Sunday, September 21, 2008

availability...and reckless faith

This weekend our guest speaker, Beth Guckenberger, told her story of being available for God to use. For the last ten years, she and her husband Todd have lived in Monterrey, Mexico, caring for orphans there with a ministry called Back2Back. On their own they’re raising nine children, a mix of biological, adopted and foster kids. Beth has written a good book titled Reckless Faith. She describes reckless faith very simply: trusting in the Who when you don’t know the how, the when or the where.

Availability is the catalyst for reckless faith. When Abraham said, “Here I am”, he had no idea what would happen next. When Moses said, “Here I am”, he didn’t have a clue what he was getting into. He wasn’t even sure who was talking to. Jacob answered the angel in his dream with, “Here I am.” Isaiah was overwhelmed in his vision by the power, otherworldliness and holiness of God and responds with, “Here I am.” “Here I am” is the ultimate prayer of availability.

And, typical of the Holy Spirit, it usually starts with small things. A first step. Or as Jesus said in the parable, “Unless you are faithful in small matters, you won’t be faithful in large ones.” (Luke 16:10a NLT)

I was driving home one Saturday night at eleven o’clock after a long workday when I stopped at a gas station. After I paid for my gas and pulled away, in the corner of my eye I noticed a car in the lot with the hood up and two guys watching a smoking engine. As I drove home these words dropped in my mind: “Go back. They don’t know anyone in this city.” My first thought was “Get behind me, Satan.”

Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit. But I did immediately think, “I’m beat. And I’m going home. Besides, it’s two guys—they can figure it out. That’s what guys do.” I knew this wasn’t totally true. I’m a guy and I don’t know anything about cars except that when they break down, it’s your testosterone-driven duty to raise the hood and squeeze the hoses to feel good about yourself, especially if your wife or girlfriend is around.

Anyway, I turned around begrudgingly, and discovered that one of the guys was just helping out. He said, “It’s probably your thermostat” and walked away. The owner of the car had his wife and little boy with him. It turned out they had driven from Zanesville, Ohio to Cincinnati to see a Reds game—about 150 miles away. He looked at me and said, “We don’t know anyone here.” I thought “God, you sure know how to meddle.” I drove them around and, believe it or not, found an auto parts store open until midnight and bought a cheap thermostat. That was the problem and he took off. Before he drove off he told me he was raised in a pastor’s home. Then he said, “I knew God would find someone.”

I can't even imagine how God does this stuff.

“A man with two sons told the older boy, ‘son, go out and work in the vineyard today.’ The son answered, ‘No, I won’t go,’ but later he changed his mind and went anyway. Then the father told the other son, ‘You go,’ and he said, ‘Yes, sir, I will.’ But he didn’t go. Which of the two was obeying his father?” (Matthew 21:28-31a NLT)

7 comments:

  1. this is it
    This is the whole shootin' match

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  2. i usually have dreams when I actually move on God's word. I very seldom get a ribbing from God driving down the road.

    The only time that happens is people begging on the street and it does not bother me to give a few bucks.

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  3. WOW! Great stuff, Dave. How would you feel about expanding your thoughts just a wee bit on this notion of being available and stepping out--even when tired--for a future issue of SERVE! the online magazine?


    Let me know!

    --Ken

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  4. Do I have just cause to file a complaint against my church, when someone in the VCC/HR department[G. S.], interviews me for a job that I am well qualified for, tells me; “we have a problem hiring you because you are NOT MARRIED to your girlfriend and living under the same roof”, & “because it is standard practice of the our church to hire only individuals that are married to their loved one and not co-habiting with one another…based on the Holy Bible and the honor of marriage” [Greg S. & Dennis B. of Vineyard Community Church of Cincinnati {Sept/02/2008}]. My girlfriend and I honor the Bible and it’s laws for marriage by sleeping separately in two different rooms, and abs cent from sex until our future plans of marriage. And I did indeed inform both parties in my strong Christian standards in which I exercise completely/daily, (based on the laws of the Old Testament). We are under the same roof, but living as roommates do, just like a coeds in a Coed College Dorm.
    Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work:
    If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!
    Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?
    Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
    The Bible
    Ecclesiastes 4

    This goes deeper than that…we have an associate (division) pastor for approx. 3-4 years, from England within our church, “Keith”, which this individual has two drug convictions of marijuana(1982), whom is allowed on staff, and this church does background checks, but will allow such individual to be a part of our church, in a leadership position. I have nothing against any person(s) whom choose to better his/her way of life. He was given a chance to prove himself…all I ask for is that same-equal chance to prove myself as well. I have a felony conviction(Jan./2000), myself, and the church will not allow me in any volunteer programs and/or employment within the church. In the scope of these things, the church is exercising a “double standard”. I have applied for several volunteer programs since I started attending VCC in Oct./2007, to say the least for employment within as well.
    When the President does it, that means that it is not illegal.
    Richard Nixon

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  5. That scripture makes me feel better about my initial reaction when I hear the holy spirit calling me to MOVE/serve someone.

    Sometimes I even say the f word in my head. . . but obedience usually follows (on a decent day, but no one is perfect- as obvious by my choice of words).

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  6. @Dave - thanks for your post. We had the pleasure of hosting Beth at our church last night in Austin, Texas. My wife and I have been leading our church's orphan and adoption ministry for three years now and have taken two groups down to Monterrey to work alongside the B2B teams there. We have the benefit of being so close that we're able to drive down and bring in whatever supplies they need. At breakfast this morning, Beth was telling a story on when she spoke to your church. Your church sounds very similar to ours. For the time we've had our ministry we've joked that we're an orphan ministry and we are orphans ourselves because we keep getting moved from ministry area to ministry area. But that's good, it appears it's God's plan to have everyone know about us. Glad to see your church embraces it from the front. Thanks for your post. (http://bruceeric.wordpress.com)

    bruceericatdell - twitter

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