Posts Tagged ‘hope’

My wife and I went back to our home town, Winterset. It was the Cover Bridge Festival. I don’t get the big deal but it’s fun none the less. You see people from around the world come to a small town in Iowa. They celebrate John Wayne’s birth and the Bridges of Madison County. (I have not watched more than 5 minutes of the actual movie.) It is a big deal for small town Iowa. It brings excitement and hope for many of the small shops that are still in town.

We have only been gone from that town for about three weeks. It is amazing to see how much God has worked there. I heard stories and saw the direction our church there is headed and it creates a deep excitment. I knew when I left that town that God was moving and moving big. It uplifts me knowing God has the control of that town.

It reminds me that God is the one that controls all growth and change. With the new direction God has called on my life and my families life, it’s encouraging. I am praying through what God might have me do and I realize how it’s His plan and not mine. He is asking me to play a role in His story not mine.

I am reminded that God is in charge of all changes. It could be a new ministry, a new name, a different church, or a new town and it is God that needs to be the director of the change. This takes humbleness. We have to step aside and ask, “What direction do you want?” If we don’t do that we won’t have the oppurtunity to truley see what God wants to do.

Sunday I had the privilege of watching a couple of friends get baptized. They proclaimed Jesus as their savior and made the public profession. It was very encouraging to witness and know their hearts. It’s part of the blessing you receive when serving God and looking towards His glory.

There is a passage that hit me this weekend through Pastor Mike’s teaching. It is John 17:20 “My [Jesus] prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message.”  I was taken back and had to reread it a few times. Jesus, back when walking on earth, prayed for me. Through scripture and the testimony of the apostle we join in Jesus’ prayer. He took the time knowing who I am, who you are and prayed for us. Wow!

So what did Jesus pray to his father for us? I don’t know about you but it must be pretty important for us.

That all of them may be one. Jesus prayed for unity, that the family of God in the form of the church would have unity and a straight direction under Christ. God wants you and me to come alongside one another and join together under God and set aside differences. We should be able to unite under the direction of scripture and the purpose God has prepared in advance for us.“May they also be in us (that is in Jesus and God the father.”He also prays for the reason behind this unity, “so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”

To see Jesus’ glory. Jesus wants us to see Him as God. We should bring worship and celebration over Christ’s sacrifice and redemption He brought us. We need to realize that God the Father gave this honor to His son Jesus. This also was done before time even began. Is your mind blown? ‘Cause I can’t imagine that. Maybe the biggest way we can see His glory is through service. The apostles saw the work of God more than those that just showed up and listened. When you become active in your walk you begin seeing God work in amazing ways. You won’t help but get excited about the glory of Jesus.

Romans 8:31 puts it this way “If God is for us, who is against us?” Jesus has prayed for us as individuals and as a united body. We should be encouraged and uplifted to continue in our pray to God through Jesus. We shouldn’t be afraid to step up and step out to help those hurting. We need to remember that Jesus loved us so much he not only prayed for us but died for us and for those we meet daily. Let’s share that with them.

God bless.

Where were you 9/11?

Posted: September 9, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , ,

It is almost September 11th and I saw this video. It reminded me of where I was when the terrorists struck 11 years ago. I was walking in darkness at that time. It is crazy to think that I was in 8th grade when it happened and that the summer preceding was my most spiritual dark time since becoming a Christian. I was 8 when I was saved and baptized but I was a baby in my heart for the Lord.

The summer preceding 9/11 was a time that everything I did I was regretting. I use the excuse my family was falling apart. I use the shelter that I allowed my friends to become my family. I spent that summer smoking and drinking. I would look at the porn magazines my friends had and the stash that I had. At that point in time if a girl walked by and wanted to have sex I would have been ready right there. I spent that summer not caring what was right or wrong. I would talk to store owners and steal from them as I talked to them. I would curse so much as to cause the apostle Peter to blush. (He was a sailor you know.) I don’t share these things to bloat about how bad I was. I regret every bit of it. The worst was that this was all done after becoming a Christian.

This is where God took his spiritual 2 x 4 and knocked me upside the head. I was ditching school with my mom when the first plane hit. We were driving to Des Moines, IA to get me a padded chin strap for football. We were driving down the road when the first plane hit. We both figured it was a freak accident. Then when we were approaching Des Moines the second hit. We couldn’t believe it. The mall actually closed down but the outlining stores remained open. We went to Sears and just stood in front of their TVs watching what was going on.

This is where God began chiseling me. He began to chisel my hearts barrier of my anger and loneliness. Piece by piece the wall came tumbling down. People’s lives were being destroyed by 9/11. My heart began to cry out for those in the plans, the towers and the families. I saw people who were giving their lives to try to save a few people. My selfishness had gone away and God revealed to me the direction I was heading, the hurt and bitterness I was causing myself. He then gave me the choice, which path will I follow. Will I follow my self destruction or will I repent and follow His plans for good.

I knew I had to make a decision. Not for my family, not for my friends but between just me and God. I chose at that time to follow God and not be a rebellious Christian. There were tough decisions to make. There was loss of friends. There were family fights. I praise God for the wake-up call. I praise Him for not giving up on me. I praise Him for forgiveness and strength.

Mathew 11:28-30

 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

It is great to be apart of a denomintation that is putting action to the words being taught. There is an unfounded ideal that churches only protests, argues and discriminates. Not too long ago many Christians (and non) got together and went to Chick Fil A to get food in support of freedom of speech. I saw many complaints that you don’t see Christians lining up to help communites and to feed people. Disaster Relief is a fine example of how the SBC does serve the needed. 83,500 meals have been served since Isaac struck and that number will continue to climb. There will be teams of volunteers that are sacrificing vacation or sacrifcing pay to go and serve not just physically but also spiritually. Check out this article at the Baptist Press.

http://www.bpnews.net/BPnews.asp?ID=38637