Sunday, June 26, 2011

"Believer's Got Talent"

Last evening I was intrigued while watching the popular show “America’s Got Talent.” The amazing thing about the program is the variety. While one person sings, another dances, does magical acts or uses animation to entertain. Each performer believes he or she has something to offer that will edify the audience. Granted many of the performances lack the perfection needed to sustain their involvement, yet they come to audition. They would be classified as being in the category of the imperfect-needs improvement. While many are sent home, those who make it to the next round are coached, encouraged, and given another chance to demonstrate their talent. One might say that those who did not make it should have never tried in the first place. But to say that is to lack the understanding of giftedness. Every person has a gift. The problem is that many on the program fail to discover or function in the realm of that gift. The same holds true in the body of Christ. Paul says that each of us have a gift given by the power of the Holy Spirit. And when properly used that gift brings edification to the body. Hopefully those who perform on TV and are sent back home do not merely quit, but seek to find and perform in the area that best demonstrates their ability. Often in the body Christians become disappointed when they attempt to do things for God. They fail to pursue their gift or once they’ve tried tend to give up and go home underestimating their worth. However, let me encourage you to ask the Holy Spirit to teach and use you in the gift or gifts that He has assigned for your life. The truth is the world needs to experience the legitimate gifts of those who participant in the TV forum. Likewise, the body of Christ needs to witness the gift of every believer. You see “America’s God Talent” and “Believer’s Got Talent.” So take the stage because your performance will make the world and the church a much better place.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Incredible Power

This past weekend my two brothers and I made our annual visit to the NHRA Drag Race. This is something we do once a year as a sibling getaway. If you have ever been to one of these events you know it involves incredible noise and amazing speed. How could an engine generate enough power to thrust a car 300 miles per hour in less than a quarter of a mile? Every year I watch and leave with a sense of “wow” all over. However, observers only have to watch for a short period of time to learn that not all cars make a successful run. Many start only to have their race come to an abrupt end. How can this happen when they’re equipped with such power, precision, and professionalism? As an avid fan I have noticed several things that cause them to drop out. One of the most predominant is the driver gets too anxious, smokes the tires and loses traction. Another reason is called the “thump and bump” sound, meaning the engine blows. The third is loss of control which causes a driver to cross the line into the other lane resulting in disqualification. When I think of these reasons they remind me of the admonition given in Galatians 5:7 and Hebrews 12:1. “You did run well, who hindered you; Let us cast off the sin that so easily holds us back and run with patience the race that is set before us.” How many have had their race ended because they got in too big a hurry and lost their footing? Or how many have let anger overtake them only to find themselves with a blown relationship? Even greater still are those who have become distracted by temptation and have ventured into forbidden territory- the lane of sin only to be taken out of the race. God has given each of us incredible power. Yet, that power will only take you as far as patience, discipline, and focus will allow. Let us use what God has given looking unto the author and finisher of our faith whose desire is that we complete the race.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Fear That Restrains

This past week after two years of prodding I finally got my two oldest grandchildren to go bike riding on the Creeper Trail. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this tourist hot spot, it is the remains of an old railroad bed that stretches some 34 miles from Abingdon through Damascus to its highest peak at White Top Virginia. It is open to hiking and horseback riding but most people take in the sights by biking. The scenery is absolutely beautiful and serves as great therapy for anyone needing to get away into the wild. After having been shuttled up the mountain we began our descent back down. Needless to say, the children loved it. While we were riding I continued to say to them, "I knew you would love it." So why did it take so long to get them on the trail? They were afraid. Without even seeing the trail they had imagined that the mountains were steep and too dangerous to ride. This conclusion came although I had continually told them that the ride down the mountain was only on a slight grade and at times would require peddling. Regardless of what I said they let fear get the best of them until I finally said, "we're going and that's it." Isn't that the way we are with God at times. He says "come with me to the mountain; I have some things to show you." But because of fear we are hesitant and begin to imagine only the worst. When we finally do acquiesce and make the journey we find the experience to be much more than we dreamed possible. In those moments when we hear God's voice calling us, we cannot allow our preconceived fears to hold us back, rather may we respond by saying, "where do we start and when do we begin? I'm ready for the mountain."

Sunday, June 5, 2011

He Saved Others

It comes as no surprise that Jesus was ridiculed and had so many false statements made about him during his ministry on earth. Even when hanging upon the cross the chief priests looked at him and uttered these words “he saved others, himself he cannot save.” However, for once they got it right. They thought his failure to come down from the cross represented weakness. Little did they know that they were seeing the greatest power known to man—the willingness of someone to give his life for another. The mission of Christ was never about his saving himself but rather saving others. The story is told that General William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army, was to be the keynote speaker for an International Conference held in America. Due to illness he was unable to attend but promised to send a telegram to be read to the vast audience. On the opening night the committee anxiously awaited Booth’s message. As time lapsed they walked to the stage to begin the service when the courier finally arrived. When they opened the telegram it contained only one word-- “Others.” What a powerful message to be delivered. It was not the typical sermon contained within a manuscript that would take forty-five minutes for delivery. Yet it spoke volumes and left a profound impact. Through the experience of Christ and the story of William Booth we are left with the impression that much can be done when we say less and do more. Our lives like theirs should be consumed with the thought of saving the lost. When this transpires we as a church will be demonstrating the will of God and the power of the Holy Spirit who has called us and empowered us to reach “others.”