Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I love a good story, even when I think I don’t have one

I’ve never thought I had a particularly compelling testimony. When you accept Jesus as your Savior and acknowledge Him as the Son of God when you are a wee one of four – well, frankly there just wasn’t a whole lot of depravity into which I could have sunk.

Mischief? Yes. Naughtiness? Sure. Disobedience? You bet. All of which I needed Jesus’ sacrifice for. But depravity? Not so much. I wasn’t an alcoholic or a drug dealer or a gang member. I didn’t turn tricks or have teen sex and a baby out of wedlock. I likely sassed my mom, and I KNOW I pestered my older siblings after being told not to. That’s about it – my sin hadn’t had a whole lot of time to mature, if you will. And oddly enough I’ve always felt sheepish about that!

I sometimes wonder - are we as Christians so focused on the conversion story that we forget the angels rejoice when every person comes to Christ? The Bible doesn’t say they cheer louder when the abortion provider asks Jesus to forgive her or when a pimp falls to his knees to beg for God’s mercy. Those angels cheer for every one of us. I might not have been Saul on the road to Damascus, or even just in jail for a DUI, but I needed the Lord just the same – and I can see God’s hand on my life just as surely.

Do we do a disservice to God and to the church by not recognizing that every conversion is special? I know everyone loves a good story – myself included – but if the angels can cheer just as loudly for the pre-K set as those adults at the bottom of the pit – shouldn’t we? I mean, why else do we pour so much time, money and effort into youth programs, if not to bring them into an early fellowship with Jesus? It’s what every Christian parent prays for, right? An early and consistent walk with the Lord versus the prodigal?

So today, tell your testimony to someone. Even if it’s just sharing with a fellow believer how you came to Christ, share your story. Let someone cheer you like the angels did! Don’t minimize or belittle or apologize for it – praise Jesus for however He got a hold on you!

Friday, September 16, 2011

The coming storm

As the people sat in their coffee cafes in the capitol city, did they know trouble was coming?

As they went to dinner with friends, shopped the boutiques, headed to the market to pick up items for dinner, did they feel unease? And if so, what did they do with it? Push it aside? Dwell on it? Act on the fear?

How do you prepare for the coming storm when you aren't even sure what the storm is or how bad it will actually be?

I recently finished a book by Erik Larson – In the Garden of Beasts – about the U.S. Ambassador to Germany in the early 1930s. Hitler was chancellor, but not yet completely in power. And I started to wonder if any of the people in Berlin had any unease? Were any nervous about the movements of the government? What did they do or think as they went about their daily living?

Then I realized I was wondering these things during our own time of unease, as I was sitting in a Starbucks just outside of Washington, D.C. sipping my iced coffee.

It's scary right now. Financial trouble around the world and here in America; recent riots in London and Philadelphia; our troops still in serious peril on a daily basis; new, unknown regimes in the Middle East; China owning almost all our debt. All that without even touching on the weather that rocked us this summer or the cultural decline we are most clearly in.

It is beyond reasonable to be concerned with all of these issues, if not uneasy or even scared. How does one person even remotely begin to affect change, when these situations are so huge and global?

And yet. And yet God gives us the antidote to these poisonous fears.

Psalm 62:1-2 – My soul finds rest in God alone… He alone is my rock and my salvation. He is my fortress, I will never be shaken.

I John 4:17 – There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

II Timothy 1:7 – For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but rather a spirit of power, of love and self-discipline.

Psalm 62:1-2 are my life verses. But if I find myself leaning to worry or fretting (which I HATE to do!) I’ll definitely remind myself of the other two. What verses do you remind yourself of in times of trouble?