Why I Didn’t Cut My Hair For A Year (How God Brought A Baby Into Our Family)

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My wife and I dated each other for less than a year and then were married. We spent the first four years of our marriage investing our time and energy into serving others and getting to know each other before starting a family. 

After year four of marriage we were in a small, cold doctor’s office room being told by a fertility professional that I was 100% infertile and would never be able to help conceive a child for my wife. 

The next morning we started the paperwork to adopt an infant domestically. We entered into a journey to share love with a baby even though we were grieving the reality of the death of a dream of wanting to be pregnant.   

Last year, my wife prematurely gave birth to triplets at 22 weeks pregnant. Each baby died (you can read about it here). 

After a month of grieving, resting and allowing our church to love on us, we started the paperwork to adopt an infant domestically. We entered into another journey to share love with a baby even though we were grieving the reality of the death of a dream of parenting triplets. 

On September 1st, 2020, I decided not to cut my hair until the Lord answered our prayer to adopt a baby. On September 1st, 2021, He answered that prayer in an amazing way. 

We’ll get to that answer. 

Over the past year there has still been grieving. There’s been an empty nursery with the door shut in our home. My wife pursued professional counseling for six months. There’s been tears in worship services. With every Friends episode where Phoebe Buffay was pregnant with her brother’s triplets (if you don’t know, don’t worry), the TV channel was changed. 

As deep as the sorrowing reminders were, we were faithful to God in all of it. We weren’t sinless over the past year, but when it came to this specific pain of trusting His plan for our family, we were faithful. 

Over the past year we’ve been truly excited for each birth announcement shared with us. We’ve also empathized with those who miscarried and shared their pain with us. Even in the mountain of confusion on why God would permit my wife to be pregnant with three babies, knowing all three would die, we still held onto the promises of Scripture that He is good, He is loving, He works all things out for the good of those who love Him – and – even if in His divine plan He would not add another child to our home, we had Jesus and Jesus was more than enough for us. 

In Luke 9:62, Jesus says, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the kingdom of God.”. My wife and I decided to focus on what was ahead for our family instead of being stuck in the past of what happened. And while the lamenting of what happened will continue to be with us, the hope of an answered prayer helped keep us from being lesser versions of ourselves for our children, our friends, our church and our community. 

I made a Nazarite vow (Numbers 6:5) with God on September 1st, 2020. I was not going to cut my hair until the Lord brought a baby into our family. This was not an ultimatum to the Lord, my God is not a genie. This was a reminder for me to pray to the Lord, because, my God is faithful. 

And the hair did not look pretty. 

Being a pastor at a church with 3 worship services, I got asked weekly what was going on with my hair, when was I going to cut my hair, did I own a mirror, did my wife approve of what was going on with my hair – and all of it were reminders to pray for a baby. 

Of the triplets that died and are now with the Lord, the third of three babies that was born lived for 17 hours. We thoroughly enjoyed the time we had with him. We named our son Samuel Dominic. Samuel, meaning, “God heard” and Dominic meaning “of the Lord”. Hang onto that name.

In mid-August this year, my wife and I spent 10 days in Kenya serving the impoverished and encouraging missionaries. Part of our time there was visiting schools of children who were given the gift of education, nutrition, medical care and spiritual training through an amazing mission our church supports. 

On one of the days were were touring a school, the school was actually on a break. All of the students were gone. But, for some reason, there was one 5th grade class that was meeting in-person to catch up on their studies. At this school, of the 27 classes, only one was on campus. On campus on this particular day we were visiting, there was one head teacher (the principal), one teacher, one class. 

When we walked into the classroom we were greeted by the students with big smiles. They welcomed us. They cheered for us. They sang for us. And they recited a memory verse for us, Proverbs 19:21, which says: 

“Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.”

My wife and I introduced ourselves and answered all the questions this class had. Then we asked them to introduce themselves and we learned that the school’s principal’s name was Samuel. 

Then we learned that the only teacher on campus that day’s name was Dominic.

Samuel. Dominic. 

And my wife and I cried in the classroom.

We cried due to a mixture of emotions. On one side we were looking back at a reminder of the pain that we went through. On the other side, it was a stark, obvious reminder that our God was working. Meeting Samuel and Dominic at a school where only one class was meeting encouraged us. It was as if God was whispering, “I’m still making all things good for you”. 

We were able to share our story of pain with the classroom as a testimony to the memory verse they recited for us that they might have big dreams and plans, but no matter how it all unfolds, Jesus must be held onto tightly because it is truly God’s purpose that will prevail. 

We landed back in the States on a Wednesday at 2:00pm. At 8:00pm the same day we received a call from our adoption agency that a birthmom in Texas had chosen us to adopt her baby. 

The day we got this news was September 1st, 2021. Exactly a year after I had decided not to cut my hair. 

6 hours after being back home, we were told that a birthmom had chosen us to adopt her baby and that she was scheduled to have a C-section the following Wednesday and that we were to be present for the birth. 

Wow! Our God is so amazing. It gets crazier. 

The next morning after finding out we were going to be parents again, I’m mowing our backyard due to be gone for 10 days, and I get a phone call again from our adoption agency letting us know the birthmom went into labor and gave birth to a child earlier that morning and that we were to get to Texas ASAP. 

Without even being able to think, we threw clothes into bags, grabbed our two daughters and boarded a plane to Texas. Our daughters were going to miss their first day of school but they were not going to miss out on this adventure. 

After connecting flights, a rental car and some more driving, we arrived at a small town hospital in central Texas. We were given our own hospital room as the sweet nurses of the hospital rolled a newborn baby girl into our presence. Instantly we became a family of five. 

Two days later the birthmom courageously signed the baby girl over to our guardianship to raise her in our loving home and we were able to name her. 

As with all of the previous five children we’ve been honored to name, we have prayerfully given Scriptural meaning and truth to our kids names. Not only do we see that the names of people in the Bible have meaning, it’s also a daily reminder to us of those Scriptural truths to us and our children. 

We have named this beautiful baby girl Raphaela Jean. 

Raphaela means: “God heals”. While Jesus alone brings the only true healing in the brokenness we experience, Raphaela’s presence immediately brought elation, gratitude and joy. God has already worked through her to help heal us. 

Jean means: “God is gracious”. He is so gracious. We don’t deserve another child. We don’t deserve a story of adventure like this to share with others. We don’t deserve another testimonial example of how faithful God is and yet we have these things because He is gracious.

Raphaela Jean. God heals and is gracious.

And that’s what we would want you to know in whatever pain and confusion you are grieving. God does heal and He is gracious. He will heal the brokenness you carry and even when it seems the pain is taking so long to bear, it’s also healing to focus on the areas of our lives where He has been gracious to us. He has given us so much. 

6 hours after being back in America God brought healing and grace to us. 6 hours on a cross, Jesus brought healing and grace to the world.

My family and I are utterly grateful for the support of our community of faith, our church, the past year. They have uplifted us in prayer and encouragement and we can’t wait to share this miracle of God with them. 

Thanks for reading. You are so loved by God. 

Z

God Does His Best Work During Dark, Hopeless Saturday Situations

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In the Christian perspective I think of one word when I think of disappointment. 

It’s the word Saturday.

On the weekend Jesus was crucified, Saturday was a very dark day.

The resurrection of Jesus is a three-day account. Friday, Saturday, Sunday. 

Death, Burial, Resurrection. 
Beginning. Middle. End. 
Fear. Silence. Deliverance. 

Saturday was a devastating day for those who knew Jesus.

Friday had brought shock, but Saturday brought hopelessness.

When Jesus gets arrested on Thursday night, His followers had to think – This isn’t going to last long. I mean, if He can walk on water, He can walk out of jail. 

But He didn’t.
He stayed quiet. 

When Jesus is brought before the governor of the region, a guy name Pilate, Jesus’ followers are thinking, Okay, He’s going to speak and everyone will bow down in fear. The pyrotechnics will go off and Rome will cower and Palestine will be free. But Jesus didn’t do any of that. 

Then when Jesus is sentenced to be flogged – which meant He was dragged in the middle of the city street and His hands were suspended high tied to a post where His back would be stretched out and then angry, violent Roman guards – who are working the night shift – they took long strips of leather that had pieces of bone and rock on his and they would whip Jesus where it would wrap around Him, lodge into His skin and then they would rip it off – they did this 39 times. 

Surely at some point, in all this pain, with all this disrespect and horror, Jesus was going to stop this and put people in their place.

But He didn’t.  

When He is sentenced to die in the most gruesome way man had invented, and He’s forced to carry His own heavy beam – a full cross weighed 300 pounds, but Jesus would’ve carried the beam that goes across the arms – that weighed 120 pounds.


Jesus had been up all night, been through 3 trials and had been stripped and punched in the face and has the emotional pain of His own creation hating Him and has been flogged, loss of blood, carrying this heavy beam. 

Someone eventually helps Him and they get outside the city where Jesus is laid down on the cross and as they start to nail his arms and legs to the wood, as He’s screaming, surely His followers are wondering when He’s going to stop this from happening. 

The Son of God doesn’t die. 

But then He did. 

And they lay Jesus’ body into the tomb, they roll a 2,000 pound stone in front of it and the stone actually drops into a divot so it’s almost impossible to move, and on Saturday, Jesus is still dead and all hope is gone. 

Jesus’ friends had sadness because they had lost a friend. There was anger because they felt mislead. There was confusion toward Yahweh, God the Father – how could He let this happen? There was loss in their own dreams being buried. There was fear because the Roman officials might come and arrest them too for being a Jesus-follower. 

And they were probably thinking some things you’ve thought before, maybe you’ve been thinking this increasingly the past month of lockdown living, it’s this thought: 

God, where are You in all of this? 
Does God even care?
God, why would You allow this to happen?
I’m calling out to you, why are You silent?

But………

As winter feels long, spring faithfully comes with new life.
As night was last night, there is surely joy in the morning.
As bad days happen, there is still so much to be grateful for.

The reason Easter Sunday is so great is because Saturday was so devastating. 

I could speculate that in the past 2,000 years there’s only 1 day where there were no followers of Jesus and it was the Saturday after His death.

They all thought He was dead – no one was planning for Him to come back to life. No one was camping outside of the tomb counting down like New Year’s Eve as they all hold hands chanting, “10, 9, 8, 7, oh – I see the tomb opening a bit!!!” 

John isn’t asking Peter, “What’s the first thing you’re going to say to Him when we see Him alive?!?!?!” 

Mary Magdalene isn’t thinking, “Hmm. What should I wear on Easter when Jesus returns? Are hats still in? Are pastels still in?!?!?!” 

Jesus was dead and hope was dead with Him. 

All honor to God, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ; for it is his boundless mercy that has given us the privilege of being born again so that we are now members of God’s own family. Now we live in the hope of eternal life because Christ rose again from the dead. (1 Peter 1:3)

Or in other words, 

God does His best work during dark, hopeless Saturday situations. 

The mantra of Christianity is that setbacks are set-ups for a comeback.

When setbacks happen, and someone firmly keeps their hope and trust and faith in Jesus – watch out – a comeback is about to go down

The pinnacle and pillar of our faith – the resurrection – it’s not a one day account. It’s not a two day account. It’s all three days. Friday. Saturday. Sunday. 

Death. Burial. Resurrection.
Trouble. Silence. Deliverance. 
The setback. The setup. The comeback. 

The problem with three day stories is that we don’t know how long the proverbial Friday and Saturday are going to take for us until Sunday happens. 

Know that the same power that breathed life back into Jesus’ dead body, the same power that rolled away the stone, that had Jesus walk out of the tomb alive, it’s the same power that can be alive in you, when you put your hope in Him daily.

It’s the same power that takes setbacks and constructs them into comebacks.

Especially on your Saturday seasons.

Thanks for reading. You are loved.

Z

4 Groups Most People Are Like (Be Like the Few)

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The books about the historical life of Jesus in the Bible are called the Gospels. There are four of them. Each book is written to a different audience in mind. With four different contexts and four different authors, we have access to different accounts of Jesus’ life. 

The only miracle Jesus performed that is in all four Gospels is the feeding of the 5,000 (Matthew 14; Mark 6; Luke 9; John 6). There must be something significant for each Gospel writer and the Holy Spirit to include this account in the limited pages of their biography of Jesus’ earthly life.  

The miracle of feeding 5,000 men (adding women and children it could’ve been 15,000 people) occurred by Jesus praying over 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish and then seeing it multiplied to feed throngs of people. You would’ve thought Jesus’ little ministry up to that point would’ve let to a mega-ministry.

It didn’t.

We can learn a lot about ourselves and those in our lives from the 15,000 people who came to hear Jesus preach and be fed by Him and how we do not want to be like most of them.

1. Very few people care about their soul and eternal life more than they care about their body and this life. 

Why do 15,000 people leave their homes, travel to be around Jesus early in His ministry? Yes, some came to hear His wisdom. Some came to feel His love. Many came to see a miracle. Many came to have their bellies full. 

As long as Jesus was extending their physical life, they were interested in Him. 

We can be exactly the same. 

As a church leader I have access to the prayer requests of people. By far the prayer requests are more about physical health than about spiritual health. 

Think about how we treat our day. We exercise. We try to eat well. We drink water. We shower. We get our bodies ready for the day. We constantly are thinking about our physical health.

We seem to care more about the condition of our physical body than our spiritual soul. 

While feeding those who have come to be near Jesus, He saw their true motivations. 

Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, you want to be with me because I fed you, not because you understood the miraculous signs. But don’t be so concerned about perishable things like food. Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that the Son of Man can give you. [John 6:26-27]

2. Very few people are loyal no matter what. Most people are bandwagon fans. 

My youngest child is a bandwagon fan. When watching a sporting event, she will pick the team that is winning and when that team begins to lose, she will switch to root for the other team that took the lead and it’s back-and-forth like a ping pong match with where her loyalties lie. 

The crowd that comes to see Jesus, they had heard about Him healing people. They had heard about Him turning water into wine at a wedding. They had come from afar to be fed by Him miracuosly. They heard His life-changing teachings. It should’ve been enough. And yet we see right after the feeding of the 5,000: 

At this point many of his disciples turned away and deserted him. [John 6:66]

Bandwagon fans. 

Faith in Jesus is not about believing in Him so you get what you want. Faith in Jesus is holding onto Him especially when you don’t get what you want. Very few are loyal when God doesn’t meet their expectations.

[Side note: Be aware of your complaining nature. In John 6:61, before all of these followers desert Jesus and give up on Him, it says “Jesus was aware of their complaining”. Complaining is a step toward giving up on Jesus.}

3. Very few people see that there is more than enough evidence to believe in Jesus. 

On top of the water-into-wine miracle, on top of healing people of ailments, on top of teaching like no one had ever taught, on top of WALKING ON WATER and CALMING A SIGNIFICANT STORM – people still didn’t believe Jesus was Who He said He was (God Himself). 

After Jesus takes a Jewish boys lunchable and feeds thousands with it, the crowds still demand more. 

They answered, “Show us a miraculous sign if you want us to believe in you. What can you do? [John 6:30]

This is after Jesus fed them miraculously. 

When we doubt God, we have these thoughts of, “God, IF You are real, IF You are loving, IF You are good, IF You are powerful enough, THEN do this for me

No. We have more than enough evidence of God moving in our lives already. We need to keep our IFs out our prayers when speaking of God’s charatcter. He IS real. He IS loving. He IS good. He IS all-powerful. 

4. Very few people would follow Jesus if He showed up in person today. 

Here is what Jesus said to the crowds the day after feeding and teaching them: 

But you haven’t believed in me even though you have seen me. [John 6:36]  

If it happened then, it would happen today. 

God is pursuing people so vigorously today to show skeptics His love and His providence and His blessings, but even physically sending Jesus again there would be people closing their hearts and minds to true life itself. 

What about you?
Do you care more about your physical body than your spiritual soul?
Are you a bandwagon Christian when God doesn’t give you what you want? 
Do you still doubt in God’s love and goodness when things don’t go your way? 
Very few people do. 

The gate to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few find it. [Matthew 7:14]

Thanks for reading. You are loved. 

Z

5 Mindsets to Suffocate Your Fears

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Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. [Philippians 4:4-7]

With so much going on in our lives, with our loved ones and our country, there is much to be fearful of. It seems like the only thing that is not unprecedented right now is the anxiety many people are experiencing daily. 

Here are five mindsets to starve your fears: 

1. Look at life like it’s a railroad track, not peaks and valleys.

One of the self-inflicted ways we harm our attitude and perspective on how things are going is by putting our life in good seasons and bad seasons. We talk about mountains and valleys. It unconsciously affects our emotional outlook of whether or not we have a happy mood (good season, mountain peak) or a negative mood (bad season, valley). 

When we believe we’re in a valley season, we neglect to appreciate the good in our lives. 
When we believe we’re in a peak season, we become unaware that a trial is on its way toward us.

Rather than looking at what is happening in us, to us and around us as highs and lows, we need to look at life like it’s a railroad track. Railroad tracks have two sides to them heading in a parallel direction. 

Instead of seeing life as a series of good seasons and bad seasons, our perspective should be that good and bad are happening congruently at the same time. There is always something to be thankful for and there is always a difficulty to be working through. Keep one eye on each side of the tracks.

Having the discipline to see the good track with our view of things alongside the bad will take away the oxygen for anxiety and fear to breathe. Thank God for the good, trust Him when it’s scary.

Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again – rejoice! [Philippians 4:4]

2. Decision-making needs to come from the rudder, not the sails. 

Anger, out of fear, is the emotion we have when we can’t control the things we want to control. 

Pride, out of insecurity, is the emotion we have when we’re excited about how our lives are going. 

Too many of our decisions are coming immediately from our emotions, and the majority of those impulsive choices are damaging our relationships and the reputation we want those watching our lives to have of us. 

Our emotions are more like the sail of a boat than they are like the rudder. We feel fear, we feel anxiety, we feel out of control and we react right away, like sails do when the wind hits. 

When the pressured storms of life hit, instead of permitting our emotions to drive us where we go, we need to let reasonableness and wisdom direct our responses to what is going on. Instead of our decisions being the sails taking us immediately where the wind goes, they need to be viewed as the rudder of a ship: steady, secure, even-keel, stable. 

Being considerate of how our words and actions will be viewed by God and others allows the rudder of faith to drive our lives rather than the sails of emotion. 

Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. [Philippians 4:5]

3. When fear is felt, make the Indiana Jones switch from panic to prayer. 

Remember watching the opening sequence of Raiders of the Lost Ark when Indiana Jones desired to take a small golden statue? If he just took the statue, an ancient alarm system would trigger a huge boulder to roll over him and make him Flat Stanley. 

To trick the alarm system, with steady hands he quickly takes the golden statue and then replaces it with a bag of sand (which, I don’t know why he thought the weight would be the same as gold is so much more dense than sand is) – but the quick switch is what I want us to focus on. 

The second that panic is felt, we need to switch it to prayer. 

When fear is felt, our heart races and becomes heavy as gold. Our mind flies through all of the hypothetical possible dangers of what could or could not happen. We become paralyzed and miss out on the adventurous, joyful life God has in store for us. 

Whether the fear felt is real, or whether it’s a lie, it needs to be switched out and prayer needs to be done immediately so the large boulder of anxiety doesn’t flatten our faith in Jesus. 

Freaking out is not a fruit of the Spirit. 
Non-Christians freak out. 
Faithfulness is a fruit of the Spirit.
Christians pray and trust God.  

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. [Philippians 4:6]

4. Treat prayer like ordering from a fancy menu: be specific. 

My tastebuds are not fans of three ingredients: onions, mushrooms and coconut. When I take my wife out on a date to a fancy restaurant, the majority of the meals have the three ingredients I don’t love. 

When I order, I have to be specific on what I want and what I don’t want. 

Let’s say a waiter came to my table at a nice restaurant and asked me, What would you like? How weird would it be if I just said: Food. I want food. The waiter can serve me better the more specific I am – AND – I can enjoy the experience better the more specific I am. 

When praying to God, we need to be very specific. Being specific doesn’t invite God to know what we want, He knows what we want before we even ask, but what it does is it allows us to see the specific ways God will answer our prayers the more we drill down what we want exactly. 

Also, Scripture teaches us that we don’t get because we don’t ask. The more generic we are in our prayers the more vague of a timeline the answers will arrive. 

I don’t want us to treat God like He’s a genie, but sometimes the specific desires of our hearts needs to be laid out in articulate, exact requests. 

When fear rises up, replace it with prayer. Specific prayer. Tell God exactly what you need.

Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. [Philippians 4:6]

5. Finding God’s peace means being in God’s presence.

Anxiety, worry, depression and fear are not from God. If those emotions are reigning in our hearts and minds, God’s presence will feel far away.

Our God has the ultimate goal to guard our emotional life like a soldier. 

Sometimes during nights where we can’t sleep and our minds are full of fear, sometimes during moments in the day when we feel shaken due to what’s going on that we can’t control – we need to acknowledge the presence of God – out loud. 

Simply saying, I refuse to be afraid. I welcome You, Lord, I welcome Your Spirit, I welcome Your truth, I welcome Your power right now in this room, in my heart, in my mind, for my future. 

And then being in the presence of God, you will find the peace of God. 

Light drives our darkness.
Truth drives out lies.
Perfect drives out fear.  

Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. [Philippians 4:7]

This is the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

Thanks for reading. You are loved. 

Z

When You Can’t Do Life On Your Own Anymore

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Do you want to make a positive influence on your relationships? 

Do you want to improve each room you walk into? 

Do you want to get through a difficult time in an honoring way as others are watching you suffer? 

It’s embedded in my worldview that these people believe they can do it, but only with the help of God. 

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. (2 Timothy 1:7)

Put fear and timidity on one side. Those aren’t from God.

Place power and love and discipline on the other side. Those are from God. 

Which means, every time you have chosen to endure, or rely on this inner strength to get through something, each time you’ve loved or have felt love, each time you’ve stay focused to do what was needed, all of that is from God. God gives us a spirit of power and love and self-discipline. 

Which means that fear and timidity, these aren’t from God. Any anxiety, worrying, afraid to live, afraid to get through it, afraid of failure, depressed, not from God. 

Being insecure and anxious is what will happen if we just believe that we can do it on our own. We will harm our relationships over time if we continue to buy into the delusion that all we have to do is pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and go after another day. 

We need God’s help.

I’ll give two examples of each side when it comes to parenting. This crosses over with how you lead employees during the week or how you are with friends, how you react to stressful circumstances.  

I get to be a father of two daughters, age 8 and age 5 currently. 

EXAMPLE ONE

One morning, I’m getting the girls ready for the day, trying to keep them focused on the following: outfits, shoes, teeth brushed, hair somewhat presentable, somewhat disheveled only a father’s touch can provide. 

They’re sitting at the kitchen island, time is short before the school buss arrives, so I throw together a Carnation mix with milk for breakfast. With a straw. No lid on either cup. 

Right when you just read the words, no lid, every mother reading knows where this is going.

Every mother is thinking, Oh, you gotta put a lid on it. 

I know that now. 

Izzy, our five year old, knocks her cup over accidentally, it hits the floor, and makes a mess. You would’ve thought a cow was murdered in our kitchen. There was milk everywhere. 

I let anger out on Izzy until the alligator tears started to form in her eyes.  

Hold that memory. 

EXAMPLE TWO

A few days later I’ve set a mug of coffee on the end of our sofa and Izzy comes flying in the family room. She’s at this stage where no matter where she is or who’s around her, she’s doing a cartwheel. 

She flies into the family room, does a cartwheel and accidentally knocks over my mug with her feet. Coffee goes everywhere, mug falls onto the wooden floor and shatters instantly. 

This time I’m calm. I’m chill. 

I make sure she’s okay. I ask her to stay away from the broken ceramic pieces. I gently remind her to watch for her surroundings when she’s in Simone Biles mode. I apologize to her for leaving my mug on the sofa. 

Okay, compare the two instances. When she knocked over the milk in the morning, and I let my anger out, that instilled fear and timidity in her. My ripple effect was negative. 

When she knocked over the coffee off the sofa, I let gentleness out due to self-discipline. She felt that love. 

What’s the difference?

It was reflecting on 2 Timothy 1:7 over and over throughout the day.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. (2 Timothy 1:7)

In the morning, when Izzy spilled the milk on the floor and I spilled my emotions on her, I hadn’t gotten up early to pray for God to guide me during my day. I hadn’t thought about needing God’s power for energy, or God’s love for others, or God’s discipline to help me love on my girls that morning. 

I relied on my own strength and impatience came out. 

But when the coffee spilled off the sofa, I was able to respond with gentleness and humility because I had been praying 2 Timothy 1:7 throughout the day (in fact, my wife had written the verse on our mirror in her beautiful, large hand-writing as a reminder for both of us to lean on the Lord and not on ourselves). 

Lord, please, in all of my conversations, give me Your power so I have the energy to deal with what comes. Give me Your love so people around me feel it. Give me Your discipline as my own so the old Zach doesn’t come out, but the likeness of Your Son does. 

This works in parenting. It works in dating. It works in marriage. It works when you are around your employees, neighbors, friends. 

It keeps our relationships from viewing us as bipolar. Jekyll one day, Hyde the next. 

It keeps the people around us at home or at work from wondering which version of ourselves they’re going to get no matter what the day holds. 

If you believe you can do life on your own, without God’s help, the ripple effect you will have on those closet to you will be fear and timidity. People will be afraid to be around you, they will walk on egg shells, you’ll have extreme mood swings, they’ll be anxious and scared and eventually depressed.

But, if you rely on God daily, in prayer, people around you will see and feel your example of love, and power and focus and they will want the same. 

Even if you don’t have a high view of God, or of the Bible, try it out. 

It’s got to be daily consistently, over a long haul of time. 

What hurts is that Izzy is going to remember me getting irate over the milk spilling more than she will remember me being gentle and concerned for her when the coffee spilled a couple days later. – 

I need to do it daily so she sees me as the latter half of this 2 Timothy 1:7 and doesn’t feel the first part. 

If you work, reflect in the car on the way home, God, I’ve had a long day. I need You to give me Your strength, Your love, Your discipline for me to love my family the best I can tonight. 

In the morning before school or work or the day of errands, God, I don’t know what will come today, but You do. Please give me Your power and love and discipline to honor You and love on others and be an example. 

During a crisis in your life or in the home, you need God’s power to get through it faithfully, God’s love to give you identity that no matter what happens, you are still loved by Him. You need God’s discipline because in trials, if we don’t rely on God in prayer, we get sad and lazy and melancholy and lay around and have no energy and our loved ones see us as that. 

You can do this with the help of others and with God’s help.

We want to change lives, we want to improve relationships, we want to make a difference, we want to leave a legacy, but you need God’s empowerment daily to do it. 

And you need the help of others to also remind you that you need God’s help. 

Most people, when they wake up, they feel rushed and allow life to happen to them and then they react to it and they just want to make it through the day. 

Most people don’t wake up praying to rely on God for the day. 

Most people don’t wake up acknowledging that what they do for that day builds their legacy. 

Most people don’t wake up feeling like a world-changer. 

But, what if you believed daily that with who you are created to be, and with the help of others around you, and with the help of God, you could change the lives of others for the better? 

I believe you can.

5 years into our marriage. Whitney and I found out that we were infertile after desperately wanting a child. That was a harsh realization. 

My father died of cancer six years ago. That was tough. 

I have sin in my past that cost me security and friendships and reputation. The consequences still weigh heavy. 

There are little stresses piled up on me and my family every day. Life pressures down on us. 

All of the trials, all of the worrying, I cannot do it on my own. I cannot have a positive influence on those around me and get through difficult seasons on my own will power. 

I need you and I need God’s help. You need people to help you. So open up to someone. You need God’s help, so pray to Him throughout the day. 

Thanks for reading. You are loved. 

Z

4 Proofs God is Moving in Your Life

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For the majority of people who love Jesus, they have been waiting for God to show up in their lives and do what they know He can do.

God’s people (the church) want Him to move in their lives.

I want God to move in your life, in your home, in your work, in your school, in your community (and even in your church).

How do we know God is moving (and, in this sense, the Person of the Trinity that moves for us, in us and through us is the Holy Spirit)?

Before we can recognize whether or not the Holy Spirit is at work in our daily lives, we need to recognize the main role of the Holy Spirit.

What is the job of the third Person of the Trinity?

Some people say the job of the Holy Spirit is to give us power.
Nope. Power is a result of what the Spirit does.

Some people say the job of the Holy Spirit is to give us joy.
Nope. Joy is a result of what the Spirit does.

Some people say the job of the Holy Spirit is to convict us of our sin.
Nope. Conviction is a result of what the Spirit does.

Some people say the job of the Holy Spirit is to bring life.
Nope. Resurrecting a person’s hopes, a relationship or a situation is a result of what the Spirit does.

We want power, joy, freedom and life. How do we get it? What does the Spirit primarily accomplish for us?

Jesus tells us in John 16:13-14:

When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what He has heard. He will bring Me glory by telling you what he receives from Me.”

Boom.

The Holy Spirit leads us toward truth by telling us what Jesus has said and gives credit back to Jesus.

In a sentence, here is the role of the Holy Spirit:

To make Jesus real. 

So, back to the question, how do we know whether or not God is moving in our lives (how do we know we are living a life that reflects that Jesus is real)?

There are four optics when looking at what church normalcy was in the first century church, right when the Holy Spirit was unleashed. Those proofs are:

Worship
Truth
Community
Compassion

It’s an intentional, daily balance of these four proofs that invites God to move, emphasis on daily (meaning, you can’t try one out for a 15 minute test drive and see what God does). Like breathing, like eating, like sleeping – a daily consistency is required.

Worship is not just for Sundays. God needs to be placed on the throne of our desires and words and actions each and every day.

Truth is not just whenever we listen to a sermon or open our Bible. It’s that our entire worldview is shaped and guided by the inerrant Word of God and we exemplify and share that truth in love and gentleness with others.

Community is what we need. Social media and smartphones have allowed us to know more about people while not allowing anyone else to know what really is going in our lives. We need friends we can be transparent with. We need conversations where we are confess what is ugly, where we seek help. We should be opening up our homes hosting others over for a meal.

Compassion is a gamut of possibilities in our lives. It’s sharing with others. It’s praying with others. It’s boundless (meaning they might be Christian or not) and it’s got no strings attached to it (meaning Jesus gets the credit).

Someone who wants God to move in their life needs these four pillars of action daily.

God is God, we are not (Worship).
God’s Word is the way to freedom, not our opinion or desires (Truth).
God’s church and how they love and serve is a reflection of the Trinity (Community).
God’s unconditional love for us is our mission for others (Compassion).

I want revival for your life. You won’t find it by attending church once. You won’t find it relying on your own strength. You won’t find it running away from God.

You’ll find it in these four proofs. And when you consistently invest in them, watch out.

Thanks for reading. You are loved.

Z

 

 

 

 

5 Things Your Church Leader Needs Prayer For

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Do you pray for the leaders of your church? Because they need it. Badly.

Here are five things to pray for when wanting the leaders in your church to be who God has called them to be (Church leader classifies as: Elder, Deacon, Priest, Pastor, Preacher, Minister, Church Staff Member, Bible Teacher, Ministry leader, Bible College Professor):

1. That they would not be Arrogant.

Arrogance is like bad breath, you’re the only one that doesn’t know you have it.

If your church leader doesn’t have a close, loving relationship in leadership with someone who will hold them accountable, most likely they don’t realize how prideful they are.

Arrogant people think, We’re the good guys, they’re the bad guys. We have the answers, they need us. We are critical because they’re the one with the problem. We point out that this person messed up because it enhances the view of others that we never mess up.

They also say, The Bible is infallible – and so is my interpretation of it.

The Bible is perfect. My interpretation of what it says is not perfect. The Bible is infallible, but your favorite Christian pastor/author/professor isn’t. Inerrancy doesn’t extend to Bible teachers.

When a church leader begins to lead in ministry, the sheep will instinctively put the shepherd on a pedestal. I’ve failed as a church leader if I predominantly hear, Zach said this, Zach said that, I love it when Zach said….

I want it to be the Bible that is on the tongues of the people I get to serve. I’ve got nothing wise or good or helpful to say to them without the Bible being clearly laid out to others.

Church leaders are not supposed to convince people of their interpretation. They are supposed to invite as many as possible to give their sin and life to Jesus, and then invite them to examine the Scriptures together.

The ugliest, lowest moments of church history, were when the people trusted the church leaders to teach them the ways of God without having any desire or ability to check the Bible to make sure what was being taught wasn’t tradition or unbiblical. Churches split because leaders become enthralled with their bad interpretations of Scripture.

Is your church leader arrogant? Do they have close, truthful relationships? Do they take God seriously and themselves lightly or do they take themselves way too seriously and God lightly?

2. That they would not be Unkind.

Being a Christian leader is a balance between giving grace to the people and giving truth to the people. Grace comforts. Truth convicts. Both are needed. Jesus was the perfect balance of grace and truth. Your church leader is not Jesus.

Church leaders can have an obsession to be right. They’re like a harsh judge. It’s better to be preoccupied with being loving. Like a compassionate father.

When I digest the Gospel account I see people flocking to Jesus in a way they didn’t run to the Pharisees. They ate and traveled with Jesus in a way they didn’t want to spend their free time with the religious Scribes. It wasn’t primarily because of what Jesus knew, it was because He was loving. He actually cared about people.

Do you believe your church leader cares about you? Is your church leader unkind? Do they judge others or do they offer forgiveness? When someone stumbles do they give too much truth, or do they extend mercy?

3. That they would not be Hypocritical.

A good way for a church leader to not be duplicitous, is to read Matthew chapter 23 and put their first name in the place where Jesus is raking the Pharisees over the coals for their hypocrisy.

Not only did these religious leaders of the first century have rules outside of the Bible that they forced everyone to adhere to, but they weren’t following them either. It’s what religious people today do.

Do we need any more hypocrisy in the church? It doesn’t help the advancement of the Gospel when church leaders believe one thing and do another. God’s Spirit doesn’t work through hypocritical, unchanging leaders. God’s Spirit works effectively through humble, repentant, forgiven, changed leaders.

A pastor friend of mine and one of his elders were disciplining a church staff member who was caught investing his time unwisely into pornography. They set up counseling. They prayed with this minister. They set up accountability for him. They wanted restoration for him.

It came out later that the elder who was disciplining the church staff member, he himself was having an affair with a married woman in his church. That’s as religious as it gets when it comes to hypocrisy.

Your church leaders has sin. They struggle with temptation. They are blind to it. They hide it. They need prayer that God would humble them to repentance, because if not, He will humiliate them in their hypocrisy.

Is your church leader repenting and trying to grow in the likeness of Christ? Or do they act like they have it all together? Do they ever talk about their shortcomings?

4. That they would have Joy.

Is leading in the church fun to them or do they see it as a chore? Is it something they get to do or something they have to do?

I don’t know who put the word fun in fundamentalist, but that was foolish. They got the mental part right. How many religious, brow-beating leaders do you know where you think, Man, those are some happy people!

Zero.

Following Jesus is a blast. Serving in the church is a privilege. Leading others – there’s nothing like it.

If your church leader’s definition of a joyous life is a furrowed brow, complaining lips and a gun loaded with accusations, then they need a hug. These are not happy people. They always share what they’re against. They’re always upset at someone and it’s not the mirror. There’s no joy.

They must’ve been baptized in vinegar.

If I’m the kind of dad that’s like this with my kids, they’re going to want to leave the house as soon as possible and go sin like crazy because at least that looks fun at first. I want to be a joyful dad and a joyful leader in the church but it begins by me living joyfully under the feet of Jesus. Daily. I get it, life is hard. Bad things happen. But the most effective leaders in the church are those who have been broken and ended up being thankful for it because they knew God was doing something to change them for the better and bring them closer to Him. Joy.

How many elders meetings have I been in where the excitement in the room was about what each elder was accomplishing at their job and not about the work that Jesus was accomplishing in them or in the church?

Look at your church leader’s family. Is there joy in their marriage? Do their kids have joy?

Look at how they react when God comes through for them or for others? Is there visible wonder?

Watch how they worship Jesus. Are they visibly grateful for the cross and the empty tomb or do they look robotic and uninterested?

5. That they would not be Power-Hungry.

The church is at her healthiest when we are submitting to one another as Jesus submitted to the Father. Church leaders have no authority except for the authority Jesus has graciously allowed them to borrow responsibly.

To have an unhealthy craving to be in charge, noticed, acknowledged, on top, is to not know the liberating freedom the Gospel brings. And to be power-hungry means it will never be enough.

How many church leaders want to be in leadership to show everyone how great they are instead of showing people how great Jesus is?

They might be meeting a lot. They might appear to be serving (to be noticed). They might be making tough decisions. But what is their motivation? Do they lead in the church humbly? Do they show a desperation for the grace of God? If not, they crave influence more than Christ and it will lead them down an unloving legacy.

Jesus isn’t Arrogant.
He’s humble and He expects us to be full of humility, to cloth our lives with it.

Jesus isn’t Unkind.
He’s compassionate and He expects us to be merciful toward others, even enemies.

Jesus isn’t a Hypocrite.
He’s authentic and He expects us to be genuine.

Jesus isn’t without Joy.
He’s full of joy and not matter your hardship, thank Him for today and have joy.

Jesus isn’t Power Hungry,
He’s lost-hungry. He came to save the lost. He’s power itself and we cannot change our lives or the lives of others with His power from His Spirit.

If you’re being sinful, Jesus forgives. If you’re being religious, knock it off. That should cover everyone reading this blog. If you’re breathing you’re either being filthy or are judging the filthy. I’m not sure how many online articles you’ve read and then took some quiet time to repent afterwards, but it might be a good idea to do that today. And while you are doing that, please pray for your church leaders.

Thanks for reading. You are loved.

Z

5 Questions to Ask in the Midst of Suffering

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What can help  during times of stress and confusion, anger and anxiety, is trying to walk in the path of pain others are going through.

One man who has the credibility to speak to all of us on suffering, is the apostle Paul, a Christ-follower who lived during the first century.

One area Paul dearly loved was the city of Philippi. Philippi was a regional city where Paul preached the gospel to people, primarily to women, who became Christians and were part of the core group that planted the first church there. Paul cared for the Philippian church and they cared for him.

Later on in his life Paul is in prison for being a Christian. He writes a letter to the church in Philippi. At this point she is 11 years of age. It’s been four years since he’s physically been to Philippi. The church in Philippi heard that Paul was suffering in prison. They were concerned about his health, so they generously took up an offering, gave money, and sent it to Paul with a man they trusted named Epaphroditus, a deacon in the church. On his way to be with Paul, Epahphrodites becomes ill, close to death. Not only is Philippi’s founding pastor close to death, now their deacon is, and they church is waiting to see how their leaders will respond to the suffering they are going through.

In his dirty jail cell, Paul responds. He sits down and writes to the Philippians to ease their anxieties. What a privilege that God would preserve this letter centuries later of a man who writes of joy in his suffering. He writes:

I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. (Philippians 1:12)

We don’t know exactly what has happened to Paul here. Is he hungry? Is he looking for bugs to eat? Is he freezing? Does he have a blanket or does he shiver all night long? Does he have broken bones? Are his wounds infected? Is he alone?

He goes on to say:

It has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.(Philippians 1:13-14)

Paul is suffering. More impactful is that he is showing us that there is a way to suffer in a way that is purposeful, not purposeless.

The old school word for this is: sanctification. Sanctification is: Through suffering/pain/mourning/loss/confusion/silence/strife, the opportunity is there to become more and more fashioned into the character of Jesus Christ.

Like the Philippian church watching Paul, those around you are waiting to see how you will respond to your suffering. Here are five questions to reflect on to see if you allow your suffering to become more like Jesus or not:

#1: Does your suffering compel you to love Jesus more? 

Some of you know what I’m talking about. In your suffering you’ve lost everyone and everything but Jesus and He is the true treasure in your life. Some have learned to love Jesus more because they realize that our God didn’t stay distant, but chose suffering and you love Him so much more because you and I would never choose to suffer for someone else in the way He did. Suffering for the Christian should never compel them to love Jesus less.

#2 Will your suffering purify your motives? 

If we are Christians, we are commanded to do all things for the glory of God. I would confess that everything I do is not for God’s glory, and it’s because my motives are mixed up a lot of the time. Even with the knowledge of Scripture, even with encouraging Christian friends, even with the Holy Spirit’s moral compass inside me, my motives can become selfish, lazy, prideful, idolatrous. In a word: impure.

Paul, beaten and alone in prison has no health, no wealth, no freedom. HE HAS NOTHING TO GAIN, and yet his motives are pure. He suffers for Jesus without complaining to God, doubting Him or accusing Him of being unreasonable.

#3 Will your suffering refocus your priority to follow Jesus daily? 

When suffering comes we can become so easily sidetracked from the mission of God and the message of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. All of the sudden we find ourselves not primarily focusing our lives on Jesus and His will for our life (to obey Him) and His mission for our existence (to share Him with others around us in word and action).

Instead of pursuing Jesus we can pursue people, and experiences and possessions and pleasure, sin, instead of Christ. It’s easy to lose sight that in every situation there is an opportunity for Jesus to do a work inside you and for Jesus to do good work through you.

In every circumstance, ESPECIALLY in times of struggle, there is an opportunity for you to know Jesus better, for you to be drawn closer to Jesus, for you to recommit your life back to Jesus and His mission of spreading the Gospel to those around you.

It would be an ideal day that when suffering comes to all of us, when the world and the church sees each one of us suffer, they would also see Jesus in our words and actions and either be drawn to Him in faith for the first time, or be matured in the faith. I want you to show people in suffering a lifestyle that would not be possible a part from Jesus being with you.

The faithful who have gone before are begging us not to waste your times and seasons of suffering. Your tears should not be in vain. Your struggle should not be in vain. It should not be wasted. It should not be neglected or abandoned or ignored. It has purpose. Your suffering should be embraced as a divine opportunity for God to grow us and use us.

#4 Will your example of suffering become an opportunity to speak of Jesus’ suffering? 

If we suffer as an example of how Jesus suffered for us and the world, we suffer well. Paul is an example to this. He is chained, literally, to another person, a soldier, who has to keep watch over Paul. He has no freedom. And in this circumstance, Paul, being focused on the gospel, assumes that it is God’s divine plan that this particular soldier is chained to him for a reason: to be saved. Paul’s mindset is, God wouldn’t chain someone to me unless they were intended to meet Jesus. He praises God for the opportunity to witness to the soldiers that come into his cell and become chained to him.

Some of you feel metaphorically chained to your desk at work, maybe a stay-at-home mom feels chained to the house. Some of you will find yourselves stuck in a hospital bed, chained to chemotherapy or treatment of a sickness. Some of you are chained to living a single life, wanting companionship. Some are chained to a relationship that God will not let you break for a reason, and in any instance of suffering we ask, God, why am I still chained here? 

Paul would say on behalf of God, You aren’t chained to these situations. They are all opportunities for God to bring people into our experiences of suffering and to speak of Him in joy, and to suffer like Him in courage and honesty to make a difference in the world. 

#5 Will people grow closer to Jesus as a result of your suffering? 

We cannot be so simple-minded to think that our suffering has nothing to do with our witness.

My wife and I are unable to conceive a child together. I have a firm faith that the heartache of being in a marriage that is infertile will lead someone else closer to Christ.

Right now for a young girl, who isn’t even close to meeting the love of her life, but she will, eventually. And in time they will get married and enjoy life together and the thrill of being best friends and growing together. And they will have friends who have babies and that will instill a desire in them to start a family one day and when that day comes, and when frustration and confusion and anger surrounds their marriage, when they receive news that they are barren – AT THAT MOMENT, God will usher them into my life, into my wife’s life, and we will lead them to closer to Christ through the suffering we are enduring right now.

Paul says, Not only are the soldiers chained to me experiencing the gospel, they’re telling everyone in his imperial guard (some Bible translations in verse 13 say Praetorium), over 9,000 soldiers. Paul’s suffering has 9,000 skilled, trained, very important men talking about Jesus. Paul is praising God in suffering because God is doing something great in his suffering, and something amazing through his suffering, leading others to Him.

The question is not, Will I suffer? You will suffer.
The question is, Will I suffer faithfully? 

Will your suffering grow you in goodness and faith, or will it kill your spirit and turn you bitter? Will your suffering be heard as complaints and selfish to those around you, or will it be used to inspire your friends and those watching to get closer to Christ?

Thanks for reading. You are loved.

Z

Waiting on God to Answer Us

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In Genesis chapter 12, God promises barren Abraham and Sarah that they will have a child. The excitement and hope that promise brought must’ve dimmed in belief with each passing year it did not become a reality. In fact, 24 years go by and Abraham and Sarah are still not pregnant when God shows up again in Genesis 17 and promises them a child once more. Abraham and Sarah both doubt and they both laugh. Waiting on God had worn them down.

The problem with Abraham and Sarah is the same problem with you and I:

In each trial we face, we are eager for the answer but are not eager to wait for it. 

It’s not natural/instinctive/easy to wait. For anything.

I don’t like waiting for a webpage to open. I want it opened faster than I can blink. If a webpage takes more than 3 seconds to open, I exhale in frustration because I have to see how my fantasy football team is doing IMMEDIATELY.

People were getting frustrated having to watch 5 commercials go by until the next scene of their TV sitcom or drama came back on, so the DVR was invented. Once we realized fast-forwarding commercials was still too much work to get to our show, Netflix came along to provide streaming with no ads. And our blood circulation speed took a hit.

If I click on a YouTube video that a friend has sent me to watch, and it has an ad at the beginning, I roll my eyes because I have to wait 30 seconds before I see why my friend thinks a cat in a Santa costume is cute.

If you and I are at Target, and we’re both about to check out with our items, I’ll get in line, I’ll push you toward another line, and I’ll compete with you to see who will get out faster. Even though we drove together. I’m not alone on that, am I?

When Blockbuster Video was near its deathbed, it’s last, gasping breath pitch was that they were going to have movies 28 days before Netflix would have them available. Blockbuster was saying to an impatient culture, Why would you wait 28 days to watch a rental movie when you can have it now?

We addictively utilize the social media options of Facebook/Twitter/Instagram because we have to tell the world what restaurant we are eating at that night right away.

Our culture says why wait, have it now? And we can with our phones and online shopping and Google and Amazon and Spotify and Uber and Youtube. We can get it now.

And I’m thinking……

The more culture (via technology) encourages us to have things quickly, the more we will struggle with trials when answers from God don’t come quickly. 

The more serious things are things that we have to wait for.

Some people know the frustration of trying to find the right person to marry. Friends are getting engaged and are getting married, you’ve tried the dating game a few times and got nowhere, and the temptation is to lower the bar and marry anyone because waiting is difficult. A lack of trust in God’s timing with an unwillingness to wait has single people marrying quickly and unwisely.

I don’t want my daughters to settle for a guy who doesn’t love Jesus more than her, who doesn’t serve her, uplift her, who doesn’t have a heart for those in need. If they do, it’s because they were unwilling to trust God and wait. I want them to marry a man who loves Jesus so he can love them like Jesus.

It’s not just love that is a struggle waiting for, it’s a financial issue as well.

Why is there such a large amount of people in our nation who are burdened by debt? People don’t want to financially plan and save up for the house, the car, the children, the clothes, the stuff – that plastic little rectangle and the bank are desperate to loan you whatever you want (standard interest rates apply). That magic card allows you get you whatever you want now.

Others have struggled waiting for the right career, the right job. Some people jump at the quickest available opportunity, others go after the job that pays the most because maybe it will make them content. If someone dreads going to work when they wake up, could it be there was impatience somewhere along the line?

When our health is failing in a certain way, or we see loved ones struggling with an illness, we struggle spiritually. With each doctor’s report given, complications occurring, feeling the pain or seeing our loved ones in pain, we hate the wait we are forced to go through before an answer is given.

We have a misconception when it comes to waiting on God to come through for us.

I’ll try expound on it this way: most likely the days after Christmas later this month you will go back to the stores to return gifts you received that didn’t meet your expectation. The clothes were the wrong size or style, or the gift was just hideous to you, (what was your great Aunt thinking?), so you go to the store to return that gift and you get a number at customer service and you wait in a long line of other people returning what their great aunt got them and you wait and wait and wait and it’s slow, nothing is happening, until it’s your turn at the counter and then the action begins.

This is the misconception we have when it comes to waiting on God to come through for us. We think God is like the person behind customer service, only able to help one person at a time. And if you’re not that person, you think nothing is happening until God calls your number. Here’s what I’d like you to tattoo on your membranes:

Biblically speaking, waiting and inaction is not the same thing. 

Waiting is a step of faith, a step of action. Yet, experiencing it can feel like we’re doing nothing, or not doing enough.

Waiting might feel like nothing is happening, it might feel slow, it might not feel like an action of faith but God is actively working earnestly behind the scenes. God, in His power/providence/perfection is working, and not just for one person but for all of humanity. When you wait, it’s faith in action. Trusting God and waiting on Him might be one of the highest acts of faith. So we choose to not be angry while we wait. We choose to not complain while we wait.

What God does while we wait is He is shapes us into being the type of person who can handle the promise when it comes. It takes trust, and perseverance, and faith, and a community of believers to lean on and an amount of Scripture to lean on and believe.

What God does while we wait for whatever it is we really want (a spouse, a baby, a house, a job, a purpose, a vehicle, a bill paid, healing from sickness, a loved one to know Christ) while we wait for it, God is working earnestly behind the scenes and is transforming us individually to become the type of person who can better handle the promise when it’s revealed.

While you wait, don’t feel like you’re doing nothing or that God is doing nothing. Even if it takes 24 years like in Abraham and Sarah’s case, be at peace that He is in control.

Thanks for reading. You are loved. Merry Christmas,

Z