Categories
Christian Living evangelism

Skateboarders Welcome

The young man was standing like a statue on the shoulder of a busy four lane highway. He appeared fixated on something at a church next to the road.

Driving closer, I saw the skateboard. “Oh, I bet he’s looking for a good parking lot to ride.”

But he took off –kicking his way down the emergency lane of a major thoroughfare.

When I passed him I noticed: no helmet, no pads and no reflective clothing. The cherry on top was a huge pair of headphones over his ears.

The kid was flirting with disaster.


How many people do we happen upon daily who are, at least spiritually speaking, skateboarding next to a highway? No helmet of salvation, no shield of faith (elbow and knee pads) and no reflective clothing (belt of truth). – Ephesians 6:13-17 (NIV)

They stop and stare at churches, while huge headphones blast their favorite tunes.

What are they thinking?

“Is someone like me welcome here? Oh, there’s an “Absolutely No Skateboarding!” sign. I’d better keep kickin’ down the highway.”

In full disclosure, I saw no sign that said not to skateboard at the church. But such things have happened. God’s people could (and should) have a greater positive impact on the world.

But how?

A good first step is to offer a place where people who are flirting with disaster feel welcomed. Somehow we must convince folks that the church is safer than the shoulder of the highway. The power of the gospel can do this–prompt a person to leave the four lane for the narrow path.

But we must be the hands and feet of Christ; and this involves a willingness to get these hands and feet dirty.

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.

Jesus – Matthew 5:14 (NIV)

Do you know how I feel right now, and will feel until Christ’s life becomes visible in your lives? Like a mother in the pain of childbirth.

Paul – Galatians 4:19 (MSG)

Photo by Marc Kleen on Unsplash

Categories
Christian Living restoration

Lord, Raise the Gates!

A fire sprinkler head broke the other day in the ceiling of a gymnasium at my school. Water came pouring down, soaking the gym floor and flooding an adjacent hallway.

Somehow, the break tripped the fire alarm, causing two huge metal doors to come down on either end of a long hallway. The main wing of the school was no longer easily accessible from the classrooms. The office, library, gyms and cafeteria were all blocked. The only way to get to the heart of the building was to walk around from outside.

Maintenance workers tried all weekend to raise the doors, but to no avail. The building was safe, but the fire suppression system thought there was still a problem. So the doors stayed down.

Here’s a picture I snapped of the hallway. There was this, “The mall is closing now,” vibe about the whole scene.

As the day wore on, with no solution in sight, I heard myself pray, “Lord, raise the gates!” As soon as I said this it hit me, “Hey, that’s straight outta scripture!”

“Lift up your heads, O you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is the King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle.” – Psalm 24:7 (NIV)

A few hours later, two men from the company that installed the alarm system came to the rescue. They patched into a computer, which controlled everything, and the doors were up in no time!


Has something ever been broken between you and someone else? Between you and God?

In such circumstances the doubts can come pouring down— flooding your heart.

When this happens, the suppression doors often lower as well—cutting us off from others AND God. They’re meant to protect us. And they do…for a time. But occasionally the doors get stuck in the down position, even after it’s safe again.

If anyone wants to reach your heart they must go around the long way.

You want to raise the doors, but it’s complicated. So they stay down.

With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.

Jesus – Matthew 19:26 (NASB)

Lord, raise the gates!

Here are some of my favorite “Raise the Gates” scriptures. Please share one of yours!


“God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.” -Ephesians 3:20-21 (MSG)

“I look to the mountains; where will my help come from? My help will come from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” -Psalm 12:1-2 (GNT)

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” – 2 Corinthians 3:17 (ESV)

I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him.” – Lamentations 3:24 (NIV)


Photo by Alessio Rinella on Unsplash

Categories
Christian Living Perspective

You Didn’t Know?

The young boy in my music class was on my last nerve. No matter what the rest of the students did, he just sat there—staring into space.

Enough was enough. During a group movement activity, when everyone was supposed to stand but he didn’t, I pounced.

“On your feet, young man!,” I yelped with obvious annoyance, “You need to participate in class like everyone else.”

No response.

I admonished him in even stronger terms: threatening to take his recess, call his mom and send him back to the previous grade (not really) 😊 unless he did what I said.

Again, no response.

That’s it. “You’re OUT of here!” I said, motioning like a baseball umpire ejecting an unruly player from the game. An assistant principal came and took the student, but I continued to fume for the rest of the class period.

During my lunch break I called his mom to tell her what happened. By this time, I’d cooled off, but was itching to provide a play-by-play of her son’s behavior.

However, three sentences in, when I finally came up for air, she said something that changed everything:

“My son is autistic.”

Needless to say, I immediately went from slightly agitated to absolutely ashamed. Her son (MY student) was on sensory overload from all the noise and movement in MY classroom, and I’d given him an extremely hard time for something HE couldn’t help.

After apologetically assuring the mom I’d do a better job with her son in the future, I knew what I had to do. I hung up the phone and walked straight to the boy’s classroom and apologized to him.

“Your mom told me that loud noises and lots of moving are sometimes too much for you. I’m sorry I was so hard on you. I didn’t know.”

I’ll never forget what he said:

“You didn’t know?”


There’s often at least one fact (on either side of any misunderstanding) that could change everything—IF it were known.

But we often DON’T know, so we throw that person out of our life.

Perhaps this is because of the tendency to *judge others by their actions, but ourselves by our intentions.

*My blogger buddy Chris Hendrix actually said this on his site—devotionsbychris.com. I liked it so much I reused it. 😇

It’s best to leave the final judgment to God, as Paul reminded the church at Corinth.

My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore, judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive his praise from God.

1 Corinthians 4:4-6

Question: is there someone in your life who needs more mercy than judgement? Someone who could say to you, like that little guy said to me, “You didn’t know?”


“Finger face with a question” by Tsahi Levent-Levi is licensed under CC BY 2.0