Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Spewing Chunks

The Gwinnett Fair last night was a blast. Not only are there thrilling rides and chilling Carnies but where else can you buy deep fried butter?!

Once upon a time, I was able to tackle every ride with a massive goofy smile on my face. Regardless of how rickety or how repetitious a ride was, it was no problem for me. With powdered sugar residue around my mouth, I’d hop to the closest seat and twitch with excitement until the ride hurled me into the air and tossed me around mercilessly.

My body apparently has changed a bit over the past several years. The first ride was great last night but then something started bubbling deep within me on the second ride. You know what I’m talking about.. there was the urge to regurge, toss the cookies, spew chunks, burp to the ninth power…

Man, what a bummer! I bought the unlimited ride stamp and only made it on four or five rides all night. Watching the crowds scream with pure adrenaline while benched on the side lines with a percolating stomach and green-tinted face wasn’t exactly what I had in mind. It brings a familiar passage to mind..

“So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.” –Rev 3:16

Heavy words from my savior!! In speaking to a group of lukewarm believers, Jesus expresses his utter distaste for their “on the fence” lifestyle. The Greek word for vomit in this verse is “emeo.” It means, “to vomit, vomit forth, throw up, to reject with extreme disgust.” Someone who is hot can be used by the Lord, someone who is cold can be convicted and transformed by the Lord, but someone who is lukewarm thinks he’s fine and thus remains unusable and unchangeable.

Where do you find yourself today? More importantly, how does Jesus find you today? Are you lukewarm? Do you find your security, purpose, identity, or joy from any other source than Christ? If so, verse 19 pointedly gives practical instruction on how to get out of such a lukewarm state: “Be zealous and repent.” In other words, enthusiastically, eagerly, passionately, and fervently turn from that behavior and mindset. Be honest and direct with the Lord and ask him to help straighten out your outlook and motives. And ya know what?.. He’ll meet you in that place of surrender and begin to work some radical changes in your life. Let’s all be diligent to examine our life and, in the words of Joshua, choose this day whom you will serve.

As for me? Well, I’m choosing to pursue my savior with everything I’ve got – and what a thrill it is! No barfing in my world today.

Monday, February 22, 2010

What the French, Toast?

The first thoughts on my mind this morning are all thankfulness and gratitude for the incredible life God has given me this year and specifically for a wonderful weekend.

I reconnected with a best friend from 13 years ago and enjoyed seeing how his life journey has taken him through so many dynamic experiences. I knew he’d end up being a brilliant technically-savvy entrepreneur. He and I were two of the only three people who were geeks enough to take Algebra II as an elective when we were only freshman. Good times. He’s now back on my radar and I’m praying that God will revolutionize his life and bring him back to Jesus.

Sunday mornings always thrill me. My middle school guys were out of control yesterday but I still love them. My ADHD ball of craziness shouted to one of his peers who was talking out of turn, “Shut your cannibal eater!” to which I promptly replied, “What the French, Toast?!” During our ever-so-brief moments of relative sanity, we actually had some interesting dialogue about the concept that whatever you allow into your life via your eyes and ears will come out of your life one way or another. We decided to be intentional about building each other up rather than ripping each other apart with our words. Later that afternoon, one of the boys skated up to me at The Cooler and said, “hey Billy, nice skates.” I replied, “Uhhh, they're rentals but thanks..” He then had that smile on his face like I was missing something entirely and then I remembered that we were trying to look for ways to be uplifting and edifying. Wow, so cool. These knuckleheads are really getting it.

Sunday morning church was just what I needed to hear. John Woodall summarized the whole idea of walking in the Spirit: “Don’t say ‘don’t’, say ‘help!’” The idea is that our efforts to control our fleshly desires with self-imposed rules and regulations actually feed our flesh and have the opposite result than what we’re looking for. Rather, the only way to control the flesh is to look to the Lord and ask for help. Fantastic. I’ll study this concept a bit more later today. Paul said that we must reckon the old man dead since we are alive in Christ. Today, I’ll keep my eyes on the Lord and remind myself that my freedom from sin is found as I abide in Christ.

Yesterday evening at the Aquarium was intense. I got to pet sting rays and baby sharks. Just the beauty of the place had my attention focused on the brilliance of our Creator. Each and every one of the species in that massive aquarium were created by God with love. The same God who made those peculiar creatures also designed me for fellowship with Him. While the animals were created IN love, we were created TO love – and that’s exactly what I’m aiming for this week.

May I encourage you, my friends, to press into the life God has for you in Christ this week. Every sin is basically our own effort to satisfy a need of some sort that God has already promised to fulfill in Christ. Hand the reigns of your life back to your Savior today and let Him live a life of victory through you.