A Restless Wanderer

When you once comprehend that Jesus is alive, you can never again be the same. It changes everything. Everything.

It is one thing to think that Jesus is a mythical character who never really existed.
It is one thing to think that Jesus was a good man, well-intentioned and sincere.
It is one thing to think that Jesus was targeted unjustly, that he was helpless before his tormentors.
It is one thing to think that he simply died, another victim of another mob, abandoned and betrayed by a government that should, perhaps, have defended him.

It is quite another thing entirely when you softly speak his name, with a questioning upturn in your voice – “Jesus?” – and hear him answer, definitively, firmly, and gently – “Yes. It is I, and how I have longed for you!”

In that moment, right then, the battle is done. The search is over. All questions are answered. All yearning is fulfilled.
In that moment it’s like dying and being born at the same time.
In that moment, when you come face to Face, heart to Heart, spirit to Spirit with Jesus, you can never again wonder if he lives. You can no longer go your own way, placidly thinking, “If only I could be sure that this Jesus fellow was real, then I might take it all a bit more seriously.” No, now the old reasonings are gone. They are dissolved in an instant.

You are in the presence of Light and Life.
You are sustained with Water and Bread.

You are no longer a lost soul, a rolling stone, a restless wanderer. Now you are a living, growing thing, attached to a Vine. The Vine is throbbing with life, pulsing with it, surging – and you know now that your own life and growth have just begun. “Jesus – Jesus, you’re alive! And now, at last, I live, too!”

“Whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst.”
(John 4:14)

“Then Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life.’”
(John 6:35)

“Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, ‘Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink.’”
(John 7:37)

“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world.’”
(John 8:12)

“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
(John 10:10)

“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”
(John 10:27)

“I am the vine, you are the branches.”
(John 15:5)

“He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’”
(Revelation 21:5)

–Bob Young
[7/8/2013]

Advertisements
Posted in Uncategorized

Doing The Mom Thing

I saw a mom doing her Mom Thing today… and doing it very well!

I was at Fred Meyer to pick up a few essentials (most importantly, Triscuit crackers and cheese). As I was walking through the parking lot back to my car, I saw a mom who had also come to the store. For her, the trip was a little more complicated than it was for me.

She had her daughter with her. The little girl was probably around two years old. It was too hot to put her daughter in the car seat yet, so Mom was loading the groceries into the car while holding her daughter! I was fascinated as I watched this difficult feat. She was holding her daughter in her left arm. She had her purse hung by its strap over her right shoulder. She raised the tailgate on the minivan. Then, she proceeded to take the grocery bags, one at a time, from the cart and set them down in the back of the van. To do this, she had to lean at some pretty tricky angles – the idea was to keep her daughter reasonably level, keep her purse from sliding off her right shoulder, not lose her balance, and not spill the groceries. Then, she raised her right arm way up, shut the tailgate, pushed the cart out of the way – but I didn’t linger to watch the really sweaty part, which would be strapping her little girl into the car seat on such a hot, humid day.

While all of this was going on, the little girl was just as contented as could be. She was just leaning back, confident in Mom’s certain grip, looking around every which way… and making Mom’s balancing act a dynamic exercise in shifting load vector variables.

Me? I carried my one sack (plus a twelve-pack of toilet paper) to my car, opened the door, and got in. It’s just not the same.

Since I didn’t have a toddler to take care of, I had the leisure to think about what I had just witnessed. It occurred to me that I am like that two-year old. I casually lean back in God’s certain grip. Meanwhile, he takes care of all the details. God does an amazing balancing act while I am in relative comfort, and unaware of all he is doing for me.

Sometimes God straps me in the car seat, and I scream and complain because I’m hot and sweaty. The fact that God is protecting me from worse harm is the farthest thing from my mind; I am simply perturbed at my discomfort, which I’m quite sure he’s allowing on purpose. Honestly, what is God thinking at times like that? I can’t even imagine.

But I’m no longer two years old. It’s time to be mature. It’s time to recognize all that God has done for me – how he has juggled the circumstances of my life for my good, and protected me from harm. It’s time to be grateful for his sure provision.

So, as I sit here eating my Triscuit crackers and cheese, I thank you, Father. Thank you.

–Bob Young
[7/1/2013]

Posted in Uncategorized

Vanish and Return

Have you ever watched something you value slip away – and there’s nothing you can do to stop it? There’s a story about that in the 32nd chapter of Jeremiah. It may give you some hope…

Jeremiah’s cousin, Hanamel, came to him and said, “Hey, Jeremiah! I want to sell you my field. Since you’re my closest relative, then according to the law you have the first right to buy it. I can’t sell it to anyone else until after you say you don’t want it.”

God instructed Jeremiah to buy the field, which seems a little bit crazy. Okay, a lot crazy. It looked like a good deal for Hanamel, and a bad deal for Jeremiah – after all, the Babylonian army was outside the city gates, building siege ramps against the city walls on that very day. Hanamel figured he could use the cash if he found a way to escape the city and run. And Jeremiah’s new property was about to be confiscated by the Babylonians… he would never see the profit from this year’s crop. Anyway, Jeremiah followed God’s instructions and bought his cousin’s field. Jeremiah gave the copies of the land deed to his good friend, Baruch, with instructions to seal both copies in a clay jar so they would last a long time, and then go and hide it. Baruch followed Jeremiah’s instructions.

Jeremiah was taking the long view, which in this case, was God’s view. Eventually, the Babylonians would be gone – but what belonged to Jeremiah would remain.

Sometimes, God gives you something, and then you watch it slip away. Sometimes it’s snatched away by the enemy. Perhaps you raised your children to love God, and then watched helplessly as Satan took them on self-destructive paths. Maybe addiction has built siege ramps against your own heart, broken down the walls, confiscated your loved ones. Now you live in the rubble, remembering what used to be.

But the deed is still in the jar.

Don’t be alarmed or discouraged by short term setbacks, shortfalls, or attacks. Wait with God. Continue in your faith. The trial will pass.

God’s love for you doesn’t mean the Babylonian army won’t attack. God’s love for you means that he will see you through it. All the way through it.

Remember – the deed is still in the jar.

–Bob Young
[6/27/2013]

Posted in Uncategorized

How I Will Pray

I have decided to pray as if God can do anything.
I have decided to pray as if God is actually listening.
I have decided to pray as if God really cares.
I have decided to pray as if God will take action.
I have decided to pray as if God has a solution.
I have decided to pray as if God is wiser than I am.
I have decided to pray as if God is counting on me to pray.
I have decided to pray as if God delights in my conversation with him.
I have decided to pray as if God is giving me his undivided attention.
I have decided to pray as if God alone can satisfy.

I have decided to pray prayers of praise more than any other kind of prayer.
I have decided to pray with exactitude.
I have decided to pray publicly.
I have decided to pray far more for others than for myself.
I have decided to pray for answers so big only God can answer.
I have decided to pray in agreement with scripture.
I have decided to pray as the Holy Spirit leads.
I have decided to pray with others.
I have decided to pray for others.
I have decided to pray without ceasing.
I have decided to pray with my ears as well as my mouth.

–Bob Young
[6/15/2013]

Posted in Uncategorized

The Upper Room

This is the transcript of the audio broadcast on June 1, 2013. The podcast is available for free at:

http://mixlr.com/bob-young-pax-terrarum/showreel/the-upper-room-2-2/

What do you think of when someone mentions Jesus, his disciples, and the upper room? Do you think of Jesus’ last Passover meal with the disciples? Do you think about Jesus starting the first Communion in that room? We often think of the upper room as a place of peaceful devotion, a place where we can be intimately close to Jesus.

That happened before the crucifixion, but what about afterwards?

In John chapter 20 we read that the disciples hid in that room and locked the door because they were afraid that Jesus’ enemies might come after them.

With that thought in mind..

Let me tell you about the upper room. The upper room is where the disciples went when they were absolute failures. They were frightened – terrified – and they had no idea what to do.

The upper room isn’t where Christianity happens. It isn’t where faith is lived out. The upper room is a horrible place we flee to when we’re at our wits’ end, when everything we did turned out differently than we had hoped. The upper room is where we go to think about quitting, about going back to our old way of life.

Thankfully, Jesus isn’t perturbed by our secret getaways and locked doors. He comes into the room despite our attempts to hide, because he won’t stay long away from the people he loves.

His burning Spirit appears like tongues of fire, and he does what fire always does – he burns, he ignites, he purifies, he illumines.

Then, we realize that we’re in the wrong place. This upper room is not where we need to be. People are dying! Do you hear them crying?

And we burst forth from that room, as if shot from a cannon, flaming balls destined to smash through the hardened hulls of human hearts.

Go to the upper room if you must. And, at some time, we all must go there. But don’t try to stay. Meet your Savior, and then leave the upper room. There is something he wants you to do.

–Bob Young
6/1/2013

Posted in Uncategorized

Free Worship

No offering will be taken. No plea for money. No way to give money, even if you wanted to.

What if I started a meeting for people who love God, but don’t like church –

Would you come?

What if I started a live streaming audio meeting with prayers for each other and a short message on  how to look like the real Jesus in a world full of plastic imitations –

Would you click on the link and listen?

What if I started a live streaming video meeting with prayers for each other and a short message about how to survive life’s challenges –

Would you click on the link and watch?

What if I held the meeting live, somewhere in the greater Seattle area, but not on Sunday morning –

Would you come?

Would you host it in your home?

Would you make space available at your place of business?

Would you be willing to meet outdoors, in a park?

What if it rains?

What if people walk by, and shake their heads?

What if people walk by, stop for a minute, listen – and then ask for prayer for healing?

Wherever it is, it must be absolutely free.

I’m willing to be the fool who stands up in front of people, speaks loudly, and prays for things so impossible that only God can do them.

I’m willing to tell them things like:

“You’re closer to God than you think.”
“I’m not here to promise you a blessing.”
“God wants you to do something nice for someone today.”
“You honor God by loving people, not by giving money.”
“Your hatred and bitterness has got to go.”
“What you really need doesn’t cost a dime, but only God can give it.”
“Don’t worry about your habits right now. Start loving God, and the rest will come.”
“You can’t forgive, and it’s eating you alive!”
“God can move your heart – change your heart – and cause forgiveness, healing, and life to grow again.”

I need your feedback. Write to me. Post your comments here on my blog, or post them on my Facebook wall. Email me.

Online meetings?

Podcasts?

YouTube?

Live streaming audio?

Live streaming video?

“Real” meetings? Where? Indoors? Outdoors?

Silence, too, will tell me what I need to know.

Talk to me, or don’t. I’m listening.

–Bob Young
[5/30/2013]

Posted in Uncategorized

The Purpose Of The Fire

“God, why are you treating me like this?”

Today my wife and I visited the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, Washington. We saw a lot of beautiful works of art made out of glass using various processes: blown glass, sand etched glass, hot worked glass, cold worked glass, molded glass, poured glass – I don’t even remember all of the methods I learned about.

All of the glass we saw had a common experience: it had all been in the furnace. Even the cold worked glass had been in the furnace.

All of the glass we saw shared a common affection: each piece of glass was loved by its artist.

If the glass is only cold worked, there are limits to what can be done with it. Color can be painted on, but color can’t become a part of it, deep inside. You can shape cold glass by removing part of it – grinding, cutting, chipping – but you can’t gently shape it or change it’s inner nature without blazing heat.

Do you wonder at the heat in your life? Does God seem cruel or uncaring right now?

The furnace isn’t the end, but it’s necessary to shape you.

In the midst of the heat, God is trying to turn you this way or that. He has chosen his tools carefully, to cut, shape and bend you. By moving with his pressure, in the direction he is turning you, you become his work of art – his signature is on you.

The Apostle Peter wrote,
“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.” (I Peter 4:12)

He went on to say,
“So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.” (I Peter 4:19)

In the heat you’re experiencing, keep going in the way God is directing you. This is how you become his work of art and bring him glory.

–Bob Young
[5/27/2013]

Posted in Uncategorized