Wednesday, February 17, 2010

God's Truth Through a Child's Eyes

God often uses the most unlikely characters to teach us about his profound truths. I love it when He speaks through a small child to reveal to me a profound truth or to teach me something about life. Today was one of those days. I was babysitting an adorable 4 year old boy and together we were enjoying a sunshiny afternoon at the park. On the way home we were walking hand in hand and he was chatting away as usual, when he looked over to see our shadows. We were side by side and his shadow had dissappeared next to mine. He looked up at me and said "Look my shadow is hidden inside your shadow." He smiled and kept talking, but I stopped and thought, that is exactly what it looks like for me to be hidden in Christ (Col 3:3, Gal 2:20). After placing my faith in Jesus Christ I am literally "in him". I am still there, but I am not visible because he has overshadowed me. When people look at me they should see him. I am walking hand in hand with him and together we are one. He is my shield, my protector. Because I am in him I need not worry about my life, where I will live, what I will eat, where I should go, what I should do, how I should serve. My life is in him and I live by faith in the one who loved me and gave his life for me!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Fragility of Life

Life is interesting. Most days we get caught up in a routine and we busy ourselves with daily activities...take a shower, do the dishes, run to the grocery store, pick the kids up from school, run through the drive-thru for dinner, get to soccer practice on time, stay up late to meet the deadline at work, study for the spanish exam tomorrow, grab a cup of coffee to keep you going, watch a few moments of television to see who made it to the next round of American Idol, do a load of laundry, pay the bills, go to the gym , stop at the post office, make a dessert for the potluch at church, answer emails, call back the 4 people who left you phone messages...and the list goes on. But every once in awhile something happens to stop you dead in your tracks and make you think about the fragility of this life. This week a guy who I grew up with at church (who was my age) died. The cause of death is yet to be determined. Yesterday I went to his memorial service to celebrate the life God gave him. This is the second young person from our church to die in the last month. This leaves me wondering about God's purposes and pondering the fragility of life. I have no guarantee that I will be here tomorrow or next week or next year. All I have is now. I used to be afraid of dying, but as the years go by I am less and less afraid. I know where I am going and I know who I am going to see and that is exciting! But while I'm here God has a purpose for me. Am I fulfilling that purpose? In addition to the fragility of life I've also been thinking about the glory of God and how he glorifies himself through us. He brings glory to himself even in difficult, hard to understand situations (like death). The Gospel was preached at this memorial service and I know that many people in that room did not know Christ as their Savior. I prayed God's Spirit over that place because I know that God desires to bring glory to himself through these circumstances.

Today I had the opportunity to teach a Good News club for 5th and 6th graders. My sister Jackie and I spoke passionately about the power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is the single most important event in the history of the world and our entire faith hinges on the fact that Jesus was raised from the dead. At the end of our time together I played the song In Christ Alone for the group and asked them to write down what the resurrection of Jesus means to them. Most of the kids didn't write much, but a few had some thoughts:

"What does God mean to me...he is the one and only God/Jesus and the only one who can rise from the dead. And that is so amazing and important. When I am with him I do not fear of anything."

"That he died for me. He took my punishment. How much he loves me. He suffered for me."

"He died for my sins and if someone is going to die for my that means he loves me that much."

As I read through so many of their papers I realized that many of these kids couldn't even spell "God." My heart broke. I wonder how many people out there not only don't know how to spell the word "God" or "Jesus" but don't even know His name. This life is short and it is fragile. It could end any moment of any day. I want to use every opportunity to make Jesus known. I want to share with others the love and hope I have found in Jesus. Friends, speak the name of Jesus today and speak it boldly. People need to know what true love looks like.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Teaching to Change Lives

Today I am contemplating how to not give in to the mundane life-the kind of life that most people around me tell me is my eventual fate. The kind of life in which you settle down, get married, get a job so you can pay the bills (even if it's a job you don't like), buy a house, put down roots, have some kids, and get stuck in a rut of every day routine. Now don't get me wrong-getting married isn't bad. Getting a job and being financially responsible isn't bad. Buying a house isn't bad. Putting down roots isn't bad. Having kids isn't bad. It's that last part that get's me. I have met plenty of people during the last few years who were married with kids and had a "normal life" but they they still live adventurously for the Lord. People like the Beasley's who had enough faith to move with their three young children from Texas to New Zealand for a year. I find there is a's called medioctrity. People lose their passion for life. Today as I keep running into people that seem to have succumbed to a fate of living a boring life, I am determined not to. I am praying that no matter where the Lord takes me I will never lose the passion for life and learning and growing and people and everything that an abudnant life in Christ entails.
I picked up a book today that I read in college. Well, I actually dug it out of a box in the garage and dusted it off. It's called Teaching to Change Lives by the amazing Howard Hendricks. It is a classic. The book was printed in 1989 but it will never go out of style. I am sitting here reading through it again and loving the words all over again. A few of my favorite quotes from the first chapter:

"If you stop growing today you stop teaching tomorrow."

"If you want to become a change agent then you also must change."

"The two factors that will influence you the most in the years ahead are the books you read and the people you're around."

The book is funny, inspiring, and full of stories and nuggets of truth. I highly recommend it for any teacher..whether you are a teacher by profession, a Sunday school teacher, or you just teach your kids as you are raising them. Scratch that..I recommend it to everyone because we are all students and teachers in life. Just read the book. You can probably find it on Ebay for $5. Over the years I've been blessed to have been introduced to hundreds of really good books. A friend asked me the other day where I hear of all these good books and it occured to me that not everybody has access to so many good books or knows what books to read. Therefore, I have decided to start compiling a list of books that I would recommend. I will post them on my blog when I come across them, or feel free to ask me if I have any good recommendations. I would also welcome any book recommendations that the rest of you out there may have for me. Please send them my direction!