1/19/11

Guessing At God's Plan

As hard as it is to explain the Christian faith, it's harder still to tell someone that you believe what you're doing is a part of God's plan for your life.

"Really?" they ask. "And how do you know this is what God wants you to do?"

No one ever asks that question. At least not where I'm from. It would be completely inappropriate. If someone can look you in the eye and tell you that God wants them to sell everything and move to Africa, you're not in a position to question them. Not because what they're saying isn't crazy. But because they may be right.

No one really knows what God is telling us to do. We can only act on feelings, dreams and an inability to think of anything else. When the proverbial God tug comes, prepare to expend great amounts of energy explaining it to yourself and to others. But spend less time explaining it to others.

One more thing - you'll never be certain. You were never made to be certain. Faith will always be that firm belief in something for which there is little objective proof. Your job is to keep acting on that faith, guessing at God's plan, and enjoying the ride when you get it right.

1/12/11

Noah's Faith

I've always been fascinated by the story of Noah and his ark. I like to think the man had more followers than his family. But I'm probably wrong. I don't remember reading anything about Noah having to turn people away. The town probably thought he was some old drunk with a crazy idea. But we look back on that story and marvel at his faith.

God didn't give him a wimpy canoe to build; He commanded a ship. A big ship. I've read that the ark was over 400 feet in length (longer than a football field) and 45 feet tall (higher than a three-story building).

God chooses ordinary people because he knows of their extraordinary faith. We ask God for peace and strength and blessings. But what if we sincerely asked Him to show the world how big He is through us? Surely, those things would follow.

1/10/11

Once You Decide To Lead

Once you decide to lead - your family, your business, your church - the hardest part is over. But it doesn't feel that way. That's because the decision is not final. Whatever resistance you encounter after that requires you to make another decision to lead. Then another. And another.

Having the guts to make hard decisions is rare. You will screw up. But having the guts to continue after failing is even more rare. And makes a better leader.

Neither you nor I have done anything worse than the most productive characters in the Bible. The difference may be that they continually renewed their decision to lead.

1/7/11

Your Opinion

Look at a person's résumé and you'll learn what they've done, where they've been, and a few of their interests.

Listen to a person's opinion and you'll get so much more. 

The problem is that sharing an opinion can be tough. Others may disagree. But they might also learn. I've a friend who listened to a professor ramble about how ridiculous Christianity is. The professor even misrepresented several parts of the Bible. My friend could have let him ramble. But he didn't. He told the professor what he believed. And offered a few polite corrections to the stories he had told about Jesus. 

Afterward, another student approached my friend. "I'm not a Christian," he said, "but I knew some of that stuff he was saying about Jesus wasn't right." 

I'm not sure that we'll ever know the significance of that conversation, but thanks to my friend, that student knows the real story of Jesus. 

1/5/11

Your God Story

Do you have a God story?

If so, have you shared it? Have you told about the days or weeks or years that you prayed for that one thing? And then God actually answered it?

I would love to hear your story, and if you don't mind, I'd like to write about it on Son in the Faith. You can e-mail me at evancbell@gmail.com. If you have a blog, write about it there and I'll link to it. I don't care where the story is told, let's just get it out.

1/4/11

The Father's Joy

I watched an interesting interaction at church on Sunday. A young boy placed a piece of paper against his knee and began to draw. His dad saw what his son was attempting and passed over his bible to be used as a drawing table. The boy began to draw shapes and faces. It didn't take long for the boy's dad to notice his son's work. The dad sat smiling, watching his son draw. It was easy to see the joy that that little boy gave his father - just from doodling.

I won't make some broad analogy here. I just pray that, at least one time today, I make God feel like that father.