And then I caught the lesson God was telling me - 'Do you trust me like that? Will you step with boldness into the life of another?' Are you willing to notice others, connect with them, and become an everyday hero as you build into their lives? We each have our own assignments. As I trust, God is going to use me. Each of us have the opportunity to be an everyday hero in the lives of others.
Daniel Huerta at Trail Life USA Summer Adventure and Family Convention
I had called home just like I do most days to let my family know that I'm on my way. It puts my mind in the zone - "I am headed to my job," I tell myself, "I get to come home and connect with the family." When I called, my daughter said, "Hey dad, we're going to do it a little differently today. When you get home, I'm going to start running. And when you walk through the door, I'm going to jump and you're going to catch me." And she started laughing in the playful way she does. And I said, "Okay, that sounds great!" She sounded so energetic and so excited. I knew she wanted something to happen. I didn't know what she meant by it, but I thought, "Hey, we'll just play it by ear." So as I drove into the garage that evening, I thought, "I'm going to walk through that door, and I don't know what's going to happen!"
So I grabbed my backpack and my lunch bag out of the car. I had my backpack in one hand, and my lunch bag in the other. I walked through the door, and sure enough, she came running around the corner, she'd already launched herself into the air, and I dropped my bags and caught her right in the air. Now at the time she was 13 years old, so she wasn't a tiny girl anymore - there's a lot of momentum coming at me, and I caught her. She held tight and said, "Dad, you did it!"
And then I caught the lesson God was telling me - "Do you trust me like that? Will you jump for me to catch you?" Trust is a key ingredient in relationships. It's foundational to all our relationships. God asks us to have faith in him. Faith isn't always easy, and sometimes it requires some pain along the way. I was with a group of men recently on a backpacking trip, and there was one man in particular who was very scared of the rappel we had to do. One of the first questions he asked me was, "So we're doing that???" - it was a 750 foot drop. That particular dad was afraid of heights, so he was interpreting that as, "I could die." And his son was interpreting it as, "This is going to be a lot of fun!" -- It's not the cliff; it's the interpretation of what we see, and sometimes what we see blinds us. -- God says, "Trust me; trust me with your whole heart. I've got you in my hands today."
Do we trust Him, knowing that our lives are in his hands? What is he doing in me, and in you? The core ingredient of everyday heroes is humility. Humility is full dependence on a heavenly father. Those who have that humility are the everyday heroes on a mission. We each have our own assignments.
Who is a hero? You could say that it's a person who saves lives. Well, God calls us to save lives; he says in Psalms that through Him, we can have strength to leap over a wall. He says that we can have power through Him. He can speak through us, and we can penetrate the soul of another person through our heavenly father. So I've been contemplating - "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done." What does that mean? It's almost as if I have all the power to invite God's kingdom.
As I was contemplating the idea, one of my favorite verses came to mind. Isaiah 26:3-4 says, "You keep Him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because He trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock." Do I trust him like that? That's powerful for me as I think about what it means to trust in God.
So if I trust God, I get to be a contributor and not just a consumer in God's kingdom. It means that I come in filled, and I empty out - instead of coming in empty and looking to be filled. The consumer comes in empty wanting something to satisfy. As a contributor in God's kingdom, He’s called me, and he's called us all to make disciples of men and to be everyday heroes through Christ. He says that we can be filled through Him, and then you spill over and you fill in to other people.
I want to read to you a poem by John Shertzer that my son brought home from school one day - "The Person Next to You":
The person next to you is the greatest miracle and the greatest mystery you will ever meet at this moment. The person next to you is an inexhaustible reservoir of possibility, desire, and dread; smiles and frowns, laughter and tears, fears and hopes all struggling to find expression. The person next to you believes in something, stands for something, counts for something, lives for something, labors for something, waits for something, runs from something, runs to something. The person next to you has problems and fears, wonders how they're doing, is often undecided and disorganized and painfully close to chaos. Do they dare speak it to you? The person next to you can live with you, not just alongside you, not just next to you. The person next to you is a part of you for you are the person next to them.
It's a good reminder that we're people in God's kingdom walking side by side. We're contributors together. Do you see yourself as a noticer of people? Or do you just walk by them? Do you notice the people around you? Do you notice them with a smile? That's a gift. Do you notice who God created them to be? Or are you just looking at your own story? Do you notice what God is doing through you into their life? A lot of times it requires stopping your own train of thought and pressing pause on that so that you can hop on their train for a little while and see what's going on. Our thoughts are constantly in motion; we get about 50,000 thoughts per day, and sometimes we have to press pause on those so that we can enter other people's thoughts.
Are you a builder in other people's lives? Do you encourage others? I want to drill these three words into you: noticer, builder, connector. If you're a noticer, then you'll know what and how to build. And if you know how to build, then you'll know how to connect. As you're a contributor to other people - a noticer, a builder, and then a connector to God's kingdom. You will experience "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done."
Do I live in a way that shows I trust that God is real?
As I trust, I get to influence others. I have to step into that wholeheartedly knowing that God is going to use me wherever he wants to use me. We have the opportunity to influence and give life to others as we trust God. We took a group of dads into the wilderness for four days. On the third and final night, we gave these dads three hours to sit down and think through what blessings they want to give to their son or daughter. Unbeknownst to them, their kids were asked to write a letter of encouragement beforehand to the dads, and we brought those letters with us. They read the letters out loud in front of everyone, and it was powerful. You can do that as a Troop; it's a fantastic thing to have moments of blessing with one another, to influence with those powerful words.
I have to engage in present moments. I have to slow my mind down to recognize what God is doing. God says, "Be still, and know that I am God." He tells us, “do not fear,” and the reason is so that we can truly see what he's capable of doing. I came across a quote that I love - "The antidote to overwhelm is not by doing more, but by falling madly in love with silence."
We're uncomfortable with silence. God wants my full attention and my full heart. He's always talking. He never stops. He's never gone. Psalm 62:1 says, "For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation." If I am able to be silent with God, it shows full trust that I don't have to take everything upon myself, that I can give up some control and allow Him to do the work that He needs to do, and then engage - make sure that I am fully aware of what God is wanting to do and reminding myself that I am the most effective when I have a full cup. That's when I'm going to be most effective in serving others because I have a cup from which to draw.
If I trust God, he says to abide in him. He is the anchor of my soul. He holds it in place. What I've learned about prayer is that it lines up my mind to truly be present with what God's doing around me. Praying together unites what we're thinking about. God says to abide in him through prayer, to be strengthened by him through the prayer that he offers us at any time - "Be still and know that I am God."
Do we do that? Do I press pause on my life to realize that God is who he says he is and that I can trust him as my anchor even if it means losing my life? Am I willing to do that? Am I willing to serve all the way because he gave his life for me? Can I do that for him?
Is he your steadfast anchor? Do you truly trust in him? Would you jump and really trust that God is going to catch you? Do you trust him like that? Each of us have our own assignment. We don't need duplicates. We need originals. And I trust that you will trust that God is doing something in each of you. Let me end this with a prayer of blessing for you as a group. It is found in Ephesians 3:14-21:
"For this reason, I bow my knees before the father from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his spirit and your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith - that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen."