Saturday, October 4, 2014

Uncontainable Faith

One evening, when my son, Dreyson, was in grade school, I arrived home from work just in time to tuck his sister and him into bed. I pulled out a sports devotional and began to read it when he stopped me.

"Dad, I need to tell you something," he said a bit reluctantly. "I got called to the principal's office today at school."

Dreyson certainly had my attention. I tried to remain calm on the outside without fully revealing my shock on the inside.

Now, being called to the principal's office was the norm for me when I was a kid. In fact, people called me "Dwight the Fright" because I got into so much trouble as a kid. But a trip to the principal's office was totally out of character for my compliant, respectful, well-mannered son.

Trying to appear as cool and composed as possible, I commented in my best psychologist voice, "Tell me about it, Son."

"Dad, she asked what you do for a living, and I told her yo are a minister. The she asked where you work, and I told her you work at Kingdom Building Ministries. And after that, she asked me what Kingdom Building Ministries is, and I told her you help people love God more and help them love other people better."

I quickly complimented my son on the great job he'd done answering a set of rather odd, intimidating, rapid-fire questions from his school principal.

"Dreyson, those were really good answers," I encouraged him.

"What did she say after that?"

"Dad, she told me, 'That's the the problem.'"

"She said that I'm not supposed to talk about God at school. I'm not supposed to talk about Him in class, in the hallways, out on the playground, or in the cafeteria. She even told me I shouldn't talk about Him in our neighborhood or at the park. She said I could only ttalk about Him in our house or a church building. That's it! Nowhere else. And she's the boss of our school!"

Dreyson looked intently at my face to see my response.

"Son, are you an American?" I asked.

He gave me a confused look. "Yes, Dad, of course I am."

"Well, the last I checked, every American has two important rights that your principal is trying to overstep. Those rights are called freedom of speech and the freedom of religion."

"What's that mean, Dad?"

I explained to Dreyson that those rights gave him the freedom to talk about Jesus at school and in other public places. He grew increasingly excited as I gave him the details.

He couldn't wait to get to school the next day to exercise his rights.

"Okay, Dreyson," I responded, "let's bring balance and courtesy to all this. Exercising this freedom also mean you treat people with respect, honor and diplomacy." In just a little while he understood the balance - as much as young student can.

Several weeks later at dinner, Dreyson announced that he had some exciting news.

"Tommy gave his life to Jesus today in the school cafeteria!" he exclaimed. "I saw him sitting by himself at lunch, so I sat down next to him. Over lunch I talked to him about God."

He paused and looked over at me. "Dad, he had never heard anything about God. He didn't even know the meaning of Christmas. I told him about Jesus and asked him if he wanted Jesus to be in his life like He is in mine. He said yes, so I prayed with him. Dad, we have to get him a Bible soon. They don't have one at their house."

I was so excited to witness my son taking his faith into the mainstream of his everyday life. Tommy's life depended on it.

Dreyson's principal had tried to squelch his voice and limit his faith to within the four walls of a church building. But she didn't understand that Dreyson's faith and his God were much too big to be contained by any walls.

While Jesus - the Word who became flesh - attended synagogue like every faithful Jew, He modeled Plan A living again and again outside the walls.

You see, God is not a one-day-a-week God who waits to greet us at the front door of our church buildings. He's present everywhere. Walls cannot confin Him. And because He chooses to make his home - His temple - in our lives, we become His means to be up close to people everywhere.

As He lives in us. He goes where we go.

Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you? (Corinthians 3:16)
God's Spirit lives in you and seeks to be in the mainstream of life through you. My son understood an important truth: Buildings don't have feet, people do. No wonder God says, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news." (Romans 10:15).

Our feet become beautiful as we carry God's presence outside the walls and into the mainstream of life - bringing God's love and truth up close to people everywhere.

We're mobile churches!

As one elderly woman discovered this exciting possibility, she lamented to me, "All my life I tried to get the people who live up and down my street to come to church. I thought that was my job. And my failures over decades have been disheartening. I didn't know there was another way. To think, all these years I could have stopped by their yards and houses, invited them over to mine, done things with them - been the church up close for them, the way modeled it for me.

"Before, I always thought I needed to bring my neighbors to a building. Now I realize I am that building where God makes His home. Until my neighbors enter my church building, I am going to be the outside-the-walls gal for God who wants to enter the mainstreams of their lives and be up close to them through me."

Like Dreyson did with his friend.

(From Dwight Robertson's "You are God's Plan A [and there is no Plan b]")

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