Sunday, May 25, 2008

Morning Reminder

On the days I commute to work I jump onto a trailhead just down from my house and in the cool of the early morning when it is just me and the elements. I sometimes pause and watch the deer, rabbits, possum, owl, and hawk—all of which I routinely see on this little dive into the creek bottom amidst the bustling of asphalt and steel just above. I often arrive refreshed and relaxed knowing that I have been in a world that largely goes unnoticed by the rest of the commuters. I recognize that with Spiritual eyes I can continue to see the world that way as I go through my day. There is a lot going on around us all the time if we would be willing to see and enter in.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Mark of Discipleship

I was listening to a speaker explain his discipleship method in China: the fastest area of Christian growth in the world, maybe ever. He said, “What we do is we tell the story of the Bible and then we say ‘go and do.’ When you have obeyed, come back and we will give you another story.” They insist obedience is the mark of discipleship! Within four lessons the new believer is now leading a church in his home. He has obeyed to command to pray, tell, gather and teach others to obey and he is replicating the discipleship that he has learned. We spend a lifetime listening, thinking that learning is discipleship. It is not. Obedience is the mark of discipleship.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mountain Biking

My daughter went on her first mountain bike ride this week! She’s eight and just got a new bike for her birthday and she wanted to go mountain biking. I took her to a park where there is a section of smooth single track and we rode for about half an hour. She did great, but she would freak when she saw a cactus or rock. I just kept telling her to keep her eye on the trail and peddle. As we got off the trail and were on some gravel heading back to the car there was a small hill we had to climb. Twenty feet from the car, as she was trying to go up the hill, she crashed. I jumped off my bike and scooped her up. Her knee was bleeding and she was crying. I held her as she said, “I never want to go mountain biking again!” Then five minutes later at Sonic she asked, “When can we go again?”
Life is full of obstacles, dangers and hardships but we have to keep our eyes on the author and finisher of our faith and ride our race. The trail is not always smooth. We are going to crash and feel like giving up sometimes, but we have to dust ourselves off and with the hope and expectancy of a new day get back up and ride. I know you have had an obstacle or crash this week, but don’t give in or give up. Keep riding because you never know what kind of beauty or adventure is just around the bend.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Favorable Year?

Last week, rice and grain shortages among the global poor reached ‘newsworthy’ levels. Third world countries pay $13 in debt for every $1 they receive in grants. Without debt relief, these economies will continue to see oppressive poverty. Jesus said, “The spirit of the Lord is upon me because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.” (Luke 4:18-19) The "favorable year" is the jubilee when debt is forgiven, when land is returned, and when Sabbath is shared. Later in the same chapter, his message is rejected and his life is threatened by the people who watched him grow up because what he suggested was uncomfortable and unpopular. For us his people, those who are entrusted with the Good News—this Gospel—what does “jubilee” look like? What does setting the captive free look like? Try eating only one bowl of rice a day for one week and pray for the Good News to the poor. As I evaluate my own habits and practices, I wonder how I have missed this Gospel.