Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Risky Business

I'm in a book group on Thursday nights with two other guys, and we've been reading In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day, by Mark Batterson. Last night we discussed chapter 6: "Playing It Safe is Risky." A few quotes...

The more you're willing to risk, the more God can use you. And if you're willing to risk everything, then there is nothing God can't do in you and through you (102).
Sometimes taking a calculated risk means giving up something that is good so you can experience something that is great. In a sense, sin is short-changing ourselves and short-changing God. It is settling for anything less than God's best. Faith is the exact opposite. Faith is renouncing lesser goods for something greater. and it always involves calculated risk (106).
Obedience is a willingness to do whatever, whenever, wherever God calls us (109).
Maybe righteousness has less to do with not doing anything wrong and more to do with doing things right (109).
If you were to always act in your greatest self-interest, you would always obey God (111).
(quoting Johann Wolfgang von Goethe): Hell begins the day God grants you the vision to see all that you could have done, should have done, and would have done, but did not do (114).

This chapter had a profound impact on me. It wasn't so much that I read anything new. It was more that I received a renewed permission to take risks for God. My heart beats for stuff like this. I've grown most in my life when I was completely dependent on God to do what only He could do. I feel like I'm in this place right now, especially with the church.

Yesterday our little church had a good day. One of our core group members had been emailing Wendi Thomas, a writer for the Commercial Appeal, about the Advent Conspiracy. Yesterday she received an email from Wendi saying that she was planning on writing about it in Sunday's paper. Shelley forwarded the email to Jason and I, and five minutes later I was being interviewed by Wendi on the phone.

Wendi is a great writer, and I'm very excited that she has decided to write about the Advent Conspiracy. The fact that it is going to be in Sunday's edition is icing on the cake. God is up to something here!

So what does that have to do with the book? Well, last night I was reminded of an incident that took place one year ago. That's when I first heard about the Q conference. I immediately wanted to go, but I knew that Jason and Barb were going to be having their baby around that same time, plus it was pretty expensive. I eventually decided that I probably shouldn't go.

A couple of days later, I felt that God was telling me that I should go, and that He would provide the funds. The trick, though, was that I was going to have to ask for the funds...not from Him, but from people. I'm like most people in that I do not like asking people for money, but I felt like God wanted me to do this. So I took a risk and asked two people. One gave and the other didn't. Then a couple of days later we received the rest of what was needed.

Here's what hit me last night. The Q conference was where I first heard about the Advent Conspiracy. That was my big takeaway. I knew when I first heard Rick McKinley talk about it that this was something that our church should take part in.

The step that God was asking me to take was pretty small compared to others' steps of obedience, but look at what it led to. I continue to be amazed by the creativity of God!

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