Moment by Moment…

29 06 2006

It seems as though it has been forever since my last blog. Actually, it has only been three weeks…never-the-less, it has been three weeks too long!

Well, let me begin by bringing you up to speed as to where I am in my personal spiritual journey. Over the past couple of weeks I have been impressed with the need to press in and experience my faith in a more tangible way. Here is what I mean…

As I go through this life, I find that it is easy to jump from Sunday to Sunday in my spiritual walk. As though I can only experience the supernatural power of God on the weekends of my life. However, this mindset or thought pattern couldn’t be further from the truth. As I read the scriptures and study God’s written word, I find that He desires more than that for me. His plan is that I see Him, talk to Him, walk with Him, serve Him, embrace Him, praise Him, worship Him, live for Him every moment of my life. There is no weekend or vacation time in my pursuit of His presence. My faith life, spiritual experience should be one continuous flow. Never ceasing!

I have been reading one of the classic books in the Christian Faith this past week. Practicing His Presence, by Brother Lawrence & Frank Laubach. Maybe you have heard about it…or possibly read it? Whatever the case, it has been an eye-opening read for me (I say eye-opening read…I guess my eyes have to be open if I am going to read…well, you get my drift)! This book is actually a compelation of the daily writings and articles of these two great Christian men. The writings that have been the most challenging for me thus far have come from Frank Laubach.

He writes this, “January 20, 1930Although I have been a minister and a missionary for fifteen years, i have not lived the entire day of every day, minute by minute to follow the will of God…But this year, I have started out to live all my waking moments in conscious listening to the inner voice, asking without ceasing, ‘What, Father, do you desire said? What, Father, do you desire this minute?’ It is clear that this is exactly what Jesus was doin all day every day.”

Wow! To think that I could actually begin to position myself to live every moment of every day in the presence of God. Always mindful of His abiding Spirit with and within me. Yes! Yes! That is my desire. I mean, can you phathom that kind of living. All of a sudden, everything changes. The way I do what I do. Where I go. How I speak to others. Everything changes…because it all becomes done in the presence of and in the name of Jesus Christ. That kind of living is what the Christian Faith is all about.

St. Irenaeous (who was a disciple of Polycarp – the student of the Apostle John) once said, “The glory of God is man fully alive!” I think the kind of living that the missionary Frank Laubach wrote about is the very type of living that St. Irenaeous was speaking about. When we live fully alive in the presence of Jesus Christ – He is glorified!

May God be glorified by your life and mine – every moment of every day!

Be blessed. Oh yea…CODA!

Drinking Coffee & Building Bridges!

2 06 2006

If the last post revealed my flair for “good music” – then this post will reveal a little more of my personal passions in life. Again this week I could start this blog with the very same introduction that I used in the last post, “Everyone who knows me…I mean, those who really know me – knows that I love…” great coffee! Again, no real secret here. I can’t hardly drive by a good coffee house without stopping and picking up a good cup o’ Joe. But here is the reason for this weeks blog, as a believer in Christ – let alone a pastor, I have a responsibility to assist God in His global expansion program. In the circles I travel in, they often refer to this as “Evangelism.” Now, before you form your opinions and get all uptight, let me help you understand the real purpose of this word. If you are like me, then the word “evangelism” probably conjures up pictures of crusades, stadiums, Billy Graham, the guy on the street corner wearing the placard sign with the writing “John 3:16” on it or something similar. Here is the deal though – all of that “stuff” may or may not be a form of the big “E”…But in any case, it is only a shallow corner of the pool. What I am trying to convey to you is that “E” is much broader and really much less complicated of foreign to your life than you may think.

Truth be told, I am not an evangelist. I do not have the spiritual gift which equips me for such a calling. I do not enjoy knocking on doors or passing out flier or tracts about Jesus. Bullhorns annoy me. Soap boxes aggravate me. And, placard signs tick me off. They really do! And if that was all there was to the big “E”, then I would be very frustrated. Do you know why? Because, the Savior of my life (Jesus Christ) gave me a very important charge to, “Go to the people of all nations and make them my disciples.” (Matt. 28:19 – CEV) If this is my responsibility, my spiritual charge – and I can only do it with a tract or a bullhorn, then I am destined to either be completely frustrated or a real failure!

Okay, so here is where the coffee thing comes back into play. Yesterday I discovered that an acquaintance and his wife were blessed with a beautiful baby girl. Well, I know how it goes when a baby comes – the mother and the baby get all of the attention (rightfully so – no complaint here)! Because of this, I wanted to do something for the father. This morning I got up and went down to the local coffee house (Carolina Coffee Roasters if you must know) and picked up a freshly roasted pound of their finest coffee for this man. After visiting with he and his wife and of course the new baby girl, before leaving I placed this bag of coffee into his hands and shared some parting words. Now, I know you are trying to get ahead of me and figure out what all of this has to do with the big “E”, so here it is. What I did today was simply to establish common ground with this man. I made a step forward in out relationship. Why? Simply because I wanted to. I have come to the understanding that everything in life pivots off of relationship. Without relationship you and I will accomplish very little.

What took place in my life today is just a picture of what real “Evangelism” is all about. It is about you and me connecting with people on their turf, in their world and building relationships. Evangelism is not so much about the big crusade as it is about the small personal connections we make with people. It is really about you and me building bridges into the lives of everyone we meet. You do not have to be their best friend, but you do have to care enough to reach out.

Jesus reached out all the time to those he came in contact with. The bible tells us he chatted with a woman about life while getting a drink of water, he chatted with lost people about life at a party that Matthew through for all of his lost friends, he chatted about life with a tax collector (thought to be the worst kind of sinner) at his house, and on and on the list goes. I am convinced that we would do well to follow his lead. I am planning to write about this again in the near future…But until then, just try to connect! Invite a friend for a good cup o’ Joe, grab a bite to eat somewhere, go drive a bucket of golf balls with someone you know who is searching for more in their life than just the average stuff…And see if God doesn’t show up!

My advice to you – grab a good cup of coffee, some good jazz music (i.e. Wynton Marsalis) and start a spiritual conversation with someone! Just see if this evangelism stuff doesn’t come more naturally than you thought possible!