Archive for February, 2009
I like to try new foods. When I travel to another country, I’m always interested in sampling the local fare. If I have a chance to eat something that other people eat and like, I want to take that opportunity. I’m a natural-born taste tester.
I know other people who are exactly the opposite. One friend traveled to another country on his honeymoon and ate every meal at McDonald’s. Another always wants to know the ingredients of a dish before he takes a bite, trying to judge beforehand if he wants to risk experiencing the unknown. The worst case I’ve known was a woman who lived overseas and told me, “I don’t invite the locals to eat at my house, because then they’d invite me, and I might have to eat something I don’t like.” Needless to say, her stay in that country was short and unhappy.
While I hope you’re the kind of person who is adventuresome in their eating, I really hope that you are the kind of person who keeps an open mind regarding God and what he can do for you. In the book of Psalms in the Bible, we can read, “[blue]Taste and see that the Lord is good[/blue]” (Psalms 34:8). That’s a taste test that I know you should do. Don’t rely on what other people tell you about God. Don’t even rely on what I tell you about God. Lay aside preconceived notions and taste God. Try his plan for you. God can give you meaning in your life, provide you hope in the midst of despair, and show you a lifestyle that you can be proud of. But you’ve got to taste him. You’ve got to give God’s way a try. Only then can you know if God is good or not.
It had been one of those frantic, exhausting days and now even the dog would not mind. It led to one of those “what did she just say” moments: in my wife’s efforts to get our dog to heel, she called him by our son’s name. It confused both our son and our dog. She knew the difference between the two of them, but she had just finished dealing with our son about minding her better and that encounter was still on her mind when she called the dog. So she said the name that was most prominent in her subconscious mind. Psychologists call that a Freudian slip.
Movies and television shows have long made this a staple of their programming. The show typically has a spouse call their mate by an ex’s name. The rest of the program is an exercise in determining who the character is truly loves. Of course, it almost always is the name they spoke aloud. Their mouth just expressed what the heart believed.
Great programming concept that is based on something Jesus said: “Out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.” Television writers may or may not know where that wisdom comes from, but there it is.
Television programming, psychological theory, folk lore, literature, art, and many other things in our culture reflect the words of God. He is the source of all wisdom. But of course, if he created us… he should know how we function best.
So think about where to find the real key to life. God offers hope, peace, joy, and purpose. He provides a way for you to come to him through his son Jesus. But he wants your heart. All of it. And when you give it to him, his will be name you speak for the rest of eternity.
The cries were faint, barely audible in the early morning air. There was no air conditioning in our cabin at the youth camp, so we had all the windows open. One of my friends heard the sound about the same time that I did. We bounded out of bed, threw on some clothes and went running toward the sound.
One of the adults that was there that week caught us as we headed out. “Whoa!” he said. “Where do you think you’re going?”
“Someone’s crying for help.”
“Yes, I know,” he replied. “The river has flooded. There isn’t anything we can do for them right now.”
Those cries still haunt me when I think back on that moment. Thankfully, I can tell you that all of the people that were still alive at that time were rescued by our camp staff. Eight people had already lost their lives, though. As the counselor told us, there was nothing we could do for them.
I hear similar cries almost every day, cries for help, cries for rescue. The man who moved to another country with his wife, only to find himself all alone when she died suddenly. The woman who wants to stop the improper relationship she has with her boss. The mother whose children have scorned her love and abandoned their home. The man who says, “I’ve been so bad; can God ever take me back?” They cry out for deliverance. Their voices echo in the night.
In a very real sense, there’s nothing I can do for them, either. At least not me personally. But I know a God who does come to the rescue, who offers hope to the hopeless. He can do something. Because of him, I can write back to these people and say, “There is a way out.”
If you haven’t watched the videos on this website, I want to encourage you to do so. The videos tell of people who were rescued. Look around on the site, reading the articles there. The next time you hear someone crying out for spiritual rescue, send them there. Not to find the people who are on the site. Not to place their hope in us. Send them there to find rescue. From the God who cared enough to send his Son to die, that others could live a life of hope.
There is something I can do for those that cry out in the dark. I can point them to the God who rescues.
If you feel the need to be rescued, let us know.
Grace and peace,
My wife and I shop for clothes differently. I head for the “sale” rack, see something I like, make a quick guess at the approximate right size, and take it home. She, on the other hand, would never leave the store without having tried on every single article of clothing that might have potential. She will not buy something just because it is cheap. Nor will she spend more than she thinks something is worth. It takes her much longer to buy clothes than it does me. Much longer. On the other hand, she never has to return anything and she is usually happy with what she bought. I sometimes have to return clothes that do not fit right, or I complain about the collar being too tight, or the sleeves being too short. I have bought shirts, packed them for a trip, and then did not like the way they felt when I wore them.
Trying on clothes reminds me of how some people make decisions about Jesus. They make a decision about Jesus like I shop for clothes: no thought, no examination, no evaluation, and no consideration of the true value. No wonder they sometimes end up unhappy with their decision. It is prudent for the non Christian to spend some time “shopping” for Jesus. Examine what he said, study how he lived, spend time around his followers. Find out if Jesus really does give hope, peace, joy, and purpose to life.
Consider the cost. Following Jesus is not cheap. It is not easy. You are the only one who can decide if the cost is worth it. Most people will decide it is not. When he came to this earth, most people rejected him. Some because they loved the riches of this life more, some because they loved the trappings and power of the religious status quo more, and others because they cared more for their current lifestyle. Yet others saw their deepest needs met in Jesus. They found in him the answer to the emptiness of their lives. He filled a hunger and thirst that they had never been able to quench.
Do some comparison shopping. What do other religions teach? How do they live? What value do they give in comparison to the cost of joining? What about life without Jesus? What are the benefits? What does it cost to choose life without Jesus? Look at the lives of those who do not believe Jesus? As a “sales clerk” for Jesus, I am excited to share what we have to offer. It is the best buy ever.
Following Jesus is the best “deal” I ever made. I cannot imagine life without him. In him I am loved, provided for, and valued. I live a life that has meaning and purpose. He helps me survive the bad times and has given me more good times that I ever could deserve or achieve on my own. I have a great life.
So obviously I think it a great deal. What do you think?