Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Holy Ambition by Chip Ingram

This morning as I was doing my mail route a program came on the local Christian radio station called Living On The Edge. Chip Ingram is the preacher and today's message was a good one, especially for me, right now, as Shannon and I prepare to leave for Tanzania in a couple of days.

The message was titled Holy Ambition. Although I didn't hear all of it I want to share with you a few things I heard him say that caught my attention.

God has created, in each one of us a hunger for a particular ministry. What that means is inside of each of us is a magnet that draws us to a particular need. For one it may be Chinese orphans, for another it may be teen moms, for another it may be African Civil War refugees and for yet another it may be the starving people of Haiti. Chip said that most likely, as we listened to his message a particular thing came to mind. It is often something that makes our heart beat a little faster and the butterflies in our stomach increase. You might have that vision as you read this.

For Shannon and I, our hearts beat faster for the orphans and widows of Tanzania. The thought of hungry, homeless children, with no adults to hug them to sleep at night breaks my heart. Widows, mainly due to AIDs who have young children but can't afford food for them because they can't get a job because the children are too young to be alone. Or widows who do choose to go to work, knowing that leaving the 5 year old home to raise his two younger siblings is better than watching her children starve to death.

When I look back, I remember, even as a young child, being drawn to these people as I would watch television infomercials of young malnourished Ethiopian children with flies on their faces while an unseen announcer tried to convince me to send in my money to help. I wanted to help too, but found the idea impossible with a $3 or $4 per week allowance. It seemed like the cost of monthly sponsorship was always just out of my reach to do alone. By the time I was a teen and had some money, I was going through the selfish stage of thinking my money was better spent on the newest record album rather than a starving face I'd never see again.

Now...well, now I've grown up. In my middle age I have finally found my focus. It is such an amazing thing. Shannon has described it to others as follows. He says he used to just go through the day to day of life, kind of wondering why he was here and what he was supposed to be doing. You know, that feeling of, is this all there is? Don't get me wrong, life was good, we were Christians, but something was just... missing. After Shannon and I separately, but at about the same time, finally realized our calling, it all just made sense to him. Life seemed to be more worth living. He had a purpose.

Chip Ingram did say, that when you realize your vision, your calling, it may not mean you are supposed to sell everything and move to another nation. It may not mean you are to quit your job to go work at a local Crisis Pregnancy Center but it may mean that you are to pray, that you are to financially support others who are doing the work, or that you are to do some volunteering.

What makes your heart beat a little faster? What makes you get butterflies? What are you thinking about right now as you read this? Pursue that dream. It is God who placed it within you. Turn it into a Holy Ambition.

To listen to the full broadcast of Chip Ingram's message go to the Living on the Edge website and click on listen online. You are wanting to listen to the Holy Ambition broadcasts.

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