This weekend, God sort of blew my mind …

… and reminded me that he is truly at work.

On Sunday, I preached on Acts 2–“Promise” (see also “A Promise, a Mission, and a Call” and “The Comfort of Being Called”)–and part of my message was about how God calls us out of comfort, out of our comfort zones. During the prayer time of the first service, a woman came up to me and introduced herself. Giulia told me that she was new to DC, and had just moved here a month or so ago from Colorado for college. Over the last month, having left home and family, she’d been feeling really alone and like she couldn’t find any others at her school who loved Jesus. To top it off, she lost her phone this weekend and that was the last straw–she was talking to her parents about moving back.

She explained to me that she’d been trying to go to another church, but because she lost her phone, she found herself on a bus heading in the opposite direction. She asked somebody else on the bus where the bus was going–it turned out to be a woman who was coming back to The District Church for only the second time! She told Giulia that the bus was coming to Columbia Heights and that she was coming to church.

So Giulia ended up joining her, and listening to a message about being outside of her comfort zone, where everything has been stripped away. And she realized that this might be where God actually wants her to be. Time will tell if she decides to call DC home after all; if she decides that this is the place she’s supposed to be for this time. But either way, it was encouraging to hear.

On our newcomers cards, we have a line that asks “How did you hear about us?”

Giulia’s card read: “I got lost and ended up at church.” 

I love it when God shows that he can work through brokenness and discomfort and disorientation and even getting lost. There’s probably a sermon in there somewhere …

Guest Post: A Good Kind of Uncomfortable

My friend Jason’s started up a new site called Jabberbox, and I wrote a post for it entitled “A Good Kind of Uncomfortable,” about my experience with urban Young Life kids. Here’s an excerpt:

That night last week, God broke my heart for those kids: for Delonta, Antoine, Jamal, Will, ‘Twaan, and D. Because now they have faces; they have names. They’re not just “the kids at the local high school” who need help or charity or mentoring. They’re boys with names and futures; they’re kids whom God loves with every fiber of his being.

And he’s called me to do the same.

Check out the full blog here.

Truth: Us < Life < God

Original post: September 25, 2007; update: January 25, 2010.

God spoke to me through my crazy dreams last night. Not so much in an audible booming voice, but more in what he revealed: about relationships, about life struggles, about my wanting to escape, feeling pressured and pursued (not in a good way).

I want to remain in Christ.

See, for the last couple weeks—I guess, since the end of summer assignments meant I had more time to process—I’ve been incredibly frustrated with life. And over the last few days, I’ve come to realize that one of the main reasons for this frustration is that I can’t have what I want. Not right now, anyway; and this applies to a number of things in my life. But I know that it’s not the right time, it’s not the right season.

Life—the Christian life—is made up of seasons. And the one that I’m in now is one of frustration, of helplessness, of waiting, of patience, of difficulty, of discontent, of struggle. And I’m realizing that that’s okay—I don’t think the psalmist was particularly exuberant when he expressed his feelings of abandonment by God in Psalm 22; I don’t think he was in a particularly happy place. But he knew where to turn. And so do I.

God is preparing me, reshaping me, pruning me. And it hurts. It hurts like hell. And I kick and shout because I don’t like it, because I don’t want to be hurting or in pain or in difficulty. But my Father holds me tighter in his arms, tears in his eyes because he hurts to see me in pain, and he whispers: “I know this isn’t nice; I know it hurts; I know you would rather be anywhere but here. But it’s for your good. It’s for your future. And after this season, there will be a season of joy. Though the sorrow may last for a night, the joy comes in the morning. After the hurricane, the sun will burst through.”

A few years ago, I had a vision of a horse, straining at the bit, wanting to be given its head and being released to run. And God, the rider, was crouched close to the horse’s ear and saying, “Just a little longer, and then you can go as fast as you want …” There is a time for everything, a season for everything (Ecclesiastes 6). If we try to push ahead, to force the right time to come around, we’re working on our agenda, on our timing, which doesn’t—can’t—take into consideration the bigger picture, the universal scheme of things.

There’s a human desire to see things done the way we want them done, at the time that we want. But life is bigger than us.

Fortunately, God is bigger than life. And it’s in trusting him—especially in the times when we just want out—that we grow the most. Coz that’s what relationship’s about: growing in trust and love, learning to let God do what he’s doing, coz he knows far better than we do what he’s up to.