“ If anyone would come after me,
he must deny himself and take up his cross
daily and follow me.”
– Luke 9:23
I wonder something. I wonder if you are reading this, and sitting in a nice computer chair.
Perhaps, you are sitting in your living room on the couch, or maybe you are not even out of bed…
Are you comfortable?
What if I told you instead of sitting in that computer chair; to stand up and read this post,
Or if you are in your living room; perhaps, you could read this standing on your head, or if you are in bed, perhaps you could read this holding the laptop up in the air…
Would you be comfortable then? Probably not. But would you do it?
My friend had her 28th birthday today; I took her out to Applebees. We enjoyed some major food, and not to forget the Chocolate meltdown..oh yes:)
Music was playing in the background, and she pretty much sang to every song. She has always done that, usually I join in too:)
We found out that night that they were having Karaoke Night. She was ecstatic at first.
But then after each person got up to sing; I saw her enthusiasm fade.
Taking charge, I told the waiter to get the song book, so we could look through it.
Finally, we chose one(after much convincing on my part!) by DJ Sammy, “ Heaven”
I knew she could rock out that song if she tried.
She was anxious, but I told her that I would be right at her side, and she would be fine.
So her name is called, and then the music starts to play.
The music is the fast version, and her voice can first barely be heard over the loud music.
And through the entire song I just could see her face saying, “ Oh no, its not over yet.”
Then it was, and she could have transported herself back to the table, that is how fast she sat down.
She found herself, out of the comfort zone.
Its all about how we react to the “ strange” places we find ourselves in.
My church is doing a message “ Barbaric Faith” based on a book I believe that is by Erwin Mcmanus.
A few Sundays ago, we all got to church. There were 10 chairs, instead of the 400 or so that usually cover the floor.
We all stood surrounded by a wall wrapped in servant evangelism opportunities.
Instead of church that day(one inside a building) we were told to find a table
And go SERVE somewhere in the city until noon.
I chose to go give out free doggie biscuits, at a park in the next city. Some people walked neighborhoods and prayer walked, others gave out free water at Walmart, and some
Even gave out free kites at a park to children.
It was a dreary day, and the park I went to probably only had about 6 dogs there within the time I was there.
But it made me appreciate it so much more of the given “ opportunity” to serve.
I saw a woman with a small dog, and a youth and I felt my anxiety rise
As I went up to her.
I heard my heart speak to God, “ Are you sure this is okay Lord, are you sure I won’t
mess up and make this woman run for her life?”
“ Hi, my name is Angie, and this is Zach, and we are from Pine Ridge Fellowship, and
we would just like to give your dog some treats.”
The woman looked at me, and said, “ I am sorry, but I left my wallet at home.”
A bubble seemed to form in my throat as I added,
“ No, this is just an expression of God’s love, and there are no strings attached.”
I did get to talk to the woman a little more, and found out that she knew someone I did from another ministry. She never mentioned if she attended a church or anything like that, but just the feeling of being able to share with her a little of God’s love,
it did something inside of me.
When I was 17 yrs old and used to serve, it was different, because I did it with my Youth group, and this time around. I never had to ever show up, I could have gotten in my car and went home to sleep.
The point I’m making is, and I think my church did make that day was;
in our comfort zones, we may be able to reach a few people for God, but
our giving is very limited, and more so the response is expected.
Going out into the community, we didn’t know what to expect.
That is where God wanted us that day.
No one forced us to go, we went because we had been shown God’s love by other
Someone gave their life to Jesus, so that I could serve. A beautiful domino effect.
I know we love our churches, and I know we love to be places where we are comfortable, and people know us and accept us.
But that will not always be so. Not everyone will love us, not everyone will accept us.
We just have to love them anyway, and accept that they don’t accept us.
It is definitely not easy to be out in the “ world”, especially places like our workplace, school, or maybe even in our homes.
But everytime it seems “ hard” to deal with, close your eyes and press harder from your heart.
Something else that might be a good thing to warn about, the enemy likes us in our comfort zones. He can keep a good watch on us there, and know we won’t disturb the destruction he is creating outside of our little bubble.
I have often realized that a lot of the times that I leave my bubble, that I can go out a little ways into the world and find God in such unexpected places, within people, within music, within pieces of art…anywhere.
And I find that as I am given an opportunity to seek that out, I am also given an opportunity to show someone “ who” He is.
We may not have a common God, but we can find something in common with people He loves.
My closest and dearest friends are not “ Christians” by the label.
And I sometimes am a little hesitant in sharing some blog posts with them,
or bible verses. EVEN THOUGH they love to listen.
People have opened their hearts to God, we can’t expect that every person we meet that doesn’t attend church, or someone who doesn’t have knowledge of the bible, or whatever, fill in the blank…we can’t expect that they have not had their heart open to God already,
that the seed has already been planted.
Someone may have been sharing about Him for years, but we need to show them love,
and we need to be interested in them, what they are about, and what they believe.
Even if we don’t believe in the same things. Its important to build relationships with people that we most likely would not have if we were given the choice.
Let me say that again, IF WE WERE GIVEN THE CHOICE.
We already have the will within us to go out and help people find God, or at least get to know Him.
You are wasting your life and your talents if you are in this all for yourself.
People around you, they already know what you can do, and what you are capable of,
but SO does God, and He KNOWS you are capable for more,
capable of doing MORE then you even see at this moment.
And it starts with walking away from what you are used to,
regardless of how anxious it makes you.
There are treasures in heaven waiting for us, but let God give you
the ones that He has placed on earth too.
“ This is the Air I breathe” if we took that literal for a moment.
I think of the movie, “ A Walk to Remember” where Landon says that love was like the wind, couldn’t see it, but it surely existed around him.
Love is in the air, a lot of it is. We just have to learn to recognize it, and let it flow from our own hearts. No matter the circumstances.
As April 20th 2009 comes near, I will conclude with the story of Rachel Scott, who died
at Columbine 10 years ago this month. I conclude, and dedicate it to her, as well
as all who lost their lives that day.
I also dedicate it to my friend Val, whose life was completely transformed by God’s love through Rachel. She lost a very dear friend that day.
I read the book about Rachel’s life, and I had a dream once where I saw her, and she asked if I would hold on to her journal. Even though it was only a dream, it had great meaning.
It was like taking the torch and going with it, where she left off, as Christ did the same.
The one thing that gives me chills each time I have thought about it was she wanted to start a chain reaction of kindness even to the moment of her death.
When the gun was held up to her, and the question was asked, “ Do you believe in God?”
and she answered, “ You know that I do.”
I can’t help, but wonder if even that moment she was trying to get that person to think,
that she was trying to minister to them, by maybe making them think in a split moment who she was and what she really was about.
She could have said “ No”, but she defended her faith.
Talk about being out of a comfort zone.
Her killers were blinded by their hate, they didn’t realize how much love
was wrapping itself around them.
Maybe they didn’t get a chance to change, but I wouldn’t doubt that a chain reaction of
kindness changed the hearts of others they knew, who were similar.
When it comes to God, the fight of good and evil is already won. He always wins.
It only takes one heart to change the world.
And it starts with getting up, and taking a look outside at the world around you.
“ You just might start a chain reaction.”