This week I am up in Monroe, Washington, along with Matt Arnett (and also with a dear friend to many of us, Matt Daniells), attending a week-long intensive class called Perspectives. Normally the Perspectives class happens a couple hours at a time, over the course of 15 weeks, but for us lucky folks here at the “intensive” this week, we get to drink out of a firehose. And we didn’t even have to find the marble in the oatmeal (Dear reader, you likely have no idea what I’m talking about referring to a marble in the oatmeal. I apologize for a making very, very obscure reference to a movie that very, very few people have probably seen.)
So we’re spending all day Sunday through Saturday in class, listening to speakers and then talking together as small groups about the call of God on our lives and on the lives of all believers to go and make disciples of all nations. This teaching time, and these conversations have been really good for me. It’s causing me to think in ways I haven’t thought in a while, or at least in ways I don’t think very often. It’s making me think about what I would call Dangerous Questions, both Small and Big.
What do I mean by Dangerous Questions? I mean questions for which I may not like the answer. Here are some examples of “everyday” Dangerous Questions, or Dangerous Small Questions.
- Lord, who is not currently on my radar that I should find a way to serve today?
- Lord, are there any of my plans you want me to reconsider today, in order to do what you have in mind, instead?
- Lord, how would you like me to use my lunchbreak today?
I’m pretty sure I need to get into the habit of asking Dangerous Small Questions all the time. I need to be asking the Lord to use me. To consider the time he gives me to be His time, rather than my own time. To be open, ready, and willing to hear Him redirect my day, to be ready to be used by Him, and to be actively seeking out opportunities for Him to use me. Not because I’m a pastor. Because I’m a Christian. I confess that so often my internal posture is one of reluctant willingness. I’m not looking for ways for God to use me, but I’m generally willing if He puts something in my lap. It is far too rare that I am asking the Lord to bring opportunities my way, or to show me the opportunities that I’m overlooking. Selfishly, I want to continue on the path of my own agenda. But may that change in me! How about you?
Dangerous Small Questions are the lifeblood of following Jesus, the daily routine, the way to live. A way to describe it biblically is to say I am seeking to walk by the Spirit. To yield to His desires in my day to day life. But there are scarier questions. Dangerous Big Questions. And I’m wanting to encourage you to also look for opportunities ask these questions. And to do so with an open hand before the Lord, letting go of preconceived thoughts for yourself. I say this for you, and I say it for me, too. Here are a few Dangerous Big Questions.
- Lord, is there something else you want me to do? Not just today, but is there a different job you want me to do? A different life direction?
- Lord, is there a ministry that I should get involved in?
- Lord, is there somewhere else in the world that you want me and my family to live? Do you want me to be in Vancouver?
- Lord, is there some way you want me to help in fulfilling your command to make disciples of all nations, which I am not currently doing?
- Lord, is there a way you want to redirect my dollars for your purposes?
- Lord, is there a way you want me to open up my home, or my life, to be used by you?
Is it safe to ask the Lord these questions? Well, I suppose it depends on what you mean by safety, right? It’s certainly dangerous. The Lord might make requests of us that force us to choose whether to follow Him or not. He might throw a giant, and perhaps even permanent, kink into our plans. He might totally rearrange our lives! He might move us to a far away land. Or He might tell us that we are not supposed to go to a far away land that we desire to go to.
One thing I do believe is that, if we will start asking Dangerous Small Questions in our day to day lives, that we will then find ourselves more and more open to Dangerous Big Questions. It’s like exercising a muscle. As we practice asking God to lead, direct, redirect, and refocus us toward what He wants us to do on a regular basis, we will be more ready to hear and respond to His voice in the big things.
Pastor Ryan Donovan