Wednesday, November 7, 2012

It's about a trust fall

Have you ever participated in or experienced a trust fall? I have been reading about and studying prayer for the last couple months and the other evening, the image of a trust fall came to mind as a metaphor for prayer.

As I thought about the trust falls (A trust fall is a trust-building exercise in which a person deliberately allows themselves to fall backwards, relying on someone else to catch him or her) I had experienced, it came to me that they were not always good experiences. I can remember being half-caught, being hurt a little when the person did grab for me or being scared when it seemed like they were letting me fall a long time before they actually caught me.

Then I thought about what it would feel like to do a trust fall with God, to just fling my arms back and fall into his arms. I think it would feel like falling into cotton candy, not that it would give way, but his arms would be so tender, so open and sweet. It would be a place of such relief and absolute pure joy and safety. Hmmm, I think that praying, truly trusting God with our burdens, should feel a lot like that.

Then a verse  came to my mind, I Peter 5: 7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. That's what one aspect of prayer is, casting all your burdens, your cares, fears and worries into the hands of God, and when you do that, leaving them there. Can you imagine the relief and joy that you could experience doing that? It is God after all - he can certainly handle any of my problems.

As I imagined what it would feel like, to do a trust fall into God's arms - really thinking about what it would feel like - it was amazing.  I think I would be filled with laughter, with the kind of joy that chased away any kind of concern.  I wonder if that is what God wants us to experience when we go to Him with our boatloads of needs and concerns.  He just wants us to throw ourselves and our junk into His arms, and then just laugh out loud to express the relief and joy we find trusting Him with it all.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Been thinking about prayer and love

Seems like they do go together.
  • John 15: 12-13 This is my commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.
  • Gal. 6:2 Bear one another's burdens and thus fulfill the law of Christ.
  • James 6: Therefore confess your sins to one another and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.
 Last night in class, we were talking about passions, what constituted a passion and what our own particular passions were. As I mused over the answers our students came up with I was challenged as to my own passion....and it suddenly became very clear: I want people to know what it means to be loved by God and to live out that knowing.
It all seemed to come together: the last few weeks I have spent in the gospel of John, reading over and over again the words of Christ ( I do appreciate my red letter Bible), and as I reviewed His words, the conviction that rose about what it meant to love like Jesus.
I have also spent my "before bed" time reading about prayer, and this morning it all came together in the above three passages. God simply wants us to love one another. That's how we show Him and the world that we love God; it is the evidence of that love. Then that love for others will manifest itself by our own desire to bear other's burdens, to see what we can do to help others, to lighten their load. And finally, real love will manifest itself in our prayer life. If we love someone, God will hear from us about that person.
And I wonder if the measure of our love for God is most clearly seen in or heard in our prayer life. The prayer life that is limited to our own personal concerns seems to reflect a self-centered life. Could it also be that the greater the world encircled in one's prayer life, the greater the love demonstrated, and the more intimate our relationship with the Father? Just thinking out loud.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

It’s not a book about gays,

though one of the two main characters is gay, kind of like a lot of television lately. The book’s title is Out of a Far Country by Christopher (the gay son) and Angela (the straight mother) Yuan. Chapters alternate voice, one Chris’s voice telling how he experienced a certain period of time, and the next chapter is his mother’s experience of the same time.

Chinese-American, Chris Yuan was one of two brothers brought up by successful, hard-working and sacrificial first generation Chinese Americans. Angela and Leon Yuan wanted only for their two sons to go to college and join the family dental practice, a dream that would bring great heartache as the two sons had other dreams.

Chris, as he was known as a boy and young adult, knew for a long time that there was something different about himself, something he came to know and embrace as his gay identity, something his parents could not ever embrace. You can imagine what happens next: Chris leaves home, ends up in the gay world of sex and serious drugs, finally in prison for selling drugs.

His mother, never a God-fearing woman, meets a believer who introduces Angela to God and disciples her into a different way of thinking. And here is where the book takes a right turn out of darkness and death into light and hope. I want you to read the book, so I’m not going to tell you everything, but what you must know is that it’s not a book about gays. It is instead a book about God and how He works, about faith and what life looks like for someone who is seriously searching for God. It is also a book about the seriously and miraculously changed life.

Chris becomes Christopher (and that's a story), yanked from the brink of death, as his own mother was, and he goes from criminal to Christian. But he does not become straight. However, he does recognize that regardless of how some people use Scripture to justify the gay lifestyle, Christopher cannot. To his surprise, Christoper comes to understand that God loves him, the sinner, and that God hates only the sinful activities the gay person may embrace.

Easily read, this book is one that begs to be discussed. In fact, it comes with an eight session study guide in the back.

In today’s world, where the gay lifestyle is viewed only as an alternative, Christians must see it as one more tool to deceive and deprive believers of God’s richest blessings. It grieves me as I type these words to think of the number of former, and perhaps current, students that I know either living in or considering the openly gay lifestyle. Perhaps, as some claim and believe, they were born this way. A lot of people are born with all kinds of challenges, the results of a fallen world. But God’s design remains the same, and the gay lifestyle does not fit. Still, the gay man or woman can live in the same godly lifestyle as the straight man or woman who has not found the right mate – a celibate lifestyle, with God’s help and bringing glory to Him.

OK, I got sidetracked - the book is really about much more than a comment on gays - it is about faith and perseverance and most of all, about the love of God.