January 2013 - Vol. 65

Spirit-filled Reflections for the New Year 
by Dave Quintana
The Power of the Word, The Power of a Word 
The Word became flesh some 2,000 plus years ago, and God speaks still today. He does not keep silent. He speaks to and through simple men and women like you and me, and his Word is living and active. And so I’ve dedicated my life to being a Servant of the Word, and these meditations are an attempt to share with others some of the words that God has spoken to me. 

Dare To Be Great
I’m not much into politics, and won’t share many of my political viewpoints with you, but I love this quote by Teddy Roosevelt: “Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat." 
And David said to Saul, "Let no man's heart fail because of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine." And Saul said to David, "You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are but a youth, and he has been a man of war from his youth"…  and David girded his sword over his armor, and he tried in vain to go, for he was not used to them. Then David said to Saul, "I cannot go with these; for I am not used to them." And David put them off. Then he took his staff in his hand, and chose five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in his shepherd's bag or wallet; his sling was in his hand, and he drew near to the Philistine. 
1Samuel 17:32-33, 39-40 RSV translation

Convinced in Mind 
I suppose all stories, certainly all good stories, start “in the beginning”, so that’s what we’ll do this week – start my story “in the beginning.” Like most good Catholic families, we went to church every Sunday, and like most (good?) Catholic boys I made it a point to complain about it every week. I suppose I admired people’s faith (especially Gramma Q’s and my mother’s), but it didn’t connect with me very much. It was in high school (secondary school) when I met a young (23 or so) guy from church who seemed to be really convinced regarding the truth of Christianity when faith began to come alive. I became convinced that all the things that I’d heard all my life were true, and if they were true, it seemed obvious that they should make a difference for how I lived my life. And so the journey of faith began and my life began to be transformed. Where did your journey begin? Is your faith fully alive?
I appeal to you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. 
Romans 12:1-2 RSV translation

Conquered in Heart 
Part two of my story really turned my world upside-down (which by the way is right-side up for Christians – just think about it!). Still in high school, and away on a retreat in the mountains of California, God came to me in a powerful, tangible way. The simplest and best way to describe it is as being completely overwhelmed by the love and mercy and goodness of God, and being overcome by a burning desire to love God and others in return. Everything seemed as nothing compared to being able to know and love the Lord.  o this day, I can easily picture the setting and the sentiment of this life-changing and life-directing encounter. Has the Lord turned your world upside-down?  How has he worked to conquer your heart?
But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as refuse, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own, based on law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith. 
Philippians 3:7-9a RSV translation

Called to Community
I could still point out to you the place where I was walking along the sidewalk by the University of Michigan Union (I went to U of M in Ann Arbor, Michigan USA) as my freshmen year wound to a close where I felt so clearly God inviting me and calling me to community life. I had been participating in The Word of God community for most of a year and was very attracted to it as a group of people radically living out their Christian lives and seeking to make a difference for God in the world. While I deeply desired that, I also found aspects of community life that I didn’t particularly like or even that turned me off. Pondering everything and pondering nothing that day, I again experienced the Lord in a life-directing way. God is alive, and he has a plan and purpose for each of us. While it isn’t always fun and can be horribly scary, embracing his call and his will is the only way to live life to the full. In what ways has God drawn you to a “community of believers?” In what ways has God shown you “there are no Lone Rangers in this Western?”

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's own people, that you may declare the wonderful deeds of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were no people but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy but now you have received mercy. 
1 Peter 2:9-10 RSV translation

Contact with Servants of the Word 
Suffice it to say that my first encounter with “the brothers” was not overly positive. A bunch of guys all in one house? Living together? Kinda strange if you ask me! But that perspective didn’t last long, and as I got to know a few of the brothers, I found the idea of giving oneself fully to God, sacrificing everything, and living single for the Lord a very attractive one. It was certainly far, far from anything that I might have expected or that anyone might have expected for me, but it sure made sense to consider it if I was looking to live my life for the Lord as fully as possible. To my great surprise, another very significant life-directing aspect of life began to fall into place. In what ways has the Lord surprised you in the call he has placed upon your life?

Peter began to say to him, "Lo, we have left everything and followed you." Jesus said, "Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. 
Mark 10:28-30 RSV translation

Life Sentence 
For a guilty criminal, receiving the judge’s verdict “life sentence” is about the worse thing he could possibly hear. For one declared innocent by the Father who sent his only beloved Son to pay the price for our debt, “life sentence” is a call and an invitation that is like sweet music to the ears. Early on, I told the Lord that whatever I could do to serve him I would do. Of course I didn’t really know what I was saying at the timebut God certainly did! And he took me up on it. The greatest joy in life is to be called and created for something, and to embrace that and live it as fully and completely as you can!  Have you yet embarked upon a road of 1-1 discipleship? How might the Lord want you to “forget what lies behind” and “press on for what lies ahead?”
Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brethren, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but one thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 
Philippians 3:12-14 RSV translation

“I Want to Know More of Your Love” 
It was Good Friday and I was praying before a cross in our local parish in San Jose, Costa Rica. It was the early 1990’s and I was doing campus outreach work there alongside some other Servants of the Word brothers. I loved my life, I loved my work, and I loved the people that I was serving. And yet, as I pondered the love of God for man, made manifest supremely in Christ dying for us on a cross, I found myself praying “Lord, I want to know more of your love.” I can still almost hear the words I found echoing in my being that day, “Are you sure?” Something to the effect of, “Do you really know what you are asking for? Are you really ready for what you are asking for?” That is, “Look out!” As sincere as I was that day, the Lord seemed more sincere still. So I nobly responded, “ughh, well, ughhh… let me get back to you on that!” At any rate, after a bit more prayer and reflection, I again poured out my heart to the Lord, “Yes Lord, of course Lord, yes, I do want to know more of your love.” And by his grace, over these many years I have come to know more of his love. It has led me along unimaginable and incredible paths, and brought me indescribable joys and pains, both of which at times seemed unbearable. Would you like to know more of his love? Are you sure? Ask him for it.

By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 
1 John 3:16 RSV translation

A Guiding Vision 
Many years ago while praying, I had a picture (vision?) of a group of young people, 50 or so in number, singing, worshipping God with arms upraised. Then, I saw the Lord begin to walk up and down among them, much the way an usher taking up a collection would, in order to take up an offering. But the Lord wasn’t just looking for a few spare coins, or even a few large billshe was taking up a freewill offering of lives, of young lives, for himself. The scene engaged me at a profound level, and I felt (knew) that in some way my life was to be dedicated to helping him take up that offering… and it has been. And so here I am many years later, still walking (and flying) up and down, still passing the basket and still taking up the freewill offering of young lives! 
Then the heads of fathers' houses made their freewill offerings, as did also the leaders of the tribes, the commanders of thousands and of hundreds, and the officers over the king's work. They gave for the service of the house of God five thousand talents and ten thousand darics of gold, ten thousand talents of silver, eighteen thousand talents of bronze, and a hundred thousand talents of iron. And whoever had precious stones gave them to the treasury of the house of the LORD, in the care of Jehi'el the Gershonite.Then the people rejoiced because these had given willingly, for with a whole heart they had offered freely to the LORD; David the king also rejoiced greatly. 
1 Chronicles 29:6-9 RSV translation

Carpe Diem 
“Seize the day!” What a great challenge. What a great way to greet the dawning of a new day. Seize the day, each day, everyday, while it is today. Robin Williams, as a boarding school teacher in the movie “Dead Poet’s Society”, welcomes the new recruits into the great hall. The display cabinets are filled with photos and awards of those that have gone before them. He tells the new arrivals to look in to the photos, and to listen … and then he walks up behind them whispering “carpe… carpe diem … carpe diem!” My sentiments exactly. May we look into the eyes and lives of those that have gone before us and may they whisper to us and shout to us, “Carpe diem”! Seize the day!”

Command and teach these things. Let no one despise your youth, but set the believers an example in speech and conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. Till I come, attend to the public reading of scripture, to preaching, to teaching. Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophetic utterance when the council of elders laid their hands upon you. Practice these duties, devote yourself to them, so that all may see your progress. Take heed to yourself and to your teaching; hold to that, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers. 
1 Timothy 4:11-16 RSV translation

[Dave Quintana is an elder of the Servants of the Word, a missionary brotherhood of men living single for the Lord. He is also a regional coordinator for the Sword of the Spirit in Europe and the Middle East. He currently lives in London, England.]
Daily Meds from the Q Source
by Dave Quintana, published by Tabor House, 2012, 250 pages, $11.00

Dave Quintana's daily meditations and Bible readings to stir our minds and kindle our hearts in 2013. He explores themes important to all who search to be wise men and women in the Lord, and provides a wealth of personal experience from living and ministering in Central America, Asia, Europe, and the United States. Expect to be challenged. Expect to be inspired. Expect to meet the living and loving God. Order from Tabor House.

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