In  HOPE

  In HOPE 8.11 

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David Timms  

Ministry Resource

Peter Scazzero's The Emotionally Healthy Church: A strategy for discipleship that actually changes lives (Zondervan, 2003; 221 pages) provides some excellent insights into the nature of effective discipleship in our day. His principles sound quite contrary to the usual church culture, but have the ring of truth to them. The book is definitely worth a look if you are concerned for your own spiritual health and that of the people around you.

Hope Happenings

Between April 12-19, 2008 Hope International University will host a series of regional receptions in southern California for prospective students and their families, alumni and friends of the University. President Derry will attend each of the four receptions to meet those who attend, give an update on the University, and answer questions. For more information, go to www.hiu.edu  and check out the News & Events column.

Hope International University
Fullerton  CA  92831

 

"It is a glorious thing to know that your Father God makes no mistakes in directing or permitting that which crosses the path of your life. It is the glory of God to conceal a matter. It is our glory to trust him, no matter what." ~ Joni Eareckson Tada


Broken Poles

I have a friend who did pole vaulting in High School. I never did, nor ever want to. The object of the event is to race down a short, narrow track, plant a long pole into a tiny box fixed at the end of the track, bend that pole to breaking point and get catapulted dangerous heights into the air-and try not to look terror-stricken throughout the experience.

 

If you're good at it, you'll soar over a high bar and fall onto the soft mats on the other side. If you make a mistake ... Ouch!

 

As Tim recounted his experience, he made a telling observation. "Once that pole is bent to its capacity-and your arms are being yanked out of their sockets-the crucial thing is to relax and just let the pole spring you upward."

 

Relax? I'd be hanging on to that pole for dear life.

 

Tim struggled, too. At that critical moment when his work was done and he needed to relax, he would jerk downward just a little bit more ... and periodically break his vaulting pole. (That's a good time to take up bowling.)

 

The analogy is obvious, as we consider our spiritual lives.

 

Our efforts to reach greater heights with the Father seem too often to end in broken poles. We charge down the track with fresh resolve to read more pages, to journal more often, to pray longer, and to serve harder. Then we press even harder, believing that intimacy with God depends upon extra effort from us-and something snaps. Many of us know the frustration and emptiness of trying to manipulate God. He does not respond to our formulas, demands, or heavy-handedness.

 

At the very moment when we feel tempted to force God's Presence, the biblical witnesses remind us to simply experience it. It's called "abiding" not "straining." Jesus said, "Abide in me, and I in you. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in me, and I in him, he bears much fruit." (John 15:4-5)

 

It's tough for us to wait on God (abide) in a culture that waits for nothing. But strain and drain should not become honorable words in the Christian quest for divine intimacy.  "The crucial thing is to relax and just let the pole spring you forward." That surely means, at some point, that we relinquish our dreams, ambitions, determination, and control to Him. Rather than view life as a series of crazily high bars to conquer, we discover the joy of the Father lifting us in ways that we could never lift ourselves.

 

May we break fewer poles this week, learning to "relax" (abide) and attend to Him.

 

In HOPE -

David

 

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You can find back issues of "In HOPE" (2005-2007) at http://www.hiu.edu/inhope/.

David Timms serves in the Graduate Ministry Department at Hope International University in Fullerton, California. "In HOPE", however, is not an official publication of the University and the views expressed are not necessarily those of the Administrators or Board. "In HOPE" has been a regular e-publication since January, 2001.