A little over a week ago, I and my friend Zach went out to the cabin to go fishing. I always enjoy doing this because of the various conversations that arise on the way to the cabin, and then when you are in a boat out on the water.
Ooo, before I continue I have to tell you that my friend Zach is veteran of the War in Afghanistan, has a degree in Israeli Martial Arts, has a "Conceal & Carry" permit for his pistol, specializes in Counter Terrorism...and gets Sea-Sick really, really, really easy. As such, his new nick-name at Living Waters is "Chowda." Watch this next video and you'll get an idea of what Zach was like on the ride home in the car. BAH-hahahahahahaha.
Since he will probably beat me up for this, I'll make it worth my while by adding one more video. You see, while Zach was turning greener & greener in the car, we were closing in on the France Ave. exit from Hwy. 494. I looked at him, grinned and yelled "Who wants Chowda?" His immediate reaction was to tell me to pull off the freeway. So I jumped the curb. He opened the door just in time. SPLASH! (This is for you, Zach.)
Sorry folks, I just can't let go of my inner-child. (Don't pretend you weren't giggling, either.) But now you know how Zach got his nick-name.
ANYWAY, as part of the conversations we had out at the cabin, a fellow from Living Waters, our church, came up. This guy's name is Bobby Hill, and he is one of the most interesting people you will ever meet. (Yes, that's his real name. But I don't think Hank is his Dad.) He has a real heart for the people of Nepal & Tibet, and he spends quite a bit of time in ministry to these people.
We were in the cabin with my folks when Bobby came up. Zach mentioned something about Bobby doing some missionary work in Iran...something like that. My Dad made the comment that doing that was really dangerous. "They'll kill you for that over there," said my Dad. Zach and I both responded that Bobby has no fear when it comes to telling others about the Good News of the Kingdom of God. It was true, but it also seemed a little easy to toss out at the time. But that thought stuck with me up till today.
This morning at church, Bobby spoke to us about what God has been doing in Nepal, and how he provides for the Believers over there. I don't know why, but when I hear stories about how the kingdom breaks into our fallen world, I tend to spring a leak. So I was teary eyed most of the service. Still, I could listen to Bobby talk about Jesus for hours & hours and never get bored.
I had lunch with Bobby many months ago. I told him about how I had engaged in some very stupid behavior the night before. The look on his face was very interesting. There was no "Judgment" in his eyes...none. (I can't say that I am used to NOT getting THAT look when it comes to many who call themselves Christians.) The look on his face was more like an "And?"
Almost a "Yeah, we all sin. Jesus isn't suddenly surprised by it, sooooo..." kind of thing.
In his second letter to the church in Corinth, Paul tells them about a vision he had. In it, Paul says that he saw heaven and spoke with God. Of course, Paul spoke with God on his way to Damascus too. Jesus kind of ambushed him actually. (God's funny that way sometimes.) As a result of these things, Paul never showed any fear to anyone about preaching the Gospel. Even when you read Paul's letters from prison in Rome, when he knew for a fact that he was going to die, he shows no fear.
Paul understood something very clearly. I think Bobby understands it too. When Jesus was getting ready to send out his 12 disciples, amidst all of the stuff he was telling them, he tells them not to be afraid. He goes on to say this: "Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell."
What both Paul and Bobby understand is that there IS nothing to fear. God is on their side. If God is for Paul and Bobby, then who & what can stand against them? If there would be a person who would tell Bobby, "I will kill you if you talk about that Jesus of yours," I get the feeling that Bobby would respond with something of the following. "O.K., if that is all you can do to me, go ahead. But I will still love you, because Jesus loves you too."
Bobby understands something deep in his bones that I am still learning to accept. God loves him totally and completely. As such, "There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear." (1 John 4:18) So Bobby has no fear. I can accept this concept intellectually, but I am still along way from letting it seep into my very essence.
This is what Brennan Manning would call Ruthless Trust, and I want it for myself. The ability to see through the fog and man-made illusions of this world, and see kingdom breaking in. To see God at work everyday and in every way. To have the knowledge at a instinctive and gut level that there is MORE, and to know and breath in what that MORE is! To have the knowledge of the reality of Christ's kingdom moving forward at all times, knowing what awaits you is a loving relationship not only in the hear & now, but a perfected one for all eternity. Bobby has that, and it shows every time I watch him. (He doesn't know that one of my hobbies is stalking people when I am at Living Waters.)
Unfortunately, I do not have that kind of trust...yet. I know that it isn't something that I should strive for. It's just one of those things that I have to allow Jesus to teach me. My selfishness tends to get in the way of that, but I think Jesus is working on that too.
One of the gifts that God has given me, or taught to me...whatever...is the ability to empathize deeply with others. I feel other people's pain very easily...even when they don't see their situation that way. Often, I'm not so sure it's a great gift to have. The urge to burst out in tears when I see and hear about some people can be a real hindrance when driving.
Hhmmm, maybe this would help. http://trippingstumblingwhilefollowingjesus.blogspot.com/2010/05/see.html Read it, because it really happened.
At any rate, I do see God doing a work in my life. These past 2 & 1/2 years has been very difficult for me. But I will say that they have not been a waste at all. I am not even close to being the man I was all that while back. For one thing, and maybe this is the most important, I am actually keenly aware of my sins. Ages ago, when I was in full-tilt rebellion, I knew about my sins, but I didn't care. So they never made much of an impact on me. Now, I really care about them, and how they keep me from having the kind of relationship with Jesus that I really want to have.
I am coming to understand something that Rick McKinley preached on a few weeks ago. He said that what God wants from each of us is a "Broken & Contrite heart so he can fix it." I am understanding that deeper & deeper in my bones, and it's beautiful.
Bobby sees the world the way Jesus sees the world. He sees the awesome majesty of God on the move. He is deeply tuned in to the Reconciliation of All Things, and that the "The Kingdom IS," and that he is participating in it. He is no fan of "Religion," but loves that God is pursuing us. (That probably makes him a heretic, too...which is pretty awesome.)
Bobby will probably feel a little embarrassed when & if he ever reads this. He would probably be the first to say that there is no such thing as a "Good Christian," or that anyone is a "Great man or woman of God." But I think he would also say that loving & trusting Jesus is the best bet a person could make, and also that he really wants to hear the phrase "Well done, my good & faithful servant."
Bobby sees the world through the Father's eyes and it shows. He is just a regular dude in every way, but his faith and ruthless trust is very evident. He has this matter-of-fact way of talking about Jesus the way some people talk about the weather. Because of this, he has a been a great blessing and inspiration to me and many others. It is not because he is great, but because he has allowed himself to be a very useful tool in the hands of the Master.
On the way to Living Waters this morning, I heard a song on the radio by Chris Tomlin. If Bobby had a theme song, I think this would it. Bobby has his Father's eyes.
P.S. Bobby, you have beautiful feet. :) (Romans 10:15)