Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Pray, expect, go.

Those three words have become my mantra lately.

Pray: Pray to the God of the Universe.
Expect: Expect that he will hear your prayer.
Go: Expect that he will respond.

This is not my own idea. In fact, this idea is thousands of years old. I got it from the awesome story of Elijah.

He did a lot of wild things for the Lord during his lifetime. As most of the prophets of that era, he lived as a radical. The specific story I want to touch on is from 1 Kings 18. I highly encourage you to read it and base your learning off the Scripture and not my poor paraphrasing and summarizing.

Elijah is hanging out on Mount Carmel which if you've been to Israel you know that Mount Carmel is not piddly little hill. It is a mountain.
View from the top.
Anyways, Elijah is kind of in this prayer "battle" with the prophets of Baal. Essentially it's a sort of "anything you can do I can do better" battle. The prophets of Baal claim they can do this miracle, then Elijah shows them up with the power of God. This goes on and on until Elijah ignites the altar of the Lord after it has been drenched in water. They all fall to their knees in amazement. However, this isn't even the crazy part.

This whole time, in fact, three years previous to this time, the entire land has been under a terrible drought. It hasn't rained in years. After performing these wild miracles and signs, Elijah drops to his knees and begins to pray. He tells his servant to climb to the top of Mount Carmel and look for rain. Six times he sends his servant up, and six times the servant sees nothing.

The seventh time is different.

The seventh time, Elijah sends his servant to the top and far in the distance, the servant sees a rain cloud. Elijah prayed the drought would end. The drought ended.

He prayed. He expected. He went.
It's that simple... why is it so hard for me?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010



I've been thinking about what it means to be flexible. Not in the physical fitness sense of the word (I mean seriously, is the 'sit-and-reach' a valid test of fitness anyway?) but I mean in the sense of time.

I've been job "searching" lately. It seems like every employer wants their employees to be flexible. Not so they can touch their toes, but so that when the proverbial curve ball is thrown, they will be able to react and take it all in stride.

I personally enjoy the curve ball. I get tired of the same thing. I get bored when my day-to-day routine becomes... a routine. I like being forced to be flexible. I like when someone asks me out of the blue to do something. I'll admit, sometimes it's very inconvenient and annoying, but I enjoy the change of pace.

I think Christ's example to us is that of flexibility. You don't have to look hard to find an example. Take the woman who had been hemorrhaging for years (Luke 8). Jesus is plowing his way through a big crowd trying to get to this man Jairus' house. Jairus' only daughter (12 years old) was dying, and he knew that Jesus was the only man who could heal her. As he's navigating his way through the crowd that "almost crushed him" (v. 42) a woman who had been bleeding for 12 years touches the hem of his cloak.

Instantly he stops.

He asks, "Who touched me?" For one, I guarantee there were a lot of people touching him at that moment. The wild thing is, he knew the answer to this question. As his disciples try to explain to him that dozens of people are touching him at the same time, he says that he felt power go out of him. He knew that this woman had touched the hem of his cloak.

At this point, this woman is trembling in fear. Her hopes to just touch the edge of his cloak and slip away are totally shattered. Jesus has called her out in front of the entire crowd. She explains why she did what she did and he tells her, "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace." (v. 48).

Meanwhile, the entire time this is going on, Jairus' daughter is dying. In fact, at this point, she is actually dead. Talk about being flexible. Jesus is on his way to save her life and he stops because a random woman touches him in faith that he can heal her.

I would imagine at this point Jairus is pretty upset. He gets news that his daughter has died, but as soon as he is told this, Jesus turns and says to him, "Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed." (v. 50). They make it to Jairus' house to find all the family grieving because of her death. Jesus tells them to stop because she is not dead, only asleep. Rightfully so, the family members laugh at him. I'd imagine that some where probably angry at him for making light of such a painful tragedy. If only they knew the power he had.

He commands the girl to get up. She wakes up and stands up. All is well. He brings her from death to life. She was dead. I wish that in blogging I could yell. SHE WAS DEAD! He brings her back to life! Astonishing.

The point I'm struggling to make here is that Jesus was the ultimate example of flexibility. It was not even an issue to stop what he was doing and spend meaningful time with some random woman who grabbed the edge of his cloak in hopes she would be healed. Even when a man's daughter was on her death bed, it wasn't a big deal. How easily I get frustrated when someone interrupts me from something of much less importance. I am striving to be flexible. It's not really "my" time anyway.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Short, sweet... and hopefully to the point...

Sometimes I look at my life from the world's perspective. Sometimes I question who I am or what I do by the world's standards. Here's an excerpt from my journal:

"When you look 'rationally' at what we (Younglife) do, it doesn't make any sense. Wake up at 6:30, drive an hour round-trip to a middle school to spend 15-20 minutes hanging out with 10-13 year olds as they get off the bus in the morning. In the eyes of the world, that is one of the craziest things you could do. Who really wants to hang out with middle schoolers anyway?"

As I looked at my lifestyle from the world's eye, I found it almost comical. Most of my peers are asleep at 6:30 AM. If they're not, they're likely waking up to study, to get ready for class, or still awake from the night before.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not boasting in my works. My works mean nothing. Not a thing. I'm boasting in what Christ has done in my life. Back to my journal:

"That's a trick question... God does. And that is why I go. Because I said, "Here I am, send me." And he said, "Go." In obedience to him, because he first loved me, I go to share that love with kids who might not otherwise ever hear it."

I was afraid to say that. I was afraid to tell God I was here, ready to go. I was afraid where he might send me. I was afraid of what he might tell me to do.

I am so thankful I prayed that. He's called me to something I would have never otherwise found myself doing. He's called me to love on kids. He's called me closer to himself.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Be a man...

I apologize in advance for this post; it is likely going to be scattered with no purpose other than to hopefully condense my thoughts in one place.

What does it mean to be a man? What defines what a man is? Merriam-Webster defines man:
(1) : an individual human; especially : an adult male human (2) : a man belonging to a particular category (as by birth, residence, membership, or occupation) —usually used in combination i.e. councilman

An individual human. I agree with that. Society definitely defines a man as individual. We're never supposed to need help. We never ask for directions. We are the problem solvers. We are the go-to when something needs fixed. We are independent. We aren't supposed to need anyone. That would be weak. Only a weak man needs someone else to get by.

That's a tragedy.

By the world's definition, I am not a man. I am weak. Yeah I fix stuff. Yeah I can solve problems. Yeah I don't ask for directions. But, I can't do it on my own. I may put up a front on the outside that says I have it all together and that I am in control, but that is seldom the case.

The Bible defines a man as something completely different. For that, I am incredibly thankful. A man of God doesn't have it all together. A man of God relies on his savior. A man of God admits he can't do it alone. David was a man after God's own heart.

That is the man I want to be.