Tag Archives: Grace

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….

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…

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…..

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….

Thursdays can be for complete regeneration

Regeneration… renewal… realization of the reality of grace…..

And the symbol of it all was something as mundane as a truck… a thing… a gift…

Such worries… such fears… me… a person who tells others of the grace of God… of the protection… of the shade of his magnificent hand…

Yet, much of my summer was spent in worry… the deepest darkness… from the moment last May when I stepped out of a wreckage of twisted metal… an engine soaking me in fuel beside me… still running… electricity still sparking between bits of metal in the still running  engine…my body soaked with fuel…. and I walked away….

Suddenly I found myself relying on the kindness of strangers… thy grace of people who did not know me who I did not know… help from the blue.. human love expressed for another human being in need…

On that same day a job had ended… that I loved and needed… that made up part of my life… I had just driven away from it 15 minutes before…. and then the crash… the unbelievablility of it all… it felt like shattered light… beyond comprehension… no job, no vehicle, not enough money… A period of rest suddenly turned into nothing but questions…

Then two hours later… I drove home in a new vehicle… that I thought to have only a few days… when I got home I lay down saying “enough for the troubles of this day”… tomorrow will take care of its own troubles.. and I slept…

When I woke the next morning I took stock… not able to see how to get to the end of it… a month passed.. another month… a third… 

Endless grace… for every worry, I received a gift… I was at least wise enough to pray… and with every prayer an answer came… not always the one I thought best… but an answer… every time I needed something it came…. finally I decided to stop worrying, especially after I preached a sermon on laying back in the current, on the hands of God….

Nothing about which I worried came to pass… Money came when it was needed… this was the summer of photography… word of mouth… the kindness of strangers…

I am standing in a grocery check out line with a photography magazine… a lady behind me with four kids in tow asked me if I was a photographer… soon there was a beautiful afternoon recording the lives of a beautiful family… then another… and another… all from a smiling exchange in a grocery check out line… what are the odds… incalculable…  

Paperwork can always go wrong…  it did over and over… soon I am paying for a vehicle myself without enough money to do so.. yet, things kept coming… grace upon grace… blessing upon blessing.. 

Lord were you teaching me to lay back on the current… were you teaching me to lay in your magnificent hand… were you teaching me about your love… Lord, I am a miracle guy… it all has meaning to me… I see you behind the veil… though I can only perceive your shadow, I see the work of your hand…

Then all the right things came together in a way I could never have predicted… it required a change of hearts… it required a plentitude of grace…

So I have learned this summer that I can lay back on the raging current and your strong hands will be there…. not one thing that gave me worry came to pass… not one thing that caused me to wake in a sweat at night arose to show itself…

I am home now… all the financial issues are gone… a beautiful vehicle… a near duplicate of the one I had carried my mother in to her last visit to the doctor, her last visit to see her precious nieces and nephews… the relatives who loved her so much… the one I drove to the hospital when one of my dearest friends called me to say “she’s gone sweetheart, she’s gone”… the vehicle I drove home to walk through the door to the home that had been hers also… truly alone for the second time in my life… the vehicle that had carried her for the last time to visit the resting place of my father, her husband and the place she was to rest  only 34 days later her body so tired at 92…  and that I was nostalgic for because it had taken me through so much… It was something that had been such a precious part of my life that was now gone in twisted metal… important only to me… holding precious memories…

When I went to visit a sales lot to look at a car, a compromise, a substitute… the salesman said “wait, I think I have something that just came in you might like”…. I went back to wait in the office…

A few minutes later he turned the corner…. a transcendent moment…. the truck he drove was exactly a copy of the truck I lost, in color, in interior… but better….

The last few days I had been nostalgic, thinking remembering… not praying for or asking for something like this to happen… that seemed small….

But, then everything started to fall into place… I drove home that afternoon in peace… realizing that something inexplicable had happened… I am a miracle guy…. I accept it for what it is…. what are the odds that I would be given back the same vehicle… but better… right down to the color  of the markings on the gauges….

Silly…. maybe…it’s just a truck… but only the Lord could have known what that particular truck meant to me… deep in my soul I know and feel and accept a gift…. that I didn’t deserve but turned me back onto a path….

So this Thursday, I am regenerated… I am full, I am happy and at peace… not because of a truck, but because of a gift that my soul knows was God saying I care, I know you and I love you…..

Thursdays can be for regeneration…. Thank you Lord….