Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Take Action - Now, not later

Sometimes it's amazing to me how much overlap there is within the gospels, and how as I read Matthew I seem to overlook something, but it becomes so much more real as I make my way through the book of Luke. As I've been reading Luke I've been shocked at the amount of times that Christ is in the middle of speaking and somehow a miracle happens. Or how he's helping one person while healing another.

Today as I read Luke 24 it hit me again - the incredible ability of a God that's bigger than my finite mind can fathom. In the end of the chapter it describes Christ ascending into heaven, but one verse that caught my attention big time was verse 51 where it says, "While he was still blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven."

And I realized something rather intriguing... being a Christian is about action. So often throughout the gospels we see Christ acting to save a life, restoring health, and speaking truth into the lives of those around Him. It's true in the story of the woman who was subject to bleeding for over 20 years - when Christ was healing one person, He was also healing this woman and he "felt power go out of Him".

How do we ever expect to be the change in the world if we don't act? What are the burdens that God has laid on our hearts that we keep pushing to the side? And why, oh why, can't we act when we're told to - stepping out in faith?

And I realized... so many people today wander around life with conviction on their hearts and the mindset of “I’ll get to it later”. The underlying question here is why not get to it NOW? Why not make the choice to change today? What are is preventing us from action?

As we see in Luke 24, Christ was, and always will be about action. Even though He does not walk with us on the earth any longer, He now lives in us - thus requiring us to take action for Him. We're called to be His hands and His feet while on this planet. The fear that overwhelms us is only holding us back from our true potential through Christ. So I encourage you today- listen to what actions Christ asks you to take and go after them without a moment's hesitation. Don't analyze and push the burdens laid on your heart to the side any longer - step out in faith believing that something will happen through those circumstances.

Action takes faith. Action takes trust. Action is not for the faint of heart. So what's it going to be?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Life Inspired

While driving into work the past few days, I've been hit with a series of questions/desires that I just can't seem to get off my mind. The questions only got deeper as I went through my work day and listened to one of the recent sermon series at A guest speaker from Hillsong Church in Australia, literally shook me to my core, to the point where I feel like I can do nothing until I'm living the life that Christ has called me to.

The question that keeps arising is, "what am I doing here?" or "Am I doing what I know I'm called to be doing?" or "Is this the life I've always dreamed of/desired to have?". The answer has been a resounding "NO!". Every question that comes to mind lately is about me living in my "safety zone" and refusing to push myself to take a risk. And I'm frustrated daily with the fact that I doubt my ability to do the great things that have been laid on my heart. I hate the fact that I often don't believe that God is big enough to provide for me and get me to where He has called me to be. So I sit, lingering on life, thinking, "well, once this happens, then I'll go" or "when my prayers are answered I'll have the courage to risk.". I've realized that all my worrying about the future is only holding me back from taking the steps necessary to even have a future in the first place. The baby steps along the way are often the milestones of a life forever changed. I was reminded by a dear friend of mine that sometimes I need to just sit, wait, listen to the Lord, and work diligently towards what He's called me to -instead of planning everything and hoping it happens all at once one day.

Christine Caine, from Hillsong, said it best in her sermon at LifeChurch, "We often get too busy to stop and see what's staring us in the face." And that's what I see my life as... this constant rat race to get here or there, and filling my life with busyness instead of purpose. Stop and listen to what's going on around us- and we may be surprised at the opportunities that lie in our own life. We, as Christians, get ourselves so busy that we don't want to get involved in the needs of those around us because we're just too overwhelmed with the everyday. But I ask, what would Christ have us do? What did He do in His own life on this earth? He stopped... He listened... He cared for the needs of those around Him. His schedule was flexible - if He saw a need He took as much time as was necessary to fulfill it. No matter what the circumstances, even if it meant Christ staying up all night or walking for days - He gave His very life for the good of others, that they may be healed and uplifted.

The most incredible part of history that we should all learn from is that the Greatest People of Influence were not people who sat back and lived the "safe" life. Look at people like the Apostle Paul, Abraham Lincoln, Billy Graham, Ronald Reagan, C.S. Lewis - to name a few, people of ordinary position who decided to take life and make it extraordinary. Thus, World Changers are invariably Risk Takers. Pushing themselves beyond what's comfortable toward what shakes them to their core - what brings them alive - what keeps them awake at night because of the injustice. World Changers choose unwavering determination when fear so often grips them - actively pursuing great things, saved lives, and changed destiny's.

There's a choice to make - we can live the safe, predictable life with the 3 car garage home in the safe neighborhood, with the good schools, and the 1.5 children that we'll have, never really growing beyond what the social world deems "normal". OR, we can set out in determined faith to the life of adventure, danger, and opportunity. The enemy tells us that risk is scary, not not step out in faith but to sit back in crippling fear of failure. But the truth of the matter is that we can't live the safe life if we want to make a difference. So we have a choice to make...

Safety bubble or Risky Business?

"For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." - Eph. 2:10

"But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently." - Rom. 8:24-25

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and HE WILL MAKE YOUR PATHS STRAIGHT!" - Prov. 3:5-6