Tag Archives: God

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.

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…

Leading Like Jesus Christ

Leadership…. thousands of books, articles…. thousands of seminars every year try to teach men what is leadership….

Leadership is at once the easiest thing to define and the hardest thing to do…. as I see it…. it requires a degree of honesty and integrity to such a degree that the leader is an outlier… someone who is off the charts…. because they lead by showing….

Jesus walked at the lead of the disciples hundreds… probably thousands of miles…  in fact he did not ask them to do this he just did it and they followed. …

Jesus taught his disciples to pray by praying… by worshipping his Father in Heaven…  He taught them to pray through the harsh watches of the night… because he did it they did it… Jesus asked Peter to step out of the boat and have faith that he could walk on water…. Peter was successful until he let his faith grow weak…. but he would likely never have done it had Jesus not been already walking on water…

Jesus taught them that the gospel is for all mankind by visiting with, eating with and staying with the lowest of the low in a town… he showed his disciples that we should care for the poor because he cared for the poor….

Jesus taught mercy by showing it… when Mary Magdalene was brought before him to be judged and stoned…. Jesus stood with her …. the perfect example of courage in holding back a mob with his sheer personal force… then he taught forgiveness by asking where are your accusers…. when she said she did not know, he told her then neither to I condemn you… Go and sin no more…

Jesus taught love by giving it… in the Sermon on the Mount, the most beautiful of Christs teachings we find him telling us how to treat each other, then we see him doing what he says by saying… let the little children come unto me…  

Jesus taught love and care for our physical well-being by feeding the people who had come miraculously… He taught that the body must also be fed as well as the soul because he did it.. he fed the thousands there from a few fish and a little bread…

Finally the greatest example was his willingness to give his life on the cross…. He paid the ultimate penalty for us… and in that example he tells us what we are to do for each other…  to love others as much as we love ourselves…

If Fathers would just show, instead of lecturing,  do the hard things instead of berating his children, not drink so his kids wont drink, not do drugs so his kids won’t do drugs and be able to and do everything that he asks especially his sons to do; then young men would be far less lost than they are today. 

If we would just imitate Jesus Christ…. the simply show what a Christian life is in love and friendship we would attract more people and youth to Jesus Christ because what we have as Christians will intrigue them… Then our opportunity will come to become men who are

Leading like Jesus Christ. 

The primary example is Jesus Christ… he was the leader of leaders, the king of kings,  lord of lords… because he was the personification not only of God but of Men… of fathers…. of leaders…

Jesus Christ was so tender and loving in his leadership… and in that he was more powerful than any leader who ever has existed or ever will exist.. His was always the first step as well as the initiating example…  He really did just a few things that are the most powerful principals in leadership. 

He, unflinchingly did the hard things that he asked the disciples to do.   He never asked his disciples to do anything he would not do himself…. He prayed longer… he was up earlier in prayer before the sun…. His step each day was the initiating step… he was the first one starting on the journey each day… He just asked his men to do what he did….  there is so much power in that.  The disciples realized that what he asked of them he would co and could do.  A leader who will not do what his followers are asked to do is doomed to be discovered as the fraud he is.  The school principal who never teachers, the field commander who stays back in the rear issuing commands, the factory supervisor who never comes out of the air conditioning onto the shop floor where it is hot, dirty and unsafe….  all these are not leaders but frauds who ask others to do that which they will not do…

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.

 

Feed my Flock…faithful hands….

These are the hands of God… because these hands are following his commandments… that the beautiful things we know about God can be made manifest…  that the true radical faith can be shown to be true… that we feel his pleasure when we are helping his least… when a thirsty child receives a cool glass of water… when an elderly widow doesn’t have to worry about rain leaking into her house… when a child lost in the world can find a place of love and safety….. Yes, these are the hands of God….
 
Because he put us here that through our hands his work can be done….
And these hands are doing just that….
 
 

Faithful hands

Is it the grand things that we would like to do?    Is it building the giant cathedrals and beautiful architectural masterpieces that is important to Jesus Christ?  What is radical Christianity?   If Christ were given the choice between a giant cathedral of marble and crystal… what would he choose?  I know what God would choose….  

Since 1974 I have been a youth worker in some way… some of that time was spent as a conductor working with young musicians…. some of it was spent as a teacher working way out of the mainstream and under the radar with kids who just didn’t fit in…  the vast majority of it has been spent in some kind of youth ministry…

In that time I have seen kids who could not study because they were hungry…. I have seen kids who were left alone in homes while their only parent was hospitalized… kids who were not reared at all… who did not now how to be …. in any sense… lost… without guidance… with no compass… Today even in America there will be hungry kids who needn’t be hungry… who needn’t be without good clothing… who needn’t be in dark, dank housing…   fatherless, motherless…  

    

   

 Thank you Lord there will always be people of faith….the radical Christians who truly imitate you…  like the ones of this church… who in imitation of you will get up in the middle of the night… to work.. to cook… to be sure that there are no hungry mouths if they can find them.. no children without food, without clothing…. without decent housing…To be sure that the elderly in the place the Lord has given them to minister have care… someone to check on them… someone to know if they have fallen… to know if they need food, or medicine, if they have a cool or warm place to live…. to be sure they have a roof that doesn’t leak…  

Christians who practice radical faith… real faith… the faith that insures that all those around them believers or not will be full of both food and the Holy Spirit… that those around them will know the mission of Jesus Christ… that those who may not know you will know that they are looking at people who love their neighbors as well as themselves… and who act on it…. that as far as it is in their power hunger will be banished, abuse will be stopped, loneliness with be destroyed, medicines will be delivered, love will be given…  

 The thing that young Christians want is a radical faith… that fulfils the real gospel as this church is doing… to help those who are weak, to feed those who are hungry… to stop pain when they can, to be sure that tears of sadness are replaced with tears of joy… that loneliness is replaced with love…  they have grown beyond the mindless activities that so many think kids want… what so many young men and women want is a real working faith… a faith that puts it on the line… that risks… that  

makes sure that the gospel has real meaning… these are young people who mean it… who take what God said seriously… who want to live a real life of faith… not an artificial, routine “religion” but radical Christianity focused on the  

Person of Jesus Christ and his true Mission… to bring souls to God.. and to take care or the Earthly needs of the people around them…  

to fulfil the two greatest commandments of the Lord God… To love the Lord with all your heart and because of that……….To love your neighbor as much as you love yourself….  

   

so that the love of God can be known… and felt… and real….

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

Unexpected Blessings….

One day I will learn that God can blind side you with a blessing…  from out of nowhere…. created from whole cloth…  Joy created seemingly from the vibrant light….

That out of his magnificent hands can come unmeasured grace…. opportunity

I thank him so much for leading me to answer this call…. this turn of affairs that only God can bring about… a time when he reveals himself in a way that brings awe…

I am a math guy… sometimes I see combinations of the events that are so astronomically improbable as to be unimaginable….

One of those things happened to me tonight.. and it turned into one of those times when the happiness and fulfilment is almost too much to take in… almost too much to realize with you human mind…

Those times are rare… but when they happen the realization of what has occurred has the same effect as the unexpected sound of thunder so close you freeze wondering what has happened.

At this stage of ministry and life all I care about is being close enough to God to feel his breath… to sense his unfathomable glory… tonight was such a night….

And you walk in praise…..

There is such a satisfaction at such times that you feel you really did fulfil what you were put here to do… what your supreme purpose is in life. 

And that it happened because you had a choice and you obeyed… you made the conscious decision to follow… you followed the precious fragrance of the spirit….

He said he has plans for us, plans that are good and not meant for our harm…. and he proved it tonight…

and you walk in praise….

You can see just a bit down the road that you are going to follow… that with one act of grace he has changed lives forever…..

And that in helping your life is changed…. often he teaches us as he gives us words to help others….

I was shown again to trust him… completely…

for when I didn’t have the words, he gave them to me…

for when I did not know what was coming, he prepared me…

for when I thought I was going to be struck dumb, he gave me grace…

for when I could not imagine the next move, I was shown transcendent light,

for I felt most unprotected, there came a hedge of protection…

for when I felt weak to the challenge, he gave me the strength…

I am thankful tonight that God has allowed me to grow to the point where I just stepped out of the boat… and the water held me up… and I felt him there, I felt his presence…

I am thankful tonight that I have developed the courage to step out of this boat into the troubled sea… and that through his grace and awesome power… he allowed me to calm the sea….

I am thankful for the words he gave me when I had none…. that I was able to give answers I could never have thought before….

And I walk in praise…..