Source: Chapter Two…Looking for Answers
Excuse my grammar and punctuation if this doesn’t look as good as it usually does. You see, I usually have my wife, Lisa edit my horrible attempts at being punctually correct and grammatically perfect. As I write this, she is in bed resting. I couldn’t hold on to this for another day though. I will be preaching this Sunday and my sermon is indeed called, How great thou art. A sermon that will be based on my blog tonight.
I don’t think we ever truly sit and think about how great and awesome our God is. We are so finite and tiny. He is so big, awesome and infinite. The psalmist often wrote about how great and powerful and loving God is. But in Psalms 145:1-7 he speaks of how he will sing and praise God’s name. That the greatness of God no one can even fathom.
Think about that. How great and awesome God is. I had someone in youth once tell me that he rarely used the word awesome because it had lost it’s meaning through our loose translation. You see the word AWESOME really means, awe inspiring to the point of fear. People talk about how AWESOME their football team is, or their home is, or their car or even their pizza. Yet I have never came across a football team,house, car or yes even a pizza that struck fear into me. God is so great that he created the world and the universe in 6 days. I know that there are many who don’t believe in God or at least they say that they don’t and yet think of how awesome it is that God allows us to challenge even his existence. Though it stares at us on a daily basis, God allows man kind the freedom to choose whether to believe in him or not. Whether you want to accept his love, his grace, his mercy or whether you want to believe a lie. God is not scared nor is he challenged by man kinds denial of the facts.
God is so great that when man turned to sin, his plan, his way out, was to send his only son into the world and not just to come and walk with us and talk with us and tell us about how much he loves us. No, he came to die for us. God is so great, that in his infinite wisdom he knew that mankind would mess it all up. He knew that the freedom of choice would mean that mankind would choose sin. Sin that was brought to us by another one of God’s creations. Sin that was brought into this world by a serpent, who used to be an angel, that also chose sin over God.
Think about this. If everything you ever did was always questioned. If everyone you ever loved always chose someone else over you. If you built a perfect place for them to share and all they did was trash it. How much patience would you have with them? What if every time you did something it was with that someone in mind and all that they ever did was break your heart. Would you continue to allow them to stomp all over you? Would you as the son of God, Jesus Christ once said, “Turn the other cheek.” (Matthew 5:39) I think we all know how most of us would handle this.
You see what makes God so great isn’t just that he created this wonderful world, which is truly amazing. What makes God so great isn’t just that he sent his son, his only son, to die on the cross for our sins. What makes God so great isn’t just that his son, who is also God, resurrected three days later. What makes God so great isn’t just that he has amazing patience with the ones that question everything about him. What makes God so great is all the above and that he loves you.
With all of the wickedness in the world wouldn’t it be nice to know that it can all be erased with the love of a great God? Because it can. Unfortunately though, because we live in a world that would rather deny God then to repent and worship him, we will continue to live in a world that is hateful, sinful and rebellious.
You see we all have an empty hole in our soul that needs filled by God. When that hole is left void we tend to fill it up with other junk. Such things like what Paul speaks about with the Galatians in chapter 5 verses 19-21. These are things that our flesh tries to fill that empty void with. However Paul writes of what combats that, and that is what the Holy Spirit comes and tries to fill our life with. We read about this in the following verses 22-25 of this fifth chapter of Galatians.
How great is God? He is so great that he sent his son to die for us and then resurrect three days later. But he also sent us something else to help live our life by and that is the Holy Spirit. God is so great that he is revealed in three persons. The father, the son and the holy spirit. You see God didn’t have to reveal himself in these three manners, but he chose to do so. He chose to do so, because he knew that we needed him to do this. We would never be able to understand God by just him being the father of all. For a lot of the world, it would just be too much to comprehend. So he sends his only son, Jesus Christ. Jesus would walk the earth for 33 years. His ministry would be just 3 and a half years. He knew that he wasn’t going to walk among us all forever. Even in Jesus’ own words in John 14:16-17 God was going to send someone even greater. Someone who would be with them…with us…forever. God would once again reveal himself, this time,a third time in spirit form. He sent us God the Holy Spirit which intercedes on our behalf. (Romans 8:26) The Holy Spirit is what is given to us as believers in Jesus Christ to help guide us through life. This is God in spirit revealing himself to us on a daily basis. A DAILY BASIS. Everyday when we get up we can speak with God. Everyday whenever we need a shoulder to cry on, we have God the Holy Spirit who hears our prayers. Everyday when we rejoice over an accomplishment we have God the Holy Spirit there that wants to share in that achievement as well. What makes God great is that he is with all of his children, everyday, everywhere. He hears our cries, our joys, our questions, our disagreements, our concerns and so much more. What makes God so great is that because of his love for us he gives us a way to be with him everyday and yet, so many want to ignore it.
Everyday that you live you have a choice that is God given, whether you want to admit it or not. Everyday you can choose to accept God as who he is. Or to ignore him and rebel and live life according to your own lusts and desires. How does it usually work out when you choose to rebel and live life without God? Well it didn’t work out too well for those who lived in Sodom and Gomorrah. Nor did it work out real well for King Ahab and Queen Jezebel. Nebuchadnezzar thought twice of it after God humbled him for a few years and made him like a wild animal. King Herod reveled in the lies that he spoke like a god, but he didn’t think too much of it when he woke up in eternity without God. The great thing about God, is he gives you a choice. He loves you. He wants to be with you. But he allows you to make that chioce.
God is great. God is beyond great. In fact like the psalmist writes in 145:3, “his greatness, no one can fathom.”
If you’ve ever flown you know when you hear the flight attendant say, “Ladies and gentlemen we are now approaching our destination. Please remain fastened as we land” that your journey is just about over. They tell you this because the plane is about to touch down and it will be a little bumpy. Usually it’s not too bumpy, you feel a little bit, but nothing too bad. In fact, I have driven over pot holes rougher than the landing both times I have flown. It’s usually so awesome to hear those words, though, “We are approaching our destination.” You know that the flight is over. You know you’ve finally gotten where you were going. You get so excited that when the plane lands you don’t even feel the landing. All you want to do is get off the plane and kiss the ground. Well, at least I did because I hate flying.
Our journey with God is so much like that. When God takes us some place new it’s exciting; and when you know you have found the place that He has planned for you, all you want to do is get off the plane and get busy. I’m not totally positive that we are landing yet, but it would appear that the flight is slowing down and if I listen closely I think I might be able to hear the flight attendant saying, “Remain fastened as we land.”
I have learned so much on this recent journey but probably the one thing that stands out the most is that God is in control. Even when we think we are in control, it is definitely God who is in total and complete control. God makes the sun come up in the morning and set in the evening. God causes the rain to fall and the sun to dry it all up. God takes care of his creation… all of His creation. Even in times of darkness, God is there.
I heard this in a sermon a while back and it has been such a blessing to me that I want to pass it on. So many times during the storms of our lives we want to ask God, “Can you please stop the storm? Get me out of this boat!” Sometimes God does and sometimes He says, “No, but I will get into the boat and ride out the storm with you.” No matter how many times I have wondered what is going on, why is this happening, God has told me each time, “I’ve got you.” There are times that I look back now and can see things so much clearer. Like looking at a painting, I see the strokes of God’s glory and His touch that have added to the masterpiece. I didn’t see it then, but I surely do now.
Luke 12:27 says “Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” In times of darkness we wonder if God taking care of things. Is He really watching over me? Yet like this verse says, if God can and does take care of the flowers, I’m sure He can and will take care of me.
Another thing that I have learned on this journey is that God gives us others to help keep us strong. Sort of like when you have a buddy at the gym who spots you when you’re lifting weights. Many years ago when my friends and I would lift weights, especially bench pressing, we would have someone strong watching over us, spotting us on the bench. Now you never wanted someone weak spotting you. You needed someone who could help take the load off. The last thing you wanted was 200 pounds of iron sitting on your throat and your buddy straining harder trying to pull the weights off you than you are trying to push it. In our spiritual lives God gives us others who are our spotters. They pray for us. They send encouraging cards and letters. Sometimes they text and ask how we’ve been. Sometimes they even come to where we are and give us a hug and say, “I’m praying for you.” It’s nice to have those people in our lives and they are people who God has put there for moments just like that.
It’s also nice to have a partner in life that is standing with me as well. God has given me a wonderful partner in my wife. Lisa has been there when I have cried and asked God “What in the world is going on?” When I have had my moments of doubt and fear, she has been there to encourage me. When others have tried to tear me down, she has been there to hold me together. In my recent journey I have found out how strong she is. Sometimes she has been the stronger of us. At other times I have been the stronger one, but together we have survived.
So is this plane landing? It certainly feels like it is. But my journey will not end. When the plane lands and I get off at my new destination, the journey is just beginning. God has bigger things for us to do. God has more work for us to do. God has more storms for us to go through, (as scary as that sounds) and God has more sunrises and new beginnings for us to take on. The journey will continue, so let’s take another step now.
Patience…aka I WANT IT NOW!
I hate even typing the word patience. It’s like typing some ghastly four letter word only it’s eight letters and that makes it twice as bad. Patience and I get along like oil and water, we just don’t mix. But since I started on this journey, as I have told you, God has been re-wiring me. The biggest wiring mess that I have is my patience…or lack thereof. I’m a lot like the little girl, Veruca Salt, from the movie “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.” The last time we see her in the movie she is singing the song, “I Want It Now.” She wants everything, the whole world, not later but now. The thing is, is that her daddy had promised her everything she ever wanted; she just needed to wait until they left the factory. So what happens? She sings her song, throws her tantrum and she leaves the factory via the bad egg chute where she might possibly land in the furnace with the rest of the bad eggs. Mr. Wonka leads the kids to believe that it’s possible that she might survive since the incinerator is only lit every other day, so she has a sporting chance.
I don’t think I have ever been as spoiled as Veruca, but I know sometimes I probably come across as impatient as her. I mean what’s going on here? Why can’t God tell me now where we are going? Can’t He at least give me a hint?
Isaiah 40 is a chapter of comfort. It’s basically God telling His people that their deliverance is about to arrive. That everything they have waited for is finally on its way. In fact, Isaiah says that their sad days are gone. However their deliverance, though on the way, didn’t happen immediately. But it was on the way. The most famous verse in this chapter comes at the end. In verse 31 Isaiah writes, “But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.”
So what do you do while you wait? You keep praying, you keep studying God’s word and you hold on to your faith in Him. This is a lot easier said than done, I know. I usually don’t like to hear people tell me those old worn out clichés like “God’s in control” or “Wait upon the Lord” because I know it’s true, it’s just so hard to do. I mean, I don’t even have patience to wait in the drive thru at McDonalds a lot of the time and that’s just 2 minutes. God has me out in the water waiting for 2 months and I’m like…come on can you just get me there please? I mean, to be totally honest, when we first started this journey someone told me to “enjoy it” and I was like…HOW?
But as time has passed I can see how. I’ve never had this kind of time to sit and read and study. I’ve been busy bouncing from one project to the next. Trying to juggle family outings, church outings, finances, social life and everything else in between. Now it’s all about sitting back and waiting on God to make the next move.
I guess the best way to think about patience is to think about it like exercising. We all know that when you start exercising it hurts. Like those first mornings after the first workout you’re sore all over, stiff and popping aspirin. After a few days though you start getting used to it; but you have a hard time seeing any change in the mirror. I mean hey, you’ve been exercising for a week. You’re not sore any more but where are the ripped abs and the toned calves? After two weeks you see some weight loss and your measurements start decreasing. If you stick to the exercise and diet then in a matter of weeks you’re feeling better, looking better and the mirror is starting to show some change. However, it doesn’t happen all at once. I wish it would, but it doesn’t.
Same thing with patience. Patience is like the exercise we need to make us stronger in our faith. It doesn’t show up immediately but if you look closely you see that God is changing you bit by bit. Before you were lazy and wanted everything now but suddenly you find yourself being a bit more relaxed, studying God’s word more and praying constantly…you know without ceasing. It’s like, over time you’ve become the man or woman that God has slowly been preparing you to be. He keeps working out those imperfections…those areas where you got a little soft and He’s making them hard. Patience works you out.
In fact, Paul wrote to the Romans in chapter five, verses three through four, “And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also; knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope:” So while the storm works our patience, our patience works us out and makes us stronger in experience and gives us hope. Hope is something that God wants us to hold on to, because He has this. He holds us in the storm, He keeps us afloat afterward and then He leads us to where He has wanted to take us the whole time. So enjoy the time of floating around, because soon, it’s going to be game on and God expects everything you have learned to be used for His glory.
Rest, Repair, Revive.
The first time I ever went on a cruise, it stormed. The first day that is. The day we got on the ship and walked to our room we noticed that there was a bit of wobbliness on the entire ship. We were sort of going side to side walking down the hallway. We headed down to the lobby below the restaurants and there were huge windows where you could see outside the ship. Waves were crashing against the ship. It was very gloomy and dark blue outside. Since this was my first time cruising I thought maybe this happens quite a bit.
The next day as we were walking to breakfast the captain came over the intercom and said, “Ladies and gentlemen we hope you enjoy this beautiful day on the ocean. Yesterday was a little bit rough, but congratulations you all made it through the first tropical storm of the season.” TROPICAL STORM? Like the things that turn into hurricanes? You actually guided our ship through that? This guy must have been nuts. Then I realized, hey not bad. I didn’t even know I was going through a tropical storm, pretty sweet.
Unfortunately life doesn’t usually deal with us in that way. We usually know when we’re going through the storm. The question that I usually have is how do I know if it’s over? I mean is it over and now we repair wounds and get back to work? Or is it just round one of a scheduled 12 round fight with Hurricane Rhonda Rousey? And if the storm is over, why am I just floating around in the middle of the ocean?
Ever feel like you’re just floating around. I mean no storms, all the dark clouds have passed, but yet…where am I? That, ladies and gentlemen, is where I am now. At this point in my journey I find myself looking up at God saying, “Where are we God?” I mean I know I’m not where He’s taking me, but I’m not where I used to be either. I’m somewhere in the middle. The middle of what, is the question though. So what do I do now?
Psalms 107:23-30 really spoke to me recently. Again I will paraphrase. There were these men of God, merchants who went out on the high seas. While on the seas they saw God’s great works but during their time on the sea, storms came. They couldn’t walk on the ship, they were being tossed back and forth. Finally God heard their cries, calmed their storm, and the seas subsided. So then what? Were they left in the middle of the seas? Of course not. Verse 30 says that God took them to their desired haven.
I have to admit, right now I just want to go to my desired haven. I want to go and rest, and repair and revive. Here’s the strange thing though about this trip that Lisa and I are on. During the storms and the time we are waiting to be taken to our desired haven, we have been resting. We have been repairing and we have been reviving. These last few weeks have been a great time for me to study God’s word and to enjoy time in prayer with Him. It’s been a great time to be with my wife and talk about our dreams and what we want to accomplish wherever it is that God sends us.
You might be asking right now, well…what are your dreams? I can’t tell you…just kidding. I would love to tell you. My dreams and desires are to be where God puts me and see a community of believers come together, encouraging one another, loving one another, discipiling one another, so that everyone in their community grows in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and then spreads it like an epidemic to the rest of the community, state, nation and world so that we can see world-wide revival.
Yeah, it probably sounds like something you would hear from a TBN Infomercial, but those are my dreams and visions. To see a church that cares so much for its community that it breaks down the walls and brings the unchurched, the unloved and the unreachable to Jesus Christ and revival breaks out in that community. To see these new souls excited and bringing others just like them to the church and seeing even more reached for Christ. To see the community set on fire for God that it reaches to the next community and then that community reaches out to the next one and so on and so forth. You think it can’t be done? I beg to differ.
Paul did it about 1900 years ago and he didn’t have a car. He didn’t have internet. He didn’t have cell phones. He did it with love for mankind. He went on ships and got shipwrecked. He went to governments and went to jail. He helped establish churches and keep in contact with churches around Europe while not even having access to a fax machine or an email address. Paul changed the world for Christ in a time when it would seem like it couldn’t be done. Today, anything can be done. I recently spoke to a church in Alaska who watched one of my sermons on YouTube. All I had to do to make contact with them was 10 minutes of typing and sending them a link through my email and boom, I’m speaking to a church that 2 days ago didn’t even know I existed. You think it can’t be done? I say why can’t it be done?
This is what my passion and love is. I want to see not just a community changed, but the world changed. I’m tired of talking about it on Facebook with people who rage about how politicians are going to change things. Politicians don’t change things, people change things. Votes don’t change things. Love changes things. You want to see the world change? Then change the way you view the world. Because this world isn’t hopeless. It’s been deceived for far too long by the dark one. It’s been shrouded in darkness by hatred and evilness. But it isn’t hopeless. It just needs to have more light shed on it. Jesus is the light of the world and the world needs to see it.
So this is my vision, my dream, my passion. This is how God is wiring me while I sail around on the oceans deep. The storm may have passed, but now I wait for God to bring His gentle breeze in and guide me into the place where I step ashore running. I look forward to that day. Til then, I continue to rest, repair and revive.
Source: This is gonna hurt
This Is Gonna Hurt
I hated going to the doctor when I was really small. It seemed like every time I went to the doctor there was a four letter word involved…SHOT. I remember one time the doctor used that dreaded four letter word and I started to cry. He looked at me, very sympathetically, and asked, “What’s wrong?” I told him “I don’t want a shot.” He just smiled and said, “It’ll make you feel better.” He then went on to say that he didn’t have to give me a shot, but my mom, of course, said no, she wanted me to have the shot because it would make me feel better. So as you can guess, here came the syringe. Then, of course, the words that come before every shot. “This might hurt a bit.” When you’re five, any pain hurts.
Of course now, when I go to the doctor, I usually prefer the shot. It does hurt for a minute, but the effects far outweigh the pain. Usually by evening I’m feeling better, plus I have the medicine that they prescribed me. It’s just so much better than waiting for my medicine to kick in. But there is always an element of pain that goes along with it.
When we started on this journey there was some pain. I don’t mean pain that lasted for a minute, I mean pain that went deep. Cuts that went deep and are leaving some scars. The good news is that scars show healing. They show that hurts and pains have been present but that healing is taking place.
I’m reminded of David, when he had been living in the palace with King Saul and had been by his side for so long. Saul, however, had a jealous bone about him. Saul knew that God was through with him and that young David was the next star of Israel. People were writing songs about him and singing praises about David’s victories. Saul hated this. He brewed over how the people used to think about him that way but now it’s all about David. Saul, on more than one occasion, tried to kill David; and David had more than one chance to kill Saul.
The first time that David could have killed Saul was actually when Saul was searching for David to kill him. David was inside a cave with some of his men and Saul walked into the cave to use the little boy’s room. While Saul was relieving himself, David walked over and cut a small piece off Saul’s robe. When Saul left, David waited until he got out of the cave a bit and then yelled at Saul. Saul turned around and saw a humble David bowed low and asking the question, “Why do you believe that I want to harm you? If I wanted to I could have done it already.” David showed Saul the piece of his robe that he had cut. David went on to say, and I paraphrase, “I don’t know why you continue to hate me. I pray that the Lord will punish you for what you have done to me.” Saul cried because inside his heart he knew David had done nothing wrong.
For David to be hunted like some sort of villain was crazy. He had done nothing wrong. Yet he still loved his king. Saul was not only David’s king but was also his father-in-law and the father of his best friend. Talk about a cut that went deep. David no doubt loved Saul’s family but the main man of the family wanted him dead. This was the same man who had David move into the palace with him to play music to soothe his soul. This was the boy who defeated the biggest villain in Israel’s history up to that point. Yet all Saul could think of was killing David because of his own paranoia and temper.
When people hurt us, it can run deep or be very superficial. When someone we don’t know says something bad about us it can be like water off a duck’s back. No big deal. It’ll wash right off. When someone we love hurts us it can be the greatest of pains. For example, your spouse, who you’ve been with for years, cheats on you…that can make you never trust anyone again. A best friend stabs you in the back over something petty…that can make you cold and bitter causing you to never reach out to anyone again. A co-worker that you trusted throws you under the bus so they can move a little higher in the work ranks…that can make you go crazy wanting to get revenge. However, I think we can best handle the situation by following David’s example. He simply says, “I’ll let God punish you.”
Saul broke down crying as he realized, at least for that moment, that David didn’t want to hurt him. He may have also been crying because he knew it would have been better to have let David kill him than to let God deal with him.
So how do we manage the pain caused in our lives? We first have to realize that God has a way, like no one else does, to heal pain. That doesn’t mean it won’t hurt for a while, because it will. You see, when David was running from Saul, he wasn’t running alone. God had his back. God might not have brought him immediately out of the wilderness, but He made sure that as long as he was in it, He was in it with him. It also means that those wounds will make you stronger. When you look back on old scars you will have a story that can help someone else.
On my face is a scar from when I was six or seven years old. Growing up in the country in an old holler as we call it, there wasn’t any internet or even cable TV at that point. So in the summer my cousins and I would ride bikes from morning till night. We had a big hill we would ride down and race each other. One day as my cousin Pam and I were climbing the hill to race, her brother decided to make a finish line…by taking his fishing rod and casting a line across. The winner would break the line…or so he thought. But fishing line doesn’t break that easily. As I came down the hill going what felt like at least 120mph, the line wrapped around my face, threw my glasses off and it hurt like crazy.
I remember screaming and crying in pain. The line didn’t do any real damage to me, but it did leave a scar on my face that I still carry today. Sometimes the hurt we go through doesn’t cause any real damage, but it sure can leave a nasty scar.
One of my all-time favorite movies is “The Shawshank Redemption.” It’s actually a story written by Steven King who is probably known more for his horror stories than good fictional drama. This is an amazing story about a man who suffered 20 years in prison for a crime he never committed. Toward the end of the movie when it seemed like he was finally going to get redemption from the horrible crime he was accused of, the warden dashed those dreams and made sure that his new puppet, (who was running some illegal schemes for him,) would be staying behind bars for the rest of his days.
The main character said something that, at first, had his close friend rattled. He talked about his dreams of living free in Mexico, by the Pacific Ocean, because as he said, the ocean has no memory. However his friend told him that he was going to drive himself crazy with these thoughts…that it’s nothing more than a pipe dream. To which our main character said, “I guess you’re right. There are only one of two things I need to be doing. Get busy living, or get busy dying.”
I was saved at the age of 11, during a revival service. But I actually began working in a ministry at the age of 15 or 16, to be honest it’s been so long ago I can’t really remember, helping out in children’s church with my youth leader, Danny Daniels. My first time serving in children’s church I played a character named Patch the Pirate. I had a pirate costume and everything. Each week I would tell the kids a little story from the Bible, give out some candy and maybe play a game. Then Danny would preach a small sermon for them while I went back and changed into my regular teenage Dave clothes. It was something that I did until Danny went back to Indiana in 1992 after his daughter Amy and I graduated from Grace Christian School. I didn’t realize it then, but this was just the start of my living for Jesus Christ.
You see even though it was just a small thing that I did, dressing up as a pirate and giving out candy to kids each week, to those kids it was awesome. It was someone else who loved on them, told them about Jesus and yes, helped them gain a new cavity or two. Some of these kids came from very depressed homes. Some were from great homes. But each child, each week, had their own service, their own preacher, their own Patch the Pirate, who loved and cared for them for one hour, while the adults were upstairs enjoying their service. I learned something very important back then. Children can worship too.
Jesus once said in Matthew 19:14, “Suffer the little children and forbid them not to come unto me: for such is the kingdom of Heaven.” In other words, don’t hold them back from worshipping me. In fact, we should all be like children and want to worship so freely. Children believe everything so easily, don’t they? I mean, you tell kids about Santa Claus and they believe. You tell them about the Easter Bunny, they believe. You tell them about the Tooth Fairy, they believe. You tell them about Jesus and yes…they believe. As we become adults we become so cynical about everything. Kind of like Thomas who said, unless I see the scars and feel them for myself I won’t believe that Jesus is alive. Why is it that we let this world make us doubt what we truly believe?
The world works hard to wire us to believe little and question everything. This is why Paul wrote to the Hebrews in 11:1 that “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” It is also why Jesus said to the famous doubting Thomas that it was great that he now believed on Jesus and that he had resurrected. But it is so much greater that those believe in him who have never seen. This world works so hard to make us doubt everything. Not just our faith but people too. The world has wired people to doubt their spouse so they seek another’s heart…to doubt their jobs so they seek another employer…to doubt their position so they seek more power…to doubt themselves so they seek more acceptance from others…to doubt their God, so they seek another religion. God hasn’t changed. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He doesn’t want us to doubt so why do we? It comes from the prince of darkness himself. He makes us doubt everything. It’s really an old trick used over and over again. He used this same trick in the garden when he made Eve doubt what God’s intentions were and he’s used it on man ever since.
Don’t doubt that God loves you. He loves you more than anyone ever could. Don’t doubt that Jesus loves you, He died for you. He also defeated death and resurrected three days later for you. Don’t doubt the Holy Spirit that Jesus sent to us to help us with our journey through life. Become more like children, who accept Jesus with blind faith, because that really is what the kingdom of heaven is like.
The journey to find God’s destination.
I suppose the best place to start is in the beginning. In order for you to understand the journey that my wife and I are on, it’s important that from time to time I flash back to what has brought me to this point in my walk with the Lord. Of course it would take a whole book or more to explain everything, so what you will get are little flash backs, complete with fuzzy cinema screen and cheesy 80’s music playing in the background.
July 19, 2015…this is the day that I stepped out of my comfort zone and told God, I’m all yours now. Not that I wasn’t all His before, but there were definitely things that I was letting get in my way. The busyness, if that’s a word, of everyday life and not totally surrendering to what He had asked me to do. You see it had just been about 4 weeks before that God had told me while I was sitting in my office, though not in an outright spoken voice, but still as loud inside as if I had XM radio attached to my ears, that it was time to resign and let Him lead. I had been the children’s minister and youth coordinator at Fairview Baptist Church for over 12 years. I can look back now and see that I had fallen into a dangerous rut in my life. A rut called “comfort.” Comfort is not exactly what we as “Christ Followers” should ever strive for.
I believe that a lot of church members get too comfortable in their pews. I believe a lot of pastors and associate pastors get too comfortable in their jobs and I believe that sometimes God says….WAKE UP!!! You need to get busy. This world has very little time left before it will be handed over to the evil one. Very little time until God tells his Son, “Go bring them home.” If we are not alert, and doing the business of God, then we are being of little use to Him. We don’t have time to get comfortable. Comfort is for those who are resting, and right now this game just got real and God needs players and not fans in the stands sipping on hot chocolate watching the clock wind down.
So that day in my office, I started to write my letter of resignation. But I had Centri-kid camp coming up and I thought, I can’t resign now. As I prayed I even felt as though God said, “That’s fine. But the day is coming.” We had a great week of camp, maybe one of the best weeks ever. The kids all had a great time. One boy was saved, it was great. On the Sunday night that we gave our report to the church I asked one of our adults that went to camp to give his testimony about camp that week. He did a great job. While he spoke, again the XM radio came on and God said, “You’re done.” I was kind of hoping that God meant I was done and now I could relax knowing that we had other men and women who knew how important the children’s ministry was…that I could look for that position of pastoring that God was directing me toward without any worry about the kids. However God would quickly show me this was not the case.
The exact details of it all are really not important. But you know, when you know, when you know. And God has some great ways of saying, “I told you, it’s time.” So after speaking with my senior pastor whom I had worked side by side for the past 10 years on nearly a daily basis, my resignation was finally given. God now had me all to Himself. And that ladies and gentlemen, can be scary.
You see I have control issues. I like to be in control of everything. When we travel on vacation, you know by car and not by plane, I have a mapped out guide of every rest stop and nearby gas station so that we can make calculated stops every 2 1/2 hours to use the bathroom. All meals are planned. I know what city we are stopping at and of course the restaurant we will be eating at as well. The times in which we will depart and arrive, everything is worked out. I guess you could say that I am a bit uptight and well maybe a bit of a control freak. But that’s how I’m wired. Or that’s how I think I’m wired. It would appear that at this present part of my journey God is doing some re-wiring.
You see God has to do this from time to time. We allow ourselves to get sidetracked and re-wired by things of this world. God warns us in His word in Romans 12:2 to “Be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.” In other words, God needs us to not be comfortable in this world. Don’t look at the people of this world as being hopeless, but look at them as needing an example of Godliness and goodness. God needs to rewire our minds and show us that we have fields that are ripe for harvest. But the workers are so few. We don’t need a president who says that he or she is Christian. We need Christ Followers to step up, take charge and show the world that God loves them. He sent His son to die for them. He Resurrected on the third day. He walked this earth for another 40 days. He returned to His father and one day He will return to this earth, but this time he won’t be a baby. This time He won’t be a carpenter. This time He will reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Does God need to do some re-wiring in your life? Does He need to take you out of your comfort zone?
It’s scary when God takes us out of the comfort zone, but the fact is, any place you’re with God should be a comfort zone…period. Where else is there more peace than the valley where God places His hand over you? Where else is there more shelter than out on the stormy waves where God shelters you from the wind and rain? Where else is there more warmth than to be in the coldest of nights where God’s love surrounds you and takes care of you? It doesn’t mean it isn’t scary, but you are with God and that’s a great place to be.