Month: February 2014

Pizza, Beer, and Jesus

Here is a story from back when I was in college.  It was one of the first moments God got ahold of my heart and broke it in a very strange way.  It gripped me to the core and I didn’t see it coming at all.  

When I was in college I needed a job that had flexible hours, decent pay, and allowed me to work on my own.  I loved to drive so I thought it would be pretty fun to be a Pizza Hut delivery driver.  Clearly, clearly, I was not thinking so clearly.  Nothing against pizza delivery, but it was not the job for me.  It was actually very stressful for me.  I have a pretty good sense of direction, but what is on the map is not what is always on the road.  The map does not show that there are certain streets that are blocked off, or that there is only one way in and one way out of certain developments.  I can’t tell you how many curbs I drove over, how many near accidents I had, or who knows how many illegal driving maneuvers I engaged in to just deliver a pizza in a decent amount of time, in hopes to get $3 tip! To this day it blows my mind that I never got a ticket while delivering pizzas, especially with my truck sticking out like a sore thumb with that huge, magnetic, illuminated, triangle sign on the top of my roof.  After a while, I finally got to know all the little quirks about the areas I delivered to.  I knew all the shortcuts and the fastest ways to get to where I needed to.  But every so often you could expect that you would come across something that threw off your routine. 

The pizza was already late, so I was driving a little fast.  I mean not too fast, but I…  ok, ok I was speeding.  I was not being wreck-less or anything I was just in a hurry.  The funny thing was, I knew the street so well.  I would drive it multiple times a day even when I was not working.  It was near my college and I even lived off the street.  Did I mention it was a one-way street?  Well, it was.  I am driving down the street looking for the address, it is starting to get dark and that particular part of the street was not well lit up.  I realized I had passed it somehow.  I would simply find that the next address I saw was way off from the one on the ticket.  So I knew it was somewhere between a couple of streets.  Of course, because it was a one-way I needed to make the series of right turns to get back on the street. 

I am driving down it again, and I passed it again!  I think I passed it a total of 3 or 4 times.  Are you kidding me? I knew this street!!!  So by this time if anyone was watching me they must of thought I was crazy, because I grabbed my steering wheel with both hands and literally tried to yank it off the column multiple times all the while letting out a loud yell at the top of my lungs it utter frustration.  I pull over, take a deep breath and give it one more try.  I make my series of right turns and I am heading back down the street driving very, very slow.  I am so determined to not let this address have victory over me.  I think I was driving about 15mph on a 45mph street.  I finally see the address and realize were this place is just as I am about to pass it.  Out of sheer genius on my part I decide I could make the turn.  Well, I barely made it, but in the process I cut someone off.  I honestly did not see them.  The only way I found out was because the guy followed me in.  He actually lived in the complex.  He rolls down his windows and shares his thoughts with some choicefull words and a gives me the bird.  I kindly acknowledged him and proceeded about my job. 

I pull in and find the person who placed the order.  First thing the guy says to me in a very stern voice is, “Hey why did you cut off my friend?”  I instantly started to feel extremely uncomfortable because this guy is a lot bigger than me and he looked really mad!  It was also not the nicest of complexes in the neighborhood.  The guy had a beer in his hand and it seemed he already had a few.  And from the tone of the guy’s voice I cut off and the way he was walking when he got out of his car it appeared he had a few beers too.  So, I immediately explained to him the whole thing and said how sorry I was and that I did not do it on purpose.  The entire time this was happening there was this song that was playing.  It was by Audio Adrenalin, called My World View.  Here are just a few of the lyrics:

I want to see the world through Jesus eyes, see through Jesus tears

I want to see the world through Jesus eyes, my vision’s not as clear

I want to feel the world with the hands that made it

Know the pain and appreciate it, hear their cries and hope to understand

My worldview, It’s how I see the world, It’s how I look at you

My worldview, It’s how I see the world, Would you like to see it to?

My worldview

So the guy with the beer in his hand, getting ready to pay for his pizza over heard the song playing.  I am not sure how because I had even consciously turned it down because of my genius driving tactics.  I’m telling you what happened next was the strangest thing.  His demeanor instantly changed and he asked me, “Are you a Christian?”  My first thought was, “OH NO!  I have really screwed this one up.”  I quietly and hesitantly said, “Yes.”  Then he said to me, “Hey man, I’m sorry.  Don’t you worry about us drunks.  We’re just a bunch of losers.”  I did not even know what to say.  I think I blurted out something to the effect that it wasn’t true and apologized again for my driving.  He insisted that I not pay any attention to anything he said. 

As I got in my truck and drove off in complete astonishment about what just happened I had to pull over because I began to weep uncontrollably.  I started the song over and realized that God just made that song a reality for me.  I saw the world the way he sees it.  I saw the pain in that man’s life. It was as if God was giving me just a glimpse… a glimpse of the hopelessness and pain that is in this world and the weight of it hit me so hard all I could do was weep.  And it may have been because he thinks Christians feel that way about him.  Worse, maybe he thinks God feels that way about him, because of the way we can look at others.  We are supposed to represent God with grace and love and mercy.  For whatever reason this guy saw himself as a looser.  He missed his true identity.  There can be a lot of reasons why he was where he was at in his life, but the more painful part is why is he still there? He has no idea how much his heavenly father loves him.  For God took the weight of the world on His shoulders.  For the first time I heard the cries of the broken and only hoped to understand.  How I wish I would have had the sense to go back and have a conversation with them.  To just sit there and be with them.  To show them and explain to them how God sees them.  Instead I “had to get back to my job”.  

Maybe that experience was for me. Maybe there was something that I said that man will remember forever. Or, maybe this story is for us all to not believe the lies that we are losers.  Instead we take hold of the truth that we are all children of the Kings of Kings. We are co-heirs with Christ as we accept his lordship over our lives and his atonement for our sins.  The we come into our true identity in Jesus.

The Be-living Attitude

I’m a doer and a get things done kind of guy.  Our culture rewards it and encourages it.  There is satisfaction in saying, “Hey, look what I did!”  We ask someone how they are and the response is…. busy.  “I’m busy, but its a good busy you know”.  We throw that word around like it is some kind of trophy.  It makes us feel important.  After all getting things done is who we are.  The more we get done and the more we accomplish the more valued and important we are.  It seems to be the way we are wired.  Our nature as humans has always been focused on it.  Even the crowd asked Jesus, “What must we do to do the works of God?” (John 6:28 emphasis mine).

What if there was a different way to live that will actually produce more fruit with less doing and less busy?

Jesus’ response should be of no surprise to us.  “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” (John 6:29 emphasis mine).  Notice the difference?  The crowd used the word do. Actually, they used it twice.  They also used the word works, not work.  Jesus’ response is of singular focus, not plural.  It requires believing, not doing.  Now we can all make the argument believing requires action which is doing something, but humor me here.  It’s about attitude… or even deeper… the heart.

I’m sure you have heard before that being like Jesus is of far more value than doing for Jesus.  Or… We must learn to work with God and not for God.  What I am saying is nothing new.  I’m just proposing a way of thinking about this differently.  A heart shift.  An attitude shift.  I call it, “The Be-living Attitude”.  When I believe in the one the Father sent, then I trust his words and his life.  I step into a life he offers me.  One that is focused on His work, not my work.  So what if I can focus more on being rather than doing.  Allow my heart to have a singular focus on what is the work (not works) of God.  To learn to be in His presence, so I can know His voice, so that I can work with Him!  My prayer is that my life becomes about be-living, not about busy-doing.  When I am working with God and learn to be in his presence I can see far more fruitfulness.

How will we Be-Live?

That is what this is all about.  Join me on my journey to discover what this means.  I hope to share many stories of how God has opened my heart over the years and how He will continue open my heart.