Monday, February 23, 2015

Spiritual Adjustment

If you've ever come to anything at FIRE & WATER, you've probably noticed something. Your eyes have to adjust to the light levels.

The Wharf is a little darker than most rooms (on purpose), and if you come in from outside it can be a real adjustment. When we do our prayer nights, it's done in the dark (again, on purpose) and for some it can take a while for your eyes to adjust to the darkness.

But then something amazing happens. Our eyes adjust. Then when we go in the gym or turn on the lights to clean up you hear the collective groan and people cover their eyes. Suddenly, what was not that bright before is "too bright" and hurts. Why?

Because we adjust.

This happens spiritually too. If you put yourself in a horrible situation spiritually, eventually you will adjust and learn to be comfortable in it. Likewise, if you put yourself in a good situation spiritually you will adjust to that too. Many are uncomfortable serving on the first day of a mission trip, by they end they miss it.

This is one of the purposes of Lent, we force ourselves into a spiritual adjustment. If you are giving up something for Lent simply because it's "the thing to do", yeah, it may not make a great deal of impact. But if you give up something as a dedication to God, you replace it with something that will help you grow spiritually, by the end of 40 days you may start to notice something different about yourself and your relationship with God.

Here's a prayer to all you taking on Lent, may your spirit start to adjust to your new lifestyle and may you grow closer to Christ, so close that when Lent is done you will want to keep your change because you've adjusted to it.


Monday, February 16, 2015

Sharing Is Caring

For Christmas I was given a book about robotics, how we are doing, new discoveries, etc. It's both amazing and intensely terrifying...

But one story I read the other day was intriguing. There was an experiment done with little robots collecting "food" (plastic discs). After each try, the robots who failed had their memory wiped and replaced with a combination of the successful robots memories. Eventually, the thinking is, you will have the best robot brains for the task.

So they continued to do this and eventually they had the best robots, with one small side effect. The robots shared. They worked together and shared the food so that no robot was in last and would get it's memory wiped. They learned the best thing they could do was to share food.

That's why we do the 30 Hour Famine. It's the best thing we can do for our world, share our resource. Share food. Sign up today to be a part.

And you can watch the robots I mentioned before here:


Monday, February 09, 2015

Would You Do It?

Yesterday I was reading the story of Jesus coming to Jerusalem for the last time, the Sunday before He was crucified. It's a popular story, people love Jesus, waving branches, singing, etc. But there was one little part that stuck out to me in a different way.

Jesus asks some disciples to go get a colt for Him to ride into Jerusalem on. It would be tied up and they were just supposed to take it and say, "it's for Jesus." So they go into town, see the colt, and just take it. Some people see the disciples taking the colt and ask what they're doing and they respond how they were told. "It's for Jesus."

And everyone let's them take it.

Here's my question, would you do it? If someone came and started to drive away in your car and you tried to stop them, but they said, "it's for Jesus," would you let them go? If Jesus were to really ask something of us like that, would we do it?


Monday, February 02, 2015

Skin In The Game

It's a new book by a great author, Rick Lawrence. Here's a blog he wrote for the upcoming release. Enjoy.

Jesus Wants Your Skin In the Game
By Rick Lawrence
There He is again, playing a game of verbal “Battleship” with the Pharisees in the temple court—they take a shot at him, and he fires right back. Jesus has, once again, so grossly offended the teachers of the law that they intend to stone him to death… Typical of His in-your-face style with the teachers of the law, He’s just pulled the pin on this little grenade: “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him” (John 8:44).
John records what happens next with elegant simplicity: “Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple.” If an angry mob picked up stones, intending to kill you, “hiding yourself” would require a) Harry Potter’s “cloak of invisibility” or b) fast feet. John leaves out the details. This is all merely the prequel to a bigger drama that’s about to unfold…
Likely breathless from his escape, Jesus runs across a man who is blind from birth (John 9). When the disciples catch up, they ask a question that’s quintessentially human: “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?” They want to know why bad things happen to good people—a conundrum that’s fundamental to our life in a broken culture.
It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents,” Jesus replies, “but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him.” Then, without permission or hesitation—or, it has to be said, apparent rationality—the Master spits on the ground, fashions a little clay, then smears it all over the man’s eyes and face.
As shocking as all of this must have been for a blind man who’s suddenly been sucked into a big moment, the next words out of Jesus’ mouth must have seemed no less astonishing: “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (John 9:1–7). The pool is on the other side of town, a long trek away. And this man has just been told to walk there on his own. Still blind, his eyes smeared with spit and mud, he’s supposed to find his way to a specific pool where he can wash his face. If he can find the place…
What’s the point?
Why would Jesus ask this man to do something that will so obviously require him to take a great risk?
Why, when He has healed multitudes with a simple touch, does Jesus ask the man to jump through hoops in order to find his freedom?
It makes no sense—unless Jesus wants the man to put his skin in the game.
Risk, Jesus says, is our primary language for communicating the great works of God. And when the man offers his skin in the game, he’s really setting the stage for God to be known and worshiped.
The blind man is used to poor treatment, and getting clay smeared on his eyes smacks of same-old, same-old. So why should he obey Jesus’ bizarre instructions, after an equally bizarre and inexplicable act of apparent disrespect? We don’t know the calculus going on inside the man’s head, but we do know his response. He accepts Jesus’ challenge and finds his way to the pool of Siloam, where he washes the clay from his eyes—and then runs back through town to declare the impossible: He can see! For the first time in his life, he can see!
We may not like the hard edge of risk, but Jesus requires it of those who would wash away their blindness. And so, we must consider the dimensions of the man’s risk, and our own, because our courage is proportionate to its impediments. Like the man born blind, we’ve heard an Accuser’s voice our whole life, planting lies in our soul.
On a men’s retreat a couple of years ago, my friend Bob Krulish asked a group of sixty gathered in a mountain auditorium to answer this simple question: “What’s one lie you are right now believing about yourself?” Here’s a sampler of their anonymous responses:
I’m not really desired by my wife
I’m not enough (listed multiple times).
I always feel like a failure.
If you really knew me, you’d reject me (listed multiple times).
I’m not worthy or capable of success.
I’m invisible.
I’m inadequate.
My life isn’t worth much or special.
I’m dirty.
I’m a loser.
I can’t do it.
I don’t have what it takes
I can do it all by myself—don’t need others.
There is something wrong with me.
What about the man born blind, with mud smeared on his beaten and weathered face? His own interior collection of lies may well be legion—a toxic stew of the entire bulleted list. But he chooses to risk anyway, stumbling his way through town, past the averted eyes of others, all the way to Siloam and a miracle that exceeds his deepest hopes. For the man is about to gain more than his eyesight alone. His newfound vision will turn the tables of his entire life. Before, he was defined by what he needed, but henceforth, he will be defined by what he gives.

This blog is adapted from the just-released book Skin In the Game: Living an Epic Jesus-Centered Life.
-  To connect with Rick Lawrence, go here…
Web Site:
Twitter: @RickSkip

Rick Lawrence is an author, ministry leader, and the longtime executive editor of GROUP Magazine, the world’s leading resource for the “Navy SEALS” of ministry—youth workers. He’s the general editor for The Jesus-Centered Life Bible (Fall 2015), and he’s the author or co-author of 37 books, including his newest, Skin In the Game: Living an Epic Jesus-Centered Life (Kregel).