Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Not a "Walk" in the Park


I needed to share a few closing words after chapel this morning. First, you have all made Angie and me feel so welcome. There is nothing lacking in the way you have reached out and blessed us. Most of you know, when you move, it just takes time to “find your place.” You need to learn the routines and rhythms of where you are, and there is no way to speed up the process. Angie and I are amazingly resilient and patient but we are simply in the Lord’s waiting room. Thanks so much for the love you have expressed just upon us!

Second, when I preach, I usually have about two hours of material that needs to be edited down to a reasonable length sermon. There are just a few things that I would like to express to you that have become recently real to me. When I was talking about the “Way” that Jesus wants you to follow, you know that Jesus is talking specifically about the way of the Cross, the way to Jerusalem, the way of humility. Now, this may seem a but disconcerting and almost frightening. But discovering the “Way” is not like jumping into icy cold water. Rarely is it a jump right in and take a class here at Bethany in Martyrdom 101.  Jesus has this wonderful plan that is usually reveled to His followers in baby steps.  He simply asks you to stretch just a bit and lean into the direction His voice. And before you know it, you find yourself standing right next to Him and He has taken you from where you are tonight right into a “table set before me in the presence of my enemies (Psalm 23). And to your utter surprise, faithfulness in the little things places you in leadership over many.

Someone was asking me this afternoon about finding His will. “Precisely how do I find the Lord’s way?” was the question. For me the easiest answer is found in Romans 12:1-2, where Paul writes,

“I urge you, brothers [and if Paul was writing today, he would most certainly include “and sisters”] in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-- this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is-- his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Did you read carefully the cause-and-effect relationship in the passage? When we make a decision in advance to offer ourselves to God then we will know what His will is! Our real problem is that our decision-making process usually functions in the reverse. We tell God to reveal His will then we decide if we will obey. In honesty, if we are pondering whether or not to obey God, we are already in serious trouble. Liking or disliking God's will is not the question. Faith is always the correct response. Just say, "YES" in advance of knowing where we are going. To walk in the Kingdom “way”, we must order our lives (and decisions) according to His Kingdom values. And being a Christ-follower means that we will do so even before we know His will...maybe the reality is that saying "YES" is actually the forerunner of discovering His will!

So, if you want to know His way, just follow Him…go wherever He goes…make every turn and every course adjustment. And make that promise in advance of even knowing where you are going. There is no better way to life than a “road-trip” with the Lord. And I promise you something in advance...He will transform your heart to love the journey you are on. Angie and I are on an adventure of a lifetime. Yes, some days I am uncomfortable and often somewhat unnerved...but I would not trade this trip with Jesus for all the silver and gold in the world. Just thought I would share that with you this evening, cause you all are on the same train with us!

Now, Go with God!

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