I’ve been reading through Shane Claiborne‘s book “The Irresistible Revolution”. Nearly every page has something that challenges and hurts to read, in a good way. This was from my reading today:
“So I did a little survey, probing Christians about their (mis)conceptions of Jesus. It was fun just to see how many people think Jesus loved homosexuals or ate kosher. But I learned a striking thing from the survey. I asked participants who claimed to be ‘strong followers of Jesus’ whether Jesus spent time with the poor. Nearly 80 percent said yes. Later in the survey, I sneaked in another question. I asked this same group of strong followers whether they spent time with the poor, and less than 2 percent said they did. I learned a powerful lesson: We can admire and worship Jesus without doing what he did. We can applaud what he preached and stood for without caring about the same things. We can adore his cross without taking up ours. I had come to see that the great tragedy in the church is not that rich Christians do not care about the poor but that rich Christians do not know the poor. … I truly believe that when the poor meet the rich, riches will have no meaning. And when the rich meet the poor, we will see poverty come to an end.”
have you downloaded Marko‘s free e-book A Beautiful Mess yet? if not you can grab it over here, at least for now. i just started reading it and fell in love with the story below. i love how as youth workers we often have no idea the impact we’re making and we’re so often in the dark, but underneath God is moving students’ hearts and answering big prayers.
A modern-day story, shared with me recently by a friend of mine, gifted veteran youth pastor Sam Halverson:Sam had a teenage guy in his group (we’ll call him Tim) who’d shown no spiritual interest whatsoever and was normally brooding and dark in his outlook. At a particular worship time, the students in Sam’s group were given some space to reflect on their spiritual lives. Tim sat by himself and was drawn into a very personal something. Sam couldn’t tell what was going on, whether Tim was having a profound spiritual moment, or was angry, or something else. He noticed Tim with his head down; as Sam moved around the room and neared Tim, he could tell Tim was in the midst of something intense. Sam said he had no idea what to do. Should he interrupt what was possibly a personal moment between Tim and God and ask Tim what was going on? Should he lay hands on Tim and pray for him? Should he leave Tim alone? Sam, feeling helpless and bumbling, lightly touched Tim on the shoulder and said, “I’m here.” Tim only nodded but said nothing. As he walked away, Sam felt he’d probably blown it, that there was likely something better he should have done (but he had no idea what that better thing would have been). A week later, Tim’s mom called Sam about another issue. At the end of the call, she said, “Oh, and I wanted to tell you thanks for what you did for Tim.” Sam was confused. Tim’s mom continued, “Tim told me that he was really struggling with whether or not God even exists. In that prayer time, Tim was begging God to reveal himself. He prayed, ‘If you’re real, God, then do something—right now—to say “I’m here!” ’ Tim told me that the second he prayed that, you put your hand on his shoulder and said, ‘I’m here.’ ”
i have thoroughly enjoyed the slower pace over the last couple weeks. they say that this time of year (especially this week between christmas and new year’s) is either a great time to get stuff done in the office, or a great time to be away from the office. while in years past i would often try to get ahead and spend the quiet hours at work this week, cranking plans and strategies out due to the absence of distractions, i chose this year to… not. and i’m so thankful for the supportive leadership over me to give me this flexibility. i’ve truly enjoyed the extra time off this holiday to spend with my wife, daughter, and our family members. they truly do matter most to me when it’s all said and done.
Adelina Christmas Eve
Adelina Christmas Morning
there have been many mentors and friends who have spoken into my life to help me battle my workaholic tendencies, and i’m so grateful for them. one mentor-from-a-distance has been doug fields, specifically his book what matters most. i read it a few years ago and this simple book revolutionized the way i saw relationships and empowered me to say “no” to good things more frequently in order to be able to say “yes” to great things.
i recently won a copy of the book from the youth ministry garage, and figured i’d give it away. just leave a comment with a funny or serious idea you came across that helped you connect more with those in your life that matter most. i’ll select one at random and send you the book!
shanna and i recently picked up a book called the jesus storybook bible by sally lloyd-jones, and we just started reading it to adelina as part of her bedtime routine. some nights we’ll read some curious george, or a few comics by my buddy calvin and hobbes… some nights there’s not much of a routine and we just try to throw the kid in bed as quick as possible. but i’m loving this new find.
from the acknowledgments, it looks like the author attends/attended tim keller’s church in new york city. i was first introduced to him a few years ago at the leadership summit and through his book prodigal god. very profound stuff.
anyways, the book narrates the major stories of the bible in terms that kids can understand. (not that adelina can understand any of it yet, but it’s getting us in the habit of reading to her). what i like about the book is that it constantly weaves the mini-narratives of the bible into the larger story of God, and the principles and truths about His character and the significance of the cross easily come through.
if you’re looking for a good book to take your kids through, check it out!