FCA Breakfast

10 09 2010

As much as I like to pretend that I am “front-yard material” when it comes to playing sports, my youth will be the first to tell you that I’m one of the clumsiest, least athletic people on the planet. So when I found out that our church was hosting breakfast for the local FCA club—and what’s more, that I would be the guest speaker — I was more than a little terrified. When I called the club sponsor for guidance, she cheerily told me that last week’s guest speaker was a bodybuilder who tore telephone books in two.  How’s that for an act to follow?

Last night I agonized over what to say, knowing that I could not pull off a football reference to save my life.  But we just finished breakfast, and I survived. Below is the original devotion.

When I was in high school, I went on a mission trip with my church to build cinder-block houses in Juarez, Mexico. I did not speak any Spanish, I had no experience mixing cement or laying bricks…I just went. On the first morning we were there, our pastor told us that we were being watched. Not in a creepy stalker way … what he meant was that the neighborhoods where we were working were close-knit communities. Everybody knew their neighbors and looked out for each other…and as Americans, we clearly did not fit in. We looked different, we talked differently, and we did things very differently. So all week long, people were watching everything we did, whether we knew it or not, trying to figure out what we were about. They watched how we treated each other, how we spoke to each other, how we worked together. It didn’t matter that we didn’t speak Spanish: our witness was in the way that we lived.

I know that there are people who are watching you, too, whether you know it or not. Whether you’re at school, or at home, or just going about your business somewhere else, there’s someone who’s watching what you do to see what you’re about. They see that you’re a member of FCA, and they see that “C,” that big Christian “C,” and they wonder what that means So they look at your lifestyle, and the things that you do and the things you say, and the way you treat people, and they say, “Okay, I get it. That’s what a Christian is. That’s what a Christian does.”

I think about the famous quote by Teresa of Avila:

“Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Christ has no body now but yours”

That’s an incredible responsibility, an incredible commission, and an incredible opportunity for us all. Whether we know it or not, we are called to be representatives for Christ in every single thing that we do. I know that God has placed people in your life who need to know that they are loved by God. And he has placed you in their life because your life and your witness may be the only access to Christ that they will ever have. And maybe that sounds a little bit scary to some of you – I know it does to me sometimes– because we’re still figuring this whole thing out. But the great news is that we don’t have to be perfect…and we’re not alone. We just have to be willing to let God work through us, to shine His light on us that we can reflect it back into the world.

So my challenge to you today is from the book of Colossians. In chapter 3, verse 17, Paul says this, and I ask that you hear these words as they have been written directly to you: “Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

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wrinkles

20 07 2009

I’ll try to keep these silly posts to a minimum (I promise you, I can make a spiritual analogy out of anything), but I thought this was a good one to share:

We were running late for church yesterday.  And as we were walking up the steps to the sanctuary, I was making all of those last-minute adjustments: patting down my hair, making sure my shoes are on the right feet, that my clothes are on right-side-out, etc.  I looked down and noticed a wrinkle in my shirt but told Jordan, “Oh well, I think this shirt is probably representative of my faith anyway.  It’s probably fitting that I’m wearing it to church.”

Although he made fun of me at the time, I got to thinking about it and thought that my description was actually pretty apt.  After all, the Bible is more concerned about clothing than you might think:

“I delight greatly in the LORD;
my soul rejoices in my God.
For he has clothed me with garments of salvation
and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness…”

– Isaiah 61:10

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”

– Colossians 3:12-14

“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

– Ephesians 6:13-17

I don’t know about you, but I certainly have wrinkles in my robe of righteousness! As well as in my compassion, kindness, gentleness, humility, and patience …

Perhaps it is indeed better to come before God just as I am … wrinkles and all!