Tag: the shack

The Invitation


Several years ago, when I read The Shack, it took me on a journey. William Young has written a book that provokes and prods us, but at the same time lifts and liberates us. It begins with a single envelope in Mac’s mailbox. Inside is a call, an invitation, a challenge: “Mackenzie, It’s been a while. I’ve missed you. I’ll be at the shack next weekend if you want to get together. Papa”

I’ve been blessed with a number of “calling” experiences. Each call came while I was in the midst of a wilderness. Out of grief, doubt, disappointment, unemployment, failure, frustration, and spiritual dryness, I heard God’s voice challenging me, inviting me, to take a new direction with refreshed vision and always a call to action. Like Mac, I had to get over a lot of pre-set ideas about what God could do and what he couldn’t. In the end, I found more than I was hoping for. Each time I touched His heart.

I’ve learned to listen for his voice when I least expect it. Sometimes that lesson came the hard way. On a few occasions I’ve heard the ring, but refused to answer the call. I didn’t want a fresh perspective, or a new vision or something more to do. My relationship with God was just right; I was close enough for him to be around when I needed him and distant enough so I could live out my own desires and adventures.

Sure you can run, but there is no place to hide.

Have you heard His call?

You know that little nudge, that compelling whisper, or that slap up-the-side-of-the-head that invited you to make a difference, to send a note, to heal a hurt, to take a meal, to be a listener when you felt like being a talker, to stop in your tracks, to forgive the past, to hold a hand?

What did you do?

At the wedding reception at Cana, Mary told Jesus about the embarrassing shortage of wine. Jesus responds, “How does that concern you and me? My time has not yet come.” Or perhaps more like this, “Mom, we’re not at home, this is public. it’s not the time or place.”

It seems Mary could read more than a put-off in his words; she knew her son. She gathered the servants and said, “Do whatever he tell you.”

The first step to any miracle requires us to accept the call. But, the most important next step is to to take immediate action: whatever he says, “do it.”

Imagine the bewildered servants who had just finished serving the last of the Cabernet being told to fill the huge ceremonial jars with water…this guy must be crazy.

Regardless of what they might have thought, they heard the call and did what he asked and an award-winning new Cana Cabernet was served.

The miracle happened because they did what he asked. Are you looking for a miracle? A wonder? A sign? An invitation? A challenge?

What’s your first step?


Once a month the church youth group went to a convalescent home and led a little church service for the residents.

Doug went with the youth group and stood in the back of the room. The young people were performing when an old man in a wheel chair rolled his chair over by Doug and took hold of his hand and held it all during the service. That was repeated the next month and the next month and the next and the next and the next.

Then they went one Sunday afternoon and the man wasn’t there.

Doug asked the nurse, “What happened to that man?” “Oh,” she said, “He’s not doing well. Maybe you should go in and visit him. He’s just down the hall, the third room. He’s unconscious, though.”

Doug walked into the room, stood by the bed, and took hold of the old man’s hand. Before he knew what was happening, Doug was praying out loud. “Amen,” said the old man as he squeezed Doug’s hand.

In the middle of the squeeze, Doug began to cry. Then as he was leaving he bumped into the nurse.

“He’s been waiting for you,” she said. “He said he didn’t want to die until Jesus came and held his hand,” I tried to tell him that after death he would have a chance to meet Jesus and talk to Jesus and hold Jesus’ hand.

“But he said, ‘No. Once a month Jesus comes and holds my hand and I don’t want to leave until I have a chance to hold the hand of Jesus once more.'”

Holding a hand is such a little thing, right? Hardly a calling, right?


I believe every calling from God forces us into a crisis of faith. Is God who he says he is and will he do what he says he will do?

On a personal note is he really calling you? Does he really even know you?


Is this invitation really just for you?


It’s personal; his note is addressed to you, but it will require some new thinking, a new vision, and new plan of action.

If you can’t hear the call, get your focus off yourself and your pain. Is He calling you to get out of the church walls and into the streets?

Try one of these action items:

1. Walk your neighborhood and pray for our neighbors.
Then write a note to each one and tell them what you have done.
2. Read aloud the names in your address book and pray for each one, then write a note to each one. Send it as an “after-Christmas” card.

Follow His nudge; do what he calls you to do. Be what He calls you to be.

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December 19, 2011 | 0 Comments More