Tuesday, July 27, 2010

When Strange Things Happen

When strange things happen I usually think one of two things.  Either A - a strange thing just happened, or B - God is doing something...

Just last week I had the incredible opportunity to speak to 5,100 high school students at the tri-annual youth gathering of the Presbyterian Church (USA) in Indiana - called Triennium.  It was obviously a huge honor to be asked to speak, and I was so struck by the students were so honest, genuine and transparent about their faith in Jesus Christ.  Just after I spoke, there came an announcement that there was a weather advisory posted for the entire region.  A tornado was on the way.  Everyone should stay inside the building.  I didn't need much convincing to follow instructions.  What was strange is that Indiana is not known for tornados at that time of year, especially in West Lafayette.  A strange thing was happening - God was on the move!

A week or so ago, I visited one of my favorite coffee shops in Paso Robles.  Highlands Church has recently had some issues with this particular coffee shop because of their recent desire to serve alcohol, and because of the coffee shop's near proximity to our church.  (A cafe latte with a double shot of whiskey anyone?).  The owner asked me to leave the shop.  I wasn't welcome here anymore.  "Get out of my coffee shop - I don't want you here."  I have been kicked out of a few classrooms back in the day, but never a coffee shop.  A strange thing was happening - God was on the move!

The Bible is clear about the connection between strange happenings and the moving of the Holy Spirit.  For many years, commentators have attempted to explain the strange happenings described in the book of Revelations; "I saw a beast coming out of the sea. He had ten crowns on his horns, and on each head a blasphemous name." (Rev. 13:1).  What does this text mean?  Nobody really knows.  People who say they do know what this text means are not telling the truth.  One thing is for sure, thought, when strange things happen - it is either just a strange happening, or....God is on the move.

All for now,

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

One at a Time

One of the toughest lessons of the Bible for me, is Jesus' commandment to; "love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you." (Matt. 5:44).  I don't know if my problem is that I just have too many enemies, or that I am just too much of a stalwart to change my frame of mind about something (I'm Scottish, I never like to change course once I start: and I have Scottish Parkinsons - I forget everything but my grudges).

One of the things that has helped me to "pray for those who persecute me" is to not try to pray for all of my persecutors at once.  I simply pick out one at a time.  And, in a sense, by picking out one of my so called enemies, I am really dealing with all of them.  I have figured out that all of the people I struggle with have a common denominator, and so by praying for one of them, I pray for all of them.

Every night I take my dog for a walk, and I pass by the house of one of my former persecutors.  I actually like the person, but there has been a history of brokenness and division between us, so there is a grand canyon's chasm of disconnect.  I have begun to simply, in a routine fashion, pray for this person each time I pass his door.  My prayer is not particularly eloquent or poetic, but simply, "please be with !?!?!?".  I also try to prevent my dog from peeing on this person's shrub...

I have only just started this process of prayer, so I am not sure where it will go exactly, or what I will learn or how I will grow from it, but I will let you know, pray for me:-)

All for Now,