What Are You Selling?

I’ve been involved with church for a long time at multiple levels.  I’ve done everything from preach to scraping gum off the undersides of chairs.  I’ve seen phenomenal leadership and some that was, well, less than…

I’ve seen street evangelists that were beyond weird.  Shoot, I’ve probably been the weird street guy and done so much of what I’ve done out of a sense of obligation.

Good christians go out into the streets and throw tracts at people.  They leave tracts instead of decent tips at restaurants.  They accost people at awkward moments and let them know “the way, the truth and the life.”

I’ve been on both sides of those conversations and never been successful.

Most of the time, I was more embarrassed than the person that I was talking to.  I was more afraid.

We sing the songs in church.  “How Great Thou Art”, “How Great is Our God”, so many others.  But what do I truly believe?

See, I know a little bit about Him.  And He actually is amazing.  What I offer to my friends and family is a King who will never leave them.  He doesn’t judge them or hate them.  He doesn’t condemn them for their choices.

Yes, He wants to heal.  He wants to bring life and peace and love.  He has a reason for why I’m here, why my life matters, why there has been pain and how I can do better.  And He promises to go with me through it all.

I can’t offer anything better.

No one can.

 

Please click on the link to check out Cory Asbury’s new album. https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/reckless-love/1320253615

A Mile High

I’m way up in the air right now.

I’m not talking about physically.  Well, ok, I am flying over what appears to be the Carribean and parts of Mexico or maybe that’s the Pacific.  

I don’t really know.  I’m not sure I care.

I’m looking down on the bluest water you’ve ever seen with tiny puffballs of clouds doting the sky.  We’ll soon be landing in Panama ending the second leg of our journey to Nicaragua.  We’ll then launch our ministry into the heart of the capital beginning the end of satan’s tyranny over this country.

Oh, I’m flying alright.  God’s presence is surrounding us in these cramped, little airline seats.  The heat is already kicking in as the fire in my soul begins to blaze.

In this moment, I see the man I am, the husband I’ve been, the father, the friend.  I see my failing prayers for what they are and my life for what it has been.

And I know I can do better, be better, love more.

But this airplane will land.  I’ll meet the ground again and life will go back to normal.

Ah, but will it?

See, my God (oh I love those words), MY GOD can do anything.  

My God can crush this heart of stone.

My God can heal.  My God can restore.

My God can awaken the warrior in me.

And then what? 

Oh, I won’t be flying.  I will still not know exactly where I am or how I’ll reach my destination.

I just know I’m coming for my freedom and joy.  I’m coming for my family.

And destroyer, thief, killer, I’m coming after you.

Job’s Failure

The story of Job (pronounced with an oh sound for those who haven’t heard it), is familiar to many.  The man who was wealthy, then accused by Satan, rebuked by friends and then God, but ultimately restored and honored.

Much of what is written in this book is absolute truth.  Some of it is not.  

Job is joined, after being ruined and covered with boils, by three friends who try to help him by letting him know that if he will repent of his sins, God can restore him.  Job often returns to the idea of God’s goodness, His love for those who follow Him.

But God eventually calls Job out, basically saying, “Who do you think you are?”  And Job apologizes.

The failure that Job experienced, the untruth that he held on to and the false accusations that his friends brought against him all are based on one strong misconception that we see in our own hearts today.

GOD WILL LEAVE YOU!

Job thought that God had come against him, that he was being accused and destroyed by God’s hand and anger.  He wanted the chance to show that he was righteous and that God hated him for no reason.

Job’s friends thought there was a reason.  They thought that God had abandoned him because of sin in Job’s life.  They were absolutely sure that there had to be something that Job did to make God come against him.

Neither of them were correct, and these ideas are wrong still today.

When Adam and Eve fell, God never left them.  Through the time of Noah, God never abandoned His creation.  Though He turned the nation of Israel over to exile and near annihilation.  He never gave up on them.  There was always, and will always be a plan for restoration and healing, even when we have abandoned Him.

Maybe sin, past failures, current confusion have you thinking that God is done with you.  Satan loves for God to look bad, mean, vengeful.  But the truth is that Satan is bad, mean, vengeful, hating and accusing the people of God.

I believe in the inerrancy of scripture.  But, whether through the limitations of our language or the limitations of our perspective, we often misinterpret the word of God to show how He will hurt us if we don’t obey, how He’s just waiting for us to mess up so He can zap us. 

He promises through Jesus that He will never leave us nor forsake us.  That has always been His heart.

ALWAYS!

People

I’ve been let down lately, a lot.  People have disappointed me, betrayed me, ignored me.

You hear the exclamations so often.

“Women!”

“Men!”

“Kids!”

“Parents!”

And yet we’re constantly still looking for that person, that moment in time, that event that will prove that we have someone we can count on.

I’m going to side step for a moment and shout something:

Dads, your family is counting on you.  Their need for you is great and your betrayal of them takes an act of God to even begin to heal. Don’t give yourself an excuse to let them down.  DO NOT LEAVE THEM!  No excuses!

The reality, the fact of life is that people will let you down.  Can you understand then why Paul declared, “My God will supply all your needs, according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19

He will meet your needs.  If you look at emphasis on each separate word it may make it clearer.

He – He meets your needs.  No one else.

Will – He WILL do it.  Trust Him.

Meet – He will see your needs, take care of them, fulfill them.  Wait on Him.

Your – He is interested in you.  He loves you.  He will take care of YOU.

Needs – Not wants, not things that will hurt you further.  Your needs are not sex, happiness, a new car that you go into debt for, a nicer house, better kids, better spouse.  In fact, in our self-centered world, we don’t often know what our needs are.  Look to Him.  Listen to Him.  He is meeting your needs.  The provision is already there.

So friends, family, people let you down.  They’re letting me down.  Can I tell you in love, in honesty, to myself . . .

SO WHAT!

Trust in Jesus.  You’ll be golden.

“Give Her Something to Eat”

I see the seen, the bustle and stress of the ministry, the interruption of the woman with the bleeding issue, the people that tell Jairus to not bother the teacher, the wailing, the laughter, the healing, a dead little girl walking around. There would have been confusion, awe, fear, excitement.  Mouths dropped open, hands hanging limp, eyes unblinking, hearts racing, they stood there dumbfounded.

“Guys.  She’s been laying here sick for a while, she died and is alive again.  Kind of a busy day for her.  Could you get her something to eat?  She’s really hungry.”  The broken reverie, the nervous laughter that gives way to guffaws, especially from the dad.  And somehow, I see even the angels shaking their heads as they watched.  “He did it again.  How does He do it?”

I don’t know whether you’ve ever thought about it but angels never raised anyone from the dead.  Angels never healed anyone.  Angels do not do much that is miraculous, only what causes damage – burning things, making people mute, that kind of thing – and their good messengers.

Humans, we’re different, made in God’s image we are capable and called to do things no other being can do.  We are called to do the miraculous.  Through Jesus power, and in His name, we can bring healing.  We can prophesy.  We can raise the dead by the power of God Almighty.

And, because we’re human, we can meet the practical everyday needs of people.  We can feed them, clothe them, bring them medicine, touch them, love them. . . provide. . . speak life. . .

I’m seeing a correlation here.

God and us.  God in us.  Out of all creation there is just us and Him that can and should do these things.

A high calling, a nobel ministry, a war to be one.

Don’t you think it is time to get involved?  Don’t you think it is time for Him to shine through you?

Forgiveness

What happens when we won’t forgive?  Rightly described as a poison we drink ourselves, unforgiveness eats away at everything we are and live for.  It kills our hopes and dreams, sucking life from every facet of our being.

I am finding forgiveness difficult right now.

Some hurts reoccur with a regularity that makes it so difficult to let go of.  Some offenses cut so deep that they will not heal with band-aids and platitudes.  Marriage, brothers, parents, old friendships are where these things happen.  It finds no ground in the new relationship, the acquaintance, for they are easily let go of.  But in the soil of what should last, we find the place that seeds of anger, bitterness, hatred, unforgiveness find their environment for growth.  The place where we are hurt, and then hurt again, and again by those who should never want to cause us pain, that is where this poison does its work.

And out of this venom, we lash out at those around us, hurting others out of the hurt that we feel.

And nothing can stop this juggernaut of destruction.  It will go on ad infinitum, through generations, through changes in culture and politics, despite all that we do to cover it, to medicate it, to deny its existence.  And the only way out, the only thing that can set anyone free, is to forgive.

I will not hold to your account the debt you owe me.  I will not make you pay for the wrongs I have suffered.  I forgive you.

This malignancy will no longer live in my heart, in my family, in my church, in my home.

I forgive you.