By Faith

“By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.” Hebrews 11:31

There is something really gritty about authentic faith that God endorses. We often associate faith with passivity and waiting for God. But Rahab’s story of faith involves lying, deceiving, negotiating and oh yeah. . . the main character is a prostitute. Activating faith got her hands dirty unlike the big, glittered, bubble letters that spell F-A-I-T-H in the last Christian school I walked in.

We might say these are actions that we would not want to instill in our children. And we would be right. But that’s not the point of this story. The point of focus lies in two far more important ideas: her heart and her priorities.

Rahab’s heart was to save the lives of the spies who would have surely been killed if not for her intervention. There was no other way to divert their attention than to tell the rally of enemy troops to go look somewhere else and fabricate a story. Her priority of authority aligned in a way that we should fashion for ourselves and others. She believed and feared God over anyone else based on her tale in the book of Joshua – “for the Lord your God, he is God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath” (Joshua 2:11).

This is surely not a narrative describing a pale and passive faith. Neither is it rooted in a character who lied and deceived for her own selfish benefit. This is a flawed human being like you and me, acting as a hero of faith when she had no idea she was one – simply because she put God and his work first, allowing her to partner with him. She is not a hero because she lived perfect but because she worked with God in his perfect work.

The most important takeaway from any of the character stories in the hall of faith is that God puts his Extra on their ordinary (and most of them are even less than admirable). We should long for him to do the same with us. By faith.

Benching Jesus

For many of us seasons of soul care are on a pendulum. If we are honest, there are times when we bench Jesus due to the issues of our humanity. Apathy, discontentment, distraction and procrastination can be a part of us just as much as our limbs are. We are silly and fickle trading Jesus to the alternate team when we force our efforts and attentions elsewhere. The reality is Jesus is the source of life to the degree of Abundant. And he can breathe such life into every nook, cranny and category of our lives; And every fiber of our being.

14 Then he came up and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” 15 And the dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother. Luke 7:14-15

Did you know that to any priest, prophet or really to any person that understood Israelite heritage at this time, what Jesus engaged in was considered ceremonially unclean? This is how counter-cultural Jesus was. With relentless care for a woman and her dead son, Jesus enters a taboo situation as he lays a finger on the bier that the boy rest on. A bier would have been like a bench, or an open coffin, that they rest the boy’s lifeless body on for carrying. To any witness, they must have been thinking “That isn’t allowed, right?!” This is “dirty” and honestly disrespectful in the culture. But the boy is yanked out of death and back to life. Jesus is never concerned with how we view him, he offers life anyway.

When we bench Jesus, we only seek to ignore the One who can touch the bench of a young man without a pulse and restore cadence to his beating heart. Today, stop the pendulum swinging. Stop everything you are doing for a moment and invite Jesus into every department of your life. For he can revitalize every “dirty” situation.

The New Year Jitters

It’s the time of the year when we embark on a cerebral journey into our previous 365 days. Thoughts ensue like “What did I accomplish last year?” and “Am I happy with what I’m doing in life?” This process has the ability to motivate us toward the reset button annually. We itch for something new and exciting. Set exorbitantly lofty goals. And of course, scroll our Instagram page to see if our life looks successful.

As we approach the new year we need to keep 3 points in our back pocket.

1. Don’t be anxious

As we analyze ourselves and wonder what we’re missing, we scramble to find new classes, adventures, flight tickets, hobbies, gear, etc. that we believe will add interest to our lives. We become anxious in taking urgent steps to validate our lives as what they are “supposed” to look like. But is that true at all?

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Matthew 6:25

From the perspective of the Giver of true, abundant life – the ideal life is not found in those additions that we stress over desperately needing. Additions are not harmful or pointless to your life but when we are anxious for them to fulfill our lives then we are trading the truth of the abundant life for a lie in things, wanderlust, trends, fads and stuff. The truth is –

seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33

2. Do be content

Along with the hustle and bustle of being anxious for new desires and ideas to fill our flaws, discontentment arrives. With the year’s expiration date rapidly approaching, we assume that we must launch into more important things so that we may be more significant. This may not be true of all people, but for many of us it really is. We become urgent in seeking treasure and purpose in our lives when seeking the kingdom first leads to those very outcomes. The Apostle Paul, a man who experienced the spectrum from living in blistering cold to bountiful comfort pens his perspective on contentment this way: 11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:11-13

Perhaps this year we must discover what it means to live in a new definition of contentment. For we could be exactly where we need to be for now.

26 And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, 27 that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Acts 17:26-27

3. Initiate

It all funnels into this: if we are seeking the kingdom first while pleased with our current circumstance then there is an opportunity to bloom where we have been planted. We ought to initiate bringing fruit to our situation in every way – benevolence, generosity, hospitality, community, marriage, friendships, ministries, day job, career, education. All of it.

23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. Colossians 3:23

If we are to live this out, there is no time for stressing over what could be or where we could be. There is here and now and there is diligent work to be carried out for the kingdom. Opportunities can and will follow. But why not cause action to begin by initiating in the areas you have available.

We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19

As we turn the page to 2017, do not be crippled by anxiety or paralyzed by discontentment. Manifest the love, care and compassion that pursued you where you are now.

For The Win.

Christ Our Advocate

“My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” 1 John 2:1

Thank you Lord that the Tribe’s pitching is rolling right now! . . . But when pitching doesn’t go so right, the man in the middle must exit the mound so the relief pitcher can be brought in to save the game. Seven or eight innings in, when the starter has given everything he’s got (and sometimes all he’s got is junk), the errors have been made, and runs have been handed out like dollar dogs, he must hand the work over to the advocate. The relief. The guy who steps in and saves. Continue reading

A Recipe for Eternity

Usually, when I’m talking to people about where I’m going to college, I will get a chuckle here and there when I say, ‘It’s called Eternity Bible College…so I’ll be going there forever.

Seriously, though, being a student at Eternity Bible College has changed the trajectory of my life and faith in so many valuable ways. The reality is that the rightful King has taken over the throne of my life. It is his mission that supersedes the plans I thought I had made for my journey. Continue reading