Running from the Sleep Monster

20120625-083634.jpg

When my son goes to sleep he doesn’t first stop to consider where he is, what is going on around him, or where he might be headed. If he is sleepy he does one of two things; he either tries to fight off sleep and becomes irritable and cranky, or he just eases straight into rest. As anyone who has ever cared for a small child can probably tell you, they can sleep pretty much anywhere so long as they bypass, or make it through, that irritable restless phase my wife calls “running from the sleep monster”.

The seventh verse of the thirty-seventh Psalm begins with this phrase, “Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him…”

Often I find myself getting antsy and fidgety when it comes to expecting something from God, but the proper response in such a situation is to simply wait, or rest, in Him. But like so many others, I am often not content to wait–sometimes going so far as to think that I can somehow help God in the situation. What actually usually happens is that I make myself miserable. Instead of resting in His promise, or on His Word, I manufacture a path of my own choosing. I often walk into what I can see or where I can comfortably understand the way that lies before me. This is folly.

When my son finally gives in to sleep it doesn’t matter where he is. He sleeps. And He LOVES it, if he can sleep in mommy or daddy’s arms. God is not the “sleep monster”. We gain nothing by ignoring His call for us to rest in Him. Take a breath. Relax. Turn your anxiety, worry, and stress over to the Loving Heavenly Father who is far more qualified to handle all your cares. Rest in Him.

Advertisements

I Want Your Money

A lot of the time when people ask for your money they bury it under a sales pitch, but that’s not really my style.  Jamie and I want your money.  The truth is, we need it to fulfill the call we believe God has placed on our lives.  Many of you who visit either my blog, or our family ministry site, already regularly support our ministry through your money, your prayers, or both.  We are incredibly grateful.  We can’t do what we do without you.  I won’t spend the next three paragraphs outlining how God will bless your bank account if you give us X amount of $ per month, although I do believe blessing often follows giving.  Instead, I just want you to know that any financial pledge you prayerfully consider sending our way will greatly bless us, and our ministry.  So, what do you think?  Will you consider joining our growing team of financial and prayer partners?

You can click HERE to make a donation to our ministry, whether it be a regular commitment or one time pledge.  Or click HERE for a printable faith promise form.  All donations are tax-deductible.

Please copy and paste the following info into the comments section on the donation page or into the “Missionary Info” section of the faith promise form.

Nathan and Jamie King
Chi Alpha
Account – 505543

10 Reasons Why I Feel Blessed

Life usually doesn’t fit into nice neat little lists, but that doesn’t keep me from trying. Welcome to my Tuesday 10, where I try to fit the messiness of life into a list of ten.

It’s not all that uncommon to hear someone bemoan their life. I feel like a pretty blessed guy so I thought I would share why I feel that way. Thanks for checking out the blog!

1. I have a beautiful baby boy. He’s twelve weeks old as of yesterday.

2. I have an incredible wife, she is absolutely the love of my life, and our marriage is very healthy.

3. I love my job. It’s not perfect, and I’m not wealthy, but it enables me to live out my calling, and get paid doing it; and at the of the day I usually feel pretty satisfied knowing I’m living for a purpose bigger than my own greed or selfishness.

4. I own my own copy of the Bible.

5. I’m self aware, not like a deranged robot from cheesy sci-fi, but I have a pretty good take on who I am. I try to regularly evaluate myself, and invite people close to me do the same. If something needs to change, I make an effort to change.

6. I can read.

7. I grew up in a nuclear family. My parents weren’t, and aren’t, perfect, but they are pretty close. They are the most selfless-tender-hearted people I have ever met.

8. I learned both; the power of imagination, and the worth of critical thinking at an early age, and then I started using them.

9. I am blessed with some incredible friends–guys that I am so close to, they feel like family.

10. Probably the most important reason why I feel blessed is not because I am good but because God is good. I haven’t hit on the magic formula for how much money to put in the offering. I haven’t figured out the number of good deeds I have to do in a day. In fact I really have no idea why I feel so blessed. All I know is it must have something to do with the goodness of God and very little to do with me.

Facebook Talk: Hippies, Liberals, & Democrats

Saturday I posted a brief quote from Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller on my facebook status.  It sparked some interesting conversation that I felt like preserving and sharing here.   The following is completely unedited except for the names, which I am only editing because I didn’t ask for the permission to use their names, and it only seemed like the proper courteous thing to do.

(My original facebook post):  The truth is we are supposed to love the hippies, liberals, and Democrats. God wants us to think of them as more important than ourselves.

J:  I don’t care for none of the above. I love them in Christ but would have a hard time holding a conversation with them. I would prefer hippies since at least they are high and laid back. Liberals are loud and misguided. Especially ones that say I’m a Christian and a liberal democrat. I don’t think you can vote for a baby killing, gay marriages approving party and run back to the cross. The Lord forgives us yes, but we need to live the life. Being associated with a party that believes that way is WRONG. I will not be friends or hang out with liberals even ones that are family.

Me:  I’m curious, how does someone “love someone in Christ” if they are unwilling even to partake in conversation, one of the most basic and harmless points of human connection? Love isn’t an abstract idea that we can simply claim to adhere to under religious pretext, it is a continuing state of unselfish caring, serving, and giving. Love in this is a lot like faith, you can say have faith, just as you say you have love, or you can demonstrate both at once through your actions.

J:  I’m speaking of liberal Christians that are “saved”. I try to talk to them about politics such as abortion, war on Christianity, and gun control. All I here is I can be a liberal and not believe in that. Or the big one is the gay argument that under the blood being gay is ok. All talk about gay being a sin is old testament. I like helping lead the lost to Christ, but it is hard when so many “Christians” have absolutely no morals. You can’t pick and choose what part of the word to obey. I love a lot of people I don’t talk to(see some of my family). So loving and liking are different, not mutually exclusive.

Me:  I haven’t learned how to love people without liking them yet, maybe someday, maybe not.

K:  The truth is were supposed to love self righteous rednecks, conservatives, and republicans. Even though it can be hard at times.

L:  The truth is, if “labels” keep us from loving someone, we aren’t seeing them through Christ’s eye. Gal 3:28

Me:  And I’m pretty sure I fit into at least two of those categories most of the time!

D: Some people have to be loved from a distance. I think sometimes loving others simply means living out the Christian life within their view, and praying for them.

Me:  Loving people from a distance might be possible, or even occasionally necessary, but I definitely think it is the exception and not the rule. Everything about God’s love, and this Gospel that we put our hope in, revolves around the premise of God leaving heaven, to become a man. While a man Jesus modeled active involved love. He got in people’s lives, often through very humbling circumstances. He loved others to the point of death, and as His follower I don’t believe I have the right to do anything less.

C:  As a Christian, I think the hardest to love are the Christians.

So, that’s it in a nutshell.  I posted this because I think it highlights a few issues that are really important for us to think about.  How much are we willing to love those who are drastically different than us?  Is it possible to love someone and not “like” them?  I don’t think it is, and personally I believe that we don’t have the option of not loving people, or liking them.  I’m not saying it’s always easy.  Heaven help me (literally) there are a few people in my family, a certain ridiculous aunt comes to mind, that make it difficult. But for those of us who claim to adhere to the Christian faith by following the teachings of Jesus, I don’t think we have an option.  I don’t believe that God allows us an “exceptions” list.  It has been my experience that if I am having trouble liking someone, it is because they have offended me in some way.  It has also been my experience that if I am in any way offended, it is because I have too much pride in an area of my life.

I’d love to hear your thoughts.  Please sound off in the comments section below.

Father’s Day

Last year for Father’s Day I was in Ecuador. We were in this tiny little cinder block church with one fading loud speaker. It was my first time to experience an international worship service. It was a great experience. In the year since, I’ve become a father myself, and Father’s Day means so much more. The following is a blog I wrote and shared last year while in Ecuador. It is a small excerpt from the book “Jesus Among Other Gods” by Ravi Zacharias. While reading it I felt that it was a great piece to share in light of Fathers’ Day. The excerpt is followed by some of my own personal thoughts.

20120616-095120.jpg

“A few years ago, a former Olympic athlete came to visit me. He was looking for some direction in his life. He was a strong and solidly built man. It was a privilege to be around him–just in the hopes that muscles were contagious!

He told me of the time he was representing his country at the Olympics. It was a story of dreams that had struggled against a potential nightmare. From the age of twelve, the Olympics had been all he labored for. He had put every penny he earned and every purchase he made into someday becoming a gold medalist in the event he loved. He was totally focused. This is what he wanted. But he had a very turbulent relationship with his father, who had no interest in this dream of his, and, therefore, he had funded every penny himself.

When he was only seventeen, he filmed the world champion in the event for which he was training and broke down his every stride, frame by frame, to study his technique. He then had himself filmed in the same distance and matched it, stride for stride. By precisely piecing together where he was losing the precious seconds to the world champion, he determined to bridge the gap. Through sheer willpower, discipline, and courage, his goal was within reach.

He made the cut for his country’s team, and life was suddenly like being atop a floating cloud. He won every heat and was emerging as the surprise and potential winner when the finals came. Was this a dream or was it real? No, it was real, he reminded himself.

He was at the starting point for the finals, and his nation was watching. Millions were cheering for him, and hearts were racing, expecting this ‘country-boy-makes-it-big’ story to hit the headlines the next day. In fact, I remember watching the event. The gun was about to go off, signaling the start. This was the moment he had waited for most of his life. But the mind with all it’s tenacity and resoluteness is also a storehouse of unuttered yearnings.

‘From out of nowhere,’ he said, ‘an unexpected thought suddenly flooded my mind–I WONDER IF MY FATHER IS WATCHING ME.’

That unanticipated thought momentarily overcame him and may have added a fraction of a second to his first two strides, robbing him of the gold. With great credit, he still won the bronze. The third fastest in the world is no mean accomplishment. Yet, to him, the victory on the track lost it’s luster when measured against the deeper yearnings of his life–the approval of the ones you love. Little did this Olympian know how my heart was beating as he shared this story with me. I understood him well.

Young dreams may be wild ones, but they are never corrected by ridiculing them. They must be steered by a loving voice that has earned the right to be heard, not one enforced by means of power. This is a very difficult lesson for parents to learn. And, as cultures lose their restraining power, there will be greater need for mutual love and respect between parents and children if a relationship of trust is to be built, rather than banking on authority because of position.”

This Father’s Day I am overjoyed by the reality of fatherhood. It is better than I could have ever imagined. Also, I’m grateful for an earthly father that never squashed my dreams. I never once had to wonder if he was watching because he was always there to cheer me on in my accomplishments or correct me with great grace and patience through my many-many failures.

I’m also infinitely thankful for a Heavenly Father who has shaped me in my peculiar uniqueness, equipped me for big dreams, measured the distance of my faults by the rule of His mercy, and guided my every step by the light of His Word.

“The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God.” – Romans 8:16 NASB

GO12: What’s next?

Taking part in missions work is an extremely rewarding experience, but upon your return home it can also be incredibly difficult. The following is a little something I shared with our team this week. I hope it can encourage you, even as it encouraged us.

“So, what’s next?”

I remember asking myself that exact same question last year after returning home from Ecuador. How are you supposed to be equipped to handle every day life in the States after seeing and experiencing so much? How are you supposed to get back to business as usual? The answer is both easy, and terribly intimidating at the same time. You can’t go back to how it was before, or at least you shouldn’t.

By sacrificing time, money, sweat, tears, love, and comfort you allowed God to literally move you, geographically and spiritually, beyond the spoiled apathy and monotony of the American Church. Your obedience in going brought about transformational leaving. You see, God had to remove you from comfort, entertainment, and even loved ones, to push you to the point where He could open your spiritual eyes so that you could see the world and the Church as He sees it. Just as you left behind so much in going, now you must ask Him to help you leave so much behind in returning.

Instead of filling our days with scheduled business and mindless distractions, we each must realize that by answering that first question, what’s next?, we will be answering a more important question…. What is God’s will for me? In this respect I feel that I can offer you some helpful advice, and a sense of encouraging direction that will ease the transition back into life at home without forcing you to abandon the revelatory fervor God has birthed within each of you over the last eight days.

You found incredible joy and purpose in the Dominican Republic by giving constantly of yourself, some of you to the points of near exhaustion and sickness. You gave because you believed in the purpose which you felt that God had directed you to. Let me assure you, each of you have as clear and constant a God-given purpose on American soil as you did in the Dominican. Guard your hearts against the idle business of purposeless endeavor we often pursue. Set yourself toward some sacrificial end, and until a time which God directs you to it; pray and ask that He would lead you, not only to that end, but would also deliver unto you the means to see it through.

Let us continue to humble ourselves and take up the thankless tasks. There we were often met with fanfare and celebration, here that same heart may be met with indifference or disdain. Let us continue to love unconditionally. There love was almost always reciprocated, here it may be confused, misinterpreted, or ignored. In short, let us continue to love because Christ first loved us. Let us continue to shine, because we have come to know and love the Light, and our world is steeped in darkness.

To read more about GO12 see one of these stories.
Challenges
Going
Learning
Jordan
Hearing
Doing
Grant
Dakota
Home

GO12 Videos
Waterfight

GO12: Home

20120610-085555.jpg

John the Revelator often wrote of Christ as the Light. For him the topic was one that carried with it deep personal meaning. So when Jesus, during His many public teachings, frequently referred to His followers as being beacons of light (a city on a hill, a light that cannot be hidden, or a virgin with a lamp) it spoke volumes to the young apostle.

This week we travelled 1,833 miles to share that light. We went to share it with people who are not in relationship with Jesus. We also went to share in a combined experience in the Light of Christ with brothers and sisters in the family of God from another land. Late last night we made our bittersweet goodbyes with many tears, and much encouragement. On the ride back to our hotel I asked our team what part of their experience in Santo Domingo they felt shined the brightest. The following is a summary of their responses.

Humility, we travelled to a humble place, and there I saw our young people set aside the ugly pride that so often cripples our ability to love others fully. They washed feet, cleaned up filth, picked up trash, and set aside the need to feel cool or be impressive.

Sacrifice, often the measure of how deeply you believe something is weighed by the personal sacrifices you are willing to make to further that belief. Faith, and belief, is most purely displayed during acts of ultimate sacrifice. For many on our team this week was an incredible sacrifice. They gave up vacation time, work time, and family time. Some missed a week of summer school, placing themselves far behind in their course work. They sacrificed hygiene and comfort, convenience and frivolity, for; an exhausting schedule, weighty humidity, and a soulful vulnerability that many will continue to carry for weeks to come. And everyone gave up time with those they love the most to go and serve He who loved them most.

Hope, seems like a cliche to us a lot of the time, but only because we have become so disillusioned to the plight of hopelessness that plagues our world while we bathe in the gluttonous excess that most people in our nation enjoy even in these somber economic times. For those with less distractions in their lives hope often lies just one basic need away. Sometimes that need is a tangible resource that will quite literally change their life. Sometime that hope comes in the form of deep encouragement that can only be understood within the soul. It was one of my life’s greatest blessings to see young Arkansas college students impart both to perfect strangers over the last eight days.

Love, like hope is a word used flippantly. We don’t really love cheeseburgers or American Idol, but we often say we do. Real love shine bright and far. Its bigger and better than anything else we can understand.

We spent the last semester discussing the idea of HOME as a ministry. I think everyone on our team now has a larger understanding for that idea, even as they come to understand the nature of the global Church. The great Canadian missionary, evangelist, author, and pastor J. Oswald Smith once said, “the light that shines the farthest, shines the brightest at home.”. I know seventeen college students and three campus missionaries that are sad to leave the Dominican Republic, but are excited to get home and shine.

To read more about GO12 see one of these stories.
Challenges
Going
Learning
Jordan
Hearing
Doing
Grant
Dakota
Home
What’s next?

GO12 Videos
Waterfight