A few weeks ago, I was pulling out of the church parking lot after a Sunday evening. I happened to notice that the left tail light of the car in front of me was out.
So I thought to myself, I should probably let them know that it is out...but they pulled out before I could get their attention, and I didn’t want to chase them down 412.
So when I got home, I decided that I would text them to let them know. I waited a few minutes, because I wanted to be sure they had enough time to get home, then sent them a text message.
A few minutes later I received a reply, “This is funny---got pulled over on the way home. Just gave me a warning.”
Since then I have been thinking about the happenings of that Sunday evening. We are told in Galatians 6:1, “Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.”
While this brother was not exactly “caught in a sin,” he still needed to be told about his tail light being out. I saw it, knew I should say something, then made an excuse as to why it could wait. Fortunately he just got a warning from the authority that pulled him over.
When we see someone who is “caught in a sin” we need to warn them...NOW! We don’t need to make excuses as to how warning them might make us appear judgmental towards them or figure it can wait until a later time. We are not guaranteed that there will be a later time.
I felt sort of bad that he was pulled over...not bad enough that if he’d gotten a ticket I would have helped pay it...but bad none-the-less. If I had warned him earlier, he could have stopped somewhere, bought a new bulb, installed it, and might not have been pulled over. But he was given a second chance, and that’s good.
But if he had been “caught in a sin” and I saw it and did not do everything I could possibly do to warn him of the danger...and he had been “pulled over” by “The Authority,” he would not have had an opportunity for a second chance.
So if you see someone who is “caught in a sin,” warn them...but do it with a gentle, humble spirit.
For about the last week and a half, we have been a one car family. Because our Hyundai had to be in the body shop, we have only had our Suzuki to get around in for this time. Having to drive to Bentonville twice a day most days has let us know just how bad of gas mileage the Suzuki gets!
The insurance company told us to take it to the body shop on Monday, July 13 and that they would have an adjuster come by the shop within two days to “adjust” (or whatever an adjuster does). They would then call us and let us know all the details.
When we had not heard back by 4:00 Tuesday, we called the shop and the adjuster had not been by. So we called our insurance company. Turns out the regular adjuster for this area was on vacation until July 22...but they would send someone by first thing Wednesday morning.
Well, Wednesday at noon Monica called the shop and the adjuster still had not been by. So she called the insurance company again and, apparently, there had been a lot of claims in this area in the past week...but the adjuster would be by before the close of business Wednesday. Wednesday night we still had not heard back.
We finally heard back Thursday afternoon. $2,100 damage (we only have to pay our deductible, thankfully) for a car hitting a right turn only sign traveling 15 miles per hour! And our car should be ready by Wednesday...which is today, a week and a half after we took our car in for a dented fender (but the whole front bumper and right headlight apparently had to be replaced too).
So why am I telling you this? Am I just venting? Perhaps. But this ordeal has reminded me of a few things.
It seems that my family had become dependent on having two cars. We have had to adjust schedules, ask favors, and been inconvenienced over the last week and a half. Basically, having only one car disrupted our lives.
God has a way of helping us see what is most important to us. When we become too dependent on something (other than Him), He often will help us see the error of our ways.
I was also reminded that things are just that: things. When Monica called to tell me that (insert minor’s name here) had hit a sign making her first ever turn driving on a public street, I was upset...and very nearly verbally expressed my being upset.
Fortunately in the millisecond between hearing the news and my initial response there was another response that traveled faster from the brain to the mouth: “Are y’all OK?”
A fender can be repaired or replaced. A sign can be fixed. But my family is irreplaceable. So in that split second, I was reminded that things are not that important.
The past week and a half has been a trial for my family. There have been other issues we’ve had to deal with besides just not having two cars.
What this (and other issues, some related to the lack of one car, some not) has done is forced us to listen to Peter’s advice and, “Cast ALL (our) anxiety on Him because He cares for (us)” (1 Peter 5:7).
I would advise you not to wait until you are in the midst of a trial to follow Peter’s advice. It is also good advice when things are good!
Well, it is almost here. In a matter of a couple of days, “The Greatest Show in Heaven or on Earth” will be opening right here in our very own building.
I know that many times we are tempted to think that programs like Vacation Bible School and the like are “for the kids” and, thus, they have nothing for the “grown ups.”
While I suppose the focus of VBS is the kids that will attend, I think it is important that you understand that those kids that attend have parents. Many times the most effective way to reach a parent is through their children.
On Friday night of next week (July 24) we are going to have a program to close our VBS for 2015. Even if you do not attend any of the other evenings, I want to encourage you to come to that program.
That program is where we make contact with the other family members of the kids that attend: parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc.
If only these “other” family members attend, they will leave the building knowing that their kids had a good time and that the kids will want to come back next year.
But if many of our church family is also here, they will see the way we support their children. You will have a chance to talk with them (some you may already know, others you’ll get to meet). You can deepen/develop your relationship with them. Then they will leave here saying “God is really among you!” (1 Corinthians 14:25)
In my experience, I have seen several families start attending services because of VBS. When they attended the closing program, they were invited back and came back. A few were even baptized as a result.
So come as many evenings as you can. Watch your preacher make a “fool” of himself. Take a genuine interest in the kids that attend. When you come on Friday night, greet those you know, meet those you do not know.
You never really know what the outcome will be, so come and plant the seed, water the seed, and allow God to make it grow (1 Corinthians 3:6).
I guess, what I’m trying to say is that VBS is not JUST for kids.
Green Valley Bible Camp - Well, here I am again, at camp. This is only the second time in 23 years of full time ministry that I have gone to camp as a counselor...both have been at Green Valley.
Despite the lack of “creature comforts” (like air conditioning, a generous supply of hot water, and the like) everyone seems to be having a good time (easy for me to say, since technically. I have not even left yet, its only Thursday, July 2).
This year, for our session, the theme is “Burn the Boats.” The idea comes from the story of Hernándo Cortés and his conquering of the Aztec Empire and claiming Mexico for Spain in February, 1519. Just before his men began to march toward war, Cortés had them burn their boats...the same boats that had seen them safely from Spain to Cuba to the shores of Mexico.
By burning the boats, Cortés and his men were now 100% committed to victory: they had no choice, there was no way of retreating. To put it in the words of Colonel William Travis some 317 years later (February, 1836 at the Alamo), “Victory or Death!”
The reason so many great leaders of the past (before Cortés) had failed to conquer the Aztecs was they always left an “escape hatch” of sorts. Cortés burned his escape hatch!
In Hebrews 12:1, the writer tells us, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”
That’s the point of this week at camp: burn your boats! Throw off those things in your past that are keeping you from being 100% committed to Christ; throw off the current temptations that you are struggling with that seeks to entangle you; and run with perseverance the race God has prepared for us.
Most of us like to have a safety net. Most of us like to leave ourselves a way out. Most of us are unwilling to burn our boats.
But if we don’t, we will never reap the untold riches and rewards that only those who are 100% committed to Christ will reap.
On June 30, 2015 a couple of “monumental” things took place. Things that don’t normally happen, but we actually got to witness them (no, this isn’t about the U.S. Women’s World Cup team making the World Cup Finals...that seems to happen regularly!).
Every so often some scientist somewhere determines that the Earth has slowed down to the point that we must add a “leap second.” So, for the first time in three years, this past Tuesday, we had a 61 second minute! (6:59:59 was held for an additional second, if you wanted to know.)
So, because of something some scientist said, we “made time stand still” for a full second and, at some undetermined point in the future, we will do this “Herculean hold up of time” again!
Yet in Joshua 10 we read of Joshua, without prompting from NASA, asking the sun and moon to stand still and the sun and moon honoring his request...for about a day (Joshua 10:13)!
Then in Isaiah 38, we are told that, as a sign Hezekiah would recover from an illness, the shadow cast by the sun went back ten steps on the stairway of Ahaz (Isaiah 38:8).
Was Joshua or Hezekiah (or Isaiah, for that matter) really responsible? NO. God was responsible for time standing still for Joshua and time going backward in Isaiah. God was in control then and He is in control now.
Also on Tuesday evening, “The Star of Bethlehem” appeared in the sky! That’s right, Jesus was born on Tuesday! Actually Jupiter and Venus were about 1/3° apart in the twilight sky. This, apparently has not happened since 2-3 BC (only then, according to sources, Regulus (a nearby star) was included). This formation is known as “The Star of Bethlehem.”
So, again, science is attempting to “explain away” the Bible. According to Matthew 2, the star that guided the Magi to Jesus actually led them (i.e. the star moved) until it stopped over the place where Jesus was: no “normal” star would behave in such a way.
It is my belief that the “Star of Bethlehem” (the one in the Bible that guided the Magi) was a special, miraculous star that God provided to guide a group of sincere “seekers” to Jesus.
I do not believe it was Jupiter, Venus, and Regulus all so “close” that they appeared as one big, bright star in the sky. I do not believe it was anything that ever had been or will be reproduced.
It was nothing less than a special “miracle star” created by God Himself to announce the birth of His Son!
My point with both of these is that despite whatever is “legal” or “illegal” in our country and in our world, God is still in control. He has control of the planets and stars. He has control over time as well. He is Sovereign. He reigns supreme. He is in control. May He be praised forever more!