Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Learning to Be a Lion-Chaser {Part 2}

{by Katrina Rebsch}

As I finished my second read-through of this book, more slowly this time in order to better digest the content, the wheels in my heart and mind began turning.  Slowly at first, then faster and faster as passions were defined and new dreams awakened that had lain buried for a long time under the guise of the impossible.  Excitement surged through my being and hope for the future was restored!  Suddenly, I wanted to be a lion chaser in the Kingdom of God!  To dream big, take risks as God leads, and trust Him for the impossible... 

A few days later found me at my computer typing out the following lists:

Passions Defined:
  •   Teaching the Bible and discipling others (especially teenage girls)
  •   Evangelizing
  •   Homeschooling
  •   Seeing women/girls choose life for their babies
  •   Missionary work around the globe
  •   Orphans being adopted
  •   Supporting busy mothers in their noble work of homemaking and nurturing children
  •   Writing to encourage others
  •   Godly music
  •   Healthy lifestyle
  •   Bringing beauty and order to a home environment

Dreams for Future Learning:
  •   Teaching English as a second language as a vehicle for sharing the Gospel
  •   The job of an ultrasound technician for use at crisis pregnancy centers
  •   Basic midwifery/doula skills
  •   Gardening
  •   Photography
  •   Playing the guitar

Dreams for Future Doing:
  •   Running a haven home for missionaries where they can stay for free while on furlough and be refreshed; one that would include a big garden for soul nourishment
  •   Publishing a book
  •   Acting in a Christian movie
  •   Becoming an advocate for orphan adoption
  •   Sponsoring orphan children in other countries
  •   Visiting Prince Edward Island, the Swiss Alps, Montana, and a tropical paradise
  •   Getting married and discipling my children in the Lord’s ways (possibly adopting if God so led) 

I know that not all of these dreams are going to be accomplished in one week, one month, or even one year!  “A dream becomes reality one opportunity at a time...” Batterson encourages. And of course, to everything there is a time and a season.  Perhaps it will take a lifetime to accomplish these goals.  And maybe some won’t ever make it past the bullet point on my list.  I also recognize that a few of these dreams probably look far-fetched.  After all, where does a girl like me with no fixed salary get enough money to buy a home for missionaries?  And acting in a Christian movie?  I don’t even know any directors!

Yet, as a lion chaser, I am no longer limited to the logical!  I know that God can do anything.  The more impossible, the more He gets excited!  He says, “Trust in Me, and I will direct your paths.  (Proverbs 3:5) Delight in Me, and I will give you the desires of Your heart. (Psalm 37:4)  Chase lions with courage and faith and I will do exceeding abundantly above all that you could ask or imagine! (Ephesians 3:20)

Come to think of it, God has already been very faithful to make many dreams come true in my life.  How can I not trust Him for more?

Before reading In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day, I probably would have looked at a list of future dreams such as the one written above and laughed with just a hint of incredulity.  Me?  Do all that?  In one lifetime?  Isn’t that shooting for the stars just a little too much?

But then I think of Benjamin Franklin.  Ever since reading his biography in high school, I have been amazed at how one man could do so much in an average lifespan.

Wikipedia defines Ben Franklin as: an author, printer, political theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, musician, inventor, satirist, civic activist, statesman, diplomat, governor, and Founding Father.  His inventions included the lighting rod, bifocals, the Franklin stove, a carriage odometer, and the glass armonica (a musical instrument) which he played along with the violin, harp, and guitar.  Benjamin Franklin formed both the first public lending library in America and the first fire department in Pennsylvania, established a hospital, and reformed the postal system, organized the Pennsylvania militia and was very influential in the American Revolution.  He served as an ambassador to France, participated in the Continental Congress, and is known nation-wide as a signer of the Declaration of Independence and United States Constitution.

Whew!  Are you tired yet?  I often wondered when the man ever slept!  He must have been an expert at using his time efficiently.  Yet, despite all these impressive achievements, Ben Franklin chased lions in the wrong camp.  Even though he had a Puritan upbringing, he veered drastically from the Truth as an adult, choosing instead to embrace religious beliefs that left Jesus Christ out of the equation and looked to his own virtues to save his soul.  Thus, when Ben Franklin’s earthly life ended and he stood before the judgment seat of Christ, all his amazing accomplishments amounted to...nothing.

As the famous poem says:
           Only one life
       ‘Twill soon be past
     Only what’s done for Christ
            Will last.

So I think to myself, if a non-Christian with very mixed-up views on truth could accomplish so much and live his life with such vision and purpose, how much more can we as Christians do the same, but with the purpose in life that really matters: Glorifying God.

I agree with Mark Batterson when he says,“I’m concerned that the church has turned into a bunker where we seek shelter when we’re actually called to storm the gates of hell.”  How often it seems we limit God, content to stay in our comfortable pews singing hymns and listening to sermons but not really DOING much for the Kingdom agenda!  The Bible makes it clear that we are to be “doers of the Word and not hearers only.”

Too often, Christians seem content to merely follow along the “normal” path of life the world has mapped out: Get an education.  Get a job.  Advance in career.  Get married.  Have a few children.  Make sure they make it to adulthood okay.  Retire.  Die.

Of course, there’s nothing inherently wrong with this model.  I’m simply suggesting that we think outside the box, ask God for big dreams, seize opportunities, be willing to take risks, accomplish much for Christ with this one life we’re given, and turn this world upside down with the life-transforming message of the Gospel!

As I began to formulate ideas for this article, several other lion chasers came to mind who, unlike Ben Franklin, were Christ-followers who dared to pursue dreams, trusted God for the results, and often experienced much more than they initially had in mind!

I think of George Muller.  A German-born, ruffian-turned-preacher who moved to England as a missionary, George had a passion for spreading the Gospel and teaching the Bible.  As he busily engaged in the work of pastoring a church and establishing schools for Bible training, he noticed the distressing plight of orphans and street children on the streets of Bristol.  Burdened by the dire needs of these forgotten little ones George dared to ask God for a home where these children could be sheltered, cared for, and educated in a Godly, loving environment.  But George Muller’s motivation was not merely the care of orphans.  He desperately wanted to prove to a watching world that God still answered prayer and could be trusted for even the smallest everyday needs.  Thus, he determined to never ask anyone for funding.  Instead, he took everything to the Lord in prayer, telling God and God alone of his needs.  The results were astounding.  By the end of his life, George Muller had received the equivalent of millions of dollars all by God’s answers to his prayers, had cared for more than 10,000 orphans in five homes, supported missionaries in all corners of the world, distributed millions of Bible and tracts, and saw hundreds of thousands of people educated in his Scriptural Knowledge Institution schools.  A lion chaser for sure, who defied the odds and brought God much glory by his unwavering faith!

I think of Gladys Aylward, an English-born parlor maid who had a burning desire to be a missionary in China.  People told her she couldn’t do it, and formal mission agencies turned her away based on lack of qualifications.  But nothing would stop Gladys from pursuing her God-ordained dream and passion!  With little money in her pocket, she made the long journey to China where she worked hard to learn the language and befriend the people.  Eventually, under the auspices of Royal Foot Inspector by command of the local Chinese magistrate, she was able to travel extensively to villages all around the region freeing little girls from a cruel and painful custom and sharing the Gospel message with anyone who would listen to her.  Along the way, she adopted orphans.  When war threatened the lives of her family and many other homeless children around, Gladys led them all on a long, arduous journey over the mountains to safety.  In the face of all the odds she constantly came up against, God brought her through and received the glory. 

I think of Katie Davis, a former homecoming queen from Tennessee who, at the age of 19, gave up a popular life, flashy sports car, and chance for a college education at any university in America to pursue a dream of ministering to the least of these in Uganda.  Her just-released biography, Kisses From Katie, tells the fascinating story of how God is using her, an ordinary American girl, to touch hearts and change lives in profound ways.  Although Katie initially went to Uganda to teach kindergarten to underprivileged children, she quickly found herself serving the Lord as an adoptive mother to 14 girls, village nurse, and founder of Amazima Ministries, a non-profit organization which provides food and education to hundreds of poor children.  Everywhere she goes, she shares the love of Jesus.  Katie, now 23, is still pursuing her God-ordained dream and watching in amazement as He does the extraordinary through her obedience.

I think of Alex Kendrick.  A man with a dream to make movies that glorify God and serve as a vehicle for advancing His Kingdom.  With his pastor’s approval and his church’s participation, Alex, along with his brother, Stephen, set out to pursue that dream and chase that lion.  I’m sure you all know the results.  In fact, a number of you probably sat in a theater recently watching those results unfold before you as their latest movie, Courageous, swept the country with its compelling message about Christian fatherhood.  People said they couldn’t do it.  God probably just grinned.  Sherwood Pictures is now one of the leading Christian movie production companies, turning out films that are not only excellent in quality but profound in story content, touching lives and turning people to the Lord all over the globe.

As Mark Batterson states, 
“Obedience is a willingness to do whatever, whenever, wherever God calls us.  And that looks very different for each of us.  It doesn’t always necessitate going half-way around the world.  Often the most courageous actions only require us going across the room or across the street...You will have plenty of God-ordained opportunities.  Your job is to see and seize these opportunities by tuning in to the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit.  And you’ll be amazed at the way those spirit-whispers get you where God wants you to go...”
So, dear readers...are you ready to become a lion chaser?  To dream big?  To seize opportunities that come roaring (even if they look like five-hundred-pound problems)?  To trust God for the seemingly impossible?  To live your one life in a way that matters with eternity in view and God’s glory your mission? 

May God give us all the courage of Benaiah and the faith to chase His dreams for our lives!


  1. wow, i loved this article! I especially loved your list of goals and really appreciate your encouragement to dream big - life is such an adventure and all too often I feel like we get sucked into apathy when really God is waiting for us to take that next step and do something incredible...

  2. This is great! Grab your lions by the tail and live passionate lives of purpose for the One who calls us all to higher things.

  3. This is so inspiring! I read that book a while ago, but now I'm going to dig it out and re-read it. Thank you so much Katrina for some much needed inspiration and perspective.