Sometimes I Lack Integrity

Many years ago I learned a lesson about “integrity” that I have never forgotten

This particular lesson was what led me to read about and study the topic of “integrity” for the last several decades …

Many years ago, at the end of Sunday services, like most pastors I would be standing at the door shaking hands and thanking people for coming…

And often someone would say, “I need to speak with you sometime this week. Please give me a call when you have time.”

I would agree and continue shaking hands and then head out to a town 2.5 hours away for a regular Sunday evening service Read more

Guard Your Heart

In this last entry for January 2021 and a look at life as we enter February 2021 tomorrow,  I want to chat about “Loving Who? And Why?”

Life (and particularly Covid-19) has a way of eroding our confidence in the goodness of God. After all, where was God when Covid-19 hit and took away someone we loved or someone we knew – a friend or someone we work with? Where is God now almost a year later? So, we could — and maybe should — question and wrestle with this whole concept of the goodness of God. And, in the process take an honest look at why circumstances and situations beyond our control cause our hearts to question God’s love and care. In other words, work through what we really think and believe about suffering and chronic disappointments of every day life. Both of which can cause us to pull away from God. Not so far as to abandon the faith … but still creating emotional distance between us and God, the Father, as we question (doubt) his goodness towards us in particular.

Life is a savage assault, striking at random, poisoning our heart’s assurance that God is good, or at least good towards us. This makes it so hard to find more of God, to receive Him in fresh and wonderful ways into our being and daily life. So it’s here we must seek healing within our intimate relationship with the Living God.

Allow me to explain an essential dynamic to the soul’s relationship with God. More of God comes to us as we love God. The more that we love God, the more we are able to experience Him. Part of this has to do with the nature of God, and part of it has to do with our own human nature.

You understand from your own relationships, your story of life, love, and relationships, that you don’t give your heart away to just anyone. You don’t give access to the deeper places in your soul to just any idle acquaintance — certainly not to someone who is at the same time keeping themselves distant from you. We know from your own experiences that when someone loves us, we are much more ready to make ourselves available and vulnerable to them. What we keep forgetting is that God feels the same way.

2 Chronicles 16:9 NIV “For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.”

Psalm 91:14 NLT “The LORD says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name.’

John 16:27a NIV “… the Father himself loves you because you have loved me…”

I’m really surprised that the human race expects God to pour Himself and His blessings into their lives when He is not even the slightest priority, let alone a close and dear friend. Would you give the best of your life to people who couldn’t care less whether or not you exist? God’s outpouring of Himself is conditional. I know, I know — we’ve all been told all about the unconditional love of God. Absolutely — his grace is unconditional; His forgiveness sis available to all. However, intimacy with Him, the treasures of His presence, the outpouring of His vibrant being into our thirsty souls — that’s for those who love Him. Even in the best friendship, the act of giving and receiving love ebbs and flows with the willingness of the two involved to make it a priority, to invest themselves. God’s heart is very much like yours in this way, for your heart is made in His image.

Now on our side of the exchange, loving God opens our soul up to the presence of God and the gifts that He has for us. Remember — your soul is the vessel He fills. So, we need, as in any friendship, to position our souls into the place whereby we might receive so much more of God. There’s no practice that facilitates the opening of capacity to perceive Him, and receive Him, like the turning of our hearts and souls toward God in repentance and love. Active loving — love as a verb, not a noun. This is what we’re made for, and the soul knows it, even if it’s long been unused. We know it even through we’ve pulled back in sorrow or disappointment. 

So, we need as we continue into month two of the new year to examine our hearts and open them wide open so that we can receive His love and forgiveness and find a time of refreshing in the presence of the Lord.

I love how our wildflowers track to course of the sun through the sky, slowly turning to face the warm, passing brightness from east to west in such a sweet act of humble adoration. Many flowers fold their petals inward come evening, through the chilly nights at seven thousand feet, then open again with the rising of the sun and turn its direction. “Hearts unfold like flowers before thee,” goes the great “Hymn of Joy,” “opening to the sun above.”

Melt the clouds of sin and sadness;

Drive the dark of doubt away.

Giver of immortal gladness,

Fill us with the light of day!”

That’s it — we need the clouds of sin and sadness melted away; we need the dark of our doubts driven off like night flees before dawn. We need our heart free of clutter. So that the Giver of immortal gladness might fill us.

Remember: “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” (proverbs 4;23).

2021 – Passive or Passionate – Part Four 

We saw Jesus had some issues with the church of Laodicea …

1> The Laodicean church had compromised its faith

2> The Laodicean church was conceited

3> The Laodicean church was Christless (Revelation 3:20)

They were so focused on themselves and their so-called success that they didn’t notice who was missing from the assembly: Jesus. To spiritually lukewarm believers, it doesn’t matter if Jesus is present or not. They become so caught up with themselves and busy with their agenda that they carry on without Him. And when Jesus does come near, they won’t let Him warm their tepid hearts.

So we see that passion for God and His Kingdom must move from something we occasionally think about to something we embrace heart and soul. Sue Monk Kidd writes:  “I’m discovering that a spiritual journey is a lot like a poem., You don’t merely recite a poem or analyze it intellectually. You dance it, sing it, cry it, feel it on your skin and in your bones., You move with it and feel its caress. It falls on you like a teardrop or wraps around you like a smile. It lives in the heart and the body as well as the spirit and the head.”  

Churches fall into spiritual passivity the same way they lose their passion: one careless believer at a time. If the church today — yours and mine in particular — is going to be a passionate influence on our needy world, it will only happen as individual Christians like you and me throw off the conceit of this age and pursue whole-heartedly an intimate, passionate relationship with Jesus.

St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, England is the home of a large painting by artist Holman Hunt that is known the world over. This marvellous painting features the front of a neglected cottage. Thistles have grown up the front wall and grass cores the entry walk. Vines, weeds, and rusty hinges in the painting convey a sense that nobody cares about the cottage or its residents. The scene represents a neglected life, a heart where passion has long since cooled.

But standing at the door of this cottage is the kind King, Jesus Christ, holding a lantern from which the painting derives its title, “The Light of the World.” The lantern light casts a warm glow over the front of the run-down home. And with His upraised right hand, Christ is knocking on the door.

It is a painting of stark contrasts. King Jesus, resplendent in royal robes, bathed in the light of His own glory, seeks admittance to this humble home. The most intriguing aspect of the painting is the fact that there is no latch on Jesus’s side of the door. An early viewer of the painting approached the artist to point out the “mistake” of forgetting to put a latch on the door. Holman’s reply reflects the key to Christ’s gaining entrance into our lives: “No, it is not a mistake. The handle is on the inside. Only we can open the door and allow Christ to come in.”

How often have I seen Christians whose lives are represented by the neglected cottage of Holman Hunt’s famous painting. Where the fire of passion once filled the windows with the light of vibrant life, now only the dimness of passivity is evident. Once the pathway was packed firm and the grounds weeded and trimmed for the frequent, welcomed visitor, but now the threshold is rarely crossed. And the door that was always ajar in anticipation of the Master’s fellowship is now shut and locked from the inside against a friend who is now regarded as a stranger.

Jesus said, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me” (Revelations 3:20). The key to unlocking the door to passion in your life, not just for spiritual things but for every facet of life, is throwing open the door to your life to Jesus and inviting Him to enter. It is impossible to be passive in the presence of Passion Personified! 

If the vines of passivity are creeping up the walls of your life, if the path to your door is nearly impassable, if Jesus’s knock at your heart’s door has gone unanswered in recent days, I beg you to throw off your passivity. Open yourself once again so that passion rules. Allow the Light of the world to so fill your life that His warmth and brilliance flows out to others in darkness. A.W. Tozer said, “Keep your feet on the ground, but let your heart soar as high as it will. Refuse to be average or to surrender to the chill of your spiritual environment.”

If you have surrendered to passivity by allowing your passion for God and life to become lukewarm, you must heed the call Jesus issued to both the Ephesian and Laodicean churches: “Repent!” (Revelation 2:5; 3:19)

“Isn’t that something for non-Christians to do?” You may ask. Yes, and if you are still investigating the Christian life, you no doubt sense Christ gently knocking at the door of your life. He wants you to change your mind about Him by surrendering to His Lordship. But repentance is also something for Christians to do when the flame of passion inside has dwindled to a flicker or gone out. 

Repent. Change your mind. Don’t lock passion or the Passion Giver out of your life any longer. That door handle is on your side, and no one can fling the door wide open but you — just as no one can give you an amazing and abundant life but Jesus. He stands at the door and knocks … and knocks … and knocks. 

2021 – Passive or Passionate – Part Three

This is part three in a series…

Losing our first love is another way of saying we have lost our passion. And the way the church at large — or any local church like yours or mine — loses its passion is by individual Christians becoming passive about devotion to Christ. A passionate life is not about doing great things for God apart from knowing and loving God intimately. You can serve tirelessly on every committee and ministry team, and faithfully attend every function of the church. But without the fire of passion for Jesus burning within you, you won’t accomplish much more than the space shuttle under butane power. We must say with St. John of the Cross:

Forever at this door

I gave my heart and soul.

My fortune too. 

I’ve no flock anymore,

No other words in view.

My occupation: love. It’s all I do.

Let me state the problem with the church in Laodicea up-front: When God finds apostasy in the church. He is unhappy. But when God finds passivity in the church, He is angry. Passivity is unacceptable.

Laodicea was perhaps the wealthiest city in the Roman province of Asia Minor in the first century. The money had gone to their head and dampened their heart. The church had once been soulful, passionate, and wide open. Paul mentioned the Laodicean believers several times in his letter to the church at Colossae, encouraging the Colossians to share his letter with the church at Laodicea (see Colossians 4:12-16).

Despite Laodicea’s material prosperity, the city lacked one important thing: an adequate water supply. They had to run a pipeline from nearby Hierapolis to obtain hot water from the mineral hot springs, and they piped in cold water from the springs in neighbouring Colossae. But since the pipelines were built above ground and not insulated, the water the Laodiceans received was neither fully hot nor fully cold, but lukewarm.

Hot mineral water is good for bathing and gargling. Cool spring water is good for quenching a blazing thirst. But lukewarm water is neither refreshing nor therapeutic. The lukewarm water of Laodicea became a picture of the passive faith of the church there. Jesus said, “You’re not cold, you’re not hot — far better to be either cold or hot! You’re stale. You’re stagnant. You make me want to vomit” (Revelation 3:16 MSG).

Jesus had three problems with the church at Laodicea, all of which grew out of its lack of passion for Christ.

1> The Laodicean Church had compromised its faith (see Revelation 3:15-16)

The Christian life is supposed to be hot, passionate, and fervent — not tepid. Apollos taught the Scriptures in Ephesus with great energy and excitement (see Acts 18:25). The word used in that verse is fervent, defined as “showing passionate enthusiasm” or “glowing hot.” Paul urged us to be “fervent in spirit, serving the Lord” (Romans 12:11). James called us to “effective, fervent prayer” (James 5:16). And Peter states that we are to have “fervent love for one another (1 Peter 4:8).

Does your faith have passionate enthusiasm? Is it glowingly hot?

2> The Laodicean church was conceited.

This church boasted “I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing” (Revelation 3:17). Jesus disagreed, stating that the church was oblivious to being “wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked” (Verse 17).

Conceit can’t see the faults in its own character, but Jesus can see them. Laodicea was wealthy, but the church was spiritually destitute. The city boasted of its textile business, but the church was spiritually naked. And though Laodicea was famous for its eye medicine, the church was blind.

More next time…

2021 – Passive or Passionate – Part Two

In the first century, Ephesus was the most prominent city in the Roman province of Asia. The city held one of the Seven Wonders of the World: the Temple of Artemis, a magnificent structure built in honour of the Roman goddess of fertility. But by the end of the first century when the book of Revelation was written, Ephesus was in decline. And new religions, Christianity among them, were competing for the attention of its citizens. Ephesus was a city whose passion had flickered and died.,

The church followed the city’s lead. The flaming fellowship was now reduced to dying embers. Where does the passion go when it leaks out?

We can’t say that the church at Ephesus lacked dedication. Jesus opened His message to them with these words: “I know your works, your labour” (Revelation 2:2). They were active and busy, and Jesus commended them for it. The word labour implies working to the point of exhaustion. There were apparently many in the church who were so busy in the service of the church that they were worn out. They were dedicated to building the church in Ephesus and making an impact on the city.

Nor was there a problem with a lack of determination. Jesus also commended them for their patience in service (verse 2) and in suffering (verse 3). Acts 19 tells about the persecution that came upon the believers in Ephesus from those who rose up against them. The silversmiths union, which profited from selling silver statues of the goddess Diana, was not happy with the anti-idolatry message of the Christians. The clash escalated into a riot. But the Christians there persevered in their determination to make a difference.

This kind of determination in suffering reminds me of a wonderful statement by the great nineteenth-century London preacher, Charles Spurgeon:

Pray God to send a few more men with what the Americans call ‘grit’ in them; men, who when they know a thing to be right, will not turn away, or turn aside, or stop; men who will persevere all the more because there are difficulties to meet and foes to encounter; who stand all the more true to their Master because they are opposed; who, the more they are thrust into the fire, the hotter they become, who just like the bow, the further the string is drawn, the more powerful it sends forth arrows, and so the more they are trodden upon, the more mighty they come in the cause of truth against error.”

Determination to hang in there seems to have been present in the Ephesian church. 

We also know that the problem in the church at Ephesus wasn’t a lack of discipline or discernment. In fact, the twenty-first-century church would do well to imitate the church discipline practiced by the Ephesian believers. They did not allow evil to spring up in their midst and bear fruit, and Jesus commended them for their discipline. They “tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars” (verse 3). It was not uncommon for apostle wanna-bes to circulate through first-century churches, looking for hospitality and a place to exercise their self-appointed authority. This church grilled the visitors on their theology and practice and sent them packing if they didn’t measure up. 

So what was the problem at Ephesus? Today, if we described a church as dedicated, determined, discerning, and disciplined, we would be talking about a church with some notoriety. And that’s the root of the problem. Despite all the Ephesian Christians had going for them, Jesus said, “Nevertheless, I have this against you, that you have left your first love” (verse 4). In less than a century, the church at Ephesus had moved from faith to formalism. In all their busyness they had lost their passion for Jesus. They were so involved in keeping up the religious practices of the church that they had become passive in their devotion to the Head of the Church. 

I see the same thing happening today. There are churches in every city and town with new ones springing up on a regular basis – being planted by believers who are out seeking and saving the lost. But we need to ask, what real effect are we having? We are making an impact to some degree – people are being saved on occasion. And, I would hate to imagine what any given country would look and act like if the church were not there. But are we having the level of impact that we could? Are we turning our society upside down the way Jesus and His disciples did theirs? I don’t think so. And in my view, it’s because we are more in love with the church and our ministry than with the Lord of the church. We have moved from faith to formalism. We have lost our first love. 

Losing our first love is another way of saying that we have lost our passion. 

More next time.



2021 – Passive or Passionate – Part One

Killer Dana was the most notorious wave in California. When it was really ripping and roaring, the best surfers in the world gave it plenty of distance. Legendary surfers knew that given the traditional techniques of their sport, that wave was more than they could handle.

Then came a teenager to prove them wrong.

In 1953, a boy named Phil Edwards paddle out toward Killer Dana beside the best surfers in the business, and people gasped. Was this kid crazy? He wouldn’t last three minutes against the tightest wave the West Coast had to offer.

But Edwards came right at Killer Dana behind amazing, award-winning suffers and shocked the rest of his party of suffers by cutting back into the foam. The rest of the surfers were riding their boards back to the shore – after all, that’s how it was usually done. But Edwards challenged the wave with a style and artistry that gave birth to a whole new sport: performance surfing. He quickly became the great superstar of the sport, just at the time when surfing came into its own in the popular imagination through movies, Beach Boys songs, and California culture.

Edwards was unimpressed with the crowds. “There are uncounted millions of people who now go through life without any sort of real, vibrant kick,” he said. He gave these people a name: “the legions of the unjazzed.”

He was talking about people who live their entire life without taking risks. “There is a need in all of us for controlled danger,” said the surfboard philosopher. Edwards believed that life is lived out where the foam is breaking, out where it’s easy to take a tumble and get a mouthful of salt water. In his lingo, to face that kind of excitement is to “be jazzed.” Even the best practitioners of his sport, in his view, were taking it easy, avoiding the risks.”

The passionate life, the life Jesus has called His followers to live, is about playing to our potential — giving it the best shot we have, even when the odds are against us, even when we’re weary, even when nobody else advises it. Passion pushes us forward as it did Phil Edwards. Athletes call this effort “leaving it all on the field.” But as we all know, sometimes a team doesn’t’t play to its potential. Sometimes an army doesn’t give its best fight. Sometimes we are all numbered among the legions of the unjazzed.

I’m talking about the sinister cancer of passivity that is so prevalent in the life of individual believers as well as the local church. This cancer slowly but inexorably squeezes the passion out of our life. I’m talking about how the adventure, excitement, and fulfillment we all crave is smothered by the wet blanket of apathy, indifference, and stoicism. The passionate life is one of activity, enthusiasm, and energy. Passivity shorts out all the circuits and leaves us bored and in a rut. Ferdinand Foch, marshal of France at the turn of the twentieth century, said, “The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire.” Passivity snuffs out that vital inner blaze.

Passivity doesn’t only attack our spiritual life. It is just as easy to slip into a passive lifestyle in our relationships with family and friends, in our work, in our activities and ministries at church, and in our extracurricular activities. In fact, if these other areas of our life are marked by apathy, boredom and a Who cares? attitude , it’s a sure bet that the vitality of our relationship to Christ has dwindled to a simmer. Unleashing the power of a passionate life begins by defeating passivity in our heart towards God. 

In the book of Revelation, Jesus spoke pointedly to two groups of Christians whose once-fiery passion for God and for life in general had cooled to a mundane and ineffective existence. I believe the churches in Ephesus and Laodicea demonstrate two stages many of today’s churches and individual Christians go through in the decline from passion to passivity. 

More next time…

    Sometimes I Am Not Patient live in an “instant world” 

Around the world there is universal lust for “now”

We can put food in a microwave and have a full meal in under five minutes with little to no effort

When in trouble we want to zap the problem and expect that it will be fixed in 60 seconds

If your iPhone or computer takes more than five seconds to download a site people get impatient and complain about how pathetic their phone is, or they just go to another site instead

We lack patience in just every aspect of life in the fast moving world of today

Expecting instant progress

Acting on impulse Read more

2021 – Focus on God’s Purpose

Bob Weighton celebrated his 112th birthday during the Coronavirus outbreak in 2020, which meant he wasn’t able to have a party or be with friends. That’s a shame, because on that day Bob became the oldest living man on earth. The Guinness World Records organization sent him a certificate, and newspapers hailed him in heroic terms. Friends sang “Happy Birthday” from a distance while Weighton, a former missionary school teacher, listened on his balcony.

“I can’t say I am pleased to hear that the previous record holder has died, but I am pleased that I’ve been able to live so long and make so many friends,” he said.

When asked about the virus, he said, “It’s bizarre. I’ve never experienced anything like coronavirus before. I’m a bit frustrated, but then again I’ve been in situations where you just had to accept what was happening.”

Then he summed up the wisdom of a 112-year-old: “There is nothing we can do about it so you might as well do what you can. Never mind about the things that you can’t.”

That’s the key. Focus on what you can do. There’s plenty you can’t do, but there’s one thing we can all do: we can follow God’s deep desire for us to grow into the image of Jesus Christ. Paul said, “I press on. That I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me” (Philippians 3:12).

That is God’s ultimate purpose for you and for all of us. Of course, He also has an individual plan for your life and for mine. But seriously, consider God’s ultimate purpose for your life — that you may become more and more like His Son, Jesus Christ. Romans 8:29 says, “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son.”

John Bray was Dean of Chapel at Indiana Wesleyan University. He and his wife were popular with students, and his chapel messages were full of life and truth. Then Bray was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. The onset of symptoms led him to resign his position, but he simply continued looking ahead. He continued moving forward.

“Everyone gets a diagnosis of some kind sometime in their life,” Bray told the campus newspaper. “There’s no reason I shouldn’t.”

He told his students he is not asking why. “I can’t change what’s happened to me, so why is not a pivotal question in my life. Now, ‘how will I glorify God in the midst of all this?’ That’s at the heart of almost every major decision a Christ-follower needs to make.”

Speaking of his disability, Bray said, “Even this, that I don’t like, is designed to shape me more like Christ.”

That is the voice of someone who has grasped onto God’s purpose for his life, and no matter what comes at him, he will not let go.

Matt Mooney is a professional basketball player who, like every athlete, tries to excel at his sport, with its victories and setbacks. He’s also a dedicated follower of Jesus. “I know God has a great plan for me. I trust in Him. His purpose for me is to glorify Him playing the game.” 

He said, “I can’t take the game of basketball with me to eternity. The only thing that is eternal is God and Jesus. I realized that years ago. When I started really focusing on my faith, I realized no matter how I played, good or bad, God still loved me and I still had my salvation intact.”

Pastor Rick Warren wrote, “Your spiritual transformation in developing the character of Jesus will take the rest of your life, and even then it won’t be complete here on earth. It will only be finished when you get to heaven or when Jesus returns.”

When God looks at you and evaluates you, He wants you to become more and more like Jesus, to follow Him closely and to emulate His life so that Christ is seen in you more and more. That only happens as you put your focus on Him. 

2021 – Be Who God Called You To Be! – Part Two

When you think about it, there’s no story in the Bible without a little fear and excitement. God always calls us into the unknown. I have never seen one single story in the Bible where God enters someone’s life and says, “You know what? You’re doing great. Just keep doing what you’re doing.”

No. He always calls his people to new levels of obedience, if not a new direction entirely. God enters Paul’s life and everything changes. God enters Jonah’s life, and everything changes. God enters David’s life, Moses’s life, Mary’s life. The list goes on and on. He’s a disruptive God. Even Job, who actually was doing great, had his life changed when God intervene. No one is safe.

I think Jacob got to do physically what we get to do daily, and that is wrestle with God.

In 2005, Steve Jobs (co-founder of Apple Computers) gave a commencement speech at Stanford University. He shared with the students a profound practice that he did daily. Every day, Steve Jobs looked in the mirror and asked himself the question, “If today were the last day of your life, would you want to be doing what you’re doing?” He then observed, “Whenever the answer has been no for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”

I’d say, whenever the answer has been no for too many days in a row, you’re probably not hearing God’s voice. Or you’re not responding to His leading. Because He isn’t silent. He’s quite loud once you want to hear. I just don’t know if you want to hear Him. I think this is why Jesus often said, “Whoever has ears, let them hear.” Of course, everyone has ears, but only a few use them.

Have you ever heard the Holy Spirit referred to as the Comforter? That’s such a funny name to give the Holy Spirit. Talk about misleading! Sometimes I think that name is just an inside joke they giggle at in Heaven, because here’s the truth. In all my life, no one has asked me to do more uncomfortable things than the Holy Spirit!

He’s always got something new for me to do, and it’s rarely safe, easy, or convenient.

However, over the years, the Holy Spirit’s direction has become less scary and more exciting. Not because there’s no risk now. If anything, the stakes are higher. The difference is that I’ve seen His faithfulness. I’ve even seen His ridiculousness. I’ve seen His show up, and I’ve seen Him show off.

I feel like God is slowly but surely trying to make us comfortable in the uncomfortable. Our plans and God’s plans don’t always line up. But maturity comes when we trust His ways more than our wants. 

When was the last time you felt God calling you to do something that scared you but also got you a little excited to see how your obedience could play out?

This generation will continue abandoning the Church if the Church continues to abandon the mission. But show me a church led by fearful, exciting obedience, and I’ll show you a church full of young people forming new heroes. 

2021 – Be Who God Called You To Be! – Part One

There is an author I have been recently introduced to. He has written a number of Christian books on loving others as Jesus loves us with the slant towards loving the non-believers into the Kingdom (the word we all hate: ‘evangelism’) I have taken a liking to him because he is simply being himself and being real. And young people are drawn to him.

There’s an idea floating in the church that you have to dress really cool, be up to date with pop culture, use all the new slang, maybe get some tattoos, and then maybe you’ll be able to connect with young people for Jesus. But this author is breaking all the rules. He’s just being unashamedly, unapologetically who God’s called him to be, and it’s a breath of fresh air for young and old alike. But the really religious people find him hard to swallow.

Another author I read a lot of wrote about this first author I mentioned:

“A few years ago, some friends and I had the privilege of grabbing lunch with him. And by that I mean he put his phone number in the back of his national bestselling book, so I called him. (Talk about making yourself available for people to join your life.) It was one of the coolest experiences because he told me something I’m never going to forget. Let me preface, however, by saying that he is a husband, father, bestselling author, public speaker, the director of Restore International, a lawyer, a professor, and the honorary consul of the Republic of Uganda. He’s also fifty-eight years old. 

Baffled by the amount of work he does for the kingdom, I asked, “…how are you able to do so much? It’s inspiring. But honestly, I don’t know how you get it’ll done at your age.”

“I don’t sleep,” he told me without missing a beat. My friends and I laughed because we thought he was joking. He continued, “No. Really. I don’t sleep. Lat night I slept for five hours and got my first call from Uganda at five in the morning.” He smiled and then said three sentences I will never forget. “I want to die exhausted. We have eternity to rest. Until then, let’s do things.”

He continued… 

That statement was so incredibly simple yet so incredibly profound, It wasn’t inspiring because he works so hard and doesn’t sleep. It was inspiring because he’s a fifty-eight-year-old man who dares to sacrifice his sleep and comfort for the greater cause. I have never in my life heard an older Christian say anything remotely close to “I want to die exhausted” for the gospel’s sake. A statement like that is seen as irresponsible and audacious. But I think the church needs to redeem the word audacity. Sometimes what the world calls audacity, God calls childlike faith.

My comment…

So, as I read all this and more I personally related to this man’s heart. There is so much to accomplish for the Kingdom and yet so few bothering to fulfill the call that is on every believer’s life. And, it seems the older a person becomes the less they are willing to step out in faith and risk their comfort and safety and security. I think that is seriously sad. And not biblical.

Here’s what I do know. When Christians have outlandish, outrageous faith, it reveals cultural Christianity for what it actually is: boring and ineffective. That kind of faith is contagious. And when it’s coming from an older Christian, it’s inspiring. It should make young people think, Man, I want to have that kind of faith at that age. What will it take for me to live like that when I’m older?

Someone once said, “If the size of the vision you have for your life isn’t intimidating to you, there’s a good chance it’s insulting to God.”

And just to be clear, a big vision doesn’t need to be moving to another country or having a large platform. It just has to involve doing something that scares you a bit, but excites you a ton. The younger generation wants to be disciples by older men and women who walk in a little fear and excitement when they respond to the Lord. 

More next time…