Thursday, October 20, 2011

God's Wonderful World of Surprises

Have you ever had someone come into your life quickly and unexpectedly make a big impression on you? And I'm not talking about the 'He ran a red light at Beechmont and Five Mile, didn't see me, and totaled my car' kind of impression. I'm talking about when you meet someone seemingly by chance and that conversation becomes the highlight of your day.

A couple of years ago, my wife and I ran into a couple at Parkside on a Sunday morning. The couple had recently come to the US from Ethiopia. They only knew a few people in Cincinnati, but they had heard from one of them that Parkside cared about Ethiopians. Now I don't have a clue who they talked to, but whoever it was, was totally right!

We quickly developed a friendship the Telahown, his wife Ayantu, and their son. We had them over to our house, we went over to their place. We even taught each other about our different culture. I really enjoyed having conversations with Telahown about Scripture and his heart for ministry. He has a huge passion for teaching others about God's truth.

More than a year ago, Telahown and Ayantu had another son. As is customary in their culture, Ayantu went back to live with her mother in Ethiopia for the first few months of their new son's life. Telahown had been looking for a better job and found one in Nevada. Ethiopians who move to America keep in very good contact with other Ethiopians in the US and that was how he discovered this job opportunity.

So just like that, they disappeared from our everyday life. A couple months after they moved, I got a call from him telling me that he made it to Nevada safely. We prayed with each other and that was the last I heard from him, until yesterday.

God's surprises are great aren't they? Telahown called me yesterday to tell me they had lost our number but found it in an old notebook. He is still in Nevada and is working as a Taxi driver (He really likes it). His wife and boys have moved to Nevada with him. The last time I had talked to him I told him that there was a church close to where he lived that I had done an internship at. Yesterday on the phone he told me it is their home church now and they really have become a part of the church family.

Telahown made a big impression in a short time in my life. It was such a blessing to hear that he is well and is still connected with the Body of Christ. I share this story to remind you to keep investing in people. Whether they are in your life for a week or for years it's worth it. Let God's love flow from your life into theirs. You may never get the kind of phone call I got yesterday, but you might. Keep praying and celebrate the promises of God's goodness.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Sticky Faith and I am Second

Kara Powell Sharing on Sticky Faith

Kara Powell - Sticky Faith from MPPC on Vimeo.

Shorter Kara Powell Interview

Inspiring Testimonies:

Check out this website for a movement called IAMSECOND.COM which includes testimonies from Josh Hamilton, Brian Welch, and LeCrae (not mention a ton of other great stories).

Monday, October 10, 2011

Fake Faith in a Genuine God

A thought hit me the other day that has continued to surface in my day to day life. I thought to myself, "Isn't it wonderful that I'm a hypocrite?" Yeah I know I am sounding like I'm crazy, but a few days later I actually told someone else about my eureka moment. They were a little perplexed. Being a hypocrite is not something most people are proud of at all.

Let me explain. I try to follow God in all areas of my life. I try to fill up with His Spirit so He can overflow into the lives of those around me. I teach others about God's word and His amazing message. Right now our Student Ministry is teaching each other about what it means to be Faithful in all areas of our lives. Here's the truth though: Nobody is Faithful, Nobody is Perfect and It's super-hard to try to be. Stick with me here, we are getting really close to the wonderful part of this.

God is faithful. God is perfect. It isn't something he 'tries' to do it is simply who he is. I am a hypocrite who tries to be faithful, but I fail a lot and more often than not my faith is pretty fake. God is the genuine thing though. There is nothing fake about him. How wonderful is it that our feeble and often fake faith is placed in a God who is real, true, and able to keep His promises.

Our High School Guys Sunday Morning Group talked about James 1 yesterday morning. James talks about fake faith. He compares it to people who literally can't remember what they look like. He essentially is saying, "Hey if you have met God, you are going to remember it!" Listen to what He says in James 1:25 (The Message)

"25But whoever catches a glimpse of the revealed counsel of God—the free life!—even out of the corner of his eye, and sticks with it, is no distracted scatterbrain but a man or woman of action. That person will find delight and affirmation in the action."

Take joy in this awesome truth today! In all of our fakeness and failures. He is the real deal and those of us who stick with it, we will find delight and meaning in our action. It's is wonderful to know that even me, the hypocrite, is loved by the genuine God.