There Will Be a Day When You Feel Like You “Fit”

Sometime after Adam and Eve committed their world-changing act of disobedience in Garden of Eden, I can imagine Adam walking with his young sons Cain and Abel. They happen to pass by the ruins of the Garden of Eden. One of the boys asked their father, “What’s that?”

Adam replied, “Boys, that’s where your mother ate us out of house and home.”

A lot happens in Scripture following the time Adam and Eve took that bite of fruit that gave mankind perpetual indigestion. As a result, they attempted the first cover up. But since their leaf loincloths were not very practical, God sacrificed an animal to clothe them. The pair was banished from the Garden and began life anew as exiles away from their homeland.

It wasn’t the only time God’s people lived as exiles. They spent a few summers in Egypt. Then more wandering in the wilderness of Sinai. Later, the Babylonians captured the nation of Judah and deported its people to captivity.

The first group deported included the young, elite men who would be trained as leaders. In that group were Daniel and his friends Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. They were given the Babylonian names of Belteshazzar, Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego.

While in exile these young men lived powerful, purposeful, prayer-filled lives. They remained on a diet that helped them find more energy than other workers. They prayed to their God when they were told not to. They were bold to do what was right regardless of the obstacles placed in their path. And they made a difference.

It may be difficult to put yourself in their shoes, but according to 1 Peter 2:11-12 those who follow God today are exiles too. Peter writes: “Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the Gentiles that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.”

You may have days when you just don’t seem to “fit” in this world and that’s a good thing. It’s simply because as a child of God you don’t. You were made to live with him. Until we are home in heaven, you and I are exiles. Until then, we have things to do. We can add some good to this life so that others can get a glimpse of God. We can make a difference.

According to Peter there will be a day God will “visit” us. That’s when the exile will end.  And that’s when you and I will “fit.”

Join us this Sunday as we continue The Story.

Be Available For God’s Assignment For You

Sally Edwards is a highly esteemed third grade teacher at Jacksboro Elementary in Texas.[1] She was preparing her students for the TAKS test and compiled an exam to prepare them for it. There were twenty questions. Number eleven on the test was this question: “List in any order the four seasons.”

A whopping 67% of her 3rd grade students answered: “Dove season, deer season, duck season, and turkey season.” 1

I don’t know what season of life you are in, but I do know this. God has something for you to do. He did for Jeremiah. He told Jeremiah he had a work for him to do. His assignment? Stand in the rubble of Jerusalem and weep. He was also told the people would not listen to him.

That was it. And oddly enough, Jeremiah did it. As the people of Judah were leaving Jerusalem in single file as captives, Jeremiah stood weeping and reminding them that God would bring them back with these words: “Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:21-23).

God had something for Jeremiah to do. And he has something for you to do too. In the New Testament book of Ephesians the apostle Paul writes to the church, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God created in advance for us to do” (Eph. 2:10).

In God’s employment contract for us today, he does not ask us to be successful by the world’s standards but rather to be faithful to him to do good things. God is not so much concerned about your ability as he is your availability.

Just like Jeremiah, God is calling you to play a role in his Grand Story. It may be that this is your time to change the direction of your family. Turning from a focus on you alone to a concerning yourself with the things of God. It may be that God is calling you to reach out to a neighbor. Perhaps he is laying on your heart a ministry where there is a need you can’t even see at the moment.

Whatever season of life you are in God is calling you to make a difference. And he is desiring to equip you to make that difference.

Join us this Sunday as we continue The Story.

[1] Story told by Randy Frazee in The Story sermon, Chapter 17.

Adopt a Revolutionary Motto for Your Life

In the early formation of our nation George Washington had the opportunity to become king of the burgeoning nation.  But given the young nation’s experience with England and because he had a robust prayer life he knew there was only one King, so he declined the offer.

The people of the land apparently knew the same.  “In a 1774 report to King George, the Governor of Boston noted: ”If you ask an American, who is his master? He will tell you he has none, nor any governor but Jesus Christ.” The pre-war Colonial Committees of Correspondence soon made this the American motto: “No King but King Jesus.”[1]

The story of God’s chosen people might have gone very differently had they chanted the same motto.  Instead, they wanted a king.  Over the period of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah there were thirty-eight kings.  Only five of them were good. Of the others a refrain heard throughout the Old Testament goes like this: “They did evil in the eyes of the Lord.”

Prophets appeared exhorting the people to turn back to God. God spoke through one prophet—Isaiah—to tell the people of Judah that they would be captured and deported to Babylon but afterward he would bring them back home.  The purpose? “Then you will know that I am the Lord; those who hope in me will not be disappointed.  Then the whole human race will know that I, the Lord, am your Savior, your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob” (Isaiah 49:23).

In Isaiah 53 the prophet depicts the coming Messiah. “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.  He was despised and rejected by others, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain” (Isaiah 53: 2, 3).  God did not want the people to miss him.  But they did.  And still do.

Our nation would have gone a much different route had Washington agreed to be king.  But he seemed to know what many others didn’t.  When we displace God on the throne of our lives, the outcome will go horribly wrong.  But when we put God on the throne in our lives, we put ourselves in the best possible position for godly success.

Maybe our American ancestors knew the best way to start a revolution.  Adopt the motto “No King but King Jesus” in your life.  See what changes that ignites in your life.

Join us this Sunday as we continue The Story.

[1] Idea from Randy Frazee’s sermon on The Story, Chapter 16. Reference from “Is America a Christian Nation?” CARL PEARLSTON http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/politics/pg0040.html