Get off the porch…

OK so now we move on from Carver.  That ministry will continue on and grow significantly but we are shifting the focus of these blog posts and our man meetings from Carver to the radical pursuit of a life deeply knitted to God.

We have a men’s retreat coming up in a month – April 20-22.   Guys, it is going to be a great event but we’ve only had about 15 men sign up so far.  We have to battle this reluctance to step up.  It is a reluctance to invest – invest the $150 and/or to invest the time.  There are ALL kinds of reasons NOT to go – money, time, little league, things I need to do around the house and just the “I’m worn out and I need my weekends for rest.”  Valid.  Understood.  But that just won’t cut it.  There is an enemy and he does not want you to grow.  He wants you stuck in the same bondage.  He hates freedom.  This retreat is about freedom.  It is about the radical call of following Jesus.  “The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners…”  Isaiah 61:1

It is going to be a great event – nice setting, good food, a roaring campfire each night, a nice room for sleep, great praise music and powerful messages in a community of men seeking to walk alongside you towards freedom.  Come by the booth on Sunday and sign up.  If you need some financial assistance, we can help.  But don’t miss this retreat.

I am reading the book Discovering your Destiny and read from that on Monday night.  Consider these passages from the book…

All of us know instinctively that we were created for something more that we experience on a daily basis.  We long to experience more than we do, to be more than we are, to accomplish more than we “can.”  Something within us calls us to a larger, better reality than we can grasp – one not constrained by time, space, and resources.  Dreaming stretches us to weigh spiritual possibilities beyond our five senses.

OK, that’s good and we’re going to talk some about dreaming at the retreat.  Then the author starts talking about his dog and the underground shock fence he installed and how over time, the dog basically played in just the middle of the yard – never venturing anywhere near the fence.  Fear creeps in.  Passivity.

The sad truth is that most of us, like our over-cautious puppy, live far within our limits.  When did safety become the ultimate objective of the Christian life?  If God meant for us to live inside an invisible fence, why did He place some of his choicest servants in prison, a lion’s den, a human-sized furnace and a ship-wrecked boat?  Because they had purposes to fulfill – destinies – and God meant for them to discover the unlimited nature of His power and love, which aren’t by the way, discovered when we retreat to the safety zone.  The world is here.  It’s not safe.

You know guys like this.  They covet safety above all else.  They won’t take a risk.  They hide and shrink back and think by playing it safe, they can avoid pain.  And the writer shares this quote from Eileen Guder…

“You can live on bland food so as to avoid an ulcer; drink no tea or coffee or other stimulants, in the name of health; go to bed early and stay away from night life; avoid all controversial subjects so as to never give offense; mind your own business and avoid involvement in other people’s problems; spend money only on what is necessary and save all the rest.  And you can still break your neck in the bathtub, and it will serve you right.”

OK maybe that’s a bit harsh but the point is taken – a life of faith is not designed so we’d be safe.  Remember the question from the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe about the Christ figure Aslan… “Is he safe?”  and the beaver responds, “Of course he isn’t safe…but he is good…he is the King!”  And then this last quote I will share with you…

When safety and prosperity become our passions, we can be sure we’ve abandoned the pursuit of our God-given destiny in favor of a sub-standard life.  If we were honest, we’d have to admit that this attitude is one of pure and simple fear.  We don’t take risks, we don’t dream about doing great things because we’re afraid that if we don’t protect ourselves and our stuff, we’ll lose what’s ours – or what we think is ours.  Ironically, we are never more vulnerable than when we are playing it safe.

The call to us is clear – get off our porch where we think we are totally safe and to step radically into following where Christ leads us.  That’s what Carver is all about – us stepping out of our comfort zone.  But there are other porches we must step off of – the porch of passivity…things “I’ve been meaning to do….” or the porch in our marriage where I’ll give up my priorities, my wants and my hurts to radically pursue her.  The porch of the business world where I have stubbornly refused to dream big and pursue God’s call on me.

Jesus did not come to “set the captives free” only to have those men go back into capitivity of a safety of their own making.  These are things we’ll be talking about at the men’s retreat.  There is more….so much more but this is enough (more than enough) to chew on.  Thank you for encouraging me to radically LiveUP

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