The Problem With Waiting (Repost)

waitMy fingers tap to the beat of a popular pop melody being played on the radio. The soft, rhythmic finger drumming is a socially exceptable form of what I wish to do, and that is stand up and shout the words at the top of my lungs. This is not because I want everyone to hear my beautiful singing voice, but so I can finally vanquish this parasitic tune from my brain. Tapping will have to do, and I notice that the chair I am sitting at in the doctor’s waiting room has distinct pitches and allow the full band in my mind to play on until the end. I hate waiting. I think that this feeling is universal.

Waiting is something that is fairly easy at first. In the depths of each of our own souls, each one of us has set a certain limit to how much waiting is acceptable depending on the circumstance. We wouldn’t expect the closing of a newly bought home to take only 5 minutes after the offer is placed, but if we are 7 minutes delayed in the expected enjoyment of a fast food cheeseburger then we must notify management of our dreadful plight.

Let’s look at the first disciples. It would have seemed as if they invented the idea of waiting. First, Jesus died. Then, they had to wait 3 days to see Him again in full glory. What happens next is both amazing and oddly frustrating. Christ spends time with His followers; then leaves again! Before He leaves, He tells the disciples and a smattering of other believers to sit, wait, and pray until He sends “round 2” of His wonderful work. These faithful few were instructed to pray. No short hail Marys or a wimpy “bless this food” type of prayer…but a converstation with God born out of desperation and spiritual hunger, with, by the way, no answer coming any time soon. So, they waited.

In the midst of the long wait, the Holy Spirit came and made all the waiting worth while. Victory was theirs, and they saw amazing fruit from their faithfulness. Then, the honeymoon phase was over. The Holy Spirit still gave the followers amazing testimonies and abilities, but Jesus also indicated that the best was even YET to come. He was talking about the end of days. The BIG finale. The final end to all of this…junk.

Well folks…we are it. Fast forward. We are the disciples that are now called to wait. He has not given us a time, day, or even specific decade, but Jesus has given us His spirit. That’s great, and I am happy but…why, then, do I feel so guilty about being impatient about this? Or, why do I sometimes secretly hope it doesn’t happen soon? I may be anxious or I may have more sinning to do.

The problem with waiting is it causes us to feel the need to keep ourselves busy. Also, the times in which we are tapping our toe force us into times of introspection and honesty. We want to fix everything ourselves and earn our Heavenly reward by our own merit, but Jesus has called us to something a little more uncomfortable…waiting…and deeper so…staying faithful.

Jesus is coming back. We must embrace the idea that this time of waiting could be an excellent time for us to make the world around us a better place. On top of that, there are people we could impact for His kingdom. Don’t give up just because impatience is a reality.

Stop tapping your toe. Get up and go! Be the hands and feet of Jesus before it is too late.

-Landon DeCrastos

Praying the Entire Bible

Currently I am preaching through a series in which I am taking a deeper look at the Lord’s Prayer. This prayer is a template the Jesus gave His disciples for their prayer lives.

This is not simply a physical pattern or set of bullet points that Jesus wants to make sure that all prayers incorporate, but this template was more of a display of how God wants our hearts to be oriented in our spiritual lives.

For instance, when Jesus starts this template by praying “our Father” there is a hidden encouragement that He gives us to look at God as provider, protector, and the authority over our lives. So, when we enter into an attitude of prayer, no matter how we pray, this is the attitude we are to take.

When studying this popular prayer, I have also discovered that its structure seems to coincide with the structure of the Bible.

First, God reveals himself as Father, and the Holy judge.Then, God’s will is challenged, His people rebel, and the true followers of God act to bring about His kingdom once again. Next, God shows His abundant provision, and his desire for a closer relationship.

The climax of this structure comes when God sends His son as atonement for sin, thus personifying forgiveness. After Jesus ascends to Heaven, he leaves the Holy Spirit to bring about conviction and power over temptation. Finally, in the end times God is glorified forever.

It is a different look at this prayer that many have heard and consequently ignored. Jesus was giving us more direction than we realize in this prayer. The disciples were asking how to become closer to God (the chapter leading up to this prayer), but when prayer was talked about Jesus was really emphasizing the fact that God is right here to embrace…

The prayer gives us a synopsis of God’s work for us, and how we are to interact with Him.

Now look at this prayer:

‘Our Father in heaven,

hallowed (holy) be your name,
10 your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.

-Matthew 6:9-13

…and many add “for yours is the Kingdom, the power, and the glory forever…amen.”

Reflect on what God has done for you…and that He is right HERE to embrace.

-Landon DeCrastos

Following

Lately I have been reading the gospels and reflecting on what it truly means to follow Jesus. Some would cite social action and others would emphasize careful study and prayer. We can all agree that both of these are needed…and abundantly so (James 2:17). Even surpassing these things, however is a task that is even more difficult. It is something that we must cling to in order to combat the negativity that the world is throwing at us. It is something that gives an answer to the doubting spirit and energy to the weathered soul. We find examples of what this concept is in the descriptions of who followed Jesus.

We all may know about the 12 disciples. These men followed the Savior for the full length of His ministry. What about the other followers described in the Gospels? Well, when we look at Scripture we find that, over the course of His ministry, Jesus gained a large following. People flocked to him as they witnessed and heard about great miracles that he had performed. They followed after Jesus touched them and commanded them to walk when walking had never been a possibility. Mute people gained the ability to tell stories of His good works. People followed Jesus because of the great things He had done for them and the eloquent words that He spoke.

But… what about the disciples? When Jesus called them to follow, He had never done anything for them. He had not given them a healing touch or had never preached an exciting message to gain their applause. He just simply said “follow me”. So, the concept that needs to be grasped is obedience for obedience sake.

I don’t know about you but I want to be one of the twelve. I want to follow Jesus through the exciting, boring, everyday, and extraordinary. Not only because He has done so much for me…but simply because He said “follow”.

-Landon DeCrastos