Friday, August 26, 2011

Push Pass Failure

I love new things don’t you?
What can compare to the smell, feel and touch of new shoes or leather
seats inside of a new car or the scent in a freshly painted house? But new gets old quickly; the shoes are
pushed to the back of the closet (with the rest of the ‘new’ shoes), the
leather seats get broken in-- we plop down on them without a second thought and
some days we just don’t feel like cleaning that beautiful house. It is our nature to give up on things
quickly, to grow bored and tired of what use to excite us.

God places within us dreams and visions; we are made with
purpose and on purpose. He is not a
creator of accidental inventions or experimental concoctions. He is the embodiment of intent and destiny. We awaken when we hear that voice urging us to
get up and do. And when the vision
becomes clear—oh my! In the days and weeks that follow we move and
are excited and can barely behave. With
the newness of this energy our capacity to create, build and motivate is
limitless. We start that business plan,
book or play or seek investors for that new business. We
cannot fail
. Furthermore it seems
like the entire world is on our side cheering us on and it’s as if we can do
anything but fly. Success belongs to us.

And then inevitably it happens—the pangs of life come into
play. The work is hard—sometimes
grueling, the folks that said that they would—don’t. The investment of time, work and energy seems
daunting and takes its toll. And we
think—it shouldn’t be this hard afterall
I’m gifted and God said this was mine.
We begin to back paddle or worse yet we seek
out a new venture (remember I said everybody likes new).

Listen to this—just because it’s God-given doesn’t mean it’s
not work. Remember Jesus’ great
sacrifice? That was not a pretty sight
up there on the cross. He knew we were
worth it. Your dedication and work is
worth it. You will fall, get tired, grow
weary and do a lot of sighing—maybe some crying. But grab hold to his hand and move. Move even when your cheerleaders pack up
their pompoms and go home, when folks question whether or not this really was a
smart move. Move, push, push. Learn to
become your own motivator and listen to that voice. Whatever you do, don’t
stop. You will not fail. Success belongs to you.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Christianity is Not a Religion

I often hear people say that we
shouldn’t make our children go to church or force our religion on them. In this
day and age it should be their choice. They
go on to say that it causes them to be resentful of the church and religion
when they are forced to go.

I remember as a kid having to
endure this very ritual. We practically
lived in church; Sunday morning and Sunday evening service, Tuesday night bible
study, Friday night service, Saturday evening choir rehearsal and then we’d do
it all over again on Sunday. I remember
walking with Mom on summer evenings with my older brother through the
neighborhood and seeing the other kids playing, riding bikes and thinking why couldn’t we just be like normal kids. I didn’t grow up to exactly hate going to
church I just didn’t like to. When I
became a teenager and got a job I simply stopped going. Sundays became another work day--then it
became a host of other things. Mom was
disappointed but she didn’t force me to anymore.

I think she believed as I now
believe that once truth has been instilled in a person, it doesn’t just go away. I’d been taught the word; I’d been prayed for
and nurtured in this truth. And attending
church all of those years was not simply a duty as far as Mom was concern. You see, Christianity is not a religion; a
host of duties and rules to dictate our lives.
Christianity is about a relationship with Jesus Christ. Of course, you cannot force relationship,
anymore than you can force a child to pursue a career just because you require
him to go to school. But being taught
about God, instills within us the knowledge of Him thereby giving us a foundation that is true and eternal.

Most of us don’t want to make
our children go to church, because we personally don’t believe in the absolute
power of Jesus Christ. We aren’t
convinced the bible holds infallible truth and furthermore we view going to
church as simply a duty or tradition. For
many, Christianity is a
religion. It is an option like soccer or
basketball. But yet, we would not allow
such choices with school attendance or visits to the doctor. And yes, I know
you think that’s being dramatic. Think about it--if you believe in the absolute
necessity of being saved--not just as a temporary guide to help us live moral
lives but as a permanent path to eternal life (remember when we used to talk
about heaven and hell?) why wouldn’t you require them to go?

As I grew older it would be
years before I began going to church and this time it wasn’t out of obligation,
but because of the things I remembered about Him; how he loves me
unconditionally, only wants the best for me and one day when I die he will take
me to heaven.

Perhaps your children will
wander away as young adults. You will watch
them go. But you must trust that the word
has taken root. If it is alive as we
believe it is it will continue to grow and take root long after they have left
home and will follow them wherever they go.
And even if they don’t quite get it right away we know it is just a
matter of time before it comes to them.