Monday, September 24, 2012

Do you want fries with that?

Our family currently goes out to fast food restaurants WAY too often. It is not uncommon in our world of up-sizing that we are asked, "Do you want fries with that?"

The past few weeks at church we have been hearing about sharing our faith. Sometimes this is a scary thought....especially if you are not sure how it will be received by the other person. We discussed just asking someone if they're "saved" or if they know where he/she would go if somehow this evening they didn't make it up the next day (or died, but it seems we never like to discuss that). I really don't feel comfortable just asking or discussing with someone when it isn't even the topic of discussion.

I would like to think that if somebody asked me, I could tell them where my hope lies. I would like to think that I am living my life so that someone might be curious enough to ask where my peace comes from when my circumstances are all but peaceful.

I would like my ability to ask someone about their faith as easy as it is to ask, "Do you want fries with that?" at a drive through window. I would like to be able to see a need in someone's life and be willing to ask them, "Do you want Jesus with that?" Maybe not literally ask them in those words, but take the pressure off to free me up to be willing to share how saying "yes!" to that question has helped me sort out things in my own life.

God doesn't want us going through this on our own. He brings people across our path (or to our drive-up window if you'd like to continue the analogy) that are somewhere along the path of their own faith journey. You might not get to be the person that gets to deliver the order and see it all the way through to someone accepting Jesus as their Savior. However, would you be willing to ask the question though and see where it leads?

John 18:4-5 (NIV)  4 Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?” 5 “Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied.“I am he,” Jesus said. 

Acts 13:38-39 (NIV) 38 “Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. 39 Through him everyone who believes is set free from every sin, a justification you were not able to obtain under the law of Moses.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Watch Out!.....On Our Best Behavior?

Matthew 24:3-5 (NIV)
3 As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” 4 Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many.

There is a certain street in a nearby town where the speed limit is 35. It does not seem like it should be 35 so many people (myself included) may find themselves doing slightly (or a LOT) over the speed limit. I am somewhat familiar with the area. I know that there is often a police car somewhere in hiding along that road. Usually, I can remind myself and remember to slow down. Recently, a car going in the other direction was obviously going over 35. After checking my speedometer (just in case), I was thinking "bummer if they pass a cop". A few hundred yards later....there was a cop. I thought I wish I could warn the are expensive! The car passed. The blue/red lights went on. Busted.

Luke 21:7-9 (NIV)
7 “Teacher,” they asked, “when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are about to take place?”
8 He replied: “Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not follow them. 9 When you hear of wars and uprisings, do not be frightened. These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away.”

Maybe it is just me, but did you ever notice that if there is an officer of the law around ..... or the thought of an officer of the law being somewhere in the vicinity, that you pay a little closer attention to make sure you are driving the right speed, using blinkers, etc.? Maybe it's not just driving. Maybe it's when you're in class at indoor recess and you know the teacher on duty may be lurking out in the hall and quick pop into your room to see what's up. Or we dress up to go before a judge.

We are usually on our best behavior around people we consider our authority figures. Why is that? Without the uniform and/or title, that person isn't much different than you or me. However, we benefit from having people in authority. When children are small, they need to be taught that their parents have authority. They will not like it, but they learn to respect it.

Recently, I have had some discussions in person and online regarding life, God, death, evolution, creation, God, absolute truth....and did I mention God? Some of the conversations have made me think about what I believe by hearing or reading what others believe. Honestly, sometimes it has gotten me to question my own faith or lack thereof. How do you explain faith to someone who has a hard time grasping that there could be someone bigger than us?  It is difficult to explain sometimes when what I believe is becoming less and less tolerated and more and more made fun of.

I was asked if I believe in God because of fear. I am not scared of death. I am scared of the actual dying part. Mostly because I don't know how or when. I am scared of not living my life to its full capacity because I let fear rule too many of my decisions. I think I would be more afraid if I thought I had to handle all THIS by myself.

I was asked how can I love a God that would let all these terrible things happen in the world. I've tried to think that out in some other posts: Under His Umbrella and What kind of loving God?

I was asked how I can believe in a God that would send people to hell. Right or wrong, I picture hell as eternity separated from God. Does God want that to happen? No. However, if we live our lives not wanting to be in a relationship with God, why would we want to spend eternity with Him? God honors that choice. Because we still have free will. He made us that way. You have a choice.

I don't mean to get all evangelistic on you. This may not be what you expected when you started to read. However, the cop car and subsequent pull over reminded me. I wanted to warn the driver. That was just over a ticket.

When I started writing this, it was EARLY September 11. I didn't really think about a connection. However, those people that were on a flight, heading to work, doing their jobs, etc. did not plan on not making it home that day. It was just an ordinary day, right? Just like today. We never know what tomorrow holds.....or even the next few minutes or hours. This puts my life a little more in perspective. Some of the things that seem huge to me today, probably won't be by next year or maybe even tomorrow.

In the end, on this side of heaven....none of us truly have all the answers.....maybe not any of the answers you may be seeking. I just ask that you leave your heart open to the possibility that you are loved here, now and forever by those who know you and by Him who wants you to know Him better.

Matthew 28:17-19 (NIV) 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,