Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Stop Thinking!

"How can I work for God?"

"What does God want me to do?"

"Who am I supposed to be helping?"

We all ask these questions every once and a while. The problem is that the only person who has the answers is a God who chooses to remain vocally silent. I've always wondered how I could figure out what God wanted me to do, and that's a noble query. Yet if that's where the thinking stops, it's a big waste of time.

In the brief season I played football, one of the coaches would always tell me, "You're thinking too much, Logan. You need to stop thinking about it and just do it." My problem the whole season was that I would think too much about doing a move and wouldn't ever get around to doing it... until the opposing player had already leveled me. And what made the star players great? They had trained their bodies to naturally preform the moves; they didn't think about it because it came naturally. That is exactly how it must be for Christians. We need to train ourselves hard enough so that we can get to the point where we stop thinking our "moves" through and we can naturally do them. If we can get to the point where we don't think about talking to strangers about Jesus or talking to someone we can't relate with or serve without being asked to, that is when we reach the point of being a "star" Christian.

You see, when we learn to program ourselves to react by doing instead of reacting by thinking, our spiritual sense get sharpened and we begin to react naturally by helping, serving, and doing. Then the questions turn from "How does God want me to help?" to "There's something I can do!".

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Doing Hard Things

Last summer, I read the popular Christian book Do Hard things by brothers Alex and Brett Harris. It was a book that called out teenagers who lived apathetic and uncaring lives. It discredited the theory that the teenage years are years for partying and fun. It called teenagers to spend their teenage years working for God. It got me thinking: What exactly could be accomplished if teenagers took their teenage years seriously and lived for God instead of themselves? I didn't exactly know what could result in that. America would certainly have a more mature, confident, and experienced generation of Christians. I personally didn't want to waste my teenage years, so I committed myself even more to Jesus. Do Hard Things made me want to do something huge for God. I figured school was a good place to start.

Fast forward several months. Things at school weren't going well. I myself had tried as hard as I could to do something big for God at school, but nobody was receiving me very well. In hindsight, my focus was too much on ME doing something big for God. It should have been trying to do the little things for God. The best way to begin making an impact is to do the little things exceptionally well. For example, would it be better to organize a massive praise concert or city-wide Christian youth conference, or to learn to serve around the house, at church, and at school, and to treat everyone nicely and lovingly? I personally would find it more beneficiary to do the small things well than doing one large thing well.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

God's Word

When I was thirteen years old, my youth pastor preached a Wednesday night series about spending time with God. He preached that if we students called ourselves, we absolutely had to spend time studying God's Word and talking to Him. If not, then we were either not serious about our faiths, or we had none. In each unfortunate case, we weren't true followers of Jesus. He then preceded to give us an example of how to spend time with God. He taught that we simply needed to spend seven minutes a day with God, with that time divided between prayer and His Word. I was then provided with a very cool journal in which I could record prayers or take notes from my Bible studies. For the next few weeks, I read my Bible rather regularly, though not daily. After some time, apathy took over and I no longer cared to read my Bible.

A year and a half later, I was a fourteen year old at Life Action family camp in Michigan. I would be at the secluded Christian camp for three weeks. It was a gladly accepted break from my life. My best friend had recently taken herself out of my life for reasons I still do not know, and my priorities in life were sadly misplaced. The speaker for the first two weeks at camp was a splendid speaker who preached about the power of prayer and the importance of reading the Bible. He challenged those who weren't reading their Bibles to read three chapters of John for seven days. I committed myself to reading my Bible. It took my nearly two weeks to finish John, but I did. I was enamored with how wonderful the Bible truly was. It was as if for the first time, God had opened my eyes to how sweetly majestic His Word was. Even though I had "walked down the aisle" and "accepted Jesus into my heart" as an eight year old, I never knew or loved Jesus, yet alone give my life and undying love to Him.

At the exact time that I was challenged to read my Bible, I began to read a book written by dc Talk. Titled Jesus Freaks 2: Revolutionaries, it was a book about Christian groups and individuals that changed the course history. The vast majority of these world changers ended their lives in martyrdom. It was in this book, and it's predecessor Jesus Freaks: Martyrs, that I saw an entirely new face in Jesus and Christianity. It was no longer about attending church, getting the answers right in Sunday School, or singing the songs in church. It became simply loving Jesus with all of my heart.

And what since then have I learned about Jesus by reading my Bible? I've learned how to deal with the impossible feat of carrying my cross every day. I've learned how to love someone even though I get nothing in return. I've learned how to align my priorities and my dreams with God's plan for my life. But the most important thing I have learned is that love is the glue that binds us all together. Love is the reason families stick together through hard times. Love is why churches reach out to devastated communities. Love is the reason why friends come together. Love is the reason that God died. God died for me. And for you.