Louder Than the Mob

 
My wife found this lodged up the nose of one of our kids the other day.  (If you know our kids, you know who it was…)  I learned something that day about the air passages between the nose and the mouth and I will gladly share if you ever need.  It is not easy to dislodge a bead from the nose.

I was also reminded of something that we all know:  Little things are the big things.

When I was playing basketball as a kid I could shut out every voice.  The people that wanted me to shoot the ball and the people that wanted me to trip over my own shoelaces (I did both at least once) were nothing but silence and faces.  There was nothing in the gym except my teammates and a basketball…  Unless my mom was in the crowd…

I can still hear her voice today, “Let’s go number 44!”

Little things are the big things.

In this world, I think we all have people yelling at us.  The mob crashes in and yells, “Crucify!”  Maybe they just want us to shoot the ball before we are ready.  Whatever it is, it can certainly fill up the room of your soul.

But, every once in a while, a still small voice sings out encouragement.  And that, let me tell you, is hard to dislodge.

I hope you hear that small voice today.
I hope you are that small voice today.

Jesus, give me the heart today to be a little thing in Your kingdom.

Driving  the speed limit

I intentionally drove the speed limit (or under) the entire way home from Colorado Springs the other day.  Six hours of obedience to the posted law.  It was not frustrating and I made it home in great time.   I walked away with four lessons:

1.  It is not easy to obey when you do not know why you are obeying.
When the speed limit changed from 75 to 65 I found myself saying, “Maybe they changed it by accident.” or, “There is no difference between this stretch of highway and the one I was just on.” It was as if I knew more than the OSTA (I had to look it up).

2. It is not easy to obey when you do not have to obey.
Funny thing. We see a sign that says 55 and we think, “I can go 60 without getting pulled over.” We do not feel the repercussions of breaking the law “a little” so we stop thinking that “a little” is breaking the law.  We are not forced to obey.

3. It is not easy to obey when nobody else is obeying.
I slowed to 65 and everyone else kept going 75-85. I got some looks. Nobody wants to be behind a rule keeper. Imagine my falling resolve as the general populace zoomed past.

We do not always understand God – that does not mean He is wrong.
We are not forced to follow God – that does not mean there is a lack of urgency.
The majority does not walk with God – that does not mean the majority is correct.

The forth thing I learned: Confidence.
Do you ever tap the brakes and check your speedometer when you see a highway patrol? I do. Maybe it is a guilty conscience, or maybe I am just guilty. But when I set my cruise control for the speed limit, I felt no concern, no guilt. There is something different about the man that chases after righteousness instead of license. The difference is confidence.

I hope you have that confidence. Romans 6:17 talks about mine.

Jesus, help me find confidence in doing what the world will not.  Amen.

DIY faith

Fifteen years old.  95 degrees in central Texas.  What a great day to ride my bike.  After about 50 miles of fun and careless dehydration, I was heading home.  Riding down this small hill I felt the wind in my face and I stood up on my bike to get the full effect.  It was great.  At the bottom of the hill I realized that my legs had locked up, so I coasted as far as I could and fell.  hard.  on the asphalt.  bike on me. 

So, here I was laying on the side of the highway with ants and blood all over my cramping legs when a car pulls up beside me.  “Hey, we saw you fall.  Do you want some help?”

“No thanks, I’m fine.  Just resting my legs.”  What?  As soon as I said it, I realized how bone-headed it was.  I’m not fine.  I was hurting.  But I was too ashamed to let anyone help me.  (they knew it too)  Explicatives on stupidity are not enough to describe me in this pride-filled state.  It took me about 15 minutes to recover enough to start walking toward home.  Ten more minutes and a truck came by full of people that refused to listen to me when I said everything was ok.  They put my bike in the back of the truck (and me too) and took me home.

We live in a Do It Yourself world.  Pull yourself up by your bootstraps.  Read a book and change your alternator, or your porch, or your marriage.

The church seems to exist in this world as well.  This is the era of the non-denominational church.  Don’t let history, or denomination, or the old guard dictate what you do.  You are a church with no ties to tell you how to minister.

We like “do it yourself faith”.  No accountability.  No heritage.  No “sins of the father”.  Just me, trying to find Jesus – or some god that fits my schedule and preferences, my likes and dislikes.  

Never realiizing what everyone else knows: that we are on the side of the road bloody and broken and ashamed and paralyzed.  

The “do it yourself” attitude is great.  BUT, what if I am so involved in DIY that I have forgotten how to ask for help?

Jesus will come along with His pickup ready to take you home.  Are you going to get in or are you going to do it yourself?

Jesus, give me a ride.  Amen.

Falling, yes, but from where?

Coach Andrade (rest in Heaven, old friend) was so mad at me in 6th grade. I shot the basketball, but was afraid to get stuffed, so I contorted left, right, backwards… hoping to avoid embarrassment.

Andrade looked at me and said, “If you don’t go up strong and correctly, you will sit on the bench for the rest of the game.”

I called his bluff. He was not bluffing. My knees still have red spots from where I rested my elbows the entire game.

From that day on it was go big, or go home.

They say we will fail, so do not set your sights too high.

They say:
We cannot keep every kid from doing drugs, so try keeping every kid from doing drugs and driving. You might get closer to succeeding if you are not aiming at the best.
We cannot help every family stay strong together, so try convincing them to stay in it for the kids. You might win one battle in the war.

I am all for being a realist, but I have some essential problems with the idea of setting my goals at an attainable level. Following are two reasons I would rather attempt awesome than mediocre.

1. We will not accomplish something original if we only hope to accomplish something everyone else is doing.

2. If I am going to fall anyway, why not fall from the top. (Or, if I loose 2 feet no matter what, but I start at ten feet, then I will end up at 8 feet – which is where everyone else was when they started falling.)

I think this might have been what Jesus meant in John 8:11 when he told the adulterer to go and sin no more. Shoot the ball, girl! I have the BEST reserved for you, and you are settling for pretty good.

In my professional life, my family life, my spiritual life, I do not want to sit on the bench.

Jesus, You catch me when I fall, thank You. I want to fall because I was going for the slam dunk and missed. I do not want to fall because I fell asleep on the bench.

Actually [Ack-chu-leeeee]

This is the way we say it in our house:  Ack-chu-LEEEEE (so if you want to really make me smile, drop in an occasional “Ack-chu-LEEEEE”

Usage:
I want peanut butter… AckchuLEEEEE… I want ice cream.
I found a rock… AckchuLEEEEE… it is a diamond.
It is time to wake up… AckchuLEEEEE… you can sleep a little longer.

“Ack-chu-LEEEEE” has great meaning in our house.

It is a do-over. Ack-chu-LEEEEE, it is even better. It is an upgrade.

(hear) I am blind, but I will settle for less blind.  NO.  i will only settle for perfect vision.

Some people like their life. Some people do not.

I really liked who I was before I met Christ. But even in the midst of liking who I was – I still knew I wanted more. I knew there was something else. For me (and I will never forget this), I felt this sense of hidden loneliness. I felt ALMOST whole, but there was a hole.   At times I felt like the hole was out of sight.  Sometimes I felt like the hole was in the middle of my heart.  Always, I knew it was there.

I did not know that I wanted or needed an Ack-chu-LEEEEE

Then I met God. I asked Him to be King of my life.

“Take control, Jesus. Fill my heart. Be Lord.” It was hard to ask. It was hard to admit that I couldn’t fix this hole by myself.

Honestly, I did not think a relationship with Jesus would be that great – or that much different.

I was surprised and continue to be surprised every day with Jesus.

My life has followed this pattern:

I just need one more thing to make me happy… Ack-chu-LEEEEE… I have Everything!

Jesus, it turns out, is the prize I never knew I needed until I dove in.  I never want to be without Him.  I never will be.

You might need an Ack-chu-LEEEEE today.

Ask me – I will show you the Way.  John 9:25

Only part of the

I have some money for you.  Meet me at

Actually, the cure is really easy, just begin with

Do you take this woman to be your wife?    … I 

This is why I like the Bible so much and also why I hate the thing that we often do to the Bible.

The Bible finishes the story, but we often ignore the ending.

I have heard a lot of people talking about what the Bible says lately.  They speak about the Bible like it is something that condemns us.  It does, but that is only half of the story and we are fools if we stop there.

Let me be clear.  I think we need people to remind us that we have sin in our lives.  My life is better today because brave, integrity-filled people cared enough about me to tell me that there was something separating me from God.

But what about the rest of the sentence?

Romans 4:25

The fact that we are forgiven of our sins when Jesus is our Lord makes all the difference in the world.

I wonder if we have overstated sin and understated Jesus’ forgiveness.

Is this part of the reason that the world hates the Christian?  Because we live as though sin rules and not Jesus.  Is  the first thing on our lips when we see someone, “sin” or “forgiveness”?

Preaching about sin is important in a fallen world – but preaching about Jesus is necessary.

Jesus, please give me enough integrity and sight to finish the sentence.