FULLY ALIVE!

Your life will be as bright as the noonday sun. Job 11:17


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Who You Gonna Run To?

DISCLAIMER…SPOILER ALERT…EXCUSE…whatever you want to call it.  I am telling you up front, there is yet another Alvin Slaughter song linked to this message.  I don’t know what it is or why it is – maybe I am in my Alvin Slaughter CD Season of Life.  Nevertheless, stop right here, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qKhejMWTJPo, listen to the song then come back.

Imagine the following scenarios.

  1. It’s an exciting time in your life. You’ve been working on your advanced college degree, and graduation is just around the corner.  Already you’d begun interviewing for new jobs, and you just snagged one of your dreams.  You begin a new job, graduate and (here’s a bonus) celebrate Christmas – all in a matter of weeks.  You come home to share the good news with your spouse and find a note on the kitchen counter.  It reads, “I don’t think I want to be married anymore, so I’ve moved some things out.  I’ll be in touch.”
  2. You’re tired, but who isn’t these days, so you just keep pushing; things are bound to slow down soon and you’ll get some rest. You get a note in your inbox that you need to telephone your doctor’s office, so you do during your break.  Reception transfers you to the nurse who tells you – over the telephone – that your lab results didn’t look good.  “Actually,” she says, “it looks like you have Cancer.”
  3. Home from the hospital. Alone in bed.  Healing from surgery.  Other people might consider it a bad thing, but this is a good time for you to catch up on your rest, think some things through and craft a new vision and plan for your life – between naps because the Percocet has you drifting in and out of sleep.  The phone rings.  It is the IRS.  They have some questions about your past six tax returns.

Can you imagine?

My question for you, despite whichever scenario you imagined, “What do you do?”

Let’s see.

Scenario 1:  Call a Divorce Attorney?  Phone a girlfriend?  Watch Oprah and Dr. Phil?

Scenario 2:  Get a second opinion?  Google your symptoms?  Start saying your Good-byes?

Scenario 3:  Contact an online loan counselor?  Buy boxes and schedule a moving company?

Perhaps a better question is, Who do you run to?  (Yes, I know it should be To Whom do you run?)

Often we choose from those mentioned above – attorneys, girlfriends, Dr. Phil, Google – or others like them.

John 16:33a (NIV) says, “…In this world you will have trouble…” There is not one of us who cannot testify to the truth of this Scripture. But do you know the truth of the rest of this Scripture? There is encouragement. There is hope. There is a promise. There is a command. There is very present help. We are told to “take heart” because our Lord has “overcome the world.” If we are obedient and look to Him, the source of our help (Psalm 121:1-2 NIV).

Girlfriends are great. I know, I have been blessed with the best. I’ve called a few attorneys and moving companies in my lifetime, and I wish that I had stock in Google. I’ve even watched a couple of episodes of Dr. Phil. But I want the truth of my life to be that when in times of “trouble, pain and fears,” I run to the Lord. Not crawl. Not walk. Not as an afterthought. Not after I have consulted all those other sources.

First. Immediately. Naturally. Readily. Faithfully. Expectantly.

Always.

Lord, I run to you.

Because I didn’t have to imagine those scenarios.


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Launch Out Into the Deep

Summer has ended and fall has truly begun – not just on the calendar, but in the weather.  We’ve had some really cool nights and mornings.  I love the change in the seasons, especially between summer and fall.  But I’m a little sad, too.  This summer seemed to fly, and it is the first summer in years that we did not get to the beach.  Once.  Never.  Not even a drive by.

I am really fortunate to live about an hour’s drive from the ocean – the real beach!  Ponds are nice.  Lakes are lovely.  But nothing compares to the ocean.  Waves lapping.  Squishy sand between your toes.  Seashells and Seagulls.  Sometimes we’ve driven to the beach just for a walk along the shore.  With sandals in hand we let the waves wash over our feet, and we occasionally stoop to pick up shells.

That’s a good day – walking hand-in-hand with someone you love along the water’s edge.  But to really enjoy (and experience) the ocean, you have to go beyond the shore.

The same is true with life.  The same is true in ministry.  We have to go beyond the shore.

“And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret, And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets. And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon’s, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship.  Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught.” (Luke 5:1-4 KJV)

Obediently, but possibly with some hesitancy, Simon launched out.  Isn’t this His command for us, too? Aren’t we to launch out into the deep doing what our Lord commands? No excuses. No hanging around the periphery? No sticking with the familiar and the comfortable. No waiting for something to wash up onshore.

Faith can bring the most unexpected of miracles. Verses 6 and 7 of Luke 5 (KJV) tells us that when Simon and his men had done what was commanded, “they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake. And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink.”

Faith is about action. We can say that we have faith, but faith without works is dead (James 2:20 KJV). Simon could have responded to the Master, “Thank you for letting us know that there are fish in the lake. Wow, we were wondering since we didn’t catch any. Maybe we’ll go out tomorrow night.”

Faith requires us to yield – our thinking, our possessions, ourselves. Our Lord’s thoughts are not our thoughts, and neither are His ways our ways. (Isaiah 55:8) We must trust His commands and be quick to obey them.

As Alvin Slaughter sings, “…by faith we must climb into the boat, and follow His command” letting our faith take us somewhere that we’ve never been before. “Launch out, Launch out into the deep.”

Launch Out (by Alvin Slaughter)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eVhSy8Ql6AQ

“Sometimes we hold on a little longer than we should   Letting go can be hard but it’s sometimes for our good   The fear of what’s ahead sometimes makes us fall behind.  We can see the times are changing but pretend that we’re so blind   You’ll never really know just what the future holds   But we know God holds us in His hand.   So by faith we must climb into the boat; And follow His command.  

CHORUS   Launch out into the deep. Let your faith take you somewhere that you’ve never been before.  Launch out into the deep. Let your faith make you fly. Let your faith make you soar.  Launch out, Launch out into the deep.”