Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I've moved!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Shaddy, Meshy and A-Bend-A-Boo

This story is not unfamiliar to me. Mom and I have told this story many times. It normally starts like this:

Today we're gunna talk about Shadrach, Meshach and.. Me: To-bed-we-go! (And the kids say.. 'No.')

Me : A-bend-a-bo.. ('Noooo!')
Me: Again-we-so.. ('NOOO!!')
Wait for it.......

Me: Abednego. That's right! ('YAY!!')

I love that little gag. The kids always bet a kick out of it! But I actually read through the story of Shadrach, Meshach and A-bend-a-bo last night. It's been a long time since I've actually read through that story. One part of it struck me right in the wimpy side of my head.

This whole thing goes down after the king of Babylon at the time, Nebuchadnezzer (watch out for the silent 'd', it's tricky.) threw down with Jehoiakim, who was the king of Judah at the time. Well, the silent 'd' won and, like any good ol' fashion beat down, as the winner Nebuchadnezzer brought back some stuff he wanted and some people that he wanted.

In this group of people he wanted was Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and A-beddy-boo. These guys were cool. They Loved God and were pretty much the bomb. The stuck to their guns and because they did, and with God's favor, they were the strongest, smartest, best looking guys in the joint. (Yes. I just refereed to the ancient city of Babylon as "the joint".)

What really stood out to me as I read this that I hadn't really thought too much about before was in Daniel 3 around verse 17. King Neby had this huge (90ft x 90ft) idol made that everyone was to worship. If you didn't worship the idol then Neby was going to have you thrown into a furnace. (You know, the big things full of FIRE!) Well, Daniel and the guys were like, "Yo, Neby. You da king and all, and we love ya, but aint no way we gunna worship this thang. Yo junk is whack!" (You can find that in The Message- ATL edition.)

Well, they don't really say that exactly. But what they do say is awesome. They say,

"17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king."

That's pretty cool. They stood their ground because they knew that God could totally take the king. God is way bigger and badder. God would have blown out Neby's furnace like a candle on a birthday cake. The part of this story that struck me though, the part that made me want to have bigger, better faith was this part. This is what they say next,

" 18 But even if He does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up."

That is bold. So often I find myself speaking solely from the verse 17 perspective: If I were going to sacrifice myself, especially my physical body, for the cause of Christ....He is TOTALLY going to come through with some big, crazy miracle that will save me from all pain and suffering. But these guys understood that is not always the case. They knew that. They said that out loud! They knew that even through the pain and the suffering, even if they had to suffer the furnace, that they had lived and died for the cause of Christ.

I want to start living with the understanding that serving God is a full circle. Not in a way that is conditional on whether or not He's going to pull me out of sticky situations. I want the guts to live THAT way. I want the guts to live like Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Because THAT has got to be a stinkin awesome way to be living!

Friday, April 30, 2010

In Canton, In Georiga and to the ends of the Earth. Yeah.

I'm finding that I go into default mode a lot when it comes to the bible verses I use.

Whenever I'm in a situation or I am choosing a topic to cover in youth I always try to default all the verses I already know and that I'm familiar with. And hopefully no one else will be familiar with them because that makes me really smart and spiritual, right? Right.

But I don't always step back and look at those verses in their overall context. It makes me feel silly on morning like this when I actually catch a glimpse of what God is really saying to me.

For example: Isaiah 6:8.
We know this one.
There are 136 praise song we sing in reference to it.
We've all sat through 27 Sunday school lessons about it.
And still every time we hear it we are compelled, We say, "God, send me!"

And that's what Isaiah 6:8 says:

8Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who
will go for us?"And I said, "Here am I. Send me!"

I know I want God to send me. Every time I hear this verse I am inspired to go for God.

But rarely have I heard it explained as to what God was commissioning Isaiah to do actually do.
And what Isaiah agreed to do.

After Isaiah utters his infamous words God gives him his orders:

9 "Go and tell this people; be ever hearing, but
never understanding; be ever seeing, but
never perceiving.'

10 Make the heart of this people calloused;
make their ears dull and close their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears, understand with their hearts,
and turn and be healed"

Ouch! I do not want to be the one delivering that message. Isaiah wasn't being called to share the sunshine and butterflies of Christianity. I wonder sometimes how I would stand up to the test of not baring the good news. I wonder if I would just back off. "Oh no, God. I didn't say 'send me'... I said 'send Pete.' You know Pete. He's kinda tall, dark hair, really good at all that confrontational stuff. Yeah yeah. Send Pete."

I hope not though. I hope instead of turning and running that my reply would be like Isaiah's.

Simply this: "Lord, how long.?"

God said "jump" and Isaiah said "how high". God told him to do something and he asked how long. He wasn't questioning, complaining or reconsidering. I hope I take that into consideration next time I say, or encourage other people to say, "Here am I. Send me."

Because it's a much bigger call than we realize.

I'm going to start being more aware of the context of the scriptures I quote and comments I make. Thanks, God, for the heart check.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

This is the song that never ends.

My mind has been running circles around me recently.

So many things have been happening and changing. And its only going to happen faster and change more from here on out.

Part of me really wants to be part of what's changing and not part of what is staying the same. I want to be part of something different.

Its been a really strange night for me. I'm going to try to post one day soon so I can wrap these thoughts together in a way that makes sense. For now this is all I got. Insensible-- yeah..that sounds like me.