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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Walking the tight rope -with Jesus.


On September 15th, 1860, the great French acrobat Charles Blondin stood on a 3-inch thick tightrope stretched across the massive Niagra Falls gorge. Blondin had recently made history as the first person to cross the falls on a tightrope, and on this day, he inched across again, hovering precariously above the swirling, violent waters below.

As Blondin made his way safely across the gorge, the tense bewilderment of the crowd turned to a deafening roar of cheers. Then, Blondin spoke.

“Do you believe I can cross the falls again?” he asked.

The crowd cheered back, “Yes!”

Blondin responded, “Do you believe I could cross the falls carrying a man on my back?”

The crowd had seen Blondin perform many dangerous tightrope stunts. They knew he could carry a man on his back, and they roared back in reply, “Yes!”

Then Blondin asked, “Who will volunteer?” The crowd was silent.

Blondin pointed to an onlooker nearby and asked, “Will you trust me?”

“Hardly! I can’t risk my life like that!” the man replied.

Then, Blondin turned to his manager, Harry Colcord. “Harry, do you believe I can carry you across?” he asked.

“Yes, Charles, I know you can,” Harry replied.

“Then will you trust me to do it?” Charles asked.

Harry replied, “I will.”

Harry Colcord stepped onto the platform with Blondin and hopped onto his back. Blondin, with his balancing pole in hand, slowly began to carry his friend across the Falls. Though a few of the guy ropes snapped as they crossed, they both made it safely to the other side, and Charles Blondin cemented his place as the greatest tightrope walker in history.

Is Belief Enough?

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” -John 3:16

This is Christianity 101–the requirement for eternal life. But in light of the story of Charles Blondin, it begs the question about the meaning of the word “believe.”

The most ardent supporter in the crowd that day likely believed deeply that Blondin could cross Niagra carrying a man. Yet, when Blondin asked for a volunteer, belief was no longer sufficient. For someone to put their life in Blondin’s hands and become one with him on the rope, it required something more than belief.

It required pisteuo.

It Takes Trust

The Greek word for “believe” used in John 3:16 is pisteuo. While “believe” is the best English word we have for pisteuo, in Greek, the word evokes a deeply held form of belief that implies acting on the belief. We might also call it “trust.”

While Harry Colcord believed in Charles Blondin, he took it further. He acted on his belief with trust when he climbed onto Blondin’s back. The entire crowd believed in Blondin, but only Harry trusted in him. Trust was the difference! Trust is belief set in motion by faith.

So What About You?

God doesn’t call us to just believe from the sidelines. He requires that we step out in faith from the crowd. He’s asking, “Will you trust me?”

So what does trust look like for you? Are you unsure if you are a Christian? Maybe you are like many in the crowd that day: you believe in Jesus with your mind, but you know that if He pointed at you to ask if you’d trust him to carry you, you’d recoil and say “Hardly! I can’t risk my life like that!” Maybe it’s time for you to trust Him and climb on.

Maybe you are a Christian who knows God’s promises, but He’s asking you to do something crazy: to leave your good-paying corporate job to be a stay at home mom, to sell your house and move your family to the mission field, or to trust Him by tithing 10% or more. Maybe it’s time for you to climb on, too.

Whatever your situation is, the answer is simple–trust Him. He has proven he is trustworthy. He has shown you that. He is calling you to step out on faith–to become one with Him as He carries you across the perilous gulf. His hand is outstretched.

Will you trust Him?


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

BE-fore you say "I DO."

BE-fore you say, "I Do"
Time for a Hebrew lesson.

The word steadfast love translated in Hebrew is: checed (pronounced He-sed).
It is most often used in the Old Testament to express the active good-will and attitude of mutual blessing that exists between covenant partners (people that make a vow with one another, I.e. married couples.)

It describes the feeling and obligation of mutual blessing found between a husband and wife, two families joined through marriage, or two profound friends.

I believe that marriage vows are the strongest pledge of union possible between two people. Bride and groom pledge their futures together "for better, for worse; for richer for poorer; in sickness and in health; to love and to cherish till death do us part, according to God's holy ordinance; and thereunto; and thereto I plight thee my troth."

*[You may be thinking: Anthony, excuse me, but maybe you typed in the wrong ending. Did you mean to write the last phase? I plight thee my troth? ...Am I marrying a farm animal?]

That last phrase, "I pledge thee my troth" MEANS, "I pledge to you my most solemn vow and trust you to do so as well."

No matter what the future might hold, the bride and groom are melding their destinies for the rest of their lives and promising to do all within their power to protect, provide for and support one another ... no matter the consequences.

Then, the promise is sealed with a Ring.
A Ring that's circular in nature; that has no beginning and no ending...

Like the promise that you two you will make, when you stand before everyone and take. Placing your hopes and fears...and everything in between as your two lives mesh together and become one.

Why is this so important?
Because the best marriages have their foundations built on God-
Period.
God sets the tone, He is our Standard.
The closer walk we have with God
The better off our marriages will be. 

Monday, May 11, 2015

The Sheepdog vs. the Sheep


“We know that the sheep live in denial; that is what makes them sheep. They do not want to believe that there is evil in the world. They can accept the fact that fires can happen, which is why they want fire extinguishers, fire sprinklers, fire alarms and fire exits throughout their kids’ schools. But many of them are outraged at the idea of putting an armed police officer in their kid’s school. Our children are dozens of times more likely to be killed, and thousands of times more likely to be seriously injured, by school violence than by school fires, but the sheep’s only response to the possibility of violence is denial. The idea of someone coming to kill or harm their children is just too hard, so they choose the path of denial.

The sheep generally do not like the sheepdog. He looks a lot like the wolf. He has fangs and the capacity for violence. The difference, though, is that the sheepdog must not, cannot and will not ever harm the sheep. Any sheepdog who intentionally harms the lowliest little lamb will be punished and removed. The world cannot work any other way, at least not in a representative democracy or a republic such as ours.

Still, the sheepdog disturbs the sheep. He is a constant reminder that there are wolves in the land. They would prefer that he didn’t tell them where to go, or give them traffic tickets, or stand at the ready in our airports in camouflage fatigues holding an M-16. The sheep would much rather have the sheepdog cash in his fangs, spray paint himself white, and go, “Baa.”

Until the wolf shows up. Then the entire flock tries desperately to hide behind one lonely sheepdog.” – Lt. Col. Grossman


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Handling Life's Disapointments

What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun?
-Langston Hughes, Harlem.
Harold S. Kushner, in his fascinating book, "Overcoming Life's Disappointments" comments on the poem asking, "In these lines, the poet wonders what happens to dreams that do not come true. I wonder what happens to the dreamer. How do people cope with the realization that important dimensions of their lives will not turn out as they hoped they would ..."
Heavy Stuff.
Especially if you are in touch with reality.



The first thing to grapple with is that you will be disappointed. For most of us, we have already experienced our share. But, there was a time, perhaps when young(er) and naive, you happened to dance around the painful events of life unscathed. Then, it got you. Setbacks, losses, unexpected events, Etc. You were wounded on the inside. Never to be the same again. And NO, your life will not be as it once was. I am a victim of this mentality -waiting for things to return to "normal" - they do not. As a man of deep nostalgia, I stood at this doorstep for years, only to have that door unanswered. So I get it, trust me.

As time passed on your pain, you learned that the question was not, "How do I go through life avoiding disappointment?" Rather, "How will I respond to those disappointments?" Today I was reading in the Psalms something that I know was a message for me:
"Light arises in the darkness for the upright" (112:4)
When your heart has broken and you feel lost a lot of the time you feel like you are groping for something. Whether it is the past, restoration or a specific answer, you grope. You yearn like a blind man for answers around you. In our Psalm, we read something that shifts our mind to a different perspective. "Light arises in the darkness!" Your answer will come. Your restoration is on its way. God is not done with you. Your journey, although confusing, and painful and down right exhausting will produce something of value.

Do you believe that? 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The World is Mine.

Today, upon a bus, I saw a very beautiful woman and wished I were as beautiful.
When suddenly she rose to leave, I saw her hobble down the aisle.
She had one leg and used a crutch. But as she passed, she passed a smile.
Oh, God, forgive me when I whine. I have two legs; the world is mine.

I stopped to buy some candy. The lad who sold it had such charm.
I talked with him, he seemed so glad. If I were late, it'd do no harm.
And as I left, he said to me, "I thank you, you've been so kind.
It's nice to talk with folks like you. You see," he said, ?I'm blind."
Oh, God, forgive me when I whine. I have two eyes; the world is mine.

Later while walking down the street, I saw a child I knew.
He stood and watched the others play, but he did not know what to do.
I stopped a moment and then I said, "Why don't you join them dear?"
He looked ahead without a word. I realized, he couldn't hear.
Oh, God, forgive me when I whine. I have two ears; the world is mine.

With feet to take me where I'd go..
With eyes to see the sunset's glow.
With ears to hear what I would know.
Oh, God, forgive me when I whine
I've been blessed indeed, the world is mine.