Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Gift of An Experience

I have spent some time today reflecting upon an experience my family and I began on this date last year. Twelve months ago today, we were packed and ready to board a plane with 8 other individuals from our church in order to fly over to Europe and serve missionary families. (Pictured above are some of the missionary kids we served and my family in Barcelona Spain)
In my reflections, I have been giving thanks for the opportunity we had last year to take a step of faith out of our comfort zone as a family in order to give my children the "gift of an experience." I love that they still enthusiastically talk about it a year later which they never seem to do with the physical gifts they find wrapped and placed under a tree.

As I contemplate all the preparations we have made for our children this year for Christmas, I am wondering how many of them will really carry long term significance compared to the "gift of an experience" they received last year. I know we will have some fun, build some good memories and enjoy life together but I can't help but wonder how I can work a little harder at providing my entire family with "faith stretching experiences" that carry more of an eternal significance than most of what the kids will receive this Christmas. I can only speculate, but I have no doubt that much of what is received this year will lose its significance in a matter of weeks, months or years at best.
As we move into 2011, I am hopeful that many Christ followers will sincerely look to our God and genuinely ask Him to open up "faith stretching experiences" for our families. I hope for this in order to see God build into our lives those lessons and opportunities that grow and shape us for the cause of Christ.
So for today... I am grateful as I reflect upon last year's experience for my children and I am trusting it will carry some lessons that will have eternal significance as they grow.

Friday, December 17, 2010

God's Timing...

As Christmas quickly approaches, I've been thinking about God's timing in respects to the incarnation of God the Son. God's people lived through 400 years of silence waiting to hear from God and then at just the right time, God responded with Christ Jesus.

Galatians 4:4-5

Hebrews 1:1-2

John 1:1-18

Sometimes we all get frustrated with God's timing and yet the incarnation reminds us that God responds at just the right time in human history for the purpose of accomplishing what He needs to accomplish within our lives and to bring Himself glory. In this instance God's perfect timing lead us to the truth that "GOD IS WITH US"!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Noah, An Ark and the walk of faith...

I've been thinking quite a bit lately about the walk of faith. For those who know me, I am quite organized and do like to have my ducks neatly ordered as life seems to go much better when I do. Yet, I am currently looking down the barrel at a number of ministry and life situations that are requiring me to "daily" walk by faith with absolute trust in a Sovereign God.

In order to bolster my confidence (a.k.a. b/c of a lack of faith) I have been revisiting the stories of old in God's word whereby men and women of God venture out in complete obedience to God even when all the ducks aren't neatly ordered.

The one I have landed on today is Noah and the Ark and it has spoken quite powerfully to me. Forgive me, but I am about to read into the story a bit as I am picturing it right now...

God said to Noah... make yourself an ark. (Genesis 6:13-14) As these words were uttered by God to Noah, I wonder what was going on around Noah. I am guessing the sun was probably shining, the population was carrying on with their normal day to day responsibilities and Noah was wondering if he should take this leap of faith. Noah had been around for a few hundred years by this point and most likely had his own routine, business ventures and life to live. Should he stop it all and obey God? What would the neighbors think? Where would the wood come from? Who would help build it? Where would the animals all come from? Would his wife tolerate such behavior? How would it impact his kids and family reputation etc...

These are the real questions of life we all face and thoughts we all process when we sense God is calling us to walk through some very uncertain times by faith. He tends to give us the answers one day at a time and asks us to be OK with that. My prayer is that I will respond just like Noah did.

Here is the punch line that caused my heart to rejoice today and gave me the confidence to keep at it for the Lord... "Noah did everything just as God commanded him." (Genesis 6:22) One day at a time. One act of obedience at a time. One step of faith at a time. This is what pleases the heart of God and takes the pressure off of me being my own god and having all my ducks in a row.

By the way... I would have had all of the ducks ordered neatly and alphabetically on the ark.