Touchable God

I remember the first time I heard about the intimacy of Christ. I was sitting in a pew in a tiny Southern Baptist Church at a revival no less. The preacher was talking and I was doodling until God pricked my ears. It was like I knew I needed to pay attention. I had missed the first part of the story, something about a man and he was “simple” and he had been invited to stay at the pastor’s home…but it was this part that changed my life forever:

It wasn’t long after we had headed off to bed, and my wife and I heard commotion coming from the guest room. Our guest was obviously talking to himself, and periodically we would hear the furniture move. My wife was nervous and asked me to check things out. As I got closer to the door, it sounded like the man was in an argument with himself. Literally fighting. Icould hear him on the floor moving around, and the more I lessoned the more I wondered at this man I had invited into our home. Hearing a chair fall and what I wasn’t sure was either laughter or groaning, I resolved that he must surely be mad. With gusto I opened the door prepared for whatever I might see, but this…this large, tall, full grown older man, curled up in a ball, laughing uncontrollably. I just stared for a minute until he said, “I’m sorry, did we bother you?” I looked around – “we” was there someone else there? He picked himself up and righted the chair and said, “Jesus and I were wrestling, and he pinned me.”

Honestly, I have no clue what else the pastor said, how he addressed that situation, or how it ended. I watched other people’s faces. Their awe and disbelief, and the few that muttered, “Bless his simple heart.” And everyone laughed. But I wasn’t buying it. I loved that story. In fact, it thrilled me! To know that I had a Savior that would not only take my sin upon Himself so that I might live but would also wrestle a grown man to laughter?! This was beautiful. I wrapped my thirteen year old heart around that nugget and treasured it as Truth – God was not only loving, but He was touchable.

I need a touchable God. If we are honest, we all do. But it’s strange, isn’t it? People who feel Him and wrestle with Him and dance with Him are strange. Ahhh. The blessing of the simple. It is in simplicity that God meets us. I love His word that says, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” We see because we believe. We believe because we know, and we know because we Trust.

He is touchable.

Where do you need Him to touch you? Now is not the time to be shy or ashamed. Now is the time to look for Daddy God in the place you need Him most. Where is that place? Let go of all preconceived notions and every “appropriate interaction.” Cast aside all fear of what others think and get real with God. Only you know what that looks like. It could be a wrestle, it could be a kiss, it could be a duet, it could be a dance, it could be ANY activity that frees your heart before Daddy God and feels His love and His willingness. Bear witness to that Truth, hide it in your heart and feel it for yourself – God not only loves us, but He is very touchable.

We just have to let go and reach out.

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I Dare You to Move

On September 10, 2010 while everyone else in the country was preparing themselves for the anniversary of 9/11 and arguing whether or not a Muslim Quran should be burned, we woke to an eye opening tragedy. A young man at a local school committed suicide. The belief is that it was due to circumstances involving his pregnant girlfriend. Another young man, from the same school, killed his parents in cold blood and threatened his girlfriend with a text that she was next. After an hour or so of the school and students being in lockdown, the boy was arrested. The girlfriend was spared, school was let out and parents were called. As teen eyes blinked at the shining sky, they began to understand what had happened. The town was in a panic, the rumor mill churning, and lives were forever changed. This was written in response to the tragedy.

Our community has come face to face with the plight of this generation. After three people are dead and families are mourning and teachers are confused and youth leaders are embracing and reassuring and young girls are blaming themselves for what was not at all their fault, we can see for sure that satan is on the warpath for this generation. And for some, the spiritual battle began long before the news got out.

I know that God is with us. I have felt His love and His peace. There are people that know and understand and are impassioned to act out in defense of and in pursuit of this generation. The handwriting has been on the wall, there are signs all around us of a world of young people that are being targeted and greatly destroyed. It’s sad. There are those of us that are burdened for these kids that it takes our breath away. We are overwhelmed and tempted to be overcome but we stand up and we stand out and we beg for them to look our way because we have a message from God. We are trying to communicate the voice that we hear. We are trying to share with them just the tiniest fraction of His consuming love for them. But, we are small in number when you consider the affect that could be had.

WOE to you parents that have ignored your children for the pursuit of your pleasures.
WOE to you parents that have neglected your kids for your jobs and your schedules.
WOE to you parents that refuse to get involved and initiate conversation.
WOE to you parents that choose to blindly turn away from their problems and dismiss it as “hormones”.
WOE to you parents that would rather spend the weekends playing golf or sculpting your bodies instead of spending time with your kids.
WOE to you parents that put everyone else in your lives before your family.
WOE to you parents that think that if you don’t acknowledge it it doesn’t exist.
WOE to you parents that abuse your kids and make them feel worthless.
WOE to you parents that harm and hurt your kids to somehow make yourself look bigger and better and more powerful and strong.
WOE to you parents that wouldn’t think twice about selling your child’s body.
WOE to you parents that speak with such anger in your voices that they are scarred for life.
WOE to you parents who withhold love.
WOE to you parents that could care less.
WOE to you parents that put high expectations on your kids that they can never live up to.
WOE to you parents that are not taking your kids to church, not living like you go to church, not sharing the love of Christ, not protecting your kids.
WOE to you. WOE to me. WOE to us.

We are failing this generation. Collectively we take the blame.

Say what you will: “It’s video games”; “It’s movies”; “Its their peers”; “It’s the music”; “Its the environment.” YOU have the authority to promote, allow, or deny those things.

Satan is on the warpath. And we are the adults. I think some of us have forgotten that. We’re so busy amassing things that we aren’t treasuring our children. What’s wrong with us? We are more interested in what’s on Facebook than what is on our children’s minds. We are more interested in our kids being popular than protecting them from peer pressure. We are more interested in what’s in it for us, than what we are willing to sacrifice for them.

I say we because I too am guilty. But today, again, it became clear that this generation is in deep need of a love revolution.

Real LOVE. Pure LOVE. Christ’s LOVE.

He is the only answer for their longing hearts.

I have a gift. It’s a strange gift and it is a supernatural gift, but I asked for it and so God has given it.

I have the ability to feel what the Father feels…and what I feel, no matter what the situation is LOVE.

When the news of today hit me…His love knocked the wind out of me. He loves everyone of us so deeply. He showed me His heart, and I felt His desire, His passion, His need for us to see and to help minister to a broken and endangered generation.

This young man that killed his parents. God can use him. Has a plan for him. Longs to reach him. Yes, he did the unthinkable, but Father God loves him.

The young boy that killed himself. God loved him. His heart aches for what might have been. His heart is moved for a family that misses him and feels acutely the loss. He hurts for the parents that will bear the guilt no matter how often He tries to tell them it wasn’t their fault. He longs to make something beautiful out of tragedy that seems to have no purpose. He loves them.

The young girls that are even now blaming themselves, separately but the same, for something that they had no control over (despite the taunting of the enemy), who do not deserve this, who are not responsible, who must not believe that they are evil or guilty or unworthy or anything else the enemy haphazardly shoots to the heart. God longs to speak truth to them, His Truth, His Son. He longs to embrace them and tell them over and over they are precious to Him, they are special and they will survive. He loves them.

The educators and leaders that saw these kids, knew these kids, struggled with these kids. You did what you could. Feel no guilt, shame, blame for what has happened. You had no part in the work of satan. God needs you to keep doing what you are doing. One tragedy doesn’t mean a ministry that failed. Two tragedies does not require you to throw in the towel. He loves you and can use this to teach you that some, sadly, will not be reached. It was their choice, free will took its stand.

The students and friends that are left in shock over this. You are not alone. The fear that you feel surfacing, the tears that you cry, the confusion that you can’t shake, He sees, hears, and knows it all. He loves you so much and wants you to see that life is not guaranteed. Eternal life is, in Christ Jesus. His Son that He gave up for you because HE LOVES YOU SO!

Parents, yes, this generation is different. They have to be. It’s a rougher world they are living in. That rebellion that refuses to conform can be a good thing if shepherded. They are creative and inspirational and entertaining and charismatic. Their music is different. They like tattoos. They experiment with hair styles and funky clothes and they find our generations fads worthy of repeating! Let them be who they are, but instruct them in the ways of wisdom and self control. Wait. On second thought. Just lead them to the CROSS. Jesus can handle the rest. I’m pretty sure He likes them being different. It sets them apart, and isn’t that what He desires from all of us?

Community, we are all in a state of shock, I think…but now it is the time for Christ to take center stage. It is time for us to win back this generation for Him, with His power, in His strength, and overwhelmingly share His LOVE.

Youth… Stand up. Stand out. Be counted. Live. I dare you to forget this day ever happened and go about your daily lives as if we are not on the battle field. Your apathy or your defeat will affect more than you…it will fail the next generation that is desperate for help, hope, love and instruction. And that my friends, in the words of your uber cool and anointed generation, is what we would call an EPIC FAIL.

Matthew 19:14 (Amplified)
“But He said, Leave the children alone! Allow them to come to me, and do not forbid them or restrain or hinder them, for of such is the kingdom of heaven composed.”