When I was a teenager, one of my best friends and I would go bowfishing in a canoe on the St Croix River. The beauty of God's creation in the quietness of the morning with no one else on the water is a memory I can still see, hear and smell in my mind. In the back areas of tributaries of the river, we would discover different levels of large bodies of water due to the beavers creating damns. We would have to portage our canoe and gear up a foot to the new lever of water. We found one body of water that was over 3 feet higher with 5 or 6 beaver huts in it. Simply amazing.
We would listen for the carp slurping the reeds for breakfast and stealthily make our way in their direction. In total silence, when we were close enough, we would let our arrows go... The carp did not have a chance. I remember starting with a normal bow. Then we moved to a compound bow. The compound bow was always ready to fire with massive tension in the string. But, the regular bow would lose tension after many shots. It would not shoot the arrows as fast, hard nor accurate.
I was gripped the other day by Job's description of how God blessed his life.
"My roots will reach to the water, and the dew will lie all night on my branches. My glory will not fade; the bow will be ever new in my hand." Job 29:19-20
As Job sought the living God through out his life, he experienced God refreshing his soul like roots of a tree with plenty of water, like branches with fresh dew every morning and like a freshly strung bow at ultimate tension. Let these images soak in your mind. Let these images bring you into the presence of God. Let these images be tools to let Jesus refresh you.
What is your soul like these days?
Are you sensing Jesus refreshing your soul like this?
Do you put yourself in a position to let your soul drink in God's refreshing living water daily?
Are you still enough in the presence of the Holy Spirit to soak in the refreshing dew daily?
Are you spending personal time with Jesus so that He can restring the bow of your soul so you are ready to go any where and do anything Jesus leads you to do?
Taking the time each day to be refreshed and restrung by Jesus,
As Jude and I hiked just one of the countless parts of the Appalachian Trail yesterday, we walked out of the green luscious woods to a breathtaking sight...
As we sat on the edge of a cliff overlooking the vast valley of the Blue Ridge mountains to eat our packed lunch, a brown hawk soared looking for his lunch about 20 feet below us. With a little wing motion, he swooshed about eye level with us. Wonderful. Marvelous. Fabulous.
We could hear God’s still small voice speaking very loudly. Something similar to what Job heard...
“But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind. Does not the ear test words as the tongue tastes food? Is not wisdom found among the aged? Does not long life bring understanding? “To God belong wisdom and power; counsel and understanding are his.” Job 12:7-13
This summer, what are your spiritual plans and goals to connect deeply and lingeringly with Jesus?
Will you focus on a book, a chapter, a paragraph or just one verse from the Bible all summer long?
Do you have a study plan, memorization plan, a contemplative plan to let a God speak to you?
Does it include walks, jogs, long sits in His splendid creation?
Does it include some family or friends
Let’s take advantage of this summer to grow more intimately with the Trinity and The Word.
What causes someone to move to another country, put not only their lives on the line but also the lives of their children on the line to serve people of another ethnicity, another religion in order to show them and tell them the love of Jesus?
Would you ever risk your career, your livelihood, your marriage, your children in order to tell someone that Jesus loves them?
It was a privilege to spend a week with a team of people who are doing just that. These men, women, married couples, singles and families have invested years training; in undergraduate school, graduate school, theology, profession, language, culture and so much more.
Every day, they wake up with totally different sights, smells, tastes, touches, culture, religious background to meet privately with Jesus. To engage this different group of people. To befriend them, to identify their needs, to meet those needs freely, to serve them, to listen to them, to become a student of them and to follow the Holy Spirit's direction to start a conversation about Jesus. Knowing that the conversation about Jesus puts them at risk and in danger.
Its one thing to do this as an individual. Its another thing to invite your spouse to be fully involved. Its a whole other thing to bring your children to grow up in this.
Each person on this team is so inspiring.
It reminds me that 2,000 years ago, one man invited 12 to join him to go to the world, serve the world, love the world, die for the world, then be miraculously resurrected for the world. Then his followers, 11 with one defector, along with about another 120, changed the world to be a better place. To bring love, joy, peace and hope to people who were unloved, uncared for, marginalized, unwanted, discarded, hurt, wounded and in need.
I am reminded that it only takes one person, one family, one small team of people to make a dent in history.
Have you responded to the Holy Spirit's calling to join Jesus and a team of Jesus followers who are intentionally befriending, serving and talking about Jesus with those who are far from God?
"If serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. (the gods in our current culture). But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15
Seeking to risk more for Jesus,
I asked Ahmad, an Arab, "How did you meet Jesus?"
A huge grin came across his face and he began...
"لقد نشأت في أسرة مسلمة
laqad nasha'at fi 'usrat musalama"
"I grew up in a Muslim family."
As Ahmad passionately spoke in Arabic, the translator got lost so in his story that he forgot to translate into English. I had no idea what was said, but his energy, excitement and love that he was conveying was more thrilling to watch than any movie. I started throwing pretend popcorn in my mouth as I watched. The person next to me asked, "What are you doing?"
I said, "This is better than any movie, I just need popcorn."
Ahmad had a wonderful job and was growing in his knowledge of Islam. One day, a friend of his began asking him what he knew about Jesus. He did not know much but they kept talking about Jesus without letting anyone else know about these conversations. One day, Ahmad went hunting, normal for him to do. He walked a half days journey to one of his favorite spots. When he arrived an overwhelming exhaustion settled on him. He began to think that he was not strong enough to walk back or possibly he might die. So, he laid down to rest and fell asleep. In his dreams, a man glowing with glory walked up to him, knelt down, picked up his head and poured water into his mouth with a cup. As soon as the water touched his lips, he was empowered to full health. This glowing man called him by name and then introduced Himself as Jesus. Ahmad woke up fully revived physically and walked home. He had more conversations with his friend about Jesus. During these conversations with his friend, Ahmad discovered that his friend is a Christian who had been praying for him for quite some time.
A few months later, Ahmad had another dream. He was flying and there was this huge entity that was glowing with glory. He flew right into it. The glowing glorious entity told Ahmad to continue learning about Jesus. Then he woke up. He had more conversations with his Christian friend who gave him the Book of Luke in Arabic. Ahmad could not put the Gospel of Luke down. He read it and re-read it. At the end of reading it thoroughly, Ahmad declared, "I believe this entire story."
A few months later, he had another dream. He was walking down a road with a warrior companion. The road up ahead had a huge hole in it with fire coming out. In that fire was a monster. Ahmad and his warrior companion cautiously walked up. Ahmad said, "Let's attack the monster." The companion said, "No, see those three warriors off in the distance? We need them to help us." Then Ahmad woke up. He shared this dream with his Christian friend. The Christian friend asked him who was the warrior companion with him. Ahmad said, "I think his name was Luke."
"Who were the other warriors off in the distance?"
"I think their names where Mark, John and Matthew."
The Christian friend gave Ahmad the other three biographies of Jesus, Matthew, Mark and John in Arabic. Ahmad began reading and re-reading...
Ever since, Ahmad has been seeking Jesus, knowing Jesus to be his Lord and Savior.
Do we know that Jesus is still revealing Himself to everyone who is not a follower of Jesus?
Are we joining Jesus on His mission to befriend people far from Jesus, listen to them, become a student of them and seek to have conversations with them about Jesus?
The Warrior Luke records Jesus starting a spiritual conversation with His disciples on the topic of who is Jesus
"One time when Jesus was off praying by himself, his disciples nearby, he asked them, “What are the crowds saying about me, about who I am?” Luke 9:18
Praying for Jesus to continue to rescue Muslims as well as Minnesotans as we seek to start conversations about Jesus,
Pastor Chris Reinertson enjoys all sports, especially those involving a ball. He loves to hang out with people and challenge them to be Jesus REVolutionizers.