Tag Archives: friends

In Search of Kong

I visited Indonesia this week and was met at the airport by a staff member from our local office. While we were waiting for the driver to arrive, we talked about some of the things Indonesia is known for. I was surprised to learn that the legendary King Kong was supposed to have lived on one of the many islands of Indonesia, and I said, “Oh, I want to see King Kong! How cool would that be to tell my kids?”

I was kidding, of course. Just making conversation. If I had only known the chain of events that one comment would put into motion…

You need to know something about the Indonesian people…they are very gracious. Exorbitantly gracious. So gracious that if you express even casual interest in something, they will give it to you or buy it for you. I had experienced this on previous trips, but I had forgotten.

After I said that I wanted to see King Kong, that staff member must have passed it on to the country director. Since Kong died at the end of the movie, she decided that she would arrange for me to see the next best thing – the orangutans of Borneo. I was informed the next morning at breakfast that I was indeed going to be able to see really large apes on this trip.

“Uh, okay….well, as long as it doesn’t inconvenience you. I was just kidding about the Kong thing.”

But it was no use. I should have known there was no dissuading them from their hospitality. They delight in blessing their guests. We had a three-hour drive to get to where we were going for the day. Along the way, we took a detour to the Orangutan Reintroduction Project.

When we got there, one of the staff members stepped out of the car to talk with the security guards. Unfortunately, they wouldn’t let us in, because we didn’t have reservations 24-hours in advance. They told us that we could go to their administrative office and seek permission, so we did. But despite our team’s excellent negotiations, they wouldn’t let us in either.

I assured my hosts that it was perfectly fine. I hadn’t had my heart set on seeing the orangutans. I thought that was the end of it.

The next morning, I was informed at breakfast that I was indeed going to be able to see really large apes on this trip.  We would be stopping by the zoo on our way to the airport.

“Uh, okay…you know, we don’t have to go out of our way. If the other guys would rather go straight to the airport…”

But again, it was no use. Forces more powerful than my protests were at work. So, we went to the zoo.

It was only thirty or so minutes out of the way. Unfortunately, when we got there, we were told that the zoo was closed on Fridays. Unbelievable!

But my friends were not deterred. Handing the security guard a small love offering, they convinced him to open the gate for us.

Then, we had the run of the park. There was no one else around, so I got a personal meet and greet with “orangutan” (which means incidentally, “man of the forest”).

At first, he wasn’t too interested in friendship with the “man of the suburbs,” but then….an olive branch!

And before you knew it, we were thumb wrestling…

He was much better than me (but he kinda cheated by always going after the cuticle and all).

So, I didn’t find Kong, but I made a friend with the man of the forest. And I learned a good lesson about being careful what I say in front of my very gracious Indonesian hosts.  (Next time, I’m going to tell them how much I like their laptop.)



Filed under communication, funny, grace, humor, Interpersonal, Just for fun, Relationships

Prayer Radar

Though most of the world doesn’t know it, we are in a spiritual war. Good battles Evil every day in the unseen realm to claim the territory of men’s and women’s hearts. Angels take their orders from the Almighty General, who, despite His unlimited strength and wisdom, often waits for our prayers to determine where to attack. Those prayers signal to the General what we think are the prime targets in the fight.

If you are a Christian, you’ve been dropped behind enemy lines. Your mission: to save as many prisoners of war as possible before the war ends. But before you get discouraged by the immensity of the mission you’ve been assigned, know that God doesn’t expect you to save them all yourself. He has a plan, and you have been strategically placed to execute your part.

Your primary weapon is prayer, but you can’t effectively pray for everyone you meet. God has placed certain people in your life – both Christians and non-Christians – and those are the ones God expects you to pray for. These people are on your Prayer Radar.

Take out a pencil and a sheet of paper, and draw four concentric circles like the ones shown below. This will give you three donuts and a donut hole. Label these as shown with the words “Family,” “Friends,” “Associates,” and “Others.”

Now, write names of these people inside each of the appropriate circles.  “Family” and “Friends” are probably self-explanatory.  “Associates” might be people that you work with, your neighbors or just people that you come in contact with on a regular or semi-regular basis.  “Others” are people that you don’t come in contact with regularly but whom God has placed on your heart for some reason.  They could include leaders, politicians, entertainers, missionaries, church leaders or world figures (to name a few).

Continue to ask God to bring names to mind of people He has placed on your Prayer Radar. There are no accidents when it comes to the people around you. God put you in their midst for a reason. You were either sent to cover their six (watch their backs if they are already Christians in the battle), or you were sent to rescue them from the Enemy.

Pray for those on your Prayer Radar every day, or select a particular group to focus on each day of the week.  Then watch to see how God works in their lives.  It will be transformational for them and for you.


Leave a comment

Filed under agape love, christianity, Covering, family, God's Will, Interpersonal, love, prayer, Relationships, Religion, spiritual warfare, Spirituality, unconditional love


Teaching kids about their spiritual “heart” is tricky business. Kids are usually quite literal until their teenage years, so it’s easy for them to misunderstand a statement like “ask Jesus into your heart.” I’ve struggled with this for a long time in children’s ministry, but I think I’ve found a way of talking about the heart that they understand.

Your spiritual heart is different from your physical heart. Your physical heart pumps blood throughout your body and keeps you alive. It’s very important. But believe it or not, it’s not quite as important as your spiritual heart.

You can’t actually find your spiritual heart in your body. It’s part of your mind, but no one is really sure what part. Most likely, it’s a combination of parts that work together. In your spiritual heart, you store the things that are most important to you. These can be people, places and things, and each one gets its own special room.

Everyone has a door on the outside of their heart. Sometimes people decide what important things they let into their hearts through this door, but sometimes things force their way in. Anything that is very emotional for us has a way to get past the door to our heart and take over a room on the inside.

More than anything, Jesus wants to come into our hearts, but He will never force his way in. He stands outside and knocks on our door, and even though He is powerful enough to come in without our permission, He always waits to be invited. In the book of Revelation, Jesus says:

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in… (Revelation 3:20)

If we open the door to Him, He comes into the first rooms in our heart, which are the places God reserved for Eternity when He created us.

Every human being was created with these rooms in his or her heart, because God didn’t want us to be satisfied living without Him. Unfortunately, many people don’t ever answer the door when Jesus knocks. Instead, they try to fill these rooms with other things (like money, relationships and things) so that they won’t feel so empty.

But if we do allow Jesus to come into these rooms, the first thing He does is turn on the lights. This gives us hope and excitement for the things Jesus is ready and willing to do in our lives. Often, this leads us to invite Jesus into other rooms, like the one that determines who (or what) we worship.

Once Jesus enters that room, He starts to show us what we’ve been worshipping instead of Him. He starts to “rearrange the furniture” in our rooms. In other words, He evaluates what’s in there and either asks us to get rid of it (if it’s junk) or to put it in the right place (if it’s worth keeping but getting more attention than it deserves).

When those rooms are in pretty good shape, Jesus will knock on doors to other rooms. He never barges in. We have to open the door for Him.

Sometimes opening the doors is very scary for us. We worry about what Jesus will think of us when He sees what we’ve put in the rooms, and we worry that He will make us get rid of some of the things we really, really like. As a result of our fears, we don’t always let Jesus into all our rooms.

We may only let Him into a few rooms at a time, and He might have to do a lot of knocking to get into them. While He stands on the other side of the door, we sometimes have a conversation with Him that goes something like this:

JESUS: “I would like to meet your friends. Will you let me into that room?”

US: “Oh, uh, my friends? Well, some of them aren’t the kind of people you would like very much.”

JESUS: “Really? Why would you think that?”

US: “Well, they use bad language and do things they shouldn’t do sometimes.”

JESUS: “So did you before you let Me into your heart.”

US: “Hmmm… well, that makes sense. Okay, I’ll try to find a good time to introduce You.”

JESUS: “Thanks for introducing me to them. I’ve been knocking on the doors to their hearts for years, but I think they are just now starting to hear Me.”

US: “Yeah, that wasn’t so tough. I’m going to start praying for them every day.”

JESUS: “Say, what about the friends in that other room?”

US: “Oh, I can’t introduce You to them. They hate it when anyone talks about You. They make fun of Christians, and they definitely will make fun of me if they find out I’m one.”

JESUS: “Still, I would really like to meet them, and I wish you weren’t ashamed of Me around them. If they don’t like you because of Me, maybe you should find some other friends. Why don’t you introduce Me, and we’ll see how it turns out?”

US: “Okay, but that scares me to death. Please give me courage.”

US: “That wasn’t easy, but I can see now how those friends were hurting my spiritual growth. I’m glad I let You in that room.”

JESUS: “Keep praying for them. I’ve got plans for their lives, too. You’ve taken a really big step by opening that room to Me. Now let’s talk about all these other places you could open up.”

And the conversation continues, Jesus knocking, us choosing whether or not to respond to His knock. Sometimes we have a major spiritual breakthrough and start throwing many doors open to Jesus. We let Him into our family relationships, our crushes and dating relationships, how we spend our free time, how we spend our money, our habits, the things we desire for ourselves and others…

Jesus sanctifies each room (that’s a big word that means setting something aside for God). He claims each room for His purposes and begins to show us His will for those things that are so important to us. Sometimes He completely empties a room and replaces what was in it with something better, like when He introduces us to new people and helps us care for them or like when He shows us the ministry where He wants us to use our time, talents and treasure.

Room-by-room, Jesus brings light to our heart. He will go anywhere we invite Him, but He knows that some rooms will take more time for us to open. The rooms that hold our Fears, Disappointments, Hates and Hurts are particularly difficult. We didn’t invite these things; they forced their way in and claimed rooms in the deepest, darkest corners of our heart. Over the years, they have become strongholds for Satan. He uses them as his bases of operation as he leads us into sin and prevents us from becoming all that God wants us to be.

It takes incredible courage to open the doors of these rooms to Jesus. Each one is filled with so much fear and pain that the doors can only open a fraction at first. If our courage fails us, we slam them shut again, but if we release these rooms to Jesus, He enters boldly, throws the light switch and evicts the Enemy!

In the light, Jesus shows us the lies that Satan has been telling us about these rooms while we were too afraid to open them and inspect them carefully. Under His loving care, we begin to see how we can turn these Fears, Disappointments, Hates and Hurts into New Hope, New Acceptance, New Love and New Strength.

Jesus is patient, but He isn’t satisfied with only part of our heart.  He’ll keep knocking until we open every door to every room.  He’s persistent with a purpose.  Jesus wants us to know that those things we don’t release to Him end up owning us.  They lead to unhappiness and failure, and they give Satan a hold on our hearts.  It’s only the heart completely open to God that can fully shine His light.


Filed under christianity, eternity, heart, Religion, Spiritual Growth, Spirituality, Uncategorized