By Kim Stokely –
On a recent business trip, my husband and two co-workers wandered the streets of Old Town Albuquerque looking for a place to eat. The guide book had said this was an eclectic section of the city filled with delightful shops and restaurants, but on this Monday night, things looked dead.
An old car rattled up beside them. Like something out of a movie, the driver rolled down his window and asked, “You want to buy some turquoise?”
My husband and his friends looked at each other, shook their heads and the guy drove off. For the rest of their visit they wondered whether the dude was really selling precious stones out of his car or was “turquoise” local slang for crack?
Some behaviors, like wandering a deserted part of town, instantly point you out as a tourist. Staring up at the skyscrapers in New York City or bringing a case of bottled water with you to anywhere in South America are other examples. Here in Omaha, visitors always seem surprised that cows don’t roam the streets and every house doesn’t have a cornfield in the backyard.
Sometimes, however, it appears that just our attitude can single us out as different.
I’ll never forget visiting relatives in England when I was a teenager. My aunt brought me down to her pub for dinner one night and before I’d even spoken a word, the cook asked if I was American.
“How’d you know?” I asked.
He shrugged. “Americans have a certain way they walk.”
I thought about that a lot. How someone could tell I didn’t belong somewhere because of the way I walked.
Did I swagger obnoxiously? Or maybe I slouched in like a thief? When I asked my cousin about it later, she told me Americans walk with a certain confidence that most others don’t.
I’d like my walk with God to single me out in the same way. Not that I want people to think I’m overly confident, but I want them to sense that I don’t fit in. After all, this isn’t my home. That’s not to say I shouldn’t walk in it and help out where I can, but people shouldn’t think I belong here. If I become too comfortable with the world around me, it means I’ve stopped focusing on God. I need to be like the tourists in New York City, my eyes looking up. Not on skyscrapers, but on my heavenly home.
By Rhonda Rhea –
My kids are all in their teens and twenties so it was really funny the other day when they saw one of the earliest cell phones. I’m talking vintage here—just this side of fossilized. And huge. A dinosaur in every way. I dubbed it “Cell-a-saurus Rex.” My kids thought it must be some sort of coffee grinder. I think one of them was trying to get it to churn butter.
If you want to know what it was really like with those first mobile phones, try holding your microwave oven upside your head. All the mobile phone bells and whistles? I’m pretty sure on those first phones, they were actual bells and whistles. I told my kids that I thought people probably had a tough time back then knowing if a guy was listening to his boom box or talking on his cell phone. Of course, then I had to explain what a boom box was. I told them it was a giant mp3 player.
I’m thankful technology is always evolving, coming up with something bigger and better. Or sometimes something smaller and better.
Sometimes size is pretty relative. I want a big faith. I really do. I want super-sized faith with all the bells and whistles. But when the disciples asked Jesus to give them bigger faith, Jesus answered in a rather surprising way. In Luke 17:5 the disciples said to Jesus, “Increase our faith.” Jesus’ answer? “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you’” (HCSB).
Matthew tells us that Jesus said, “For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you,’” (Matthew 17:20, HCSB).
According to Jesus Himself, with even the tiniest faith, we can do huge things. Impossible things. It’s not so much the size of the faith as it is who the faith is in. A faith planted firmly in Christ and an obedient response to his lordship makes a huge impact on life. Mountainous!
It’s good to remember that faith grows at the deepest part of who we are. At the “cellular” level, if you will. Paul tells us in Romans 10:17 that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. His Word teaches us about His character, His history, His power and His incomparable trustworthiness. Studying the character of God changes our faith—all the way down to our deepest, heart-of-heart parts. The more we study Him through His Word, and the more we know Him, the more we respond in obedience, and the more our faith grows.
We can put our faith in Christ. It’s safe there. I’m so thankful my all-powerful Savior graciously confirms that in new ways each day. He takes us to deeper places in our faith at every new point of surrender.
And in the not-so-deep places, I’m also thankful the phones are getting smaller. Phonezilla is appropriately extinct. A seed-sized phone? Could be the next big thing.