19
Dec

Slow Reader Friday: Unstoppable

sneaker

Go here for the January 2015 MIP Book Club Selection! This one is probably going to be a wild ride!

The Man upstairs has a real knack of directing me to books that address my personal situation before I even realize I have a situation. Unstoppable by Christine Caine is the latest book to spookily address my current situation. It was not what I anticipated–a Bible study in the inspiring style of Women of Faith speaker, Christine Caine, like her previous book, Undaunted.

Christine begins the book by telling how she is an enthusiastic fan of the Olympics and particularly, the U.S. Women’s relay track team. For several Olympics, crazy, unusual things happened to each relay team in “the exchange zone” that kept the odds-on favorite (aka the U.S. team) from even contending for a medal.

The exchange zone is where the present runner hands off the baton to the next runner. The next runner begins running so that no time is lost in handing off the baton. But, that requires the next runner to look forward and it requires the present runner to make sure the next runner firmly grasps the baton in her arm awkwardly outstretched arm behind her.

Once the U.S. team finally got their exchanges down to a “science,” they broke the World record. In fact they shattered it. And the U.S. team even admitted, in the press, that their exchanges were the key to the win.

Christine makes the point that we, as Christians, so often fail in the “exchange zone” of life. We fail to accept the batons God sends us; we don’t hand off the batons when our turn is done or we do that poorly; and sometimes we even fail to run the race at all. She makes a solid case for why this is dangerous–the next generation may know nothing about God if we fail to run the race God has uniquely called us to run. That race is known as telling the world about Jesus.

She delineates all the reasons why we might fail to even start running our own race: fear, anger, resentment, fatigue, ignorance–just to name a few. And reasons why we might fail to hand off the batons God has given us to others: control issues, fears of failure, change, etc. What was most helpful to me was her set of “indicators” of when it’s time to hand off the baton: when your to-do list explodes and other batons are being handed to you for new races!

She is quick to point out that since that baton belongs to God, the new baton “carrier” may take our race a new direction and it may not look the same, but that is as God wants it. I may need to write that sentence about 1000 times for that to sink into my dense head!

The biggest point? That running our race is NOT about doing something great for God or having a great accomplishment on our resume–it’s about God changing us to be more like Him. Often, we fail to run our races because we feel we are unqualified to do what God asks. (OH, BOY, can I relate to this one!) But, God enjoys calling the unqualified and equips them with the knowledge, wisdom and resources needed as we run the race and in that process, the unqualified become not only qualified, but more like Him.

In my work in helping to start Compassion Counseling Center, I have seen this play out time and time again. I had no earthly idea how to start a nonprofit counseling center, but God did. And as I ran with this CCC baton, God gave me boldness to ask for help from the people who already knew what I didn’t. I did research online when I was too embarrassed to ask questions and God directed me to great web sites full of good information.

The same has been true of Christine Caine. Christine was an unnamed baby when she was born. Even though she was born in a hospital, no one cared to claim her as their own. Eventually, she was adopted by great parents. Unfortunately, she was sexually abused by others during this time. Eventually, she found her way to Hillsong Church in Australia (where she was born). She fell in love with God’s word while there. While cleaning out a basement there as a volunteer, the head pastor told her to start a Youth Center and threw her his pager (He was leaving the country for 2 weeks!). As a “baby Christian,” she had no idea how to do that and no idea why she agreed to do it!

Gradually, she learned what she didn’t know through answered prayer. That youth center was so successful that she was asked to speak all over Australia. She wasn’t a speaker! She began speaking all over the world. As she was traveling to do that, she had to endure some huge airport delays in a foreign country. While there, she noticed a slew of “Missing Persons” handbills posted on the walls. Christine started praying silently for the people on the walls. It dawned on her that they were all women and children. That bugged her.

She did some investigating and learned that the missing people were most likely victims of human trafficking. When she learned that this was a worldwide problem (including the U.S. and Australia) and that no traffickers are ever prosecuted and that women and children often die as a result, she decided God was handing her a baton. But, she had no idea how to help.

Little by little she and her husband started the A21 Campaign worldwide to prosecute traffickers, rescue the victims and to help them recover from the many “scars” wrought by this crime. Even with their valiant efforts, only 1% of victims are ever rescued. They are getting more and more trafficker convictions, but it’s still a tiny percentage for this huge problem.

But those rescued and helped have eventually gone on to proclaim Jesus as their fearless leader and they are doing other great things for God’s kingdom here on Earth. And it all started because of an unwanted baby in Australia.

What race is God calling you to run? Feel unqualified to run it? Welcome to the Club! Just start running and it will come to you, trust me. Time to hand off a baton to another? That’s a scary feeling? Welcome to my world. Let’s be scared together. 🙂

But if God can use an unnamed baby, a 4-time heart attack survivor, a stutterer (Moses), a doubter (Thomas), a complete screw-up (Peter), and a baby born in a horse barn, He can use you to do unbelievable things.

It’s time to lace up your Nikes, friend. 🙂

Monday’s Post: Did you know the definition for the WOW?

You Might Also Like: Slow Reader Friday: Twirl; Slow Reader Friday: Beating Goliath; and Slow Reader Friday: The Way Home

This entry was posted on Friday, December 19th, 2014 at 12:20 pm and is filed under God stuff. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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