Last night was great! I love those moments where you sense God so clearly moving and using you! They are great! Oh, I guess I should tell you what actually happened last night. AIA has an 8 week summer project, called the AIA Colorado Project, with 25 student-athletes from across the country here in Ft. Collins every summer to grow in relationship with God and much more. I have a special place in my heart for this project because I was a participant back in 2001 and God changed my heart that summer. It was that summer that God ignited my heart for the world! It was in that meeting room that I spoke in last night that I heard a talk 6 years ago that God used to propel me into the World and give me the heart of a World Christian.
So last night I had 7 of my XTRACK friends (THANKS FOR COMING GUYS, YOU ROCK!) join me for the International Night at the project. The 8 of us spoke of 6 different regions of the world that God has called us to and then I finished with a 25 minute talk from Acts 1:8, entitled Does Jesus Expect Me to Change the World? I would love to give you a run down of it but I can’t today. But you can click HERE and download my keynote presentation in PDF format and also you can click HERE to see my short 10 minute presentation about Eastern Europe and Czech.
Before wrapping this post up I do want to share with you what I was praying for and why I was so excited about last night. First off, having the opportunity to be used by God to, Lord-willing, help people have an appropriate heart for the Nations that mirrors God’s heart gets me fired up. The reason being is that percaptia each year the United States sees many entering full-time ministry and of those approximate 100 that enter less than 10 will leave our boarders to do full-time ministry. My director in Czech, Billy Crossan, often describes it like this, “If you were to see 10 men carrying a huge telephone pole and there were 8 on one end and 2 on the other, which side would you help with?” THE SIDE THAT HAD TWO PEOPLE, right? I hope so! But this doesn’t happen with the number of U.S. full-time missionaries and it certainly doesn’t happen with the amount of money given to World Missions! So it gets me fired up to be used to open people’s eyes to this.
The second reason I get so fired up is that I know that the sky is the limits if some of these students or staff were to follow God’s call and go. Who knows what God would do! I can only dream of the changed lives across the globe! I get giddy thinking of what God could do to add to His Revolution that is known to us as Christianity. I just don’t get excited about them going but also being proactive to pray for the nations, to support the reaching of the nations, and to look for international students right here in America to reach! Because after all HAVING A HEART FOR THE NATIONS ISN’T AN ADD-ON OR SOMETHING WE DO ONCE AND CHECK OFF A LIST! IT MUST BE A CONSTANT BECAUSE IT IS A CONSTANT ON THE HEART OF JESUS!
Lastly, I was fired up about last night because I pray that God would help our organization, Athletes in Action, have a greater heart for the nations and sending to the Nations. We send lots of summer tours, which are great, but they aren’t enough! Going in for a few weeks playing a few games and seeing some people come to Christ is great, BUT IT’S NOT ENOUGH. “Why?” you ask. Well, what happens after the team leaves? I pray for AIA often that we would be sending STINTers out for 1-2 years and that we would have more than one person going long-term every now and then. I believe when organizations, churches and movements make SENDING to the Nations a priority God honors that.
WOW, I got excited. I have to get going, but I would love to hear your thoughts, so use the response feature and let us hear it. May God move in your heart and my heart to see how we can be part of what He is doing across the globe! Below you will find a vodcast from John Piper. I used this last night because in so many ways Dr. Piper hits it on the head when it comes to World Missions! May we not be disobedient (watch the video to see what I mean)!
I have a confession to make. I love Apple products. It might be boarder line obsessive at times too! What can I say they make great products and I believe that Apple products will be heaven! You ask, “What Zach?” I have Scripture for it! In Revelation 21 John is describing what the City of God will be like and he writes this short phrase in verse 24, “the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it.” Then a couple of verses (v. 26) later he writes, “The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it.” So the great cultural achievements of mankind that reek of the Creator God’s image implanted in them, whether they know the Lord or not will be brought into the City of God! What does “kings of the earth” mean? I’m not positive, but I could see Steve Jobs (Apple ceo) bringing the cultural achievements of the Macbook Pro, the iPod, and the iPhone to God! I guess we’ll have to wait to see! If you would like to follow this in a more developed article click here.
So with yesterdays real big release of the new iPhone I found myself wishing I was in line with the other overly obsessive Apple geeks waiting in line to get one. But as I followed what was going on with the release I felt convicted and asked myself if I am content with my current phone and iPod being separate. The tension was great and then I realized I wasn’t content so God reminded me of some verses.
“Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have…” Hebrews 13:5a
“For we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.” 1 Timothy 6:7-8
“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.” Philippians 4:11
What might it be in your life? It might not be an iPhone. It could be a new house, a new car, a new spouse, a spouse at all, or whatever! God is asking us to be content with what we have, largely content with Him and where He has knowing that He is a good God and takes care of our needs. I think this is what Jesus was getting at in Matthew 6:24:
“No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.”
Replace money with whatever you are struggling to be content with; for example, You cannot serve both God and an iPhone. Does this mean that God doesn’t want us to enjoy good things? NO! He does, but when the good things replace our love and devotion of Him we are in trouble! So this day after the iPhone has been released I will confess my discontentment to God and choose to be content with the good things He has bestowed on me today! For a similar blog post, check out The Longbrake’s.
During our training this week, Mike Carr shared a quote from Charles Spurgeon about our heart for the lost and being motivated to share the greatest news of ALL history with those who have never heard. The quote floored me. It might be my new favorite quote! I pray this moves you to share this Great News with passion!
â€œIf sinners be damned, at least let them leap to hell over our dead bodies. If they will perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees. Let no one go there unwarned or unprayed for.â€
I would love to hear your thoughts about this quote. What emotions stir in you as you read it? Are their any immediate action steps that the Lord laid on your heart as you read this? Use the response feature to speak out about it!
As you may know I am a huge fan of John Piper. God has used his preaching and writing in some amazing ways since I came to faith. Today (Wednesday) and tomorrow all his books are $5 on his website! I highly suggest you take advantage of this! Here is a list I of my suggested Piper books:
I really recommend any of his books, so take advantage of this sale! Have a revolutionary day!
I don’t do well with pain. I thank God that I am not a woman, if I whimper as much as I do with a sprained ankle I would be asking for an epidermal as soon as I found out that I was pregnant! All because I couldn’t deal with the pain. So to all the women out there who have birthed a child, you are way tougher than me! And thanks to my Mom for pushing all 10+ lbs of me out!
Anyway, as you can see and read I hurt my ankle yesterday playing some pick-up Ultimate Frisbee with Crusade people here in Ft. Collins. I don’t even have a good story with it, I just turned it on an uneven spot of the field. So all day I sat with ice on it and it elevated while I beat Halo 2 and I did have some great time with Jesus before I saved the world from the evil aliens! You can’t say I didn’t get anything accomplished today! I have to give a HUGE SHOUT OUT to some of my XTRACK men that have been my nurses today! Thanks guys! You rock! I’m grateful! Well, I pray you have a blessed weekend! My good friend Jeremy Johnston just called, I have to go!
I know you have been riveted by my new series of cultural insights about the Czech Republic from the book, I just finished, entitled Pink Tanks and Velvet Hangovers: An American in Prague. To read the last couple entries related to this series click here and here. While I was on STINT in Prague I notice I didn’t see a lot of handicapped people in Prague. It got me wondering, “Surely they have handicap people here too, but where are they.” Douglas Lytle hits on this briefly in the book:
The elderly and handicapped are automatically given seats on the trams. As we rattled along, Nikola said that the trams are easier than the underground subway, which has no elevators and more steps. The previous government [the communists] neglected to do much for the needs of the handicapped. “They said handicapped people only existed in capitalist countries!” Nikola said.
Wow, I still don’t know what to think about that quote from this woman named Nikola, but I obviously still saw the truths of this when I spent time over there. It makes me wonder about our country’s values compared to the Czech values. Hmmm, well, I need to get to some homework for training. Thanks for stopping by!
Growing up I wanted to be an artist – more specifically a cartoonist. That evolved into being a filmmaker – more specifically a director and writer. BUT things changed when I went to highschool and felt the need to be the “golden boy” coach’s son and that resulted in me shying away from the artistic side of me a lot. Since I’ve become a Christian I’ve been itching my way back into the creative side of me, especially since I see that it is a God-given impulse and it reflects my Creator God. So here is a great quote about art from the great thinker Dr. Francis Schaeffer:
Art is a reflection of God’s creativity, an evidence that we are made in the image of God.
We have been talking about transitions, values, living incarnationally, and a ton of great things that are relevant for the 100 of us Crusade missionaries that will be spread over the globe to 20 some countries. BUT as I’ve been sitting in these meeting and training times I couldn’t help but think, “The whole American Church needs this training!” We need to be trained to live missionally (or incarnational) where ever God has placed us. Ed Stetzer (who is a DUDE!) spoke recently at the SBC Conference about this very thing. I hope this short clip challenges you and your church to live missionally! I hope to begin posting some of the relevant stuff we are learning here!
(HT – Steve McCoy)
Today, I’ve been surfing the internet trying to find a way to find Czech people in Fort Collins, CO. One of the things within our XTRACK International Training we will engage in is a language learning week and also a Cultural Engagement Experience (formally known as Cultural Engagement Project, but experience sounds more post-modern!) that are contingent on finding someone from the country we are going to. This is tough when you are going to a country of a little under 11 million people, but WE are trying. (Please pray that God would provide someone!) In the midst of all my surfing I came across an article in Denver Post entitled Blank Czechs? and it offered some great insights into the Czech persona. Click here for the whole article, but below are some sections I found intriguing.
Upon arriving in Prague last September, I was initially taken aback to find the Czechs such a glum lot. On the trams or trains they would rarely speak, and they all seemed to find their shoes fascinating. Sometimes under the great silent pressure not to stand out, I often pretended to find their shoes fascinating, too.
Even our twentysomething son, fixated on any number of things besides other’s shoes, noticed the gloom. After visiting us here, he e-mailed a few weeks later asking how things were “in the land of no smiles and dreamy beer.”
So when I now look around at the glum faces on the trams and the trains now, I see things a bit differently. True, the Czechs can be a crusty bunch, but there is much worth discovering under the crust. Behind those blank, shoe-studying eyes is a patient but potent resolve as well as a stoic appraisal of life’s joys and hardships. This seemingly sullen reticence is something beyond mere temperament; perhaps it is the coy mask of false acquiescence they learned to wear in the face of decades of often brutal oppression.
I find the author’s, Mark Moe, insights pretty accurate and I learned some interesting things from the article. Czech the whole article out if these sections got you thinking and as always be a revolution today!
So I promised that I would give you a recap about my trip to Cali and I told you to hold me to it. So here is a quick recap. If you click on any of the pictures below it will take you to my flickr site; note if you want to see any pics I put on-line just go to my flickr. Alright, here we go with the recap!
Jason & Vangi Roeder and I met when they were living in Wisconsin and I was attending the Harvard of the Midwest (a.k.a. UW-OSHKOSH) for college. About a year and a half ago a friend and supporter reconnected Jason and I and after a year and a half things worked out for a trip. The purpose of the trip was two fold – 1) vacation, my Czech Director actually told me I needed to take at least one vacation of four consecutive days; 2) to connect with potential ministry partners who would be excited to join the many of us that are partnering together to reach the Czech Republic. Jason and Vangi were great hosts! Thank you guys! I also had a great time wrestling/playing/etc. with their four kids! [Read more...]