Life.  Some see it as a randomly assigned smattering of days with no purpose.  Others believe in divine appointments they rarely keep.  For most, everyday...is ordinary.  But it doesn't have to be.   What if we dared to go the narrow way? Join me in taking THE FAITH DARE.

Caution: Participating in this challenge might force you to give up some of the things (people?) dearest to you. This challenge could change your life.  Join at your own risk.

Friday, March 5, 2010

FAITHdare #1: Revisited

This week I learned...
~that American Idol really isn't that exciting
~that 2 1/2 hours is like....2 1/2 hours!
~That the God of the universe is just waiting to be with me
~that I need to be INTENTIONAL about being with Him, or other things will claim that time...
~that I need time with Him to maintain an eternal perspective

FAITHdare friends, I pray that your experience stepping out in faith this week has yielded rich rewards. I have been convicted, challenged, and renewed.  At the same time, it has been eye-opening.  

I realize that we have to be careful with these dares, so let me take a moment to go to a place I have already tiptoed through this week in my own heart.  It would be easy for these dares to turn into a checklist, a do-this-and-get-God formula.  I pray we do not go there.  I pray desperately for everyone walking this road...that YOU would be motivated by a DEEP, BUBBLING desire to know God in a more intimate way.  That the dares I put before you would not become a legalistic monotony, but a convicting, heart-wrenching journey on which you come to terms with the distance between your reality and Christ's call on your life...and then I pray you make changes because you want to love Him more fully.  We need to be motivated, not by guilt, but by the very WORD of Jesus.  We do not obey Him because we have to, but because we are living for another world.  

That being said, how has God met you this week?  Has this been hard?  As one FAITHdare team member said to me, "It's hard to go from spending no time with God to spending 2 1/2 hours with Him."  I understand.  I have to be honest in that there were days when I thought about spending my time with Jesus and part of me cried out, "But I'd rather do this!"  And maybe I'm wrong, but I have a feeling there were days when the disciples would have preferred to be on their boats with their fishing poles, resting in everything they knew to be comfortable, instead of risking everything to follow the One who was despised and rejected by men.  

"Anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14:27).  Do you think it will be hard to be a true disciple of Jesus, giving up everything and carrying your cross?  As a church, we have done everything possible to dilute the Gospel in order to avoid doing the hard things.  We look at those words in Luke as a suggestion rather than a command.  We take scripture and try to mold it to fit our lives, rather than taking our lives and molding them according to scripture.  Friends, if we are truly going to follow Jesus, we cannot avoid the hard work of spending time with Him!  We can't!  Especially not at the cost of trivial things (like American Idol).  

However, I think, for some, it would be a mistake to live by this 2 hours and 24 minutes policy. Maybe you feel like you need the accountability of the numbers.  For me, the numbers encourage guilt, an emotion on which I do not want to base my decisions.  In order to avoid going there, I have learned through years of practice that I need to "switch things up" in order to do the hard thing for the right reason.  I loved seeing how you all were spending your time with Jesus, and I hope more of you share now that we are finished!  Spending time with Him can mean so many things...and more than anything, I want to be living life with Jesus.  So, I'm going to come right out and tell you that I am not going to be following the timer anymore...but I will be doing the hard work of spending time with Jesus.  I will be examining my life on a daily basis, uncovering ways in which I can better be using my time toward Kingdom purposes.  

Please share how God has met you this week, what He has convicted you of, what He has stirred up in you. Will you continue with this dare?  How do you see yourself moving forward, now that God has hopefully opened your eyes to the way you spend your TIME?

3 comments:

  1. My week ended better than it started thanks to the encouragement from this dare. I think sometimes we feel like we have to muster up this love for Jesus when actually I think we need to ask him and pray for that desire. For His spirit to enable us. We are sinful people and we are drawn to this sinful world. It was neat to see you put in there about loving Him more because I have been praying that He would help me do that. :)

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  2. Last night I shared with my small group that somehow, despite all God's perpetual love for me, it's been a real struggle to return that love to Him by devoting myself to Him and His word in a deeply invested (2.4 hour) way. How can I not talk to the God of all the universe when He is willing to listen to me - and actually cares what I am saying? How can I not study the Word of God - when it is living and breathing and talking to me personally? It just doesn't even make sense. But seeing the richness in this week helps me to break out of bare minumum quiet times and really pouring myself out to him. Thanks Abby, for reaching out like this - to Him and to us all.

    Love ya!

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  3. This week I learned that when I am weak and tired and I just want to take a nap and be selfish, that's when I need Him the most. I had never spend so much talking to God as I did this week. It was a constant communication, most of the day talking to Him, to please give me the patient that I need with my children cause I was tired, running to His word when I felt my emotions getting to me. When people called me needing my help and I felt like saying no! taking a minute and praying and asking God to give me a little more for that day. Getting up the following morning knowing how tired I was, and asking God to move the flesh out of the way, knowing that my Heavenly Father was longing to spend time with me. How could I have been so selfish all these years! This week was extremely convicting to me. Jesus didn't come here to be served, he came here to be a servant. And here I was complaining to my loving Father that I needed to get up from my comfy bed to go to my comfy couch.
    I do take His word for granted, it is 66 love letters that are alive and that have changed my life.
    I am so exited for the weeks to come and see what God has planned.
    Monica

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