Monthly Archives: November 2012

Chapter 8 The Greatest Challenge of the New Millennium

This chapter is really where the rubber meets the road. It takes away our excuses one by one that generations before us have had and then asks, “Will you do anything about it?” It was the quotes of extremely bright men that really made me stop and think. Such as Albert Einstein:

More and more I come to value charity and love of one’s fellow above everything else… All our lauded technological progress – our very civilization – is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal.

Wow. I mean, really. Wow. Is it that we are doing nothing with the technological progress that we could to shape our world? Is the lack of something equal the crime? Could be. Can we get charged for knowing a child is being abused and doing nothing about it? Is this what is happening? Children, being abused by their circumstances, dying before the age of five because of the zip code they were born into?

Bono, another great. Who would have thought that a rock star could and would be the voice of reason? But he is.

We can be the generation that no longer accepts that an accident of latitude determines whether a child lives or dies – but will we be that generation? Will we in the West realize our potential or will we sleep in the comfort of our affluence with apathy and indifference murmuring softly in our ears? Fifteen thousand people dying needlessly every day from AIDS, TB, and malaria. Mothers, fathers, teachers, farmers, nurses, mechanics, children. This is Africa’s crisis. That it’s not on the nightly news, that we do not treat this as an emergency – that’s our crisis.

Future generations flipping through these pages will know whether we answered the key question. The evidence will be the world around them. History will be our judge, but what’s written is up to us. We can’t say our generation didn’t know how to do it. We can’t say our generation couldn’t afford it. and we can’t say our generation didn’t have reason to do it. It’s up to us.

I am big with this concept of leaving a legacy. It’s a big deal to me. I strive everyday to build that legacy in a variety of forms – my character, integrity, financial security, truth about things, a foundation of faith, etc. I want to build something that generations after me will be positively influenced by. Is it no different than doing this with the world?

We simply can NOT claim ignorance. That excuse was taken away long long ago, before the internet, international flights, CNN, etc. “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus was asked. And He answered. Now, what will we do about it?

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Chapter 7: The Stick In Your Hand

I love the story of Moses (no that’s not him over there). Often we think of Moses and the great leader he was, leading a massive amount of people who had zero experience of self-leading, self-governing, the patience it took to have generations of people who never really thought for themselves. I love his beginnings. Selfishly, because it reminds me that I’m not quite as stubborn and that even with my fears God can still have great plans for me.

Being a former athlete I have this passage double underlined from a conversation with Bill Hybels. “Every follow of Christ was made for a purpose and that our most important task is to discern what that purpose is. When we find it, he said, we are in ‘the zone’ with God, just like an athlete during his or her best-ever performance.”

I have been there, in the zone. And it is still thrilling to think about. I can tell you the pentathlon I competed in my Sr year in college where I hit mark after mark and the energy that just kept building. It was also where I jumped the highest in the high jump. I can still remember the hurdle race, my final collegiate hurdle race, the finals at Nationals. Funny enough, it was the worst start of my collegiate career – and the best race of my collegiate career.

And it took more work than I have ever put into athletics in my life. Day in and day out commitment, lifestyle change, working through injuries. But in the moment, all that work was so worth it.

Am I conscious about the work and energy it takes to be “in the zone” with my Lord and Savior? I never thought about it like this before, the energy that I could be in the zone. Oh it takes work and oh it is so worth it. I like it, that is one of my new goals for 2013. To begin on the journey to figure out my purpose and get in the zone.

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Chapter 6 – A Hole In Me

“It takes a transformed people to transform the world.”

I loved this chapter because I loved hearing Rich’s story, his journey about his denial of Jesus, the “Easter Bunny” line he used. I can relate to his religion of self-reliance. It’s fairly easy for me to slip into that. I often think, “I’ll just do it myself” in a lot of life situations which quite frankly has never once served me well in the long run.

I also started to become really convicted in the middle-end of the chapter. Did you?

A couple things I have underlined – “The thing about truth that is most annoying is that it is  true, making anything that contradicts it false. Christ is either God incarnate, risen from the dad, or He is not.” I love this. Absolutely love it. I never stopped to think about the implications of this though until I read this book. Although I had always desired or said I desired more of Him, I believe He was requiring more – more action from me. The concept of “His  teachings become the operating system of our lives.”

I hadn’t until this chapter really figured out that I had been living with a hole in my gospel. It was one of the reasons I wanted to share this book with others. To gain even more perspective, to hold myself accountable.

Gary Gulbranson’s quote of “It’s not what you believe that counts; it’s what you believe enough to do.” has stuck with me for months. Action. Doing. It all matters, yes. But only what we do.

I have read 1 John before and even the verses that Rich quoted, esp this part – “If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?” I always read that and thought, “Well I’ll do my part, but I’m no Bill Gates… Until… I came upon the Global Rich List a few years ago. Go ahead and click on the link, enter in your income. As it turns out:

So it turns out the whole “anyone who has material possessions” sort of applies to me. So what do I believe enough to do?

 

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Chapter 5 – The Three Greatest Commandments

I cannot get away from the simple three words that continue, not haunt me (although it feels that way sometimes because they are everywhere), but follow me. No matter what I read through scripture, through this book,  through conversation with others, through the message at church. I can’t get away from them.

It. All. Matters.

It’s that simple.

Two things struck me in this chapter. The first was an incredibly long sentence that was even more impactful because it was only one sentence I think. It was actually a quote from N.T. Wright, from his book Surprised by Hope:

Every act of love, gratitude, and kindness; every work of art or music inspired by the love of God and delight in the beauty of his creation; every minute spent teaching a severely handicapped child to read or to walk; every act of care and nurture, of comfort and support, for one’s fellow human beings and for that matter one’s fellow nonhuman creatures; and of course every prayer, all Spirit-led teaching, every deed that spreads the gospel, build up the church, embraces and embodies holiness rather than corruption, and makes the name of Jesus honored in all the world – all of this will find its way, through the resurrecting power of God, into the new creation that God will one day make.

Do you see it? It all matters. And not only does it all matters, but it all matters in a big way, in an eternal way. I kind of like to do things big, in a big way, and can find myself  stressing or being frustrated with myself for not accomplishing that. My friend Caleb once told me, “We can only do what we can do. God will work out the rest.” It has stayed with me since he said it (and this was with him in Haiti and me in Target with a one-year-old son who wouldn’t stop yelling, “Mom! Mooom! MOOOOM!” So the message had to be powerful to get through – ha ha!).

And it keeps getting repeated over and over and over through  various channels and mediums. God can take the small and turn it into big, turn it into forever. It’s kind of humbling to think about. And kind of awesome. We can make a big difference no matter the status of our checkbook, title on the business card, or the name embroidered on our shirt, whether children have let us shower and we look into the mirror at the end of the day and think, “What did I even accomplish today?” – if even one act of kindness, a moment in prayer, anything to love on others and further the gospel happened throughout the hectic, hurried day – you, we, just left our fingerprint on eternity.

Here’s number 2. Pastor Ourng (his picture is above). His then church of 83 people, teaching, trying to gain understanding through only the Bible. Longing for other resources when I have everything I want at my fingertips. Just speaking with a friend this weekend about a book she recommended and I have it on my list. One I can download at a moment’s notice onto my Kindle. I take that for granted. It is something to be cherished.

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