I had heard about Greg Laurie’s Harvest for so long but I never had a chance to go to it because of work and distance for all these years. But for the first time ever, I had the time and I went.
I don’t really respond well to these big gatherings. There’s a lost intimacy to it at times but I still was curious. The drive to Angel Stadium wasn’t too bad and parking was only $5. But it was really me being curious about how people would react to an event like this. It was free, but how many people would show up?
The stadium was packed.
It all started really early in the morning when I saw this tweet.
I thought to myself “That’s cool!”
But then I paused for a minute. Am I OK with this? Am I?
I am volunteering at VBS this week for my church and one of the things that all leaders do is wear this purple volunteer shirt that the church provided. Following the VBS day, there was a minor accident in which my bumper was dented. Knowing that I would be super busy the rest of the week and I would only have this afternoon to get it taken care of, I drove around my neighborhood looking for a body shop.
I came across this one body shop and the owner told me that he could fix the dent. But because his workers were out to lunch, it would be an hour wait for them to return and fix my bumper. He said it would be $50 so I gave him that and was prepared to walk across the street to get some lunch to wait it out. Shortly after, he waved me back in telling me that it was already done. It took only five minutes.
He then told me that if I had went with my insurance, that it would be around $700 or so that I could get back for the damages from the person who hit my car. Then he told me this really interesting revelation. He noted of the shirt I was wearing (see above) and it was the same shirt my housemate was wearing with me. He said that because he saw that I was a church guy that he knew I was a good honest person and he did me that solid. He said that for small tasks like this, he would turn them down because it wasn’t worth his time. But for some reason, because of me being a church person, he gave me the deal. He did say that I should be an honest guy and not go through insurance.
When this news broke, it saddened me. I knew that he had to be punished for his horrible act of violence. Yet in my heart I knew that the death penalty was just not right.
I scrolled through my Twitter account and I saw tweets of people being happy with the decision. People I know and people I follow, there was a sense of joy in the decision. Some were instantly demanding more, that they wanted Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to have the most brutal form of execution.
Reading all of that broke my heart.
I remember when the news of Osama bin Laden’s death made its way around the Internet. It was the same reaction. A celebration of his death. I didn’t feel right about celebrating. I just couldn’t wrap my mind around the “eye for an eye” mentality so many people seem to desire.
I tweeted my instant reaction.
You know, I always share the above video and it still means a lot to me. The whole point of Easter is the resurrection. As much as it was great to have Jesus come to earth, do miracles, preach and even die on the cross, none of it meant anything until he was risen from the dead. We as a people were so broken that we needed a resurrected Jesus. Not just a savior who would come down and do good, but we needed a savior to sacrifice and conquer death.
I like the above video because it illustrates that we needed a resurrected Jesus. The finality of His mission here was to be raised from the dead. That’s what makes this entire faith work. We believe of the resurrection and the new life it gives us. With that, we are made new in Him.
This is what we celebrate. We celebrate the fulfillment of the promise. The resurrection saved us. We are no longer slaves to our own death because Jesus conquered it. In Him, we are alive.
I’m sitting here overwhelmed by a ton of stuff. I got so much going on and I don’t know if I am in the right place.
My frustration continues to come with people not being responsible. In turn, I have to clean up their mess and that affects the important things I need to do. My heart is not in the right place. I can’t find my balance of being sympathetic and being firm.
Then I got so many responsibilities that I still have to do and I know that I have to do it all on my own. Asking people for help isn’t helpful because those people aren’t reliable.
Then I have to start worrying about other things. Ironically, it’s prayer responsibilities that I have to do and I need prayer because I am going to tip over.
God, please calm my heart. It’s OK to be angry, but don’t let that override my connection with you. May you give me all that I need and allow those people I have to depend on everything they need. May I not complain of my problems but celebrate in your deliverance instead. Thank you. Amen.
For 21 days I fasted and spent my time praying. What happened? Check out my story and four other friends who did the same thing. God did some great things!
Originally posted on Love God, Love People, Change the World:
Last week, we as a church concluded a 21-day fasting period. During the fast, each person spent time in prayer daily to focus on God and to deepen the relationship. The purpose of the fast was to cut out distractions from our lives such as social media or junk food and in its place spent time to draw strength from God. Along with prayer, it opened up an avenue for us to connect with our Lord and it enhanced that relationship.
Before Jesus began His ministry, he spent 40 days in fasting and in prayer. He wanted to connect with His Father. Despite the devil’s attempts to tempt Jesus away from his fast, Jesus resisted because His relationship with God was strong. Jesus depended on God for strength, not the temptations and distractions from the devil.
Several members of our church experienced great change in their lives during the three weeks of fasting…
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