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MY 30 DAYS UNDER THE OVERPASSNOT YOUR ORDINARY DEVOTIONAL
By BY MIKE YANKOSKI
Multnomah Publishers, Inc.Copyright © 2006 Michael G. Yankoski III
All right reserved.
Chapter OneGUT CHECK 1.0
Flip on tonight's news or go to a news blog and you'll learn all about the wretched things that are going on in our world-famines, epidemics, earthquakes, hurricanes, rapes, beatings, political chaos, slavery, human trafficking, just to name a few. When you look at all of it, it's enough to make you feel really, really small, like there's no way you can make an impact.
Well, I want to let you in on a little secret: The world is not yours to change. None of us is big enough, influential enough, or powerful enough to end any one of the world's major issues. The only person powerful enough to eradicate poverty or cure all disease or stop earthquakes is Jesus. But He didn't do any of that. Jesus, in His wisdom, knew He couldn't just come down here and fix everything for us; He knew we wouldn't learn anything that way. Instead, He showed us how to live by spending thirty years on earth, setting the ultimate example for us to follow. He didn't end poverty. Instead, He reminded us that "you always have the poor with you" (see Mark 14:7).
But that doesn't mean Jesus did nothing to help the poor, nothing to reach out to those whom everyone elseshunned. Instead, He lived with them, listened to them, ate with them (sometimes He brought the food), partied with them, healed them, wept and laughed with them ...
Same with us. Yes, the world is messed up. There are a lot of hurting people and a lot of important issues. You can't end poverty, stop earthquakes, or feed every person on the planet. But that's no excuse to do nothing. If you're a Christian, loving other people is not a "calling" you can patiently discover or wait for God to reveal to you. It's a direct, nonnegotiable command.
Some of us are called to go and be in the places where the biggest problems are. Some of us need to be there, working, helping, serving, not only on two-week trips in the summer but for years at a time, even lifetimes at a time. But some of us aren't supposed to do that now. It's not the right season. We're in school or providing for our family or training to go somewhere in the future.
But don't buy into the lie that "ministry" only happens overseas or during summer trips or on Tuesday evenings at small group or Sunday mornings at church. Ministry is about people in need, and those people are all around.
How can God use you to impact, change, affect, influence, love on, and meet the needs of the people all around you? What's holding you back? How can you break out of the fear and questions that keep you from "loving your neighbor as yourself"? (see Matthew 22:37-40).
That's what this book is all about: helping you ask and answer questions about yourself, your world, and your God that you might never have asked before-and then discover huge ways God can work in and through you to affect the people around you.
Lord, thank You for the opportunity to spend some serious time in Your Word, learning how to love others like You do. I pray for the discipline to stick with this devotional and allow Your Spirit to move and work in me. Be with me when I'm reading these words, affect me, change me, move me. Show me how I should be treating people differently in my life, how I can reach out and do a better job communicating Your love. These are big prayers, Lord. Help me not to get frustrated or disheartened, but to keep going, trusting that You're working in me to make me more like You. Amen.
Personal Inventory Questions
If we only listen or read, it's easy to just go through the motions. Writing stuff down helps make it stick. The "Notes to Self" sections are meant to help you record and remember your steps through this devotional. Think of them as big, yellow, sticky reminder notes. Jot down a phrase that sticks out or a verse that has struck you. Write the name of a person you've been praying for, or tape in their picture. Once a week you'll have room and time to work through what you've read, prayed, and experienced. Before we start, here's a "Personal Inventory" with a few questions to help establish a beginning point. At the end of these thirty days, we'll look at a similar survey to help you gauge your progress.
1) A new person arrives at my church or youth group. What is my response? I:
1. Introduce myself. 2. Make fun of their clothes. 3. Pretend I don't notice them.
2) I'm downtown with some friends and walk past a homeless person sitting on a bench. What am I feeling?
3) On the freeway ramp, I drive past a man flying a sign reading: "Hungry. Anything helps." I (do/don't) believe his sign. Then, I:
1. Pretend to try to find a new radio station. 2. Glance and make eye contact and then react as though I've been caught doing something I shouldn't. 3. Roll down the window and say hello.
4. Wish I had some food to help meet the need.
4) I'm feeling like God is asking me to do something really "uncomfortable." I:
1. Refuse to budge and put my head down, trusting it will "all go away soon." 2. Promise I'll pray about it, but forget about it when quiet time comes. 3. Seek counsel and find out if it's really the Lord's call on my life.
5) I just received a flier in the mail for a local homeless ministry. They're asking me to consider volunteering and/or helping financially. I:
1. Throw it away. 2. Put it in the drawer to look at next month. 3. Write a check so I don't feel guilty. 4. Write a check and find a time to deliver it while I'm volunteering at the mission.
6) What is my comfort zone? What are three things that make me uncomfortable?
7) Who is a person (or group of people) it's hard for me to feel like loving?
8) What kind of candy bar would be most difficult for me to give away?
PLEDGE ARE YOU WILLING TO MAKE A COMMITMENT?
Lord, help me. I want to grow closer to You. That's why I'm doing this whole devotional anyway. Help me to grow, to realize what You want me to realize. Change my ideas about who I am, who others are, who You are, and what Your church is, so that I'll love others as You would have me love them.
I pledge here that I will try to find time every day to seek after You by working through this devotional. God, you know I'm busy and there are a ton of things competing for my time. Help me to have the discipline to do what I say I'm going to do, but also help me not to be too hard on myself when I fall short. Thanks for loving me so much. Draw me ever closer to You. Amen.
I, _____________, pledge on this date, __________, to seek and earnestly desire to know God deeply and more fully. When this devotional asks me to do things that are challenging and outside my comfort zone, I will seek the Lord for the courage to step out and trust with everything I am that He will lead me where He wants me to go.
Excerpted from MY 30 DAYS UNDER THE OVERPASS by BY MIKE YANKOSKI Copyright © 2006 by Michael G. Yankoski III. Excerpted by permission.
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