Tag Archives: Thought-Provoking Thursday

The Pressure's Off

This excerpt from Larry Crabb’s book, “The Pressure’s Off” was really convicting and challenging to me!

“When any ambition other than drawing near to God assumes 1st place significance in our hearts, whether the ambition is blatantly self serving or clearly kingdom advancing. We’re living the Old Way.

Drawing near to God will purify our desires and energize godly ambitions to counsel well, preach powerfully, and write helpful books, and that’s good. But,the moment we let our desires for blessings become demands, the moment we expect blessings to come because we’ve met the requirements for God to grant them, the moment we think any blessing other than nearness to God is essential to life and is therefore promised now, we’ve chosen to live the Old Way.

At some point we are erroneously stop thinking of Christ as sovereign Lord, (if we ever did), and regard Him more as a Useful Friend. The point of knowing Him becomes a good life for us now, in this world.

Paul spoke openly about the pain of his life. Not in complaint, but as a reminder that the abundant life of following Jesus means abundant opportunities to draw near to Him in hard times, not just an abundance of pelasant circumstances and good feelings.

Listen to his words to the Corinthians, Christians who were more intent of feeling now what God promised they would feel only in Heaven.
“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”

Paul’s’ life was not a pleasant experience. By admitting it and by abandoning all hope that it ever would be pleasant, the pressure was off to figure out some way to “make life work.”

Paul lived to draw near to God, to become like Jesus, to follow the Spirit, not to live a certain way that would please God enough to get Him to pour out the blessings of a better life.

Paul lived to know God not to use Him.”

Wowsers!

Strangers in a faraway land…

Yesterday, Kourtney, one of the girls in my Sophomore Bible Study, and I went to Wendy’s for lunch. We walked into this very American fast food restaurant which was FILLED with tables full of Asian students. I mean, literally, the entire restaurant was teeming with foreign students who had just arrived to study at USC.

As Kourtney and I sat their and exchanged stories from our travels abroad this summer we were gripped by all the students who were sitting around us, who were in America for the very first time. We both knew that unsettled feeling of not knowing the language, not knowing how to get around the town, or how to interact in a new culture…so…we had to reach out…

We awkwardly walked up to 3 tables full of girls and very slowly and clearly introduced ourselves to them. They were wide-eyed with excitement that we were talking to them!! It was precious. They thought my name was “OOhh! So cute!!” and they looked almost relieved when we gave them our phone numbers and emails so they could call us to get directions or a ride if they needed one. It was such a sweet connection point. Who would have thought? In the middle of Wendy’s that we would encounter the nations…

Not only was this a cool time for me to challenge Kourtney to step out in faith and have a pre-evangelistic touch point, but also, it reminded me of the countless times Scripture admonishes us to live as aliens and strangers here in this world. Here are a few of my favorites:

1 Peter 1:17 Since you call on a Father who judges each man’s work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear.

1 Peter 2:11 Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day He visits us.

I love America more today than ever before, but these verses point me to the truth that, this world is not my home. I must live in light of eternity anticipating the great city that awaits.

Our forefathers did!

Hebrews 11:8-10 By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him on the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.

“We are strangers in a foreign country called earth. We live in tents, feeble temporary dwellings, but we’re headed toward glorious permanence. We live on shifting sand, but we look forward every day to the city with foundations–the city that will never fall; the city whose builder and maker is none other than our bridegroom…the Carpenter from Nazareth.

We have the very answers the world is crying for. Jesus is that person. Heaven is that place. He is the “desired of all nations,” the one all people of all cultures long for.

Our beloved, Jesus, and our home, Heaven. What a person! What a place! We spend our lives longing for this person and this place. What more could we possibly ask for?” -In Light of Eternity by Randy Alcorn