Sunday, August 23, 2015

It Has Been an Honor

There are various ceremonies and celebrations that are related to honor. We watch and listen as people describe the privilege of serving or being served by those most often in attendance. The words are carefully chosen and spoken with a distinct level of passion so as to leave every ear tingling with a sense of appreciation.  While I am sure my words will not be comparable to those who speak with such eloquence, I pray they will leave the same indelible impression. Eleven years ago the Bewley family entered Bristol for the very first time to fulfill a speaking engagement which we thought would be a two service adventure. However, we like many others overlooked the wise words of Solomon who stated, “A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.”  Little did we know the path God had chosen for us. It is one that has taken us into the lives of some of the most incredible people on the face of the earth. Grace Point your love has made our journey easy. We have received more than we have given. You have allowed us to witness incredible faith, contagious worship, and fervent prayer. You have granted us the privilege of dedicating your babies, marrying your children, and blessing those who have preceded us in death. You have treated us as friends and loved us as family. To you we would like to say, it has been an unforgettable honor to serve as your pastor. Our lives will never be the same for having served you and known you. We love you and want you to know “It has been an honor!”

Sunday, August 16, 2015

The Unappreciated Dance

It was one of the most glorious days in Israel’s history. After years of absence the Ark of God was being returned home. This initiative began by a King who had a heart for God and believed the Ark should be restored to its rightful place. Thus, David upon taking the throne made it a top priority. With everything in place He and his men made the trip to Obededom’s house and began the journey home. Every six paces travelled resulted in a dance, a sacrifice, shouting and the blowing of the trumpet. Why all the celebration? It was not by requirement but because David felt God deserved it. This king left nothing in reserve.  He parted with his royal vestments girded himself with a linen ephod and danced before the Lord with all his might. The people loved it. They saw the King’s actions as a statement of humility. However, not everyone was pleased. Watching from a distance were the eyes of one that judged his actions with great disapproval. The one observing was none other than Michal the queen.  In her opinion the king’s actions created embarrassment and she could not wait to share her critique.  Upon his arrival home, she meets him and begins her verbal assault. “How glorious you were today uncovering yourself in front of the handmaids and servants.” The point was well understood.  The King had not acted kingly. However, David refused to allow her to deter his worship. To his enemy this was an unappreciated dance.  In your pursuit of God you might find yourself being faced with similar words of opposition. If so I encourage you to remember two things: who you are worshipping and why. Our dance is the music God loves and its purpose is to escort glory. Although unappreciated by some heaven’s audience will applaud. That being said dance with all your might!  

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Encountering the Glory

In John chapter 11 there is a remarkable story. Jesus has been summoned by Mary and Martha to come and visit Lazarus who is terminally ill. But he decides to take his time getting there. It is a decision that results in death because His beloved friend dies.  Upon arrival Martha approaches him and shares her disappointment.  If He had only been there this catastrophe could have been avoided. Then Jesus gives an awkward response. “This has happened for a reason and if you will believe you will see the glory of God.” I’m not sure she understood or greater still if she had ever experienced glory.  She’s not alone is this respect. It took almost 22 years of ministry for me to arrive at this portal. I had encountered God’s presence continually but not His glory. And then in 1997 it happened. What an awesome experience! The same manifest presence that carried Lazarus from the tomb carried me out of the grave of discouragement and despair. Now some 18 years later I find myself once again surrounded by the same cloud. Words cannot express my appreciation for God’s kiss.  But the truth of the matter is He is no respecter of persons.  The timeless admonition given to Mary and Martha is one issued to all—“if you believe you will see the glory of God.”  To all who read this blog and especially Grace Point Church, the heavens are open; God’s glory is available and attainable.  Go after it with all that is within you!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Making Plans

I read the story recently about Joe who was a single guy living at home with his father and working in the family business. When he found out he was going to inherit a fortune when his sick father died, he decided he needed a wife with whom to share his fortune. One evening at an investment seminar he spotted the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. Her beauty took his breath away. “I may look like just an ordinary man,” he said to her, “but in just a few years, my father will pass, and I’ll inherit his large fortune.” Impressed, the woman took his business card and three months later, she became Joe’s stepmother. Oh how the poet’s words “the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry” are ever so true. Life is about interruptions and status changes. That’s why James by inspiration wrote “Look here, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.” What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.” This means the Father sets our daily agenda. We can never know for sure what He has in mind which confirms the wisdom of the humorist who remarked "if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans."  He is the creator of revisions and detours but the one thing I have learned is you can trust Him. So chill out, lean back, and enjoy the ride. Make plans but realize you will always be living a plan--less life.