Monday, July 26, 2010

know or KNOW

There are times when we know God, and there are times when we KNOW God. Now, I recently read a poll that stated that 80% of people who live in America believe in God or some higher power. But my question is this- Is belief the same as personal knowledge? I’m not sure it is. For many of us the very idea of knowing God may seem unrealistic, out of reach. As I reflect on my relationship with God, it seems that sometimes I know more about God, than actually knowing God. God wants us to know him, like a spouse, or a family member, or a best friend. Can you imagine if we talked to our spouses, or family members as often as we sometimes talk to God? We wouldn’t know them very well would we? Our God is a relational God, and God wants us to know him. In Psalm 63, David talks about his experience of knowing God. He talks about how it creates a deeper longing for even more intimate knowledge of God. I love the first verse, “O God, you are my God!” MY God. Not someone else’s God. MY God, and only that can come with a knowledge of God. How well do you know God? When was the last time you really talked with God?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Journey Isn't Easy

My feet hurt. It hurts to walk right now. The gathering has begun! Even though the gathering just began, I think about the many miles I've already walked. As I think about how my feet hurt, I am reminded that sometimes it hurts to walk in the shadow of the cross. Jesus calls us to take up our cross and follow him, but sometimes that journey isn’t easy. There isn’t anything easy about following Christ, well, perhaps the easiest thing is the grace we receive. Sometimes Christ calls us to unexpected places, to do unexpected things, and that is what this gathering is about. It was an unexpected place. Many didn’t feel we should be in this city, but the youth will do unexpected things. But in the process the people of New Orleans are receiving an unexpected gift, and in return, all participants are receiving it back! Sometimes it hurts, but in the end, as my former coaches have said, no pain, no gain. Perhaps they were right all those years!

Lifting Up the Lowly

The National Youth Gathering is fast approaching and I'm prepared to be totally exhausted. On day one of the National Youth Gathering, I'll have a chance to go over to the Superdome and hear over 27,000 youth worship and praise God. It is an event that totally blows me away! There will scripture readings, speakers, skits, the skit guys, and singing. 27,000 lifting their voices. Songs about how Jesus takes all our lows and lifts us up. You can't help but walk out of the first mass event uplifted...nothing at that point can bring you down. Jesus really does lift us up in the times we feel the lowest. Then the next day, the lows may start...the feeling of the burdens of life, relationships, the heat and humidity. All those things can bring out the lows in people. But you know, there are people around that will be lifting people up the whole day, even when things aren’t going well. Jesus lifted up those who were low. He lifted up the woman caught in adultery, he lifted up the paralyzed man, he lifted up the woman who anointed him with oil. And all of that began with a song from his mother Mary early on, before he was born. “He has lifted up the lowly, and casted down the mighty from their thrones.” And that is what 27,000 kids are going to do at the National Youth Gathering. To lift up the lowly. To be God’s hands, to do God’s work. To do as God would do to us when we are down, lift them up!