Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Why Does He Even Bother?

I've been reading through the first part of the Old Testament lately - all of the law books where God painstakingly tells the Israelites exactly what methods they are to use to connect with him and honor him. And they still don't get it, and they mess up and complain and whine to him even after he's told them what to do. Obviously we continue this behavior today.

Makes me think of Jimmy Fallon's SNL character "Nick Burns, Your Company's Computer Guy." As many people have experienced in real life, employees ask him to help with their computer issues, and since they're dumb questions to him, he treats them with sarcasm and blatant condescension. I'm no IT expert, but I find myself feeling like this, too, when I get computer questions at work about things that I find simple and that I've explained to people numerous times. Don't they get it?

So I found myself thinking about how we're so much like this with God's instruction, and yet he doesn't treat us like Nick Burns. He's GOD - why does he even bother trying to explain things over and over to clueless, sinful fools like us? What amazing grace. I hope I'll remember that grace and let it sink in more deeply the next time I feel my Nick Burns side coming out.

And by the way, if your company's computer guy(s) or girl(s) are NOT like Nick Burns (mine aren't, thankfully!), consider taking a moment to show them your appreciation whenever you can. I know I couldn't do their job.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Learning to Be Offensive

from CNN site

I'm inspired by my Rockets' big win last night* to blog about something a friend of mine shared a few weeks ago. A group of us were discussing practical ways to share the gospel and why we're often afraid to do so. Susie then talked about how she's watched many youth sports events and how, for example, in a basketball game you can always tell which kids are probably praying that they don't get the ball passed to them, because they don't feel confident about taking a shot or making a big play. They're afraid that if they do, they'll miss, or worse, get their shot blocked back in their face. So they just avoid the ball, stay out of the way, and basically contribute nothing to the team's efforts.

Similarly, she said, we're often like this with sharing the gospel or even coming close to it. We feel like we lack the special gifts, abilities or knowledge that (we think) are needed to share Christ with others effectively. We're paralyzed with fear that our friend or acquaintance is going to feel offended, ridicule us, argue us down, or reject us in some other way if we approach any topic related to our faith in Christ. So to not risk hurting others or getting ourselves hurt, we just avoid it. Ironically, in the comfort of our own homes and circles of Christian friends, we find ourselves praying for opportunities to share the gospel ("playing time," if you will), and yet when God calls us "off the bench," we avoid the opportunity like it's a person with swine flu - err, I mean H1N1. (Hey, I keep up with the news.)

Anyway, I was reminded of this last night with the Rockets and with the NBA Playoffs in general. Take Aaron Brooks. He's often one of the smallest players, if not the smallest player, on the floor, and yet you frequently see him drive to the hoop with no fear, no matter what defender might be in his path. Will he make every shot? No. Will he get blocked sometimes? Of course. But he continues to be confident and assertive, because he won't be able to score points any other way. You've probably heard that saying, "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take."

And for us in our efforts to share the gospel - there's no way we can help steer others to Christ if we don't take risks and try. Even better than basketball, we don't have to have confidence in our own abilities - in fact we shouldn't, really - because we have the power of the God of the universe with us. So going back to the title of this post - I took from Susie's story the reminder that I need to stop being so fearful, and learn to be more "of-FEN-sive" and "OFF-fen-sive." Not to carelessly insult people, of course, but I shouldn't worry so much about how they'll react and what they'll think of me when I express my faith in Christ somehow, especially if it might conflict with their beliefs or lifestyles.

So as you're enjoying the playoffs and watching your favorite players drive to the hoop - how can you be more "offensive" with your faith?

*I know I'm referencing the Rockets' last game against LA and this photo is against Portland. It was just the best one I could find quickly.