For the Times They Are A Changing
I woke this morning to the old Bob Dylan tune, "For the Times They are A Changing". I, of course, went to Youtube to listen to the song and was amazed at some of the lyrics and how they are relevant for today. In some of your extra time you now find yourself with, listen to this song.
It seems with each passing week this worldwide event escalates before our eyes. What was hoped for, now seems impossible. What we all prayed for seems to be delayed. The atmosphere of anxiety is intensifying before our our eyes. Human wisdom seems to have met its match. Could this be the turning point to where a broken, hopeless humanity cries out to God? I have an inner sense that we are about to see something of this nature. This has shaken the world. We get communication form all parts of the world and it's the same story, 'fear, worry, and uncertainty is at an all time high'. Yes, the media hype has not been much help either, but as the days roll by and more and more victims are added, reality hits with deepening gloom.
Last Sunday, as I sat before an empty sanctuary, I gave this assurance from the Word of God that "The Times They Are A Changing". Times and seasons are promised from God, what we have hope in is that times and seasons are temporary, they are not permanent. What IS permanent are the promises of God. A crisis is never permanent. This all shall pass. When this does pass, what will we as the human race have learned from this experience?
My prayer is we will be a more humble, compassionate, unified people. May you go to God's word and find a promise to stand on today. That promise is the rock to stand on, all other ground truly is sinking sand. May the Rock of all times, seasons, and ages bring you peace while we go through these times that are A-Changin!
I have been reading John Maxwell's new leadership book, "Leadershift". What a timely message he shares in this book. I love to follow his messages on leadership, and this may be one of his best. One thought in the book that is so key for this day is how to become transformational leaders. In this time of upheaval, turmoil, and uncertainty, this type of leadership must rise to the occasion to steer our homes, businesses, and churches through this storm.
Transformational leaders have these characteristics:
-They see things others do not see
-They say things other do not say
-They believe things others do not believe
-They feel things others do not feel
-They do things others do not do
History's greatest leaders were conceived in the crucibles of turmoil, war, persecutions, and cultural meltdowns. What we see before us is an opportunity to see a new breed of leaders arise out of the rubble of this event. It is needed in all 7 mountains of our culture. What a multitude of challenges and opportunities we have before us.
I have, around my desk, post it notes with quotes that speak into my life. This one really got my attention this morning, it is from Bob Hazlett and he says this:
"The impossible challenges facing you today are actually an invitation to experience a part of God's power you haven't seen yet."
What a great promise! I am convinced that we will see some amazing miracles in the coming months.
1 Corinthians 2:9
Allow the Peace of God to help guard your heart's and mind. We are going to see a victory!
Walk This Way
No, I am not referring to the old Aerosmith song from the 70's, I am reading this in the book of Isaiah 8:11.
11 For the Lord spoke thus to me with a strong hand, and instructed me that I should not walk in the way of those people
The Lord is speaking through the prophetic voice of the day and instructs him NOT to walk in the way of the people. How were the people walking? In fear, stumbling in spiritual darkness, seeking advice from ungodly & worldly advisors, driven to chaos. Walk this way says the Lord; let Him fight your fear, seal the Word of God in your hearts, put your hope in Him. Then He says by walking this way I will use you as a sign and a wonder in the land.
My understanding of this passage in Isaiah 8:11-22 tells me there is a way the Lord wants us to walk, especially in times like this. To be a beacon of hope in a world that is being shaken; church we must walk this way! Our walk is one of faith not fear! Our walk is one of confidence that ALL His promises are YES and we agree with our amen!
Our walk will not imitate the world because we walk to a different sound, a different command! The world is watching the church in this epic event, how will we respond? As for me and the house the Lord has entrusted me with, we will talk this way!
Today at sunset the Festival of Purim begins, marking the Jewish nation's deliverance from the evil plans of Haman. This is one of the most beloved stories in the Bible, a book that has the imprint of God all through it, yet never mentions God by name.
This story, as do several other bible stories, has a certain element we as believers sometimes struggle with, the 'who knows' element of our faith. That unknown factor causes many to pause and count the cost, Esther knew the cost of 'who knows'. She spoke it facing the consequence of death if it did not go well, yet in the face of this outcome she walked in obedience and an entire race of people were saved from genocide. Jonathan, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, Azeriah, and an innumerable amount of herbs of the faith throughout history have been faced with this question 'who knows'?
Rhonda and I have stared at this question as we follow the dreams that seem to continue to push us into new countries. What we all 'can know' is the promise of a helper, the Holy Spirit, who will be our companion, guide, and instructor. So even though our walk of faith has many 'who knows', it would not be necessary to have faith if our walk was certain. At the urging of her spiritual guide Mordecai, Esther took the dangerous path of 'who knows' and today that courage is celebrated.
Who is waiting for deliverance on the other side of your 'who knows'? Lets help others celebrate the greatest deliverance of all!
Romans 5:8 But God demonstrated His own love towards us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Now that should raise a Hallelujah!
Trust in the Crosshairs
I have just returned from a missions trip to Nepal, the people as always were hungry for the Word, served with passion, and wept as we departed. The culture of honor, the agape love, and the heart of servitude continues to be the power behind the growth of the ministry we have partnered with for 17 years now. It was a joy to begin our 20th year in ministry in the country it all started. Nepal has forever captured out hearts.
The headlines of the day point to a trust issue we have in the church. Do we really have faith and trust in God? It would seem it becomes an issue when the media releases such sobering news. There is no denying a virus is spreading to physical bodies. We live in a broken, diseased world that will only see more deterioration as we watch darkness escalate. But the believers promise is much greater!
Isaiah 60 says to arise and shine for your light has come. Yes a deep darkness is on many people but the Lord will arise over His people, yet fear seems to be the emotion of the day. Fear is a terrorist, fear is no respecter of persons, fear is our enemy! Much is said about fear in the Bible. Over and over God commands His people to not fear but trust. Where is your level of trust today? It has a target on it. Satan wants to break down your trust, he is using two extremes in the media- the far left liberal media and the conspiracy camp.
Isaiah 8:12 Don’t believe their every conspiracy rumor. And don’t fear what they fear—don’t be moved or terrified.
I recall a scripture song from the 70's & 80's that we used to sing, Psalm 20:7 "some trust in chariots, some trust in horses, but we will remember the name of the Lord!"
Proverbs 18:10 The name of the Lord is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe.
If you feel your trust get hit, run to God's word. God has a covenant with us- Haggai 2:5 "My spirit remains among you, do not fear! May the Peace of God rule in your heart today.
Senior pastor at Grove Christian Center.