As I walked out into the darkness outside my friend's house, I almost stumbled over the form of a young teenage boy sitting on the steps. I must've looked a bit startled, as he quickly explained he needed a ride just down the road - could I give him one?
As we got into my car, I introduced myself, and he returned the courtesy. His name was Gavin, he said. As we talked, he just asked out of the blue, "Are you a Christian?" After affirming the fact, I asked about his personal beliefs. He proceeded to explain that he wanted to study out all the religions, and find one that made sense to him - didn't want to just practice a religion because everyone else did.
By this time, we'd reached his house, and so I shook his hand, and he disappeared into the darkness. But I was reminded of other times. Like the time when I was canvassing with GYC pre-conference, and ran into Austin. Austin was in his mid to late teens, and, after his initial fear of opening the door, finally came out and told me his story about being desperate to find out what is truth.
Experience has taught me that Gavin and Austin are not alone. There are more unknown searchers in this world, than most of us will ever know, tragically. Truth be told, most of us, even the most steadfast in the faith, have questioned at some point in their life, wondered what the truth is.
And though I may not yet be able to return to the foreign lands where I left much of my heart, I am thankful to know that my Lord has work for me to do here as well.
Keep your eyes out for the Austin's & Gavin's around you. You never know what impact you might have in their life...
Saturday, January 9, 2016
His was a name known in every household, held either with honor or disdain.
Whether they sided with him, or against him, he didn't seem to care.
But, weather beaten leader that Martin Luther was, many had no idea how he'd gotten there. They couldn't see the turmoil in the monastery, the agony going up Pilate's staircase...
Moses was a man more mighty than any on the planet in his day, to the best of our knowledge. He led hundreds of thousands of men, the number of their families yet a mystery, through a desert and to the borders of a new land.
Yet, most didn't realize how his time spent feeding sheep had impacted the leader they now wholly relied on.
She was only a poor girl, who had to drop out of school after third grade, because of a terrible accident that made her face a spectacle. Many may not have realized that, as they listened while she quite literally brought the things of heaven to their view...
Today, as I look around, I see many needs. Needs in my own life, needs among the unreached and un-Christian...
But I see a need of leaders, that begs to be filled.
There is no shortage of those who strive for supremacy in this world, and maybe even in the church.
But I see a lack of those who, like Luther, Moses and Ellen, have been through the fire with God, and come forth, empty of self, and full of Him.
We have long believed that this could be the final generation. We talk of it, happily, as though it is a reality. And we should, for faith demands this.
But there is a need for more...
I have friends who spend much time in prayer. Their days are filled with blessing others - they neglect themselves so much that I worry about their health. But - they seem to be the closest to Jesus of any I've met.
We can be the final generation. We can be those modern reformers, but without the cross there is no crown... are we willing to give what it takes?
Are we open to laying our lives on the line, even if no one sees but Jesus?
Are we willing to, like the early disciples, be of one accord?
How many more decades will go by? Jesus could have come 128 years ago, we know. It's not unfaithfulness on His part that has left us on this planet.
Will we rise to the occasion, or must it be left to our children, or grandchildren?
This is my greatest burden. I don't want to see how much more depraved this planet can get. I know none of you do either.
Let's accept the cross, and get out of here. We want to go home, yes. But the only way to get there, is to start walking - with Him.
Thursday, August 27, 2015
It's been a burden on my heart for some time now - and I think it's time to share it.
Conservative, liberal, moderate, you name it... I've seen it.
I've been to the dregs of the conservative SDA movement. Seen the extremism some call religion, where every move is oppressive with the weight of do's and don'ts.
I've seen the statistics. How the same preacher that is commanding modesty and vegan-ism, goes home to eat chocolate and watch pornography... or worse...
I've also seen the liberal side. The people who are always ecstatic, and claim to love Jesus above all, even sharing Him everywhere the go, with their CCM blaring.
And they go home and do the same hideous things the conservatives do.
And I've wondered. Questioned.
Why do those who claim to know Jesus, seem to be so far from Him?
I think I know.
You see, it's a heart issue.
And I have discovered, that much of the religion of the day, is utterly confused as to what Jesus meant when He said "Follow Me."
He didn't say, 'go, become a good person, make lots of rules, and make life miserable, then follow me.'
Neither did He say, 'It's alright. You can keep your sins and follow Me. I won't judge you...'
He simply said "Follow Me."
And I am starting to understand what that means. It does not mean that you are to be a conservative, or a liberal. Jesus came to save Pharisees and Sadducees.
What it does mean, is that we are to follow in the footsteps of Christ.
Go, see how He lived. Read how He woke early, to seek His Father. Watch Him earnestly pleading for strength to endure the trials of the day, far before the sun peeked over the horizon.
See Him, the King of Heaven, never once making a move He didn't know His Father had asked Him to make. Watch Him give of Himself, time and time again, to Jew and Greek, Pharisee and Sadducee. Until there was nothing left to give, that hadn't been given. And then He gave His life.
And then, let us look at our own lives. Are we following Him?
Maybe it's cheese. Maybe it's lustful thoughts.
Maybe, it's the giant of pride and selfishness...
Our job is not to chase these issues. Our job, is to follow Him.
And we will find, as we follow on, falling at His feet for help, that these things will no longer have so strong a pull. Because no one wants to hurt their best friend, and He hurts when we hurt ourselves...
And maybe, just maybe, if we actually start following Jesus, instead of manufacturing our own sub-religions, people will see Him - in us, and then in the clouds.
This morning, I am asking myself the question: where is my heart?
Does Jesus have it?
Give it to Him.
You'll never regret it...