Why Arkansas, Tina? February 10, 2012
I’ve asked this same question, dear friends. After the events of the past five years and all the crap that has fallen in my pockets, I had determined that the state of Arkansas had ceased to be a part of the Union. I could see God moving us back to Oklahoma or how about we try Indiana for a while? Never once did I consider the possibility of moving to the-state-that-must-not-be-named. Seriously, God? Why not just throw me into a cauldron of boiling oil while some evil piranha from hell eat me alive?
Yet, as I’ve grown to expect from God, He never sends me to the Land of Easy. Someone once said that they love being around me because they know God is close to me. I didn’t want to burst her bubble by reminding her that God is close to the brokenhearted and sometimes I’d prefer He pick on someone else for a while! Yes, God is close because I am ususally clinging to him for dear life!
These past five have not been any different. Pornography, prison and personal loss have surrounded me and beat me to a pulp and thrust me into a pit of despair do deep and so dark that I began to wonder if God was real for the first time in my life. Yet, here I am. Trusting, believing, and counting it all joy, knowing that the God of the universe is molding me and moving me to the next phase of ministry.
What does that look like? At this point, only God knows. I know it will involve ministry to those caught in the devestation that pornography and sex addiction inflicts on men and families and churches. I know it will involve prison ministry in some shape or form. I know it will involve our whole commitment to the things of God and the ways of God. And I know that it will happen in the-state-that-must-not-be-named.
If I’m going to be here for a while, I guess I should get used to saying the name and allowing the state back into the Union. Afterall, it already feels like home.
Arkansas. Let’s turn what the enemy intended for evil into something glorious for Jesus!
I-40 Traffic Jams and the Christian Life February 4, 2012
As Steve and I were moving to Hot Springs, AR from Madison, WI we had a pretty uneventful trip (with the exception of the cat getting out of her cage, freaking out and refusing to come out from under the truck seat). That was a minor irritation, though, and in no way hampered our ability to get from north to south in a decent amount of time.
When we were about two hours form Hot Springs we had to stop with the rest of traffic on I-40. We were parked and/or moving at less than five miles per hour for two hours, first because of an accident and then construction. We literally drove 20 miles in two hours!
But during those two hours I began to see a pattern of behavior that translates from the road to our spiritual lives. While there are a couple of these drivers I would try to convince you I really am when it comes to following Christ, what I know is that there are a couple of these drivers I really am (and I don’t like the mirror pointing at me!).
The first driver I noticed was the Oblivious driver. This is the one jamming to their tunes, putting on make-up, talking to the others in the car and updating their Facebook status… all while driving 70 miles an hour down the interstate! These are the drivers who are so distracted by the things of life and what is going on in their own little world that they miss the huge disaster about to happen. They are the ones slamming on the brakes at the last minute and swerving from lane to lane to avoid the accident they should have seen yards before.
The theme song for oblivious drivers should be Matthew West’s “My Own Little World”:
In my own little world it hardly ever rains
I’ve never gone hungry or always felt safe
I got some money in my pocket shoes on my feet
In my own little world population me
I try to stay awake through the Sunday morning church
I throw a twenty in the plate but I never give ’til it hurts
and I turn off the news when I don’t like what I see
it’s easy to do when it’s population me
What if there’s a bigger picture? What if I’m missing out?
What if there’s a greater purpose I could be living right now?
Outside my own little world
Oblivious drivers are the scariest on the road because the destination is all about them, and oblivious Christians are no different. Oblivious Christians believe that the world, the church, the worship, the pastor’s attention… it should be all about them. They have a hard time dealing with anyone and anything outside their own little car. It’s hard to have an outward focus when you are so full of yourself.
Paul has advice for those of who are oblivious to what is happening around us… only he refers to this obliviousness as selfishness: “My counsel is this: Live freely, animated and motivated by God’s Spirit. Then you won’t feed the compulsions of selfishness. For there is a root of sinful self-interest in us that is at odds with a free spirit, just as the free spirit is incompatible with selfishness. These two ways of life are antithetical, so that you cannot live at times one way and at times another way according to how you feel on any given day. Why don’t you choose to be led by the Spirit and so escape the erratic compulsions of a law-dominated existence?” Galatians 5:16-18 (The Message)
How are you living as an oblivious Christian?
What do you need to do to become more aware of others and their needs?
NEXT TIME: Obedient Drivers