Do You Know How Fast You Were Going?

“Son, do you know how fast you were going?”

My 64 Chevy truck.  It was painted a few different colors – the most notable was a section of canary yellow near the front.  The engine was simple and even worked pretty often.  I was pretty sure her top speed was somewhere in the 55-miles-per-hour zone.

My answer:  “No officer, I don’t know.  How fast?”

I was about a half mile away from the entrance to church.  I was going there for Wednesday night youth group.  I was late.  There is a hill, a steep one, on that road and I had just gone down and was getting ready to turn when I saw the red and blues.

“You don’t know how fast you were going?”  His sarcasm and doubt combination punched me in the gut.  He thought I was trying to get out of a ticket by playing the dumb kid card.  

The truck had a few unique characteristics:  The stereo system was mostly home stereo speakers I had rednecked together.  The carborater was mad at the world because of its own simplicity.  The engine would stall when warm or when the vehicle was stopped.  The dash board gauges wanted to work.  The speedometer read about 5 to 10 miles under what I was actually traveling (or so I thought).

I threw out a random guess to avoid the appearance of complete stupidity.  It didn’t work.  “60?”  “You were going 80 miles per hour in a 55.”

In the end, he didn’t give me a ticket.  Maybe because I was going to church, maybe because the truck had stalled out and I couldn’t get it to start (he actually gave me a ride to the church).

Or maybe it was because when he said, “80 miles per hour” I started smiling.  Big smile.  I told him that I was surprised my little truck would go that fast.  I was amazed.  “Awesome!” (Probably not the correct response)

After church that night I walked back up to the truck, started it up, and drove home with a new amount of appreciation for life and 64 Chevys.  My truck rocks!  80 miles per hour.

Sometimes we are surprised at what is under the hood of our souls. 

“Son, do you know how much you are loved?”

What if I were to tell you that your spiritual speedometer does not even begin to register how much God loves you?  

I know the paint job on your spirit is patchwork.  I know the senses don’t all work all the time.  I know the heart overheats when you least expect it and sometimes you just stall out, that’s if you can get started at all.  

You don’t realize it sometimes.  I don’t realize it sometimes.  We do a poor job of monitoring how much God loves us.

If I could do one thing for this world, I would pull you over on the side of the road and tell you that you are loved more than you think you are.  Loved more than you can imagine.

I get the feeling this is a truth that most people do not believe.

But when you hear it…  When you see it…  You will get back in the car with a new sense of awesome!

God loves you more.  I pray today is the day you believe that.

Grape Scissors

There are 100 pairs of grape scissors at the bottom of the ocean.

I had to look it up.  I found this video on YouTube about grape scissors and Stephen Fry:

So what are they doing at the bottom of the ocean?

104 years and 6 days ago the Titanic sank.  Among its inventory was 7000 heads of lettuce, 1500 champagne glasses, and 100 pair of grape scissors.

I wonder how many pair were used during the above water part of the journey of the Titanic.  Hmm…

They are safe and secure at the bottom of the ocean.  Why weren’t they saved?

In the midst of fatal tragedy, no husband looked at his wife and said, “Quick, before you get on this life raft, run to the kitchen and get some grape scissors.  Save as many as you can!”

They are pretty cool to have if you like grapes, but grape scissors will not save your life in iceberg infested waters.  That is why they are at the bottom of the ocean instead of in a life raft.

There is a lot of stuff in my life – really cool, historic, shiny stuff.  I like to have cool stuff.   I think there are some grape scissors in my soul.

That stuff cannot save my life.  It is nice to have, but I am not going to grab it when the ship starts sinking.  

That makes me wonder: If I am not going to use it, and eventually I’m just going to let it sink, why do I bother with that stuff at all?

Maybe I will stop getting grape scissors for my soul and start investing in a raft.

John 11:25 “Jesus said, ‘I am the Resurrection and the Life.  The one that believes in Me will live, even though they die.”

Come by and talk to me sometime – I can show you how to invest in the Resurrection.

No A1

They have this great cafeteria at our resort hotel.  All kinds of great food.  The kids were getting pizza and chicken fingers and Mac and cheese,  I needed a hamburger.  

No – a bacon cheese burger with fries.  Carnivores rejoice!

I sat down with my family and immediately recognized the need for auxiliary stuff.  We needed napkins and forks and ketchup…  So I made a trip to the center island. 

Ketchup is fine for fries, but I needed something even bolder.  I prefer A1 Steak Sauce to make a great burger into an awesome adventure for the senses.  It will wake you up.  They had ranch, mustard, blue cheese…  No A1.  No bold.  No awesome adventure.

How do you look at God?

Is God the cafeteria?  A little something for everyone.  He can satisfy your immediate need so you are not hungry.  He can take care of the here and now.  Always there with what most people want.  

I’m just going to go ahead and leave this word here for you to think about:  BORING.

Or is God the A1?  Bold.  Adventurous.  Different.  Unpopular.  Delicious.

Joshua told the people of God, “Choose ye this day whom you will serve…”  Who will you choose today?

Be careful if you are choosing something that everyone else chooses – it might not be the bold for which you are looking.  And believe me, God is bold.  He will change your face and wake you up, but you CANNOT FIND HIM AT EVERY CAFETERIA.

Safety First, Or Ninth… Or Last

  I would have loved to ski with her but she asked so sweetly…  “Please can I ski down by myself, please?”  The second please was placed strategically.

Robbin and I agreed:  You can ski down the mountain, but we will be right there watching you.  And you must wait for us at this spot.  And not too fast.  And don’t take any candy from strangers.  And don’t vote without doing research.  And stay away from red meteors.  And test the water with your feet before diving in.  Be safe!

She was not safe.

Please do not misunderstand.  She was watched, guarded, prayed for, hoped for…
She skied down without falling, breaking, crying, or losing anything…
She had fun – but she was not safe.

Safe would have been to take her home, put her to bed, and lock all the doors.  Instead, she skied.

We traded safe for adventure and growth.

We want to keep our kids safe.  We want to be safe.  There is nothing wrong with either.  But sometimes we have to ask ourselves what we want more:  LIFE, or safe?

God places two people in the Garden of Eden that He knows are going to disobey.  Life or safe?
Jesus eats the Last Supper with Judas, even shares His cup (Matthew 26:23). Life or safe?
Saul the murderous zealot turned Paul the apostle sings in prison (Acts 16:25). Life or safe?

Jesus will protect you. He will never leave you nor forsake you. His eyes watch over the earth so He may strongly support those whose hearts are completely His (2 Chronicles 16:9).

But it will not be safe.

Jesus, grow me up. Get me out of bed and unlock the doors. One day or ten thousand more, I want life!

John 14:6-7