“People today are afraid to be alone. This fear is a dominant mark of our society. Many now ceaselessly sit in the cinema or read novels about other people’s lives or watch dramas. Why? Simply to avoid having to face their own existence…
No one seems to want (and no one can find) a place of quiet — because, when you are quiet, you have to face reality. But many in the present generation dare not do this because on their own basis reality leads them to meaninglessness; so they fill their lives with entertainment, even if it is only noise…
The Christian is supposed to be very opposite: There is a place for proper entertainment, but we are not to be caught up in ceaseless motion which prevents us from ever being quiet. Rather we are to put everything second so we can be alive to the voice of God and allow it to speak to us and confront us.”
I know it’s almost 3am, I’m too sleepy but there’s just something about IGNITE 2011 that I can’t shake off my head. I am talking about the upcoming Lifebox Campus Conference in Manila on May 26 this year. And I’m also talking about setting 300 foxes on fire. Crazy idea, huh. Let me explain:
In Judges 15, there is this weird story where Samson caught 300 foxes, tied them tail to tail in pairs, set them literally on fire and let them loose on the fields of the Philistines. The fields caught fire and in just a few minutes, the Philistines’ source of food and military strength were nothing but black ashes on the ground.
Smart move. Bold move. Unprecedented move. Weird move. Crazy move. But no one can argue that it was totally effective. He was picking a fight with the Philistines on purpose so God can bring down his judgment on the people who oppressed Israel. But of course, that has nothing to do with IGNITE 2011, right?
Scarlet cord on the window. A symbol only Rahab and the foreign spies understood. For everyone inside the safe walls of Jericho, the cord was just one of the many unusual things about the infamous prostitute. For Rahab, it was a promise of safety, of deliverance, of salvation, not just for herself but for her entire household.
The conditions of the promise were interesting. Rahab had to tie the cord she used for the spies’ escape on her window, her family had to stay indoors during the invasion and she had to keep their espionage a secret. The last two conditions were fine; it’s the flapping red cord on the window that intrigued me.
We fast not to twist God’s arm so He will pay attention to us. We already have His undivided attention. We don’t fast in order to make ourselves worthy of His acceptance. We already have His uncoditional love.
We fast not so He will hear us but for us to hear Him. Not for Him to focus on us, but for us to focus on Him. To train our soul and flesh to be still and to know that above all, He is God and the lover of our souls.
God’s invitation for you to step out in audacious faith isn’t going to fall from the sky and hit you in the head. You’ve got to train your eyes to look for it. The impossible becomes possible only as you carefully observe and faithfully obey the direction of the Holy Spirit.
God wants to increase your influence and multiply your impact in more ways than you could ever imagine. But he doesn’t always do that by calling you to make dramatic changes in your life overnight. He probably won’t call your family to relocate to a remote jungle before the end of the month and translate the Bible into Braille for a tribe of blind cannibals. More likely, some ordinary opportunity or responsibility in your everyday life will seem to catch fire. Faith opens your eyes to see the potential to serve a God who is already at work on your behalf.
For those of us who have been Christians for a while, it becomes easy to think that we’ve pretty much exhausted the possibilities of the Christian life. We can settle into a routine of activities at church and in our small groups and Bible studies, with little expectation of anything new. The familiar becomes the predictable, and everything from here on out will be more of the same. We dip our teaspoon into the vast ocean of the living God. Holding that teaspoon in our hand, we say, ‘This is God.’ we pour it out into our lives, and we say, ‘This is the Christian experience.
I want to know what it means to live life and do ministry at the speed of God. I want to see God do so much so fast that the world will have to take note. Steven Furtick, SUN STAND STILL
All I can say is Amen. I want that too.
A Rabbi was once scorned by the daughter of a Roman emperor because he was not good looking. She was scandalized that such great wisdom be contained in such a sordid body of a deformed Rabbi.
The Rabbi asked her in what containers do they put their best wines in the palace. In jars of clay, came the reply. But why not put the wine in expensive silver containers? Why put up with lowly, ordinary, sordid jars of clay when they could afford to store them in more attractive containers? The girl was challenged with the idea that she ordered to put all their wines in silver containers.
The wine turned acid.
For some Christians, world missions is just one fine idea to toss around in church. They believe the great commission, they believe that the gospel of Jesus should be brought to all parts of the world and they believe that the church has to do it. But not by them. Not when it takes them away from their comfort zones, not when it’s such a huge inconvenience to their carefully-planned lives, and certainly not when they have exciting careers to work on.
While most Christians think of world missions as a secondary business of the church, God values it as top priority assignment. The idea is actually as old as the Old Testament. When God blessed Abraham in Genesis 12: 3, He said it plain and simple, “all the nations of the earth will be blessed through you.” When Jonah was eaten alive by a huge fish, he was actually running away from world missions, from reaching the politically powerful city of Nineveh.
If you knew the cure of a deadly disease that’s killing thousands of people, don’t you want to tell everyone of this good news?
This is the standard question pastors use to encourage church members to go evangelize and make disciples. In all honesty though, this doesn’t tug at my heartstrings at all. I mean, forgive me but I just think the question is too hypothetical. In my mind, there is no way I could discover anything remotely of medicinal value. And if ever I did manage to stumble into one, I’d probably be too worried it wouldn’t work on others that I’d probably just send an anonymous letter to a famous scientist so he could make further studies on the cure.