Saturday, May 26, 2012

Golden Opportunities-More Than a Memory!

AP photo
75 years ago, May 28th, the Golden Gate Bridge opened to traffic. In 1933 the economy was horrible. Spirits were down. No wonder it was called the Great Depression. We now look back and know that those tough times were about to improve. It did not look that way at the time. But a group of determined people had a vision. It was a vision that would take wide support, hard work, resources, and sustained effort. With these values, the Golden Gate Bridge was constructed in about 5 years, opening up a vastly improved route across the San Francisco Bay. It broke records and became a lasting reason for pride in the awesome accomplishment. It is hard to believe now that it faced fierce opposition. People said it would hurt the city and area. They had fears that the bridge would open up such access to the city that it would be impossible for the military to protect the city. But the majority voted in favor of it. And with focus and undiminished determination, the vision became reality.
This is but one of many examples of the power of human agreement. But we see in Acts chapter 2 the power of human agreement coupled with agreement to the purposes of God’s kingdom.  The power that results is so great that even those who witness it are confounded.
Today we, too, face many obstacles. We find power in banding together for all kinds of causes. But when we band together for the cause of God’s kingdom, even in the toughest of times, there is so much power in His spirit! And it is the power to let Christ’s good news be known. Hard times are a ’golden’ opportunity for us to let God’s spirit inhabit our banding together for the cause of Christ! Let’s give the following generations the memory of us being one for our Lord!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

God's Favorite Number

As Jesus passed the Kingdom baton to his disciples,  (John 17:6-19) he prayed that they be one. They were an eclectic group. They were very different in background, occupation, and personality. But he clued them into the fact that if they could be one in the kingdom purpose, the resulting body of believers who were receiving this holy baton would be blessed in the mission. Jesus passed on more than just a set of skills. He gave a purpose. The purpose was timeless. But the application of the purpose would be ever unfolding in each time and place. The purpose would be hammered out in each of us as believers in an unchanging God, who is present with us as we face new circumstances.
Our personalities and opinions are a wide variety. But even in our uniqueness, our purpose and focus is on the kingdom, which Jesus described to us. As John Wesley reminded us: in essentials, unity, in all else,  charity.  Let’s practice God’s favorite number!

Monday, May 14, 2012

All in the Family

 Mother’s Day cannot help but bring back many memories of family. I remember in 1971 when our family sat down and watched another family: the #1 Neilson rated All in the Family. Millions tuned in and laughed at how Archie (played by Carroll O’Conner) embodied so many forms of blatantly bigoted behavior. As America laughed, it took a look at itself and how it treated each other.  America resonated enough with the themes to keep it at the #1 spot for 1971-1976, a record for the time.
Acts 10:44-48- takes another look at how one group has looked down upon another in our religious ‘family.’ It represents one of many ways in which we could fail to see our family resemblance and our common position as receivers of the love, blessings, and gifts from our heavenly Father.
Life is full of opportunities to see each other as brothers and sisters, with one heavenly father. And if we will all take a good, long, honest look at how we draw our lines as the family of God, we have a long way to go.
Let’s all pray for God to change our hearts. The power of his reconciling love can overcome the long-standing walls we have built. He designed us to truly be all in the family. Let it be! (It’s more than a John Lennon song!)

Monday, May 7, 2012

Are You Ready for a Miracle?!

Are You Ready for a Miracle?

IMP awards Rick Law-PJC
In the 1992 film, Leap of Faith, phony faith-healer Jonas Nightingale (Steve Martin) is stopped in his tracks when a real miracle occurs (see clip: Leap of Faith) It's a touching story about the power of faith to perform miracles, including a physical healing and an end to a natural disaster, drought. As inspiring as these miracles are, we are reminded in Acts chapter 8 of a greater miracle.
Phillip, and the rest of the believers, have come under intense persecution, and they have even seen one of their own stoned to death. Even so, people were receiving physical healings. Enter into the story an 'Etheopian Eunic' who has traveled a great distance to find answers to life, and is returning home, still not coming to any understanding of any good news for his life. How out of place would one feel if they are not even known by name, but just by ethnicity and the inability to have children by surgical procedure?! The encounter between these two, both with struggles and heartaches of their own, both outcasts of some sort, is a miracle. They are at the same place at the same time for the same purpose. The spirit of God orchestrated the meeting. The Word of God was the guiding truth that got explained. It was the working together of spirit and truth. And the healing that took place was this: a searching heart found peace with God.
This is God's plan of salvation: that we live daily by both spirit and truth, that all may know the healing that lasts forever! Are we ready for some miracles?!