When do you feel the most effective? Is it when you are happy? Or maybe when you get 15 hours of sleep (my favorite)? Or maybe when you are in the spotlight? Our effectiveness is a question that undergirds everything in our lives. Think about your workplace, but also think about your home. Don’t you want to have a safe home, or be a good parent, or live comfortably?
When I think about this question I think about false summits. You can see the top of the mountain! You look ahead and you think “1 more mile to the top”, “500’ to the top…”, “200 more steps to the top” only to be surprised with another summit even higher up that you couldn’t see before once you arrived. Even if you do know it is a false summit you still are left with the mystery of how much further it is to the actual summit.
Our effectiveness is tied to discerning which summits are real in our lives and which ones are false. If we wish to be effective, to be successful, we have to know when we are just climbing a false summit and when we are climbing that final hill. False summits aren’t bad, because after all, you are making progress, but they can’t be allowed to blind us to our eventual goal! The beautiful part about being a Christ follower is that there is not only a path for us to follow, but we already know what the final summit is for us. It isn’t happiness, though we will certainly find some along the way. It isn’t surviving hardship, though we will definitely have some of that too as we climb. It isn’t riches or fame. No, the true summit that we will reach with God’s help is to be like God (godliness). You can be assured that there is no one more effective than God and those who are like him.
-Devin & Sarah Q.
Jump first and ask questions later
My dad didn’t spend a tremendous amount of time teaching me lifelong lessons, but the ones he did teach I’ll never forget. One lesson came at a pivotal part of my childhood when he bought my brother and me dirt bikes (it was pivotal to me). I remember being so excited to try it out, but before he would even give me my helmet he put the owner’s manual in my hand and told me to read it from cover to cover. I read every single page before I went to sleep that very night.
Over time, I’ve noticed that our culture really doesn’t like owner’s manuals. When you bought something even 10 years ago it included a nice booklet with instructions and other pertinent information to help you “get the most out of your product”. Now it seems that all you get are a bunch of ads and, if you are lucky, an installation disc. There has been a shift from “learn how to do something then do it” to “just start doing it and figure it out as you go”. The question I continually ask myself is “is this true of my spiritual life our well, and if so, is that okay?” So far, it seems that the answer is two-fold.
First, our relationship with Christ is dynamic and not scripted. Some days I feel as if I know exactly what the Lord wants me to do, and others I find myself with more questions than answers. In this sense, my life in Christ is not a book. It is a relationship. On the other hand, the big picture of my relationship with God is a little different. It includes “why” I follow, and “how far” I am willing to follow. As a result it is much less dynamic because it is not like buying a dirt bike, or a tv, or a car. Instead, it is more like considering marriage or having a child. It’s a big decision and not one we should make lightly. Luke 14 tells us be extremely careful, to consider the cost of following Christ, because we must be prepared to give up everything.
You are about to embark on something amazing...
In laymen’s terms then, I think that the gospel of Luke has the same lesson as my dad had for me. You are about to embark on something amazing as you ride the dirt bike of God’s faith, but you need to know what you are getting in to so you don’t end up in the hospital, or worse, a ditch somewhere. This week we continue to study Gideon in our lifegroups and our “I am Jesus” series on Sunday to understand just what awaits those who understand who they are following. Jesus is His Name, but there is much more to see for those who are willing to dig deeper in our service of Him.
-Devin & Sarah
We have been studying in small group about Gideon and the few chapters that tell his story in Judges(Judges 6-8). I am always surprised when I start studying about him that the story is so short, but the impact is so large. Short story, huge story, lot's of good stuff in it. This past week we talked about discerning God's will, or plans for us.
If you look at Gideon it was without a doubt God's plan that Gideon defeat the Midianites. God orchestrated a plan that he wanted completed and Gideon was but a vessel he used. Isn't that exactly how we are, just a vessel God can use.
When I think of my own life, and where I am in life right now, it often looks like I cannot possibly do all that I need to do or want to do or am expected to do. I feel sometimes like Gideon, cowardly, and lacking. I have often asked for a sign, for encouragement, and help from God. Gideon asked, and he received. This story reminds me of just how big God is, how he accomplishes things the way he wants, no matter how crazy or unusual it may seem to us, God is so much bigger than we can comprehend.
So, I am reminded, be present, be ready, be willing, and God will use this vessel, God will sustain, he will strengthen the weak, he is an almighty God that uses ordinary people.
Amazing, right !