Archive for the ‘comfort’ Category

Smíchov, Prague, the Czech Republic. "Pra...

Smíchov, Prague, the Czech Republic. “Praha-Smíchov” train station. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It was 1994 and I was alone on a train going from Zagreb Croatia to Dresden, Germany. The route went through Prague, Czech Republic. The train was late leaving so I could not make my connection in Prague. It was however, night time and no trains were leaving until the next morning. A police officer was telling everyone to leave the station because they locked it up at night. I had a cup of coffee in my hand I had purchased and was allowed along with one other person to stay inside after the doors were locked. I slept with my arm locked to my backpack that night unsure what would happen. Risk and fear were present as I “slept” that night. But I knew God wanted me to make this trip so I trusted Him to come through.

Mathew 14:25-31 tells a story we often hope is in the video library of heaven so we could look at it at our leisure with a coke and popcorn. Sadly, this is as far as most people get with the journey of faith. We hear God speaking to us about something but then we think of how crazy risky it is and then our fear kicks in. We really believe God is talking to us but…

Most of us have a line we will not cross when it comes to doing what God talks about in the Word. Risk and fear are tattooed on our mind and we easily rationalize away the necessity of faith and never get out on the water.

Is there a seep of faith you need to take this week? Is there a relationship you need to mend in which you need to trust God with? Don’t settle for the comfortable journey.

Exercise

Exercise (Photo credit: sanchom)

We look in the mirror and say that something’s gotta change. However, there is no disappearing act for the extra 20 pounds we want to leave. So we commit to one day a week for 15 minutes to deal with it. It’s obvious to everyone (including ourselves) that we only think we want to get into the smaller size jeans.

But, we say we really do want to share our life with others who are dead serious about walking with Jesus. “I believe I could get together a couple of times a month for maybe an hour if it’s not Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday nights” we say, and we dive in to this life changing event.

Matthew 10:39 quickly separates those who have life changing stories to share from those who love to listen to others share these kinds of stories. There is no discovery without the loss of something else. In this case it is His life for ours. This is the “eat my flesh and drink my blood” seminar by Jesus in John 6. A wise man said in Ecclesiastes 7:8 “…endings are better than beginnings” and in 1 Kings 20:11 it says that it is easy to brag about being ready for a battle but another thing to listen to one who comes back from the battle.

There are people who have concluded that Jesus must have meant something more than what they are experiencing in their life with other Christians, and they are ready to make the commitment to find it with others. Is this something you wake up wanting more than anything else that might happen that day? Ask God to intersect your life with someone else who wakes up thinking that maybe this is the day they will meet you.

Learning by Doing

Learning by Doing (Photo credit: BrianCSmith)

In 1991 I took several students to Athens, Greece on an 8 week summer mission project to work with refugees from several countries. The main purpose was to help these students learn in real life and from challenging situations, some aspects of what it meant to be a disciple of Jesus. Tight sleeping quarters, strange food (for us), language barriers, major traffic (5 million live in Athens) all contributed to our learning.

We could have done a Bible study on selfishness or how to get along with people who don’t agree with you, while sitting at Starbucks in Denver but that would be an inadequate setting to really learn about these aspects of life. It is doing life together where learning intersects our biases and preferences. It disturbs our comfortable lifestyle when you want Mexican food but there are no restaurants of this nature in sight.

When Jesus called the potential disciples to “come follow me” in Matthew 4:19, his plan was to spend almost 3 years with them in situations that would have caused most of us to change the channel on our TV and continue continue eating our popcorn. But think of what they would learn and how they would be impacted forever. Or consider what Timothy learned from Paul as seen in 2 Timothy 3:10 and 11. This could not have adequately been taught in a sterile environment.

Implications: Messages delivered on Sunday mornings, Bible studies in a living room, teaching done in an auditorium are ok but fail to deliver the necessary visual aid that only happens as we share life together.

How can you begin to learn like this and help others learn by sharing life together?

Danger Ahead

Danger Ahead (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Who wouldn’t want to go to Disneyland? think of the fun taking in all of the exhibits, rides and neat experiences not found in the everyday working world. We should be entitled to a break from the daily grind so we take out all of the travel guides and what do we choose? Disneyland type experiences rate near the top.

There are some others that are only found in one brochure. Not too many would buy ads for this travel guide. In  fact some travel agencies refuse to carry this one and if they have to, they rarely mention it or disguise what is in it. The travel agency is often the church that pulls out all the brochures about the trips that we can take that are filled with stuff that feeds our self-interests like: fun, cool, or relaxing.

If the tour guide is Jesus, the information contained in his brochure is quite different. The trip will be exciting for sure but it will include things like: danger, life threatening opportunities, huge risk, opportunities to face your fear and the most meaningful trip you will ever take.

A quote from Jesus might stir your interest or cause you to throw this brochure in the trash. Look at Matthew 5:10 and 11. Words like persecution, being put down by others, people speaking lies about you to discredit Jesus should be included only in the fine print and not headlined-right? Consider the source of these words. But there is someone else who has taken this trip  who is also quoted in this brochure, his name is Paul. His description of the trip might make us swallow hard. We can’t just casually pass off his travel tip as only for a few. Check out 2 Corinthians 11:23-27. This description of the trip is tough to swallow but waiting for the person who does not check with their insurance agency before signing up.

Are you thrilled with the opportunity or paralyzed by the lack of security and comfort that following Jesus might eliminate for you? Jesus challenges us to come and see!