Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The trajectory of our Lives

"I guess I've just never felt the need for God. I've never had someone close to me die or a traumatic experience. Nothing has ever made me feel like I need God." 

A friend of mine a few months back got into a discussion with me about "my" religion. I was really excited because opportunities like that rarely come along without being forced and this one wasn't. As we got into discussion he made the statement above. One that just blew my mind because while I had heard it before, that time it really resonated with me. What do you say to that? What do you say to someone that believes of you that the only reason you worship God is because something traumatic brought you to him and you use him like a crutch to get through life? 

I sat in silence for a couple minutes after he made that statement. I knew this was a precarious moment, one in which I would need to tread lightly and with great care or risk losing any progress made with my friend. Do I wish that something would happen to bring him to his knees and draw him closer to God? No, not for a moment do I wish such an event for him but unfortunately, such an event is typically what brings people to God. They come crying to him, begging for another chance, fists shaking at him for allowing such an event to occur.

I continued to think about it and realized I didn't have "magic words" or the "right picture to paint" to win him over. I simply ended the conversation with expressing my opinion that typically, it does take certain events to occur to bring one home to God. That I hoped that isn't what would happen with him but I would always be there to answer any questions he had and find him the answers if I didn't have them. 

If you were looking for that great story where God gripped the heart and brought another one of his children back to him, this wasn't it. The reason I share it is because I think many of us are still trying to figure out what to say or do in those situations. It made me realize my inadequacy in dealing with those situations and how much I needed the Holy Spirit to speak through me but I just didn't know how. 

It made me realize I needed to "Get Ready"

This Sunday at NewSpring, my church will start a series pinpointed to help followers share their story with others, prepare us to talk to our family, friends, and even strangers about our faith. I know I need it. Easter is coming and what a great service and time to bring others with us. It's a proven researched fact people are more willing to say yes to attending church for Easter and Christmas. One is already past and not for another nine months. Are you willing to wait nine more months to get that very unlikely individual to church with you? I know I'm not. I'm ready to listen, learn, and act to get those I love to a God I know who saves and still performs miracles. 

Don't believe God still performs miracles. Let me share three quick stories just in MY LIFE of how he has proven he is the same miraculous God today that he was 2,000 years ago when Jesus walked the earth:

1. For the first twelve years of my life, I lived in Ohio where black ice meant the roads were extremely icy but it was clear and looked black like the asphalt. My mom hit such a piece of black ice one day driving. She spun off the road and proceeded to flip her SUV not once, not twice, but THREE times into the surrounding field landing roof down on the ground. Windows were blown out, car was completely totaled. Now ask me how much the paramedics did to treat her. NOTHING! Absolutely nothing because my mom walked away WITHOUT A SCRATCH on her. If God wasn't holding her in the palm of his hand performing a miracle, then I don't know what else is.

2. When I was a senior in high school I worked at a bar and restaurant in downtown Columbia. One night after work I was walking to my car and was approached by a guy asking for a cigarette. Before I had completely gotten the words out about not smoking, he had a gun out and at my head. He demanded my money and credit cards. My parents had always preached to me about such a situation so I hadn't taken anything but my keys and license to work. I offered my car keys but that wasn't what he was after. The next approximately five minutes of my life were the scariest I have ever had. He yelled at me and jabbed the gun at me, screaming that I wasn't taking him seriously. It's the one and only time in my life I truly thought I wouldn't be walking away. I won't go in much more detail but the gunman calmed down and walked away. In the space of twenty seconds, he stopped screaming, bid me to have a good night and get out of there before some "bad guy" came along and walked off. If God wasn't involved in that situation, I don't know what was.

3. You would have to know my Dad to appreciate this last one but let's just say my Father was not very nice when I was growing up. He was quick to anger and slow to reason. Completely opposite of what the Bible calls for. He was an alocholic my entire life. I prayed for years something in him would change. In April, I will be celebrating his 4th year of sobriety with him. I couldn't be more proud of him. A man that was too proud to admit his problem, who was unpleasant at best to be around, is now a man I seek for advice and grow excited to go home to spend time with. 

God works in his time. Not yours. On his plan, not ours. Come learn how to be apart of it.

"The trajectory of our lives can change before we even know it’s happening. It doesn’t take much. A phone call. A conversation. Unexpected news. But what if we could have a part to play in the life trajectory of other people? What if someone’s story could be different because of you? Would you play your part? Take a step of faith? Are you ready?"