Thursday, October 30, 2008

Stormy Lessons

Wow, I didn't know this would be so tough. Coming up with what to write about that is. Much to my surprise, the easy part for me is the actual writing. Who'd have thunk it? So many issues hit my mind and my heart in a given week. God teaches me incredible lessons seemingly on a daily basis and I see Him at work virtually everywhere. Still I find it hard to decide what topic to write about.

I guess a major theme of the past weeks for me has been about appreciating the journey. In our society of instant gratification, immediate bailouts and quick fixes it is sometimes anti-cultural to actually sit back and take in the ride. And I don't necessarily mean just the "good" rides either. If we hurry through to the destination we miss all that God is trying to show us on the way. We miss out on all the personal growth and true wisdom that come through enduring a storm.

Lately I've found myself in a bit of a storm. And I know that God could simply say the word and it would all be taken care of. But then I realized that I wouldn't have grown one iota from this journey if He took it all away. I'm pretty sure what God wants for me is not just to be free from the circumstances (or storm) that I find myself in but that he wants me to be free from the chains that hold me back or brought me here in first place. It's the true process of sanctification.

Romans 5: 3-5 is a passage I've read in the past and never could really get ahold of. Until this past week. I'm finally starting to realize that I can rejoice when things are tough. It's a chance for me to rely even more on my rock, Jesus. I'm realizing it's easy to have faith when things are going well but our true faith is tested in tough times. It's one thing to know that but an entirely different thing to experience it.

There is so much to be learned in the storm and I've been blessed with a pretty "fair-skied" life. I prefer the abundant journey, who doesn't? But I'm finally thankful for the fruit of the occassional stormy journey.

Fasten your seat belts please, this could get bumpy.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Huggin Jesus

Let me start by saying I've never done this before, blogging that is. I don't really know what I'm doing or how this is going to go but I'm giving it a shot. On Wednesday of this week it was put on my heart to write down some of my thoughts and experiences. Then on Thursday I found an outlet to do so, facebook & And finally I was given an experience worth writing about on Friday. All within about a 72 hour period, so here goes.

The past couple weeks I've found myself praying each morning that in the day ahead I would experience God in new and exciting ways. That I would see Jesus around me and recognize Him at work. It's been a pretty cool couple weeks but something happened Friday that was truly extraordinary for me.

It's been funny how I've seen God over the past couple weeks. It usually happens least like I expect so imagine my surprise (and lack of it, all at the same time) when I found Jesus in the embrace of a 6'2", 350+ pound African-American man. I'm not going into how I wound up on a stage in front of about 250 other guys, hugging this dude. I'll just say God just puts me in the craziest spot. A lot.

I can imagine how it must have looked though. If you're reading this and don't know me or if you haven't seen me since high-school, let me just say that I hit 5'6" as a freshman about 24 years ago and never grew another inch. Ok, maybe a half inch. Oh, and about 70 pounds - all muscle of course! Anyway, this hug probably lasted 30 seconds, maybe a minute and certainly no longer than two. But honestly, it felt like two hours. And in those two hours it was as if I was hugging Jesus Himself. I can't describe the peace and the power I felt. The Love, man the love was indescribable. When my eyes were closed I could only see and feel and imagine and know that this was the embrace of God. When I woke up in the middle of that night and when I look back now, I can only see the face of Jeses.

3 or 4 years ago I wouldn't have believed a story like this. I would have been skeptical at best. But it's true. And I write it now to encourage you to seek God. To ask not only "What would Jesus do?" but also ask "What is Jesus doing?" We're promised that if we seek Him wholeheartedly we find. It's a promise that's never failed me.

And I encourage you to seek, not because if you don't you're going to hell. Luckily, especially for me, we're saved by the grace of God and the blood of Jesus. Seek because what you'll find is better than anything you can imagine. When Jesus said "I am the way, the truth and The LIFE", He wasn't kidding. He is the life. Not too long ago my idea of a crazy Friday night wasn't hanging out with a bunch of Christian men. But in all my wildest, "most fun" nights, it never came close to the feeling of being hugged by God Himself.

Thanks for reading. Please remember, God loves you. Regardless of what you're feeling or which people have disappointed you or what you've been told. God LOVES you.

Peace & Blessings,