Thursday, May 18, 2006

Vacation Season

Vacation season is approaching. Gotta love it. We always have a great time on our family vacations, but there are challenges that are unique to that week or two. I think the challenges are probably timeless, don’t you? Of course, I do hope Jesus in his travels from town to town never had to say anything like, “No, Peter, I can’t make John stop looking at you.”

But can’t you just hear Noah: “You guys knock it off. Don’t you make me pull this ark over.”

Or the children of Israel asking Moses for the gajillionth time, “Are we there yet?”
Or how about the wise men on their journey to see the newborn king, “We’re not stopping again. And I thought I told everybody to go before we left.”

But you know, all unplanned pitstops, death glares from the front seat and refereeing “who’s looking where” aside, we’re all travelers all the time, really. We’re on this earth for such a short while—just passing through. We need to understand the purpose of every moment. And that purpose is in Jesus. Take a look at 1 Peter 1:13-19 in The Message: “So roll up your sleeves, put your mind in gear, be totally ready to receive the gift that's coming when Jesus arrives. Don't lazily slip back into those old grooves of evil, doing just what you feel like doing. You didn't know any better then; you do now. As obedient children, let yourselves be pulled into a way of life shaped by God's life, a life energetic and blazing with holiness. God said, 'I am holy; you be holy.' You call out to God for help and he helps--he's a good Father that way. But don't forget, he's also a responsible Father, and won't let you get by with sloppy living.

“Your life is a journey you must travel with a deep consciousness of God. It cost God plenty to get you out of that dead-end, empty-headed life you grew up in. He paid with Christ's sacred blood, you know. He died like an unblemished, sacrificial lamb.”

This life really is a journey we must travel with a deep consciousness of God. I want to remember to make the journey in a way that honors him.
Because he really is looking at me.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Remain a Vegetable?

Okay, this is probably the kind of story you don’t hear every day. I was doing a book signing at our local Christian book store, and they had all kinds of great contests and give-aways. My assistant was there helping me with the signing, and low and behold, she won the giant blow-up Junior Asparagus! Yes, the Veggie Tales guy. And he was as big as me. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone more thrilled over winning over-sized blow-up vegetation.

When the event was over, she put Junior in the passenger seat of her pickup. I had to laugh as I saw her driving off. I think she buckled his seatbelt, but I was still imagining the call: “I’m sorry to inform you, Mrs. Rhea, but your friend was in a terrible accident. She’s going to be okay, but I’m afraid her passenger…will remain a vegetable.”

Don’t worry, remaining in a vegetative state is okay if you’re already a vegetable. “Remaining” can be a good thing. Jesus instructed us, for instance, to remain—to stay in, abide in, hang on to—his love. How? By doing what he said to do. He tells us in John 15:9-10, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love.”

Remaining a vegetable is good for a vegetable. Remaining lovingly obedient to Christ is good for a Christian. You’ll love what you discover in your remaining. It’s joy! In the very next verse, Jesus said, “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” Not half joy. There’s complete joy in remaining!

By the way, and just so you know, Junior remains in his vegetative state. And while he may not be the chattiest passenger on the planet, since that book signing, my assistant hasn’t hit a single problem driving in the car pool lane.