Taking the Plunge

One of the biggest moments in each of my daughter’s lives is the day they decided to jump off the rock.  The rock is a boulder that sits in the middle of a mountain river in Townsend, Tennessee.  It fell off the cliff that borders the river a long time ago and has served as a perch for swimmers ever since. 

Back in the fifties, my wife’s great-grandfather bought that cliff and the rock and the swimming hole that surrounds it along with a few acres of land and some old cabins.  Her family has flocked there for summer vacations ever since.

For every child who spends much time at the river, there comes a season when you can tell they’re thinking about jumping off the rock.  The first time they do it, it’s no easy task.  The mountain water is painfully cold even in the heat of summer. The poor kid has to swim or take a tube across stream, fighting the current all the way. 

Once they actually make it to the rock, they have to find handholds to climb it.  The surface is slippery so they have to watch their step if they don’t want to end up skidding back into the river, scraping their legs on the jagged edges.  I still have a scar from tussling with the rock myself.

All of this gives a kid plenty to think about sitting on the beach watching others swim across and take the plunge.  But the real moment of decision doesn’t come on the shore.  It comes once they actually make it up on the rock.  That’s where the internal tug-of-war begins.  Am I going to stand here on this rock all day or am I actually going to jump? 

I’ve gone through this with both of my girls, swimming out with them, helping them up on the rock, and treading water in the swift current waiting for them to go for it.  Some days I’ve waiting longer than others.  The rock looks a whole lot taller once you’re up on top of it than it does from the beach. 

I can still see their faces scrunched up with worry as they tried to work up their nerve.  I could tell they were wondering how deep the water really was, how cold it really was and how far they’d sink when they hit the river.  But most of all, the biggest question they were wrestling with was how much could they trust their dad.   

Would I really be able help them when they jumped?

I know how they feel.  I ask the same questions about God all the time.  Sometimes, God invites us to jump, to do something far outside our comfort zone.  Go on a mission trip.  Serve the homeless.  Teach a class.  Take a new job.  Open our house to someone who is lonely.  Give generously.  Write a book. 

Whatever it may be for you, it is a true leap of faith.  Like my daughters, we may stand on the edge of this decision for what feels like forever, trying to work up our nerve to go for it.  But the real question comes down to how much we can trust our heavenly Father.  Will his presence in the water outweigh the fear in our hearts?

The Bible is full of stories of real people just like you and me who God invited to take the plunge.  Some of them shrank back from the invitation while others leapt with wild abandon.  In the book of Joshua, we meet a young leader who was facing the same doubts and questions you and I face when God calls us out.  The advice God gave Joshua still applies today, “This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9 NLT).

Remember, it’s not the height of the jump or the depth of the stream that matters, but it’s who is in the water that counts.  We can trust our dad in heaven to catch us every time we leap to him. 

So what are you waiting for?  Take the plunge.  The adventure of a lifetime is waiting for you the moment your feet leave the security of the rock behind. 

Family Christmas Devotions on iTunes

nativity.jpgChristmas may be the most wonderful time of the year, but when you have kids at home, it can also be the craziest.  It’s hard to find time in the busy holiday season to make sure Jesus is the center of your celebration.

I just uploaded a new series of Christmas devotions on iTunes to make that a little bit easier.

Whether you’re traveling with your family or just on the go, you can listen to the Backstage Bethlehem whenever it’s convenient.

Episode 1 – No Ordinary Baby

We’re all familiar with the cute image of baby Jesus at Christmas, but there’s so much more to Jesus than that.  In this episode we will pull back the curtain on Christmas and take a look at who Jesus really is.

Listen in iTunes.

Episode 2 – Best King Ever

Jesus isn’t just a King, but the King of Kings, the best King ever!  In this episode we will discover what it means in our lives that Jesus is still on his throne.

Listen in iTunes.

Episode 3 – God With Us

The Christmas story also tells us that Jesus is called Immanuel, God with us.  In this devotion, we will dive into what it means that God came to earth to be with his people.

Listen in iTunes.

Episode 4 – Savior

Jesus didn’t just come to be a great teacher or do amazing miracles.  He came to save the world.  We will wrap up the Backstage Bethlehem series by talking about how Jesus came to set us free.

Listen in iTunes.

If you’d prefer the Backstage Bethlehem series, you can find them here at my family devotional blog, FamilyJetpack.com.

I hope you enjoy these devotions and have a wonderful Christmas!

Family Devotion: Turkey Busters 5

TB5This is Part Five of a seven-part series. Here is Part One, Part Two, Part Three and Part Four if you need to catch up.

Verse: Come, let us bow down and worship him. Let us fall on our knees in front of the Lord our Maker. – Psalm 95:6 (NIrV)

Big Idea:  Choose to worship instead of worry.

Have you ever faced a big problem? What did you do about it? Did you worry? Did you whine? Did you try to solve it on your own? Sometimes we get so caught up in our problems it keeps us from loving God and others because all we can think about is ourselves.  

When we just focus on ourselves, it makes our problems seem worse.  

There was a king in the Bible named Jehoshaphat who once faced a big problem too. A huge army was on its way to attack his country. In fact, three different armies had teamed up against him. He and his people were totally outnumbered, and the king was scared.  

So what did he do? Did he panic? Did he worry? Did he sit around and feel sorry for himself?  No way. He gathered all of his people and went to God for help.The Bible says that moms, dads and kids were all there seeking God together. But before Jehoshaphat asked God for anything, he praised God, reminding everyone of God’s power and the good things God had done for them.  

Jehoshaphat chose worship over worry.  

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