Friday, February 26, 2010

Impossible, Improbable, Or Hopeless?

Have you ever found yourself in a situation that seems impossible, improbable, or absolutely hopeless? Perhaps you find yourself there right now. Be encouraged! Ok, I know what you're thinking. How in the world do those situations lend themselves to times of great encouragement? Here's my point. God loves these moments. I think He longs for these opportunities to show up in a powerful way on behalf of His sons and daughters. All throughout the history of the world, God has performed mightily in situations like these.

Can you picture Moses and the children of Israel at the Red Sea? Behind them is a massive army charging after them who I'm sure is prepared to destroy them all. They have no way out. It's a hopeless situation, and then all of a sudden, God shows up and splits the sea and provides them with a way out. I'm thinking if I'm there watching this unfold, I would have gone from screaming in fear to statements like, "Are you kidding me?" "Is this really happening?" "Woo Hoo!!!" and "This is unbelievable!!!" Of course, that would all be followed by a bit of taunting directed toward the charging army. I don't know about you, but I think that is some pretty incredible stuff.

How about the time when Joshua is fighting and they need a few more hours of sunlight in order to win the battle? Scripture tells us the sun stood still for nearly a day. Think about that. The One who slung the sun, moon, stars, and planets into orbit apparently held out His hand and told them to stop for a few hours. Can you imagine watching this play out? I can picture some of the conversations going on. "Man, is it just me or does anyone else feel like this has been a really long day?" "Oh, great my sundial appears to be broken."

Abraham has a son when he's 100. David takes down a giant. The walls of Jericho just fall down. Elijah calls down fire from heaven. Three men are thrown into a fiery furnace and walk out unharmed. Daniel spends the night with hungry lions and walks out alive. A widow is blessed with an endless supply of oil. Lazarus is raised from the dead. On and on and on the stories go with God working in a powerful way time after time.

When I think of these stories, I am reminded of the unlimited power and strength of our God. I'm reminded of the fact that all things were made by Him and all things are subject to Him. I'm reminded that there is nothing impossible for Him. Even when things seem hopeless, impossible, or improbable. As a matter of fact, that's when God does His best work. Its in those moments when questions abound and you find yourself at the end of your ability that God intervenes in ways that boggle the human mind.

So, if you find yourself in one of those seasons in life when things look impossible, improbable, or hopeless, be encouraged!!! God is about to flex his muscles and perform powerfully on your behalf.

Friday, February 19, 2010


How important is a good foundation? I mean, if you were building a brand new home, how important would it be to you to have a good foundation? Several years ago, down the street from our house, they were building a new house. Shortly after they had put up all the framing, the tore the whole thing down. Then they brought in a team to tear up the foundation and haul it off. After that process was completed they started all over and rebuilt the house from the ground up.

The reason for all that extra work and expense was because the foundation was flawed. It became cracked and as a result, had to be fixed. Nobody building a brand new house wants a cracked foundation from day one. If the foundation is flawed, the structure will have all kinds of problems. Doors won't close, tile floors will crack, ceilings will crack, roofs will leak, etc. Let's face it, if we get the foundation wrong, building a structure on it, would be truly unwise.

Equally as unwise would be attempting to move a sound structure away from a good foundation. Think about it. If you attempted to remove your house from its foundation, the whole thing would crumble. It's impossible for a structure to remain sound if it is ripped from its foundation.

Naturally, one would wonder why in the world anyone would attempt such a fete. I feel the same way when I look at what I believe to be the greatest country in the world attempting to distance itself from the very foundation that made it such. I would dare say, that like any other structure ripped away from its foundation, our country will suffer the same fate. The foundation layed by our forefathers, which included God as a center point, created a government characterized by separation of church from state, not state from church. Those who framed our Constitution understood all too well man's feeble attempts at government apart from God would ultimately end in failure.

As I write this, I really don't want to get all that political. This isn't a democratic or republican party issue. We all get up in arms when our side or our man is not in power, but I really think the problem is so much deeper than that. To be honest, I really don't even think this is so much a political thing as much as it is a spiritual thing. What we see playing out in leadership is a direct result of the spiritual climate of our nation and the world around us. Deception, greed, unkept promises, lack of integrity, selfish ambition, bribes, ungodly motives, power grabs, etc. are all spiritual issues and only become political issues when they manifest themselves in the political arena.

The fact is that whenever a man or woman moves independent of God, the result is never a good thing. It makes no difference whether you're a school teacher, plumber, executive, or hold public office. Of course, this is always magnified in those whose decisions and actions affect others, like government officials. When those in leadership are driven by selfish ambition, special interests, political ideologies, manipulation, or anything other than the Spirit of God, they will lead us in the wrong direction. The more distance we put between God and us as a nation, the closer we get to becoming a nation destined for destruction.

As I study history, I find that most of the founders of this great country were God fearing men. Not all, but most. And no, they weren't perfect, but God was at the forefront of their culture and lifestyle. They actually invited Him into the building process rather than excluding Him from it. God is our foundation. He is the only foundation that cannot be destroyed. Building on that foundation results in a strong and healthy structure. Whether we are talking about individuals or governmental structure. Anything not built on that foundation or pulled away from it, will not stand. Proverbs 14:34 says that "Righteousness exalts a nation but sin is a reproach to any people." Our form of government works great when those at the helm have a heart that is open to God and are determined to allow him to order their steps. But, what makes it work best is when we as the church have hearts that are open to God and are more apt to pray for our country rather than criticize those in leadership.

For Narnia And For Aslan!!!

"For Narnia and for Aslan," screams my 3 year old as he stands there dressed in his medieval knight armour stretching his sword to the sky. If asked who he is, he'll claim he's Peter in his best English accent. If he's not playing Peter then he's pretending he's Sir William from the movie "A Knights Tale." If you were to ask him what he wants to be when he grows up he'll say, "I'm going to be a knight!" He loves pretending to fight the bad guys and of course rescuing the beautiful princess. He's not all that different than his older brother when he was his age or even me for that matter.

I kind of think its in our DNA. I think its something in us that was placed there by our Creator. Something in us that longs to be a part of a bigger story. A longing to live for something much bigger than ourselves. It manifests when we are young in games of fantasy where we play the parts of knights or superheroes or soldiers, etc. As we grow, I don't think that thing in us ever really goes away, I just think we become very well at learning how to suppress it or ignore it. The fact is we were created for a bigger story. We were created to live for something much bigger than ourselves. The problem is, we often allow this world, in which we live, to get our eyes off of the other world in which we live. While we are physical beings, at the same time we are spiritual beings. We live both in a physical world and a spiritual one. While we may be accountants or salespeople or office personnel in the seen world, Scripture calls us kings, priests, and warriors in the kingdom of God. The difference in we adults and kids is that while playing the part, our children truly believe for that moment they are who they are pretending to be while we struggle with our true identity. In our minds, we are that accountant or salesperson or office staff, and while we know what Scripture says about us, we just can't wrap our brain around it. What's crazy is that the world in which we are kings, priests, and warriors is more real than the one in which we are accountants, salespeople, etc.

I know its hard to comprehend a world that we can not see. But, our seeing it doesn't determine its validity or reality. The truth is there is a world much bigger and more real than just the one we see. Its a world where we put on the armor of God and become part of a story much bigger than ourselves. Its a world where mommy's and daddy's become warriors fighting for their children's souls. Its a world where mommy's and daddy's take on the role of priest in order to go to God on behalf of their children. Its a world where mommy's and daddy's are truly kings and queens and have been given all power and authority over the enemy and see to it that all is well in their kingdom.

I don't know about you, but I'm thinking I don't dress up enough in order to play my role. While I could write more, I think I'm going to step away from the laptop and pick up a sword. Perhaps you should as well. Let's step into that story that's bigger than ourselves. "For Narnia and For Aslan!!!"

Friday, February 5, 2010

I Will Trust In Him...No, Wait...Ok, I Will...No...

This week my wife Lori took our two boys to the mall to get their hair cut. While she was there she noticed there was some police activity going on around the mall so she called me to check and see if the news was reporting on what was going on. The news was indeed reporting on the matter. The first report said a gunman had shot a lady in the parking lot and the suspect was still at large. Naturally, I immediately got on the phone to call my wife to tell her what was going on and to not get out of the car and to come home. Unfortunately, there was no answer. I called again and still no answer. I proceeded to call what seemed like a dozen times in the span of probably 5 minutes only to get her voice-mail each time.

Have you ever been in that kind of spot? That state of unknowing. The mind can play some crazy tricks on you can't it? I remember sitting there thinking ok, she has her phone in her purse and doesn't hear it. Immediately fear spoke louder and said "there's a crazy lunatic on the loose and my wife and kids are walking through the parking lot and...." You get the picture. It was like a see-saw battle back and forth. Trusting that they were safe and then fearing they were not. That went on a half a dozen times a minute until finally I heard from her. She, oblivious to the fact that a lady had been shot literally a few hundred feet from where she parked, was in the mall safe and sound.

That's the way it normally plays out doesn't it. While we sit there wringing our hands, in the end there was really no need to sit there wringing our hands. We all know that worrying never changes the outcome yet, we all do it sometimes. To be honest, it all comes down to a trust issue. When we give into fear and worry, it is the result of our lack of trust in God's ability to provide a favorable outcome. You know it as well as I do that when everything is going smooth, it's a piece of cake to trust God. Throw a little uncertainty into the mix and suddenly that trust can begin to become a little shaky. The truth is that we become really good at trusting ourselves and our ability to fix things that need to be fixed or control things we can control. It's those moments when things are out of our hands. Its moments when we can't fix something or can't control it that we start to sweat a little bit. Do you catch what I'm saying? We actually trust ourselves sometimes more than we trust God.

Scripture tells us things like, "trust in the Lord with all of your heart..." Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him..." "He is a shield to all who trust Him..." and "But He who trusts in the Lord, mercy shall surround him..." Yet, we often struggle to really trust Him. We trust in ourselves, our abilities, our money, our jobs, our government, and lots of other things. All of which are limited, imperfect, unstable, and ever changing. God on the other hand, is unlimited, completely perfect, perfectly stable, and never changing. He can be trusted. He can be trusted with your past, your present, and your future. He can be trusted when you travel, when you're at home, when you're sleeping, and when you're awake. He can be trusted when the doctor runs out of options, when your spouse runs out the door, and when your child makes the wrong turn in life. He can be trusted when the economy tanks, your bank account hits zero, and the company you've given your life to lays you off. And yes, He can be trusted when your wife and kids go to the mall at the same time a lunatic is running around shooting people with a gun.