Saturday, June 8, 2019

I remember standing in the garage as a child, while my dad was replacing the front brakes on his 1978 Chevy pickup.  He had lifted the front end and secured it with jack stands.  As any good father would, he told me to keep back so as not to get hurt…or accidentally kick him in the face as he crawled beneath the vehicle to inspect the ball joints.  I recall him telling me a story, as he crept along inspecting the under carriage, of a young boy who lifted a car off of his dad when the car accidentally fell on him.  I stood there pondering his story.  “Interesting timing,” I was a little freaky to think about the car falling and crushing your dad while he worked beneath. Finally, I replied, “Don’t get your hopes up…I can hardly carry the big pieces of wood to the fireplace.”

He rebutted, “Sometimes when faced with incredibly difficult challenges…we can find ourselves going beyond what we thought we were capable of.”

“Really! Like lifting a car?”

“Yep, when under stress, your adrenaline can empower you to do amazing things.”

“Wow!...What’s adrenaline?”

“It’s a hormone”

“Oh…ok…What’s a hormone?”

“You’ll find out when you’re 12.”

“Don’t get your hopes up.”

I have yet to lift a car by myself…although, 3 fellow high school wrestlers and I, did pick up my buddy Norman’s car and turn it sideways in his parking spot after school one day.  I have, however, found myself doing things that were indeed beyond what I could have expected…like singing a duet at a wedding! The father of that bride could sell ice cream to an Eskimo…because…I can’t sing…I don’t sing…my voice is like a screaming frog fighting its way out of a blender! It’s bad…really bad…yet, there I was…somehow finding myself going beyond what I thought myself capable of!

Similarly, during a recent spring day, I found myself playing basketball with Isaac and two high school freshmen.  I play basketball like a pit-bull with the jumping skills of a donut.  Yet, when I saw these two kids and the basketball, I knew that God was calling me to something beyond my own comforts.  I was convinced that I needed to submit to the leadings of the Holy Spirit and engage these students…a refugee and his buddy, into relationship. I want to love people more than I love pain free living…more than my comfortable relationships…and more than self preservation.

The Bible is filled with stories of God calling people to go beyond what they could do on their own.  Moses, leading the people out of Egypt…Gideon fighting the Midianites with only 300 men…Israel conquering Jericho…Daniel facing the den of lions…the stories go on and on.  I must wonder,  “Does God still call us to go beyond what we can do on our own?”  I proclaim the answer with an exuberant, “YES! Yes He does!”

In Ephesians chapter 2, Paul expresses to the young church in Ephesus the amazing transformation that each one of them has experienced.  A common bond existed…and still exists…each and every one of them has once been “dead in their own sin”! Now, they are alive in Christ! What is even more stunning…is that Paul is speaking to both Jews and Gentiles…racial opponents.  We too, hold to this common ground…with every man and woman who has ever lived.  We are all dead in our sins…without Jesus! 

I think that the time has come where we must see others for who they are…men and women created in the image of God…and JUST LIKE US…they are desperate for Jesus.  We need to go beyond where we are comfortable…beyond what we know…and allow Jesus to do what only He can do…save people.  Our job…is to go beyond what we can do…and let the Holy Spirit work.  We do not need to be afraid.  1 John 4:18 says, “Perfect love drives out fear.”  We can’t love perfectly…it is beyond us.  Thankfully, Jesus calls us to go beyond what we can do on our own…and by His power…love perfectly.

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