Monday, November 30, 2009

How to Kill Worry:

Matthew 6:34 
Do not worry about tomorrow…

Yeah.  I know what you’re thinking, “easier said than done”.  It’s true.

This concept that is all throughout scripture is probably one of the hardest verses to actually follow through.  “Do not murder”, “Do not steal”…those we can probably handle if we really focus, but “Do not worry”, well, that one seems slightly overrated.

I am a worrier.  I find it hard to let go of control and allow life to just happen.  Even today, I find myself preoccupied with a little bit of worry.  Things that can aggressively consume my mind if I’m not careful.

Over the years I’ve come to depend on a few cognitive doctrines to help me wrestle with the intrusiveness of my worry:

  1. Take worry seriously.  Don’t allow yourself to worry about anything- from things as simple as the weather to things as serious as your loved ones.  Worry is like a poison, that can easily spread into every part of your life and eventually conquer your reality.
  2. Remember that worry is not from God.  It’s not an innocent process of “thinking through things” as we may try to justify it.  Worry is directly linked to fear, and where there is fear, there is a lack of faith.  These thoughts are not from God, and the longer we allow them to permeate our mind the more we are distancing ourselves from God’s perspective and pulling away from His presence.  
  3. Consider what worry is replacing: Prayer.  When we worry, we are allowing thoughts that could be devoted to prayer to be sidetracked to fuel for our anxiety.  Worry plays the part of our prayers, and in the end, nothing gets accomplished.  
  4. Remember, something supernatural happens when we deliberately choose to give our worries to God in prayer.  You don’t have to understand it, and you can’t explain it, because it doesn’t make any sense, but it’s guaranteed.  Our Lord promises it.  When we act on what we believe, God exchanges our worry for true, unrivaled peace.  

So whatever is on your mind today, there is only one thing to consider:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7).

Saturday, November 28, 2009

i < You

Philippians 2:3 
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves…

I recently posted an article called He < I.  The main concept of that post was to pose a challenge to re-prioritize our lives, allowing God to increase as we decrease. 

This week I have been challenged to take hold of a whole new level of re-prioritizing:  others.  Since Wednesday, I have been home for the holidays.  My family is unique in this way: there are tons of us.  Try to imagine a Thanksgiving gathering with the entire cast of My Big Fat Greek Wedding, and you’ll get a picture of what I mean.

It’s really a beautiful thing, actually.  So many different personalities.  We all come together to form a kaleidoscope of characters.  Everyone with their own unique experiences, perspectives, challenges, and journeys.

The natural product of coming together during holidays is this: to share your lives.  Updating each other on where we are going, what we are doing, and what God is doing in our worlds.  For most of us, we long for this sharing.  We long for this connection with other individuals.  And for most of us, in our natural state, that is our primary purpose in communicating with others- telling our stories.

Although I believe this verse means so many things, the one thing that stands out to me this week is in the area of conversation.  Jesus takes this natural desire for affirmation, and he challenges it.  He challenges us to take our longing to be heard, and exchange it for a longing to listen.  He dares us to put our lives on hold for a moment, making the lives of others our primary purpose.  He urges us to consider others better than ourselves, putting them first in every aspect- including in conversation. 

So these holiday weeks, as you are interacting with friends, family, and loved ones…remember this: consider others better than yourselves.  Take the time to listen actively first, before you attempt to be listened to.  Take the time to ask them questions and really care to know the answers.  Take the time to savor the details of their lives.  Take the time to make their lives important by your attentiveness and consideration.  Take some time to consider others better than yourselves.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving: No Regrets

Philippians 3:13
Forgetting what is behind, and straining toward what is ahead...

For me, this year has been filled with an enormous amount of blessing…and a great deal of loss.  John and I have been overwhelmed by the bounty of God’s blessing in our lives this year.  And I wonder sometimes if the losses that we have experienced have been the true catalyst for our sincere joy.  I suppose it’s in the face of loss that one realizes where true joys are to be found.

This year, as some of you know, I lost my dear Uncle Abe.  Shortly after that loss, another dear friend of ours was suddenly taken to heaven.  Last week I went to visit his wife.  I thought it would be a good time of sharing and a time to encourage her in her time of need.  What I didn’t expect, is that she would be the one to challenge and encourage me far beyond what I anticipated.

As we were chatting, she was describing her relationship with her beloved husband.  One thing she said to me I will never forget, “When I look back, I am thankful that I have no regrets about the way we loved each other”. 

I am absolutely challenged by that statement.  And this Thanksgiving, more than anything else, I am challenged to live that out.  I want to be a woman who has no regrets in the way that I love, recognizing every moment as a most precious and temporary gift. 

First and foremost I am thankful for my Lord.  Thankful for the undeserved grace that is lavished upon me every single day, graces that are new every morning.  I want to live a life of no regrets in how I love my Lord.

Second, I am thankful for my precious husband.  I never believed that there was “one special person out there made just for me”, until I met him.  He was fashioned for me, as a gift from my God, in every little way.  I am so thankful for his integrity, his humility, his heart and the love he showers on me everyday.  I want to live a life of no regrets in how I love him.

Thirdly, I am so thankful for my family.  I can’t say my family is perfect- no family is, but I can say with confidence that it’s an incredible thing to be fully and completely loved, supported, and accepted by them- no matter what.  My parents are two of my best friends, and my brother is one of the greatest men to walk the face of this earth.  I want to life a life of no regrets in how I love them. 

Lastly, I am thankful for my friends- for all the special people that God has placed in my life.  Each one of you is a unique piece that could never be replaced.  I want to live a life of no regrets in how I love each of you.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. 

May we love with no regrets.

For More Daily Devotions: 

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Beauty of Unanswered Questions:

John 14:6
“I am…the truth…”

What if we were a people that asked more questions rather than always having answers? 

I was thinking about the implications of that kind of a life today, as I was hanging out with my friend T [We’ll call her T for short- even though I warned her she might end up in my blog: all friends be forewarned…your conversations with me may end up being read by hundreds of people]. 

T is a 17 year old girl.  I met her on my Saturday morning ministry, and in the past year our weekly interactions have blossomed into a really special friendship.  T lives in a very rough part of town- surrounded by violence, drugs and poverty.  To add to that, she’s had a difficult past- filled with pain, suffering, and tragedy.  But a few months ago, T gave her life to the Lord- in my parked car on the side of her busy street, which I can honestly say, was one of the most amazing moments in my life.

Since that day, our time spent together has, in a way, served a new purpose.  It’s been a time of “reordering” for her.  A time for asking new questions, and for seeking new answers.  Her old ways of thinking are slowly being replaced with new ideas, thoughts, and dreams.   New expectations, beliefs, and values.  But these times of reordering have always included one very important factor: questions.

This day was no different.  “Deb, how do know if you truly love someone?”…

I used to be uncomfortable with questions.  What I mean by that, is that I always assumed I had to offer an answer when someone asked a question.  The past few years I’ve learned to be comfortable with unanswered questions.  I’ve learned that I don’t have to have all the answers….and that in fact, I shouldn’t.  I’ve learned that in questions unanswered by us…we leave room for the greatest Answer of all- the Holy Spirit at work in our lives and in the lives of others.  So this time, I reciprocated this question with another one:

“What do you think, T?”
“Hmmm….I don’t know.  I’ll have to think about that one.  I’ve never asked myself that before.”

We spent the car ride home exploring love- talking about God’s love for us, our love for each other.  We talked about what true love might resemble- and what it might not.  Each question paving the way into something deeper.  Each question opening the door for other questions.  And so, as it seems, our night ended with unanswered questions. 

Some of you  may be thinking, “what a wasted learning opportunity”.  And many years ago, I would have probably agreed.  But more than anything, I walked away from our interaction today - more confident than ever of the power of my Lord. 

A Lord that not only hears our questions, but places them in our hearts.  A Lord who himself meets many of our questions with more questions.  A Lord who understands that the fruit of an unanswered question is perseverance, faith, and persistence.  A Lord who knows that with each question, he is lovingly drawing us one step closer, one level deeper to the finding where true answers are found…Himself. 

And so may we, my brothers and sisters, be freed to release ourselves from the burden of answers.  May we be challenged to stretch our faith as we trust our Lord with our unanswered questions, and those of our loved ones.  May we allow ourselves to be quiet for a moment, training our spiritual ears to hear the answers whispered by His Holy Spirit.  And may we with confidence believe that in the end He will draw us to the One where true answers are to be found. 

Thank you, Lord, for our unanswered questions.  And thank you, that at the end of our wondering, there we will always find You. 

Thursday, November 19, 2009

He > i

John 3:30
He must become greater, I must become less. 

“Your world could grow infinitely bigger if you were only willing to become…appropriately small.” - John Ortberg

It’s amazing how things can sneak up on you.  It’s amazing how things that were originally supposed to be in the background, can so quickly take the forefront.  My husband and I were talking about that tonight and it got me thinking. 

You see, John and I are reaching a new stage in our lives.  In a few months we will most likely be making a huge move….a move to a city unknown.  It can be daunting at times, thinking of all the possibilities.  Tomorrow is a big day, and John is interviewing for a position coveted by thousands of students all over the country.   These interviews may very well be the determining factors of where the next few years of our lives will be spent, and in turn, set the course for our future.  Just the thought of that can be mind boggling.  So many questions could occupy our minds: What if we make the wrong choice?  What if we don‘t get in?  What if we make a bad decision? 

Sadly, little by little, the word WE starts sneaking into the forefront, and HE (God), slowly takes a seat in the back.  Somehow, we get to the point where we have it all backwards.  Somehow, we start believing the lie that this life is really all about us…our lives…our futures…our hopes and dreams…

And then reality hits.  God decides to save us from our small, ignorant and narrow paradigms.  With moments like we experienced tonight.  Life changing questions begin to set in.  God begins to take his rightful place at the front and center of our lives asking:

  • What if this interview is not meant to determine our future- but rather, set the stage for God‘s plans?
  • What if the only reason you are here today is to reach out to someone in this place?
  • What if this is not about you at all, but about bringing me glory?
  • What if your whole life’s “occupation“, had one purpose and one purpose alone- to spread God’s love to a blind and hopeless world?
  • What if all your hopes and dreams were meant only as a backdrop to my real plans?
  • What if God is guiding us through things that are far bigger than ourselves?

Some of these questions are mine to take ownership of, but I know- some of these questions are for you, too.  You, like us, may have allowed things in this life: your future, your unexpected illness, your difficult job, stressful schooling, annoying coworkers, relationships, hopes and dreams, family, ministry, and scariest of all- your self….to take the center stage.  The shift may have been so subtle, that you never noticed it.  It may have been so innocent that no one around you would have even noticed.  Do me a favor, ask yourself this:

What am I preoccupied with throughout the day?  The answer may be painful, but it will be revealing.  Revealing of the true conditions of our hearts.  The true center of our stage.  The truth of who is being made greater and who is being made less. 

May we all take a hard look at our lives, asking God to align our priorities with His.  Asking Him to become infinitely greater, and we to become significantly less.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Prejudice, Pride...and a little Prada:

Matthew 7:1
Do not judge, or you too will be judged.

[To judge: to make estimates as to worth, quality, or fitness.  To form an opinion or evaluation.]

I’m sitting at a window seat in a Border’s this morning, high above the city of Chicago, looking out into the busy streets, sipping on my ice-blended peppermint mocha.  The streets below are in a hustle.  Everyone is going somewhere, or at least they pretend.  So many different shapes and shades of people.   It’s fun to watch. 

Every now and again someone will walk by breaking the monotony of human clones….every now and again, someone that stands out in the crowd.  From the underdressed woman, to the overdressed and disheveled homeless man, and everything in between.  My eyes are always drawn to him or her, and so are the eyes of those around them.  I watch, and wonder what their human peers are thinking…whether said out loud, spoken quietly under our breaths, or silently through the sharp gaze of our eyes, we’re always thinking something, aren’t we?

And then, the Voice of reason came.  The Voice that always shatters the bubble of my poisonous thoughts, that always saves me from myself.  It said, “I love them all…each and every one. I love them with a love that rivals the love I have for my Son.  I love them enough to give the world for them, and I did.  I love them, but do you?”

I’m left with that abrasive question ringing in my ears, bruising me down to the core of my pride.  It stings me, and maybe it stings you too, because if we are really honest with ourselves, we will find that we are all guilty…guilty of playing judge. 

I guess I never really understood the severity of judging until recently.  Just by looking at the very definition of judging, one can infer some very dangerous things.  Those of us who have allowed our minds to make room for that level of prejudice have somehow convinced our poor selves that we have been given the authority to make statements of value and worth on fellow human beings.  Human beings who are just as guilty as we.  Human beings who are loved by God.  Human beings who are deemed worthy, valued, and fit.  Those of us who have elevated ourselves to that type of authority have essentially lifted ourselves up to the authority of God himself.  That, my friends, is a terrifying thing.  It’s no wonder that for that very reason- we have called judgment upon ourselves.

More dangerous than those who judge, are those who believe they are free of it.  It’s easy to live in denial, isn’t it?  But a candid look into our hearts and we will realize that we are all guilty.  Maybe for you it’s the black homeless man, sitting on the corner with a cup in his hand.  Maybe it’s the Prada-wearing, Coach-carrying woman walking the streets of Chicago.  Maybe it’s the Bible-toating conservative-gloating Jerry Falwell’s.  Maybe it’s the shy veiled Muslim woman that comes into your store every day.  Maybe it’s the gay couple, holding hands as they cross the street.  Maybe it’s the tattooed youngster, pants hanging below his waist.  Maybe it’s the church…filled with it’s sinners and saints.

For each of us, we will find that we have succumbed to this false authority, allowing ourselves to be the determiners of value and worth.  Today, may we take an honest look at prideful selves and fall desperately on our knees in repentance.

Lord, you alone are the worthy judge.  Forgive us, again…and again.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sacrifice and Old Shoes:

Before you get into this, if you haven't yet subscribed to my blog via email, please do.  That way, you'll get an email of new posts any time I update my blog.  Just fill in your email address on the right and then you'll be sent a's pretty simple.

Anyway, I'm camping out in the book of Genesis right now.  I just finished reading the story of Abraham and Isaac in Genesis 22. Whenever I read this story, it brings me back to an experience I had at church this past year.  A Sunday morning when we learned about sacrifice- and then were asked to give up our shoes.  I wrote a few thoughts on it back then, and pulled them out for reflection.  Check them out.

Mark 10:21-23 (NIV) 
And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”

 Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.  And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!”

Genesis 22:2
Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go...sacrifice him there..."

"This morning, God decided to shake my world up a bit, as He sometimes tends to do.

The sermon this morning was about “Sacrifice”.  I was challenged as I listened to the contrasting stories of Abraham- willing to give up his only son as an offering; and the rich young man- who loved his possessions so much that he chose them rather than Christ.  I sat there and listened.  In my mind I was cheering for Abraham, smiling and soaking in the beauty of that kind of sacrifice.  In my mind I was scoffing at the rich man, who thought his possessions were more valuable than spiritual healing.  How could he?  Didn’t he realize what he was saying no to?  Didn’t he realize that this would be his salvation?  I mean, how truly superficial can someone be?

It’s funny how we tend to compare ourselves with holiness and think we measure up.  To think we have somehow managed to stack up there with the great people of faith, and listen to correction and advice as though it was meant for the one sitting behind us.  And then God decides to shake us up a bit, reminding us of where we really stand- reminding us of how much of our sin His grace truly covers.

Our Pastor then took the next step in talking about discussing this unfathomable word that brought Christ down to this earth to show us the true meaning of love.  He challenged us to apply this word to our be a living example of the sacrificial love of Christ.

Oh- okay, I thought.  I got this stuff down.  I wake up early on Saturdays to hang out with the poor of the inner city, I make sure to keep the house clean and dinners delicious for my husband, in fact- I’m even going on a mission trip next month to a third world country- talk about I mentally went down my list of sacrifices, checking off the boxes, getting holier and holier by the moment.

Our Pastor spoke of the poor and needy that he saw this week, lining up in front of the Church, waiting for the free clothing the Ministry could offer them.  He spoke of their needs, most of them not even owning a decent pair of shoes.  We were challenged to consider their needs, to consider the act of sacrifice, giving to others what they do not have, doing for others what they cannot do. We were challenged to realize how much we had been given, and be able to give back that kind of love...literally.  We were challenged to come up to the altar and lay down our shoes.

My shoes???  You’ve got to be kidding me.  I love these $20.00 shoes, I wear them to work everyday.  They sparkle...and have such a cute little heal...and they’re oh, so comfortable!  How about I just write a check? OR maybe go buy a pair of shoes for the poor...that would be honorable.  Or how about just tell myself that this doesn’t really reflect the condition of my heart...I mean, God REALLY knows my heart.

And then it hit me.  God REALLY does know my heart.  He knows the darkness, the selfishness, the rationalization that lives within it.  Sad, but oh so freeing.  He knows the struggle...he knows the superficial tendencies I have.  He knows the deepest parts of me- the fight between my spirit and my flesh.  I began to cry.  I couldn’t believe what a battle this had been for me, to give up a cheap pair of shoes.  What makes me scoff at the rich young man, when I struggle at the idea of a giving a personal possession?  It hit me then that I had been the rich young man all along...I had been the one blessed with the ease of life, the comforts of America, the freedom of my faith and my religion.  I had been the rich young man all giving what is easy, what is timely, what is practical and convenient.  In giving when I feel like it, when I have extra, and when I know it will make me look good.  My own sort of “wealth”...I call it comfort.

God shook me up real good this morning, and I am so glad he did.  I am so glad He opened my eyes to realizing how much I need him everyday, to teach me what it means to truly love, to truly give.  I had somehow convinced myself that I had it all figured out.

I write this because I want to be held accountable.  I want to be a woman who is known for giving and loving like my Father, like my Savior.  I want to be a woman that offers when it isn’t convenient, and when it stretches my faith.  I want others to be challenged like I’ve been challenged, to live out the love of Christ in the day to day, when eyes are on us, and when they aren’t.

May we choose to follow Christ in giving up our shoes...and in giving up our lives.  Where you lead us Lord, give us the strength to go."

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Ruthless Mercy: Thoughts on Sodom and Gomorrah

A different perspective on the usual story.

Genesis 19:16
When he hesitated, the men grasped his hand, and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters, and led them safely out of the city, for the Lord was merciful to them. 

Sodom and Gomorrah.  That’s the story in Genesis 19 where this little verse is tucked away.  Sodom and Gomorrah, the story identified with justice and wrath.  God’s punishment on a people who had mocked and defiled Him.  In fact, I believe that this passage is one where many (believers and unbelievers alike) are caught in a web of spiritual and philosophical confusion.  A loving God choosing to act in ruthless judgment. 

It’s easy to focus on that wrath.  It’s easy to allow it to taint every part of who we had believed God to be.  It’s easy to get lost in our own preconceived notions of who God should be, rather than come to terms with who He really says He is.  A God of justice…but most astonishingly, a God of ruthless mercy. 

You see, hidden beneath the fire and brimstone of this chapter, one finds a seed of truth burying its roots into the foundation of His character.  Merciful.  Severely and wholly merciful.  Ruthlessly merciful. 

The evidence for this is clearly seen in God’s interaction with Lot.  Though Lot was himself engrossed in sin, though he was so quick to compromise, though he was living a life with a divided heart- trying to please both God and man; Lot was still under the mercy of his Lord.  Even in the moments of his hesitation, even in the moments of relapsing back into the sin which so easily entangled, God was merciful, and because of His mercy He led them to safety. 

What was the difference between the sin of Lot and of the people of Sodom and Gomorrah?  What was it about Lot that made God so apt to look favorably upon him, to save him?  What was it about him that made him rest under the mercy of God?  The answer is absolutely nothing.  There was nothing about Lot that made him worthy, no, nothing but the saving grace of his God.  A grace that has been offered to all.  A grace that will only enter into the lives of those who will allow it, those who will accept it. 

It’s comforting to know that.  It’s comforting because I too, like Lot, have my moments of hesitation.  Moments where the temptations around me entice and allure me.  Moments where I willfully compromise.  I’m grateful that through it all, I rest under the assurance of a ruthless mercy.  A mercy that loves me so much it will not allow me to remain where I am.  A mercy that calls me out of my destructive ways and into safety.  A mercy that grasps my hesitating and stubborn hand, and leads me gently into a place of rest. 

Thank you Father, for your ruthless mercy.
For reflection:
  • Is there an area in your life right now in which you are "hesitating" to take the next step that God has called you to take?  What is holding you back? 
  • Are you, like Lot, living a life of compromise in certain parts of your life? Who are the people who are keeping you there?  What are those things that you find it difficult to part with?
  • Have you found it difficult to accept God's undeserved grace and ruthless mercy in your life?  What are the lies that are keeping you from entering into that forgiveness and freedom?

Friday, November 6, 2009

Loving Yourself: Humility vs. Self-deprecation:

Some of you may have read this post before.  I thought it needed to be reiterated.  With such a constant focus on pride, this topic tends to be looked over.  I would love to hear your thoughts on this.  Also, please make sure to subscribe to my blog by email so you can get the lastest reflections! 

Loving Yourself
Mark 12:31

Love your neighbor as yourself.

From the beginning of time there has been a deficit of love in our world.  There has been a deficit of how man loves his God.  There has been a deficit of how man loves one another.  And there has also been a deficit of how man loves himself.

For this reason, these five words hold such powerful insight into the human psyche.  The more I learn about the discipline of psychology, the more I am amazed with how well God knows His people.  There is proof of that knowledge within these words.

The beauty of this verse is that with two words God is relaying a foundational truth that many times goes ignored: “As Yourself”.  You cannot love others, until you have learned to love yourself.  I meet so many Christians who struggle continually with this concept.  I meet Christians who have wrestled with the concept of loving themselves because their lives have been filled with self-denial, self-hatred and self-loathing.  Christians who have never been taught to love themselves.  Christians who mistakenly thought they had found some solace in the words of the Bible that taught them to deny their self, to put others before them, and to consider their selves as nothing.  There is tragedy in this type of degradation.

This type of “denial” is a dangerous misconception.  Masking self-loathing with self-denial is a dangerous road.  Confusing humility with a lack of self worth causes more harm than good.  We are called to love ourselves, to enjoy how God has made us, to delight in our uniqueness, our value, and our worth.  God delights in us, and we also are to delight in who He has created us to be.  We are to love ourselves.

You see, God is not calling us to deny who he has made us to be, but rather, who He has not made us to be.  To deny our sinful nature with its temptations and its downfalls.  To deny our selfishness and our stubbornness.  To deny our lust, our pride, our idolatry.  To deny the things that separate us from God.  And only those things.

Christians, we are called to love ourselves- just as God loves us.  We are called to delight in ourselves as He delights in us.  And when we do, we will find that gates to loving others have never been so easy to walk through.  We will find that loving others becomes so real, so genuine, and so complete.  We will find that in that beautiful exchange of love between our self and our God, we find the strength and motivation to exchange that same love with our neighbors.

Lord, give us the ability to love ourselves as you love us- in order that we may then learn how to truly love others.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Looking for Cheap Hotels:

Romans 10:13-14
Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved…How can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard?  And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?

To me, the lesson behind these verses is this: urgency.  Urgency in sharing the message of the gospel.  Urgency in sharing His love.  We are a people who have lost our urgency.  We have grown complacent, content, and cold.  We have allowed other things to take priority.  We have stopped looking for opportunities, and even worse, stopped taking opportunities when they come.

The other day my husband and I were driving back home from our trip to San Francisco.  We had been “hotel-shopping” the whole month before- trying to get the best deals for our stay.  We had learned of every hotel within a 3 mile radius of center-city San Francisco.  On our way back to Peoria, we noticed something for the first time: hotels.  There were dozens of them.  Some, within 500 feet of our apartment. 

The funny thing is, before this week, we wouldn’t have been able to tell you the names of hotels in our area.  We had no idea.  The reason is, we were never looking for them.  We never cared.  It had never pertained to us. 

And so goes with our lives.  We become so used to closing our eyes and ears to the things that concern God.  We are not looking for them.  We miss opportunities that God gives us to share His truth.  We are not listening for them.  We live life in auto-pilot, moving forward one day at a time, forgetting our purpose, forgetting our ultimate destination.  Forgetting the ultimate destinations of those around us.  Our spiritual muscles have atrophied, because we have allowed them to waste away in careless complacency. 

That is the sobering reality.  That is the soil in which our urgency must take root.  We are surrounded by those who will not be saved, because they cannot be saved unless they hear, and they cannot hear unless they are told.  We are surrounded every day by men and women who are desperate for truth, desperate for salvation, as we, brothers and sisters, hold that truth selfishly within our grasp.  Unwilling to share.  Unwilling to go there.  Unwilling to acknowledge and face the urgency of their situation. 

I don’t know about you, but that, my friends, compels me toward serious action. 

I leave you with one question: How will you respond?