Leaving God’s Mark

Two things happened yesterday that God wove together. My friend, Brittany Brunskill, brought the word to church yesterday, man, that girl can preach!

Brittanypreaching

And I watched The Good Dinosaur. Seems like an obvious connection, no?

Ok here is the tie in, ready? rope-1469244_640

Brittany was teaching from the word of God on how to share our faith with others practically. 3 points – use what you have, invite and share your story. It is really quite simple, we just like to make it all complicated. We think the results are up to us.

Two of her statements stood out to me the most. One, the life change your friends could experience is worth more than your comfort. Two, God is at work all of the time, we often don’t know Him enough to see it.

Pretty powerful, let those sink in a minute…

As Brittany shared a portion of her story, most recently her journey of having a chronic illness, she told how terrifying it was in the beginning. As her friend, walking pieces of this with her, I remember how scary it was and still is sometimes.

The story in the Pixar film, The Good Dinosaur, is based on the character Arlo who is born afraid. His father tried to help him by overcoming his fears, in a sense trying to scare them out of him. In one scene this backfired and resulted in the fathers death. Yes it was awful and yes I cried during the Good Dinosaur, more than once. That one scene I think I will blame on remnants of trauma from Mufasa dying in the Lion King.

Anyhow, I digress, Arlo learned through walking in forgiveness and knowing His father better, that courage meant doing things afraid. As Butch, the T-rex said, ‘If you ain’t scared of a croc biting you on the face, you ain’t alive.’ Arlo thought he had to be rid of his fear to make his mark in the world.

Brittany has an incredible testimony of facing things head on. The part I love the most about her story is that as she sought God He proved faithful in letting her know Him better. She is able to be strengthened in the Lord knowing that her God, our God, is bigger than anything she will ever face.

Arlo’s Dad came to him in a vison near the end of the story when Arlo was in trouble and he had learned forgiveness and was trying to save a friend. His Dad said, ‘I knew you had it in you. You are me and more. Now go take care of that critter.’

Jesus said in John 14:7 ‘If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.’ Further in verse 12, ‘Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.’

We are the Father and more, we will do greater things. In Him. Abide, Know, Seek. Do it afraid, do it courageous, just do it. Make your mark on this world. Tell your story. Many are waiting.purple heart,bible-102684_640

 

Everything but Ordinary

“When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.” Acts 4:13

Ordinary – with no special or distinctive features, normal. Commonplace or standard. 

I have recently discovered that right now we are in what is called Ordinary Time according to the church or liturgical calendar. If we defined this by our worldly standards it would not be very significant. The reason it is called Ordinary Time is quite the opposite of our understanding. It is a reflection of the quality of God as the Divine Orderer of Creation. It is meant to be a fruitful time.

January has become a time that people set new goals and recommit to old ones and it is to be a time of hope and new beginnings. Often though, people are blue after the holidays or feeling lost without all the busyness and people and celebrations. Ordinary Time is a time to reflect on how God intervenes in the world and brings His divine presence into the chaos of our life. It is an invitation to practice our faith and relationship with God in the quiet. This made me reflect and think that God is everything but ordinary yet He often works through people who are.

In the verse in Acts above Peter and John had been arrested and were being questioned by the chief priests and elders after they had healed a lame man. The council recognized them as ordinary men which in those days would mean not educated in some way. Kris Vallotton said,” Until you have done the ordinary, you don’t have a place to do the extraordinary.” God called Peter and John strategically to show His glory in their weakness.

Sometimes we only think things count if we have a story to tell. I believe that it is in these Ordinary Times that God is creating your story, it is in the seemingly ordinary things that you are training. Kris also said, that Jesus is going to look for you at your place of responsibility. He called Peter and John while they were fishermen, not after they got an education or became extraordinary, it was God in them that made them extraordinary. What has He given you responsibility for? Faith, family, job, school, ministry? He is waiting for you at that place.

My story today is a stomach bug and so my place has been bed, computer, bathroom x 50 and podcasts are my friend today. So I was challenged by this question in my ordinary time of being confined at home to what has God given me responsibility for. Top 3, my relationship with Him, my family and my ministry of encouragement. Today He met me in the middle of my bug and I could still write, still send notes to encourage as I learned more about Him and checked on my family. In and of themselves none of these things may seem extraordinary but God is in all of it so He adds that dimension.

I encourage you to let Ordinary Time open your heart to His dreams and desires for you this season. The world will be astonished that an ordinary person had been with Jesus and is doing extraordinary things.

Shameless Audacity

Luke 11:8 “I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, but because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.”

This phrase, shameless audacity, jumped off the page and into my spirit today. Audacity – the willingness to take bold risks and the flip side is rude or disrespectful behaviour, impudence.  It can be like Wow, you did that? or How dare you do that? I believe in this verse it is the Wow version as other translations describe this as persistence or boldness, so I guess it depends on the heart behind the action and how it is perceived.

We had a real live version of this shameless audacity play out at 3am Sunday morning. A persistent ringing of the doorbell jerked us from the fog of our delta activity of deep sleep and moved my husband to the door. Then he opened it!!! To a drunken stranger nonetheless that had already staggered on to the next house. Then he called him back!!! This gentlemen staggered back waving his credit card and wallet like a flag of surrender and his innocence. Then my blessed husband let him in and shut the door!!! Meanwhile, realizing what was taking place and completely shed of any leftover delta remnants, I was sitting on the floor in our bedroom with the phone in hand to call 911 and prayed like crazy that my husband would not be stabbed and we would be left to fend for ourselves in that situation. We have a noisemaker in our room and  I could only hear the hum of conversation so I was straining to fill in the blanks.

Wade very graciously plugged this gentleman’s dead phone in to a charger and listened to his story of being abandoned at a party, having a dead phone and no vehicle and obviously too drunk to drive himself. He then let him use our phone to call his ‘buddy’ who so lovingly said, I will send you the address where we are now, nevermind I will come get you. Wade then helped him to call a cab. Praise God for that actually.  We laughed later that this guy kept telling Wade he should send him a fruit basket or something for being so good to him. Before he left he babbled about his business and if Wade Ever needed any work done, he would do it for free. Then he proceeded to write out all of his info and leave it and asked Wade to write our address, which he did!!! (This was to be for the fruit basket delivery , which it is now Wednesday and no sign of it so far haha). Talk about shameless audacity right! Well as I know in the days before Christ, alcohol usually takes down or obliterates any inhibitions that may have stopped us from doing things before its consumption. This usually leads to bad decisions or sin, not often a good place when it is abused for sure. Like our pastor says, sin can be fun for a season but there are Always consequences to our decisions.

I have been considering lately what a gift the Holy Spirit is. Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit when He left the earth and this would be our guide until He returned. He is showing me more and more how there is no limit to the capacity of that guidance. In this story in Luke 11 as Jesus was teaching His disciples about prayer and he told the story how a neighbour’s shameless audacity to ask for bread for company had the man get up in the night to give it to him, he went on to say, “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find;knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?” vs 9-13.

I moved into shameless audacity and invited our drunken stranger to church, I am sure it was no accident that his audacity had my husband open the door that night. I am excited to see if there is more to this part of the story. Let us all as followers of Christ move into shameless audacity into the things that He calls us to do and continue to ask and seek and knock, receiving more of His Holy Spirit power to walk in His ways. Let all of you who may not know Christ yet, do all these things too with shameless audacity, He says in Revelation 3:19,20, “Those whom I love (which is everyone)I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.”

We aren’t the only ones who knock 🙂 He created shameless audacity out of his never ending love for us. Know Him and be it for others. Our world is desperate for audacious Love & Hope!

PS. I just found this video by a band called Audacious!!! No accident here either. Pour out your spirit on us Lord under your Open Heaven!