Saturday, May 30, 2009

Here we go!

I leave in a few hours for the airport. It is kind of hard to believe that I am actually going! I greatly covet your prayers as I set out to enter the mostly unknown. I have such peace knowing that He is in complete control. At the same time, I have very little peace knowing that my heart is prone to wander. I need to be completely dependent on Him more than ever before. I am thrilled to go out to Germany... there will be many opportunities both for good and evil. My heart must be completely focused on Him throughout this trip. I was playing piano a few minutes ago... "People Need the Lord". I was thinking about the lyrics... "We are called to take His light, to a world where wrong seems right. What could be too great a cost, for sharing life with one that's lost?" It is absolutely true, the world is full of people and things that make wrong seem right. It is our job to share His light in a loving, but unrestrained way. We can't put a cost on eternally significant things like sharing the message of the gospel. Please continue to pray for me... for the hearts of the guys... for the hearts of the coaches. I am thrilled, but I need His help.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Going to Germany!

God has blessed me with a rather unique and unexpected opportunity. As of Friday evening, I was invited to play on the USA National Team Handball team in Germany from May 31st - June 8th. They needed a decision by Saturday and so after talking with my parents about it, we decided that I should go. I have to pay a very small amount, the rest is sponsored. This is a huge blessing! Anyway, I have a number of prayer requests that go along with this opportunity. Please pray...

1) That I would play my hardest as unto the Lord rather than for men (any athlete out there knows that there is a huge temptation to do things to please the coach and other players).

2) That they would see my effort as something that comes from Him and not from me (thinking specifically of Daniel and his friends in the Old Testament standing out among all the wise men).

3) That He would be glorified in both my words and my actions (I am prone to take glory that isn't mine... and I need His help).

4) That God would open doors of opportunity to talk with these teammates and coaches about Christ (I see this as a mission trip of a different type).

5) That the way I live would cause a bunch of guys, far away from home and accountability, to reconsider the actions which would be normal, for godless guys, in such circumstances (these guys need to see that there is more to live for than the pleasures of the moment).

I do not know if there are any other Christians on the team. I am praying that there are, but I have no idea as of this point. I realize that I am not at all beyond falling. Living for Him is a moment by moment decision. I covet your prayers a great deal as I go out to represent Team USA, but most of all, Christ.

1 Corinthians 15:10
But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.

I have chosen 1 Corinthians 15:10 as my key verse for this trip because it truly is only by God's grace that I live, breathe and have the opportunity to go on this trip. While Paul's words about laboring more than everyone else is concerning the gospel, I intend to work harder than everyone else out there in the practices and games for His glory.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Our God is a Consuming Fire!

It has been a long time since I've posted on here, and I really regret that as I am forgetting much of what I am learning since I am not writing it down as much. I have been very busy, but not too busy to write this stuff down... just haven't done it. Anyway, the message this Sunday was from Exodus 19 and Hebrews 12 mostly. I had a chance to teach the high school Awana kids Revelation 21 and 22 last night because the speaker didn't show up. I think I learned the new best definition of full dependence on Him--trying to teach Revelation with little to no preparation. ;) I think God blessed... I actually talked too long which surprised me. Anyway, we sang "Open the Eyes of My Heart", and I was thinking about that song in light of the things in Exodus 19 and Hebrews 12. Take a look at verses 18-21.
For you have not come to a mountain that can be touched and to a blazing fire, and to darkness and gloom and whirlwind, and to the blast of a trumpet and the sound of words which sound was such that those who heard begged that no further word be spoken to them. For they could not bear the command, "If even a beast touches the mountain, it will be stoned." And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, "I am full of fear and trembling."

This is referring back to Exodus 19 where boundaries were set around Mt. Sinai because God's presence was going to come down in a cloud. God's holiness is a serious matter when it mixes with our complete unholiness. I was thinking that if we truly saw Him like "Open the Eyes of My Heart" asks for... we would die instantly. The end of Hebrews 12 says that our God is a consuming fire! This is generally not the picture of God that we get in our normal Sunday school lesson. We tend to get the, "God is love." a whole lot more than the "God is a consuming fire." I think it is important that we reverence God for who He is. If you look at scripture... He doesn't mess around... opening the earth and swallowing up a bunch of people... plagues of Egypt... loss of David's son... people struck dead for being dishonest... and don't forget the final judgement in Revelation. While He is abundant in grace, He is a consuming fire! We would be foolish to take Him lightly. It is such a privilege to be able to come into His presence... with all God's righteousness condemning our unrighteousness... but us being credited with all of Christ's righteousness because of the price He paid. Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift! Let's not make light of the gift He has given us.