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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Three Little Letters

Interesting, isn't it, how big of a difference three little letters can make?

Take for example the words humility and humiliate. On some level, we would all like more humility in our lives. We value that ability to have a fair, honest, and humble assessment of ourselves that keeps us from being big-headed and arrogant. Have you ever heard a friend say that they don't want humility? I haven't.

On the other hand, no one I know wants to be humiliated. Year after year, one of the top three fears for Americans is public speaking (mixed in with spiders and heights, I think). We talk all the time, so why fear public speaking? Because we might say something embarrassing, or trip over our words, or fumble around and that would be...you guessed it, humiliating. We tend to work very hard to avoid situations that might humiliate us.

Have you ever considered our power to choose between these two words? The way I see it, we are daily making the choice between humility or the inevitability of being humiliated. Here's how I understand the difference. Jesus said that, "Everything that is hidden or secret will eventually be brought to light and made plain to all." (Luke 8) Think about that- everything. All our "hidden" thoughts, motives and actions. The behaviors or attitudes we work very hard to keep from others. The mistakes we have made that we keep out of view. All of it made plain for everyone to see. This does not sound pleasant!

But here is where our choice comes in to play. When we choose to face truth about ourselves in the presence of others we are actively pursuing humility. Simply put, this is a definition of confession. The truth may not be pleasant, but in choosing to reveal it rather than hide it, we discover humility. The opposite is also true. When we choose to ignore truth about ourselves and attempt to mask or cover anything unpleasant about us, we are actively choosing humiliation. Oh sure, maybe not humiliation in the immediate context, but sooner or later our hidden lives have a way of becoming public, don't they? And what's even more, Jesus suggests in Luke 8 that even if we manage to keep all the ugly covered up in this life, it will be uncovered in the life to come. One way or another, truth surfaces and we face the music.

So, my challenge lately has been to choose truth now rather later. Deal with what is unpleasant today because it will only be worse tomorrow. And each time I make this choice, I point my life towards humility. And I would much rather be headed there than to blunder blindly on until humiliation finds me. Because eventually, it always will.

May you choose for humility this week as you journey on...
Peace!

Nick

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Prayer/Life

As many of you know, a primary purpose for our trip to Bosnia was to pray for the city of Sarajevo, the people, and the church. This happened in many different ways: prayer walks through neighborhoods, team gatherings at Izvor or our lodgings, and even praying with the local church at their weekly prayer meetings.

One encouraging aspect of all this praying is that prayer became a regular part of life while we were there. Our team was so comfortable and accustomed to praying with one another that any time and any circumstance could become reason for prayer. For example, on Friday night, we were riding the tram back to our lodging after working at Izvor to prepare for the open house. The tram at that hour of day was filled with 20-somethings who were all dressed up and on their way to the clubs and coffee houses. As we stepped off the train, I found myself thinking about how unreached this group is in Sarajevo. They are hungry for something, and desperately seeking life in all the wrong places. A few of us were walking together, and so I simply started praying for these young adults and asking God to fill them with hope and love. When I finished, a few others in our group who were walking ahead of us turned around and said, "we just prayed the same thing!" This was a common occurrence- what we saw and experienced got translated into prayer as it was happening.

If I could bring anything back to my day to day living in the States, it would be this dynamic. How often do I get caught up in my routines and my schedule and forget to pray? More often than I'd like to admit. With our prayer focus in Sarajevo, I began to understand what it meant to "pray without ceasing." When you pray often enough, your heart starts turning to prayer without your conscious brain even putting thought to it.

I want my heart to be so connected to the Father that I act this way all the time. I want to see the line between my normal life and my prayer life begin to blur until it's just prayer/life together. In Sarajevo, we developed the sense that we were walking through each day with Christ. Could it not be the same here? I believe it could be, but I know it takes a focus and a determination to return regularly to Father. But I am encouraged to think that if I will do this often enough, prayer can and will become second nature. Prayer will become like breathing in and breathing out.

May you walk with Jesus through this day and find your journey filled with prayer-

Peace,
Nick

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Back from Bosnia

Hey all-

It is so good to be home! I find myself really missing Bosnia- God did some great things and our team was so focused in on prayer that it is hard to be away from that. I am hoping to bring that "pray without ceasing" attitude back to life here in Kelso.

In case you missed it, or for all those who live out of town, we made a short video that played at our gathering last week. Check it out here! http://vimeo.com/29746474

Stay tuned for a "recap" video sometime next week. When you watch this video, take a moment and pray for Bosnia! There are 800 believers in the whole country. That represents .02% of the population. That's one out of every 5,000 people.

Journey on!

Nick