As I write this Iâ€™m looking out of a Starbucksâ€™ window out to one of my most favorite city squares in all of the United States. It happens to be mere miles from the home that I was born in. Iâ€™m sitting in Woodstock, IL. If you have never been here it is a fun place to escape away to and enjoy the small town America feel that is Woodstock. It happens to be the square that the majority of Bill Murray’s Groundhog Day was filmed. Anyway, today has been an interesting day and a very encouraging day as well. Here is the run down, I hope it makes you laugh, cry and moves you to take this world by storm.
Yes pus. That is how my day began. I got out of the shower and my mother called me and told me to come to her office to perform a â€œminor procedure.â€ See for the last 4 years or so I had what I called a â€œthird nipple.â€ (Please bear with me here, there is a point to this) See at one time when I was in college this lump started to develop at the dead center point of my chest. I realized when I was in Czech that I should probably have it looked at.
This brings us to a couple of weeks ago I noticed that it looked like something wasnâ€™t right. If it was right before this I donâ€™t know. What I learned was that it was a few years of pus that some how got under my skin. Nasty I know. So my mother, who happens to be a Nurse Midwife, a registered nurse and she has her doctorate of nursing science as well (sheâ€™s a smart woman!), took a look at it and in an effort to save me money my mom was just going to clean it up.
Well, being a â€œbroke missionaryâ€ I thought, my mom is experienced in doing â€œminor proceduresâ€ and all that stuff, but generally she doesnâ€™t work with men and she isnâ€™t working on the end of the body that I needed to have worked on. I hope you get what Iâ€™m talking about here, because I donâ€™t want to delve into the topic of what my mom does, so if you donâ€™t get it, let me know and Iâ€™ll give you the â€œbirds and the beesâ€ conversation!
Hebrews 11:1 says, â€œNow faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.â€ (ESV) This has a whole new meaning as I watched my mother take a scalpel to my third nipple today. I had to trust or have assurance of things hoped for and the conviction of things not seen â€“ largely that my mom wouldnâ€™t slip and mar me for the rest of my life and clean up this thing on my chest. My mom did a great job and even though my chest hurts a bit, I havenâ€™t been marred.
What better of a way to have this thing taken care of! My mother who loves me and doesnâ€™t wish any ill thing to come to my life and wants to help me save my money! If this is true of my mother, how much more true is it off my God? I had a spiritual moment as my mom took care of me; it reminded me of many scriptures, but here is just one;
If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! Matthew 7:11 (ESV)
If my mother will perform a procedure and be so precise on each move of her hand, how much more will my Heavenly Daddy take care of me? Does this mean that I wonâ€™t have any pain? Heck no! My chest hurts like a beast right now and I wouldnâ€™t dare put pressure against it, but it got this infected junk out of my body. In fact at one point my mom irrigated the area (I think I said it right) with hydrogen peroxide and it burned so bad that both of my pectoral muscles felt like they were on fire, I wanted to scream out, â€œMom what did you just do? My nipples are on fire!â€ It hurt but it was through the hurt that it was made clean and I donâ€™t have this infection in my body any longer. God works in much the same manner in the spiritual matters of life.
It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:7 (ESV)
Well I hope that moved you in some way to look at the â€œhardâ€ things of life as Godâ€™s caring hands working on your life, with the precision of a master surgeon. Letâ€™s move on to something elseâ€¦
white chocolate caramel mocha. incarnational living. encouragement.
I thought I could write a little under each title above, but that wouldnâ€™t work and it would be too long, so letâ€™s lump them all together. Iâ€™m enjoying the smooth, warm joy of a white chocolate caramel mocha that one of the sweet Baristas, Krista, recommended and hooked me up with.
The reason I came down to Woodstock today was to meet with Pastor Steve McCoy, one of my blog heroes, to talk about life and Czech. I have to be honest Iâ€™m pretty stoked right now! We chatted for about an hour and a half and covered a lot of ground, too much for me to cover within this entry, but Iâ€™ll brief you a bit.
One of the many things we camped on for the majority of our time together was a principle called incarnatational living. The thought behind this is from John 1:14:
And the Word [JESUS] became flesh [man] and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14 (ESV)
See we live in a world, that to a degree is void of Jesus (I do think Jesus is present every where, but there are two ways too look at this and for this discussion it will be this one) and when we live incarnationally we incarnate Jesus in some place that He wasnâ€™t before and take on the flesh of that world. Jesus did this when He, being God, came to our earth and took on our human flesh. So where are you? Where has God put you?
Let me plead and encourage you to take the flesh, or skin, of that world on and live Jesus out there. Now there are places where God has put us where some of the skin that we might put on would not be beneficial to us. For example, God has placed me in the world with men who love football and are football players, but some of them also love pornography and stuff that isnâ€™t good, stuff that in itself is sinful! This is why we need to pray for a spirit of discernment from the Lord, that we might live in the worlds He has placed us, but not be of it. So then how do I live incarnationally in this world God has placed me? Work hard and be the best ball player and coach I can and on top of that speak into the areas of these guysâ€™ lives with love and truth without participating or condoning the sinful things the take part in.
How can you do this in your world?
I donâ€™t have an answer for you, but God does. Seek him and seek to incarnate Jesus in your world.
Again I could go on with this, but needless to say it was good to talk to a like minded guy, who happens to be a pastor, who has taken some interest in my life and work with AIA. Iâ€™m excited to see what partnership with Pastor Steve and his church that the Lord forges in the future. One thing Iâ€™ve learned in my last 5 weeks of support raising is that God shows up and He brings people into our lives to help us in whatever He is calling us into. This is truly a joy that Iâ€™ve experienced over the last couple weeks of being in the Lake Geneva area.
Iâ€™m off to my dadâ€™s football game, GO JOHNSBURG SKYHAWKS! Oh by the way in case you havenâ€™t read this simple phrase enough on my blog â€“ BE A REVOLUTION!