Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Father's Bargain

Here you may suppose the Father to say, when driving his bargain with Christ for you:
Father. My son, here is a company of poor miserable souls, that have utterly undone themselves, and now lie open to my justice! Justice demands satisfaction for them, or will satisfy itself in the eternal ruin of them: What shall be done for these souls And thus Christ returns.
Son. O my Father, such is my love to, and pity for them, that rather than they shall perish eternally, I will be responsible for them as their Surety; bring in all thy bills, that I may see what they owe thee; Lord, bring them all in, that there may be no after-reckonings with them; at my hand shalt thou require it. I will rather choose to suffer thy wrath than they should suffer it: upon me, my Father, upon me be all their debt.
Father. But, my Son, if thou undertake for them, thou must reckon to pay the last mite, expect no abatements; if I spare them, I will not spare thee.
Son. Content, Father, let it be so; charge it all upon me, I am able to discharge it: and though it prove a kind of undoing to me, though it impoverish all my riches, empty all my treasures, (for so indeed it did, 2 Cor. 8: 9. “Though he was rich, yet for our sakes he became poor”) yet I am content to undertake it.
Blush, ungrateful believers, O let shame cover your faces; judge in yourselves now, has Christ deserved that you should stand with him for trifles, that you should shrink at a few petty difficulties, and complain, this is hard, and that is harsh? O if you knew the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ in this his wonderful condescension for you, you could not do it.
- John Flavel

Thursday, April 11, 2013

My future plans

Hello all!

For those of you who don't know, I will soon be travelling back to Costa Rica, to get involved in full time missions.  Even though I spent 8 years living there, things will be much different now.  As I return, I will have to raise my own support and I will be even more involved in the ministry that God has called me to.  I will be working with my parents and church at the Abraham Project!  I will be helping coordinate teams and finding resources to continue reaching out to small, struggling churches.  The help we provide these churches, will help them in turn to reach out to the communities they are in, and reach out to people that we may never be able to reach.

As I pursue this calling that God has placed on my heart, I ask that you would partner with me.  I am in the middle of fund raising right now.  I would ask that first of all, you would pray for me.  Pray that God would supply all my needs and that He would give me the courage and strength to do what He has called me to do.  Secondly, I would ask that you would consider supporting me financially either on a monthly basis or as a one time deal.  God will use whatever you give to advance His kingdom greatly through Costa Rica.

Attached to this post is a newsletter explaining more of what I will be doing and it has a mini-budget so you know how my expenses are broken down.  If you have any questions, please give me a call or email me and I would love to talk to you more about what God will be doing in my life.

Thank you for your time and prayers!
God bless,


Thursday, March 28, 2013

LGBT and how it relates to Christians

Recently, I was writing a dear friend of mine on Facebook concerning their sexual orientation and their view of how it relates to the Church.  I have decided to share most of the email with some parts omitted.  These are my views of how the Church should handle the LGBT community and what I believe the Bible says on the topic.  If you are offended, then I'm sorry, but please commit the following points and scriptures to thought.
The hypocrisy of the Church is huge, when it comes to certain issues such as this. There are many interpretations of the Bible out there and people who just follow what the churches or pastors say, are just that. Followers. Sheep. We all are in a way. What the Bible says though, and what we live out are two very separate things though...James 1:22 states, "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says." I feel like we as the church misses this completely at times. We listen to the sermons or to the Bible or to truth and do the complete opposite, or do a form of it that makes ourselves feel better, when in reality it is still disobedience. I do think also, that we need to base ourselves in the Bible. Not on teachings that others have taught. If it is not in the Bible, then it is not correct. Galatians 1:8, "But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!"
At the same time, however, we need to realize that not everyone who claims to be Christian, is a Christian. Furthermore, those who claim to be Christian, aren't always transformed in an instant. The Bible talks of how we must, "be holy for I am Holy." (1 Peter 1:16) This is a work in progress...We are being transformed day by day. Romans 12:1-2, "Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."
You see becoming a Christian is more than saying a simple prayer, living life as good as possible, then going to heaven. No. It is much more than that. How prideful of us to assume, that we, humans, can accept the King of the universe. Who are we to accept Him? Becoming a Christian is surrendering our life to Him. Everything we are...thoughts, words, actions, deeds. Anything less than complete surrender to who He is just lifting up our pride...which is sin....no matter how "Godly" it may seem. We see Jesus doing this in the Garden right before he was crucified. In less than an hour he submitted himself three different times to God..."Not my will but yours be done." His body wanted something different, however, Jesus became perfect in his submission. He was the ultimate example for us.
Furthermore, we as Christians have it wrong, when we just want to get to heaven. Truth is, we should desire God even if we didn't get anything he promised us...heaven, health, etc etc. He is not a magic genie nor a means to an end. He is the means AND the end. He deserves all our worship, not because of who we are or what we can do for Him, but because of who He is. The Holy Spirit gives us that ability and even desire to love Him.
So what does it mean to love him? 1 Cor. 8:3, "But if anyone loves God, this one is known by Him." In Matthew, when he is judging the world, what does he say? He tells those to depart, "who never knew him." So if we love him, he knows us. How do we love him? John 14:15, "If you love me you will keep my commands." What are His commands? 1 John 3:23, "And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us." So what does love look like? Well of course there is 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. There is also Romans 12:9-21, "9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope,patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."
So what does this mean. This means that an infinitely Holy God has provided a way for us to be reconciled to Him. He created all...the world, the universe, and all the laws within. There is an order to it. anything contradictory to that is opposite to God. Enter the sinner. Think about it this way. If I sin against a rock...I'm not very guilty. If I sin against a person...then I can be found guilty. But if I sin against an infinitely Holy, just, loving and perfect God, then I am infinitely guilty and deserve whatever punishment He has in store. What I am trying to do is paint a picture here of how utterly defenseless we are. We are nothing. In Job, Elihu tells Job, that basically if God took His Spirit away we would all die and turn to dust. That is how desperately in need of Him, we really are. So as we come to Him, we can come with nothing. We have to be willing to give up all our ways in change for His. Jesus, when he went to the cross, was not sweating blood because of what some Roman soldiers were about to put him through. Lets think about it, there have been countless martyrs after Him that have gone to their deaths and singing praises to God. In no way did they have more courage than Jesus, their ultimate example. No. Jesus was not scared of what was about to happen through the soldiers. He wanted the "cup," to pass. The cup of God's wrath. If we look back in Isaiah and in the Psalms we can see passages where it talks of the wrath of God being poured out on sinners. Jesus took all of that for you and I.
You may be wondering why I included all these verses and went on that seemingly long rabbit trail. I know you may have heard all of this at some point. The reason is to point out some of the hypocrisy of the church. Moreover, I want you to evaluate where you are coming from. 
First off is scripture. I believe that for anything that gets traced back to theology, it needs to be based on scripture.  Lets remember Jesus came to fulfill the old covenant and through fulfilling it he made a new covenant with man. A covenant in which we were provided a way to come to God. "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." John 14:6. However, there are still certain things that are an abomination to God. I firmly believe that any "loving" relationship outside of heterosexual marriage is disgusting to Him. Lets look at Romans 1:24-32, "Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.
28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them."
Here we can clearly see the language the Bible has towards homosexuality, bestiality, trans, Pan, bi. etc. This is where I disagree with the culture in the church. They do look down on those in the LGBT community while heterosexual pre-marital sex is being preformed in the churches and no one says a thing about it. Pre-marital sex (petting, oral sex, whatever) is just as much of a sin as being Gay, lesbian, etc. Why? Just look at the language used here...depraved mind, do what ought not to be done, filled with every kind of wickedness, unnatural relationships, shameful acts. Honestly, based on this text alone, I do not understand how being part of a community that accepts anything else than what was ordained by God in Genesis is acceptable, "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother, and be joined to his wife..." (Genesis 2:24; Mark10:7; Ephesians 5:31).
Furthermore, it is addressed all throughout the New Testament, how we are to be sexually moral. 1 Corinthians 6:18; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5; 1 Cor. 10:13; Matt. 5:28, Ephesians 5:5. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 puts it more bluntly, "Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God."
Now please do not hear what I am not saying. I am not saying that LGBT's are going to hell and that there is no hope for them. Au contrair. There is always hope. Their sin is no more grave than that of a murderer or thief. It is sin though, just as is heterosexual pre-marital sex. All sin is an abomination to God and needs to be cleansed. There should be absolutely no justification for a sinful lifestyle for a Christian (Romans 6 backs me up on this and so does Galatians 2:17-21---17 “But if, in seeking to be justified in Christ, we Jews find ourselves also among the sinners, doesn't that mean that Christ promotes sin? Absolutely not! 18 If I rebuild what I destroyed, then I really would be a lawbreaker.19 “For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law,Christ died for nothing!”). Do not get me wrong, I believe LGBT's need love, however you can love in a way that points them to God instead of a "love" that is deceiving and ultimately puts them in bad standing with God. If we are truly Christian, the Holy Spirit is constantly bringing up sin in our life and giving us the will and desire to change. Phil. 2:12, "For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose." If the person has truly come to a saving knowledge of Christ and has surrendered his/her life to him, it is no longer their life to live the way they want. Eventually God will demand a change in lifestyle. It is rather misleading for Christians to sit back and try to justify behaviors and lifestyles that are not justifiable. Now as for those who aren't Christian, then it is my job to love them. Remember Paul writes to the Corinthians and tells them this in 1 Cor. 5:12, "What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside?" This is because the people that aren't Christians do not have the Holy Spirit and haven't been made aware they are in sin. It is my job to pray for them and to love on them and show them the love of Christ in hopes that God will begin to show them where they are erring. It is our job though, to look at the actions and thoughts of those who proclaim to be Christians, and help keep them in line. Why? Not to embarrass or judge or condemn, but to help correct behavior that may pit them against God.
Furthermore, a loving relationship, in the context we are thinking of, should reflect Christ and the Church. Christ is the bridegroom and the church is the Bride. He has come to die for us, love us, woo us, serve us, and do what a loving spouse would do. I believe that our relationships need to look like that, so that He is glorified and people will see a difference in our lives and the way that we do things as opposed to the world.
Remember, loving someone does not always mean we have to accept their ways. There is an absolute truth that we need to follow. Many in our generation have given up on that and followed a more relative truth. Think of it this way. You are married and have a little kiddos running around the house. He wants to touch a 200 degree burner. You, knowing what will happen and because you love him, warn him against doing that and tell him the consequences. I know this is a very different example, however it can easily apply to LGBT or any other person that is sinning. You warn them and try to help them understand that what they are doing is wrong. You do so because of your love for them. This is Christian love. Love doesn't always encourage behavior. You wouldn't encourage your kid to put his hand on that burner...why, because you love him. Similarly, loving a murderer does not necessarily mean validating his previous murders and accepting that that is who he is and there is no changing it. Just like any other sinner coming to Christ, we need to take off our "old man" to become more like him. Which means our lifestyle is going to look different to what we used to live in, when we come to Christ.
Timothy Keller puts it this way, "We still have a lot of legalism and moralism in our churches. In reaction to that, many Christians want to talk only about God's love and acceptance. They don't like talking about Jesus' death on the cross to satisfy divine wrath and justice. Some even call it "divine child abuse." Yet if they are not careful, they run the risk of falling into the belief in "cheap grace" a non-costly love from a non-holy God who just loves and accepts us as we are. That will never change anyone's life."
I guess that is my main concern. There are two extremes as far as I am concerned. The church- who alienates them. Then there is the point of view which accepts them for who they are and allows the sin to go on.  Let us find the middle ground and seek to become Christ followers instead of following a belief that tickles everyone's fancies and looks more like the world we live in than the culture that Christ demands of us.  

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Paradigm Shift

"I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one."

John 17:14-15

I absolutely love John 17. Jesus' passion for us is revealed through intimacy with the Father. Just think about it for one moment. The Creator came to this earth to restore a broken relationship with us. Humans....the scum of the earth. We ditched God for our own pride and desires. No matter how "good" you are, compared to God's standards we are nothing. At our best it is as though we are dressed in filthy rags. There is no way we can manufacture or create salvation for ourselves. Yet Jesus came to give us an opportunity to know our Father once again. Jesus had to appease the wrath of a Holy God. He did this by dying for you and me. Death could not hold Him down. Three days later He rose, and this is our victory. This is the beauty of the Gospel.

This brings me to the underlined scripture above. Often times I hear Christians pray and ask God (I find that I do it as well), "I wish I didn't struggle with this sin __________," or "I command this sin in my life to leave, in the name of Jesus!" You see, as Christians we have gotten to a point where we try to get a comfortable place in our lives, where there is no visible sin. Don't get me wrong, yes sin is evil and we need to strive to live a holy life (Matt. 5:48). While it is necessary to avoid sin, this does not mean to have a total disregard in serving God. The passage in John 17 has two components to it.

1) Jesus asks the Father to protect us, not that we would be taken out of the fight. This caused a total paradigm shift within me. Without fail we ask that God would free us from struggles, that if most people knew about, they would shun us. Its not wrong to desire to be free. However to even entertain the idea of wanting an easy way out is a contradiction to what true life (or better put, death) really is. After all, putting our desires to death is not a comfortable thing. Spiritual growth isn't gained by wishing away all our temptations. It is through an attitude of repentance and turning away from our sin. Silver is not purified nor is gold made beautiful without being put through the fire. Here is Paul's take on it.

"But He said to me 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

II Corinthians 12:9

Wow! How many of us can say that we delight in the season we are in right now? I know that is not always my attitude. It is through our weakness that God is glorified. In light of our failures our pride is shattered. There is nothing more delightful to God than, "...A broken and contrite heart." (Psalm 51:17)

2) Since we are still on this earth, there is a mission for us to accomplish. This mission is clearly stated in the verses that follow:

"As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world...I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me."

John 17:18 and 23

This is not to be confused or intertwined with the American dream (which is a man made and self-exalting dream) somehow. What is the dream that God has given you? If your not sure. Read John 17 and meditate on it. Then consider that there are still around 4.5 billion people who live without Christ, while nearly 2 billion live in unreached people groups. As George Wilson put it, "Don't wonder whether you have a call to go. Have you had a distinct call from Christ to stay at home?"

The reality of the Gospel is that Jesus calls us to give up everything to follow Him. Yet this seems so foreign to us. Somewhere along the line we have made a Jesus that looks like us and and who encourages our life styles because, "We were born like that." Sorry to say...that isn't the Jesus of the Bible. If we choose to accept His death and resurrection we are choosing to become like Him, to die to everything that we know (Luke 14:26-27.) We take on a new character (Romans 12:2). His character isn't one that is so emotionally wrapped up in football games or tele novelas. No! It is one whose heart breaks at the fact that while we are caught up in our superficial entertainment millions go to hell, separated from God forever.

The realization and furthermore, the implementation of this truth will require a paradigm shift from all that comes natural to us. The rejection of our old ways is painful and frightening. It is a tiresome road that no one can travel for us. Yet it is one filled with the joy of becoming more like Christ. We were never promised ease. Thankfully Jesus wasn't daunted by the road ahead of Him. Think of it, if He hadn't died for you...where would you be today?

Die to yourself.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Just Words

Have you ever sat back in church, during Praise and Worship and wondered about the songs being sung. I have. At times I just quiet myself and think about what I am singing. The other night I did this, and began wondering why there is a disconnect between the words that we sing and the lives that we live. Let me put it this way: What if we really meant the words that we sang? I think the answer is that our lives would be much different than what we live out on a daily basis.

Truth is, there is no meaning behind the words that we sing (because we fail to implement those words in our daily lives). Therefore they are just as useless as the songs sung at a Justin Beiber or John Mayer concert. I find (with myself) if I am not careful, I began to recite the words simply to sing. Where is the willingness to truly allow God to transform us? After all we sing about it every Sunday.

It is important to note that praise and worship have been wrongly defined and categorized as merely singing. Yes this is one form. However the continual recognition and yielding to the Holy Spirit is the worship we should strive for (John 4:23). This affects every area of our life as our focus is to glorify God in every situation that we encounter. It goes beyond the superficial, emotion tugging lyrics sung for 30 minutes on a Sunday morning and ushers us in to the presence of Christ.

For example, there are songs that talk of how we will totally abandon ourselves for the cause of Christ...yet the most radical abandonment that we have to offer is a short term missions trip every other year. We sing of His holiness....however outside of the church building we make light of God's true power and grace. We sing that we want to dwell in His glory...although if He did show up in the ways that we expect Him to, then we would be left radically changed, which is scary for most of us.

What if Christ truly became our Everything? The implications of abandoning ourselves, leaving all that is comfortable, and giving our lives for the cause of Christ hasen't even begun to resonate within our culture. Our society is one of self sufficiency, comfort, and finding ways of being served. Yet we have no problem singing the song "Be my Everything" because that is all it has become to us, just another song...just more words. Sadly, the culture around us has permeated the church. A concert style worship is now more applauded and recommended by "experts" than a lifestyle that glorifies God.

"Worship" now drowns out the Spirit of God. It is more of a gig than anything else. Churches spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on lights, sound equipment, and new instruments, as if this will move or have any impression the Spirit of the Almighty God. The only impression left is a sense of awe among men, nothing else. I can say that beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is not impressed with our lights and buildings. The only thing he cares about is the worship coming from our own lives. For many Western Churches time limits are placed and transitions between songs are made, so that the worship service will have a a beautiful effect for for the listener and will not run too long. The prophet Isaiah spoke against Israel concerning this very topic. In Isaiah 29:13 we are told,

"The Lord says: 'These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught."

We sing as though we are at a recital, not as if there is any urgency to know God for who He really is. Our generation is content with mere lip service and fake spiritual highs. If we truly want to worship God, maybe less focus should put on the singing portion and we should evaluate each of our lives. True worship is obedience to Him. Obedience comes from love. If we love Him, we will keep His commands (John 14:14--If you love me, you will obey what I command.) Moreover in 1 Corinthians 8:3 we are told, "But whoever loves God is known by God." My desire is to be known and to know my God.

What are His commands you ask? To pick up our Cross and follow Him.

The implications of this are more than what we could think. At this point I want you to study for yourself the ramifications of picking up your cross to follow Christ. Perhaps a study of Matthew 10:37-39 would be an excellent starting point. What would your life look like if you start taking the words of Christ in a more serious manner? What are some areas in your life right now that hinder you from taking such steps?

May our lives be more than just words.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What is your motivation?

Please think about these questions for a few minutes.

What drives your actions? When I say actions, I'm not referring to life altering decisions per se. Think about your daily routine. It could be the shows you watch, or the games you play. What about the friends you hang out with, or the overall mundane things that occupy your time.

Now ask: "Why?"

Why do I watch those particular shows? Could it be that you don't really watch it because the plot is enticing, but because deep down inside you know this episode will have its fill of steamy sex?

Why do you hang out with your friends? Is it because you have found you can be someone else with this particular group? Or maybe, just maybe, you initiate friendships with people just because you have a little inkling they may become famous one day? After all, it could be really cool to mention that you knew so and so from way back in your "glory days. "

Why do you spend time with God? Could it be that daily devotionals have turned into just one more point on your checklist before you can rest and go to bed, instead of a pleasure filled activity of coming to know the Almighty God? Is your time with God a religious duty that you feel obligated to fulfill?

I am reminded of Romans 12:2 which states, "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind..." In everything there is an inclination behind it. I have found often times that our actions are driven by motivations and desires within us that have been premeditated. Sadly, if we scrutinize every area of our lives, we may find that many acts are not driven by a pure and holy predisposition that upholds the standard set in Romans. Why is this? Simply, it is a failure on our parts to humble and make ourselves vulnerable to the work of the Holy Spirit within us. We believe that allowing Him a vote on our life changing decisions (such as marriage, career choice, etc.) is enough. What we don't realize is that He wants TOTAL control, even of the most uneventful areas of our lives. Yet we insist on just limiting Him anyways. It's as if we say, "You can only have part of me." I personally don't think this sits very well with a jealous God.

David understood the importance of having his motivations derive from God's heart. In one of my favorite passages in Psalm he declares, "Keep you servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me, Then will I be blameless, innocent of great transgression. May the Words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock, and my Redeemer. " (Psalm 19:13-14) Furthermore in Psalm 139:23-24 he fervently asks God, "Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting."

David broke himself and made himself completely vulnerable to God. He held nothing back. Despite everything bad thing he did, he was constantly allowing God to come in and transform his desires and motivations. Even though he was as sinful as the next person, he understood the importance of evaluating his life. This is why he is known as a man after God's own heart.

Become vulnerable before Him.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Letting Go...Leaning back

Just. Let. Go. Those were the words repeated over and over to me the first time I went rappelling. I had always wanted to rappel, yet while standing over the edge, I couldn't seem to stop holding onto the bar that was anchored into the side of the cliff. Finally, after a few minutes, I conquered that fear. I was free to finally descend the 200 foot cliff....or so I thought. Then the next instructions were given. Just. Lean. Back. "Are You Kidding?!" I thought. However, little did I know, one must lean back on the rope to be able to descend correctly. This minimizes the risk of slamming face first into the mountain side...which I have learned by watching George of the Jungle, is not an experience you want to have. Once I leaned back, it wasn't as bad as I had first thought. I quickly bounced backwards until reaching the bottom. If I could sum up the experience into a word...Amazing! For the record, I would do it all over again. My time on that rope ignited an excitement for anything that involves ropes and cliffs.

As I look back on those instructions given by the guide, I realize that God is often times calling us to LET GO and LEAN BACK. What is your anchor, so to speak? What is keeping you from leaning back and trusting in God? I know the feeling of fear and reservations that many may have when presented with those questions. I too, deal with those questions quite often in my own walk with Christ. Guess what? We aren't alone in this struggle of life.

Gideon...just hearing this name probably evokes thoughts of cowardice and an overall puny attitude. He was visited by The Angel of the LORD and told, "The LORD is with you, mighty warrior." (Judges 6:12) This was his instruction to Let Go. Yet he responded with doubts and fears. (This story is found in Judges 6-8.) Finally after reluctantly giving into God's calling, he was instructed to Lean Back. (Judges 7:2-3) This presented itself in the form of whittling down his army of around 32,000 men to a mere 300. Along the way, Gideon was fearful and hesitant at every turn. It seems that with every command he was given, he had a test for God, just to make sure he was heard correctly. Yet, somehow he learned to trust in God. The sissy we see at the beginning of chapter 6 has grown into his role and has progressed in extraordinary ways. The story of a coward was turned into one of a hero, etched into the eternal pages of God's Word.

Another example of this topic is, of course, Jesus. All through his ministry, Jesus knew that everything would end up at a crucial crossroad...His death. Without a doubt, His biggest test was the cross. Matthew 26:39 portrays a gruesome and fearful moment in Jesus' life, "...My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will. " With His submission, He effectively taught us that letting go and leaning back into God's will is the scariest and possibly the most painful thing we may have to endure. Once He made the decision, He never looked back and questioned if it was the right choice or not. He plunged over the edge, so to speak. His decision to trust was one that has changed the outcome and empowered generation upon generation from that moment forward.

Again I ask, what is holding you back from making the decision to fully trust in God? Is it because you have slowly reasoned your way out of pursuing God's calling? Or maybe, you are simply scared of what others around you would say...or is it what people around you are advising you not to do? All throughout the Bible we see clear examples of people at different cliffs in their lives. Some take the plunge, others hold back. Notice though, the ones that hold back and don't fully obey God, stay in their comfort zone. Nevertheless, they are slowly destroyed. Their lives wither away into nothingness. They have a miserable existence.

It is easy to see those in the Bible that do decide to trust in God have a more difficult road ahead of them, compared to those who don't trust. However, through the difficulties they encounter, a passion is stirred within them. It is a passion that propels them on to fall more deeply in love with God. It is a passion that can only be experienced when one lets go of all reason and logic, just to lean back and trust that God will be all you need.

My generation is known for its zeal and fervor. Imagine, if we were to finally let go of all that anchors us in and throw ourselves into the unknown. Despite the pain. Despite the fear. Despite the loneliness that may accompany this decision. At least we would be living in dedication to the One who set the example for us. I guarantee it wouldn't be our last decision to lean back. In fact we would be driven by a hunger to see Him move in every area of our being.

We would be unstoppable.