How’d you turn the other cheek?
Do you hear the prayers I send?
What happens when life ends?
When you comin’ back?
I was out and about this past weekend running errands and taking care of typical weekend things. It’s summer in “Pure Michigan” which can only mean the music is turned up and the windows are rolled down, and while blasting my favorite county music station this song by Thomas Rhett came on the radio.
Besides the fact that it’s Thomas Rhett and everything that comes from his mouth is pure gold, this song had struck a chord with me in that moment and aside from hearing this song numerous times I was challenged to listen to what the lyrics were saying. “If I could have a beer with Jesus…”
What a groundbreaking moment that would be! Ill be the first to admit im not a perfect man – I have my faults, my sins, my imperfections. For starters, my faith makes me question my ability to merely stand in His presence. What could someone like me even think to ask the God of the universe? The truth, at least for me, is that that level of understanding is far beyond my mental capacity at the moment. Last time I checked, “what’s your favorite color” isn’t an adequate inquiry to the creation of this world.
Listen to the Thomas Rhett song I have posted above. I’ve listed a few of the questions in the song to get the juices flowing.
It’s such an interesting topic where the sky is the limit, and I have found that my own spiritual growth has been fueled by this kind of reflecting. If you could have a beer with Jesus, what would you ask? What would you want to know?
For me, it goes beyond the obvious of knowing who I will marry, what is purpose(s), why [insert name] had to die so young. These are all great questions, but dig deeper. Why did I date my ex-girlfriend and what exactly was I supposed to learn from that? Why did I meet this person at a bus stop 4 years ago and we’re still friends to this day? Why do Chineese people make the best food?
We all need to be challenged if we want to grow, and our Christian faith is no different. Finally, when you come up with these questions, its time to ask. So grab a beer… find some space… and pray.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking in anything.” – James 1:2-4
Video courtesy VEVO and Thomas Rhett
Today is March 16, 2014 – otherwise known as my birthday. Yup. Twenty-three whole years of walking, talking, and being me – whatever that entails. It’s a day typically filled with celebration, some degree of partying (this changes with age), and a non-stop flow of friends and strangers wishing you the best on your special day.
The fun thing about birthdays is that they mean something totally different depending on who you talk to. Some grow up celebrating quick and easy birth-days, others birth-weeks, and then there is the occasional birth-month individual who feels entitled to even the last pot of coffee because their birthday is less than a month away.
For me, a birthday means there is officially 365 less days to make a difference. 365 days less to build relationships. 365 less days to spend with those whom I love. It also means there is one more day to appreciate all of the blessings God has gifted me.
So here’s the challenge.
In an attempt to reflect on the grace and mercy I’ve been given over the years, I wanted to bring a smile and some joy to some random people on this day. So, for every year of life under my belt I wanted to spend $1 on an unsuspecting individual.
So on this day my goal was to spend $23.
That’s $23 worth of appreciation for my health, my friends, my professional opportunities, my faults, my failures….. my life.
I know this wont work for everybody on every year, but I challenge you to try it on YOUR birthday. Because the reward, I promise, is worth far more than the $23 dollars.
If I could have a beer with Jesus, I like to think he would agree.
“… why don’t we pray to God with the same faith that we have in that 17 year old. ” – Travis Radaz (1:09:45)
This past Sunday I went to church. Now, for me, this is not an unusual thing to do on a Sunday morning. For the past three years or so, I have discovered the comfort and wisdom that comes with hearing the word of God in the company of fellow community members and close friends. I like to think that I have it all figured out, but as I have described in past blog postings, there are seasons where life meets you at a high point and there are times when reality smacks you in the face and successfully humbles you right there on the spot.
This past Sunday was one of the later.
Why don’t we pray with the same faith that we have in a 17 year old delivery driver from Jimmy Johns? If you’re up to it, I encourage you to watch the above message summed up perfectly by a dear friend of mine (Travis Radaz) at the end – click on the above picture and it will redirect you to the actual video. If you’re like me, you find comfort in the things you have the ability to control. Personally, I like to control those little irrelevant details in a my personal relationships. I try to control my personal image – my personal “brand” if you will. I do my best to control health related issues. The list goes on of things that I try to control that, in all reality, are beyond my reach.
Do you ever find yourself just praying out loud? Maybe in the car on the way to an important interview, or on the way to your significant others house to have that conversation you really don’t want to have. While you’re praying these prayers, do you truly believe in your heart that you are talking to the God of the universe? Do you genuinely believe that what you say matters in the eyes of the creator and that, despite our idea of good timing, He loves to provide for us and come through right at the moment when we thought nobody could.
I found myself doing this just the other day. I was driving home from a stressful day at work and got to thinking about futuristic things because, well, that’s just what I do. So I turned the music down and started to just speak out loud in the solitude of my own car. I began to ask God for wisdom, guidance for my future, peace of mind in the situation, and to just be there in the moment. And about halfway through my spiel I felt.. unsuccessful? No. I felt yet alone as if no one was even listening. I didn’t believe God was listening. We’ve all experienced that spiritual high, the kind you get on a weekend retreat, where it doesn’t matter what you say or how you even say it, but you have full confidence and faith that God is right there listening. Almost as if you could pray and ask for a pizza and in no time at all you would have a deep-dish supreme from Jets right there in front of you.
Spiritual high or not, God is there. Do you really believe that as Jesus hung there on the cross crying out, “… my God my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mat 27:46) he was shouting to the air?! I’d like to believe not.
How can we bring that kind of faith to the table every… single… day….? Try praying to the King of the universe with the level of faith that you have in the #5 Vito without onions and honey mustard.
It can be life-changing