Sunday, April 08, 2007

Life Abundant

Last weekend I went to Awana Summitland in Denver. The snowstorms here bookended the schedule but distanced themselves enough to not disturb anything. Some of my team even went swimming in the outdoor heated pool! Our experience was graced. I prayed that whatever the results of the competition, we would see God's hand in it and know it was from Him. In so many unexpected ways, He did just that.

My team (12 high school boys and girls) enjoyed the fellowship and unity, the closeness to God and challenges to grow closer, and of course the competition in which we did - by the grace of God - well. I'm really happy for them. As happens every year, when the last day came, I didn't want to leave. I didn't want to say good-bye. Driving back to my part of town, I glanced at the large moon. Back from Summitland where the moon is strange. We had almost been in a different world, a plateau giving us a taste of heaven and relief from earth.

I'm not saying there weren't problems. But we were Christians together: studying God's Word, sharing what He was teaching us, praying a lot, meeting each other's needs, laughing, crying, and working as a team. We got to practice what the Bible describes of the Church.

Acts 2:42-47, "And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having
favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as
should be saved."
Since we got back my friends and family keep mentioning "real life." Work, chores, school, and the problems that had been pushed away (for example seeing the doctor, the dentist, and the auto mechanic - and doing taxes) were back with full force and no excuses left. Back to the "real world," they say.

I'll accept claiming we're going back to the mundane. Back to ordinary life. But it isn't real life. The world of chores and problems is not more real than the world of fellowship and faith we entered over a week ago. I don't see why we have to entirely leave that abundant life behind. Aren't we missing part of the lesson if we just accept that the environment was staged and all those awesome feelings of friendship, accountability, and meaning cannot transfer over? How can I transform the ordinary with a hint of the adventure we experience on the mountaintops?

Greg Stier of Dare 2 Share ministries spoke at Summit about being a Loser: a Christian willing to lose everything to share the gospel with the lost. He described real people who brought extraordinary passion for God (with an eye on eternity) to janitorial work, to inner cities, to wherever they went. If that can be true of evangelism, shouldn't it be true of the other aspects of Christian life, too? Can't we take it with us? Shouldn't we?

Christian community is 24-7. And it is real life: the kind Jesus died for; the kind guaranteed by His resurrection.

John 11:25-27, "Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life:
he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And
whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?
She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of
God, which should come into the world

John 10:10-11, "The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to
destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more
abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for
the sheep.

To God be all glory.

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