Friday, September 23, 2011

Where Was God When I Needed Him?

This is good stuff.

We had a guest speaker at church on Wednesday, a man I highly respect. He told a true story of taking a missionary team to Kenya, and how everyone they touched in a prayer service was healed of their sickness. When they came back to America, the same team of believers didn't have the same results. Very few if any were being healed. He said to me, "Pastor Tim, I don't have a theology for that."

I do. Right or wrong, this is what I believe: Those people in Kenya just don't know any better. They don't know that you can only believe what you see. They don't know that you have to pray "just right." They don't know that you have to end your prayers with, "In Jesus Name" or they just disappear on their way to heaven. They don't know that you have to wear the right clothes, belong to the right denomination, graduate from catechism classes or tithe regularly to be blessed of God. How silly of them.

Now. I'll remove the tongue from my cheek and say this... we've been spoiled in America by our own freedoms and selfishness. As Christians we don't mean to treat God as a cosmic slot machine or his Son as a Genie in a Bottle, but in many ways that's what your prayers and mine have boiled down to. In Kenya, they understand honor. They understand faith. Stay with me, here. Read these incredible verses from Luke chapter 8 and you'll see what I mean.

Now when Jesus returned, a crowd welcomed him, for they were all expecting him. Then a man named Jairus, a ruler of the synagogue, came and fell at Jesus’ feet, pleading with him to come to his house because his only daughter, a girl of about twelve, was dying.

As Jesus was on his way, the crowds almost crushed him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, but no one could heal her. She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped.

“Who touched me?” Jesus asked.

When they all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you.”

But Jesus said, “Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.”

Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed. Then he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”

While Jesus was still speaking, someone came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue ruler. “Your daughter is dead,” he said. “Don’t bother the teacher any more.”

Hearing this, Jesus said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed."

Two very different people, two very different circumstances, with one thing in common: their faith. Neither one of them had to come to the altar crying, be slain in the spirit, pray at the top of their lungs, dance, scream, or shout. All of those things can happen, and all have their place. But I'll go as far as to say this: Jesus didn't heal them.

Their faith in Jesus healed them. They believed Him. They honored Him.

And so many people in our United States, wearing the label of Christian, dishonor God by shacking up together outside the confines of marriage, approving of the homosexual lifestyle that God calls "abominable," abusing their bodies with tobacco, drugs, alcohol and yes - even food. With mouths like sewers, they curse their neighbor and then ask God for his blessings. They post "F" this on Facebook, then write a request for prayers when things aren't going so well. Where's the honor? Where's the respect for our Creator? Our Savior?

The Bible says the prayers of the righteous avail much. The people in Kenya and other third world countries where revival is happening get it. They understand it. God is moving among those people in an exciting, miraculous way.

We look at the situation in Africa and shake our heads sadly. But I ask you America, which of the people are the truly blessed?

Sunday, September 11, 2011


I have a new addition to my bucket list. When the new World Trade Center opens, I'm taking an elevator to the very top floor, and I'm going to shout at the top of my lungs, "Hey Al-Qaeda... Na na na na naa naaaaaaaaa!"

Thursday, September 1, 2011

One Resolution Fulfilled

I've managed to surpass one of my New Year's Resolutions, thanks to my new "Nook." I am by no means convinced that my new e-reader will replace my love of holding a new book in my hands, but it's convenient for downloading free classics that I can read at my leisure, without the worry of overdue book fines from the library. Come to think of it, it's been about 10 years since I've checked a book out of a library.

But I digress. One of my New Year's Resolutions was to read four classics. I burned through the first three right away, reading "Of Mice and Men," "Farenheit 451" and "The Grapes of Wrath" by February. It was "A Tale of Two Cities" that got me stuck. I don't think I reached the halfway point before I gave up. I just... don't... get it. Anyway, "Pride and Prejudice" and Bram Stroker's "Dracula" came free with the Nook. So, I read 'em both, and downloaded "The Time Machine" for kicks. I just finished that one this afternoon. Six classics in 8 months... not bad at all.

I'm sure (especially with the formal prose of P&P) that the authors exaggerated the language and mannerisms of the day, but I couldn't help but to be taken with the sense of manners, common courtesy and maturity of the characters. Even in the bloodthirsty "Dracula," the author assumed that the reader was well acquainted with scriptures, borrowing heavily from Bible passages to drive home a point.

In many ways, I'm glad we're not that formal and stuffy anymore. But I sure wish the values of courtesy and good manners would return. It's nice to be able to escape to that forgotten world, if only for an hour or so at a time.

Now. What are those "Little Women" up to?