Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Wisdom in Busyness

We were sitting in a remote village in Malawi talking to some of the area chiefs.  They were asking me questions about America.  They asked about our weather and the crops that we grow.  During the conversation Charles, our leader, began to share with them his experience in America.  It was fascinating to hear his interpretation of our culture.  He talked about how everyone in America keeps their shoes clean and shiny.  He then went on to explain why the people of America are so wealthy.  He told them we were wealthy because we work so hard.  We are always busy and have no down time.  He explained to them that in Malawi they have a lot of time to set around and do nothing, but in America every minute is scheduled. There is a lot of truth in what he is saying.  It isn’t necessarily why we have wealth but we are a busy people.  When we get a vacation we even schedule it to the minute with very little down time.

This conversation caused me to reflect on our busy culture.  We are busy but the truth is it is a curse of our society.  How much of our busy lives are used wisely?  We bounce from appointment to appointment from the moment we awake until we lay our heads on our pillows at nights.  We then think about all the time we wasted and the things we didn’t get accomplished.  Many will find themselves at the end of their life looking back at a life that was wasted with busyness.

We need to be wise stewards of our time.  Time is precious.  Are we walking as the wise or unwise?  Paul tells us in Ephesians 5:15-16, “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”  Wisdom is found in God’s will.  As we plan our crazy life let us constantly be aware of what God’s will is for our life.  Busyness is not the problem.  The problem is when we are busy doing all the wrong things.  We may live in a fast pace society but sometimes it is God’s will for us to be still and know that he is God. (Psalm 46:10).

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Crazy World!

Texas gets hit by a category 5 hurricane.  Florida gets hit by a category 4 hurricane.  The Virgin Islands and Caribbean have seen wave after wave of catastrophic hurricanes.  Mexico City has a massive earthquake that kills hundreds.  Wildfires in the West.  North Korea threatening a nuclear strike on America.  What is going on in this crazy world?

There is no way to know for certain if these disasters are sent by God for judgement or allowed by God as part of the curse of this fallen world in which we live.  The question we have during such disasters is why?  The “why” question is easy if we look at scripture and see how sin has cursed this world in which we live.  The better question for us as believers is to ask, “what are we going to do about it?”  With such disasters comes the opportunity to love our neighbor as ourselves.  It is an opportunity to meet physical needs as well as meet their spiritual needs.  All things are not good, however, “for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28). 

When disaster strikes, it is the responsibility of believers to respond.  We are called according to his purpose.  We are called to love God and love others.  There are a lot of hurting people in our nation right now.  There are people who have lost everything.  We need to show them the love of Christ.  We need to send money to Christian based disaster relief organizations who are trained and prepared to meet the physical needs.  We need to help bring peace to those who are questioning these horrible events.  We must point people to Jesus as our only hope.  Until Christ returns disasters like these will continue.  This fallen world is crazy!  What are we going to do about it?

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

A Time to Remember

It is great to be able to take time and remember.  That is what this last weekend was for me.  It was a time to remember what God has done in my life on the small piece of God’s creation we call Falls Creek.  Falls Creek is part of some of my earliest memories.  My dad was a music and youth minister so I usually spent the week with him.  I remember following around older students to the Icee stands.  I remember my first years as a camper at children’s camp swimming in the ice-cold swimming pool and having morning devotions under the water tower overlooking the camp.  My first year as a camper for youth camp I was the only guy in our group.  That would have been more enjoyable a few years later.  My first year with McAlester First we went out in the streets well past curfew while it was pouring down rain.  We had just played games with shaving cream and were covered from head to toe.  We started singing “Singing in the Rain” as loud as we could.  This was 1990 and the security Nazis were still in full force.  The whole cabin was almost sent home and banned from returning over the incident.

Some of my great spiritual markers happened at Falls Creek.  It is where I learned how to listen to God.  It is the place I surrendered to ministry in 1991.  My first big event to plan as a minister was to take a group to Falls Creek.  I have helped more people surrender to Christ on the grounds of Falls Creek than anywhere else in America.  I have shed a lot of tears and heard a lot of confessions with numerous students through the years.  I would not be the same person today without those special times at Falls Creek.

The modern worship experience on Saturday night was exactly what I needed.  It was a time to praise God with all our heart.  The service Sunday night was a time of great reflection.  Having Bill Green lead “Saved, Saved” with Senator James Lankford on the timpani brought back the joy of some of my fondest moments in worship under the old tabernacle.  The place has changed considerably over the last twelve years.  The future is great as the camp is transformed into a year-round conference center.  But sometimes, it is good to just remember what God has done.