Saturday, 27 April 2019
“My life” was the title I was going to use for this blog. However, as I typed it out, I thought “how much of anything that I have ever experienced can really be called ‘mine’”? It then became apparent to me, that there has never been a time in my life that what I experienced was all mine. All my life experiences, in some way, have had an impact on somebody. I heard, in my mind or spirit, the term “Ripple Effect”. Although, I was pretty confident, that I knew the meaning of this, I went ahead and looked it up.
The meaning of ripple effect:
“A series of things that happen as the result of a particular action or event:”
Wow! That is what I am. This is what you are. Yes, we are a person, loved and valued by God, but we are also part of something bigger and far reaching then ourselves. Every person, since their birth, has had an effect on someone other than themselves. No matter who we are, news of our coming had an effect on someone. Somebody was waiting for us and expecting our arrival.
Somebody change what they were doing, and where they were going, because of me and you. A Dr, nurse, the hospital (as they made room for us to arrive), and obviously a mother. Somebody was waiting for me and you, waiting to hold you waiting to speak to you. We caused curiosity in someone’s mind, as they wondered what we might look like, sound like and even smell like. Although, we were experiencing birth, someone was experiencing us. You and I are that “particular action or event that created a series of things to happen”. We are a ripple that started with our arrival and will continue as long as humanity continues.
Today as I look at my first grandson, the truth of this reality is clearer for me right now, then it has ever been. I thought about my life, I thought about how my grandson is part of “a series of things that have happened “, because of my existence. I thought about the times in my life when I lived without this reality, believing that my actions, thoughts, and choices only affect me. I thought about the times I lived with a reckless, destructive and selfish spirit and how it could and did have an effect on others. I also thought about how, at times, I still live this way. I thought about the ripple effect, of my life, on my wife, my children, my grandchildren, that are here now, and are yet to come. I wondered how my life has impacted them. I wish I could say, I experienced joy and peace as I reflected on this, but that would not be true. I know, in some way, the way I lived my life, has left a mark, a bruise, or a blemish on those that I love. This truth broke my heart. I also thought about how I am able to live my life today, and from this day on, with the reality of the “Ripple Effect”. I asked God to help me live my life so that the ripples I cause will bring those, I love, to comfort and safety opposed to difficulty, adversity and pain.
As I am preparing for this Sundays message – something very sobering hit me.
I felt the Holy Spirit remind me and caution me.
HE REMINDED ME:
The Church is Gods witnesses to the world.
We are his ambassadors and witnesses of the Good news to the those who are perishing.
In Luke 24:46
46And He told them, “This is what is written:
The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47and in His namerepentance and forgiveness of sins will be proclaimed to allnations, beginning in Jerusalem. 48You are witnesses of these things.…
We are witnesses of a message
Our message is not the same as the worlds:America is a great place to live and to die, but America is not the answer to man’s problems. Democracy and politics offer no answer to the problem of sin and death. We are not called to a passion of boarders and policies. Our great burden is not one of immigration and deportation.Our concern is the eternal destiny of every human soul. Our mission is to proclaim the message of Jesus “forgiveness of sin” – the need to be forgiven and the judgment to come to those who have resisted his forgiveness.
God reminded me – of the call of the church to the world.
GOD CAUTIONED ME:
Weigh your priorities and measure your zeal by an eternal scale.
Ask, this question; what value this will have in eternity.
1. How will this be measured by God in eternity?
2. Was my passion Gods passion?
3. Did my debate make an eternal difference in someone else’s life?
4. Is what I say or don’t say preparing others for eternity?
5. Is what I do or don’t do producing eternal value?
The church is called to be mindful of a count:
But not a count of an administrations injustices. Or how many are permitted and how may are prohibited.
Our number is one of eternal value –
This number is the number of souls:
56,000,000 / year
4,679,452 / month:
153,424.7 / Day
6,392.7 / Hour
106.7 / Minute
1.8 / second
That cross the transition from this life into eternity –
Where is the passion for this count?
This brought a conviction to my spirit, not as a Pastor but as a Christian, one who represents Christlikeness.
Be careful of where my affections, investments and passions are being deployed?
2 Timothy 2:23-24 English Standard Version (ESV)
23 Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. 24 And the Lord’s servant[a] must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil,
Satan is a master distractor.
He champions the arena of emotional impulsivity. He knows the buttons to push and the strings to pull. Do not allow yourself to be ignorant of his devises. He is a sower of discord. Therefore, guard your heart and your mouth and be attentive and discerning to the seed that are sown through the words of your conversations. Test every spirit – that pulls from your passions or emotions.
Our world is not our home:
We are just passing through – I want my endeavors to produce eternal value. Christian watch and pray – discern the times and the season. Don’t get caught up in the drunkenness and chaos of this world. But don’t be so concerned about perishable things like or the temporal. Spend your energy seeking the eternal things that will produce life after death. I don’t want to get entangled with worldly things.
Father help me to know and discern when I am being pulled away from the things that you have called me too and into the things of this world.
Today has been an emotional day for me and I am not sure why. However, I have learned that emotions have a mind of their own. They seem to move when they want to. They know what needs to be processed and dealt with before we do, or at least that’s my experience. Perhaps they were triggered when I stopped off to pick up my seats, that I had reupholstered. I walked into the one-man shop determine to get in and get out, but that is not how it went.
As I walked in, I saw a kind gentleman working at his bench. He looked at me, as if he had been expecting me. At first, I thought he was wanting me to hurry up and get the seats paid for and off his table, they had been there for a month. As I thanked him and begin to pay him, he asked me to have a seat, I really did not want to, but I did. When I did, the hurried-ness, that I came in with, lifted and for some reason I was attentive to this gentleman.
As I sat there I noticed an old boxing advertisement poster of Ali and Frazier. I asked him if that was original, although I knew it wasn’t. He of course said no, but I wish it were. Then his eyes begin to shift a little, as though he was remembering something. He looked at me and said, boy things sure have changed since that time. He begun to tell me a little about himself, where he came from, what he used to do. Then he asked me what I did. I told him I am a pastor and work with addictions. He said, boy I bet you have seen some challenges and trials in the life of people. I said sure, there is a lot of brokenness out there. Somehow, we got on personal struggles and disappointments and that is where I felt a lump in my throat. I tried to keep talking but it was obvious, I was emotional.
I begin to think about my past year and how in the world I am still standing here.
I thought about Gods faithfulness even though I am ashamed of some of the ways I responded to the trials. This year my family and I have experience a lot of heart ache and break. Yet God, has enabled us to continue, to stand and believe. I would like to say that it was because of my resilience, but I know that is far from the truth. It was completely by his faithfulness.
I thought about – my oldest child’s challenges, where she has been and what she has been through. I remembered the agony of those moments for her mother and me. I remember thinking that there is not a pain worse than this and asking God, where are you? Yet God, walked us through and remained faithful.
Then I was accused of plagiarism, as I was completing a master’s program. The incident, was my fault, but an honest mistake. However, I was nearly dropped from the class that I, had just turned in the last final for. The end result was, I made it through- but not without offering three extra papers. I thought I had never experienced frustration and anger like that before. Yet God, was faithful.
My mother was diagnosed with Lung cancer – and passed one month later, causing a new emotion, of deep grief, that I have never known before. If you would have asked me, then, if I was going to make it. I would have said; not a chance, nor do I care to. Yet God, was there, his presence overshadowing me, he brought a comfort only he could bring, at the right time, and the right place. Once again, God showed faithful.
The church suffered some unique challenges and setbacks. However, God overcame everyone. God showed faithful.
My little girl – had an appendectomy – due to her appendix rupturing.When this happen, I remembered the anger, worry and hopelessness I felt. Even though I, at that time, responded with anger and resentment. God stayed with me, God was faithful- and his presence found and carried me, my wife, my little girl and family. God showed faithful.
I have learned that the faithfulness of God – is the only sure thing there is. He remains, even when I push him away and lift my fist, he waits and allows my response.
He then, at the right time, breaks through with his presence and his voice and whispers…
Did I not promise? “I am faithful, even if you are not”, “I will never, leave you or forsake you”.
lean on the faithfulness of our God
(n.) the scent of rain on a dry earth
May 31, 2017.
John 15:16 New International Version (NIV)
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit–fruit that will last–and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.
My wife and I have an affinity with landscaping. To come to a place where disorder and obstructions exist or an area with bareness that lays open, offers my wife and I such an opportunity. We are able to look together and cast vision on what we are looking at. We are able to practice faith, imagining things that are not as though they are. We can create a plan and invest our time and energy with results. I love to be able to walk away from a once chaotic or barren area, full of value and substance. However, I have realized that the satisfaction gained from this is only seasonal. Once the racking, digging and planting is over the place must be maintained. This now flourishing area cannot be neglected or else it will return to it eroded state. Maintaining the area is crucial for continued growth. Making watering, de – weeding a priority will allow for more growth and make room for fuller life. This is where the Holy Spirit, breathed his message into my spirit. “You are also called to continue”. Jesus, reminded the disciples that he chose them to “bear fruit – that will remain”, This is our call as followers of Jesus. Bearing fruit for one season is one thing, but to continually bear fruit takes more than just a burst of energy on a nice day. It requires us to continue, to choose every day, passion, intention, and willingness. This is the conditions of growth, we must be constant. Being constant asks us to evaluate the value of spiritual growth, daily. To keep pulling, digging and watering our spiritual man daily. If we neglect to do this, it will not be long until life begins to wilt and weeds begin to grow choking out room for further growth. It will only be a matter of time before we look just like we did before the work began.
I believe God is speaking this to me, due to my tendency to neglect my spiritual growth. This, for me, happens when I get busy, tired or discouraged. Sometimes, I will intentionally avoid his presence due to knowing that I have neglected spiritual matters. I don’t want to walk by the landscaped area because I am afraid there may be weeds or wilted-dry areas that I have refused to nurture. However, God seems to know how to bring me back to the place where he began the work. He shows me, once again the passion I had for the vision when I first began, the commitment that I knew it would take to bring life and sustain it. This causes me to recommit, to get down on my knees and allow the work to continue. Gods desire for us to bring glory to his name. People take notice, when they witness, what was once dry dead and barren, suddenly flourish with life. They are drawn to beauty in a blemished world. They are then curious as to how, or what happen. They want to know how their chaotic, dry and bareness can be flowing with life and substance. We then are able to tell them, to show them, to dig with them.
Challenge for this week:
Revisit the dry- wilted, and barren condition you were in before Christ changed you. Allow God to ignite the passion, energy and commitment toward the vision that he birthed in you for your life and for others.