Exodus 3:14 and John 8:58

I was a little frustrated with the letter T. At first, I thought that there would be many eligible words that begin with this letter. I mean, in Wheel of Fortune, it is one of the pre-selected bonus letters!

letters on wheel of fortune

However, I wrestled with which word to choose. No worries though. I feel as if God showed me this one personally.

The Word – timeless

The Worth – As I have stated before, I work as a waiter at the Olive Garden. Although it is a good job, it puts me smack dab in the middle of my comfort zone. And that is a problem. I wrote about this a while back…Bad Words #1.

I kept using the excuse that I cannot see how this future is going to work out. There is a calling on my life. This I know to be a fact. Undeniable and completely real. Here is another post with more on my calling. My Haiti Experience, Called!

Isn’t that how many of us feel about our future? We don’t see how it works out.

The big picture? Yeah, right!

Does the canvas tell the artist how or what to paint? Not!

Does the 2×4 tell a carpenter how to build a house? Whatever!

I want to know the future. It would be great if we could see what is coming ahead.

But we can’t see the future. But God can.

And you know why God can see the future?

Simply because He is already there.

God said in Exodus 3:14, “I am that I am.”

That was all Moses needed to hear.

Jesus said in John 8:58, “Before Abraham was, I am.”

You can hear the proverbial pin drop. Jesus just said that he was alive before Abraham. A rough estimate puts Abraham being born around 2000 BC. Jesus would have been really old. I guess one does not age that much when you are eternal, or for this post, timeless.

i-am

The Work – Jesus is timeless. He has been around forever.

So the next time you get frustrated with a problem or you find you are stuck in your comfort zone, remember that God is already in your future. He sees where you are headed. This should give you amazing assurance.

Move forward in confidence fellow soldier. God is out in front paving the way!

 

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More Hope

What do you hope for? That is the question I posed to my coworkers this past week. The answers were not surprising to me. They said things like financial stability, kids making good decisions, happiness etc. Those are all good things for which one can hope.

But like I posted last week, the one thing that does not disappoint is Jesus. Jesus Christ, the Person of Hope will always come through!

If we have the Person of Hope, Jesus Christ, then we can know that there is a Plan of Hope as well. It all starts with Jesus. In 2 Corinthians 5:16-21 (click on the link to get the chapter), God has a plan. We are separated from God because of sin. But the Plan of Hope is that through Jesus, we can be reconciled back to God. Eventually, that leads us to heaven. We have a place in heaven because of being reconciled back to God! More on heaven next week!

The Person of Hope, Jesus Christ

The Plan of Hope, Jesus Coming

The bible gives us a definition of hope in Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Faith and hope are closely related. In April, I will be posting about faith so please come back next month. =-)

Hope means that there is something out there that we don’t have but we know it is there. Faith gives us the action to keep us moving in that direction. Hope shows us the goal.

Here is an example that seems to make sense to me. You know those coin-push machines you see in gas stations? They are really a great way to exploit peoples’ hope in having a lot of money. Hope tells me that if I put a quarter in the machine, there will be some return. One quarter, or maybe even more, will fall into the hole and I will win! To be honest, I have spent $3 or $4 in the past year on these things. Faith means actually putting the quarter in the machine. Hope only tells us that there could possibly be a return. But this kind of hope is not good. Don’t waste your money. =-)

The culmination of this post is that my hope in Jesus is well-founded. Part of the Plan of Hope is that he will come back for me. He won’t leave me hanging. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 tells me about his return, the rapture.

Friends, Jesus is coming back. Are you ready? Do have your hope set on Him? He is the Person of Hope that will never disappoint us. His return is part of the Plan of Hope. That is really encouraging to me because some days, life sucks. It can be difficult to get through a day. I have issues and so do you.

problems

But let’s put our hope in Jesus. That way, all will end well. So be lifted up today. Hold your head up proud because Jesus is pretty much to most awesome person you have ever met. Spend time with Him today. He wants to hang with you. Don’t let your day slip by and not see Jesus.

Next week we will discover the Place of Hope.

 

My Haiti Experience; Called!

Hopefully you have read my first post about Haiti; My Haiti Experience; Created. If not, please do so. It should help with context and flow.

Alright, part 2! My Haiti Experience; Called!

bag phone

Have you ever received a phone call? Of course, everyone has, right? With cell phones in abundance, people are getting called all the time. For the week I was in Haiti, I did not receive any calls. It was odd and a little frustrating to not speak with my wife for the week. I even had my cell phone with me. The problem was that I did not get any signal. My phone was in working order, but it could not get the signal while I was in Haiti. Getting any calls is impossible when one does not have the right signal.

Back in 1990, God called me. And it was not on my cell phone! In fact, the only phone that we owned that did not have a cord attached to it was the huge, 5-pound bag phone that my mom had in her car! I still remember when she would call from the Tom Thumb. The Tom Thumb was a gas station that was a mile away. She would call home so I could have the garage door open for her. Yep, it was a manual door. So, let me get back to the Call; but before I can describe the call, I need to set the stage. Knowing a little bit about how I grew up will help you understand my thinking and mindset about how God calls people.

I grew up going to an Assemblies of God church. Now that I think about it, I have been part of an A/G church for almost all of my 41 years of living. For me, going to church multiple times a week was normal. It never bothered me to have to get up early on Sundays to get to church. When I was 9 or 10, I was helping in the toddler rooms. I was part of the music ministry at the churches we attended. Having my parents involved was also part of my normal pattern. We were always at church. It was central to our family. But more than just our standard, I enjoyed it. I would rather be in church than anywhere else. It must run in my blood. On both sides of my family, I have pastors, missionaries, and many others who are involved in Kingdom work. So it stands to reason that when I talk about church and serving God, it was normal and enjoyable.

Now I can bring you to the call. Often on Sunday nights, our church service was dedicated to a visiting missionary. The person would come and preach a sermon and there would often be slides that they would show. These depicted life in whatever country the missionary was working. This was always neat because I loved hearing about other places. I still read maps, just for fun, to this day. There was one particular Sunday night when we had a missionary lady in our service. To this day, I could not tell you her name, what country she was from, or anything she preached about that night. But I do remember how she concluded her service. She had everyone stand. Then she proceeded to start at one end of the room and pray for people. She might be laying her hands on people as she prayed or she would just point to them. What was I doing at this moment? As an eighth grader, I was not really into the service. In fact, I was thinking that this lady was kind of crazy and she should go back to the desert from which she came! I had a buddy standing next to me and we were joking and being mildly disrespectful. But that didn’t stop God. All of the sudden I find myself standing in front of this lady and she is pointing at me. This moment is indelibly etched into my mind. She didn’t recite a long prayer. She didn’t rebuke me for misbehaving. She simply spoke these words, “You are going into the ministry.” That was it. No fireworks or audible voice. No angels floating around. My response was not even godly. I laughed. Yea, right lady. I am in eighth grade. Ministry? Whatever. Maybe you should go back to Africa. This was my thinking. And for the next three years, I would not think about this night again.

You still with me?

Now let’s move ahead to March of 1990. I was a junior in high school. Life was good. High school was a fun time with athletics, acting, and academics. Up until this point, I had not given my future much thought. I marvel at people who know what they want to do with their lives when they are in high school. I didn’t. (If you are in high school, don’t worry, God will find you.) Also at this time, my dad was a faculty member at North Central University. It was an idea that I could go there and live at home until I found some direction for my life. It was an inexpensive option that was appealing to me. The other part of my life was church, but more specifically, the youth group. I was always doing stuff with other students from church. And this particular March was no exception. There was a youth retreat at Lake Geneva, which was the A/G campground in Minnesota. I was a regular at summer camps, so I signed up to go on this trip that was entitled “The Great Thawing Out.”

The weekend was a blend of snow sports, food, and church services. The speaker for the weekend was another missionary. Mike Shields was to preach to us in each service. My attitude going into the weekend was not very spiritual but not worldly either. I was expecting to enjoy the services, play some games, go skiing, and maybe talk to some cute girls (not necessarily in that order). As with the missionary lady a few years prior, I do not remember anything that was preached or any of the services. But on the last night of the retreat, God would find me and set my life on a different path. Pastor Mike finished his message that Sunday night and gave an altar call. He explained that if there are any juniors or seniors that do not have specific plans after high school, they could come forward and receive prayer. That fit me. Again, it was not something I was worried about. I just had not given much thought to it. So I went forward. It was warm in the room. Standing shoulder to shoulder with other teens waiting to get prayer was interesting. You try to pray but you really want to listen to everything going on. Sometimes you close your eyes, but you don’t want to miss anything. Finally, the missionary got to me. He placed his hand on my head and said the following sentence, “Evidently, you’ve known this for some time, but you are going into the ministry.” What!?!? He was already praying for the next kid. Still no fireworks or audible voices. Didn’t see any angels this time either. In fact, I went over to a quiet corner and sat down. How long I sat there, I don’t recall. But in a very real way, I knew that God had called me. Wow. God, the Master Designer of the Universe specifically called me into His work. And friends, as I write this, that call is as real as ever. The cell phone of my soul has a very strong signal and this call is coming in loud and clear.

I decided to go to Bible College, specifically North Central University, after that experience. But it was different. I was not going because it would be cheap or that my dad worked there. I was going because I wanted to go. God called me and I would take steps to start living that call.

I think that I need to clarify something for you. When God calls somebody, it means that He wants to involve that person in the process of reconciliation; that is, the world being reconciled back to God. I have a part in that whole deal. The kicker is that God never retracts His call. I am in it for life. Whether or not I am living for God, He still has that call for me. So for me, my call will look differently than another person’s call. Right now, I am a waiter. I don’t cook, host, manage, or bus tables. I serve. I do my job and everyone does his or her job. If that happens, the guest leaves happy and full. God has a plan and he has called me to be a part of something great.

god call phone By the way, is that your phone ringing?

120 seconds

If you are reading this, I have about 116 more seconds to set the hook. Being my first attempt at blogging, I sure would like to catch something. The irony of this is that I don’t really like to fish. But if you are interested in hearing about a man-eating fish, keep reading.

Maybe golf or other sports will peak your interest, I won’t let you down. Since I love to play, I will also enjoy writing about it. Like the time I played college basketball…

Do you use bad words? I have and I want to write about them sometime.

Have you ever traveled to another country? I have and between the earthquake and the interesting currency, it was unforgettable.

What about God? I am not talking of a god within you but God, as in the God who created this whole amazing universe. There will certainly be stuff about Him as well.

And the book that He gave to us, the Bible, will be scattered in and through everything that I write as well. It is absolutely mind-blowing how one book can contain helpful and insightful information about ANYTHING that I am thinking, feeling, or experiencing right now.

Is my time expired yet? Image

 

It’s funny because I got out a timer so I could time myself reading this post. I don’t know if that makes me crazy, compulsive, or just particular. Whatever I am though, I plan on keep being just that. And that is really the essence of what this is all about. Take it or leave it, it is I.

So are you ready? I am. Come back sometime and check out what has been going on in my life. It just might be the best two minutes of your day.

P.S. You will have to read a future post to find out about any of the above mentioned items! =-)