living out a life of faith – example #73

Category : different, taking action, worship

  

“If you have people like that representing your church out in public, you’ve got a problem.” – Anonymous Upset Man

I’m feeling pretty miserable today.  I can’t seem to shake these colds I keep getting.  So this post is going to be short and sweet.  Although it’s a perfect illustration of what we talk about on R3: living out a life of faith, or as I sometimes like to say, “how to not act like an idiot.” 

A voice mail was left for LifeChurch.TV from a man who was angry at one of their members.  Not because this member had stolen from him, lied to him, or harmed him.  But because they were taking their time at a gas pump.  Apparently the woman in the car simply sat at the pump, oblivious to the man behind her waiting to use it.

Here’s the catch: if you consider yourself a Christian, you need to realize that you are always being judged.  Someone is always looking at you to see if you live the way you talk.  For some it’s because they want to know if our claims about God are true.  But others are simply looking for a reason not to believe.  Everything we do as Christians reflects back on God. 

Who’s knows if this guy had a point or not.  But what we do know is he blamed a church for this woman’s actions.

As we seek to live out a life of faith, don’t put makeup on at a gas pump, don’t drive like a lunatic if you have a Christian bumper sticker, and don’t stiff the waitress at breakfast before church!  Don’t be unChristian.  Just be aware of the people around you.

Sometimes evangelism is nothing more than being considerate towards others.  That’s not so hard, is it?

 

faith applied to life

Category : choice, different, faith, fear, sin, taking action

  

Sometimes people don’t always see how their faith impacts their life.  “It’s a personal thing” or “it’s between myself and God” are expressions of this idea.  But faith, and the way you live your life, can never be separated.  What you believe impacts how you behave.

Just look at the financial mess the world is facing.  While there are so many factors, perhaps too many to understand, that have triggered these events there is one thing we can look at: human behavior.  We see executives taking huge amounts of money while their companies go under.  Is there anything wrong with this?  Maybe not.  But can you imagine Jesus doing this?  The point of being a Kingdom person is that we are willing to sacrifice everything for our brothers and sisters. 

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends (John 15: 13)

The same should be true of the people we place in government.  Unfortunately it’s not.  By the time this is all said and done we will find politicians on both sides of the aisle (and other world leaders) who knowingly acted for their own welfare, sacrificing the welfare of their countries.  God warned Israel that the minute they put a king over them instead of God, the best of everything they had would belong to the state. 

But Christians can change this.  Not by forcing non-Christians to live by God’s rules, but by living out those rules for ourselves.  There is nothing more powerful than witnessing a life lived out in faith.  Nothing more convincing that God exists.

So in the midst of all of this, remember that faith applies to your life, just as much as it does to CEO’s and Senators. 

the old chair

Category : different, live for the eternal

 

I was thinking about something today, and it’s not exactly theology, so humor me for a bit.  As much as I’ve tried to escape the reality of age, I am finally coming to the depressing conclusion I’m getting older.  I have reached that stage of my life where my body simply doesn’t respond like it once did.  (And it never returns my phone calls.)

Some of you know what I’m talking about.  Others of you are just waiting for me to discuss walking uphill both ways in the snow.  (By the way, I did this when I was going to high school – there was a valley between my house and the HS.)  As my body changes, the way I think about things is also changing.  You see, sitting here typing this is causing me physical pain because I have an old chair.

Until recently I had never given any consideration to my posture, how I sit, or certainly not what I sit on.  But that’s changing.  The obvious solution is to buy a new chair.  And that would be great, if I hadn’t just resigned from my job.  So right now I can’t afford to buy some fancy, comfortable, ergonomically correct chair. 

When I chose to resign I knew there would be sacrifice involved.  Although this wasn’t exactly what I expected! 

As I sit here thinking about my chair, my job, and my back I can’t help but realize I’m still in better financial shape than 99% of the world’s population.  At least I have a chair to sit on.  This is forcing me to think about the so-called “less fortunate.”  Have I ever stopped to consider the physical pain they go through because they can’t afford new clothes, a warm bed, or even a car to get to work?  Have I stopped to wonder what random issues they have because they don’t have the money they need?

For the first time I think I’m starting to understand that suffering sometimes happens just because we can’t afford to “upgrade” the things we have.  That it’s not simply about “not having” but also about not have the right things.  Owning a pair of shoes doesn’t do you any good if they are a size too small. 

Like I said, this isn’t exactly theological in nature.  Just an observation about the weird ways life (and God) teaches you important lessons.

what i’m reading: Longing for a Holiday at Sea

Category : Paul, bible, feeding my brain, sharing faith

     

What does it look like to live out a life of faith? 

That’s a question I’m always asking myself.  In fact, that’s really the whole purpose of R3

The more I look at God, and who he is, the more I realize we shouldn’t hide.  That we shouldn’t be afraid of acting boldly.  And that includes hiding from our failures and weaknesses.  In other words, a major part of being Christian is being open and vulnerable.  It also means admitting that we aren’t perfect and that we don’t have all the answers.

For some this seems to come naturally.  They can admit the challenges in their life.  I find this difficult to do.

It’s a problem I share with the people who lived in Corinth during the first century.  They were becoming increasingly prideful and “righteous” in how they viewed themselves.  Sadly, I can all too often relate to that.  So Paul rather bluntly addressed the issue saying, “We [the apostles] are fools for Christ, but you [the Corinthians] are so wise in Christ!  We are weak, but you are strong!  You are honored, we are dishonored!”  (1 Corinthians 4: 10)

Paul is pointing out that the pride and arrogance are the exact opposite of how Christians should behave.  He offers a different way of living, saying, the apostles “have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to men.” (1 Corinthians 4: 9

We’re not to put up fake barriers and to pretend we’re better than we are.  Because a true Christian is open with his or her life.  We’re vulnerable in front of the whole universe.  And here I am afraid of what people think of me!

This is why I find the blog Longing for a Holiday at Sea so encouraging.  It manages to be both bold and vulnerable.  It has that balance Paul implies.  Vulnerable, because it discusses difficult topics and personal trials.  Bold, because it focuses squarely on God’s grace and mercy.

The entire blog serves as an encouragement to people who are suffering and struggling.  It shows, in a very real way, that even in our struggles God has compassion for us.  In a book called The Grand Weaver, Ravi Zacharias demonstrates that God cares about our disappointments.  Our disappointments matter to him.  And this is surely reflected in Longing for a Holiday at Sea.  

Perhaps the thing I enjoy most is the encouragement I receive from reading this blog.  It teaches me that I can actively seek God, and have questions.  It shows that I can be imperfect, but still loved by God.  And those are lessons worth remembering.

what are we here for?

Category : God, radical, taking action

   

Do you ever wonder what you’re here for?  I mean really wonder?

I think that’s one of the most important questions you can ever ask yourself.  Because the answer really changes the way you live your life.  If you’re here only for yourself, well you’re probably going to be selfish.  If you’re here just to make a lot of money, then you’re probably more likely to move the family for a new job.  Or pick a career with a higher earning potential than enjoyment factor. 

But what if you’re here because God has a plan for you?  What if you’re here because God wants you to change the world?  And what if you embrace that?

Kind of makes you look at your life differently, doesn’t it?