Lent, pt. 33

I had a cool conversation today.

While getting my phone updated, I was chatting with the employee.

cellphones

He and I hit it off.

And then the conversation went deep.

We discussed topics ranging from death to God’s sovereignty to parenting.

But it was also a great time! I felt like God orchestrated the whole thing.

We both agreed that at the end of the day, God is God.

Things happen in life that may confuse us. We don’t always know why.

But God is God.

Another thing we agreed on is that God does not need to be questioned.

He is God and we are not. Trust that fact.

God is God.


So next time you get your phone updated, stand in line at a store, or wait for your coffee, God may have an encounter designed for you.

Maybe, just maybe, it could be just what you (or the other person) needs.

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Are you living in a bubble?

Bubbles! What a great summertime activity to do with the kids. Even adults can enjoy a good bubble-making session.

I think I mentioned in one of those previous posts that while I was on the boat, I didn’t have my cell phone turned on. It got shut off while in port at Galveston and was not turned on again until back in that same port a week later.

I felt liked I lived in a bubble for that week. And it was terrific!

bubble

Only when you can go on a cruise for yourself do you understand the culture that is created on the ship. There are so many things happening almost all the time.

  • Rock climbing…did that.
  • Pizza at midnight. Totally there.
  • Dodgeball happened twice.
  • Live shows…every night.
  • Three separate comedy acts.
  • An ice rink!?!? Yep.
  • And list goes on…

I was in a bubble for a week. That bubble was popped when, in Houston, our flight home got cancelled. Reality hit pretty hard at that moment. And then, finally, we arrived home, an entire day later. It took a week to get back into our “normal” lives and routines.

It has been great back at home but I still wouldn’t mind going back to “bubble life.”


As a followers of Christ, our lives are in God’s hands. His will and purpose is fleshed out in our daily walk with Him.

But we, as humans, can choose to not live out God’s will in our lives. We can choose to go another way. This is where the great Bubble-Maker comes on the scene.

Listen to some of these Bubble stories:

  • Go on, have one more drink. One more won’t kill you.
  • Have you heard what Sally said? Well, I shouldn’t say anything thing…
  • Pornography is okay because it is only a picture, not an affair.
  • Are you going to really believe what your Pastor just said? Seems pretty judgmental.
  • You have not read your Bible in a few days? No big deal, God will give you grace.

You can probably add your own Bubble story to this list.

The devil, since the dawn of creation, has been weaving Bubble stories to distract men and women from the truth. He gets us to start questioning our faith, the Bible, even God’s existence. When this happens, our lives become bubbles. In other words, we stop living in reality and start living in fantasy.

Satan is a liar. Today, as you are reading this, can you identify any lies he has been whispering to you? It does not take real long for me to see what lies he tells me. But these bubbles can easily be popped!

In Acts 17, Paul is in Athens. Verse 16 says, “While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols.” The people were living in a Bubble. Their city was full of idols. They even had one named “TO AN UNKNOWN GOD”. Bubbles everywhere!

Paul begins to explain the gospel. He starts teaching about Jesus. God’s truth is flowing out of Paul. There were bubbles popping in people’s’ minds. Verse 28 gives us a massive bubble popping truth, “For in him we live and move and have our being.”


Can I caution you today? STOP living in a bubble! Let God and His Word pop the bubbles in your life. It is in Christ that we have life. We are not living until we live in Christ. If you recognize a lie heading your way, pop that sucker! Pull out God’s word (which is likened to a sword) and start slashing through the bubbles that the enemy is blowing at you.

Jesus sums it up like this, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10

Living in a bubble will cost you more than you want to spend, take you further than you want to go, and eventually will destroy you.

So let today be a bubble-popping day in Christ!

My Haiti Experience; Called!

Hopefully you have read my first post about Haiti; My Haiti Experience; Created. If not, please do so. It should help with context and flow.

Alright, part 2! My Haiti Experience; Called!

bag phone

Have you ever received a phone call? Of course, everyone has, right? With cell phones in abundance, people are getting called all the time. For the week I was in Haiti, I did not receive any calls. It was odd and a little frustrating to not speak with my wife for the week. I even had my cell phone with me. The problem was that I did not get any signal. My phone was in working order, but it could not get the signal while I was in Haiti. Getting any calls is impossible when one does not have the right signal.

Back in 1990, God called me. And it was not on my cell phone! In fact, the only phone that we owned that did not have a cord attached to it was the huge, 5-pound bag phone that my mom had in her car! I still remember when she would call from the Tom Thumb. The Tom Thumb was a gas station that was a mile away. She would call home so I could have the garage door open for her. Yep, it was a manual door. So, let me get back to the Call; but before I can describe the call, I need to set the stage. Knowing a little bit about how I grew up will help you understand my thinking and mindset about how God calls people.

I grew up going to an Assemblies of God church. Now that I think about it, I have been part of an A/G church for almost all of my 41 years of living. For me, going to church multiple times a week was normal. It never bothered me to have to get up early on Sundays to get to church. When I was 9 or 10, I was helping in the toddler rooms. I was part of the music ministry at the churches we attended. Having my parents involved was also part of my normal pattern. We were always at church. It was central to our family. But more than just our standard, I enjoyed it. I would rather be in church than anywhere else. It must run in my blood. On both sides of my family, I have pastors, missionaries, and many others who are involved in Kingdom work. So it stands to reason that when I talk about church and serving God, it was normal and enjoyable.

Now I can bring you to the call. Often on Sunday nights, our church service was dedicated to a visiting missionary. The person would come and preach a sermon and there would often be slides that they would show. These depicted life in whatever country the missionary was working. This was always neat because I loved hearing about other places. I still read maps, just for fun, to this day. There was one particular Sunday night when we had a missionary lady in our service. To this day, I could not tell you her name, what country she was from, or anything she preached about that night. But I do remember how she concluded her service. She had everyone stand. Then she proceeded to start at one end of the room and pray for people. She might be laying her hands on people as she prayed or she would just point to them. What was I doing at this moment? As an eighth grader, I was not really into the service. In fact, I was thinking that this lady was kind of crazy and she should go back to the desert from which she came! I had a buddy standing next to me and we were joking and being mildly disrespectful. But that didn’t stop God. All of the sudden I find myself standing in front of this lady and she is pointing at me. This moment is indelibly etched into my mind. She didn’t recite a long prayer. She didn’t rebuke me for misbehaving. She simply spoke these words, “You are going into the ministry.” That was it. No fireworks or audible voice. No angels floating around. My response was not even godly. I laughed. Yea, right lady. I am in eighth grade. Ministry? Whatever. Maybe you should go back to Africa. This was my thinking. And for the next three years, I would not think about this night again.

You still with me?

Now let’s move ahead to March of 1990. I was a junior in high school. Life was good. High school was a fun time with athletics, acting, and academics. Up until this point, I had not given my future much thought. I marvel at people who know what they want to do with their lives when they are in high school. I didn’t. (If you are in high school, don’t worry, God will find you.) Also at this time, my dad was a faculty member at North Central University. It was an idea that I could go there and live at home until I found some direction for my life. It was an inexpensive option that was appealing to me. The other part of my life was church, but more specifically, the youth group. I was always doing stuff with other students from church. And this particular March was no exception. There was a youth retreat at Lake Geneva, which was the A/G campground in Minnesota. I was a regular at summer camps, so I signed up to go on this trip that was entitled “The Great Thawing Out.”

The weekend was a blend of snow sports, food, and church services. The speaker for the weekend was another missionary. Mike Shields was to preach to us in each service. My attitude going into the weekend was not very spiritual but not worldly either. I was expecting to enjoy the services, play some games, go skiing, and maybe talk to some cute girls (not necessarily in that order). As with the missionary lady a few years prior, I do not remember anything that was preached or any of the services. But on the last night of the retreat, God would find me and set my life on a different path. Pastor Mike finished his message that Sunday night and gave an altar call. He explained that if there are any juniors or seniors that do not have specific plans after high school, they could come forward and receive prayer. That fit me. Again, it was not something I was worried about. I just had not given much thought to it. So I went forward. It was warm in the room. Standing shoulder to shoulder with other teens waiting to get prayer was interesting. You try to pray but you really want to listen to everything going on. Sometimes you close your eyes, but you don’t want to miss anything. Finally, the missionary got to me. He placed his hand on my head and said the following sentence, “Evidently, you’ve known this for some time, but you are going into the ministry.” What!?!? He was already praying for the next kid. Still no fireworks or audible voices. Didn’t see any angels this time either. In fact, I went over to a quiet corner and sat down. How long I sat there, I don’t recall. But in a very real way, I knew that God had called me. Wow. God, the Master Designer of the Universe specifically called me into His work. And friends, as I write this, that call is as real as ever. The cell phone of my soul has a very strong signal and this call is coming in loud and clear.

I decided to go to Bible College, specifically North Central University, after that experience. But it was different. I was not going because it would be cheap or that my dad worked there. I was going because I wanted to go. God called me and I would take steps to start living that call.

I think that I need to clarify something for you. When God calls somebody, it means that He wants to involve that person in the process of reconciliation; that is, the world being reconciled back to God. I have a part in that whole deal. The kicker is that God never retracts His call. I am in it for life. Whether or not I am living for God, He still has that call for me. So for me, my call will look differently than another person’s call. Right now, I am a waiter. I don’t cook, host, manage, or bus tables. I serve. I do my job and everyone does his or her job. If that happens, the guest leaves happy and full. God has a plan and he has called me to be a part of something great.

god call phone By the way, is that your phone ringing?