Christian Living

1-2-3 Jump

Photo by Carla MacNeil via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Moses. Abraham. David. Joshua. Daniel. Jonah. Isaiah. Nehemiah. [Insert your Bible heroes name here____.]

There is one important reason that you know their names and not the names of the thousands of people God may have called at the same time. People with higher status in their day. From better families. People who were probably more recognizable as they walked the face of the planet. 

God gave those men an opportunity to do something for Him.

And they jumped. They actually did it.

We don’t know if God had called others who didn’t listen first. But the point is that you know their names because they jumped.

They heard God’s voice in the desert or in a burning bush or through a prophet or in prayer or in the belly of a whale.

And they acted.

They could have heard God’s call and ignored it. And God, in His grace and benevolence, may have allowed them to live a very nice and safe life.

But they didn’t.

They heard God’s voice, turned around, and… jumped.

Here’s the thing that blows me away: That same rare voice heard in the desert or the belly of a whale or in a burning bush… He lives in us as we are indwelled by the Holy Spirit.

The question for us isn’t:Where will we have to wander to hear the still, calm voice as He lives inside of us.” The question is… “When He calls us to do something, do we jump?

I don’t know what God has called you to do today. But I have committed my life to the idea that when I hear the still, calm voice– sometimes loud, booming, audacious voice– that I will jump.

Jump first. Let God count the cost.

Christian Living

If Prayer is a Verb…

If prayer is a verb…

  • You’ll knock on the door of your enemy to say you’re sorry, even if they wronged you.
  • You’ll nail the interview because you studied up.
  • You’ll check your friend into rehab.
  • You’ll get an A on the test because you got a tutor.
  • You’ll confront your boss about the things he says to you.
  • You’ll wait for your neighbors car to pull in; you’ll walk over and talk to them about Jesus.
  • You’ll go back and find that homeless woman and learn more than just her name.

God can do anything. He’s huge and good and loves it when we seek Him. But sometimes He doesn’t answer prayer because He has already provided an active solution to your prayer request.

Never forget. Prayer is a verb. Prayer isn’t passive, it’s active.

What are you praying with your feet today?

Church Leadership

Training to Save Lives

On June 1st, 2009 Air France flight 447 left Rio de Janeiro for Paris simply disappeared. 228 people and a giant plane vanished and was never heard from again. Family and friends arrived at the airport to pick-up loved ones who never arrived.

Did it blow up suddenly? Was it hijacked? Was it accidentally shot down by a renegade fighter pilot?

For nearly two years no one had any idea what happened. Families only knew that their loved ones were not coming home.

That changed when the flight data recorder was recovered recently, 2.5 miles below the oceans surface.

The cause? It was operator error. A pilot mistake caused the planes engines to stall and the jet basically fell from the sky at 100 feet per second. The plane fell 7 miles out of the sky in 3.5 minutes.

The French government’s preliminary report describes what happened:

The Air France jet’s 7-mile plunge into the Atlantic Ocean began suddenly when the jet’s instruments went haywire. Ice had blocked the jet’s speed sensors; the pilots could not tell how fast they were going. Warnings and alerts sounded almost simultaneously.

In response, the pilots made a series of mistakes, according to the French Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses, the agency that investigates aviation accidents.

Instead of flying level while they diagnosed the problem, one of the pilots climbed steeply, which caused a loss of speed. Then the aggressive nose-up pitch of the plane and the slower speed caused air to stop flowing smoothly over the wings, triggering a loss of lift and a rapid descent.

They had entered an aerodynamic stall — which has nothing to do with the engines, which operated normally — meaning the wings could no longer keep the plane aloft. Once a plane is stalled, the correct response is to lower the nose and increase speed.

For nearly the entire 3½ minutes before they crashed into the ocean, the pilots did the opposite, holding the Airbus A330‘s joystick back to lift the nose.

Read the rest @ USA Today’s, Alan Levin

For some reason the pilot’s brain was telling him, “I need to go up, I have the joy stick pointed up, we are OK.” But the situation called for him to do something counter-intuitive– to point the joy stick down so the plane would gain speed and the engines would turn back on, air would flow over the wings, and they could continue on their journey to France unharmed.

A lack of training of the pilot to do something counter-intuitive cost 228 lives.

What does this have to do with me?

Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.” – Colossians 4:5

Our instincts lie to us in the most important moments.

  • God puts us in the path of a hurting student, we get a clue as to what is going on in a casual conversation, and our instincts lie to us. They will be OK. It’s just a phase. It’s really none of my business.
  • God puts us in the path of a student who doesn’t know Christ, they ask us… “So, why did you come to my soccer game, I mean it’s really cool that you came, I just don’t know why you want to be in my life.” Our instinct tells us to play it cool and just keep building that relationship while we miss a golden opportunity to introduce a student to the only relationship they really need in high school.
  • God puts us in the path of an exasperated parent, they tell us they are struggling and they are arguing with their spouse a lot, and our instincts lie to us. Adding one more thing and meeting with me won’t help them, I’m just the youth pastor anyway.
  • God puts us in the path of a young woman being exploited and our instincts betray us. I don’t really know her, I just met her randomly at the train station. And I don’t want to get in any trouble. Meanwhile, a trafficker continues to sell this runaway to any creep with $100.

If you don’t have training to know when and how to respond, in Jesus’ name, in a counter-intuitive manner to your instincts you will miss more often than not.

Making the most of every opportunity means that you need training to see every opportunity and know what to do in each of those instances. Mention that to anyone in your church and they will LURCH BACK! “I wouldn’t have a clue what to do in any of those situations?”

Herein lies the problem. A lack of training is costing lives in your community.

Economic times are tough. And into that economic reality a new lie has found fertile ground and grown amongst church leaders that people in ministry and especially people in the laity don’t really need training– they just need to feel things out and listen to the Holy Spirit, you’ll know what to do.

Nonesense. That is a lie from the mouth of Satan himself!

A life with Christ has nothing to do with passively sitting on your hands, singing some songs, and dropping some cheese in the offering plate.

Your ministry as a leader isn’t about your teaching. (Nor success measured by your ability to attract a crowd.) It’s about what people do with your teaching, otherwise you’d be called a teacher. Teach them to save lives and kick them out of your pews and into their reality! Live it out in your own life. Lead them to places that they would otherwise not go on their own… that’s how you lead!

Want to see your church explode? Refuse to teach new things until they have tried what you’ve already taught them. (James 1:22-25) We don’t have a lack of preaching in America, we have a lack of application.

Training saves lives both in the physical world and the spiritual world. As a leader you will never make a more wise or cheap investment as training your people to both listen to the Holy Spirit and re-orientate false instincts to God-ordained ministry instincts and skills.