Tag Archives: faith

I Want to Amaze Jesus

“When Jesus heard this, He was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following Him, He said, “‘I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.'” Luke 7:9

When our youngest daughter (the same one who posted “Still Trusting“) was just a toddler she loved to be startled.  Not just surprised, but overwhelmingly astounded, dumbfounded, speechlessly thunderstruck and bowled over with astonishment.  Frankly, there aren’t words to describe it.

One of our favorite family games back then was for me to hide around a corner or under the bed and call her.  She would come toddling over and I would jump out and yell, “BLAH!”  She would leap with delight or, if I was particularly successful in shocking her, she would leap and then collapse to the floor in a giggling ball of delight.

Some evenings we would spend hours laughing as a family.  Jen and the two older kids would sit on our kingsize bed while I would hide around the corner, crouched down ready to ambush Caribeth as she searched for me.  I would yell, she would scream with glee and collapse to the floor.  While she was distracted by her own laughter I would run to the other side of the bed to prepare for another ambush.  My cohorts on the bed would encourage her to go looking for me, again.

“Where is he?  Caribeth, where’d Daddy go?”

She would tentatively peer around the corner of the bed with a wry smile on her face…”BLAH!” Laughter and giggle and collapse in a ball of two year old fun.

I’m fond of saying that nothing surprises God.  When we make a really big mistake; when we get a devastating report from the doctor; when the car breaks down at the worst possible moment; when a confidant breaks out trust; when a spouse announces they want “out”; when the completely unexpected happens and it usually does…it doesn’t surprise God.  It’s not like something rocks our world, or we rock it ourself, and then God says, “Wow!  I didn’t see that coming.  What are we going to do now?”

Nothing comes to us that doesn’t pass through God’s hand.  I truly believe that.  Even Satan needed God’s permission to persecute (Job 1:12).  But there it is, “When Jesus heard this, He was amazed…”  I’m not sure how to say this without trivializing the absolute sovereignty of Jesus as both man and God, but…well…I want to surprise Jesus.

I want to be like the “man of great authority, under great authority” that amazed Jesus with “such great faith.”  I want to jump out from behind my own doubt and confusion and yell, “FAITH!” so that He is amazed and giggles with delight.  Heck, I want Him to collapse to the floor with guffaws of laughter, tears of joy rolling down His cheeks unable to catch His breath.  Then when the next crisis comes I’ll jump out from behind the corner of dispair and do it again, “FAITH!” and He’ll laugh in amazement, again and again and again…

My new daily goal is to amaze Jesus.  So, if you here some giggling in the cosmos you’ll know where it’s coming from.

“FAITH!”

That’s why worship.

I see God as…

These are the results for “I see God as…” There is one more from Tyler Satcher who will be our guest blogger on Monday.

Dan Rubel…love. Pure and simple.

Elaine Jones Brock…my wonderful heavenly Father whose arms are always open to me…!

Michael Young…the master musician.

Melissa Johnson…gentle, loving, Father 🙂

Ken Chapman…love, so deep we cannot comprehend in our humaness.

Darren Mudge…friend, master, comforter, healer, Lord, life, faith, grace, hope, power, purity, mercy, love, breath, bread, water of life, my all in all.

@mamaonmission…FOR ME! (as opposed to against me) 🙂

The Great Race

“And now these three remain, faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” I Corinthians 13:13

We have a game we like to play in our family. It can start at anytime, without any notice. Someone makes the first play by saying, “I love you.”

The other player responds with, “I love you, two [sic].”

Player one replies, “I love you, three.”

Player two, “I love you, four.”

The winner is the one who gets to rhyme with four and say, “I love you, more!”

Sometimes we play the game across a crowded room using sign language. Other times we pass notes back and forth during church.

On occasion we play it while holding hands. Three squeezes means, “I love you”. Four squeezes in response translates as, “I love you, two”, one squeeze for each word. Five squeezes, “I love you, three”, and so on until the winner responds with a “machine gun” of “I love you” squeezed signifying, “I love you, more!”

As a sign of our times, we’ve even been known to play the game via e-mail, instant messages and texting…even while gathered in the same room with our notebooks and phones on our laps!

I don’t remember when the game started. I have fond memories of playing it with all of the children since they were toddlers. My hands can still feel the quick, repetitive “squeeze, squeeze, squeeze” of little fingers wrapped around one of mine announcing, “The game is on!” Back and forth the squeezing or signs or some other form of communication would go; lob and volley, thrust and parry, offense and defense. And, it would always end the same way, “I love you, more!” with player two then feigning disappointment at losing.

The game was probably invented by Jennifer while we were still dating. So, it’s been played for quite a while. Played hundreds of times, maybe thousands, over all those years it was simply enough to “win.” That’s the only lesson I learned and, frankly, it’s the only lesson that mattered…”But the greatest of these is love.”

That is, until recently. In the last year I’ve discovered a pattern in the game that has eluded me for years. It’s a pattern that is innately part of the fabric, the DNA, of the game. If the players follow the rules of the game the pattern reveals itself each and every time it is played. And, this pattern goes against the very concept of fair play. It reveals that the game is rigged!

You see, regardless of the age or ability or aptitude or experience of the game the outcome is always the same. Without fail the game always ends with, “I love you, more!” And, provided the rules are followed, PLAYER ONE ALWAYS WINS!!! One hundred percent of the time, without any question, the one who says, “I love you” first wins. Once someone “loves” the outcome is assured.

When I perform wedding ceremonies I, of course, use I Corinthians 13, The Love Chapter. I challenge the bride and groom, and by proxy those gathered, to make their relationship(s) a race to see who can love first. Who does the dishes first? Who does the laundry first? Who mows the lawn first? Who washes the car first? Who gives up the remote first?

Who says, “I love you” first?

And in this, as well, the pattern reveals itself, whoever loves first wins!

Perhaps the more appropriate verse is Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

The authorized Joe Bassett paraphrase states it this way, “Price paid, life-debt forgiven (in fact, He overpaid and didn’t ask for change); game, set, match; mercy rule applied…Jesus wins!” Jesus loves us more. He loves more than we can ever love, He loves more than we can ever know, He loves more than we can ever imagine. He loved first…He wins.

Yep, the game is rigged and the outcome a foregone conclusion. Get over it…enjoy it…revel in it…celebrate it…bask in it. Do everything except try to deal with it because you’ll never get your mind around it. And, that’s OK. His love is an ocean, drown in it.

That’s why worship.