Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Monday, June 28, 2010
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Vacation Bible School started yesterday at our church. We had been praying and planning for weeks. We had put in hours of preparation, decorating the building, studying the lessons, learning the music, inviting families, praying that God would bring the children.
Our small church does not have a lot of children that come every week. Some Sundays we only have a handful of kids in Sunday School (yes, that really is about 5 children). We love kids and their families but we just have very few right now. So we prayed and planned. We prayed and prepared. We prayed and invited. And we prayed.
Would God answer our prayers? I know that God is able. God “is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think,” and He is able to do it “according to the power that works in us.” (Ephesians 3:20). But would He? Did I really believe that? Monday morning I took my doubts and my anxieties to the Lord. I asked Him to “help me in my unbelief.” And the Lord answered. He strengthened my little faith. I prayed, “Lord, whatever you do, however many kids you send, we will thank you. We will honor you. We will surrender our lives to let you love through us. We will trust you.”
Bible School starts at 9:00am. We got to the church building at 8:00. We made sure we had at least 30 registration forms and name tags. We did some final preparations. And we waited on the Lord. The kids began to arrive: two; then three more; another little boy; a couple girls; and they kept coming in. Final tally, twenty-five children enrolled first day! Praise the Lord!
After the morning was over, after we sang all the songs, taught all the lessons, played all the games, ate all the snacks, and sent all the kids back home – I was alone in the sanctuary of the church building. I stood there amazed again at the wonderful, faithful God we serve. I thanked Him. I worshiped Him. I prayed for more of His glory.
We had a great day at VBS. I know that God will do even greater things during the rest of the week. I am trusting Him, believing Him, and loving Him.Do you have a story about how God answered prayer?
Monday, June 21, 2010
Also, check out my guest post at Larry Westfall's Pursuing a Life of Significance blog.
Friday, June 18, 2010
Several years ago, on a rainy August day, two young climbers decided to scale the highest summit within Switzerland —Mount Dom. Though they were young and relatively inexperienced, the two men felt confident in their mountain climbing abilities. Too confident, in fact. For despite deteriorating weather, they boldly went forth from the tiny village of Randa at the base of Mount Dom. Their goal—a halfway point called the "High Hut" where they would spend the night before tackling the icy summit the next morning.
The two moved quickly up the forested trail as the rain continued to fall and soon soaked through their inadequate clothing. At 6:00 p.m. the rain suddenly turned to snow. The trail before them became increasingly difficult to follow and they became lost. By 8:00 p.m., night had fallen. It was pitch black, they were soaked, shivering, and heading toward hypothermia. Then, just when their situation was becoming desperate, something miraculous happened.
Out of the darkness, a tiny light began to flicker. Even at a distance, the faint glow shone as bright as a lighthouse beacon to those two shivering, frightened young men. Where did it come from? Before retiring for the night, the Dom’s "High Hut" keeper did what he always did; he placed a kerosene lamp next to the door just in case a beacon might be needed by anyone lost on a dark, stormy night. His simple action saved two lives.
This true story isn’t just a warning for climbers; it should be call to action for every father. Our children start out with great hopes of reaching high places, but they are walking right into the growing darkness of a fallen world.
If left to themselves, even the most confident children will stumble into that world unprepared and destined for disaster. But God’s word lived out in the lives of parents can be the light to bring them into God’s house safely.
Psalm 119:105 “Thy word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.”
Our children need fathers and mothers to show them the light of Christ to guide them and keep them safe and warm, both now and forever.
How are you shining the light for your kids?
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Monday, June 14, 2010
Friday, June 11, 2010
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Thirty-three year-old truck driver Larry Walters was one day sitting in a lawn chair in his backyard wishing he could fly. For as long as he could remember he had wanted to fly but never had the time nor money nor opportunity to be a pilot. So he spent a lot of summer afternoons sitting in his backyard in his ordinary old aluminum lawn chair. He came up with what he thought was a good idea. He hooked 45 helium-filled surplus weather balloons to his chair, put a CB radio in his lap, tied a paper bag full of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to his leg, and slung a BB gun over his shoulder to pop the balloons when he wanted to come down.
He expected his lawn chair to lift off and climb a couple of hundred feet over his neighborhood. But instead he shot up 11,000 feet right through the approach corridor to the Los Angeles International Airport. When the police finally rescued him with a helicopter, and asked why he did it, Larry answered: “Well, I wanted to see what it looked like from up there.” When asked what it looked liked he said, “Awesome, man!”
I don’t know if I would feel close to God in a lawn chair at 11,000 feet but I do enjoy a good mountaintop experience. When you are on a mountaintop, you see how big the world is that God made and it makes you feels smaller. In the Bible, some important events took place on mountains. God provided a ram for Abraham on Mt. Moriah. He delivered the Ten Commandments to Moses on a Mt. Sinai. Elijah held his famous God-contest on Mt. Carmel. Jesus was transfigured on a mountaintop while three of His disciples looked on in amazement.
Maybe you’ve had some mountaintop experiences—at a retreat or camp or conference—and you saw the glory of the Lord in a new way. Mountaintop experiences are wonderful, but just like Jesus and His disciples, we have to leave the mountain to go down in the valley. Luke tells about the valley in 9:37-45.
The next day, when they came down from the mountain, a large crowd met him. A man in the crowd called out, “Teacher, I beg you to look at my son, for he is my only child. A spirit seizes him and he suddenly screams; it throws him into convulsions so that he foams at the mouth. It scarcely ever leaves him and is destroying him. I begged your disciples to drive it out, but they could not.”
“O unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you and put up with you? Bring your son here.”
Even while the boy was coming, the demon threw him to the ground in a convulsion. But Jesus rebuked the evil spirit, healed the boy and gave him back to his father. And they were all amazed at the greatness of God. While everyone was marveling at all that Jesus did, he said to his disciples, “Listen carefully to what I am about to tell you: The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men.” But they did not understand what this meant. It was hidden from them, so that they did not grasp it, and they were afraid to ask him about it.
On the mountaintop is a brilliant Savior, glowing with the glory of God. In the valley there are messed up people who cry out for help. On the mountaintop is holy worship. Down in the valley there is hard work. On the mountain we find strength and serenity. In the valley we find frustration and failure. On the mountaintop is delight. In the valley, there are demons, disease and even death.
Don’t be afraid. For as David wrote, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for you are with me.” (Psalm 23:4)
I always want to be on the mountain experiencing the glory of God in worship. But I also want to be in the valley reaching out to hurting people.
Where do you find yourself today, on the mountain or in the valley?
See also, Worship Is Not Just for Sundays .
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Monday, June 7, 2010
Last week we took a trip from our home in Grand Junction, Colorado to visit our daughters in Olathe, Kansas. Long drive (13-14 hours), short visit (about 3 days). But it was good to see my girls.
Of course when you go on a trip you always have to leave behind some things that need tending to. This time we didn’t have to ask someone to watch the dog since he got to go with us (he actually travels pretty well). But I did need to ask someone to watch over my garden and lawn. A couple weeks ago I told about my attempt at vegetable gardening this year.
In this part of Colorado (the Grand Valley on the Western slope) it can get very hot and dry. It’s high desert here. But the good news is that the Colorado River runs right through the valley and we have plenty of irrigation water. So lawns can stay green and gardens can continue to grow if we take the time to water them.
If I had just left on my trip for 5 days without asking someone to water the garden, I probably would have come back to an arid and shriveled up plot of useless soil. But contrary to my character (my wife says I am king of the procrastinators) I planned ahead. One of my gracious church members agreed to come over three times while I was gone to water my precious garden and lawn. I knew I could trust him, he is a man of integrity.
So while I was away I did not worry about my garden. It was in good hands. I enjoyed the visit without having to be concerned with things at home. I tried to compensate my friend for his time, but he just said he was glad to be able to serve.
Now look at my garden. The corn is about 10 inches tall; the tomatoes look great; the squash and cucumbers are coming up well; I am a happy gardener.
Jesus told a story about a man going on a trip. He called in his servants and entrusted his property to them. And he expected that they would be good stewards of their master’s money. After a long time the man returned and settled accounts with his servants. Some did better than others. But to each who trusted their master and served him well the master said, “Well done, good and faithful servant … come and share your master’s happiness.” (Matt. 25:21).
I was so happy to have a friend that served well for me while I was on my trip. And Jesus is happy when we serve well also. Here is a surprising thing that I learned from my friend: there is a great happiness in serving, both now and when the task is done.
We don’t have to wait ‘til heaven to enjoy the happiness of the Lord. There is happiness in serving—right here, right now.
What service has Jesus left to you today?
How have you found happiness in serving the Lord?