Thursday, September 27, 2012


I enjoy running. Yes, I run even though I’m not being chased. Anyway, I use this I-Phone app when I run called “mapmyrun.” It’s a neat little tool that lets me know through my earphones in an unemotional and direct female voice, how long I’ve been running, how far I’ve gone, and how slow my minute per mile pace is. One of the coolest aspects of the app is that when my run is finished I can see a picture of my route. I like pictures. It’s always interesting to see what the route looks like. Usually my route resembles some state. Sometimes it makes a big state like Texas or Alaska, sometimes an Oklahoma or Illinois. And sometimes when I’m tired a Hawaii or Rhode Island. Two Biblical passages come to mind when thinking of routes. The first one comes from the Old Testament. Just imagine Israel’s route in the wilderness. Can you say scribble scratch!? Remember Israel was freed from Egypt and traveled through the wilderness on their way toward the Promised Land. A journey that should have taken about two weeks was stretched into forty years! If we were to look at that route, it would tell a story. It would tell the story of a people who weren’t sure where they were going and who were not prepared to enter the place God prepared for them. Their map was a tightly woven circular route of cleansing and preparation. It was a painful, extended, and redundant journey that eventually prepared them for crossing the Jordan River. As a church staff, we have been in the process of prayerfully sketching out the route God wants to take. Strategic ministry planning is challenging but exciting work. We have been inspired to think and dream about where God wants to take the Bayside church family. We know this. We do not want to be Israel wandering in the wilderness. The other Biblical route that comes to mind is from the ministry of Jesus told in the New Testament. It is found in John 4. Jesus was in Judea in the South on his way to Galilee in the North. We are told that Jesus ‘had to go through’ Samaria. Interestingly, what we know from history is that during that time period Jews intentionally avoided going through Samaria to avoid being defiled by a people considered unclean. But Jesus ‘had to go’ through Samaria because Samaritans had to be reached with the gospel. His route tells a story. That journey tells as story of fearless love for all people, “even the least of these.” As for our church family, Jesus’ example tells us that a route that is faithful to the mission of reaching people will often be unconventional and rarely safe. I’ve often wondered what my personal route would like if I had an application called “map my spiritual route.” I think it would be filled with straight lines, a few big loops, and even a few well worn dots- places where it looked like I wasn’t moving at all. What would your route look like? Today wherever you are on your route, step toward Jesus. That, you can be sure, is never a wrong move. And one day we will see what shape our completed route took. As a Christian, regardless of the final shape we know where our route ends. “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.” 1 Cor. 2:9

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