Do I know you?

This past week I had the honor and blessing of being able to see Carl Medearis speak at a Perspectives class near my house.

About half way through his lesson, he said something that I haven’t been able to get out of my head since:

Several years back, Carl was given the opportunity to speak in a mosque in Lebanon. As he was walking up to the podium, the shah who was introducing him, tapped him on the shoulder and quickly asked him not to speak of Christianity, but simply of Jesus. (In our American-Christian minds, these two seem inseparable, but in most people’s realities, they’re not. Muslims believe that Jesus was a teacher and prophet, just as Christians believe that He is our Messiah and Savior.) So Carl chose to speak about Jesus as a teacher, sliding in tidbits about His life, love, and Ultimate Sacrifice on the cross as he went along.

At the end of his 45 minute time slot, Carl had run out of things to say. He had told all of the parables that he knew off the top of his head and was feeling stuck, so he tried to end his speech. But when he turned to walk away from the podium, he looked down to see the shah twirling his finger in midair, as if telling him to continue. “Continue? But my time is up…” He mouthed aghast, when a man stood out his seat and shouted, “YES! TWO MORE HOURS!” As he stood at the podium and stared out at the room packed with people, a murmuring of agreement went through the crowd.

This mosque full of men was so enthralled with the teachings of Jesus that they were begging him to continue. But Carl, internally panicking knowing that he was out of words, politely declined his half-request, half-command to continue, prayed, and walked off the stage, with his head hung low.

“I didn’t know anything else about Jesus. I was a “professional” Christian, a man who had given up everything in America to follow Jesus to the Middle East and I only had 45 minutes worth of knowledge about Him– My “Everything”, my Savior. I couldn’t believe it, and I knew that I never wanted to be in that position again.”

As I sat in my chair listening to him recount this story, I was stunned. My first thought? Oh my gosh, could I talk about Jesus for more than 45 minutes? Probably not. I’ve been a Christian for over 6 years, and I couldn’t even tell you more than maybe five of Jesus’ parables, at least not without butchering them. My second thought? AHHHHH! I’m about to give up the life that I love in Denver to go to school to (hopefully) become a Bible translator and I couldn’t even tell you more than five parables right now if you asked me to! Crap!

Hearing Carl talk about these things made me realize a third thing also… albeit later on in my week: I need to stop being a passive participant in my quiet times with God. How often do I read my Bible and think, “Wow, that was nice”, write about it in my journal, pray about it, and then not do anything further than that?

This Perspectives lesson reminded me that it’s not just the job of missionaries or seminary students to learn scripture. As Christians, we should be unable to function outside of the word and will of God. We should constantly be looking at scripture for guidance, and then committing that to our memory so that we can bless others with the words of God when they need it.

As Christians, we need to learn the teachings of our teacher and be able to talk about Jesus as if He really is our best friend, lover, and everything, like we say that He is.

I never want to be at the point again where I can’t think of more than five of Jesus’ parables, or where I doubt that I could talk for more than an hour about the things that I have seen God do in my life and the lives of those around me.

Never again do I want to doubt that I really “know” Jesus the way that I say I do.

(Also, Carl Medearis tells the above story much more eloquently in his book Muslims, Christians, and Jesus: Gaining Understanding and Building Relationships. Check it out. It’s pretty rad.)

Learning to be Content on my Continent


In the last year, God has brought me an entirely new group of friends. These people hail from all over the United States, have different backgrounds, interests, and stories, but we are united under one commonality; our love for our Lord, Jesus Christ.

God has used my new friends to heal me of deep wounds, break me for new people groups, and re-ignite a fire in my heart for knowledge, travel, and community– needless to say, it has been an emotional roller coaster of  a year on my end, but I have loved every single moment of it because these wonderful people have been by my side through it all.

This summer I have said many temporary good-byes as my amazing new friends set off to change our world. From Chile to South Africa, North America to Asia, we have spread ourselves thin, searching for new experiences and longing to meet and love our current and future brothers and sisters in Christ.

To say that I’m proud of my adventurous compadres, doesn’t even being to cover it. But I must confess that I have been sorting through some level of jealousy and longing to be in their shoes.

My soul longs to be out of this country, feeding the poor, counseling young women who have suffered abuse, building wells, playing volleyball in the streets of Peru again… anything for His Kingdom… anywhere but here.

But today while I was sitting on the patio of one of my favorite coffee shops, I heard Him whisper somewhere in the depths of my “longing” soul. “I have you exactly where you need to be. Do not long for someone else’s journey. Your journey is equally beautiful in my sight, that is why I created it, just for you.”

How often do we wish we could be in someone else’s shoes?

How often do I envy other’s lives instead of taking the time to simply appreciate the one that He has given me?

While I may not be spending my summer wading through swamps along the Amazon to bring food to the needy or counseling victims of genocide and war on the other side of the world, I am making an impact here on American soil for my King, and I need to keep that in mind.

Taking my students out to lunch is making an impact in their lives, even if it is only a small one. Dedicating my weekends to fellowship and uplifting my fellow believers here in ‘Merica is just as important as doing the same thing in Scotland. There are homeless, hopeless, and needy people right here at my doorstep; this is my summer to serve them. Maybe next year God will have something else in mind for me… maybe not. Either way the cards fall, I’m working on being content with where God has me.

So I leave you with this thought:

Where is God using you this summer? How are you making yourself available to Him exactly where you are?


“For there will never cease to be poor in your land. Therefore, I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.”

(Deuteronomy 15:11)


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