The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. John 3:29
As I started my arduous climb out of a time that I call my “hell of mercy,” I began feeling compassion in my heart for a certain needy neighborhood in San Francisco. I wasn’t nearly well enough to make a move into such a depressed inner-city neighborhood; nevertheless I was sensing some sort of inkling toward it. The fact that I had any impetus at all at that particular season of my life gave me hope that God was still talking to me at all. I found myself driving the half hour to the community doing what I call, “reconnaissance.” I wasn’t convinced yet that God was indeed asking me to relocate there in order to find some simple ways to serve him and help people. But it makes sense to me when I’m looking for the will of God I should pray “onsite” with as much “insight” as possible. Continue reading →
I had been praying for two years or so about moving to San Francisco to find simple ways of serving God and people. My friend Dennis knew what I was praying about, and he asked me if I had a “green light” to make the move yet. He knew I had been at our friends’ cabin in the Sierras for a month and a half seeking the Lord for direction about what to do next, and he wondered if I felt the “OK” to go. This cabin in the little town of Twain Harte (named after Mark Twain and Brett Harte) is one of my favorite places in all the world to go and hang out with the Lord. I already had a strong sense that he was asking me to embark on an adventure in “The City,” but I wasn’t absolutely sure, especially since he hadn’t yet opened a door for housing. I had already waited quite a while, but now I was trying to spend a concerted and extended amount of time seeking him in hopes that he would “say” something to me about it. Continue reading →
They fasted that day until evening… and inquired of the Lord… They asked, “Shall we go up to battle with our brother Benjamin or not?” The Lord responded, “Go, for tomorrow I will give them into your hands.” Judges 20:26-28
One day as these men were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Dedicate Barnabas and Saul for the special work to which I have called them.”Acts 13:2
Since it’s the beginning of a new year, I thought I’d share a few thoughts about how to know and do God’s will. It only makes sense that when we’re looking for God’s will about serious life situations that we’d take extraordinary measures to seek him. I’m not saying that in those circumstances that he always requires such seeking, because sometimes he just drops the clear picture on us without us making any effort at all. But I’ve found that he does sometimes require some more serious seeking than usual in order to dispense his guidance. It’s certainly not because he needs me to pray harder or longer or at an earlier hour in order to be able to give me his leading. It’s most likely because I’m supposed to get closer to him, and he’s using my crossroads to pull me in. So for me, in times of significant transition, in addition to praying about it, asking my friends to pray and advise me, being particularly attentive to anything God might want to speak to me in the Word – I’ll often spend an unusual amount of time conversing with him and might do some fasting, which is often part of serious seeking.Continue reading →
The Son can nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees the Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. John 5:19
Before leaving the States, Larry told us to pack some old shoes for our soggy hike through Hezekiah’s Tunnel in Jerusalem. (Google it for info and photos of the ancient tunnel. Pay particular attention to how narrow and dark it looks in the pictures!) King Hezekiah ordered the tunnel to be dug underneath Jerusalem almost 3000 years ago to get water into the City incognito, so that their enemies wouldn’t be able to cut off their supply. In addition to Google and Wikipedia, you can read about it in 2 Chronicles 32 and 2 Kings 20. It’s about 6 football fields long, sometimes just a few feet wide, and often no more than 6 ½ feet high. Having been through the tunnel several times before, Larry assured us it was “relatively safe” for the non-claustrophobic. (If you suffer from a fear of small, dark, and wet spaces you might opt to do some shopping in the Old City on the day your tour group heads for the tunnel.) Continue reading →
I know, O Lord, that a man’s life is not his own; it is not for a man to direct his steps. Jeremiah 10:23
A man’s steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand his own way? Proverbs 20:24
Calling ourselves “followers of Jesus” implies he’s going somewhere and we’re going the same places he goes. At the beginning of each New Year a lot us set goals for ourselves and make plans. As the wise spiritual sage, Woody Allen said, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans!” It’s not that planning is a bad idea. We should do it with our ears open to heaven.
Many of us who routinely pray the Lord’s Prayer zip over the part about “Thy will be done.” We say it about as meaningfully as grace over breakfast. But if we’re honest with ourselves, do we really want his will to be done – I mean not just about world peace or a more stable economy? Do we want him to meddle in our lives as far as to tell us what he wants us to do? Continue reading →
This is my final post on “Whatever.” In the first four offerings… I confessed my hiatus from praying for “whatever” God wants and then how I returned to it as a default. Then I referred to a bunch of Bible passages that show God’s demand for “whatever” and his prerogative to do “whatever.” With that in mind, I talked about the “God Positioning System,” and how it assumes our “whatever” posture. Let me conclude with our ABC’s…
If you know me, you’re aware that I like acrostics and acronyms (I’ve never quite understood the difference between the two). For example, I’ve used ABC for years to summarize how a person might come to a saving relationship with Jesus (Admit, Believe, Commit). But I have devised another ABC for the one who has already come to believe in Jesus. It’s sort of a second story ABC for someone who wants to know how to proceed in his or her friendship with God and be a “Whatever Christian” – At his Beck and Call.
Since I got my “whatever” back – I’m at his beck and call.I’ll try to do what he calls me to do, and it shouldn’t take more than his “beck” to get my attention. (“Beck” is an old English word, the shortened form of beckon, which means a subtle gesture or mute signal like a nod or a slight motion of the hand.) I hope to live in such a way that he needs but to nod or look my way to get my attention and direct me to do whatever he has in mind.
This should be my last offering on this topic, at least for the time being. If you’ve been following the previous three posts, I’m sure you’ve picked up that my motive for sharing these “ministry mantras” of mine is to not so subtly suggest your own musing about how you or your spiritual leader friends might think about spiritual service. All of us who love Jesus are in his service in one way or another, and I hope that you’ll find that some of these ministry values of mine will remotely apply to how you are to go about your own God-mandated assignment. Continue reading →