Monday, March 31, 2008

to be bold.

surprisingly vivid is my memory of one special day in the third grade. i returned from christmas break with a story i intended to share with everyone who would listen. on top of my favorite pencil was a prized gift from my office supply-selling parents (we get excited about pencils and the like) -- an angel-shaped eraser that stood about 3 inches adorned my pencil. this particular pencil accessory had been given to me after i made the decision that holiday season to follow Christ. after returning to school i used this angel as a conversation starter with my friends and even my teacher. i was determined to share Christ with anyone who would listen... and maybe even those who wouldn't.

two years later it seems my fervor hadn't much declined. somewhere in my fifth grade year, the children at my home church were encouraged to "fill a pew" during revival. we were persuaded with prizes -- a new bible for the boy and girl who individually brought the most people. although the prize was a factor, i remember clearly my determination to get as many people as possible to church that particular evening. am i a competitive person? of course; however, i can honestly say that this event was about so much more for me. although it was some fourteen years ago, i could tell you even now a few girls who in particular i was praying for that week, girls who did in fact help me "fill the pew" (or four) and win the competition.

the funny thing about this particular story is that the night before the "fill a pew" event i made flyers (with the help of my office supply-selling parents) to distribute and hang at school the next day. i arrived early that day with my hot pink flyers and distributed at least twenty before i was summoned to the principal's office... the horror! still, the event was successful, and 2 girls prayed to receive Christ that evening.

these stories from my childhood are fun to recall, yet the other day while driving to work God prompted these memories only to question where my boldness and fervor had gone. somewhere along the way i've become somewhat timid with my witness. it's easy to say that you'd be willing to offer up your testimony if asked, but what about the times when a friend (or a stranger for that matter) may need to hear it but hesitates to ask or simply doesn't know to ask?

for a great example of boldness in action, look to the life of paul, a man who God enabled to do great things in His name.
Acts 14:3

Thursday, March 13, 2008

enemy-occupied territory.

Enemy-occupied territory -- that is what this world is. Christianity is the story of how the rightful king has landed, you might say landed in disguise, and is calling us all to take part in a great campaign of sabotage. When you go to church you are really listening-in to the secret wireless from our friends: that is why the enemy is so anxious to prevent us from going. He does it by playing on our conceit and laziness and intellectual snobbery.

C.S. Lewis
-- from Mere Christianity

Monday, March 10, 2008

march madness.

march madness does indeed make a person mad; however, i'm not convinced that basketball is always the culprit.

earlier this month i allowed others to convince me that a therapeutic foot bath was just what i needed. was it basketball that led me to soak my feet in a foot bath of scalding water for 35 minutes? my answer is simple: no. you may wonder what exactly was my motivation. to that i still don't know the answer.

let me explain my madness.

as i entered the foot room at a local health spa i first noticed the lit candles and calming music; however, the water i soon submerged my feet into was not so calming. in fact, the water was so hot that my feet remained red for an hour after my foot bath was complete. in retrospect, i'm a little astonished that i simply sat back and let a man i had just met put metal rods into the water my feet were residing in. to make it worse, these rods were connected to wires that were plugged into a machine of some sort. talk about madness.

after several minutes the once clear water began to turn yellow, then green. apparently my body was being cleansed electromagnetically through my feet. minutes later a mucus of sorts began to rise to the top of the steaming water, and later flecks of what i'm told were yeast also began to present themselves. when my allotted 35 minutes was up i went with the foot connoisseur to inspect my foot water under a light. according to the water from my foot bath, i am quite healthy. too bad the foot bath had nothing to report about my mental state.

now, as selection sunday is upon us, i look forward to the increasing madness that i am sure to personify. but, all is well. my feet report that i am healthy, and the jayhawks are looking pretty healthy as well. still, no one can look altogether sane when methodically chanting "rock chalk jayhawk" towards their television screens on gameday...

Sunday, March 2, 2008

lesson learned.

i'd like to think that when i learn a lesson, whatever it may be, that i have learned it for good. such is not always the case. in fact, within the last few sundays i have been reminded of something i've learned countless times. rewind. something i've almost learned countless times. a lesson isn't really learned unless it is learned for good, is it?

the church i attend is in transition. our pastor of 10+ years recently left the area in order to pastor a church in another state. with him went his wife (you say, "i would hope so!") who led worship. these big changes have left a void where my comfortably-churched self used to reside.

as i sing along to drum-free hymns each sunday and listen to words spoken by a man i hardly know, i often catch myself wishing i were worshiping somewhere else. then, in the midst of the sermon i'm not really listening to, God gently reminds me that it's not about me. furthermore, it's not about the music or the eloquence (or lack of eloquence) in the sermon. quite simply, it is about Him.

i come to worship, a task that needs only the worshiper and the Worshiped. still, we are called to continue meeting together, and the wonder of it all is that He will meet us there.

24And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. 25Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Hebrews 10:24-25

and so, this lesson taught countless times may finally be learned. indeed it is not about me but entirely about Him. all of it. every thing.

this week and every week hereafter i'll be sure to get my fill of worship music that is drum-filled rather than drum-less. i'll pursue my King with fervor and look forward to a daily renewal rather than an every sunday thing. then, when sunday rolls around i'll be comforted knowing that no matter the music or the sermon, God will still meet me there.