The Big Diehl

{blog of adam}

31 Aug

Poopy Pastors, Prophets, and Preachers. Yes, I wrote “Poopy.”

Posted in Devotional Blog, Finding God on 08-31-13

Way back in the Bible days, God wanted to tell His people, “Hey people, your sin is incredibly repulsive to me.”

So how does God do it? He grabs Ezekiel and says, “Hey Zeke, go make some bread, but heat it by lighting human poop on fire.” Understandably, Ezekiel objected and said, “Are you kidding? I’m Jewish and that’s not kosher!”

God relented and said, “Fine then. Don’t heat your bread with human feces. Use cow crap instead.”

No joke. Open up your bible and read it for yourself – Ezekiel 4:9-17. (Disturbingly, this is also the scripture the ingredients for modern “Ezekiel Bread” comes from – available at your local grocery store).

Okay so here’s my application . . .

Who are the prophets we want to hear from today? I think we tend to gravitate towards fashionable, hip, funny, and inspiring pastors, prophets, and preachers. Like – Francis Chan. He’s fashionable, hip, funny, and inspiring. I’m not knocking on that. Francis Chan is AWESOME! But he’s not awesome because he’s the only blue-jean wearing bald Asian that I know – he’s awesome because he speaks whatever God is telling him and hits the nail on the head. THAT’S what makes him awesome (although I doubt that’s what sells his books and fills up his venues, by no fault of his own).

Whatever. This isn’t about Francis Chan. This is about you. And me.

If I was God, I would ONLY pick hip and cool people like Francis Chan to be my prophet. I think people would listen to him better. But that’s not what God did – he picked a stinky man to cook over a feces fire to speak to his people.

If God did that today – would you listen? Seriously – how would you feel if a dirty, stinky man came to your house cooking a cheeseburger over a hot fire of crap? –And then told you that God wanted you to know something? Would you want to tell him to shut up? You’d probably call the police.

The crappy fire thing is pretty extreme (so is sin, that was the point). But what I’m trying to share is that sometimes we have to seek out God’s voice. It’s to God’s glory to HIDE from us. It’s our glory to SEEK him. And sometimes that means listening in unlikely places or sources – like poopy pastors, prophets, and preachers.

I wrote more about God HIDING from us 5 years ago here).

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28 Jul

Why Old People Think God is Faithful.

Posted in Devotional Blog on 07-28-13

Faithful.

This adjective is defined as “loyal, constant, and steadfast.”

By its very definition, it requires passing time to see. Without some experience of the valleys, we really have no idea if an employee, spouse, or friend is actually loyal, constant, or steadfast. It requires the passing of time.

We certainly can look at the past for examples. Israelites are taught to remember what God had brought them through. To this day, they practice the Passover Feast remembering how God brought his people out of Egypt (whilst slaves for multiple generations), provided for them in the wilderness (whilst hot, thirsty, and hungry for a generation), and led them to the promised land. The idea is we should remember God’s faithfulness across multiple generations because when you’re in the middle of the trial it certainly doesn’t seem like God is being faithful…. BUT HE WAS THEN AND HE IS NOW.

Here’s what I’m getting at – because faithfulness requires time and experience in the valleys, it can often be difficult to see a faithful God while in the valley. In other words, just because something in your life totally sucks eggs it doesn’t mean God stopped being faithful! It just might be evidence that he is smack dab in the MIDDLE of being faithful.

Again, for someone to be considered faithful, they must have experience in the valleys. So when Christians say that we serve a faithful God, we’re confessing our confidence in future low moments of our life.

So if faithfulness requires time, who better to hear from than an old dude who had plenty of time to see God let him down? I met an old retired preacher at a nursing home a few years before he passed away who had this to say: “People always say that God never leaves us and never forsakes us. That’s in the Bible, and I always heard it. And I’ve been through a lot in my life and it’s about over, and you know what? — it’s true. He never left me and He never forsook me. God’s been faithful. He’s been so faithful.”

Last week I visited another older man who said the same thing.

Why do old people think that God is faithful? Because they’ve seen it.

I’ll leave you with these song lyrics which sparked this line of thought. From Jonas Myrin and Matt Redman:

And on that day when my strength is failing;
The end draws near and my time has come;
Still my sould will sing Your praise unending
Ten thousand years and then forevermore.

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19 Feb

If You Don’t Like It, Then Leave.

Posted in Devotional Blog on 02-19-13

Indiana natives have an unspoken requirement to either be a “Hoosier” or a “Boilermaker” fan. My wife’s blood flows crimson and cream. I have chosen to be a Purdue fan ever since my older brother told me I should (despite my B.A. from Indiana University! Haha). I’m not an avid fan; last I knew the coach was Gene Keady or Kelly or something like that. I can’t name a single player on either team.

At the moment of writing this, my wife has IU Basketball playing on T.V. When I saw IU on our television, I yelled, “Why do you have this filth playing in our home?! Get this garbage off our T.V. screen!” She knew I was just trying to be funny, so I pretty much got ignored – but what if I wasn’t kidding?

Imagine if I really was actually ticked off about this. My example is a non-existent argument, but how silly would it have been for me to say, “I don’t like that! I’m leaving!” and just end our marriage like that. INSANE! Why would I allow a televised basketball game affect my family? Why would I let that affect this? That’s beyond understanding, agreed? It’s just . . . stupid.

We all support institutions and establishments. Wal-mart, Kroger, Ace Hardware, Italian Grille, China Buffet, etc. We go there because we like them! Being consumers is just part of our lifestyle, anymore. Nothing wrong with that – it really helps products improve, I think. Institutions and establishments have to work hard to please us, don’t they? If there is a hair in my food, I won’t go back. If the product is chinsy, I won’t buy it again. Simply put, when it comes to institutions and establishments, if you don’t like it, then leave! This is an appropriate response for a institutions and establishments, but not for a family.

When God made the church, he didn’t make an institution, he made a family. So when God calls us into a church family, we need to stick there until He calls us somewhere else! (Nobody picks their own family). The appropriate response for families and church families is, If you don’t like it, then work it out!

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19 Oct

A Broken Foot.

Posted in Evangelism on 10-19-11

Last night I was driving home and noticed a man walking on the road. It was a residential area so I thought maybe he was just taking a walk, but nevertheless I just rolled the window down and yelled, “Hey, do you want a ride?”

He quickly agreed, although he only needed to get a few blocks. I introduced myself, and he responded. His name was Kyle. He quickly told me that he appreciated the ride because he had a broken foot.

I probed and asked some questions. I learned he went to the ER and got the X-Rays to know it was broken, but couldn’t afford to go to the Orthopedic doctor and get surgery. I asked, “How broke is it?” He responded, “I broke it pretty good.”

When I dropped him off, I naturally offered to pray for his foot before he left.

He not only agreed, but took the chance to ask for more prayer. “Yes,” he said,” and would you please also pray for my grandma? She’s not doing very well.”

I prayed and then wrote my name, phone number, and email on a napkin in my glove box and said, “I’d love to hear what happens to your foot and your grandma. Keep me posted, Kyle.” If he does, I know he’s even more receptive (a person of peace).

It’s amazing how much people want Christians to pray for them if we just offer.

At our county fair a few weeks ago, I was involved with a prayer booth in the merchant’s tent. We set up a booth with a large sign that said “Free Prayer” and a smaller sign that read, “We are Christians that want to pray for you – no strings attached.” Lots of people stopped by asking for prayer.

Think about that – we just identified ourselves as Christians, and people were receptive and wanted to ask God for help by asking complete strangers to pray for them.

How much more receptive will people be if we make our Christianity known to our classmates, coworkers, or friends?

One comment »

06 Oct

I Like Big Buts!

Posted in Finding God on 10-06-11

I’ve got a big but.

In fact, I don’t mean to be nosey — but I’m pretty sure you’ve got a big but too. Several of them, maybe.

And I think we’ve gotten used to our buts being large. We like life with big buts, I think. We like fast paced life -and the busier we are, the bigger our buts get. We’re “but”-lovers, in a way.

Nothing is more important to me than my relationship with God – I really do believe that. I’m committed to my relationship to him. BUT I don’t always act like it.

Many times I go to pull out my Bible or have an urge to draw near to God in prayer or worship I’m really excited to do so, and then the big buts come into play…. “but” I need some sleep. …”but” I am busy with that project. …”but” I promised so and so I would do this other thing. The “buts” just keep getting bigger and bigger.

Really stupid, if you think about it. God is far more important, and as real as any other human. But for some reason I give other people priority over God. More often than that, I give my own moods priority over God. My big “but” pushes God right out of the way so I can do what I feel like.

May you be larger than my “but.” Help me further prioritize the details of life to let you truly be my Lord.

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15 Jul

I Shouldn’t Have Been Surprised.

Posted in Book of Acts Church, Evangelism on 07-15-11

Today, I had an hour to blow before a product I purchased was ready for me to pick up. I ran over to Petco to get some dog food for my huge dog. I knew I still had 55 minutes to blow after that so I was going to run to Starbucks and chill on my laptop.

As I was backing out of the parking space I prayed, “God let my hour be useful for you – let me run into somebody that I could minister to and be a shining light for you.”

I put my truck in “Drive” and began to move forward and made eye contact with a Hispanic man that was walking right in front of me in the parking lot. I waved him on and he moved the direction I didn’t expect him to like he wanted to talk to me.

This is right after I prayed and asked God to let me connect with someone and minister to them. hmmm…. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised.

I rolled down my window and talked with the guy. He asked how far away another town was, because he was expecting friends to come from there and pick him up. I told him how far away it was, and then he asked for money for food – he hadn’t eaten all day.

Okay so I’m not trying to paint myself as a Saint or something. Of course I was skeptical. Is this guy just trying to get a freebie? Is he just some illegal alien leeching off the system? But especially since I had just prayed for God to do something like this, I took the bait – cautiously.

“Sure. I’ll buy you food – but I won’t give you money.”

That didn’t phase him one bit. He said, “Okay, that’s great!”

So we just drove over to McDonald’s and I bought him a value meal and sat and had a conversation with him. More than I thought possible I spoke to him in Spanish, believe it or not. His name was Romero. Born in Texas, raised in Mexico. I asked him a million questions about where he was from, how he got here, where his family was, what he’s doing here, etc. I will admit for the first 5 minutes I was expecting him to stumble over his answers and get caught in a lie. But he didn’t. I really believe he was telling the truth. I really enjoyed meeting him. In the discussion I became aware that he was nominally “catholic” (like many Hispanics who grew up in Mexico), but from my perspective his religion wasn’t any deeper than “his parents were catholic, so he must be, too.” And that’ not really anything at all.

Romero was someone I wanted to help, and in this situation I considered him a Person of Peace. That’s what Jesus called it. The idea is that wherever we go, we should be ready for a person of peace, someone that shows some receptivity to the gospel. These are generally people that are going through a challenge, crisis, or change. When we encounter someone that might be a person of peace, we should bring up the Gospel in a small way to see if they’re interested — which really isn’t that difficult considering how applicable the Gospel is in situations like these. If they aren’t interested or show no signs of receptivity, forget it (shake the dust off your feet). (A person of peace is often someone that you already know, but suddenly becomes more receptive to the gospel. My situation today is my situation. I kinda have to be more outgoing if I expect to find a Person of Peace because I work in a church. Your person of peace might be some guy in the desk next to you who is going through a divorce or some other challenge, crisis, or change. If you want more examples of people of peace in the Bible – check this out).

So there I sat with Romero. I told him that I know God loves me, and I believed God loves him. I wanted to demonstrate the love that God has for him by purchasing his meal, “This food represents the love that God has for you.” (I said it in Spanish! You should have heard me habla!)

Keeping in mind the discipleship process discussed in my previous blog, I believed I was a part of God’s bigger plan for Romero. We said our goodbyes and I told him I’d pray for him. And we left.

And then I came here to this custom coffee shop to review it! In hindsight, I really wish I had prayed for Romero right there before leaving. He shared a hundred things I could have prayed for with him. No reason I shouldn’t have.

I’m living a mission! Join me!

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19 Apr

Your Mission.

Posted in Book of Acts Church, Devotional Blog, Evangelism, Mentoring on 04-19-11

I almost titled this blog “Your Mission, Should You Choose To Accept it.” Then I erased the second part because if you chose to follow Christ, this is your mission. Today I’m going to re-examine the great commission, because I think we may have limited it; our perception might be off. (Many thoughts in this blog were inspired by content in Alan and Deb Hirsch’s book, “Untamed”).

Visit the Blog for Image

First let me provide this visual of the “Engels Scale.” It acknowledges a process people undergo in coming to faith and growing in Christ (don’t get caught in the details, the point is that there is a PROCESS):
——————————————————
-6 Awareness of supreme being
-5 Initial awareness of gospel
-4 Positive attitude toward gospel
-3 Personal problem recognition
-2 Decision to act
-1 Repentance and faith in Christ
*NEW BIRTH IN CHRIST*
+1 Post-decision evaluation
+2 Incorporation into Body
+3 Growth in Jesus
+4 Communion with God
+5 Stewardship
+6 Reproduction
——————————————————–

see blog for image!Our mission comes directly from Jesus. Summarized, our mission is to make disciples. In other words, our mission is to help people along towards a +6.

I think we err when we consider discipleship (or the Great Commission) as only getting the unsaved to Christ; getting people to a “0″ on the scale.

I also think we err when we consider discipleship as only what occurs after we receive Christ. I think discipleship is the full process from -6 to +6. I am arguing that we have two types of discipleship: (1) Pre-Christian Discipleship and (2) Post-Christian Discipleship. This is our mission; and what Jesus modeled with his disciples.

So what’s that mean for us?

1) I think we should be discipling everyone we come in contact with; truly living out the Great Commission every day and in every place. We should be discipling people even without them knowing; showing God’s love in every situation.

2) I think we need to recognize the value in our “neighbors” moving from a -5 to a -4 without being disappointed that they didn’t make the jump all the way to “0″ after one conversation.

3) I think we need to live and think like we are on a mission. Because we are. Living with this perspective is really kinda exciting! What will God do with people who are willingly ready to disciple?

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16 Apr

You’re a Christian? Prove it.

Posted in Evangelism, Finding God on 04-16-11

I believe that being a Christian requires faith and actions. That’s not to say we’re not saved by faith alone — we are. But faith that saves us is never alone. Faith without actions is dead, and isn’t going to save anybody. With that said . . . .

A few weeks ago as I went to bed it occurred to me that there was absolutely nothing about my life that day – other than my job – that would have been Christ-like. I didn’t consider God at all in my day. I didn’t help anyone. I didn’t pray for anybody. It was a pretty selfish, Godless day. There was NOTHING about my life that day that was different than someone else who wasn’t a Christian. (I also believe that true Christianity should revolutionize your life; so this really bugged me).

I began asking myself almost every day, “Did you do anything today that would demonstrate Christ’s love in action?” or “Did you do anything today that any other ‘good person’ wouldn’t have?”

This has been a good check for me – and has caused me to seek God more than before. It’s also causing me to live more like I’m on a mission. Christians are — you know — on a mission. I’ll write more about this soon.

Tonight my pastor posed the question: If you were accused in court of being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?

Ponder that. How is Christ changing your life?

One comment »

06 Apr

Exactly What DOES Jesus Look Like?

Posted in Book Reflections, Evangelism, Finding God on 04-06-11

I am reading a book right now called “Untamed” by Alan and Debra Hirsch. In the first section, they make a case for “Untaming” (our perception of) Jesus. I thought this was very interesting. (For the record: I think Mark Driscoll is the man! But I also agree with this excerpt).

A recent example of reimaging Jesus was supplied by Seattle pastor Mark Driscoll. He has become somewhat infamous for his portrayal of Jesus as some sort of ultimate fighter. But in attempting to “butch up” [our perception of] Jesus and make him appeal to “real men,” has Driscoll come close to creating Jesus in his own image? Consider this from one of his sermons:

“Latte-sipping Cabriolet drivers do not represent biblical masculinity, because real men — like Jesus, Paul, and John the Baptist — are dudes: heterosexual, win-a-fight, punch-you-in-the-nose dudes. In other words, because Jesus is not a limp-wristed, dress-wearing hippie, the men created in his image are not sissified church boys; they are aggressive, assertive, and nonverbal.”

Now we don’t believe Mark’s original intention was bad. What he was trying to do is rescue Jesus from the overly feminized ways in which Jesus has been portrayed. We would agree and also want to rescue the image of Jesus from this. … But the problem with Driscoll’s ultimate-fighting Jesus is that Jesus has been freed from one distortion only to be captured by another.

It cannot be but a distortion. Is Jesus really some “punch-you-in-the-nose-type dude”? And is that really the model and type of Christlike masculinity to which every man should aspire? We think not.

I’m in full agreement. I prefer not to sweat when I work. I’ve never been in a fight. And I like lattes.

Was Jesus a manly man’s man? – You bet. But he was also kind and gentle. What if an effeminate man (with or without same-sex attraction) wanted to find salvation through Jesus? Does this demonstrate that our Jesus isn’t okay with him?

Jesus came to identify with all of mankind. Let’s be careful never to tame that.

2 Comments »

05 Apr

God Has Feelings.

Posted in Devotional Blog, Stuff About Me., The Holy Spirit on 04-05-11

This evening, I had just poured hot water over some Green Tea to sip as I wound down and read in preparation for a good night’s sleep. As I left my tea on my kitchen counter to cool, I decided to take the trash and recycling to the end of my driveway for the pickup in the morning. I left my kitchen, went into the garage, and opened the garage door leading to the driveway. Right as I opened my garage door, I turned around and noticed that I had not pushed my kitchen door all the way shut and my 87 pound Akita had gotten loose and RAN FOR IT.

She was gone! My dog never goes far – but she is very fast and she won’t let anyone catch her until she’s tired. Nevertheless, I felt like I needed to try.

I was really frustrated when my dog took off. I had other, more relaxing plans for the evening! I went inside to get a leash and flashlight and I felt something stirring inside me. I stopped for a moment and said, “God, is there something you’re trying to show me in this?”

Without hesitation I heard the Holy Spirit say back in my heart, “Yea. You’re just as stupid as your dog sometimes.” (I don’t think God will call everyone “stupid” — but He will speak in terms that you can understand; hence “stupid.”)

I’m just as stupid as my dog sometimes? …

My dog had to have it’s fun. It had to run away from what was “right” and there was nothing I could do about it. I’m just as stupid every time I fall into sin.

Furthermore, I know that the worst thing that I could do to get my dog to come back to me is to yell at it and tell it how bad she is. I love that dog, and I want her to COME to me. So when she finally did, I did not yell but I gave my dog a hug instead. That wasn’t just correct training – that was how I actually felt. I was thrilled to have my dog back. Jesus feels the same way when we decide to stop “being stupid.”

*****

As I trekked through my neighborhood this evening I pondered what else God might be saying. I was reminded of the verse in Ephesians 4:30a, “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit.” I love the way TheMessage puts it:

Don’t grieve God. Don’t break his heart. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself. Don’t take such a gift for granted.

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