Sunday, March 28, 2010

Entertaining Angels?

Hebrews 13:1,2 Keep on loving each other as brothers and sisters. Don't forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it!

Wow.....(large sigh) What a day!! It is Sunday and we experienced our largest attendance of our church history....186 people. God is just too cool! I can't wrap my brain around how awesome Jesus really is. Suppose God was impressed today? Was He impressed with 186 people coming to Quarry Rock today? Was He impressed that we held church and sung some songs, heard a message from God's Word? I'm not sure God is all that impressed by our accomplishments! But what i want to share today in this blog/devotion is not about 186 people. I want to share about one man. We'll call him Mike....cuz that is what he said his name was.

As church ended this morning, I happen to notice that a young man was standing in our welcome area. He appeared a bit unkept. That is the polite way to put it, isn't it? He had hair in dreadlocks, wearing a blaze orange stocking cap, jeans and a jacket of some sort. See how observant I am? Not that good for being a former cop, huh? Oh well...anyway, Mike was speaking to Isaac and Isaac called me over to introduce Mike to me. Mike told me that his brother was critically ill and was awaiting a serious surgery to save his life. Mike went on to explain that he was on his way to Washington, D.C. to see his brother but had run out of gas money to travel on. He stated he spent the night in his car across the street from our church. He walked in a little after 11am. I told him that we could get him a tank of gas. I gave him directions to the gas station and told him to go in and state his name and the type of vehicle he was driving and I would call in to "OK" the gas assistance. Mike shook my hand and walked away.

Within a few minutes, he walked back up to me and said, "What was the name of that gas station again?" I told him, shook his hand again and he started to walk away from me for the second time. God spoke straight to me and told me to stop Mike. I yelled, "Mike!" He kept walking.....(About now, I am suspicious his name is not Mike). "Mike!?" No response. "Mike!" This time, he turned to me. I said, "Would you like some soup before you go on in your trip?" He lit up like the sky and said yes. He walked back up to me, shook my hand and I escorted him to the snacks, sandwiches and soup. He got some food and disappeared. I got distracted by some other people who had talked to me in the line. I frantically scanned the room for Mike. Then I saw him sitting down in a booth eating his soup and snacks.

Yeah, I know what you're thinking. All alone like he has leprosy. Poor guy isn't even noticed in this room full of people. worst nightmare as a pastor!! How embarrassing to lead people like this, right?

No!!!! That is not the picture I saw. When I scanned the room for Mike, I saw him sitting at a booth eating and talking to a family that just invaded his space. They loved him like he was one of the family....Indeed he was! There was Lance, Kim, Alex, Derrick, and Austin....all about Mike!! They laughed and talked with Mike. I was deeply moved as I watched. To think I almost sent him out with a lousy tank of gas!!!

Mike had something magical about him. He captured the hearts and attention of about everyone in our fellowship hall. They weren't staring like "who's the dude with the cap.... Oh gross!" No, not at all. It was more like, "Hey pastor, who is the guy in the orange hat talking with Alex? What's his story?" He moved everyone in the room. It was........well, really it was weird. In a cool sort of way.

Fill his gas tank and fill his belly. Cool. Now send him on his way, right? Nope, not yet. Our church wasn't done yet. People almost in a line kept filing by Mike, giving him a hug and a wad of cash.....yeah, for real!! Hugs and cash. Then someone went to the food pantry and packed a box of groceries for him as he travelled. Mike was speechless. He received the soup, the gas, the groceries and the cash. But what really lit Mike up was the hugs. I wonder how long its been since he felt that. On second thought.... I don't want to know how long it has been. But, he got hugs. He saw, tasted, felt and experienced Jesus in a very real and raw form.....It was indescribable. I have tried in this blog but there is no way possible to fully describe what happened here in our church today!!

Mike.....(If your name is Mike) and really, I don't care what your name is. I don't care if you have a brother or not. I want you to know I love you, man!! Jesus loves you. He died for you!! You are amazing! You are God's handiwork! And you have changed my life. You touched our hearts and my prayer for you, Mike......My prayer is that the love of Jesus will fill your heart at this moment and I can only hope that we blessed your life half as much as you blessed ours!

Talk about a proud moment!!! I wouldn't change places with any preacher in the world. I have the greatest congregation of lovers of Jesus and lovers of God's people. Way to go, Quarry Rock!!!! You rocked my world today. I am so proud!!!

Mike, I will look for you every time I see a blaze orange stocking cap or dreadlocks. Travel well, my friend.

Hebrews 13:2 Don't forget to show hospitality to strangers for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


My, how we become busy! There are things to do with every turn of our heads, isn't there? Especially now with the snow melting. All of the remains from a harsh winter remain after the snow disappeared....mud, ruts, debris. There is spring cleaning to do and preparations have already begun to plant the garden...or not. Time to get the lawn mowers out and get things cleaned up and tuned up. Should we paint this year? Maybe.... And then if there are children involved, you have to think of track events, and softball, baseball, drivers ed.....It could really make a person lose their hair....Oops. Too late! And we are still expected to take care of the normal daily meals, doing laundry, cleaning the house, going to the job site...... Is there no time to rest?

If there isn't, you are living in a lifestyle that is less than pleasing to God. The devil tells you to hurry, go faster, do more, tomorrow..yeah, tomorrow there will be time to rest. God says something much different, doesn't He?

Psalm 23:1 The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength......... Sounds nice, huh?

Matthew 11:28 Then Jesus said, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light."

So....let's stop fretting. Do not listen to the devil. He is not the boss of you.....he better not be!!!! The Lord Jesus tells us to come to Him and find rest.

The schedules stay busy but remember that God gives you the same 24 hours He gives to everyone else. Use it wisely. Put Him first, not in the "if I have time" category. He comes first and then it is just amazing how He allows us to get done what He wants us to get done. The rest......Well, i guess it wasn't His will to get that done today.....because He wants you to have "The Rest"

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Only Way

And Jesus said unto His disciples, "Go into all the world, teaching all men to live any way they want, and urging each to find his or her own path to God. Let not any one of you make someone feel inferior or victimized because of their beliefs. Above all, be tolerant. Verily, verily, I say unto you that what you believe and how you live do not matter, so long as you are sincere."
Leaving that place, Jesus led His disciples to Jerusalem where they broke bread at Club Upper Room. There He addressed them again, saying, "I am one of the ways, one of the truths, and just one possible life. If you are basically a good person, you're okay in my book. And if you choose to come to the Father (or Mother, if you prefer) through Me, that's cool. Now go forth to live according to whatever feels good to you."
And there was much rejoicing.

I promise you that you won't find that passage of scripture in any Bible translation. But there are plenty of people today who live as if that's exactly how the Bible does read.

In the 21st century, everybody wants to be cool with everybody else. Nobody wants to offend others or be thought of as narrow minded or intolerant. Ours is a live-and-let-live world.

It's tough to be a Christian in that kind of culture, isn't it? You want to follow Jesus. You want your friends to know about Him, too. But whenever you start talking about the Bible and what's right or wrong, everyone jumps up and calls you a judgmental bigot. After all, who are you to say what's right or wrong?

The TRUTH is out there.....and Jesus is that Truth. Jesus didn't say He was one of the ways to get to God; He said He was the only way. When it comes to being intolerant, Jesus is the leader of the pack. He will not let you stay on a fence.

Choose today who you will serve......As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.
Jesus is the Truth. You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free. We should be intolerant of being held captive by people, world views and even our own fear....fear of being labeled a Jesus Freak. I can think of no greater honor. How about you?

I pray that you receive courage, strength, and a holy boldness to stand up for Jesus this week. Stand up and speak up! Time is drawing to a close. And then no more.....
"If only I had talked to him/her when I had the chance..." I don't want you to ever have to say or think that. This is your chance....Go for it!!!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Dash

Paul, in his letter to the Hebrews tells us to run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Imagine walking through a spiritual "hall of fame". You read the names. You scan the faces. You see on every plaque those two dates that indicate when the person's race began and when it ended......with a little dash (-) in between. Then you come to your plaque. What does it say?

I would like to invite you to personalize this. Take a piece of paper. Write your name at the top. Under your name, write the date you were born, a dash and then a "?" for the date at the right. Something like this:


________________ - _______?________

You had no say at all in the number on the left. You arrived on this planet one day without being consulted at all ahead of time. Ready or not, here you came. You did not get a vote on your parents, your birthplace, your family order, or your DNA. All of these were chosen for you. You were made the bearer of a human soul, created in the image of God, destined for an eternal existence.

You may be very happy about having entered the world, or you may feel that your life is a crushing burden. But you should know this: God is very pleased that you exist. He "knit you together in your mother's womb." That year when you were born is one of His favorite years.

One day the question mark on the right will be replaced with a number as well. We don't have much say about that number either. This is part of what gives life its urgent value. We have one shot at it.

That brings us to the great question: What are you going to do with your dash? What will you do with the turns you get to play the game? That little dash is yours to spend: to shape character, to give allegiance, to choose hope or cynicism, to seize initiative or resign in passivity; to grow stagnate, to be known or to hide.

And the range of what is possible in one life is staggering: Adolf Hitler, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King Jr., Attila the Hun, my grandmother--each of these was given a single dash.

And now....ready or have been given a turn. The bell has sounded. It's your race now. What will you do with your dash?