Saturday, June 25, 2016

Doing crazy things for God- and stepping out of the box.

If there is one thing that I have learned since being saved and doing outreach ministry, it is God will ask us to do crazy things sometimes. Things that seem insane in the natural, but make perfect sense to Him and His plan. Things that we can't see possibly working, things that seem too big for us to take on- because logically, they make no sense. I have seen a lot of crazy things in ministry, and I have been asked by God to do a lot of crazy things in ministry.

The thing is, we have to allow God to do "crazy" things that don't make sense to us sometimes in order for His will to be done. God is not a God of the natural, but of the supernatural. I think that many Christians have forgotten that. They have stopped expecting God to move the same way that He did in the bible- through miracles, signs and wonders.

For the most part, our culture has put God in a box. A nice, safe, box where we believe that He can only move so far. Only far enough to where it still makes sense to us. When the spirit of God moves in ways that don't make sense, many people don't know how to react to it.

When God tells you to do something "crazy"- something that defies logic, things that seem impossible, many people aren't going to know how to react to you either. 

There is a very familiar story in the Book of Luke of how four men helped an invalid man to Jesus. They went to great measures to lower him through a roof-top down to where Jesus was. In this story Jesus heals the man and at the conclusion of the narrative it says:  “And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things to day."
Luke 5:26

They said what happened was strange to them. I started thinking about other "strange" (miraculous!)   incidences in scripture, where faith defied logic, and the supernatural moved outside of the box of  the natural.

There are so many incidents in scripture where God instructed people to do something outside the realm of logic. What we see as miracles today, looked crazy to the people who were watching them back then.

Jesus healed a blind man by spitting in the dirt and rubbing mud on his eyes (John Chapter 9).

Abraham was told that he would have a son, even though his wife was 90 years old (Genesis 17:17)

Naaman’s was told that in order to heal his leprosy,  all he had to do was go wash seven times in the Jordan River.  (2 Kings Chapter 5).

Peter went to Jesus and said he needed money for taxes and Jesus responded, “Go catch a fish and look in his mouth,”  and low and behold there was money in it!  (Matthew 17:27).

Then there was the time when the disciples needed to feed thousands of people and they asked Jesus what to do, and He told them to feed the crowd with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. (Mark 6:37).  If you had been there, wouldn't this have seemed crazy?

Ezekiel was told to go preach to the wind and then to the bones. (Ezekiel Chapter 37).

Lazarus' sisters were told by Jesus that he would bring him back to life- even though he had been dead and buried for 4 days (John 11:17).

Peter was told to walk on the water, even though scientifically it's impossible (Matthew 14:29).

Moses was told by a burning bush to go to Pharaoh and demand that he let God's people go (Exodus Chapter 3).  Joshua was told to conquer a city by walking around it, and the walls would fall down (Joshua Chapter 6).

Gideon was told to battle nearly 135,000 Midianites with 300 men and they were only to arm themselves with a pitcher, a lamp, and a horn (Judges Chapter 7).
If you were there, wouldn't this have seemed like strange instructions? More importantly, would you have been able to obey what God was telling you to do, rather than fear defeat because you didn't have the "logical" weapons?

And, of course, let's not forget Noah being told to build a huge ark, in the desert, when it had never rained before, because God told Him it was going to flood (Genesis chapters 5-10). Surely he was mocked by passerby's who saw him working on this huge ark in the middle of the desert day after day, year after year. I'm sure that in today's culture, he would have been committed to a mental institution for a psychological examination.

In every instance the instructions did not make sense in human logic, but every time there was success- because God was behind it.

The bible is full of people God asked to do crazy things.  The People of Jesus who seem to make the biggest difference are the people who step out and do things that most won't BECAUSE they think it's crazy. When you're doing crazy things for God, sometimes ALL you have to stand on in blind faith in Him alone.

Hebrews 13:8 says that "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever."
In the bible, God moved in a way that wasn't logical. Why has today's Christianity expected Him to change that? Why is it that the crazy things of God are no longer celebrated, but feared? Why are we not open to "seeing strange things to this day"? Why do we feel like God must make sense to us? Why is it so hard for us to believe that God can still do the miraculous- no matter how crazy it may look?

It's important to remember that God is so much bigger than what our small human brains can comprehend, that He is more capable than we can imagine, and that He can move outside the realm of what we think is possible. . It's important that we don't let logic box in our faith.

The fact that I am in ministry at all, I'm sure, looks crazy to religious people. Using the wise, the educated, the moral to spread the gospel makes sense to man- using a former heroin addict doesn't.  Paul, prophets run out, told they were crazy. When Jesus chose his disciples, many of the religious people of the day couldn't comprehend why he was using a rag tag gang of misfit sinners instead of the Pharisees who held a high moral code and knew the bible back and forth.. It didn't make sense that Jesus was hanging out with prostitutes and sinners and preaching on the streets instead of  in Jewish temples. That's why they didn't believe He was God.  If He was God, in their mind, that would have been the logical thing to do. But He was working out of the box- the box they had came to believe God had to operate in. And they missed the living God right in front of their faces because of their logic.

The Bible tells us that God “by his mighty power at work within us is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of — infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes” (Ephesians 3:20 LB). Do we REALLY believe that? Even when it seems crazy? Even if we are mocked, ridiculed, and made fun of for having an outlandish faith in something that we know God has told us?

Is God telling you to do something crazy? Something that looks foolish to others, but you know without a doubt is from Him? 1 Corinthians 1:27 says that "God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong." Whose voice are you going to believe? Will you be obedient to God or to the opinions of man?

It's also important to remember that when God tells you to do something crazy for Him, it might not always work out the way you thought it would. It may even look like a failure in your eyes.  But you can guarantee that it is working for good, according to His purpose- no matter what it looks like on the outside.

Paul (in the book of Acts) was told to just GO and preach, and build the church. He had no building, no elder team, no fundraising plan. Everywhere that he went, there was either a revival or a riot. Surely the revivals seemed to prove that Paul was doing God's will, but the riots looked crazy to those watching, and I'm sure they couldn't possibly understand how that could be part of a God's ordained plan. Moses went to Pharoah multiple times and he refused to let the Israelites go. Most of the old testament prophets were run out of the cities that God sent them to speak in. The disciples were jailed, beaten, martyred, and killed. In logical terms, that seems like a failure. But in the supernatural, it was a part of the plan all along.

We are only responsible for being obedient- no matter how illogical what we are being told to do is. God is responsible for the results. So step out in faith, and leave the rest up to Him.

The world can call me crazy. I'm okay with that, because " If we are “out of our mind,” as some say, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you" (2 Corinthians 5:13). I will take being crazy for God over being sane for man any day. And that attitude is hard for me, because at heart I am a planner. I like to know what is going to happen. In fact, I used to be so horribly paralyzed by the need to control circumstances and for things to make logical sense that I would have twenty backup plans for plan A, and totally fall apart if the course deviated the slightest bit from the way I had planned it (which is a very stressful way to live!) I like to have my ducks in a row. I also prefer NOT to look insane.  

But I also know that when God moves, we can't try to stuff  Him back in our box of logic, plans, and constraints. Because if we allow God to fully move, it will be much better than anything we could have planned out anyway.

Because what seems crazy today, could end up being a miracle of God tomorrow. God doesn't need to make sense to us.  And if you need to see, don’t be surprised if Jesus spits in the dirt and rubs mud in your eyes. 

Isaiah 55:8-9New International Version (NIV)
  “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,”
  declares the Lord.
         “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
   so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

"Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it."-  Isaiah 30:21