Friday, January 10, 2014

Unlimited Power, Starry Nights, and the Sabbath

I figured that once the holiday season was over, things would calm down and go back to normal, but alas, I have found myself chest deep in craziness and chaos.

Don't misread me, I love it. I am an agent of chaos. I love the rush and the noise and the adrenaline of go go going nonstop never taking a moment to breath.


It has taken its toll.

I just moved in to a new place with a dude from church named Steve, and anyone who has moved in to a new house knows the work and energy required to make all that happen.

We're planning and organizing camp! Can't wait! That'll be so awesome!

Next month, we're doing a paintball day! So rad....

Ridge Uth is the bomb!

I love what God has been doing in the church and in the hearts of our leaders and the students.

This last Wednesday was pretty funny, but also encouraging.

One of my students, Noah, is a vibrating ball of energy and wit, charming and funny, intelligent and snarky. Every youth group has a Noah.

This past Wednesday, I was teaching on our new series, and in the worst spot possible, Noah yells out "Amen!"

Everyone stops and looks at him.

"Sorry I've always wanted to say that."

And for the rest of the lesson, he would try to figure out the best place to say his Amen.

At first, it might be perceived as a distracting action and disruptive, but I didn't see it that way.

I know for a fact that Noah loves Ridge Uth and the bible and is passionate about his faith, but still very young. Noah feels the Holy Spirit moving in him and stirring his heart, and he's learning how to express it properly.

Plus I know for a fact that he listened to this lesson better than any lesson from the previous Wednesdays.

It was so encouraging seeing him so excited for what we were learning. All of the students are always so excited to give an answer or share their thoughts.

I love my students.

It's an amazing feeling knowing that exactly where you are is exactly where God wants you to be. Being within the will of God is the best place to be.

Not necessarily the safest.
Or most comfortable.
Or most financially liberating.
Or even the easiest.

But without a doubt, the absolute BEST.

God is moving so powerfully and obviously, and everyday is so exciting!

Father, thank you for the opportunity to be your tool! Thank you for Summit Ridge Church and the strong, active body that it is. Thank you for your blessings and graces that we receive everyday, even the ones we don't notice. Especially the ones we don't notice. I pray that we would strive and fight with tooth and nail to live within YOUR will and to bring glory to YOU. Continue to bless Ridge Uth in all of the immense ways that you have so far. Thank you for always being in control and ruling my life. All glory, honor, and praise belongs to you.

In retrospect, I can see how God has grown me. A year ago, I'd be in deep poo. I'd be burned out, shriveled up, toasted to a charcoal crisp.

That is, if I were relying on my own strength.

God has empowered all of us to accomplish His will. He uses all of us in ways that affect the universe and eternity even if you are not aware of it.

You have the power to move mountains and crush Philistines and heal the sick and expel evil spirits and change the world! 

God is a God of unimaginable power who created the world with a word and is unparalleled in perfection and immense strength. There are none who are like Him or even compare to Him in any significant comparison. He is the ultimate power, matchless, timeless, limitless, and flawless.

And on the seventh day, He rested.

God rested.

Not because of fatigue or need, but because it was healthy to stop and look at all that had been accomplished and enjoy the beauty of His creation.

In the original Hebrew, one of the definitions of Sabbath is to celebrate.

God made the Sabbath special not because of His limited power or our inability to accomplish much, but because it is important and healthy to take a day to look at the beauty and glory of God and be blown away by it. 

If it has not been observed already, I am a big fan of diction and vocabulary. One word that I had been guilty of misusing was the word awesome

"Dude, that's awesome!" "When you fell down the stairs; that was awesome." "Pokemon is awesome!"

Awesome describes something of such immense power and size that it renders the observer dumbfounded by pure fear, wonder, and awe. 

God is awesome. and the Sabbath was designed to celebrate God's awesome qualities.

The way we celebrate that is not by legalistically forcing religious observance to strict rules.

We celebrate the greatness of God in our hearts. Being awestruck by God cannot be illustrated by refusing to do any physical labor. God established the laws of the Sabbath so that the importance of the Sabbath would be taken seriously.

God desires us to commune and love Him. He doesn't want our blind observance to rules written in ancient languages.

God wants us to love Him and walk in obedience to His statutes.

Do you want to know how to show God that you love Him?

Walk in obedience. 
Follow God's commandments.
Love God with your mind and your actions. 

Spend time being amazed by God.

Just like a child looking up at the stars on a clear dark night, transfixed and mesmerized by the beauty and enormity of the endless beyond, we should take time regularly to reject the daily distractions of chaos and busyness and fix our eyes upon Jesus.

Fix your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And all the things of Earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace. 

                      Nate T B