Who knows?

Sooner or later, all drivers are forced to make a decision. We asks the question in our minds, “Which road do I take?”

I was on a two-week trip to England many years ago. As it happens, I was given a car by some friends and was able to drive all over the location where we were staying. It was great, but two things you will learn quickly when driving a car in England: First, the driver side is on the right side of the car. You can imagine the confusion that initially grips you when you are turning left and you realize you normally would be dozing off, people watching or staring out at the scenery. And then it hits you – YOU ARE DRIVING, NOT YOUR PASSENGER! Secondly, when driving in England there are many nooks and crannies and roads, none of which look wide enough to fit a motorcycle, let alone a vehicle. And you have to get your map out and figure it all out!

If you don’t have a map, you a re in trouble. If you are male, you are even in more trouble because you will not get out of the car to ask someone for directions. But if you do, take care – if you have just arrived from American soil, you might have a hard time understanding half of what they tell you! (Contrary to what you have heard, English spoken in the “mother tongue” still qualifies as a foreign language!) When all is lost, we throw up our arms and say, “Who knows?” It is then that we have to say a prayer and hope for a miracle. Funny how we eventually get where we need to. Coincidence? Divine Providence? Hmmm.

Someone knew. They guided us all the way.

I remember the shear terror that gripped me when I graduated from High School. “What am I gonna do now?” I asked this over and over in my head that whole post-graduation summer. I had virtually ZERO aspirations, being a very talented procrastinator, party animal extraordinaire and carefree / no-thought-for-tomorrow kind of guy.

I played the fool all through high school. And the most foolish of all things – I actually thought I could live this way indefinitely. But God knew differently.

That’s the thing; God knew.

When I was at the end of my rope, my back against the proverbial wall during my first year of college, I couldn’t take the despair and fear anymore. I needed God to show me. I needed God to tell me my future.

You know what’s funny? He didn’t tell me anything about my future… except that I was going the wrong way! It was as if that RED SIGN on the Freeway Exit Ramp that says “WRONG WAY” was placed in front of my face. God called out to me and told me it was time to grow up, get up, and get going with my future – His way.

I don’t know where my path will lead me in the coming days. I would guess, if I did know, I would probably freak out anyway.

Tarot Cards? Palm Reading? Horoscope?

Really?

I think it’s much more fun to trust God and know as LITTLE AS POSSIBLE of my future. That’s me. If I was told when I and where I would meet my wife exactly, I probably would have messed it up somehow. I may have tried to speed up the process. Or worse yet, I may not have felt the necessary freedom to make the right choice in the first place.

All I can tell you is this – I STILL don’t know where I am going! I STILL don’t know my future. God knows. I guess, that’s really all we need to know.

Who knows? God does. And because of that, you can trust Him to guide you every step of the way.

Until next time,

Jeff

Photo used by permission. Flickr / Creative Commons License

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Are You Dressed Up?

I remember hearing that phrase over and over every Sunday morning when my mom and dad would get us three boys ready for church.

Like most good church-goers, my family strongly adhered to the popular adage – “look your Sunday best for God.” And we did. Every Sunday, we wore clothes that we would never otherwise wear outside of funerals and weddings.

Well, outside of Sundays we were your typical pre-adolescent boys – pretty much dirty and grimy after a long hard hour or two of kick-ball, swimming, tree climbing, crayfish hunting, sewage tunnel exploring, and of course motocross bicycle riding.

Another common phrase that is heard in many such households on any given Sunday is “you need to dress nicely out of respect for the temple of The Lord! When you are in a God’s house you behave respectfully and dress appropriately.”

So… My adolescent takeaway was this – God only wanted to be around us when we were in His “house”, clean and showered and “dressed appropriately.”

This is how I grew up in my perception of who God was. I saw Him as an out-of- touch, distant Father who only cared about me when I was in His temple looking a certain way on the outside.

Now let me just say, I have no problem with dressing nice in church or being respectful in a house of worship. But I think many people today have the same experience as I have had regarding God and church – Over time a message begins to become ingrained in our minds, even unconsciously, that would evolve into a total misconception of who God is and what He truly cares about.

Juxtaposed to this vision, I also found myself as an adolescent drawn to the lowly child who was born in a stable named Jesus. Jesus seemed to be comfortable associating with the dirty, filthy, lowly people of the world – like me. So much so that the religious leaders of his day condemned him. He showed compassion to those who were regarded as “unclean” and unfit to even walk into the local houses of worship.

This Jesus didn’t seem to dress as nicely as the Pharisees. They had impressive religious garb and looked down on him for not looking as good as they did. And he greeted lepers and other unclean pagans and even hung out with them.

To a God who I was brought up to believe was mostly impressed with people who dressed the best and acted respectfully when in his house, this Jesus wound have and should have deeply offended.

And then the kicker was this – Jesus finally made the most audacious claim hitherto as he boasted to his disciple Philip who asked him to “show us what God is really like” when he replied, “Philip when you have seen me, you have seen the Father. ”

What?

What about dressing up nicely for a God who cared about how nice I looked on the outside? What about the God who wanted me to be quiet and reverent when in His temple?

How can this non- conformist claim to be the very representation of God? He was born so poorly that his crib was filled with straw from a dirty stable! His earthly arrival was so inauspicious that he couldn’t even “get a room”!

This law breaking Rabbi who told everyone to allow their own hearts to be the temple of God – this was not at all the same message I had grown up hearing!

A tension is upon you and I that is quite literally a fork-in-the-road moment: will we continue to follow the ideas of this off-the-wall Jesus, or will we go the other way and keep in the old-school view of a distant God who might give you some attention if you dress up nicely and get into a beautiful house of worship first?

Which way will you go?

Next Sunday when you and I get “dressed up for church” and act reverently, keep in mind our namesake (Jesus Christ) dressed up nicely when it was appropriate to do so , but his lifestyle certainly carried this “respect for God and his house” over to every area of his daily walk – including showing compassion for the dirty and lowly people.

These same people might very well end up sitting in the same pew next to you.

What will you think? What will you do?

As Hamlet claimed, “that – is the question. ”

Until next time,

Jeff

Beautiful chance

Yesterday I was driving home from a Father’s Day celebration at my parents house, and I had about an hour as I drove to watch the fantastic evening sky. The sun was setting and the clouds were painted in a beautiful palette of colors.

It occurred to me that we need to take more time in solitude and view God’s beauty in creation.

And I laughed out loud at the thought that this all just happened by chance.

What are the odds that you and I are living on this amazing planet with no “intelligent design” behind it all?

Well for all of the evolutionists out there, I certainly don’t condemn you for your beliefs. They tell us that there was no intelligent design behind creation outside of “mother nature” (which I find humorous – even Carl Sagan believes that there had to be a greater intelligence somewhere in the universe.)

Why? Because the most intelligent among us are constantly fighting a secret battle with the odds.

Here are the odds that we are looking at, people – if you are going to subscribe to the idea that we somehow evolved from a Big Bang with no superhuman intelligence that had direct involvement, it is much like the following scenario:

Let’s say you are the first human that has been chosen to make a trip from earth to Mars. You land on the rocky red planet- while the whole world watches on with anticipation. You exit the landing module and see before you a sign in English welcoming you to Mars, with your favorite meal prepared inside a special gazebo built just for you that allows you to walk in, take off your suit, gravity button reset to the exact measure of gravity we have on earth, with your favorite music playing in the background and pictures of your closest family and friends… And an exact copy of your favorite chair. And a love letter written to you containing the most personal kind of information that only a best friend would know.

Now who in their right mind would make the conclusion that this was all a series of amazing coincidences with no incredibly intelligent design behind it all?

It’s a beautiful chance to believe that God created everything. But it’s an even greater chance, potentially an infinite chance that all of this just happened in the right sequence, in the right time, by the perfect sized sun, aged just at the right time and placed in the perfect distance, in the perfect solar system with just the right amount of planets with just the right orbit patterns on a planet with just the right moon and spinning at just the right speed with just the right kind of atmosphere with just the right amount of water and gasses – with the perfect ratio of water to land, with just the right mixture of elements, and just the right gravitational pull – so that u and I can say “what great odds! I’m so lucky!”

That’s the kind of odds intelligent people who reject intelligent design are working with. And even though it bugs them, most instead lose themselves and the rest of us in the minutia of evolutionary philosophizing as a way to cover up the obvious – they are asking of us and themselves to believe these fantastic odds.

You see, they have painted themselves in a corner and now they have to save face.

I don’t want us to condemn or insult someone for this. What we need to do is allow them to rethink the ridiculous – and to realize that evolution and creation are both incredible leaps of faith, yet with embracing the leap of creation, at least you know there is someone there to catch you and set you down safely on the other side.

The odds that creation happened by chance are beyond all sensible possibility! Someone did all of this to tell you and I they love us! And they are very capable of helping us out of any problem we face as people.

It’s time we started giving credit where credit is due!

Have a beautiful day enjoying our beautiful world made by a beautiful creative Genius!

Jeff