Posts Tagged ‘dare’

Are you up to the challenge!?!

Posted: September 8, 2010 by Haelie in What Next...
Tags: , , , , ,

So, tell me…how’s that challenge going for you? (You know, the one I dared you with back on the What if I don’t know what I believe? -Part 2” post…go check it out if you are just now reading about it for the first time…but you others have no excuse…you know the challenge I’m talking about!)  No, seriously, I do want to know how you’re doing with it.  In case you’re wondering…I learned so much when I dove into the Book of John last year!  I do hope you will give it a chance, if you haven’t already.

Well, there are only a few options of answers for “How’s the challenge going?”

  • “I’ve started, but I haven’t gotten all the way through yet.”
    • Well, I must say, very good! Seriously, I know you may be beating yourself up over it a little (or a lot), but I promise, sometimes you just have to do things at your own pace.  And, believe it or not, that is exactly the pace at which you should be doing it.
    • The main thing is…just don’t quit!  Don’t give up! Keep reading and considering all that is there and you will be so glad you did!
      • Are you hung up on something?
      • Do you have questions that have surfaced?
        • Ask. We may not know the answer, but we can sure try to help you find out.
          • By the way, for any of you at whatever stage in this, one thing I have learned very well lately is to not wait until you (or I) have all of the answers and get it all figured out (we never will…no one can).
          • Take Him as you know Him right now, the way He has revealed Himself to you up to this point in your life, especially through the book of John as you are working your way through this challenge.  He will progressively answer more of your questions and show you more of Himself in your life as you are honest about what you do know (little or much) and act on the knowledge you do have.
  • “I’ve already finished.”
    • Awesome!!! Now, did you really consider it as you were reading it?
      • If so, what kind of thoughts did you have?
      • What different things did you learn (or are you still learning, rather)?
        • Please share.
      • Do you remember the part about Him feeding the extremely large crowd of people?  Did you catch a couple of the lessons in that?
        • Like for instance, sometimes in order to realize that God is at work we have to realize how humanly impossible the situation is.
        • Also, when we are dealing with something that is so impossible, are you one who takes whatever you have (strength, hope, energy, belief, money, etc. – even as little as it may be) and brings it to Him knowing He can take it and multiply it like He did the food that day and do something you could have never dreamed possible!?!
        • Here’s an awesome quote for you from the study of John which I went through last year (called BSF International, in case you want to know more about it).  It’s related to a lesson to be learned from the boy who gave his small lunch to be used that day, not knowing if he would even get to eat any of his own lunch, but just thinking that he might could be of some help…
          • “You must risk in faith before you know by experience.” (Will you take that risk!?!)
  • “I haven’t started at all…” (followed by one of the following:)
    • “…but I do plan to, just haven’t done it yet.”
      • Again, I’m very glad you plan to (of course, it doesn’t matter whether I’m glad or not…you don’t have to please me…you don’t owe anything to me…this is all for YOU…for YOUR benefit, not mine.).
      • Do start as soon as you get a chance, and I will say the same to you as I did above in the first response at the beginning of this post.  Go back up there and read that again.
    • “…and I don’t plan to at all.” (To which I will then ask “Why Not?” and your response may be very close to one of the following:)
      • “I already know what it says, because I’ve read all or most of John as well as the rest of the Bible so many times over the years…not to mention all of the sermons I’ve heard on it (or even preached on it). So, really, what’s the point?  I already know all there is to know.”
        • Really?  You do? I do understand what you are saying, as I have thought and told myself the very same thing several times, for many years of time as a matter of fact.
        • Is it really that you think that there is no way you could see/read/learn anything new by reading John again…or could there be more to it?
        • Let’s think about this.  Time to really get honest.  I dare you!
          • Could it be that you have been rationalizing your life and way of thinking for so long that you don’t even realize that – even though you say you are happy with your life and the way you are living it and are furthermore not doing anything wrong?
          • Could it be that you are actually refusing to “come to the light lest your deeds be exposed” and you have to face and admit the fact that you have been wrong after all?  (quoting from BSF and John 3:18-21, not to mention my own experience)
            • I know it’s terribly difficult and even humiliating to consider that you might have to hear “I told you so.”,  even if it is your own self saying it!
              • (And, honestly, you are probably the only one who will say that to you…so many people in your life will be so overjoyed and refreshed to see the change in you and the obvious joy in your life that they won’t even think twice to welcome you home with loving, forgiving, caring arms.)
            • No one can judge you, because no one on this earth is above sinking to the lowest depths imaginable…and each of us truly knows that about ourselves.
      • “I don’t believe in God, so there is no point in reading the Bible.  It’s no more real than the mythological writings.”
        • Do you believe everything else that you read? Fiction?  Mythology?  Folklore?
        • If you read other things KNOWING they are not true nor real, then what will it hurt to read this one book of the Bible, John?  Besides, it’s nowhere near the length/size of many highly read literary works (the likes of which you may enjoy reading as well).
        • Why not just take this intellectual challenge and read it once through?
        • I’m not asking you to believe it.  As a matter of fact, you can even leave out the prayer part of the challenge if that’s just way too “out there” for you.  No big deal.  Give it a shot.
        • Again, as I said when I first issued the challenge…I dare you!  I’ll even up the ante now…I DOUBLE DOG dare you!

We will be looking forward to hearing from you in response to how your “What If…” Journey / Challenge is going.  Share your thoughts…honest…good, bad, or indifferent.

I doubt it!

Posted: July 21, 2010 by Haelie in What About...
Tags: , , , , ,

Yes, I said it…I doubt…do you?

This is a very appropriate subject, in light of the fact that we are currently on a journey to figure out what we believe and why. Are you one of those people who thinks that a “good Christian” does not doubt God, His existence, the Bible, etc….? Are you one of those people who not only doubts all of that, but just out-right doesn’t believe in any of that at all? Either way, doubt in itself is not a bad thing. As a matter of fact, denying that you doubt could end up being more harmful to you than doubt itself. WHEN you doubt, not IF, it often can be a good thing, because it forces you to go on a journey to discover why you believe what you think you believe…sound familiar!?!

I thought this one email I got recently was so on-target with this doubt thing.  Max Lucado puts things in a very down-to-earth, easy-to-relate-to perspective. One of his daily emails not long ago was on just this subject. You can click HERE to check it out.

A couple of the things he said that I liked a lot (I really liked it all!) is that Doubt will “tell you not to believe in the invisible yet offer no answer for the inadequacy of the visible…His aim is not to convince you to confuse you. He doesn’t offer solutions, he only raises questions.”

And another thing he said that was oh-so-true is, “If you are more cynical about Christians than sincere about Christ, then guess who came to dinner?” Ouch!!! I think we can all relate to being burnt by Christians…after all, Christians are HUMAN BEINGS…very imperfect just like anyone else. The trick is to realize that our hope is not in people, our hope is in Christ! Yes, He lives inside of Christians, but that doesn’t mean Christians are made perfect on this earth. We still do and say very disrespectful, selfish, rude, hurtful things to fellow believers and non-believers alike. We still have our innate personalities, which when given to God to be used can be used amazingly (He made us the way we are for a reason!), however when we take our eyes off of Him and get too caught up in ourselves and doing things the way we think are best, those God-given personalities can be quite difficult for others to deal with – not to mention difficult to deal with ourselves.

Sooooo, what are you going to do with this?

I doubt (pun intended!) you can go away from this without reconsidering some things in your life, as I am in mine.

Specifically, Why are you avoiding God (if you are)? Are you using excuses that are fed by doubt? Give your doubts and fears and failures and guilt to HIMaccept His love and grace and forgiveness and faithfulness to you and acceptance of you.

Don’t put off getting on the right road with Him (or BACK on it) until you “get some things straight” or “figure it all out” or find a church and/or denomination with which you completely agree and find no “bad” Christians. You will NEVER be satisfied if you are waiting on any of those things! Just come to Him…NOW…NOT LATER…just like you are right now.

Even if you’ve walked away from Him deliberately and feel guilty about it. Even if you think you’ve been just fine and living the “good Christian life”…still take this time to really think about that and re-evaluate it all. He wants to go deeper with you right now…not later! He wants to show you who He is in YOUR life, not just who He is period. I dare you to be real with Him and to trust Him! He will shock your socks off with what He wants to do in YOUR life!!! Hold on…are you ready?

Come to Him now, be real with Him…if you dare!

How do you stand for what you believe if you don’t truly KNOW what you believe!?!

Sure we all think we know what we believe for the majority of our lives. We are raised a certain way and “just believe” what we always have because we always have. (I know, that’s a little deep, but bear with me!) True belief in something, however, requires some true soul searching. First, you have to figure out WHAT you (think you) believe as well as WHY you do.

Maybe you are on that journey right now…deliberately rejecting some things you’ve always been taught and lived by, because, after all, what if they are not true? “What if my whole life up to this point has been a farce?” “Why do I believe the way my parents do…what if they’ve got it all wrong? They’re just humans like me, too.” Or, “why did I raise my kids to believe this way? What if I’ve misguided them? After all, my life hasn’t been going so well lately, so maybe I’ve been wrong all this time.”

All of these are legitimate, honest, real questions that we must admit we all have asked in one way or another at some time in our lives. Are you a bad person for thinking that way or questioning those long-held values? No, you are real.

So then, what do we do now?

Glad you asked!  (You did, didn’t you!?!)  Well, for one, we must accept that we will never know all of the answers nor were we ever intended to figure it all out. Some things are just too big to wrap our little finite heads around…and that’s okay! I personally don’t want any more responsiblity and expectation on me than I already have. How about you? Just let go of that control thing and accept that everything just will not fit into our nice little boxes.

Yeah, so, I got that…now what?

Once again, glad you asked! Now go on a truth-seeking journey.

A what!?!

Yeah, a truth-seeking journey. Since you always thought you knew what you believed but now you’ve figured out that you’re just not quite sure about that…now you’ve gotta find some truth to stand on, or trust me…you will fall…and it’s not fun! (True, often the lesson is in the fall, but try to avoid it if you can.)

So, for the first part of the search thing, what do I do? Well, once again, bear with me and listen (or read, rather) with an open mind…you do esteem that value in yourself, after all, don’t you!?! With an open mind, I dare you to take this challenge…no matter where you are in your journey of life. (We could all use a little refresher, huh?)

I challenge you to start this truth-seeking thing out by *hold on* praying. Yes, I said it…PRAYING.

Okay, if you don’t like the way that sounds and it’s just a little too out there for you (yeah, you with the “open mind”) then I’ll put it another way. Talk to God…yes, God…you know that whole belief that you are questioning right now…yes, Him! Okay, so how and why would you “talk to God” if you’re questioning His very existence in the first place? (Admit it, I’m not just talking to the un-churched crowd here, am I!?! You know who you are and, once again, that’s okay. Just be honest about it and come on this journey, too. What could it hurt?)

Well, to answer my question I asked before the little “aside”, the “How” is very easy…just open your mouth (or speak with your heart if you’re still uncomfortable speaking out loud to someone who is not physically sitting there with you). At this point, you don’t have to believe He is there with you listening to you, just trust me on this one and do it. Just tell Him, “God, if you’re out there…and I really feel kinda strange even talking like this, since I really don’t think you are right now, or I’m just not sure…but anyway, if you’re out there, then I ask you to show me.”

Come on, you can do it! Oh, and no, most likely you will not see fire come down from the sky right then and there, nor will you hear some booming voice audibly speak back to you (not that those things couldn’t happen, but they most likely won’t).

So now then, “Why”…especially if those cool, show-stopping things aren’t going to happen? Did you ever hear your mama say “Because”? Well, because…because that’s where it all starts. (Well, it really started way before that, but you’ll figure that out soon enough.) Another reason is because in order to take the next step on this journey, it will greatly behoove you to have started with that crazy prayer thing.

Should I keep going, or should I just save the next step for the next post? Okay, okay, okay…next post it is!

I doubt it!

Posted: June 7, 2010 by Haelie in What About...
Tags: , , , , ,

Yes, I said it…I doubt…do you?

This is a very appropriate subject, in light of the fact that we are currently on a journey to figure out what we believe and why. Are you one of those people who thinks that a “good Christian” does not doubt God, His existence, the Bible, etc….? Are you one of those people who not only doubts all of that, but just out-right doesn’t believe in any of that at all? Either way, doubt in itself is not a bad thing. As a matter of fact, denying that you doubt could end up being more harmful to you than doubt itself. WHEN you doubt, not IF, it often can be a good thing, because it forces you to go on a journey to discover why you believe what you think you believe…sound familiar!?!

I thought this one email I got was very timely this week. Max Lucado puts things in a very down-to-earth, easy-to-relate-to perspective. One of his daily emails this week was on just this subject. CLICK HERE to check it out.

A couple of the things he said that I liked a lot (I really liked it all!) is that Doubt will “tell you not to believe in the invisible yet offer no answer for the inadequacy of the visible…His aim is not to convince you to confuse you. He doesn’t offer solutions, he only raises questions.”

And another thing he said that was oh-so-true is, “If you are more cynical about Christians than sincere about Christ, then guess who came to dinner?” Ouch!!! I think we can all relate to being burnt by Christians…after all, Christians are HUMAN BEINGS…very imperfect just like anyone else. The trick is to realize that our hope is not in people, our hope is in Christ! Yes, He lives inside of Christians, but that doesn’t mean Christians are made perfect on this earth. We still do and say very disrespectful, selfish, rude, hurtful things to fellow believers and non-believers alike. We still have our innate personalities, which when given to God to be used can be used amazingly (He made us the way we are for a reason!), however when we take our eyes off of Him and get too caught up in ourselves and doing things the way we think are best, those God-given personalities can be quite difficult for others to deal with – not to mention difficult to deal with ourselves.

Sooooo, what are you going to do with this?

I doubt (pun intended!) you can go away from this without reconsidering some things in your life, as I am in mine.

Specifically, Why are you avoiding God (if you are)? Are you using excuses that are fed by doubt? Give your doubts and fears and failures and guilt to HIMaccept His love and grace and forgiveness and faithfulness to you and acceptance of you.

Don’t put off getting on the right road with Him (or BACK on it) until you “get some things straight” or “figure it all out” or find a church and/or denomination with which you completely agree and find no “bad” Christians. You will NEVER be satisfied if you are waiting on any of those things! Just come to Him…NOW…NOT LATER…just like you are right now.

Even if you’ve walked away from Him deliberately and feel guilty about it. Even if you think you’ve been just fine and living the “good Christian life”…still take this time to really think about that and re-evaluate it all. He wants to go deeper with you right now…not later! He wants to show you who He is in YOUR life, not just who He is period. I dare you to be real with Him and to trust Him! He will shock your socks off with what He wants to do in YOUR life!!! Hold on…are you ready?

Come to Him now, be real with Him…if you dare!