Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Today’s Topic: He’s Still Alive
Today’s Text: Isaiah 63:7 (ESV) I will recount the steadfast love of the Lord, the praises of the Lord, according to all that the Lord has granted us, and the great goodness to the house of Israel that he has granted them according to his compassion, according to the abundance of his steadfast love.
It was hard to say goodbye. There’s an element of control that fought with faith. I called it concern, but a skunk by any other name still stinks. I talked courageously about the faith they would need, yet inside I was struggling with letting go and letting God have control of the outcome of their lives. I knew they would need to be strong and trust the Lord with every aspect of their lives, yet I was having trouble trusting the Lord with their lives. In my final embrace with them, I released them into the hands of the Lord who loves them more steadfastly than I ever could.
After leaving the home where the Lashley’s had been staying, my wife and I went out to breakfast. We went to our favorite spot – Randy’s – and sat down to relax and talk. When our familiar waitress came to our table, we began to chat about Easter. She shared a story that really impacted me.
At her church on Sunday, a small country church, the pastor made a bold statement. “Our pastor gets kinda bold sometimes,” she said, making it clear that boldness was out of the ordinary in their tradition. As she continued she explained that the church was very full, which was quite out of the ordinary from the few people who normally attend each week. As the pastor looked out over the crunched in crowd, he made a humorous but very pointed comment. “Wow! This is really something – a full church. If Jesus is still alive next week maybe we can do it again.”
After I laughed, I thought about the truth of that statement from a couple of different perspectives. First, how many of us have already returned to our “normal” lives? What a relief it is when the holiday is over. The house has been cleaned after all the company. We can finally get to all that yard work and house repair that needs to be done. We are back on track with our jobs, our friends, and our families. We have rechecked the calendar to make sure all the upcoming kid’s sporting events and after school activities are listed. We have booked our flights for our summer vacations and somehow even managed to squeeze in some time to go see grandma. Easter is done so summer can’t be far away. Let the fun begin.
“Oh, and by the way Pastor, we won’t be in church much this summer because the calendar is really full already. And as far as being involved in any ministries this summer, we will have to take a break from that too. I’m sure glad we cancel our children’s ministry hour for the summer so we can sleep in on Sunday and recover from the busy weekend a little so when we do come to church we can be fresh for worship. But please understand that we still pray for you, and we will try to keep our financial support coming as well, but vacations are expensive.”
Are we really living like Jesus is still alive? Is He really the love of our lives and the true object of our worship?
The second perspective that came to me had to do with saying goodbye to Christopher and Erin and the kids. Personally and as a church we had the privilege of watching the resurrection power of God take a life and a marriage that was dead and bring it back to life. We are humbled to think that of all the churches there are in this area God chose us to be the ones to extend His love to these hurting people. We were witnesses to the risen Savior’s power to love and forgive and reconcile all people to Himself and to each other. But do I really believe that He needed us – needed me? Does He still need me to make sure it all turns out right? Or is Jesus still alive today and powerful enough to bring Glory to the Father without me?
Now the Lord was meddling, and I needed it. The same Jesus that led Christopher, while still in his rebellion, to call Pastor Dennis and tell him that Erin and the kids were here in Eau Claire and needed a church, is still alive today! The same Jesus who led several of our church families to instantly adopt this family and begin to care for them is still alive today and has arranged for families in their new location to do the same. The same Jesus who brought Christopher to his knees in repentance is still alive today and holds him in His powerful right hand.
Jesus is still alive today! Are we living like it?