There have been plenty of times in my life when the circumstances I was facing threatened to crash over my head and drown me -- I couldn't imagine how I was going to make it through!
One of those "BIG WAVE" times came on me in the early summer of 2011. I began to experience some double vision which was eventually attributed to "thyroid eye disease" related to my bout with a hyperthyroid condition known as Graves disease (talk about an unfortunately named disease!). I began going to an ophthalmologist who tried to treat it with some steroids over the course of 6 months or so. The steroids didn't help (they didn't even buff me up!) so Dr. Chen provided me with a vinyl prism that was attached to the right lens of my glasses which sort of helped my vision to be single (although it wasn't completely clear, so everything seemed a bit cloudy).
This all took place while I was only working at my church on a 1/2 time basis and trying to bring in some extra income by drawing caricatures. How was I supposed to draw when my vision was all screwed up?! Why was God letting me suffer financially and now physically? I sought out healing prayer at a number of worship services, but didn't see any difference (pun intended).
But I experienced a curious thing. Not only was I not hampered by having to draw with one eye closed, I actually found that my drawing was coming easier with better results! I'm not sure if there is an explanation for this, but I think that God was proving his presence and power in the midst of a time of discouragement and anxiety. After 1 1/2 years and four surgeries, my eyes are almost completely back to normal and I have a wonderful church family in which I can practice my gifts in ministry. God has grown my faith and the confidence that He can do anything - my problems are never bigger than his omnipotence (that's a $20 theological term for God's attribute of being all-powerful).
So what tidal waves are threatening to drown you? How might developing the child-like faith that believes "My God can do ANYTHING" help you get through the next moment, hour, day, week, and however long it takes? Join us this Sunday, September 1st, and we'll talk about this a bit more.
Little kids don't have difficulty when they're forgiven. I mean, when was the last time you heard a child refuse to be forgiven and let out of time out? They jump at the chance to receive forgiveness no matter what it is that they may have done.
Adults, however, are rarely comfortable receiving mercy and grace without having done something to earn it. Imagine going to dinner at Sun Mountain with another person. When the check is brought to the table, your friend says, "It's on me." How many of you would put up a fight or at least insist on taking care of the tip?
God won't have any of that from us. In fact, as far as God's concerned, it's all or nothing. Join us this Sunday, August 25th, and we'll unpack this a bit more.
When my daughter was little she used to come into my bedroom and stare me awake. Have you ever been stared awake by a child? It can be a frightening thing - and it is for Tami - but I wasn't bothered too much by it. That's probably why Ellie chose to always come to my side of the bed.
I came to realize that one of her main needs was not some kind of devious attempt at robbing me of sleep, but to assure herself that her parents were there. There's a wonderful encouragement knowing that we're not alone, and I can relate to that even as a 50-year-old.
During a quick search online I discovered that there are at least 56 verses in the Bible about God being with us. If God repeats this message so many times it must be that he realizes how much we need to hear this truth. Join us this Sunday, August 18th, and find out how we can be with God, too!
BBQ Potluck this Sunday!
Bring a dish to share and enjoy a great lunch and following our Worship Celebration this coming Sunday! What could be better than friends and food along the river?! I'll see you there.
For those of you who've asked, here is Kyle's poem that I showed during the message on August 11th. http://youtu.be/r8PAI-L4gn4
Jesus was teaching one day and some parents showed up with their kids. (Mark 10:13-16) There's no indication that these children were in need of healing - the parents just were hoping that Jesus would give them some attention and a blessing.
However, this was seen as an interruption - at least by the disciples. They tried to shoo the kids away - wasn't there a Children's Church they could go to so the adults wouldn't be bothered while they listened to Jesus?
Jesus wasn't a proponent of sending them off to hang out with kids of their own age (after all, he had hung out with the teachers and elders in the temple at the ripe old age of 12). But he didn't stop at welcoming the children and blessing them; he turned to the adults in the crowd and told them they needed to be like the children.
"Unless you accept God’s kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you’ll never get in."
So what does this mean? It's not about being childish. It's about being child-like in accepting what God says as the truth. Our so-called sophistication too often gets in the way of all that God wants us to experience. During the next few Sundays we'll be looking at who God says that he is and working on believing it with the faith of a child. We start this Sunday, August 11th, with the truth that God is FOR me. I hope you can join us.
Thoughts about living as a Jesus follower and life at Community Covenant Church