Monday, May 26, 2008

Inspired (and a Winner)

We are home from our insane super fun weekend. Yes, we were at YC with our Church's senior high youth group (that's grades 9-12 for my American friends). Good guessing everyone! Highlights coming soon...

Since this is what you've all been anxiously awaiting (I'm certain you've all got nothing better to do with your weekend than wait on my blog, right?), I'll announce the winner first.

I would like you all to visit Mary at Not Before 7 and congratulate her! In my very non-random fashion, I selected Mary for the following reasons:
#1 - she answered first,
#2 - she did research,
#3 - she used Google (you go, girl!),
#4 - she doesn't live here, and
#5 - because I can!
(LOL. Please know that I also love, love, love my other commenters/ guessers - Louise & Heidi, Barb, Bobbie, Kris, and Darlene - and you should visit their blogs, too.) Mary, I'll email you to get your mailing info. :)

Here's what Mary has won (and will receive in however long it takes me to remember to mail it, *wink). [Can I just interject a small complaint here? Okay, thanks. You will notice the price for this item on is quite reasonable. Yes? So I must fume ponder the fact that it was being sold at YC, by the author himself, for a different (read: higher) price. That just doesn't seem right! Geeeeesh, people! Is there no sense of fairness in this crazy economy?! Phew. I needed that. Thanks for listening. Rant over.] I have not yet listened to this audio drama, but have heard from a number of people that it is great and that the message is powerful. Let me know what you think after you give it a listen, okay Mary?

Now, back to the inspired part...

The first speaker of the weekend was by far my favorite. John Bevere has such deep wisdom to share and he really spoke to me. (FYI, he's pretty serious and to the point, so I'm not sure that he was the best choice for a YOUTH event, but all us youth leaders were scribbling copious notes.)

The question: Why are there so many Christians without intimacy with Christ? (In other words, why are so many lacking a closeness, a deep relationship, an understanding, a friendship with Jesus?)

The answer: Psalm 25:14.
The Lord is a friend to those who fear him. He teaches them his covenant. (NLT)
The LORD confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them. (NIV)
The secret of the LORD is with those who fear Him, and He will show them His covenant. (NKJV)
God-friendship is for God-worshipers; they are the ones he confides in. (MSG)
The secret [of the sweet, satisfying companionship] of the Lord have they who fear (revere and worship) Him, and He will show them His covenant and reveal to them its [deep, inner] meaning. (AMP)

Many believers today do not have the FEAR OF THE LORD in them. I have struggled with understanding the meaning of this phrase. I know that we're not supposed to feel AFRAID of God, but I have no other understanding for this word - fear.

Bevere explains this term fear as reverence, respect, admiration, awe.

It is NOT an 'Adam and Eve are naked and hiding in the bushes so they don't get caught in sin' kind of fear. Rather, it is a 'fall on your face because you can't even comprehend His majesty and greatness' kind of fear. It is NOT a 'I am going to be in so much trouble' kind of fear, but a 'I totally let you down and broke your heart and I'm so sorry I could die' kind of fear. Reverence for His Holy Name. Respect for His rules for living. Admiration for His righteousness and justness. Awe at His power and might. That is the stuff that fear of the Lord is made of.

I am sad to admit that I often approach God from a profane perspective. (Bevere defines profane as 'treating what is sacred as common, what is holy as ordinary.') I come to Him with my everyday requests, toss them at His feet, turn and go about my day. How much more ordinary could I treat HIM?! This is the ONE who spoke the earth into existence. This is the ONE who parts the seas and raises the dead! This is the ONE who let His very own baby boy die - for me. This is no ordinary man. He's not someone to be treated like the host of the radio request line. You don't just drop Him a quick line telling Him what you want and say "buh-bye." Oh. My. Goodness. It's no wonder that some days I feel totally lacking in the 'intimacy with God' department. I treat Him as if I don't even know Him!

If you've just come to the same realization as me, here are some pointers on how to reverence the Lord (a conglomeration of my thoughts and ideas and those presented by Bevere).

Take some time to reflect on who God is and what He has done (throughout time and in your own life). Start making a list of these things so you can revisit it periodically (ideally at those times when God is feeling kind-of far away).

Serve God. That is, make choices and take actions that matter to Him. Do not serve anyone else! Don't be motivated in decision-making by what others think you should do. Don't behave in certain ways for certain situations based on what others might think of you. "You will serve whom you fear." Do you fear (reverence) God? Or do you fear (are afraid of/concerned with) man?

Talk to God about everything. But more importantly, spend some time just listening. Imagine a conversation with a friend where she just goes on and on about her day and then leaves. Imagine that this happens over and over again. Would you want to spend time with that friend? Would you even feel like she sees you as a treasured friend? I suspect that we don't make God feel very special or treasured when we just talk, talk, talk without ever listening.

Obey Him. Those who have the fear of the Lord in them will obey God instantly, even if what He's asking doesn't make sense (see * below), even if it might hurt (see Genesis 22:1-18), and even if they can't see the possible benefits (see Joshua 6:1-16).

Worship the Lord. Sing songs praising Him, admire His handiwork in nature, tell your kids about how He has blessed you. Just let yourself be amazed by Him!

Try these things, and let me know if you notice a change in your relationship with the Lord. I'm going to do the same. I am not satisfied with simply being a follower of Jesus, I want to be able to declare, "I am a friend of Jesus!"

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. ~James 4:8a (NKJV)


* (To my understanding, this is a true story, as shared by my friend Jim. Names in the story have been changed due to my pathetic memory. As well, I have taken some creative liberties for the 'flow' of the story - but don't worry, the gist remains the same.)

Harriet worked hard at her professional job, and enjoyed it immensely. But she felt the need to do something more in her life. Because she had some unique talents, including gymnastics, acrobatics, funny voices, and comedy, a friend suggested she sign up to be a clown at the local children's hospital.

Harriet was on her way to spread some joy among children with cancer, when she sensed the Holy Spirit's nudging within her. For reasons unknown, she was compelled to pull into a particular gas station along the way. Though she was sure that her tank was full, Harriet pulled up to the pumps and began to fill her vehicle. "Perhaps the fuel gauge isn't working and God wants to make sure I'm not stranded on the road on my way home tonight," she thought to herself. The nozzle clicked off after only a few dollars.

Harriet walked inside to pay. On her way in she passed a Pepsi vending machine. A rather bizarre thought popped into Harriet's head, 'stand on your head in front of this pop machine.' She smiled to herself, shook her head, and walked into the store. While paying for her smidgen of fuel, Harriet felt a little tug in her heart, 'talk to him.' She looked up at the young cashier, gave a slight smile, and left. "I'm going to be late. He doesn't want to talk to an old lady anyway."

Four hours later, Harriet was headed home from the children's hospital, and she again felt compelled to pull into the service station. She ignored the feeling and continued down the road. But the odd feeling that she was supposed to go to that particular gas station just would not leave. The further she drove, the stronger the feeling became. Finally, only a couple blocks from home, Harriet turned her car around and headed back the way she'd come. She pulled into the parking lot and turned off the car. 'Stand on your head in front of the Pepsi machine,' again, the most unusual and perplexing thought!

Harriet prayed, asking the Lord, "is this You, God? Do you want me to be here? Do you want me to do a headstand on the sidewalk?" She felt a stirring in her spirit, 'yes, do it.' "But Lord," she prayed, "it makes no sense! Why would I stand on my head in the dark at a gas station?" 'Daughter,' this time the stirring inside of her felt strong - urgent, 'do what I ask.' At this point, Harriet was fairly certain God was asking her to do something. She didn't understand why. In fact, she couldn't make any sense of it. But knowing that God is well, God, Harriet decided it would be in her best interests to look crazy and obey God (rather than appear completely sane but ignore her Heavenly Father).

As Harriet was standing on her head and talking to God, the young man from earlier came out of the store. "What. Are. You. Doing?" he asked. He sounded angry. Harriet stood to her feet and told him, "well, this might sound kinda crazy, but, um, well, I think God told me to stand on my head out here. So, anyway, um, I decided that there was no harm in trying. Right?" She looked up at the young man only to see tears streaming down his face. She walked over and hugged him, and for a long time he cried while she held him.

Hiccuping and breathing in gasps and spurts, he told her his story. "My life sucks. My parents split up. My girlfriend dumped me. My friends have all ditched me. I'm a pathetic loser and I hate my life. I decided to end it all. Because everyone would be better off if I were gone, anyway. Hey - weren't you in here earlier?" She nodded. He took a deep breath.

"Just before you got here," he told Harriet, "I was about to go out the back door and shoot myself. When your car pulled in I decided to wait until after you left. Wouldn't do any good to have a stranger find me like that, all bloody and dead. After you left I kinda lost my nerve. So I told God He had one chance to convince me. If He was really real, He had to send someone to me before my shift ended. I told him that He had to make someone do a headstand right there in front 'a that pop machine. If He did that, I'd believe in Him. And I'd hold off on the whole shootin' myself thing." Harriet looked at her watch - it was 10:55pm.

Tears streaming down her face, Harriet felt that stirring again. This time she didn't doubt, she didn't hesitate. She took that boy's hands in her own and she prayed. She waited until he locked up the store, took him into her car, and brought him to her home where she introduced him to her husband, Rick. Rick was a Christian counsellor who worked closely with the local crisis and suicide intervention centre.


  1. i love john bevere! he came to our church a few years ago and did a little bit of spiritual bum-kicking while he was there. he doesn't mince words does he??

  2. I have never heard of John Bevere. I can't wait to hear him though. What an amazing message.

    Well, I can't believe I! This is so darn exciting. I needed a pick me up...feeling a bit overwhelmed. ;)


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