for them. I do find it amazing that both of them mentioned that they had been IN the church and left due to hypocrisy and legalism. So I guess it IS a big deal what kind of life I live in front of my co-workers.
Next time you think you’re stuck in a holding pattern with your life, ask yourself, ‘Am I considering it joy? Is Jesus trying to develop something in me?’ Someone is always watching and Jesus is always working.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Please don’t send me to Africa… or my neighbor

I remember hearing that song when I was a kid…
Please don’t send me to Africa
I don’t think I got what it takes
I’m just a man, I’m not a Tarzan
Don’t like lions, gorillas or snakes
I’ll serve you here in suburbia
In my comfortable middle class life
But please don’t send me out into the bush
Where the natives are restless at night

This has never been my song or my fear. I’ve always been the opposite… Jesus don’t make me stay in suburbia, send me to Africa!
Recently I’ve been hanging out with my friends Jess and Mike and they have inspired me to consider Africa AND the suburbs.

Last year Mike and Jess tried to sell their house in order to move to a bigger house for their growing family of 4. No matter how hard they tried or what gimmicks they used, their house wouldn’t sell. So they just figured that meant God wanted them to stay there for a while longer. They realized that they had lived in the same house for 6 years and the only way they knew their neighbors was by an occasional wave or “How’s it going?” That’s how Mission 5 started. They decided to be intentional in their outreach to the 5 neighbors they have on all sides of them. Mike began taking the boys to go and say hi, Jess baked cookies and they began to invite people to church one by one. As Jess and Mike were telling me this story, I got super excited to see what God was doing in middle class suburbia through two of his faithful servants who were willing to love people.

Just a month ago, Jessica told me, “I’ve built a protective Christian bubble around myself and its just about time I got out!” She and Mike have decided to live missionally. For Jess, that means she wants to take a short term mission trip to another country, but more than that, she wants to take her CHURCH. And for Mike, that means Mission 5. The greatest part about this story is that they are NOT just talking about it, they are doing it. They have approached their pastor and said it was just about time that they had short term missions and the pastor said, “GO! You’re in charge!” For most people, that would stop the idea in its tracks, but not these two. They are stepping up to the challenge though they don’t know how they are going to swing it financially or gather people to go. BUT they are stepping OUT and trusting God who began this work to complete it.

Just yesterday I was asking Jess how Mission 5 was going and she told me that Mike decided to just be up front and ask one of their neighbors, “So what do you believe?” As the family explained their dislike for religion due to the massive amount of hypocrisy found in the church, Mike chimed in, “Me too! I hate religion and hypocrisy!” I can only imagine the man’s stunned face as Mike went on to say that Jesus wasn’t about a religion but a relationship and that he never meant for his church to talk one way and act another. Wow, talk about saying it how it is! As Jess and Mike have committed to pray and love on all 5 of these families, I cannot wait to see what God does with their faithfulness…

Be careful when you tell Jesus to burst your “Christian bubble,” he might send you to Africa or worse yet, your neighbors.