Monday, August 29, 2011

On The Run

William Walter Asher III has spent most of his on the run. In 1966, when Asher was 20 years old, he was convicted and sentenced to 7 years to life for his part in the robbery of a San Francisco bar during which a bartender was killed. He spent several years in prison before escaping from an inmate fire camp in El Dorado County in 1975. At that point, he began his career as a fugitive. Asher began using other names and worked as a truck driver. He married and raised a family. He managed to elude authorities for 36 years. Until last Friday, that is. Using a tip regarding a secret phone number and other phone records, the FBI eventually located Asher at a home in Salida, California and finally took him into custody.

Its hard to imagine being on the run for 36 years. Always looking over your shoulder. Always having to be careful about what you said and to whom you said it. Maybe it got easier as the years past by. Perhaps Asher eventually began to believe that he had really gotten away with it. Who knows? It is reported that Asher didn’t say too much during his arrest, although he did keep asking, “How did you find me?”

Life on the run is a difficult way to live. Sadly, there are those who spend their lives running from God. For whatever reason, they decide that trying to hide from God is better than facing Him. Perhaps they think that if they ignore God, He will just go away. Whatever the reasoning, let me remind the spiritual fugitives out there that you can’t run from God forever. “And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do” (Hebrews 4:13). God knows where you live. He knows what you have done and He still wants to forgive you. Why not surrender to Him now before it is too late?

God loves you!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Its A God Thing

My family and I were blessed to be part of Family Camp 3 at Yellowstone Bible Camp in Montana recently. Some great friendships have been forged over the past 17 years. We get to catch up with other families who have also attended for several years. We see each other only one week each year but its almost as though we haven’t been apart. We also get to meet new families who are trying Family Camp for the first time. At first, they are a bit reserved because they are not sure what to expect. But by the end of the week, they have become another part of the YBC “family.” It truly is a piece of heaven on earth.

The camp experience for me this year was a bit different because I was chosen to be the teacher for the week. Fifteen class sessions in six days kept me a bit busier than normal. It was humbling to be asked to share God’s word with so many good friends that I love and respect. Since we are not around each other except for one week a year, I really had no idea what each heart needed to hear. I didn’t know the struggles each family was facing.

But God did. On several occasions, fellow campers would approach me and say something like: “How did you know I needed to hear that?” “It seemed like you were talking directly to me.” I could honestly say that I didn’t know and I certainly wasn’t speaking directly to any individual person or situation. But, thankfully, God DID know and He WAS working directly on specific hearts and situations.

The experience reminded me, once again, that God is the only One who can change lives. He may use me or any other servant He chooses as a conduit but it is HIS message that makes the difference. It is still HIS word that is “living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword” (Hebrews 4:12). Thank you, Father, for making a difference!

God loves you!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Bumper Car Theology

I learned something at the amusement park the other day. No, I didn’t learn that I can’t tolerate wild rides. I learned that at an EARLY age and I have NEVER forgotten it. Just watching others ride on a roller coaster that spins you around, turns you upside down, and hurtles you at break-neck speed through a maze of metal makes my stomach queasy. I always stand at a safe distance with my feet rooted firmly on the ground and admire the foolish courage of others.

But I did learn that it has been too long since I have been in a bumper car. Bumper cars have always been one of my favorite amusement park attractions. They are safe, stable, and, although they do spin, it is at a much slower rate than other rides. I have never lost my lunch, or seen anyone else lose their lunch, after driving a bumper car. So as Taylor, Tessa, Emma, and I waited in line for our turn, I had a sense of anticipation rather than a sense of dread.

The ride operator opened the gate and we all chose our cars. Everyone was poised for action. And we were off! Everyone but me, I mean. I sat helplessly turning the steering wheel back and forth, but not moving an inch. Spectators and participants were all probably wondering, “What’s wrong with the old man? Why isn’t he moving?” Frankly, I was wondering the same thing. About half way through the ride, I discovered the little metal pedal under my right foot. Sheepishly, I pressed the pedal down and began wreaking bumper car havoc on the rest of the smart-alecks who hadn’t forgotten how to make their cars go.

It got me to thinking about the times I have forgotten about how to propel my service for God. There have been times in my walk with God that I have tightly gripped the steering wheel and turned it back and forth but nothing happened. Then I remembered the Power Source! Praise God for His indwelling Spirit!

God loves you!

I Want To Die Running

A Wall Street Journal article from October 31, 2008 shares the story of marathon runner Joy Johnson. Lots of people compete in marathons each year, but what makes Johnson unique is her age. At the time the article was written, she was 81 years of age. She won her age division of the New York Marathon the previous year and had set her sights on winning it again in 2008.

Being a competitive marathoner is hard work at any age, but especially so when you are in your 80’s. Muscles, ligaments, and circulation begin to work against you. But Johnson works hard at maintaining her edge. Disappointed with her winning time of 7 hours in the 2007 event, she committed herself to shaving some time off of that pace. “Throughout the summer she ran 50-55 miles each week instead of 30-35. She ran hills and bleachers at the local high school football field, and she worked to build up her core strength at a running camp in Minnesota.” Incredible!

What I find most amazing about this energetic senior citizen is her attitude toward the activity she loves. She is quoted as saying: “I want to die running. That’s my goal...I’ve told my friends if I die here on this track, do not call 911 because I do not want to be revived...I say, wait a half an hour, maybe 45 minutes, then call the mortician. That’s the way I want to go.”

“I want to die running.” That’s the motto I want to adopt in the spiritual marathon that I am running. Nobody crosses the finish line of the race of life until they die. That’s why I must die running. If I want to “finish the course”, I have to kept putting one foot in front of the other until I rest in the arms of Jesus.

In case you are wondering, Joy Johnson did win her division in the 2008 New York Marathon in a time of 6 hours, 5 minutes, and 58 seconds.

God loves you!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Have You Ever Noticed...?

Have you ever noticed that nearly every Christian wants to be part of a church family that has a lot of activities but not as many are interested in being that active?

Have you ever noticed that nearly every Christian likes to see a full church building but not as many are interested in being with their spiritual family on a regular basis?

Have you ever noticed that nearly every Christian speaks of their love for the word of God but not as many are interested in opening their Bible between Sundays?

Have you ever noticed that nearly every Christian believes that it is important to have a strong educational program in a congregation but not as many are interested in participating?

Have you ever noticed that nearly every Christian sees the need for effective and knowledgeable leaders in a church family but not as many are willing to commit and train themselves to be that kind of leader?

Have you ever noticed that nearly every Christian wants a closer relationship with God but not as many want to do whatever is necessary to make it happen?

A healthy church family is built by those who have the faith and courage to step beyond the comfort zone that is home to “nearly every Christian.” Can we take that step together?

God loves you!