Day 1: Observations

11692751_10153420918205883_8462863780622539970_n

Today was the first day of #akbarefootpastor.  I have to say I was super excited and just a bit nervous.  I wasn’t sure how stores would react – would I be kicked out?  I wasn’t sure if strangers would stare or if small children would point and ask.  Either way I am in it for the month.  So I put my socks and shoes away, grabbed my pair of SHOES THAT GROW and went about my day.

I learned A LOT today.  I was aware of the ground for the first time in forever.  Here are some of my observations:

  • Concrete is warmer than I thought.  Smoother too.
  • Painted parking lines feel like cotton compared to concrete.
  • The ground changes temperature in the shade, in buildings, even across a room.  I never knew.
  • You can get a rock stuck in your foot just like you can get one stuck in your shoe.
  • When you step on something sharp it actually causes you to yelp out loud.

I also had some great conversations with complete strangers.  The checker at the store was super interested in the SHOES THAT GROW.  I handed out a few info cards along the way.  No one called the cops while I was shopping.  Overall this day was a great first day!  I’m going to bed super excited about this month – and a lot less nervous.

I will add one note however – due to a family emergency I am delaying my shoelessness until the 9th of July.  I will extend July into August to make a full month.  I”m fully committed!  Thanks in advance for your understanding this coming week.

As always – don’t forget to check out THE SHOE THAT GROWS, my ORIGINAL BLOG POST (explaining the what and why of my challenge), and the DONATION PAGE.  I am doing this to raise funds for the shoes….so go and give!  🙂

Advertisements
Day 1: Observations

Become Like Children

become like children

I think Jesus was trying to teach us something really significant when He gathered the crowd together and said to them, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3)

I am constantly amazed by kids, and as a former children’s pastor, and current pastor, I have seen quite a few kids in my day.  Kids have this great and innate ability to call it just like they see it and as a pastor that is incredibly refreshing.  Teaching a room of kids is far more intimidating than teaching adults.  Why?  Across the church (in my own experiences) I have been asked more complex, hard to answer, thought provoking, laugh inducing, heart wrenching, honest questions from children then I ever have from adults. Check out these real questions I’ve been asked.

“What if I pray, but can’t hear God’s voice?”
“Can I have more communion? I like it.”
“Why doesn’t God stop the bad people from  hurting me?”
“Can God come visit me?”
“If Jesus was a real kid…did He pick His nose too?”
“If God is everywhere…did He watch me in my school play ?”
“My parents are getting divorced will God ever do that with me?”

Perhaps this was one of the qualities of children that Jesus was trying to impress upon the crowd that day.  If so, we as adults, should take note.  We should learn transparency, urgency, humor and the art of asking questions.

Children are also capable owning their faith and it’s implication in their lives.  When a child “confesses with their mouth, and believes with their heart that Jesus is Lord” they are saved – and the Holy Spirit comes to dwell with them, and within them. (Romans 10:8-10) It should be said clearly and loudly that children get the SAME Holy Spirit that adults do.  Just because a child is 6, does not mean they only get a fraction of the Living True God – thats ridiculous.

Yet often we treat children as if they are lesser than us; incapable of ‘real’ ministry and unable to fully participate in the body of Christ.  We drag them along until they are 18 and ‘adult’ and suddenly expect them to have skills, passions and maturity ready to go.  Yet the whole time they could have matured in those areas we told them, “you’re too young” or “when you are older” or “that’s just for adults.”  Kids want to participate, they want to engage, to have ownership – and they are capable of it!

I see no reference in Scripture that indicates kids can’t – but I do see plenty that indicates they can.   Check out these biblical examples.

A young girl taken captive demonstrates immense grace toward her captor. (2 Kings 5)
God spoke to a young boy when the adults failed to listen. (1 Samuel 3)
It was a young boy who stood his ground against the giant Goliath. (1 Samuel 17)
A young girl was willing to obey God no matter the cost. (Luke 1:26-56)
A young boy with a sack lunch was ready to help feed people. (John 6:1-15)
A 8 year old boy became king to lead God’s people, and did right before God. (2 Kings 22)

What child do you have in your life that you can encourage to do great things for God? What is Jesus trying to teach you about your own faith through the kids around you?

Want to hear more about kids and God, and what it means for you as an adult? Listen to this recent message from KetchikanNaz:  All God’s Children.

Become Like Children

A Christmas Rescue

rescue from heaven

There are a lot of reasons to be excited about the Christmas season: good food, family visits, hot cider, the smell of a fresh cut tree, gift giving and lots of cookies. I enjoy all of those every year. They are not however the primary reason I am excited about the Christmas season. I am excited about Christmas each year because of the time I was rescued.

Long before Jesus was born – way back in the Garden of Eden – Adam and Eve were having lunch. Lunch from a tree they weren’t supposed to eat from. They sinned – they disobeyed their Heavenly Father’s will. Because of that sin the world began to change and decay; before they sinned there was no illness, no sadness, no stubbed toes or broken hearts. After they sinned the good and perfect world began to unravel and all the pain and suffering and death we know so well came about.   Yet God, even while Adam and Eve sinned, was working out a rescue plan for the restoration of the world.

The rescue plan would make all the sad things, the broken hearts, the sickness, sin and death come undone – and would replace those things with a deep joy, an everlasting hope and a love that bubbles up from the source.   How would God rescue the world? Through a baby boy, born in a manger, to a unwed teen girl and her future husband.   The prophet Isaiah says in chapter 9: “The people who walked in darkness (meaning in sin and sadness, apart from God’s will) have seen a great light – (meaning Jesus the rescuer, the light of the world). He continues saying that this Jesus is the Wonderful Counselor – the one who gives us wisdom and guidance for a life lived to it’s fullness. Jesus is the Mighty God, and Everlasting Father – the one who created the world, saw our sins and still loved us just as a father loves a child who errs. He enacted a Mighty rescue plan that would cost Him greatly. Jesus is the Prince of Peace – the one who brings peace to our souls when we know that it is He alone that rescues us from our sin and sadness and gives us peace, forgiveness and a love that is never ending.

I am a pastor, but I’m a person who sins too. I need Jesus in my life to help keep me from sin, and also to forgive me when I struggle and fail.   I am excited every year about Christmas because it is the time of year I celebrate that God was born as a baby and the great rescue began. He didn’t stay a baby, but He grew up and willingly died on the cross for my sins – Jesus rescued me – paying the penalty for my sins. How could I not celebrate that?! This Christmas season – if you need rescue from sin and sadness and death – will you turn to Jesus, your Great Rescuer? Will you let Him fill you up with His forever happiness? If you do the Christmas season will not be limited to gifts and cookies – but will be made full in your heart and soul. Rejoice in rescue this Christmas – and celebrate Jesus yearlong!

A Christmas Rescue

Light Vs. Dark

fec38171-8d05-4c92-8963-203ce2589e6b

I was sitting in my office this morning and it was dark outside.  You know how it is; the time changes, the weather changes and it’s just darker outside than during other times of the year.  Then, as I was checking my email, there was this sudden burst of light from the window and I turned around to see the image above.  The sky was split in half: blue sky on one side, and dark, heavy clouds on the other side. In the middle was this bright light right on the seam between blue and black.  I stood there, took a picture or two, and waited for the storm to roll in to cover the rest of the sky.  Then as I watched – it was not the dark clouds that prevailed out my window but the sun and clear sky.

As I stood there the Lord brought to mind a verse from John.  “In Jesus was life;  and the life was the light of men.  The light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot overcome it.”  (John 1:4-5)

I was struck by something a few things as I stood with God and looked out my window.  I’m not a pessimist but I really expected the dark clouds to win.  I’m used to it in the weather here, and used to it in the news with all the great tragedy around the world and have even experienced it throughout my life.  I just expected it to happen.

Yet when God spoke that verse to me, He showed me something.  The verse is spoken in the present tense.  It does not read, “the light shined…” but “the light shines…”.  There is a significant difference between the two.  The fact that the light shines…means it hasn’t stopped shining.  God’s light shines.  It could be read this way, “The light is shining in the darkness…”.   This is current – it’s happening right now.  Just like the sky this morning and the light shining overcoming the dark clouds – Jesus’ light is shining in our lives.

I know we all have moments of doubt, struggle, fear, when those dark clouds seem to press in on us – don’t become lost in those moments.  Take heart in the fact that His light is shining and He loves you dearly.  Turn to God who desires to shine light around you …and in you.  It says in 2 Corinthians, “For God… has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

Light Vs. Dark