Sunday, May 25, 2008

Surround yourself...

Surround yourself with loving, caring people who will hold you up when you start to double over, who will encourage, inspire, and support you (not enable), pray with you, pray for you, pray that people will bring you cookies to cheer you, people who don’t mind when you cry, people who are brave enough to call you on things and tell you to kick the negative thoughts far away, people who will travel thousands of miles to make things right, people who don’t laugh when all you order is mashed potatoes because you can’t think straight…people who care. Simply care. Thank God for people like that!! : ) I hope everyone has people like that in their makes all the difference!

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Popcorn Man

A pastor friend of mine had this experience and shared it with me, and I in turn want to share it with really hits home and broke my heart....

"I go into Walgreens. I am waiting in line to buy stamps. The man in front of me in line, he is about 25 and poor. Dirty, smelly, and about 4 foot eight inches tall. You know, some people have a hard life. Some of the people who are not our beautiful people are God's beautiful people. The young man is in line to buy 2 packets of microwave popcorn. Not boxes, two packets. You and I buy a box of six packets of popcorn. This Walgreens sells it by the individual packet. I guess there is a market for individual packets of microwave popcorn in this neighborhood. Two packets of popcorn costs .82 cents. The young man digs into his pockets and presents a handful of change. No quarters, mostly nickels and pennies. Either the kind of change you have after you have spent your good change, or the kind of change that you pick up here and there on the sidewalk. It's not enough. He only has about 58 cents. I immediately do what each of you would have done, I pull out two quarters and put them on the counter. The man looks me in the eye and very deliberately says "thank you." Piercing words from his world to mine. He paid for his popcorn and then tried to give me the extra change. I walked out of the Walgreens and returned to my life. A missions trip. A van owned by the church. A plane flight home. A wife that loves me. Three great kids. A nice home. Cars, computers, bicycles, tools, friends and a great job. He walked out of the Walgreens with two bags of microwave popcorn."

After reading it again, I stop and realize....this popcorn man is someone's child...A mother somewhere is probably grieving, her heart breaking, wondering if she could have done a better job, if she could have made better choices. But we all have free will and so does the popcorn man. The best I can do / we can do is pray for him and others like him. Incredibly humbling....

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Amazing the Man?

Without fail, God never ceases to awe, inspire, and just plain amaze me by who He is and all He does through his blessings, grace, and protection. I am truly humbled by His love for me since it’s beyond all reason, logic, and imagination. I have slammed the brakes on spinning my wheels to understand this lopsided relationship... Only to wonder if there’s anything I / we can do that would totally amaze the Man who opened the eyes of the blind, gave hearing to the deaf, walked on water, turned water into wine, and rise from the dead. Jesus is awesome. Is it even possible to amaze Him?

Initially I cast off the question as ridiculous…”Of course there’s nothing I can do to amaze Him!” But after reading Luke 7:1-11; NIV I discovered my answer…Jesus is amazed by our faith. Not a belief that He exists and that He rose from the dead, but a life which trusts Him completely. The centurion was a Gentile, he may have come to know God through the teachings he had heard, but he wasn’t a Jew. There was no reason why a guy like this would put his trust in Jesus, and yet he did. The centurion trusted Jesus more than any of the Jews Jesus ran into. And this amazed Jesus. The Jews had the Scripture pointing out who Jesus was, but the centurion came from a very different culture. A culture which didn’t recognize the God of Abraham let alone His messiah. Yet he had faith in Jesus.

Look around us today and there is no reason why we should have faith in God. Science and technology have helped us conquer the world. Everyday we learn more about the Universe we live in. Spirituality is all the rage today. People want to explore the mystery and experience the mystical. It seems so exciting; so much for people to discover.

The world is telling us that Jesus is obsolete; that He’s no longer relevant to today’s society. Imagine anyone saying that He’s the only way to God. The arrogance! The legalism! HA! But by going against the world and trusting Jesus, this is how we amaze Him. I’m not talking about simply walking down the aisle at church and accepting Jesus as your Savior and being baptized. Rather, I’m talking about a life that trusts Jesus more than we trust ourselves. Not only saying we trust Jesus for our salvation, but putting it on the line and obeying what He has commanded. What a way to honor and amaze Him!