There was an interesting, poignant, and so true video shown today at church, and between the video, last week and today's sermons, and the books I've been reading lately, there has been a theme: RISK.
Risk is something that every follower of Christ, every disciple (apprentice, learner, follower) of the Lord, should be familiar with. Each time we TRULY step out in faith, there is risk.
Mark Batterson, author of The Circle Maker and pastor of Washington DC's National Community Church, writes: "Faith is the willingness to look foolish. Noah looked foolish building a boat in the middle of a desert. The Israelite army looked foolish marching around Jericho blowing trumpets. A shepherd boy named David looked foolish charging a giant with a slingshot. The Magi looked foolish tracking a star to Timbuktu. Peter looked foolish getting out of a boat in the middle of the Sea of Galilee. And Jesus looked foolish wearing a crown of thorns."
the thing is, he points out, each of these scenarios led to tremendous breakthrough miracles. The more foolish something seems to the world, when we are walking in faith, the bigger potential for a miracle. Father and son authors Kevin and Chad Dedmon discuss this risk taking and call the place of action "the chicken line." They challenge us to step beyond the place of fear by faith; walk toward the edge and jump. they ask us, what's the place where you're chicken at? What's your chicken line? And then... they challenge us BOLDLY to cross it, by faith. The biggest miracles they've witnessed were after the line has been crossed; the place Batterson calls foolish. And to the world, it IS foolishness, but to God, it is FAITH!
In Bethany Hamilton's case, the chicken line wasn't surfing. She had surfed for years. The line was going back into the water after having her arm bitten off by a tiger shark. Her story can be read, or observed by a film of the same name: Soul Surfer. I've read the book, but not seen the movie. She writes, though, that while the spirit of the movie is the same, it is obviously not the book.
The fourth book I read this week also made an impact, though it wasn't necessarily a "Christ-centered" book. It spoke of Jesus some, true, but it also looked at the mythologies of Mexico, and was a novel. It's called, simply, The Butterfly's Daughter, and is written by Mary Alice Monroe. It tells the story of a young woman, Luz, as she takes an epic journey... into herself. After her grandmother, Esperanza, has died, she takes a trip that reveals family secrets that can either shatter her, or make her whole. The CHOICE is up to her. She RISKS, taking the beater car her grandmother (her Abuela) bought her the day before dying, traveling from Wisconsin to San Antonio, and on to the mountains of Mexico. But that RISK was one of faith... in her grandmother's love for her and in the strength of the monarch butterflies she has loved her whole life.
In all of these cases, there is the risk of action battened down into the hatch of faith. The action of what others may say is foolishness but in one's heart, one knows they MUST take in order to get to the other side of whatever it is they are called to do. And Pastor Jim, over at Open Bible, has been challenging us with his new series on Identity Crises, as well. It is a RISKY challenge to take on, but a challenge one MUST, if they are to walk the talk of the follower of Christ, and that challenge is to be a TRUE disciple of Jesus. A learner, an apprentice, a disciple; one who sits at the feet of Jesus, watches Him, learns from His actions, attitude, words. And to do it with LOVE.
The video below is one shown this morning as the beginning of Jim's presentation... it is timely and truth.
UPDATE 7/16/13-- COME OVER and check out my FUNDRAISER! Journey to a Thousand Voices...