Tag Archives: courage

One seed planted

Last Saturday I preached at a Men’s Breakfast for a church with which I work on an informal basis.

Lately, I have been wrestling with the idea of how one Christians idea can create change… real change… change that can move the world.

So, I wrote a sermon about how one could do such a thing…. kind of an audacious thing to do at 8 am on a Saturday morning to church members who have just feasted on bacon, eggs, biscuits, sausage, grits, gravy and plenty of coffee…. a sermon designed to rouse and inspire men who were comfortable, relaxed, happy… good men who do good things….

And so I started “Today I want to talk to you about changing the world”…. they gave me their attention politely… and listened….  I just wanted to plant an idea that one man can do something that can catch fire and change the world or at least your little end of it for Jesus Christ. 

Wonderful people, good Christian men all… and women…they were invited to this breakfast too…. listened contentedly….. around the room I saw a few furrowed brows… I hoped that meant thinking instead of dissatisfaction. 

I spoke for about 15 minutes…. good response… the pats on the back… then hand shakes… “good job Pastor”… “great message”….”you did good”…. I was pleased and disappointed.  Somehow I had allowed myself to think that i was gong to change the world that morning..  We stood around enjoying a great visit, good laughter, good prayer… then we went out separate ways….

“Father?  Was that really what you wanted me to talk about?  Was that message useful to you…. pleasing to you?  I left full of doubts…

Sunday morning…..

I walk into the sanctuary running a bit late because of another obligation I had at another church.  And when I walked in I heard my name. 

One of my good friends, a great man in the church was telling the church about my message and how it had moved him… I would never have guessed. 

We talked a bit later about some ideas he had…. he thought about the message and became more and more excited….

Father… maybe that was the right one… maybe I did say the right words…. how often inspiration seems so hollow until later…

Thank you Father for using that little 15 minute message to do something that may turn out to be wonderful…

One seed planted…. watered with the pure water of the Holy Spirit….

We plant the seeds, we sow the word…. and He waters them and raises them.  I am anxious to see what God grows from this one little seed.

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Thoughts on the influence of one person…..

So many people believe they have lived lives of little influence.  But they are often so wrong.  One person or a small group of people can change the world.   And human hands can work miracles when serving Jesus Christ.

 

 

Look at the first Christian church in the world.  It was not made up of the rich, the famous, those of influence, those of importance… No… it was made of you and me… fishermen, tax collectors, woodworkers, potters, sales people, crafts people… young, old, beautiful, not so much…

But from that first church has grown the Christian movement… the effort to bring the gospel to the whole world…. because the first Christians had passion.. had an abundant and excited love for Jesus Christ.   They wanted everyone to know about him… these were not just people to whom miracles had been done… these were common everyday folks who went out and told the world about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

I am thinking of a few friends who got together some time back.  They thought it would be a good idea to just set up a little booth with food, information, offered prayer, balloons for kids and a message.  They asked an apartment manager if they could set up in his apartment project where the demographic was quite poor… a place where many would say they were in danger.  But they decided to do it anyway…. the first time they set up they were amazed at the turn out… and the spiritual response… The Lord blessed their idea… So they continued… Now when they set up it is a production… lives are changed, souls are saved, medical care is given, counseling is provided and the world is changing because of their influence… just a few men and an idea….

I am thinking of a woman with a beautiful spirit, who decided that if she knew about it there would be no child who didn’t have school supplies… so she set out to get donations of school supplies for the local elementary and middle school… Again, she was shocked at the response of the community and the businesses… First, her local two schools benefited… then the abundance of the Lord started pouring in.. so that every Tuesday she and several other devoted women receive and divide school supplies… soon they had all their local schools needed.  Other schools heard of this and asked for help from the women.  So they branched out… now thousands of kids in many different places receive school supplies…

I am thinking of another person who took it upon himself to supply blankets to the homeless during the cold nights of the Houston winter….  the difference here is that this is a boy only 12 years old… he felt he had heard Gods word and decided to ask his parents to go to a local store and purchase basic blankets…  When they went to distribute the blankets they found that there were not enough to do around at all… the boy then started asking companies for blankets and friends for volunteer help… God blessed his work… now he distributes thousands of blankets every winter… lives are saved… lives are changed through the reality of the love of a little boy…

I am thinking of a person who decided that every senior citizen deserved at least a call a day… to break their loneliness… to insure their safety…. to insure they knew they were loved and cared for in their infirmity… he soon found he couldn’t do it alone because soon others suggested elderly who couldn’t go to church… now nearly one hundred volunteers work out of a church building with a phone bank built with donations calling to check on many, many senior citizens each day… the world has changed because of his good work….

I am thinking of a retired teacher who thought that the kids in her local school could use some math tutoring in the afternoon… Her first afternoon in the library was lonely… but soon one shy little boy came in… he needed help on his fractions…. the next day he brought a friend… then another and another …. The program now serves hundreds of kids in many schools and has raised test scores of students as well as the self-esteem of the kids because one woman cared.

These are all the products of one person’s hands…. one persons heart… one persons Holy idea that the Lord blessed immensely because all of them were done in His name and for the least of His children…

Never doubt how you can influence the lives around you..   God has given you all the power and ability you need… he equips those he calls….

Answer the call…. find something that moves you deeply… something that calls out to your heart… something that calls from within your soul… if you look into your heart, your soul and listen to the quiet prompting of the Holy Spirit your work will be blessed and will truly change the world…

Days of Peace

 

Today was one of those beautiful days…. when He seems to be so close…. from the moment of getting up, walking outside to feel the wonderful morning air…. until now in the quiet early morning hours of the 28th… this has been a time when the very air seemed to shimmer with transcendent light…

I always write these entries in the very early morning of each day… it is ten minutes until three a.m. now… in these wonderful hours of the morning the world is quiet… at these times I feel very, very close to the Father… at these hours the veil seems especially thin…

In the last couple of days I have been so blessed… a couple of what seemed to me to be completely incidental things culminated in bring a good friend a measure of peace…  a measure of healing so needed… a continuation of the process that can take decades after a profound loss…

Though I don’t feel free to outline these things in detail in such a public forum as this…. I can say that this has been a time when you see the Golden Strands that God weaves which become our lives… indeed at such times I think I can hear the gentle working of the loom…

Never think that what you consider to be the most unimportant things said or done will not profoundly move someone else and fit into Gods plans for our lives…

I would have to write a book to truly explain what is in my heart right now… the events of so long ago set in motion forces, for lack of a better word, that would bring peace to someone though a series of event strung together like translucent diamonds strung on that Golden Thread…

God brought together strands going back forty years….

Let every thought you think be as noble as you can make it…

Let every word you say be as loving and kind as you can say them…

Let every moment be one in which you look beyond the external to the underlying meaning….

And know that every action creates ripples that may well not reach the far shore until years later….

And know that meaning can come out of profound tragedy that decades later will bring healing, relief, new meaning and peace to the lives of those who are still coming to terms with a life changing event…. and know

That the Father God is in control….

The Power Of a Godly Father in His Son’s Life

I’ve been thinking more about the Redmond video I posted yesterday.   I have to feel that every part of that video is an analogy illustrating something good in the relationship of a father and his son in a very broad sense.  As I go through my work with young people, young men, as a youth pastor, teacher, mentor….. I see so much anger….so many boys who have just gone off the rails… in every case there was no man in the boy’s life…

No father… no mentors…. no role models… no leaders…. no one….

Abandoned kids… abandoned boys…. adrift, angry, like rogues… I recall a fascinating story about a problem in Africa with young bull elephants….

If a young male elephant is raised without a bull elephant around… it seems to lose control… it goes wild…. roaming through the country side with other young rogue adolescent elephants destroying everything in their path… essentially gangs… they are led by their testosterone at its worst…. power without direction…. power unchanneled. 

Apparently, the solution is to capture the crazed adolescent then put it in with fully grown bulls, larger, more powerful, experienced…   so the story goes the bulls will get the young elephant between them just holding it until it calms down… that will be repeated when it gets out of control… nothing horrible… no goring… no damage… the other bulls just restrain the adolescent until it calms enough to follow their example…

Could it be…. possible … that young human males are at least analogous to young elephants…. that without the leadership of a strong father…. they… go wild?    Can a young man become so lost without the example of a father that he strikes out at everything?  I think so. 

I am watching the little league world series… the coaches are miked… what they say to a kid on the field can be heard by millions of people…. a young boy is pitching…. obviously nervous…. not settled…. like a young colt… unsure… frightened….

His coach walks calmly out to the mound, signalling time out as he does… the boy simply stands waiting… the first words out of the coaches mouth are “you are doing great”…. the boy stands with his head down turning the ball…listening to his coach as the coach praises his skill, his character…. as the coach tells him how proud he is of the young pitcher… he gives him a hint about pitching… the camera angle changes… the slight smile on the boys face is visible… his coach pats him on the shoulder and says “you are the best, have fun, just have fun”….  as the coach turns and walks away the boy wipes his sleeve across his eyes… takes a deep breath… stands up straight and strikes out the next two batters….  And I think… it is that simple…  

Derek Redmond was seemingly alone when he started his race for the gold at the 92 Olympics…. but he wasn’t alone… the entire lifetime his father had spent with him was there… in his entire being…. the tenacity his father had taught him….probably just by example…. was with him… but most important…. his father actually was with him…. an appropriate distance away because his son had gone on his way as the Bible teaches that young men must do…. but his father was watching…

Derek had obviously been taught independence… determination… character… because when his father did see he needed help… he came to his side… and when he did…. he said “you don’t have to do this”… but Derek said… “Yes, I do”…..

What happened next… he gave his son just the help he needed… he kept the people who would stop him away… he just removed the stumbling blocks from his path… and he gave him support when he needed it…. but then something even more important happened….

When they approached the finish line Derek’s father let him go…. he released him to let his injured son finish the race by himself….

Derek’s father was being the perfect Biblical example of a father… he had trained Derek up in the way he should go… Derek had already proven that when he said “Yes, I do”…. Derek’s father then allowed his son to be the man he wanted to be by finishing the race alone.  His father could have gone over the finish line with his son…

but he knew something about young men…. they need dignity… they need to feel both supported but strong enough to do it themselves…. and at every opportunity a Godly father will let his son have the responsibility he needs to grow into the man he wants and needs to be…. so that he can carry that responsibility… that sense or ability and confidence into his work life…. his relationship with a woman…. he relationship with other men…. and to be an exemplary father to his own children….

The power of a Godly father in his sons’ life was shown in that simple video…. the power to direct strength…. to teach responsiblity… to teach courage… tenacity… to teach all the traits men need to make it through life… and something else was obvious to me…. though I could not see or hear it… I’m betting that at some point in that run with his father Derek heard the words “I love you son”. ….. “I am proud of you”…  just as I am sure he heard them throughout his life… 

Those all important words… I know… will be repeated to Derek Redmond’s own sons and daughters… as he leads them by the example his father used to lead him.

Derek Redmond in the 1992 olympics, His father raised him up

This is an earthly Father…. with a heart filled with such love one is amazed and brought to tears….

He would not be kept away from his son who was down, hurt and to weary…..

His son was hurt and his heart was burdened, and he sat there on the track until his father came…

His father who raised him up to continue his race……”You don’t have to do this” the father said… the son…”Yes I do”… the father “The we will do it together”

This earthly father carried his son until he got him near the finish line, then he released him to finish his race by himself on his own two feet. 

He gave his son the greatest gift that day… he gave himself and exemplary love….

He gave other fathers a great gift that day as well…. an example of how a father should be…

How much more will our Heavenly Father do for us…. in different ways.

He is all forgiving… all loving… perfect

He is filled with justice… our wrongs will be cured and our injuries will be healed.

Oh, there have been so many times when He was with me but there were only one set of footprints in the sand…

Those were the times he was carrying me… lifting me… being the air beneath my wings…

Raising me up so I can stand on mountains….

Calling me out of the boat to walk on stormy seas…

My Heavenly Father raises me up to more than I can be….

I’ve stood on mountains, I’ve walked on stormy seas, I been lost in abject wilderness,

But you raised me up Father….

I am strong when I am on your shoulders….

You raise me up to more than I can be….

Oh my Father…. You raise me up.

 

Jake Olsen… A true Christian Inspiration

When I saw this video,  I knew I had to share it with my readers….   here it is the Jake Olsen story…..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dX0ovhkgR7s

Friday is for grace

Today I woke to paws standing on my chest…  my little dog whining to me for attention at five in the morning… looking to me with the assurance that I would provide what she needs… unadulterated faith….

Lord help me to have the same kind of faith… unadulterated… knowing that my needs are going to be supplied… 

This summer has been a summer of plenty… gifts abundantly supplied… grace unbounded…

Today was the day I went to my family doctor to begin clearances to have a knee replaced… a knee which has helped me learn “pain”…..  

Father, when am I going to learn not to worry… heart fine… blood pressure… perfect… lungs… clear and well….

Why, after all you have carried me through this summer do I still sometimes wonder… “Is this going to be ok?”… “What if this happens?”

Is it the lot of all who inhabit our bodies of clay to be weak in our resolve… I wonder…

Nothing I wondered about or worried about this summer came to pass…. I came out of an accident that could have killed me without any significant injury… people who didn’t know I had been in the mangled truck asked within my hearing… “Did the person in there get out?”…. But you got me out…

You supplied everything… you supplied money from places I could never have imagined… you stilled my mind so I could rest… there was only those single footprints on the beach of this summer because you were carrying me…

The mysteries kept coming… combinations of events so incomprehensible as to be impossible without you…

So what was surprising today…. all reports good… Father I know the day will come when they aren’t… that is the way of all flesh… but when that day comes let me have that unadulterated complete faith… Let me have that unquestioning faith that comes only from you….

But for now I am so thankful for unexpected grace… unexpected love… unexpected wonder…

And Father overcome my natural tendencies… let me always be kind, moderate in my responses to people, patient…. let me always have that kind of faith…

the faith that I saw in my little dogs eyes….

she knows I will provide her food…

she knows I will provide her with love… petting…

she knows she will get a treat when I tell her she will have a treat….

she knows I will let her out when she needs to go out….

Father, let me have that innocent faith, that complete faith….

Knowing that you are always there, always caring, always guiding…

So I am thankful for Friday faith… Friday grace….