On New Years' eve as we prepared to hail in the New Millennium (yes waaaay back in 1999!!!), some people were scared that the Y2K bug would transform existence as we knew it.
I sat on a curb near Mooloolaba Beach in Queensland with some YWAM buddies, watching the crowds go by. We were there to "keep an eye on things" and we were ready to help out any youth who might need our assistance. You could almost taste the uncertainty in the air that year- fear, even. People may have been brave on the outside, but as the alcohol flowed more and more freely, the fears on the inside started to become more apparant.
On another night in that same spot, we had set up a booth from which we were planning to give out free Milo and cordial. We believed God wanted us there as a positive presence in the place, where kids in full-on party mode were putting themselves in potentially vulnerable situations. We believed God wanted us to be right in the thick of the action so we'd be right there if anyone needed help (in the form of someone sober!), or even just someone to talk to.
We had one bright yellow sheet of cardboard to make a sign from. I was the designated artist, and my job was to write just two simple words, in clear, bold letters so that it could be seen from a distance. All I had to write was "Free Drinks". But it seems I couldn't even get that right! Kids had already started hanging around us as we set up, and so I was talking to some kids as I made my sign. I wasn't concentrating on the sign, and what came out of my pen was "Free Dree". And before you ask, "Couldn't you just flip it over and do it on the other side?" No, I couldn't! The ink had gone right though the cardboard!
We didn't have a choice. If we wanted people to come to our drinks stand we had to make do with our defective sign, and hope for the best. What none of us were expecting was that the defective sign had more pull than perhaps a sign that was correctly spelled would have! People came from every direction wanting to know what "free dree" was! Who knows what they were hoping it might be, but it didn't matter! It started many great conversations, and many kids ended up asking us to pray with them that night.
Do I have to spell it out? Nah, Paul already did a couple of thousand years ago (give or take)
"And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them." (Romans 8:28, NLT)
It's now ten years since a bunch of inexperienced, immature, guitar-playing, Milo-drinking, tattooed, pierced, imperfect, radical young people sat at a drinks stand on Mooloolaba Beach in Queensland offering "Free Dree" (with generous lashings of God's love on the side). I'm older now; I'm married and I have kids. I'm not out sitting in a gutter waiting to wipe the puke off some young girl's shoes and help get her home. I've just watched approximately $5million go up in smoke on the Sydney Harbour Bridge from the comfort of my lounge, as the world welcomed in another New Year.
I am not as young (or as pierced) as I was back then, but I still feel the fire of the radical flame burning in my heart. I'm ready to take on 2010. I feel really excited about this new year, like God is calling His people to kick their faith lives up a notch- to take bold steps, make decisive moves, not leave things up to chance; to not be afraid of failure, not let anything stop us or get in the way of pursuing Him and all He desires for our lives. Let me be clear- I'm not talking about material possessions here. I'm talking about something of far greater worth. I'm talking about the riches of a soul at peace, a life exploding with all the fruits that grow in our lives when His Spirit is in action.
I am certainly not perfect and have not got it all together. I can't even spell "drinks", remember? I have my weaknesses and shortcomings, I will continue to make mistakes while I draw breath on this earth. But, even though my sign be spelled wrong and my resources be all used up, I'll still follow whatever it is I believe God is calling me to; I'll hang my sign and hope for the best. I know from experience that whatever happens will be an adventure, and I for one am up for that.
How about you? You coming?
God bless you and yours this New Year. Fan the radical flame and let's see what God does in our lives, our families, our city, our world. All he wants are willing hands and feet! And you don't even have to be able to spell
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