The Envy of Angels

2 Dec

I was reading 1 Peter in “The Message” the other day and came across this:

“Do you realize how fortunate you are? Angels would have given anything to be in on this!”

That is what is so amazing to me. I tend to think of angels as these super-powerful beings that can fly through walls, appear and disappear at will. They are invisible but have the strength of many men. God’s messengers and warriors. Yet, here they are, wishing they could be part of what we get to be a part of. Something so special that they would give anything to be part of it. Something many of us take for granted. Something a lot of people reject, yet, they would give anything to be a part of.

What is so special that God intended it to be just for us and that angels would give anything to be a part of?

The answer is found in the first part of the chapter.

3What a God we have! And how fortunate we are to have him, this Father of our Master Jesus! Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we’ve been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, 4including a future in heaven–and the future starts now! 5God is keeping careful watch over us and the future. The Day is coming when you’ll have it all–life healed and whole.

That is why the angels want to be a part of it. This whole plan that God has is all about restoring a relationship with us. When Adam sinned, the relationship was broken and God’s whole plan is to reestablish that relationship. It is amazing to me that people could refuse this gift – yet – we all know people who think we are crazy for believing in God.

The future is NOW! How are you helping others understand the gift that we as human beings are the beneficiaries of?

Have No Fear!

17 Nov

I was thinking today…How would you live if you had no fear at all?

Would you quit your job and start your own business?

Would you go on a long term mission trip?

Would you finally make that commitment that you have been avoiding?

Would you finally start that ministry that you know God has called you to do?


When we think of courage, we usually associate it with the heroic courage required when you risk your life to save someone from a burning building. There is another type of courage that we need to develop on a day-to-day basis. The courage I am talking about is the ability to face down the imaginary fears and reclaim the far more enjoyable life that you’ve denied yourself. Fear of failure. Fear of rejection. Fear of going broke. Fear of being alone. Fear of humiliation. Fear of public speaking. Fear of being ostracized by family and friends. Fear of physical discomfort. Fear of regret. Fear of success.

As Christians, we have a head start in overcoming those fears. As Paul said, I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need.(Philippians 4:13) Jesus conquered fear and death, once and for all by His death and resurrection.

Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.
– John Wayne

The Contrast Between Noah and Moses

4 Nov

I was thinking about the different responses two men gave to God and the eventual outcomes. Both men were used in a great way by God. Noah was always faithful to God. Moses, while being faithful, just wanted to be a shepherd.

I started listing some differences here. If you can think of others, leave them in a comment. I’m interested to see what you come up with.

God asked Noah to build a boat because He was going to destroy the earth.
Noah’s response: OK.

God asked Moses to go to Egypt and tell Pharaoh to let the Israelites go.
Moses response: Send someone else.

Noah spent about 100 years building the boat and sharing his witness.

Moses used every excuse in the book not to go to Egypt.

Noah walked with God.

Moses walked with Aaron.

In Noah’s case, God dealt with the people.

In Moses’ case, Moses had to deal with the people.

Have any more? Please leave a comment!

At Least I’m In Good Company

3 Nov

I’m having one of my Moses moments again. It’s exhausting. What’s a Moses moment, you ask?

Well, a long time ago, there was a guy named Moses. He was a simple shepherd until God decided to use him. God told him that He wanted Moses to go tell Pharaoh to let the Israelites go and for Moses to lead them to the promised land. Moses didn’t like that proposition.

Here’s what the rest of the conversation might of sounded like:

Moses: “Who am I to go see Pharaoh? How can you expect me to lead them out of Egypt? ”
God: “I will be with you all the way.”
Moses: “They won’t believe me.”
God: “Tell them ‘I AM’ sent you.”
Moses: “Whoa. You want me to use the ‘I AM’?
God: “Yup!”
Moses: “I’m telling you, they won’t believe me.”
God: “I’ll let you perform magic tricks with your stick. Then they’ll believe you.”
Moses: “Whoa…”
God: “See. Show them that and they’ll believe you.”
Moses: “OK that’s cool but I’m not a good speaker. I can’t speak in front of people. I have dyslexia of the mouth.”
God: “Nice try. I made you. You can speak. I don’t make mistakes.”
Moses: “Can you please send someone else?”
God: “I have had it about up to here with you Moses! OK. Look, there’s your brother Aaron. He’s a preacher. He can speak for you. You tell Him what I tell you! Now go!
Moses: “But..but..but..Hi Aaron, guess what? We’re going to go see Pharaoh!
Aaron: “Wow – I’m preaching at the big house tonight!”
Moses: “Do you have to get so excited?”

OK. I know it may have been a little different than that but that is kind of how my conversation with God is going.

  • Did you ever feel that God was telling you to do something that you didn’t want to do?
    What did you do?
  • Did you answer His call and do it anyway? If so, what was the outcome?
  • Are you glad that you followed God’s direction? Or, did you fight with God.
  • If you fought with God, did you tell Him that you didn’t want to do it or find some other excuse not to do it?
  • If so, what happened? How did it turn out?

I’m curious to hear some responses.

OK God. Let’s talk some more!

Populating The Earth, One Drink At A Time

2 Nov

One of reasons many people don’t go into ministry is that they don’t want the responsibility and accountability that comes with using their gifts to serve God. They don’t want to be accountable to God.

They should be so lucky.

Noah was an ordinary man or so he thought, as he reflected over his latest conversation with God. He had been through an amazing 600 years. First, at the age of 500, God spoke to him to tell him to build a big boat. As crazy as that might have sounded, the reason was that God was sorry that he created humans and had decided to kill everyone except Noah and his family. Noah was told to build a big boat and load it with 2 of everything. He loaded everyone into that ark like a mini-van crammed full for a family vacation. (Feeling the pressure yet?) Then the rain came. Sure enough, everyone and everything died and Noah had to spend over a year locked inside the boat with all these stinking animals. Finally they get out of the boat. Noah looks around. Noah and his family are the only people left on earth. Talk about pressure. Then, God gave him his mission. “Multiply and fill the earth. I have placed all of the animals under your power and you can use them for food. Now, go and repopulate the earth!”

Did God ever tell you to go populate the earth? More than likely, the pressure was great for Noah. Noah sometimes let the pressure of his mission affect him. One of those times, he got drunk on some homemade wine and passed out naked in his tent. While he was passed out, his youngest son came in and saw him naked. When Noah woke out of his drunken stupor and found out what his son had done, he cursed him. Instead of being ashamed of getting drunk and passing out, Noah accused his son and cursed him. (I actually feel sorry for his son. Imagine seeing a 600 year old man naked!)

The evil that had existed when God decided to flood the earth was present in Noah. But, as usual, God used a normal, sinful person to do His work. God gave Noah gifts that he used to serve God. Drunken stupor and all.

God can use you if you let Him. God gave each of us gifts that we can and should use to serve him. All we have to do is to identify what our gifts are and then tell God that you are ready and willing to use your gifts to serve Him. God will use you if you are willing.

Think I made up that story about Noah? You can read it in Genesis 6-9.

(Thank you to my wife Patti for giving me the idea for this post!)

Beyond the Gates of Splendor

1 Nov

Mart Green was 42 and until recently, had never been in a movie theatre. He was raised in a conservative Christian home where movies were shunned. Mart had grown up in the retail world. His father founded Hobby Lobby. Taking his retail experience, Mart founded Mardel Christian and Educational Supply stores. You would think that that would be Mart’s ministry. A few years ago, Mart decided that he wanted to promote the Bible in a nationwide marketing campaign similar to the “Got Milk?” ads. He even had a slogan, “This Book Is Alive.” But… God had other plans.

Green heard Steve Saint, son of one of the 1956 missionary martyrs in Ecuador, speak at a missions conference with Mincaye, one of the Waodani Indians who’d killed the martyrs – including Saint’s father. Green was so moved by the story that he decided to something more radical! He decided to make a feature film about the events. He formed a production company and has made two full length films. The first, “End of the Spear” will be released in January and the second is a documentary entitled, “Beyond the Gates of Splendor” which can be screened at churches around the nation.

What started out as an idea to promote the Bible turned out to be something completely different. From a guy who never went to movies, to a guy starting a movie production company. Asked about his original idea, Mart isn’t too concerned because there is no better way to tell the world that “This Book Is Alive” than through the testimony of the Waodani Indians.

You can read a more in-depth interview with Mart Green at Christianity Today.

What Does Your Duck Do Best?

31 Oct

One of the ideas that keeps coming back to me is that every one of us has unique gifts, given to us by God to serve him. Consider this story.

Cool Duck Picture“It wasn’t too long after creation that the animals got together to form a school. They wanted the best school possible; one that offered each student a well-rounded curriculum of swimming, running, climbing and flying. In order to graduate the animals agreed that they would each have to take all the courses. The duck was excellent at swimming. In fact, he was better than his instructor, but he was only making passing grades at climbing and was getting a very poor grade in running. The duck was so slow in running that he had to stay after school every day to practice. Even with that, there was little improvement. His webbed feet got badly worn from running and with such worn feet he would then only be able to get half his grade in swimming. Now average was quite acceptable to everyone else, so no one worried much about it except the duck. Now the rabbit was at the top of her class in running, but after a while she developed a twitch in her leg from all the time she spent in the water trying to improve her swimming. Now the squirrel was a peak performer in climbing, but was constantly frustrated in flying class. His body became so bruised from all the hard landings that he didn’t do too well in climbing and ended up being pretty poor in running. The eagle was a continual problem student. She was severely disciplined for being nonconformist. For example, in climbing class she would always beat everyone else to the top of the tree, but insisted on using her own way to get there. Each of the animals had a particular area of expertise. When they did what they were designed to do they excelled. When they tried to operate outside their area of expertise, they were not nearly as effective. Can ducks run? Of course they can. Is that what they do best? Definitely not!”

Just as every animal has been gifted for survival, every person in the body of Christ has been gifted for the growth and ministry of the church, and we have all been gifted differently. And so knowing what those gifts are enable us to excel and to not know those gifts means that we might find ourselves doing things, but doing things that increasingly lead us to burn out or even worse, not doing anything.

The Magic Cookie Jar

3 Oct

About 5 years ago, someone gave me a cookie jar filled with cookies. On the lid was written the following:

You have been given a very special cookie jar. This jar is filled with the most wonderful cookies ever made. You can eat these cookies until they are gone or you can choose to share them with others. If you eat what you need and share the rest, it will never run out. If you save the cookies, they will spoil.

I couldn’t believe it. Who had ever heard of a cookie jar that replenishes itself if you share the contents? Well, I’m a curious type so I thought, I’ll try it. I ate one cookie. It was amazing. The cookie was the best I had ever tasted. For a moment, I was tempted to just keep them for myself, but I decided I see what would happen. I took the cookies and started handing them out until they were all gone. I replaced the lid and waited. Five minutes later I looked, there were no cookies. Ten minutes later – nothing. One hour later – nothing. I started to regret giving all those cookies away! What kind of sick joke was this? I went to bed depressed. Those were the best cookies I had tasted and I just gave them all away! Well, I hoped all those who ate them enjoyed them!

The next morning I woke up. The empty cookie jar was sitting on the counter. I was still disappointed. I didn’t want to see that cookie jar again. I went to throw it away. As I picked it up, it was heavier than I remembered. I opened the lid. It was completely full again! Amazing! The lid was right! I picked up one cookie and took a bite. It was the same wonderful flavor. Wow. Should I save the rest? I thought about it for about a second. If it happened one time, would it happen another time? I finished my cookie and decided to hand out the rest. I walked down the street, handing out cookies. When they were all gone I rushed home. Right before I got home, I noticed an empty cookie jar in the trash. It looked like the one I had. It was obvious that the person who had owned that jar, didn’t share the cookies. I picked it up and brought it home. The next morning, when I woke up, both of the jars were full of the same wonderful cookies. I couldn’t believe it! I had more cookies than I knew what to do with. I started walking around town passing out the cookies. Every once in a while, I came accross an empty cookie jar. I would collect these empties and bring them home. As usual, the next morning, all of the jars were full. There were more cookies there than I could pass out in a day. I decided that I would give full jars to other people so they would pass out the cookies. As long as they took only what they needed and shared the rest, the cookie jar would never be empty.

As I watched others passing out the cookies day after day, I realized that it wasn’t the cookies that were special. It was the joy that we received by giving. The more we gave, the more we wanted to give. I started noticing others giving cookie jars to their friends. It seemed that everyone wanted others to experience the joy of giving.

That was the true magic of the cookie jar.

In the Bible, Paul also had his own cookie jar. Paul said, “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.” Want to read more? Read 2 Corinthians 9:6-15