Saturday, February 24, 2007

Encounters With God

"Each encounter is an encounter with God," said my good friend, Rick Roberts, tonight on the phone with me. "Jesus shows up unawares."

I needed to hear those type of words tonight. Whenever I call Rick I feel deeply moved by the Spirit. He's in his late 50s, and was a close friend of mine in seminary. We were in a small group with four or five other guys, and we met weekly for two years and poured our lives out before each other and before God. A two-time cancer survivor, he's seen and done it all at this point in his life and knows what matters the most.

On the phone, I was telling Rick how I am still trying to figure out how to be a "Christian" independent of an institutionalized religious role to play. My journey into faith and subsequent "professionalization" of that faith seemed to have blurred together in the early to mid 1990s. It's kept me in such a mode of doing rather than just being. Three years after taking a leave of absence from the pastorate, I'm still sorting out how to simply be still and know that he is God.

But Jesus shows up unawares. As Rick calmly pointed out, I probably haven't been paying attention as much as I could.

Rick always nails me. That's why he's a friend.


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