Encountering God: A Tale of Two Bushes [—at A Life Overseas]

[I’ve written a post for today at A Life Overseas. The introduction is below. Come join me there, finish the post, and stay awhile.]

A fresco by Raphael, in the Vatican Museums

I want to hear God. I want to know his specific will for my life. I want him to tell me what to do next. I want . . .

A Burning Bush

It worked for Moses. When he was on Mt. Horeb and saw the bush that burned but didn’t burn up, he went over to get a closer look. That’s when God spoke to him in an unmistakable, clear, audible voice.

God called him by name.
He announced who he was.
He told Moses the overall plan.
He answered Moses’ questions.
He promised to be with him.
He gave Moses a sign to show that he had sent him.
He revealed his name to him.
He gave him step-by-step directions.
He told him what to expect.
He gave him the ability to perform three miraculous signs.
He promised his help.
And he responded to Moses’ fears by allowing him a helper.

Yeah, a burning bush. That’ll do it.

As a former missionary—oh, forget that—as a believer in God, I’ve faced many times when I’ve wanted him to communicate with me through a miracle. I’ve even been tempted to let my imagination wring meaning out of not uncommon occurrences: The supermarket is selling spagghetti 50% off? Surely that means that God want’s me to move to Italy . . . and I can leave with only half the money raised . . . right?

But when it comes to hearing from God, I think there’s another kind of Old Testament bush that we should look for—

A Broom Bush . . .

Go to A Life Overseas to continue reading.

[photo: “O Adonai,” by Lawrence OP, used under a Creative Commons license]


Jesus Has Rhythm, How about You?

5952477370_6475320cc9_m“In the gospel accounts, we don’t see Jesus scurrying around driven by what we might call ‘hurry sickness,'” writes Stephen W. Smith. “We don’t sense Jesus navigating white water. We don’t see Him spinning plates or trying to live a balanced life. None of the four biographers of Jesus show Him in a hurry—ever.”

In his book, The Jesus Life: Eight Ways to Recover Authentic Christianity, Smith teaches that we not only need to listen to the words of Jesus but watch the lifestyle of Jesus, as well. And if we look closely, we’ll see that Jesus’ life is marked by a rhythm. This is especially clear, says Smith, in the Gospel of Luke:

Engage then disengage; work in the crowds but always make time to rejuvenate with time alone. Luke revealed that Jesus was not always on, He was not always available. This important lesson is key to sustaining a resilient and satisfying life.

Smith then goes on to tell the story of two “modern pilgrims,” Rich and Carla, who “graduated from a Christian college, got married, and moved to the mission field.”

They both had a dream of sharing Jesus with others who had never heard His teachings. But eighteen months after they arrived in their assigned country, they came back home. They left enthusiastic and invigorated. They returned broken and discouraged. Both shared that they had worked over seventy hours a week in a tireless effort with dozens of volunteer teams to build a children’s center from a crumbling building. They said, “We never had a day off. We never had one moment to ourselves. We hosted college students in our homes who stayed up late playing games, and we found ourselves playing the games with them until the early-morning hours. We went to bed exhausted, got up exhausted, did our work exhausted, and fought all the time—it seemed.”

Sound familiar? Feel familiar?

If so, and if you’d like help in imitating the rhythmic life of Jesus, pick up a copy of The Jesus Life.

(Stephen W. Smith, The Jesus Life: Eight Way to Recover Authentic Christianity, Colorado Springs: David C Cook, 2012)

[photo: “Plate Spinning,” by Vincent Cornelius, used under a Creative Commons license]