Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Kingdom Collaboration

Hmm. Not really sure where this came from, it kind of just sprung up from my heart...

Last week an older lady came up to me after service and asked, "How did you ever learn to do all that?" She was referring to the sound and tech. She wasn't looking for a long explanation; it was probably only a passing comment without much thought. I struggled for words, settling for a answer about how 'I learned the basics a long time ago, and a lot of people have taught me a lot of things.' How was I to express that I had been preparing for this for what seemed the majority of my life- since fifth grade, and now a past year of rather intensive training. I can't tell you where I picked up this thought or that particular skill...it's a collaboration of my years of training and the people who mentored me.

I think this is similar to how Christian growth is supposed to be. Paul wrote that, "I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, and God made it grow." I can't begin to describe the people who have had an impact on my spiritual life. Some stand out taller than others. Some have impacted me without my cognizant recognition at the time. Certain phrases have deeper meaning to my heart than others. Some reveal a story that quickly springs to mind with the smallest reminder. Other things I have come to know and belief without attributing them to a specific time or place or season of life.

I think the concept behind these things gives insight to the phrase, "You have come into the Kingdom for such a time as this." Culture, relationships, and experiences gave Queen Esther an opportunity unique to herself. No one else had the position to say and initiate the things that must be done. Each of us has special skills, giftings, and most importantly relationships that impact the body of Christ. It is extremely short-sighted to limit this impact to material things - like my knowledge of tech serving the Church through sound, or an accountant helping balance a ministry's budget. Certainly those things have their place, but each one of us is equipped with something much more important: our story and our relationships. Bill will know people that would never interact with Sally's cirlce of friends, and Tom will have business connections that neither Bill nor Sally could ever hope to have. Similarly, my background, the people who influenced me, and that impact on my life- my story- can minister to people you might never meet. But your story will impact where my story fell on deaf ears.

The body has different purposes. Each local church reaches different types of people. I will minister in a different way than the person sitting next to me in service. For a time in my life, I was fascinated by musical worship. I thought one of the coolest ways to connect with God was through music. Yet music is not where my talents lie. You can be grateful that I will never strum a guitar and sing to lead a congregation. But I will serve where God has called me and given me ability to serve. I can influence people to worship -not through music- but as I serve my local church, as I run the soundboard, as I interact with God's people on a daily basis, as I allow God to take complete control, letting Him move through me.

We have a job to do. The Great Commission is our charge, even as it belonged to 11 uncertain men 2000 years ago. We have a body to serve. We have a story to tell. The Kingdom is in need of our services at such a time as this.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Perspective on Growth

Recently I reread Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis. I enjoy his overall story, but I love the short aside scenes that give detail and insight. One such scene grabbed my attention. Lucy has just returned to Narnia with her siblings, one year to them since their last visit, but during which Narnia has aged centuries. Lucy is the first to see Aslan and this transpires after her initial reaction:

"Welcome, child," he said.
"Aslan," said Lucy, "you're bigger."
"That is because you are older, little one," answered he.
"Not because you are?"
"I am not. But every year you grow, you will find me bigger."

Every year you grow, you will find me bigger.

That struck me as being such an awesome promise. I thought about about large objects and how relatively they shrink as we grow. Hiding behind my parents' legs is not nearly as reassuring now as it was when I was a toddler. I remember being about 12 and sizing up a large pine tree standing next to my grandparents' cabin. Yes, it was no seedling, but hardly as impressive as it was to my young preschool mind when I could play in the gap between the low first level of branches and the ground, the tree seemingly rising above us forever.

Some would say god shrinks as one grows up, until he becomes nothing but a crutch for the weak and dying. Yet to those who know Him, He is ever-expansive and beyond all comprehension. Large problems, death, fear, doubt, and scientific 'fact' do not destroy God's credibiliy. They do not reduce Him to a LEGO minifigure in a grownup's hand. Problems do not shrink God; they create opportunities in which He manifests His power and increases His glory.

The more we see God, the more we can see His greatness. To our perspective, He is constantly growing - exponentially.

This is a new year in which I hope to experience much growth in many areas. But more than anything, I want my view of God to get bigger and more Biblical.

This year may I grow, that I would find You bigger.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Future Career

Well, it's 2008 - Happy New Year.

This brings us one year closer to forcing the answer to the ancient, dreaded question. "What do you want to do when you grow up?" Asked to preschoolers and collegiates alike, seemingly always by friends of one's parents who aren't friends of the recipent, my answer today is more ambiguous than my life plans at age 4. Of course, since then, my parents have succeeded in convincing me there are more important things to do with my life than find dinosaur bones. I've also ruled out similar preschool dreams: firefighter, trash truck driver, professional athlete, or Superman.

However, it wasn't until today, as I was organizing some books after having glanced through a mail order catalog that my purpose and calling hit me.

Indiana Jones meets Dr. Jake Cooper, a Biblical archaelogist and hero of Frank Peretti's kids books. How sweet would that be?

I mean, that's almost as cool as this guy:

Well, maybe not. But I will always think it would be cool to be a historian / adventurer / archaelogist with a Biblical worldview who gets to travel all over and find really cool old stuff.

I will always love toys that make you think and use your imagination and hone a love for creative stories (LEGOs did this for me), as well as good books that train your mind while telling an awesome story out of a Biblical worldview.

And I will always want to be involved / support those who are involved with Christians and the Church influencing the arts - movies, books, good storytelling.

Hmm. Maybe I know more about what I want to do than I let myself realize...