What are you asking the Lord to do?

Lord, that I may receive my sight. —
What is the thing that not only disturbs you but makes you a disturbance? It is always something you cannot deal with yourself. “They rebuked him, that he should hold his peace: but he cried so much the more.” Persist in the disturbance until you yet get face to face with the Lord Himself; do not deify common sense. When Jesus asks us what we want Him to do for us in regard to the incredible thing with which we are faced, remember that He does not work in commonsense ways, but in supernatural ways.

Watch how we limit the Lord by remembering what we have allowed Him to do for us in the past: “I always failed there, and I always shall”; consequently we do not ask for what we want, “It is ridiculous to ask God to do this.” If it is an impossibility, it is the thing we have to ask. If it is not an impossible thing, it is not a real disturbance. God will do the absolutely impossible.

This man received his sight. The most impossible thing to you is that you should be so identified with the Lord that there is nothing of the old life left. He will do it if you ask Him. But you have to come to the place where you believe Him to be Almighty. Faith is not in what Jesus says but in Himself; if we only look at what He says we shall never believe. When once we see Jesus, He does the impossible thing as naturally as breathing. Our agony comes through the wilful stupidity of our own heart. We
won’t believe, we won’t cut the shore line, we prefer to worry on
The Christian Church should not be a secret society of specialists, but a public manifestation of believers in Jesus.  Facing Reality, 34 R

Longing for a Break in this World

Chapter 31: Longing for a Break in this World

Some days are hard.  Some days are so full of stress and anxiety and fear and heartache that you long to get away. 

Like we did recently.  We went to an all-inclusive resort in a paradise called the Dominican.  It seemed as if we had been put down right in the middle of the Garden of Eden.  Beautiful beach.  Endless buffet of food.  Abundant produce. 

And nothing but fun.  One day my friend Steve and I were assigned the task of reserving some jet skis for the next day.  Through a bit of a language barrier we tried to tell our Dominican friend that we needed two Wave Runners for the four of us.  He had a hard time understanding since he only saw the two of us.

So Steve kept saying, “We have two ‘chicas.’”  Finally he smiled and pointed towards the village and said he could get us two “chicas.”  We didn’t even try to schedule a massage. 

It was a week—and you’ve had them—where stress was left behind.  Despite some translation issues.  No bills to pay.  No deadlines to meet.  Only an opportunity to commune with God, nature and each other.

But then the week ended.  And as soon as we arrived back home you could feel it again.  The things that needed to be done.  The concern about projects.  The relational tensions.  Back to a world where it seemed as if Satan might be winning.  But for a moment we had a tiny taste of what could be.

The Book of Revelation is an authentic taste of what will be.  It is the promise that in the end God wins.  Life may be hard now.  Life may be unfair now.  There may be challenges now.  But in the end, God will demonstrate he is the Victor.

And he will give us a life in Paradise.  And there won’t be language issues.  The Apostle John was given a vision of the New Jerusalem that comes down from heaven.  It is an immense place.  Some get caught up in the dimensions outlined in Scripture.  But I believe the purpose we are told of the size of heaven is to give us the assurance that there is room for everyone. 

“All who call on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13).  The end will be much like the beginning.  The God who shaped Eden out of chaos will take the chaos of our world and shape it into something new.  A New Heaven and a New Earth.

So call on his name and make your reservation.  It’s all inclusive. 

When You are Holding on for Dear Life

The Story Continues: Your Story, Gods Story….

Chapter 30 / When You are Holding on for Dear Life

One day in the late Spring they came to his cell in the Mamertine Prison in Rome and opened the door.  His executioners led him out of the city on the Ostian Road.

As they were walking out, other travelers would have been walking into Rome.  They would have paid him little attention.  No one would have recognized his face.  No one would have known his crime.  He was just another prisoner, just another “dead man walking.”

After traveling a few miles out, the executioners would have stopped.  A block would be laid down.  His head would be placed upon it.  A sword would be raised.  And in an instant the head of the most influential writer of all times would roll upon the ground.

Paul had known his share of suffering, but he did not shrink back from his calling.  If we could look closer, we would see how scars spread across his back like a windshield crack and how wounds stiffened his joints.  His own account of his hardships included floggings, lashings, beatings with rods, pelting with stones, shipwrecks, dangers from rivers and bandits and Jews and Gentiles, danger in the city and in the country, danger at sea and from false believers.  He knew hard labor, lack of sleep, hunger, thirst, cold and nakedness (2 Cor. 11:23-29).

It’s a wonder that he could move at all, but move he did.  From Corinth to Ephesus, from Thessalonica to Colossae, he left his footprints all over the known world of his day.  His visits to these cities were not for sightseeing.  He worked.  Long days of preaching and establishing churches.

When he wasn’t walking he was writing.  He wrote letters to the church in Rome and Corinth and Galatia and Ephesus.  He wrote to Titus and he wrote to Timothy.  Letters that continue to bless. God’s grace turned his world upside down and his life was spent telling others about it.  Until that day on the Ostian Road, when he drew his last breath.

When you face struggles because of your faith, remember Paul.  He anchored himself to a purpose that was higher and greater than his life.   There are many fights you can fight, but Paul trained himself for the “good fight” (2 Timothy 4:6-8). 

His fight did not end at death.  His writings have encouraged, exhorted, and educated followers of Christ till today and for all the tomorrows to come.  He gave himself totally to eternal things. 

So can you.  Fight the good fight.  And like Paul, finish the race well.

Chapter 29 / God Chooses Unlikely Candidates to be His Messengers

If you saw her backstage you never would have imagined what fame was soon to come her way. She walked out on the stage in a frumpy dress. Slightly mussed up hair. Bushy eyebrows. Seemingly a bit old and odd for the competition. But the moment she began to sing on Britain’s Got Talent she took the world by storm. By the final note she was receiving a standing ovation from the crowd and a broad smile from Simon Cowell. The video of her performance immediately hit YouTube and within a week had been viewed 66 million times.
She eventually won second place in the competition but that did not stop her. An album was released in November of 2009 and by the end of the year she had the top selling record world wide of any releases, selling a total of 8.3 million copies.

You probably would never have picked him either. One first century writing describes him this way: “Bald-headed, bowlegged, strongly built, a man small in size, with meeting eyebrows, and a rather large nose.”

Appearances aside, he had been spending his days with a singular purpose: persecuting Christians. Pulling them from their houses. Throwing them in prison. Even having some killed.

And yet God chose him to take his story to the Gentiles. Jesus arranged a face-to-face meeting with Saul while he was on his way to Damascus to persecute his followers (Acts 9). Jesus slammed on the stadium lights and Saul began to see the light. And by the end of the encounter his name is changed from Saul to Paul as he is given a new purpose and a new lease on life.

The rest is history. Paul, a Jew, took the gospel message to the Gentiles. Paul, the “chief of sinners” spoke as a gracious firsthand recipient of God’s mercy. Paul, the well-schooled expert on the Law, became the most outspoken voice for the principle of grace.

And aren’t you glad he did? Most of us would not know Christ had Paul not traveled the world telling others about him. And most of us would not know Christ if some modern-day “Paul” not walked across the cul-de-sac or the cubicle or the classroom to introduce him to us.

Susan’s look changed. So did Paul’s. The description of Paul ends by saying he was “. . . full of grace, for sometimes he looked like a man and sometimes he had the face of an angel.”

An “angel.” The word means “messenger.” God wants to use you to take his message to your world. Your street. Your workplace. Your school. You might not think he’d choose you either. But you might just need to think again, no matter your appearance.

Chapter 27 / Finding the Door to an Eternity of Sundays

In the spring of 2010 archaeologists unearthed a 3,500-year-old door to the afterlife from the tomb of a high-ranking Egyptian official near Karnak temple in Luxor.  This door was meant to take the official from death to the afterworld.

Jack found another door to the afterlife.  He taught English literature at Oxford and spent many evenings walking the gardens of Magdalene College.  And it was one evening while walking with his friend John that Jack discovered his way. 

His door seems to have found a way into his writings as a wardrobe through which his characters could enter Narnia, a kind of medieval version of Paradise.  Jack, or C.S. Lewis as we know him today, went on to become one of the great apologists for the Christian faith in the 20th century. He wrote of death in this way:  “If we really think that home is elsewhere and that this life is a ‘wandering to find home,’ why should we not look forward to the arrival?

How would you write about that time you take your last breath and the moment right after?  Will you look forward to it?  Or will it be a terrifying moment for you?  And would you want to be able to face your death unafraid?

Jesus enables us to do that, you know.  He moves us from a Friday and Saturday of death and disillusionment to a Sunday of victory.   Your way into that victory is through a door.  Jesus Christ. 

Jesus said of himself, “I am the door; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture” (John 10:9).  And all of the Easter stories tell this.

In another garden, another Magdalene—Mary—was looking for Jesus’ dead body to anoint, but it was missing from the tomb (John 20).  Two angels speak to her but she is so upset she misses them.  She keeps talking about her “Lord” and that he had been taken away.  It took Jesus coming to her and calling her by name before she recognized what had happened.

You’ll have your Fridays and Saturdays.  Days that are dark and days that are lost.  In those days when you can’t find the door out, do as Mary did.  Keep calling Jesus “Lord.”  Keep calling and keep looking for him.

Because if you keep calling him Lord, he’ll call you by name.  And when he does, you will turn and find the door to an eternity of Sundays.

Adopt a Revolutionary Motto for Your Life

Chapter 16 / Adopt a Revolutionary Motto for Your Life

In the early formation of our nation George Washington had the opportunity to become king of the burgeoning nation. But given the young nation’s experience with England and because he had a robust prayer life he knew there was only one King, so he declined the offer.

The people of the land apparently knew the same. “In a 1774 report to King George, the Governor of Boston noted: ”If you ask an American, who is his master? He will tell you he has none, nor any governor but Jesus Christ.” The pre-war Colonial Committees of Correspondence soon made this the American motto: “No King but King Jesus” **

The story of God’s chosen people might have gone very differently had they chanted the same motto. Instead, they wanted a king. Over the period of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah there were thirty-eight kings. Only five of them were good. Of the others a refrain heard throughout the Old Testament goes like this: “They did evil in the eyes of the Lord.”

Prophets appeared exhorting the people to turn back to God. God spoke through one prophet—Isaiah—to tell the people of Judah that they would be captured and deported to Babylon but afterward he would bring them back home. The purpose? “Then you will know that I am the Lord; those who hope in me will not be disappointed. Then the whole human race will know that I, the Lord, am your Savior, your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob” (Isaiah 49:23).

In Isaiah 53 the prophet depicts the coming Messiah. “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by others, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain” (Isaiah 53: 2, 3). God did not want the people to miss him. But they did. And still do.

Our nation would have gone a much different route had Washington agreed to be king. But he seemed to know what many others didn’t. When we displace God on the throne of our lives, the outcome will go horribly wrong. But when we put God on the throne in our lives, we put ourselves in the best possible position for godly success.

Maybe our American ancestors knew the best way to start a revolution. Adopt the motto “No King but King Jesus” in your life. See what changes that ignites in your life.

** Refernces made from “Is America a Christian Nation?” CARL PEARLSTON

Pay Attention To The Ripple Effect

Pay Attention to the Ripple Effect

The decisions you make and the actions you take affect those around you.

Rehoboam learned that lesson the hard way. Rehoboam followed his father Solomon to the throne of Israel. Solomon had exacted harsh labor on the people. A delegation, led by Jeroboam, went to the new king and asked him to take away the harshness.

In private, Rehoboam asked his elder council what he should do. They advised that he become a servant to the people, lighten their load, and the people would always be faithful servants to the king.

His circle of younger friends gave him just the opposite advice. They told him to work the people harder. He liked that idea, told the delegation his plans, and wound up with a divided kingdom.

At one time or another all of us are impacted by someone else’s decisions or actions. When we suffer the negative consequences of another’s wrongheaded decision, God can redeem the situation. Although Rehoboam wound up ruling only two tribes—Judah and Benjamin (as opposed to Jeroboam’s rule over ten tribes)—it was through Judah that Jesus came to us. God can work, and often does what seems to us as his best work, in situations that seem the most difficult.

We should always consider how our decisions and actions affect those around us. In “systems thinking” it is said that “you are the highest leverage point in any system you are in.” More simply stated, you can make a difference. You are more “powerful” than you think you are––no matter your station in life.

Clint Eastwood’s film Invictus tells the story of Nelson Mandela’s use of the South African rugby team to help heal a nation divided by apartheid. In one scene of the movie he explains to a team member, “Reconciliation starts here. Forgiveness starts here.” He knew his actions would have a ripple effect on those around him. Eventually the blessing of that “ripple” washed across the nation.

Rehoboam made a bad decision, but it was really his father Solomon’s actions that divided the kingdom. He forsook the one true God and chased after other “gods,” he neglected to serve the people and instead forced them to work harder, and he was focused on himself, as reflected in his accumulation of wives, gold, and horses in direct disobedience to God’s counsel. His son Rehoboam was merely living out consequence of those decisions and actions.

Learn from Solomon’s mistake. Love God first. Love others second. And serve those that do not yet know God. You will be surprised to see how far your ripple will travel.

Wk 2 God Builds a Nation

When the Last in Line Gets Chosen for the Team

The casting agent enters the room with her top picks for the show’s leading man and lady. The new series will follow the spellbinding story of a clan that builds a powerful, world-impacting family tree. This is the pilot, and it is crucial to make the right call on the individuals who will fall in love and launch this Kennedy-like family of influence and fame.

Producers and writers alike have waited breathlessly for this moment, the moment when who they have envisioned as the leading characters will be finally realized in an actor and actress. But when they turn to see who has been tapped for these most special of roles, the thud of their collective jaws hitting the majestic mahogany conference table muffles their mutual groans.

There before their wide eyes, instead of the expected vibrant, young couple with gleaming white teeth and tanned and toned bodies, stand a 75-year-old man and a 65-year-old woman. Not what they had pictured for their production.

And yet, this is what God has chosen. His screenplay called for a couple to launch a new nation, one that would impact the entire world. As he would say, a nation through whom “all the nations of the earth would be blessed” (Genesis 12:1-3).

Abram and Sarai stand there, adorned perhaps by dusty old robes and crowned with wispy white hair and loosely fitting skin and as befuddled as anyone else. God chose them to begin a nation. An unlikely pair, especially after factoring in the fact that Sarai was barren. How could God expect to start a nation with a woman who could not bear children?

To complicate the story line, it will be 25 more years before they actually have their child of promise. By that time Abram and Sarai will be 100 years old and 90 years old, respectively (and their names will be changed to Abraham and Sarah). Perhaps Social Security checks will help this special couple decorate the baby’s tent and they’ll be able take naps when the baby does. And the rest, as they say, is history. His story.

God picks people you and I wouldn’t necessarily select to take part in his story. In fact sometimes we are shocked who plays the starring roles in his stories. Unlike the way we do business, he taps people, not merely because of their abilities, but for their availability. God searches for people who are open to be used by him. Since he uses only those who are willing to be used for his purposes, there is no doubt that it is he who is doing the the wonder- working. Let there be no doubt, throughout history he is the one making things happen.

That’s good news, isn’t it? In the business world, you may not have a great pedigree. In academics, you may not be a Rhodes Scholar. You may not have a lot of money and you may have average looks. But you may be sitting in a pretty good position to be a top pick for God’s work.

Have a great week, do great things.

WK 1 Creation

God’s Great Passion is to Be With You

Some movies start at warp speed. Case in point: Star Trek. From the opening scene to the end it barely lets you breathe. If you slipped out for popcorn you were sure to miss something important.

Some think that the way to maximize the movie-going experience is to be in your seat at least 20 minutes early. Never done that? Then next time you go to a movie look around and spot the person that is in the prime seat—dead middle, eye level with the center of the screen. That’s what 20 minutes early gets you. Popcorn and drink in hand, nothing will move this person from their secured spot for the duration of the movie.

That’s where you need to be for God’s story. Its opening scene also starts with a relentless pace that doesn’t let up. The first line reads, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).

Right off the bat we find the main character in the story is not you or me. It’s God. And the rest of The Story will unfold out of the nature and person of this character. Just ten words in and there is enough action to leave you breathless.

It doesn’t take long to find out what God’s great passion is. Birds? Nope. Animals? Not quite. Sun, moon or stars? Bright guess. No, in Genesis 3:8 we find that God is walking in the Garden with Adam and Eve in the “cool of the day.

Sounds nice if you are in a hot, humid climate, doesn’t it? And yet the “cool of the day” is not the focus.God is, and he is near. He is right with Adam and Eve. And he is right here with us. His simple vision for his creation was to spend time with them every day, to take a walk with them. God’s supreme passion is to be with us.

Some of you have lived your life with the idea that God is some angry cosmic kill-joy who sits in the heavens and watches you, waiting for you to make a mistake so he can zap you. Or, you feel he is distant and doesn’t care or has simply forgotten you.

But from the beginning he has shown us this is not the case. He wants to be with you. He has not forgotten you. In fact, this might be the perfect time for you to go for a walk.

I pray that you are enjoy the first part of This Journey, that you have already found yourself into the first few pages of the Creation account and are already experiencing the majesty of God.

Let me encourage you to pace yourself. By taking in just small sips or this wonderful Story,God’s story, regularly you will be feeding your soul the vital nutrients it has been craving. It is much better to take in small amounts daily than sitting down and trying to devour it all at once.

May God Lord Bless You.
Have a Great Week, Do Great Things

The Answer is Compassionate Love!

In reference to an article entitled “There’s Nothing Selfish About Suicide” at the Huffington post. This article was written in the wake of Robin Williams suicide.
Let me start by saying ALL life is precious. I believe we must value life including our own life.

I read this article, not just the title, so let me share my thoughts. I am called to compassion, love, mercy and hope first. This article has many holes just is the person suffering from Suicide. My comments are from the perspective of understanding how to help any person in affliction of any kind.
The definition of Selfish: (of a person, action, or motive) lacking consideration for others; concerned chiefly with one’s own personal profit or pleasure
The definition of Depression: severe despondency and dejection, typically felt over a period of time and accompanied by feelings of hopelessness and inadequacy
Katie Hurley makes a great case for compassion but does not adequately defend the title of her article: ”Nothing Selfish About Suicide”.
The definition of Compassion: sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others.
Mrs. Hurley charges that “Until you’ve stared down that level of depression, until you’ve lost your soul to a sea of emptiness and darkness… you don’t get to make those judgments.” She further expels, “you are certainly entitled to your own feelings, but making those judgments and spreading that kind of negativity won’t help the next person.”
So this is what I am replying. I have starred down into a deep level of depression. Self-loathing, deprecating, meager, listlessly gasping for air like a gold fish out of the water, was a daily existence for me. I was medicating with anything I could get a hold of. Nothing was able to reach me in the pit of despair I was in…. accept for Jesus. The only Hope for any of this is Jesus. It was the call of the Lord God almighty, which was His Holy Spirit whispering to me softly and sweetly and even though there was such loud Chaos in my life, God wanted me to know about Jesus. That He suffered that I should not have to!
The only hope is Jesus. He came to seek and save the lost. I did not see any mention of this. In the article but I did see a self-help line and ads for books about the clinical solutions to depression.
You can’t hear or see God when you are self-absorbed. All sin is (SELFISH) self-absorbing. The bible say anything not of faith is sin. The call of sin is to destroy. It lies, it placates, it dulls the senses, it toys with emotion, it will fill your head with conceit and fill your head with loathing whatever place it can get a hold of to grow and fester it will take advantage of whatever opportunity opens.
There was some good advice in the article: in the “You can Help” section, Mrs. Hurley tells us to understand the warning signs, check on friends, reach out to survivors, encourage them to get help. She is actually telling us to be “Present” in one another’s lives. This is what Jesus taught as well to be compassionate followers and Love one another. In order to be compassionate you have to be involved. The best thing we can teach the ones we Love is about the servant hood of Christ. And the best way to teach that is to live it out daily. But apart from Jesus there is no hope, there is no help. We learn through the words of God that we are dependent on God (for everything) while at the same time inner-dependent on others. The first step in being set free from any affliction in our lives is Salvation through Jesus Christ.
As a follow up article from Huffington Post I would read: “What Kids really Need from Their Parents” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/12/robin-williams-quote-about-daughter_n_5671207.html?utm_hp_ref=mostpopular

May God Richly Bless You,
Pastor Win Anderson