Saturday, October 29, 2011

I've been challenged by a Woman!

The other day my daughter (6 years old) was telling us about her day at school. It wasn't long into our conversation that she began to tell me about a lady at her school that hadn't felt well. While she was going through the lunch line she noticed that the "lunch lady" wasn't feeling well. My daughter hearing this quickly walked behind the lunch counter, laid hands on the woman and commanded her to be healed in the name of Jesus!! I asked my daughter what the lady said. She said "she just cried and said thank you". This same little girl comes home frustrated because everyone in her school says they know Jesus, she wants to go somewhere and see people get saved! You probably think I'm bragging and you are ABSOLUTELY correct!

Where does a little girl get this kind of courage? Where does she learn to push passed what people think about her. Where does she get such a strong desire to see people touched by the love and power of God?

The answer is simple. If you were to hang around my wife (Crystal Sparks) very long it wouldn't take you long to see the answer to that question answered. I've seen her do this same thing more times than I can count. Every time I'm challenged by her boldness and compassion and think "why didn't I do that?" The other day we had finished ministering at Unleashed (our student ministry) as is our tradition we stopped at Subway to get something to eat. As we were ordering our sandwich's my wife asked the woman behind the counter how her day had been. The lady said she had a good day but had a lot of pain from of an ear ache. After paying out my wife said "can I pray for you?" She laid hands on the lady right there in a Subway line!

It was in that moment that I saw where my daughter had seen courage and compassion exemplified. She had seen her mother reach out to hurting humanity, stop what she was doing and pray right there! Not later! Right there!

This shouldn't be a foreign concept to Christian's. After all that's exactly how Jesus ministered. He was always listening, looking, and reaching out to people everywhere he went. Not just in church but EVERYWHERE.

It's not that I don't care about people and I certainly believe in the healing power of God. Sometimes I just get caught up in my own world and forget to reach out to people that need reaching. I think that's where most of us are at. It's not that we don't care. It's just that we forget to see what God is wanting us to see everywhere we go. That hurting humanity needs to see Gods love, Gods compassion, and Gods mercy reaching out to them through YOU. However that might look. Maybe it's a kind word, maybe it's you stopping and praying for them, or maybe it's just a smile.

The truth is I'm not telling you how to reach out. What I am saying is, take time to listen to what people are saying all around you. They're speaking the problem is we're not listening.

I've been challenged by a woman.... Hopefully you will be to.

Mark 16:15 "Jesus said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation."

Monday, October 17, 2011

How Quickly We Forget

The other day while I was getting ready. My daughter (6 years old) was talking to me. My son (5 years old) had just woken up and made his way into the room that we were in. My son still has to wear a pull up to bed because he still has "accidents" on a fairly regular basis. He is very self conscious of this and tries very hard not to have accidents but on this morning his attempts were unsuccessful. He quickly confessed "Dad.... I got Pee Pee in my pull up" with his head held low. I could tell he was disappointed in himself. Before I could tell him it was alright and that he could try again my daughter spoke up and said "Bubb (that's what they call each other) that is so disgusting! Why can't you just stop peeing in your pull up?"

I quickly corrected the situation by reminding my daughter that it hadn't been that long ago that she was having accidents. And that she shouldn't give her brother a hard time for something she had struggled with not so long ago. She maintained that it was "disgusting" and quickly informed me and my son that a year was "a long, long time ago"!

It was in that moment I began to think about the way most Christians treat people who still have the occasional (or not so occasional) "slip up" or "mess up". We are so quick to point out their flaws and are the first to kick them while they're down. Even though it hasn't been that long ago that we were the ones messing up.

The truth is if everyone reading this were honest with them self.... It probably hasn't been that long ago that you messed up! What am I saying? We are all a work in progress. We all sin. We all make mistakes. Let's not be so quick to kick someone while they're down. Don't act like you are perfect and have everything together. Think back when you were still trying to get your life together. Remember how frustrating it was when you messed up? Remember the guilt you felt after you had sinned? The condemnation that came on you? The feeling of wanting to quit? The point is we don't need to heap more guilt and condemnation on people while they're down. The devil has the condemnation end covered. He doesn't need your help. Let's pick people up when they fall. Let us as Christians be the ones encouraging not the ones condeming. Lets encourage them to keep trying. After all if we can keep them trying..... Then one day they are going to succeed!