Wednesday, March 16, 2011

WHY ARE WE AFRAID OF MOUNTAINS?

1992 . . . I can honestly say I was at the lowest point I had ever been in my entire life. I can't say I sat at my computer because we didn't have one. I guess you could say I was the opposite of those people who I saw lined up at the Apple store the other day, 24 hours before the iPad2 went on sale. I sat in the corner of our kitchen asking myself this question, "What do I know?"l My answer was threefold . . . 1. I know there is a God 2. I know God loves me 3. I know my family (wife & children) love me.

That was the sum total of the foundations in my life. Where was the fulfillment of the promise?

1987 . . . I had been asked to move to Chicago and start a new church in the Lincoln Park area. What did I know about starting a new church and what did I know about Chicago? NOTHING!!! I sat in a chair late at night with my Bible and a Diet Coke (my way of praying and seeking God) and somehow ended up in Exodus 2 & 3. There are many things I could write here but I'll keep it to one piece. I'm reading along and I come to Exodus 3.12.
And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have
brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.”

Between 1987 and now, I/we (our family) have experienced many things. If you read this blog long enough, you will get a picture of those experiences. What I can tell you is this . . . there have been many mountains but no so many that you worship on (if you know what I mean).

2011 . . . I go to church at LaSalle this past Sunday and Laura Truax, our pastor proceeds to preach on this whole burning bush passage and suddenly, I am reading Exodus 3.12 again. I am again reminded of sitting in that chair drinking my Diet Coke back in 1987. I am really challenge by Laura's/God's words about the burning bush. I take notes in my iPhone and send Laura an email of the silent commitment I made sitting there in the pew.

It's now 3 days later. Count 'em . . . Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday . . . and I go to my men's group, a networking group of guys doing ministry in the city. We meet every month. We are using the new Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals to guide us in our sharing time. Guess what the passage of scripture was? Yeah . . . you guessed it! Exodus 3.

Back in 1987, I was somehow led by the Spirit of God to believe this. I had to take a step of faith and move to Chicago. I didn't know ANYTHING! Let me say that again. I didn't have a clue! (Although I thought and talked like I did at times.) I was convicted in 1987 of this truth and today, Wednesday, March 16, 2011 - 23 1/2 years later - I experienced the FIRST fulfillment of this truth:
We are called to step out into the unknown, a complete step of faith in God, and the promise is this: You will
experience the fulfillment of the calling when you have done it. Let me say it another way . . . God say, "Go climb
that mountain." I say, "God, how do I know it is you telling me to climb that mountain?" God says, "Because, if
you go climb it, you'll know it was me who told you when you're standing on top of the mountain."

Today, I stood on the mountain. Today, I looked back over 23 years and knew that yes, God called me and I obeyed. I looked down on the past 23 years and said to myself, "It is good." It's been a long climb and that's OK. And . . . there is another mountain to climb and I hear God's call. I can tell you this, at 53 years of age, I look forward to getting to the top of this mountain, looking down and then looking up to the next mountain . . .

I like Exodus!


1 comment:

Nicole Mondal said...

I needed this. I recall this story myself many times. The story of you reaching a point where you needed to identify the things in your life that you knew - literally, without any doubt.

In 1992 I was a kid. I was a kid who thought her dad had all of the answers... and that someday I would be expected to have all of the answers too. I may have been in high school when I heard you recount this story, and I remember being so relieved! You taught me that it was OK if I reached age 25 or age 30 and didn't have all of the answers - there would always be a God and your family who loved you. And as a 28-year-old, I still call on this story when I pressure myself into thinking I have to have it all together.

I love this story of our move to Chicago. Rather, more importantly, I love this story about your leap of faith and the mountains you continue to face with renewed zeal, love and spirit.