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The What If Burrito

The What If Burrito

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.  But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.  If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.  If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.  For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?  And, “If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.1 Peter 4 12 – 19

A common internet meme in the Christian world these days includes the phrase “Haters Gonna Hate” and sometimes points to a portion of this scripture as well as a few others speaking to the persecution of believers. In getting right into the fat of that, it annoys the hell out of me. It’s definitely something that I have been struggling with lately as I watch some things unfold via facebook and some other places as well as in my day to day life. My Burrito Brothers and I have been discussing the concepts of false converts, “once saved always saved”, and what exactly a true “Christian” looks like in their walk.

Now, it is indeed something I have addressed before in The Un-Fruity Burrito, but there are some other things that I really wonder about, things that have poked and prodded me quite a lot lately. I’m talking EXTREME discomfort here from it lately. Maybe that’s because it pains me to think that there is even a SLIGHT chance that somebody I know and care about would have the chance of not knowing the real love of Christ that UI have been so heavily blessed with. What would you do? What does that conversation look like?

To jump back a bit and bring the scripture above into it’s relevance here, I’m focusing on mainly on verses 15 & 16 where it’s saying “If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.” How many times have you heard somebody talk about being persecuted? Believe it or not, I see a LOT of it, especially on facebook. Now, the thing that I see quite often though, and the thought that runs through my head is “Well you did just act like a TOTAL jackwagon in that last post you had before this one, so are you REALLY being persecuted for your faith?” So yeah, that whole “if you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal” piece there, I’m pretty sure jerk should be listed too, you shouldn’t suffer because you’re a jerk and claim that it is because of your faith.

I guess really, bottom line here, the question I’m asking is what do you see as the real signs of BEING a Christian? What defines that for you, and what about the people that hit that definition for about a week, and then turn into raging butt-munchers the next? Is that a “once saved always saved” situation or are they false converts? I have a feeling this is going to be a pretty spicy burrito, and it’s definitely already a big one, so join the conversation, and invite your friends along.

 
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Posted by on April 30, 2013 in Ramblings

 

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The Downtown Burrito

The Downtown Burrito

Recently, my good friend Lenny and I that started the Holy Burrito Brotherhood, had found ourselves as the only ones showing up to our Thursday get together. Most have had commitments with their ministries or their family, but others have just stopped coming altogether. We wondered if we had lost the relevancy to our goal of reaching out and having the honest and open conversations we had set out for, or perhaps our season was just over and it was simply time to move on. After thinking a moment, I just blurted out that maybe we should take it downtown. Instead of having people come to the Burrito, we would just bring the burrito to them. Lenny bit, and sure enough this past Thursday, we were heading downtown.

That night when I arrived, we printed out some of the questions that we’ve wrestled with onto strips of paper, mixed them up, threw them into a plastic takeout container and jumped in the car to head downtown. We jumped out and sat down right on market street where produce and artisinal vendors set up every weekend. It’s typically a high traffic area, so we figured we would have plenty of opportunities for discussions. Sure enough just a couple minutes after getting there, we had our first passerby. An older gentleman decides to take us up on our offer to draw a slip of paper. It was the question. THE burrito question. Of course, he just jumped right in and said “He could handle it!” as he handed the slip of paper back and went on his way. Not much of a conversation there.

We waited a few minutes, and it seemed as though suddenly the whole place had become a ghost town. Of course, the night we decide to show up there is absolutely nobody walking down what’s normally one of the most heavily trafficked areas in all of Roanoke. Finally, an older couple, very well dressed, who had quite obviously been out to eat at a fancy restaurant (Did I mention it was valentines day?) walked by and took us up on our offer. I don’t remember the question, but I think the word “God” was in the first couple words and as he read it, he threw it back at us and said “you know what buddy, I don’t care!”. Yep, there was the first rejection. Less dramatic then I had imagined it I guess, but hey don’t we all have that fantasy of getting just short of flogged because we’re spreading the Gospel? No? Well maybe I’m weird.

Next up came a pair of guys, one decked out in juggalo tattoos, the other looking visibly angered. They jumped in and grabbed a slip of paper and both picked the same question  “Do you believe in miracles? Have you ever experienced a miracle?” The first guy sat down and said yes, but his friend quickly said no and wanted another question, he picked the same one again though. Quickly Lenny told him that if he drew the same question again I’d give him ten dollars…he didn’t. Good thing because I carry cash long enough to get from the bank to pay my rent once a month. We’ll call our friends Tom and Chris. Tom proceeds to tell us that he believes in miracles, because the fact that he is alive alone is a miracle. He tells us a good bit of his life story, and based on what he tells us, he’s not kidding when he says the fact that he is alive is a miracle.

Chris is slightly agitated though, and begins to pace back and forth and then plugs a cell phone into charge in one of the electrical outlets there on the stall. He tells us that he doesn’t mean to be rude, but they’re not in the best situation because they’re homeless and they had just left probably the only place they’d be able to sleep in a bed that evening. They had been to our local rescue mission, and walked out when the current resident pastor preaching their evening sermon at chapel had told them, in no uncertain terms, that he was sure that not only were the two of them not “saved”, but that they were definitely going to hell. As the evening went on they stuck around to talk about faith with us, and just how they’ve been treated by “church folk,” as well as what they typically do and where they manage to find food each day.They told us that on nights where the Rescue Mission wasn’t a viable option they slept at the bus station. There was a place there where they could hide their bags so they wouldn’t get stolen, and there was a decent amount of space for them to stretch out and be comfortable, albeit on a sidewalk.

As we stood there, a girl, with a badly shaved head, and obviously pregnant came over and asked them where her boyfriend was. They knew this girl, and asked her why she wasn’t back at the mission. She told them she was trying to find her boyfriend, he had her coat. Without so much as a passing thought, Tom took off his zip up hoodie and gave it to her for her to stay warm. We never caught her name, but it seemed she wouldn’t have told us regardless.

Of course, our heartstrings had been tugged, and we brought them some things, but that’s irrelevant. What they showed us, after leaving somewhere because religion was being pushed on them, only to hang out and talk Jesus with us for two hours, is that it’s in the conversation where the Gospel is truly given. Where’s the next conversation for you? I know this isn’t the typical burrito blog, but that’s the question I want you to answer. That’s the next discussion to be had.

 
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Posted by on February 18, 2013 in General

 

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The Responsive Burrito

The Responsive Burrito

It has burned in me for days now. I have been assaulted and insulted in a steady stream on my social media feed by folks whom I love. I have wept and avoided the opportunity to weep. I have prayed, meditated, and cried out for guidance, seeking His wisdom and waiting for a response. It seems that in the midst of all that continues to go on in my life, I have things laid to my heart on top of them. All I can think when reading any of it is “YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG!”

What I have seen in these posts to my various social media feeds, has both hurt me, and taught me. While it is hard to say that I would be shocked by anything that occurs in theis sin cursed world, I still can’t help but not understand why so many choose to politicize and polarize issues when such a heavy loss is accrued by real people. While I was holding and praying over my 7 year old daughter, others were decrying a call to defend. While I was weeping and asking questions to God others were jumping to conclusions and attacking the already-formed polar sides.

Instead of mourning, people were debating. Instead of praying, people were rallying and attaching an unnecessary cause. Where have we gotten lost from what is the most important sermon ever given, some two thousand years ago upon a hillside? How has our line of sight gone from blessing to cursing? Friends, I am a wretched sinner, and I fall short every day, and am constantly undeserving of the grace that I have been shown, but how can we not have our hearts simply break for tragedies?

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

When wronged in such a way, and reeling from tragedy, why are we crazy to believe that when Jesus taught us to pray “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven” He truly meant we are to ensure that His will and His kingdom should be ensured and implemented now, and not only in the afterlife? When broken down to our core, how is it possible that we have such an earthly strength to see our own agendas and values to be attached to tragedy? When faced with loss due to an overwhelming evil that is ever-pervasive in this world, how do we NOT mourn?

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

There are beautiful lives that have been lost, and families that are forever changed, and forever broken from this. In the face of death, we are called to mourn. In mourning we can set our sights on things above, and be comforted. So why have we chosen to rally and fight?

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

When we are attacked and damaged, there is not an opposite effect to our resolution in immediate terms. Through damage we are weakened. Once weakened we are called to be patient and submit, so that we might we healed. So how is our cause strengthened by these things?

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

When hurting and asking questions, we should seek the answers that heal, restore, and regenerate. We are called to seek after the things we are missing. When covered in evil, we are most missing righteousness. So why do we seek to be filled up on things of material and egotistical comfort?

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

In an often used quote of an author unknown, we are told that Mercy is when you do not get what you deserve. Of course, in terms of punishment, we are oh so quick to seek justice, and more often than not, our definition of “what you deserve” is askew. So often, we are guilty, and of course in James 2:10 we are told that “Whoever keeps the whole Law but fails in one point becomes guilty of it all.” Yet it does not seem that we are given what we deserve for this. So why have chosen to hold others who simply disagree with us to a standard we ourselves are not held to?

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

Martin Luther King Jr. is quoted, from one of his more memorable speeches, that “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” In this quote we see that we are charged through this blessing to drive out darkness and hate, but in order to do so, we must be light and love, not different kinds of darkness and hate. So why do attack evil with evil, and hate with hate?

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

We hear so often that in order to obtain peace, you must prepare for war, yet all we have done in our lives for so long is prepare for war. All of this preparation for war, has only brought us more war. So if we are to be peacemakers, why are we attacking and targeting each other?

Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.

In words no plainer we are told that when people do attack us and say harsh things to us, since we are His, these things are blessings. The verse even goes onto say that we should rejoice and be glad, because we will be rewarded greatly for this persecution just as all the prophets have been that have come before us. So why do we choose to retaliate?

In Jeremiah we are told of the story of Rachel, who wept for the loss of the innocents. In the Gospel of Luke, we are told of the slaughter of the innocents. In both of these instances, God was there, and was ready to restore His people. So, I ask you to please UNITE in prayer FIRST. I know that “Faith without works is dead” but works without prayer are worthless, and in fact, given some pretty harsh descriptive terms in scripture throughout the Bible. Once we pray, we can rest assured that we can then act and know that what we are called to do WILL ensure that His kingdom will come and His will shall be done. A faith wrapped, prayer marinated, action burrito, will ALWAYS taste that much better.

 
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Posted by on December 17, 2012 in Ramblings

 

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The Un-Fruity Burrito

The Un-Fruity Burrito

The Un-Fruity Burrito

I never remember my dreams. Ever since I was about 13 and had a strange occurrence of a series dream, I can’t recall many if any of the dreams I have had since. The same was true this morning and pretty much all day today, but then, as I was sitting in a state of prayer, my dream from last night overcame me like I was watching it on a television. I had dreamed of having a conversation with myself. There were two of me, and we were having a chat about the fruit of the spirit. I’ve been thinking about and praying about the fruit of the spirit for a while now, and the dream brought it all to fruition (pun sort of intended).

We were in a room I had never seen before, sitting on couches, and I remember saying to my other self “It’s all that has been on my mind, and I know that it’s where my next sermon, or blog, or video, or song, or something will come from…but for the life of me I just can’t put it down on the page!” and I casually turned to myself and said “Well there’s your problem.” Just as quickly as it came to me, it was over. Im not writing about the fruit of the spirit per se in this. Nope, but I needed the fruit of the spirit to get me here.

The question I have today is a tough one, and I’m thinking it really doesn’t have an answer, but let’s ask it anyway shall we? How do you know another person is saved? I mean, let’s break this down. There are lots of loved ones out there that we want to be reassured we will get to see in the New Creation, and we need to preach the Gospel to them in order to ensure they hear it and can get there right? So, is there a red flag of sorts to say “Hey, this one’s good”?

I recently had a conversation with some of my Burrito brothers about something akin to this. I’ve always said that true Christianity is marked by repentance, and in my personal experience, I feel that my salvation has called me to action. A lot of people don’t share that view though. It’s very much just “Accept Jesus, sit back, and experience Grace” type mentality, but what about folks like Solomon. The dude wrote books of the Bible, built the first dwelling place for God that wasn’t a tent, and is considered to be one of the smartest folks to ever walk the planet. However, there’s nothing in our canon that speaks of his repentance once he got off track with chasing all those lady folk.

Of course, when our loved ones get off track and dive into sin, most people jump into Matthew 18 and make it all the way to that whole “treat them as you would a tax collector” part without taking into account the part before that when he calls this dude Levi, who was a tax collector to be one of the 12. Don’t remember hearing about Levi, yeah that’s because he changed his name to Matthew. You know, the guy that wrote the book that has that whole “tax collector” piece in it. He thought that was important to include, but he was a tax collector, so are we missing a divine irony there?

I’m pretty sure we’re JUST called to love people. I’m reminded of a quote I stumbled across recently “Love the sinner, hate the sin? How about: Love the sinner, hate your own sin! I don’t have time to hate your sin. There are too many of you! Hating my sin is a full-time job. How about you hate your sin, I’ll hate my sin and let’s just love each other!”-Mark Lowry. Yeah, I think that sums it up. We just have to love people, we have to forgive them, and we can’t know the deal they’ve got with the Big Guy.

So, what are we to do with “True Christianity is marked by repentance” and “salvation calls me to action” and things of that sort? Well, we keep living by our convictions there, and we keep on loving the rest of these folks, no matter what, and that’s what sucks about this Christian life so often. We can have as much Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Self Control, Gentleness, and Faithfulness as we want and more and when we are attacked, hurt, beaten, broken, bruised, scarred, put down, or just downright mistreated we can show it all the more by loving the folks that are doing it, regardless of circumstance. An audacious, scandalous, and downright scary love that we know because we did all those things and more to Him, and He loved us anyways.

 
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Posted by on September 6, 2012 in Karis

 

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One More Chicken Burrito…

One More Chicken Burrito…

Well, today is Thursday August 2nd and if you haven’t been under a rock, you probably have a severe distaste for what was once a delicious chicken sandwich, or a rabid hunger for them. I’m personally not a fan of waiting in line for a fried chicken sandwich or nuggets that I can (and have) successfully duplicate at home. Tomorrow is national same sex kiss day at Chick Fil A, where the LGBT community is planning to show up, ask for a water, parrot proverbs 25:21 so they don’t have to pay for it and support the organizations they protest, and then have a public display of affection in order to make the chick fil a folks uncomfortable.

Here’s a suggestion to Chick Fil A, if you want to walk the Christian values you espouse with your lips: Since you had “record breaking” income yesterday, hand them a free four piece nugget. If a man asks for your cloak, give him also your tunic right? Furthermore, since the Christian community had no problem showing up in droves to support Chick Fil A’s right to free speech and standing up for their Christian Values, then accept the challenge set forth by the emergent community: on September 1st, show up to a local hunger organization and volunteer. If you ate at Chick Fil A on Wednesday, and don’t show up on September 1st, pack up your bible friends and give up the cause, because you’re no longer serving the least of these, and the LGBT community are correct in their assessment of you as a hateful bigot.

As for the LGBT community, don’t think I haven’t seen your posts too. It’s time to see if you’re as big of a hypocrite as the folks you’re pointing your finger at. I challenge YOU to show up to the SAME organizations the Christian community are challenged to show up at and express the tolerance you’re yelling about and show that you give a damn about more than red states and blue states. I said in my last article – YOUR’E DOING IT WRONG. If we can stop arguing and responding to hatred with hatred, start a conversation, and do something about the problems in this world that affect ALL of us, then we’re on the right track, and Jesus is what we’re talking about. It’s not the Gospel of being right friends, it’s the Gospel of Love.

 
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Posted by on August 3, 2012 in General

 

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The Audacious Burrito

The Audacious Burrito

The Audacious Burrito

* Image credit to volpelino at Flickr Creative Commons

So, I’m not gonna be apathetic, what do I do now? Last time we talked about Apathy, this week, I’m going to the opposite end of the spectrum for another “A-word” and in this case, I want you to be ALL about it. I’m talking about Audacity today. You have to Inspire Audacity. Now, right about now, you may be thinking I’ve completely wigged out and gone against what I’ve always stood for here, but the definition of audacity I’m talking about today is “a bold and blatant disregard for normal constraints”. When looking in a thesaurus you will see a couple of different connotations, and depending on which connotation you take as your audacity mantra, you are either going to be doing it totally right, or completely wrong. The first one relates to courage, the second to impudence. The first one is about love, the second is about ego. Guess which one I’m leaning on here?

Now, audacity in our context means that you aren’t afraid to show that love and that energy that Christ has given you, regardless of your current scenario. You can’t shy away from proclaiming your Love and showing your Energy behind your faith. Again, these things are contagious and when others see that you’re not afraid, they’re a lot less likely to hold back as well. In the book of Romans in Chapter 1 verse 16 it says “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.” That’s pretty audacious right?

Now, this also means that you are going to have morals or beliefs that don’t agree with everyone, brace yourself its going to happen, because lets face it, morals are VERY subjective and there are a LOT of people out there in that world to process their own personal take on faith and morals. Here’s where being audacious comes into play with that, DON’T APOLOGIZE! Yes, you don’t agree with them or vice-versa but as long as you love them for who they are, just as Christ has asked of you, then you’re on the right track. You should never be sorry for your beliefs, but you should also never criticize someone else for what they believe is different from you. You can always, however, be the person to show the error of a belief they’ve been wronged by, and we all know that’s a huge part of what we need to do these days, but if they’re wrong, you’re going to have to use more than words to get your point across.

Proof. You have to Provide proof. That doesn’t mean you have to show someone proof that God, or Jesus ever existed. You have to show them proof that they exist through you. Put simply in one verse, Galatians 3:11 Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, “The righteous will live by faith”. Have you connected the dots yet? You and only you, can show that you believe and The ONLY way you can really show you believe and get others to believe with you is to DO, all the time, but that’s not all of it. Augustine is quoted as saying “Preach the Gospel always, use words when necessary.” What this means to me is that we have to START, with our actions when we are trying to show someone the Gospel, but we also need to remember that if we’re not telling them it’s because of Jesus, then they really aren’t going to get the whole message.

Now I know that it comes down to the fact that we are human and make mistakes, but that is the beauty of it all.  That’s why making mistakes, and getting rejected is AWESOME. Yep, I know, you think I’m crazy again, but stay with me for a minute. Failure may not be the most tasty burrito on the bar, but without it, the perfection of the success burrito starts to become pretty bland. The thing about failing in front of people, is that you can share that moment and you will all grow, they will see you’re genuine, and you will learn how to possibly better approach the situation next time. On top of that, it’s not really a failure because they heard you, they just might not agree. Being heard is the first step there.

One of my favorite quotes of all time is from Thomas Edison “I have not failed! I’ve simply found 10,000 ways that do not work.” In other words, after you get that rejection, regroup, rethink, and try again later.When you make the mistake, don’t hide it. Get out in front of everyone and let them know what you did, why it was wrong, and the fact that all of that is OK, because forgiveness is the built in save-all catch-all clause of our salvation, plus that’s a pretty basic pillar of Christianity, you know, that repentance thing. My favorite book on leadership has a name for these that isn’t quite Ministry friendly, so for the sake of PC, we will call them OW!Ms, which stands for an “Oh, WOW! Moment”. Yeah, putting yourself out in front of everyone is tough, but the more you do it, the more you grow, and growing is the name of the game, whether it’s in your faith, or career, or just as an individual in learning. So what’s your next OW!M look like? Is it going to be because you were out there with Jesus, or is it going to be because you got cheese and salsa all over your shirt?

 

Zach is a father, husband, and social media addict that describes his approach to faith as being a “Charismatic, Evangelical, Anabaptist that loves Catholic tradition, or just a plain old ‘lover of Jesus’ for short. He is the Youth director at Poages Mill Church of the Brethren and hangs out with an odd group he calls the “Holy Burrito Crew”.

 
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Posted by on May 31, 2012 in Karis

 

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The Fugitive Burrito

The Fugitive Burrito

So, why are you running away?

Jeremiah 29:11 says For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. In the church that I am a member of, we believe in the call to Ministry for all, which means, wherever you are, whoever you are, God has a plan for you to minister in some shape or form, He has a plan for you! Maybe, you’re a preacher, maybe you’re a musician, maybe you’re a sports star, or maybe you’re a volunteer to take care of “the least of these” type folks. Regardless of what that looks like, it’s a ministry.

This can be a scary thing, of course, to know that you have a job to do for God. I mean, come on, not too many bosses out there that could be that intimidating right? I mean it’d probably feel better to hear The Donald say “You’re Fired” then if we were to hear the Good Lord say that right? Well, here’s the thing, He will not fire you, but as a famous story in the Bible tells us, if He calls you, and you run from His call, He will find you.

God told a guy named Jonah, to go to Nineveh and tell them about God. Jonah was nervous and afraid, so he ran in the other direction from God to a place called Joppa and jumped on a boat to head towards Spain. Next thing Jonah knows, he’s being woken up by all the other folks on the boat. They’re in a complete panic and fearing for their lives because the boat is doing all kinds of rocking and tossing in a huge storm. Jonah realizes that this is God’s way of showing that He isn’t all too happy with Jonah since he decided to run. Jonah still isn’t too keen on the idea of going to Nineveh, because that place isn’t exactly known as a hospitable place for followers of Yahweh, so he tells the folks on the boat to just go ahead and toss him in the ocean to save themselves from the wrath that is really just intended for him. So splash and sink arrives and all of a sudden he’s in the belly of a big ole fish, of course Jonah now realizes that this whole running from God thing probably isn’t gonna work out too well for him, so he prayed to the Lord and told Him he would follow His command. Immediately, the fish spit Jonah out, and he high-tailed it to Nineveh.

I can’t personally say that I know of too many folks that have hung out in the belly of a fish or been chased by a huge rainstorm these days, but I do know plenty of people that run from God’s calling on their lives. Maybe they’re afraid of rejection, or feel they’re not educated enough, or whatever the case may be. A lot of people, when faced with adversity, are fully content with sitting down and just praying and telling, if not just asking, God to take care of it. A lot of these same folks get discouraged when nothing ever comes of these prayers and they continue to watch bad things happen all around them. I’d be willing to wager that after asking God why He won’t fix it or do something about it, if they would take a couple minutes to listen to His reply, they’d be surprised to hear Him saying something to the effect of “I DID do something. I made you!”

Now, don’t get me wrong, I definitely think we should ALWAYS start with prayer, and not just a brief little blip, but true, honest, earnest prayer and meditation, but if we look at the world around us and see things that are wrong, we should ask God to fix it THROUGH us, not just FOR us. We need to reach a point where we can become the answer to our own prayers, because chances are, if this thing is truly laid on our heart that much, He probably put it there for us. So, what’s the question I’m asking today? I guess, that’d be “Should we really expect God to do it for us?” Moral of the story? God has assigned you a job, He may or may not have told you yet, but when He does, It would probably be a good idea to start heading towards your Nineveh.

Zach is a father, husband, and social media addict that describes his approach to faith as being a “Charismatic, Evangelical, Anabaptist that loves Catholic tradition, or just a plain old ‘lover of Jesus’ for short. He is the Youth director at Poages Mill Church of the Brethren and hangs out with an odd group he calls the “Holy Burrito Crew”.

 
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Posted by on April 17, 2012 in Karis

 

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