Jesus is My Why

If you asked me up until a month or two ago, I would’ve told you that life’s journeys start and sometimes life’s journeys stop, and sometimes they surprise us by starting again. What I know now is that I was completely wrong.

The truth that I know now is: It’s all one journey. What looks like a hope dashed is only a hope redirected. A journey that looks like it ended abruptly years ago didn’t–not on the Lord’s timetable anyway. Like a layover at a connecting airport, I now know that sometimes the Lord has us waiting somewhere for sometime until, in His wise timing, the next leg of the samejourneycan begin.

That’s what happened with ChristFocusedMarriage.com. CFM was a site and a potential ministry idea I first launched in 2014. It went nowhere, mainly because I didn’t understand how to start a ministry, so I abandoned the idea a short while later.

So why startup CFM as a blog again? I wasn’t planning to at all, actually.

I wanted to come up with a blogging platform and needed a niche. Not a marketing niche, but a focus–what would the blog be about? Who would its target audience be? What did I want to write about? The heart of the question is really: What am I passionate about? As people say nowadays, What is my Why?

I like my job as a real estate agent, but I don’t want to write about it all the time. When I was challenged to write the titles for 10 blog posts I would want to write about, the topics I kept coming back to all had to do with men, Christianmen and the questions and situations we find ourselves in. No other topic was of interest to me enough to write one sample title, let alone 10.

But I knew that writing a blog solely for Christian men would be too limited in scope. That’s when I wondered if my old domain was available. Amazingly, it was!

The question isn’t Why do a thing? but rather Why …Everything?Ultimately, that’s the question each of us has to answer if we are to understand why we do what we do, set the goals that we set, and dream the dreams that we dream…

And to my original question: What Whydo I have that is powerful enough to sustain me and inspire me to write when I won’t feel like writing? Answering that is easy because since I was born again on September 15, 2005, my why for everything I do has never changed: Out of love for what Jesus did for me when he saved me.

Right now I’m writing these words for me–for my own outlet to have something to do that I enjoy. If the Lord sees fit to do more with it, praise Him! If not, and this site again ends up in the digital dustbin, well, praise Him!

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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Helps for Evangelistic Apathy

Two weeks ago I met Dr. Henry Krabbendam, an 82-year old theologian, professor, and evangelist. He came to speak at our church about evangelism.

During the weekend there was a reception and Q&A with “Dr. K.” at someone’s house. When it came time for the Q&A, we went around the circle, each having a turn to ask a question. My question was deeply personal, one I’ve wanted to ask someone for years. I was a little nervous because 1) I’m still very new to our church and these people are just starting to get to know me, and 2) it wasn’t some polite, underhand pitch softball of a question. It was a fastball, right down the line, with years of history loaded in it, and fired right at my target. I wasn’t trying to hit him; my question was propelled honestly. For a long time I carried this question like a burden. It was a hard question which required a real, concrete answer:

Why it was that in all my years as a Christian, after sharing the gospel with many people in many different settings, I’ve never had one convert? Not even one person say to me, “I’d like to hear more…” No one coming to me and thanking me for showing them Jesus and now they are so thankful they know Him too. Why?

His answer had three main exhortations:

Get on your knees and plead with God for a convert.

Be willing to pay the price.

Don’t give up sharing the gospel.

The next morning in my time with the Lord, I did just that. I got on my knees and prayed for a convert. That next night my wife and I had dinner with Dr. K. We talked about a lot of things. One of the additional exhortations he gave was to pray for a burden; pray to weep for souls. (Something I admitted I don’t have, and don’t do.) This made me ask another blunt question, Do you literally weep for souls? Many preachers and writers talk about weeping, and I’ve wondered if they are using that word as hyperbole or if they really do themselves. Is weeping for souls supposed to be normative for every Christian? Dr. K. received my intensely personal question with grace and candor. He shared that he doesn’t always weep either, but that was proof he, too, needed to pray more earnestly.

I want to have that kind of broken, weeping concern for the spiritual condition of those around me, but I often don’t. But then again, it’s up to the Spirit to give that kind of intense burden, and perhaps He does not give that to every believer. My job is to be faithful in the measure God has entrusted to me, not to focus on straining to produce a kind of fleshly emotionalism. I believe all Christians should evangelize, both out of delight and duty, “in season and out of season.”

When was the last time you shared the full message of the gospel with someone? As I asked two professing believers a few weeks ago, if you had an opportunity to do so, could you even tell someone what the gospel message is? (They admitted they could not.) Incidentally, if you’ve been at a church for any length of time, and months or years later you can’t summarize the message of Christianity in a minute or so, you’re not being property trained and should find a Bible-teaching church immediately.

If you’ve been at a church for any length of time, and months or years later you can’t summarize the message of Christianity in a minute or so, you’re not being property trained and should find a Bible-teaching church immediately.

We don’t need tears to evangelize. But we do need to be able to articulate the points of the gospel. And then we need to pray for the Spirit’s help to step out in faith, over our human fears, and tell others how they can be saved.

God give me a love for people and concern for their spiritual state. Help me, as Dr. K also said, to see people not with my eyes as a man sees (i.e.: see them as black/white, male/female, rich/poor, clean/dirty, safe/suspect, etc.), but to see them as You see them, either saved or lost. There are no other categories. In short: Lord, I repent of my apathy, please let me bear fruits in keeping with repentance.

The Right Reaction to Being Wronged

We’ve all been there…double-over in pain from the sudden stab in the back from a family member, friend, client, or colleague. Why did they do that? How could they hurt me so badly (and not even care!)?

[Note: Months ago I wrote in the previous piece, Action and Reaction, about how I found myself stabbed in the back by someone. In the pain of the moment I stopped to consider my situation and what my response should be. I ended the post saying I would share what I wrote on my whiteboard; this is that post. I hope what helped me helps you. -AR]

We’ve all been there…double-over in pain from the sudden stab in the back from a family member, friend, client, or colleague. Why did they do that? How could they hurt me so badly (and not even care!)?

Since I became a real estate agent I’ve been lied to and back-stabbed more in the past two years than in my 28 years in corporate America. Worse, the other arena where I’ve felt the anguish of the blade has been from professing Christians. Over my 13 years as a Christian I’ve had people who I really loved as brothers or sisters in the Lord say and do unspeakably hurtful things.

I followed David’s example in the Psalms. When David was crushed in spirit he counseled himself: Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope inGod; for I shall again praise him, my salvation (Psalm 42:45,11; 43:5).

In the same way, I talked to myself and to the Lord about my hurt. As I did, I wrote the following seven points to remember on my whiteboard:

  • God is sovereign.
  • God has something better.
  • “What you meant for evil, God meant for good.” – Joseph
  • “Be of good cheer, your sins are forgiven.” (Far better than whatever I missed out on!)
  • God is using this to sanctify me and make me more like Jesus.
  • What am I supposed to learn from this?
  • “Shall I not also accept difficulty from God?” – Job
  • Jesus lived his entire life as “the Man of Sorrows” (I have no room to complain.)

As believers, we do not get a free pass to self-pity. Also, while the world says, “I just need to vent…” that concept is not biblical; in fact, it’s sinful. Christians are to be led by our minds and hearts, by knowledge, and by faith. We are emotional creatures, to be sure, but we are not to be led by our emotions.

As believers, we do not get a free pass to self-pity. Also, while the world says, “I just need to vent…” that concept is not biblical; in fact, it’s sinful. Christians are to be led by our minds and hearts, by knowledge, and by faith. We are emotional creatures, to be sure, but we are not to be led by our emotions.

What’s most interesting to me as I revisit this list that I’ve had on my whiteboard for months is that, while I was very upset at the time and deeply hurt, now I have no idea what (or who!) it was who hurt me so deeply. And that also is a blessing from the Lord.