Shot at the night

shot at the night

In 2011, a Canadian rapper by the name of Drake coined the term “Yolo” which means “You Only Live Once.” This term is similar to “carpe diem” or “memento mori.” It implies that one should enjoy life, even if it entails taking risks. Its a term used in all situations in which someone has a chance at something great or fun or desirable but also comes with an enormous amount of risk. Many subset of culture have either rejected or embrace this thinking in their lives. The premise is that you only get one chance to live this life, you might as well make the most of which is limited and short on time.
In 2004, I was presented with an opportunity to travel to Mexico City, Mexico on mission with our high school & college ministry. I had never been out of the country nor had I ever flown. While the opportunity to do such seemed so cool and desirable, the fear associated with this potential adventure outweighed any positives. I promptly declined the invitation to take part in that trip. To me, the risks outweighed the rewards, the fear outweighed the fun. I had never been adventurous in my life and I didn’t feel like that would be the best time to start with only being removed from “9/11” three years before.
Isn’t that like us sometimes…
We run from fear…
We run from failure…
A few days later, my student pastor came to me and asked why I didn’t accepted the chance to do something amazing. He said, “Michael, you only get one chance at this life in Christ, you need to make the most of it. Don’t be afraid to take chances when you know Christ is guiding you. You never know what He has in store for you.” After that conversation, I spent a few more day ignoring this pressing thought in my mind that I needed to be apart of this trip. You see, for me, it wasn’t about flying or traveling to a foreign country, or anything like that. It was more about the fear of failure, the fear of not being adequately prepared to tell someone in a whole different country what it means to follow Jesus. I had this thought that God wouldn’t want to use me to change the world. I didn’t think I was the best person for the job. I didn’t have some amazing testimony, nor was I some biblical scholar who could articulate the wonderful truths located in scripture.
However, this thought would not leave,
it kept pressing,
kept reminding,
kept invading my thoughts,
“You only get one chance at this life…”
“One chance to be on the right side of history…”
“One chance to make an impact in this world…”
In this life with Christ, we are giving the grandest of opportunity to live a life called by God in the fullest of ways. You see, when we become followers of Christ, we see the world in a different way. We see that broken, the depraved, the weak, the needy. We see that world as if we are looking thru the eyes of Christ. However, it we put limits on how God can use us, or blinders on what we see, then we limit our potential in effecting change in this world. God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called.
Once I realized this, I started to see that I didn’t need to be the most talented, the most spiritual, the most articulated person. God was calling me on the grandest of adventure and I only needed to say yes for my whole life to change in the process. While there in Mexico, I got the opportunity to talk to students about a life in Christ. I spoke about my life coming from a poor family and being homeless and how God, even thru those moments, was always there for me. When the summer was over, we had been witness to over 16 students become followers of Jesus. God gave me a shot at making a difference.  After that trip to Mexico, I decided that I would attend bible college in a state 16 hrs away from home. The seven years I spent in Kentucky were some of the best, worst times and yet thru it all, I knew and believed that God had a great plan for my life. Seven years later, God called my family and I to move to California to become a Student Pastor.
Thousands of years ago, Jesus approached 12 men and told them that if they followed Him, they would be apart of a movement that would change the world one person at a time. This same Jesus could be calling you to become apart of a movement that is intended on changing the world. This same Jesus could be calling you to step out on faith and go on a mission trip, He could be calling you to full time ministry. It doesn’t matter your age or your gender, God could be calling you to lead worship, be a teacher of his word, bring his love & grace, & truth to foreign places. He could be calling you to love your next door neighbor, be nice to your co-worker, go after that promotion, take a trip, visit a friend, forgive your enemies…
You only get one shot at the night to make a difference. You get only one shot at the night to effect change for future generations. Our lives are described in the bible as a vapor…here today, gone the next. We are not promised tomorrow or the night. We need to live as if tomorrow is no guarantee. We are not promised to live a great life, or a life of luxury, however we are promised to live a full life if we are in Christ!
It doesn’t matter if you 10 yrs of age or 80 yrs of age. God can use you to make a difference. Your dreams are still alive and God believes in you!
You only get one shot at this life and to be on the right side of history and to effect change in this world. Regardless if your dreams are unlikely or improbable…God can make them come true!
May you risk…
May you live…
May you take a leap of faith…
May you live as if tomorrow isn’t promised…
May you take a shot at the night…

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