Monday, May 16, 2016

The Whole Picture

The other day I was listening to classical music while driving (it keeps me calm). Anyway, I was listening to a piece and could hear all sorts of noise followed by bursts of laughter during the performance. It was odd, but whatever.

It wasn't until later I realized I didn't have the whole story.

I was only listening to the piece. If I had been watching it I would have seen something completely different. You can see what I mean here. The entire orchestra leaves the stage one by one until there are only two musicians remaining.

But that's still not the whole picture. The story makes the difference. This piece has been performed this way for over 200 years with the orchestra leaving the stage. This is the Farewell symphony by Haydn. Haydn was a hired conductor for Prince Esterhazy in the late 1700's. And his orchestra was hired too, but they usually got the summers off to go home and visit their family. The Prince was keeping them a little later than Haydn wanted so he wrote this piece as a hint to his boss "hey, it's time to go home, we're all leaving."

Too often we only see a little piece and think we know it all. Sometimes we only know a piece of what's going on. Many times we only know pieces of who God is. We need to take a step back and realize we don't know the whole story, or even better, put in the time and effort to learn the whole story.

*silently leaves his chair*


Once Upon A Time

The other night we were watching the television show "Once Upon A Time" (we're a little behind, we need a good bingewatching session). In the middle of one of the episodes was a line I quickly wrote down.

It's hard to be a savior when no one wants you to save them.

That is so true. I remember having a discussion with students about serving years ago and more than one said they like to serve if someone needs help. If the person doesn't look like they need help or don't acknowledge they need help the students said they were likely to do nothing.

Thankfully Jesus doesn't operate this way. He recognizes our need for Him and seeks us out even before we know we need Him.

God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.  ~ I John 4:9-10 (NLT)

We can't wait for people to want a savior. Sometimes we have to help people even when they won't acknowledge they need help.

Don't wait. Shine your light.


Monday, May 09, 2016

Faith From Mom

Many people have heard the verse that God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love and power and a self-discipline. It's a great verse, makes you feel good. No fear but love from God. Awesome. But do you know what prompted this statement?

I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother, Eunice. And I know that same faith continues strong in you. This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. ~ II Timothy 1:5-7 (NLT)

This verse came out of a reminder of where Timothy's faith came from, his mother and grandmother. Those women taught Tim who God was and His love for their son/grandson.

One of my biggest frustrations as a student minister is hearing parents say they don't want to force their faith on their child so they don't take them to church or tell them about Jesus. How is sharing the truth of your Savior "forcing" your faith? It's sharing your faith. If anything, how can someone (even a child) make an informed decision about God if they never hear about Him, especially from those close to them who love them?

Live your faith. Share your faith.


Monday, May 02, 2016

Who Lifts This Arm?

This quote from Moby Dick has been in my head today.

Is it I, God, or who, that lifts this arm? But if the great sun move not of himself; but is as an errand-boy in heaven; nor one single star can revolve, but by some invisible power; how then can this one small heart beat; this one small brain think thoughts; unless God does that beating, does that thinking, does that living, and not I. By heaven, man, we are turned round and round in this world, like yonder windlass, and Fate is the handspike. And all the time, lo! that smiling sky, and this unsounded sea!

It's asking a very simple question. Am I able to do even the simplest task or is God behind it all?

In many ways, the real answer is not what defines us. The answer we perceive can be way more important. It will determine how we live.

Is God behind everything, every breath I take?