Crossroads Fellowship

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

I am a big jerk, praise the Lord Jesus isn't!

How many of us can relate to that statement? I would love to say that it was just a crafty statement I came up with, but the truth of the matter is that it is accurate and reliable. As we finish up in the book of Revelation I am again reminded of God's patience and forbearance and my lack of the same. Let me tell you how all of this relates by going back yet again to the story of me dropping in on the half-pipe.

As most everyone that knows me knows I have been working on learning to be a decent skater so that we can reach out to the kids in the community better through a skateboarding ministry. I have had some serious fear issues (see the post before last), and I have had to check my heart. However God didn't just stop there with me. He gave me time to really look at myself in the mirror and hopefully make some changes in who I am. You see I have discovered that I am really just a big fat jerk. As I have stood there afraid of dropping in on this half-pipe it was a real eye opening experience for me showing me how people can struggle with things that take faith. I mean I have always known that, but it really became real that day. On the half-pipe I have pushed, even driven some of these kids to just buck up and drop in regardless of the fear, and not letting them work their way into it. However when I have stood there afraid they started doing it back to me, and boy did it mess with my head and make me want to run away and hide and never come back.

Well the same can be said for me as I push, maybe even drive people to holiness and Godly living. But as I look at Revelation I have discovered God didn't do that. Jesus laid out what our punishment would be if we deny him, he spells it out clearly, and he tells us how we can follow him. But in the end he lets us make the choices as to if and when we will obey. If we don't obey there are consequences, if we do there are rewards. But he doesn't drive us to perfection, he doesn't push us beyond our limits, Jesus rebukes - corrects - trains - and encourages, but in the end let's us decide. Maybe I can learn something from Jesus!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

What's My Motivation?

Last week when I wrote I mentioned about working with the kids on the half pipe and the fear that seemed to grip me and overwhelm me as it related to dropping in on that half pipe. I told everyone of how I was on my knees at the top of that half pipe holding back tears confessing to God how fearful I was and how much I needed his help in this. What I didn't tell everyone was about the part where my friend Larry and I walked off into the woods so the youth who was with us could not hear what I was saying. Larry and I went to talk about my heart condition, or why I was doing what I was trying to do, and if it was Godly or sinful. So I want to share that here with you, and I want to tell you I am not sure yet of the answer.

You see we know that Paul tells us in the scriptures that he has become all things to all people that he might win some for Christ, and we know that this is good, but when can a good idea become bad. You see I want these kids to think I am cool, I want to have a rapport with them, and the only way I know how is to become one of them. The only way to become one of them is to start skating, and getting better at it. But then I ask myself do I really have to skate, or is this something that I want to do and I am just using them as an excuse. Can I just be with them when they skate, can I just speak their language, do I really have to engage them. Am I really skating because I need to become them, or am I skating because I just want kids to think I am cool. That is a lot of questions, but I think they are questions that need to be asked.

The reason I think we need to ask these questions is so that I can figure out if what I am doing in the name of outreach for the Kingdom is really outreach, or if it is me advancing my own personal agenda and saying that it is for God. Too many times people, myself included, try to advance our own agendas and plans all the while saying that it is God who is leading, and that we are doing it for him. I want to make sure that my heart is right, because at this point everything is on the line, and if my heart is not right then I have no promise from God. However if I am doing it for the right reasons, and my heart is right with him, then God promises that he will be with me as I go through it. So what's my motivation? What's your motivation? Are we building God's Kingdom and purposes, or are we building our egos and empire?


Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Fear and Faith!

I don't know if anyone in the world is going to truly understand this other than a person who has actually tried it. I have been working trying to learn to "drop in" on a half pipe. We have been skating a mini-pipe with the kids and so the drop is not completely vertical, but it is pretty close. To make a long story short you really have to throw your shoulder forward and lean way out to do it without wrecking. Everything in your body and mind rails against the thought of doing this and so you start to commit and then halfway through you try to lean back into a more upright position and that causes you to fall and hit your elbows, butt, and sometimes your head. Let's just say once you fall on your back from four feet up it gets a little scarier the next time you want to try. You would not believe the lesson God is teaching me in this. I sat on the top of a half pipe last night choking back tears as God dealt with me about fear, heart motivation, and what a big jerk I am. So my next three blog entries over the next few weeks are going to be about those subjects as they relate to this skateboard ministry in that order. So if you want to read about the fear continue on.

Before we go a lot further I want to post a picture of a half-pipe again so you can somewhat appreciate what I am talking about.
Now this picture is not me, and this is before the half pipe was actually done being built. But I hope you can see what kind of nutty crazy almost vertical drop for a couple of feet we are talking about, and the deck the guy is standing on is about four feet higher than the flat part of the ramp at the bottom. Actually standing on top of the ramp it looks even scarier and your heart will race with fear. I have seen teen aged kids cower in fear as they stand at the top and say no thanks I am not trying this.
So in an attempt to build my courage up we screwed down a little ledge half way up the ramp and I started dropping from there. Then we moved it up, and then up again to about 3/4 of the way to the top. Skaters watching me assure me that I can do it from the top, but you would not believe how much fear that last foot adds to the mix. So here I am last night in the almost dark standing on the top and the Lord dealing with me about walking by faith and not by sight. My eyes are what is telling me I can not do this, the people who know that I can encouraging me doesn't seem to help at all! Why is this? It is because I am choosing to believe what I see with my eyes and not the truth that I know in my heart.
God is using this half pipe to teach me to walk by faith more than anything He has ever used before. I even went so far as to close my eyes and drop from my little ledge so that I could start trusting. It is the same in our walk with the Lord. We see the world through our eyes and our eyes and senses reel telling us there is no way we can do this. God in the meantime is speaking to us and telling us we can do all things through Christ. Whether it be witnessing, tithing, preaching, teaching, singing on the worship team, or whatever ministry we are trying to do. Whether it be being a good husband, wife, parent, or quiting using drugs, or some other life change. Our eyes of flesh tell us we will never win, and we will never accomplish the task. As of the writing of this blog I have not dropped, but I am asking God to help me believe him that I can do even this. I wasn't a skater until I started learning so that I could advance his kingdom through a skate ministry, so I need to trust that he is with me, and even if I fall and get hurt know that God is working out all things for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose. So check back next week and we will talk about heart motivation.