Archive for June, 2014

Taking hikes in the Idaho mountains can provide some exhilarating experiences. I saw a documentary on some people climbing frozen waterfalls in Idaho, something I will probably never experience. Why wouldn’t I consider this adventure? I can think of several reasons but beneath every one of them is that it seems too risky for this older body. I’ll let them take a GoPro camera and watch it on U Tube.

There is a risk that has far greater implications and consequences in life. If we really want to know what God is about, it requires risk in many ways but if we don’t take that adventure, we not only don’t experience something hard to put into words but we miss out on the essence of life. It’s true Jess is with us but the places he goes are often anything but safe. He challenges us to think differently or really live by faith. It seems safer to just not believe in any of this stuff, but that can be like never having a Turkish coffee. You can’t believe what you missed.

Job decided to get after it with God but take a look at Job 40 and see if you would want to be in this conversation. Why take the risk? We don’t know all of what Job learned but we do know some things. Look at Job 42:2-6. Verse 2 and 5 in The Word on the Street say  it like this-“I know you can do anything and everything you like, when you like, how you like…not I see you with my own eyes…” How much was this worth learning?

What is God asking you to believe, to trust him for, or to think differently about? Join a small revolutionary minority and experience life as it was intended to be lived.

Some decisions are easier to go back on than others. I am at Moxie Java in Garden City, Idaho as I type this. I could have just as easily gone to Alia’s in Boise for morning coffee. I could have changed my mind on the way to Moxie very easily. Much of the time our decisions about commitment and culture addictions seem to be written in pencil rather than ink. Some decisions reflect an unwillingness to make a courageous choice to not waver with the issues. Think about the benefits of drawing a line regarding your unwillingness to compromise a commitment or an unhealthy involvement in the culture.

Matthew 6:24 and 1 John 2:15 & 16 present challenges that give us an opportunity to write our life with a pen or pencil. We often have such a belief system that allows us to vacillate whenever. “God must have used a pencil rather than a pen in these verses” we say. Or maybe our willingness to do what he says is more written with a pencil than a pen. We can try to justify our unwillingness to draw a line on compromise by thinking “I use a pen more often than a pencil in making decisions” We can think this justifies our moving or removing the line we have drawn but we need to break the pencil in half or better, throw it away.

Isaiah 27:9 clearly shows the commitment God expects from us. Our alter stones and Asherah poles look different today but our actions prove whether we are using a pen or pencil to make our commitments.

Where have you compromised the commitment God expects with regard to living in your culture or in your commitment to following Jesus? How should you deal with this?

What does it mean to want something so bad that we will risk, practice or devote our self so completely to it that it even surprises us? If it’s worth it, we’re not going to even think about cost. We will do this for participation in or recognition in sports, music, our jobs or whatever we or others highly value.

But why do we chase the wind harder than the one who made it? We need to seriously examine our heart to see if we really want him. If we do, those hard decisions will become easier as we see the emptiness in chasing what God says will ruin us either slowly or all at once. We too easily live in ways that show that we don’t really believe God gets it.

Look at some of the words in Colossians 3:1-10: “Set your hearts, set your minds, put to death, rid yourselves…”These words indicate determination to focus on what pleases God. Paul challenges Timothy and us in 2 Timothy 2:3 & 4 to not get “sucked into the daily soap opera of normal life.” A warfare mentality gets nasty and crazy about eliminating everything that distracts from the commander’s orders.

David (a man after God’s heart and doing everything God wanted him to do-see Acts 13:22) said in Psalms 39:5 and 139:23 & 24 that our life is so brief that we should ask God to take a look at our life and tell us what he sees. This was a man whose focus was cleat and enjoyed life but put away the card games when a spear came his way. He wanted what God wanted and got rid of everything that kept him from that goal.

How does our prayer life reflect our commitment to experience God in an authentic way? Are we willing to be brave enough to ask God to show us what needs to go from our life? How about asking someone you trust to tell you what they see in your life that proves that you are serious about following Jesus or makes them wonder about it?

It’s true in relationships with people and with God, but every time we consider asking a question other than the “hows it going?” or “why did this happen?” questions, we stay firmly in the same place and don’t change the relationship or grow in any significant way. Why are we reluctant to ask people or God the real questions we have? Fear is one of the dominant reasons. The relationship might end or God might remain silent or not come through-then what?

This never seemed to be a problem with the prophets. Take Habakkuk 1:2-4 for example. These were no first grade questions or accusations and Habakkuk had no hesitation expressing his questions with emotion. He wanted answers now! God comes back with a jolting answer in verses 5 & 6. “You’ll be blown away by the incredible plot line I’m working on.” Word on the Street Habakkuk dares to ask another question.

People want to know we are real, authentic, and understand their issues and questions. God wants us to know we are seriously interested in him more than an answer to our questions.He will give us an answer when he knows we can handle it or that it will drive us deeper in our relationship with him.

What are your questions about not hearing God answer your prayers, why your kid won’t see that you really do care about them, why evil seems to win more than good, why people have to experience such injustices personally, why Christians let the culture control them, why a bad habit in our life never goes away, why we can’t seem to get back to doing church as it seems to have been practiced in the early days of Christianity, why we want to always avoid a disagreeable person…?

Don’;t be afraid of asking God your questions. He wants us to know, love, trust and obey him and he will teach us through our challenging questions. Don’t be afraid of asking another person a challenging question, but make sure your motivation is right.

If we are growing as a follower of Jesus, we all experience times when God seems to have left town on a cruise. We’re not sure how to trust him as our dark night goes on and on. Maybe God is hiding or a more damaging thought creeps in telling us maybe he was never there in the first place. The truth is we will neither understand how God works throughout the world nor in our life developing our trust in.him.

Hebrews 13:8 is a huge statement because we learn that God cannot change who he is…ever. He is not hiding but trying to teach us something in the darkness that we can’t learn in the light. Trust is only wasted when the object being trusted in is unreliable. We must learn that trust in God is essential for developing a relationship that is not based on what we can see but on when we can’t see our hand in front of us.

Have you come to a place where you can agree with Jeremiah as he loudly says in Jeremiah 32:17 “…you created earth and sky by your great power-by merely stretching out your arm! There is nothing you can’t do?” Something in our relationship with God deepens when we think he is hiding in the dark but learn by trusting him that he never changes and is present in that darkness.

Paul echoes this in 2 Corinthians 1:8 & 9 and 9:8. Listen to how trust was developed in Paul-“The West Turkey trip was a total nightmare! Everything hit the fan…we were comparing notes on our funeral services…you know he”s the only one who can get you going again.” ( Word on the Street) In 9:8 Paul adds that God is with us to enable us to be ready for anything (especially in darkness).

So, the adventure takes us into the most unlikely places and situations where darkness tries to choke out our confidence in God but is a mere whisper compared to the volume of God’s voice in reassuring us that this is where we learn.

Are you unsure about God’s faithfulness because nothing is making sense with…? Allow God to change that darkness into something you never thought possible.

A couple has been told they will have a new baby boy but everything changes when they have identical twins. Life just got complicated as they try to understand how they are going to know who’s who as the boys grow up.

No one likes to be confused about anything, especially when it comes to knowing God better. Once again however, God knows the teachers that open our hearts more completely to knowing him. Sometimes in life it seems God is changing the rules when in reality he is helping us understand events or situations that don’t make sense to us. We easily become confused.

It is easy during these times to want to run, hide or not deal with developing a more meaningful relationship with God. We played our best cards but the numbers on them seem to have changed and we’re totally confused. It’s hard enough getting to know God when life seems to cooperate.

Consider Job and his situation. Doing everything right, you would think it would be rewarded appropriately by God. But that’s not exactly the script God used in teaching something valuable to Job. And, that didn’t make sense to Job. Job 37:4 and 5 shows how God at times does things that “stagger our understanding” and can easily become confusing.

As confused as Job might have been, he comes to a completely different conclusion in Job 42:5. Consider The Word on the Street  “I’d heard rumors of your reputation. Now I have seen you with my own eyes, and I’m dying of embarrassment at my attitude. I take it all back, every question, every accusation. Sorry, it won’t happen again.”

The next time you have identical twins or just get confused by what is or is not happening in your life, remember “God’s methods are not in any of our manuals.”

A coach comes into the school and asks a simple question “Who wants to be on this team?’ The answer seems easy because you have been waiting for this coach to come to your school with this question. Ten students raise their hands. The coach is pleased then adds “practice begins at 3 AM tomorrow.” You really want to be a part of the team but most of your friends drop off the list loudly saying it’s crazy to expect anyone to be anywhere but horizontal in bed at that hour.

But you set your alarm for 2:15 and plan to be there. Why would you do that when all of your friends won’t get up until 9:00? Really it is because of your love of the game. You would do anything to be on the team and play for this coach. Can a person really love the game more than anything else?

What about loving God more than anything else? Is that a realistic question in a world with more options than ever? I mean, think about how many tech starts there are every day, how many apps show up for your phone daily, or how many sporting and music events there are to attend. Besides, you think “I will check God out next Sunday for a couple of hours.” Psalm 73:25 reveals David’s heart but is this really possible today? And Paul’s priority is seen in Philippians 1:21. But that was David and Paul, right?

So, do you want to ask God to put it into your heart to love Him more than anything or anyone else? God always takes this kind of request seriously.

I only know one person who knows what “Chrome Shoes” means. Everyone else might make a guess but would probably be wrong. People explaining Christianity sometimes use words that a person who hasn’t checked out a church for most of their life might have that “blank stare” and have no idea what was just spoken. Think for a minute about “Are you washed in the blood?” Those of us who know Jesus get this, but an outsider might immediately leave concluding “that’s not real talk.”

2 Timothy 3:16 and 17 makes it clear that the Bible is useful for everything we deal with in life. Acts 2:37 indicates that when people understand the Word (and Christianity), it goes straight to their heart. It makes sense and connects with them.

So, when is Christianity meaningful? It is always meaningful, but when does it come alive and make sense to those outside of the faith? That happens when it connects with them, when it makes sense, when it relates to what they deal with at work, or in their relationships, and helps them understand their emotions. Then and only then is it worthwhile and relevant for them.

Practice sharing your story with someone and see if it connects or whether the “blank stare” makes an appearance on their face. How can you develop the ability to speak to people’s heart with words that impact and cause them to be curious and think about what you shared with them?

Chrome Shoes-chrome rims on a car or truck.