The Power of One

Psalm 119:162 – “I rejoice in your promise like one who finds great spoil.”

We had one of those special nights at The Garage tonight. It was a night where the Holy Spirit was at work in the lives of our students, and I watched and listened, and have already read e-mails tonight of how God worked. As I read today’s verse I thought about our students.

David rejoiced is God’s promise like one who had found a great treasure. Tonight, our students responded to God’s Word in a similar way. It was an “Aha night.” A night where the lightbulb finally clicked in the minds of a number of our students. We talked about spiritual leadership, and the leadership vacuum that there is in this generation. We talked about God’s desire and passion for leaders. He is looking throughout the earth for those who will lead His church in the next generation. I believe that despite numbers that suggest the contrary, there is a generation of students that are truly longing to experience God. There is a generation of students that want to be the church. They want to be the kind of Christians that serve like Jesus served. They want to be the kind of Christians who are passionate about their faith. They want to live what they believe. But, they are afraid. They are afraid to stand out, or stand up. Tonight, I read an old poem by George Liddell. It says this:

Give me a man of God – one man,

Whose faith is master of his mind,

And I will right all wrongs

And bless the name of all mankind.

Give me a man of God – one man,

Whose tongue is touched with heaven’s fire,

And I will flame the darkest hearts

With high resolve and clean desire.

Give me a man of God – one man

One mighty prophet of the Lord,

And I will give you peace on earth

Bought with a prayer and not a sword

Give me a man of God – one man,

True to the vision that he sees,

And I will build your broken shrines

And bring the nations to their knees

I’m praying for more than one. But, if one comes out of The Garage tonight, our world will never be the same. I rejoice in God’s promise, like one who finds a great treasure!

Dear God,

You are our Treasure. You are worth living for and giving our everything to. Help us to change this generation. Begin by changing us. Raise up a generation fo leaders who will impact this world by being Your church.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.

A Ruler Like No Other

Psalm 119:161 – “Rulers persecute me without cause, but my heart trembles at your word.”

David was the King of the most powerful nation on earth. When the Israelite army marched into battle, nations feared them. They were a fighting machine, conquering nations and adding to the size of Israel with every victory. Opposing rulers hated David. He says in this verse that they persecuted him without cause. I’m sure they might have a different opinion of it. Either way it’s interesting what David says in this verse about what causes him to tremble. It was not the leaders of other nations that caused him to tremble. It was the Word of God.

Has God’s Word ever had that effect on you? It sure has on me. There are parts of the Word that I read and I can’t help but tremble. I read Jesus’ teaching on the sheep and the goats, and my stomach turns. It is hard to read about some who think that they are God’s followers getting to heaven only to find out that who they were serving was not God. I read about the swift judgment that God bestowed on Annanias and Sapphira, and I tremble. I read about the stoning of Stephen and I tremble. I read about the cross and I tremble.

Our God is a ruler unlike any other. His very words can make us tremble. I often times think about what it would be like to spend quality time with various world leaders. I watch the presidential debates and wonder if the presidential contenders are intimidating figures. I wonder if I would tremble to be in their presence. This I know: that in the presence of God, even the most intimidating world leader would tremble. We will all have an audience with God some day. And, we will fall to our knees. May we not be like the goats; separated for eternity from God.

Read God’s Word, and tremble! Read God’s Word and rejoice! Read God’s Word and let it change you! Our God is an awesome God.

Dear God,

You are a ruler like no other. Your Word challenges us and changes us. Thank You for Your precious Word.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.

It’s True!

Psalm 119:160 – “All your words are true; all your righteous laws are eternal.”

Do you want to know something amazing about God? Okay, here it is: Everything that God says is true. Everything! There is no hint of exaggeration with the Almighty. When He describes streets of gold in heaven, He means it. The streets will be pure gold. When He says that He separates our sins as far as the east is from the west, He means it. And, when He says that He loves you just the way you are but that He isn’t content to leave you that way, He means that to. In a world where people parse words, hold back words, and all too often tell lies, God’s truth telling is refreshing and awe inspiring.

Dear God,

Thank You that there is no sense of pretense or malice within You. You are truth. You don’t have one ounce of deceit in You. Thank You for Your impecible character, and help us to reflect that to the world around us.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.

A New Week

Psalm 119:159 – “See how I love your precepts; preserve my life, O LORD, according to your love.”

I love Sundays! Today was a long day, but a good one. How awesome it was to be surrounded by my brothers and sisters in Christ throughout most of the day. As I read today’s verse I think about days like this. David cried out that he loved God’s precepts. I do too. His law is so good. They preserve our lives. And, they make life something that can be lived to the full.

As you go into a new week, praise God for who He is. Tell Him what you most need right now. Ask Him to use you in what He wants to accomplish this week. Commit to letting Him have control in your day, your week, this year. He wants to do great things through you. Let Him have control.

Dear God,

We ask You to take control. We invite Your Spirit to fill our lives. Use us to make an impact on this world for You. Give us the strength to follow You wherever You lead.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.

Faith Comes By Hearing

Psalm 119:158 – “I look on the faithless with loathing, for they do not obey your word.”

It’s been a long day — a long day, but a good one. We woke up at 5:30 this morning to get Breanna and Cyndi ready for the Eden Prairie Invitational Speech Tournament. It was Breanna’s second speech tournament, and her first and only home meet of the season. (For the second week in a row, Breanna got fourth place in her division!) Cyndi was a judge at the tournament. They had to be at EPHS by 6:45 AM, and were not home until a little after 6:00 tonight.

Jeremy had a basketball game at 8:00 today. Chris had spent the night at a friend’s house, so after a quick breakfast out with Jeremy and Zachary after Jeremy’s game, we drove by to pick up Chris. From there it was on to the speech tournament, where the boys and I got a chance to watch Breanna’s speech. Then it was back home for lunch, and back to EPHS for the award ceremony. When that ended we came back here for dinner and then Chris and I went to the Newsboys concert at Northwestern College in Roseville. We got home a few minutes ago.

When I read today’s verse, I was reminded of something that Peter Furler, the lead singer for the Newsboys said tonight. Tonight’s verse talks about the loathing that David had for those who did not obey the word of the Lord. Furler talked about an experience in his life where he walked away from church for a time. He began to doubt his faith. He wondered if God was even there at all. (His comments reminded me of some recent comments that I had heard from some of our seniors who had quit attending church.) Furler said that he doubted because faith comes by hearing the word of God, and he had not been in a place to hear it. He wasn’t reading the word, and he wasn’t listening to it. Romans 10:17 says, “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.”

We become like the faithless that David talks about when we cease listening to the Word of God. Don’t let yourself get to a spot where you are not in fellowship with God’s people, or with God. You need others. You need God. And, you need His word!

Dear God,

Our faith is small. So many times we doubt You. And, instead of running to You, we run away. Help us not to be marathon runners who run the other way. Help us to be runners for life, who choose to run with You. You are our ever present help in times of trouble. You are our refuge and our strength. We need You. Help us to live like it.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.

David Resolve

Psalm 119:157 – “Many are the foes who persecute me, but I have not turned from your statutes.”

Several years ago I spent some time with Darrell Scott, father of the first Columbine High School victim, Rachel Scott. He is an extraordinary man. I was stuck by how a man, who had been through such pain in his life, could choose to still give glory to God in spite of that pain. A former pastor who went through a painful divorce, and then lost his daughter to an unspeakable tragedy, Scott decided to not wallow in his losses, but to try his best to make something beautiful out of the ashes. I’m not sure that I could have done what Scott has done. Scott has, what after 157 days in Psalm 119, I now refer to as David Resolve. That is that he has decided that no matter what the circumstances of his life, he will follow God. Columbine produced a number of martyrs. They were young Christian men and women who decided to stand up for Christ in the face of death. They too had David Resolve.

I wonder what it would take to get us to turn away from God? Maybe what we’d find is that like Darrell Scott and the Columbine martyrs that faced with the most difficult of circumstances we would stand firm. I hope that is the case. I want to be a man who shows David Resolve. I hope you do too!

Dear God,

May we be men and women who stand for You no matter the cost. Help us to live lives that bring glory to You and make You look good to the world around us.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.

Random Acts of Compassion

Psalm 119:156 – “Your compassion is great, O LORD; preserve my life according to your laws.”

There’s been a lot of talk in recent years about random acts of kindness. Steve Sjogren’s tremendous book, Conspiracy of Kindness, put servant evangelism on the heart of churches all over the world. The feature film, Pay It Forward, made everyone watching it want to do something nice in the life of someone else. So, what if we added to the random acts of kindness and started showing random acts of compassion. The words kindness and compassion are similar, but they aren’t exactly the same thing. Compassion carries with it the idea that unmerited favor is being granted on behalf of someone else. In fact, compassion is often times most effective when it is given to someone that no one else cares to offer compassion to.

I wonder who it is in your life that is most in need of compassion tonight. Isn’t it interesting that Christians, to whom so much compassion has been shown by God, are often times seen not as agents of compassion, but as agents of judgment. Perhaps we need to rethink that strategy. Maybe it’s time for us to be the first to extend the arms of grace to the person whose life has been reduced to a series of poor decisions. I love when I see a person showing compassion to someone else. And, when I don’t deserve grace, I am blown away at the arms of compassion. So, today, why not try to find someone that you can show a random, or not-so-random act of compassion to? And, may God use you to be a blessing in their life.

Dear God,

You have shown us great compassion. Rise up an army of compassionate warriors who will take to the streets and show love and grace. Help us to show people Who Jesus is, because of what they see in us.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.