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Acts: The Holy Spirit - Friday

Posted on Fri, Apr 17, 2015

The Holy Spirit makes us like Jesus 
 
Over the last few decades there have been a lot of strange thoughts about what it means to truly be “Spirit-filled.” Does being “Spirit-filled” mean raising your hands in worship? Does it mean you like to pray a lot? Does it mean you handle snakes in your church services? Does it mean you talk about angels and demons and supernatural events more than the average Christian?
 
The idea of being “Spirit-filled” has come to mean so many different things in today’s language, but what does the Bible teach about what “Spirit-filled” means? What does the Bible say a Spirit-led, Spirit-guided, Spirit-empowered life looks like?
 
Paul spoke about the marks of a “Spirit-filled” life in Galatians 5:22-23 and said, “The Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”
 
What a list! Only nine words long. But those nine words have been called the shortest biography on the life of Christ to have ever been written.
 
Think about it. We know the ultimate definition of each of those words because of the life and example of Jesus. Jesus shows us what true love looks like. Jesus shows us what true joy looks like. Jesus shows us what true peace looks like. And the list could go on and on. 
 
When the Holy Spirit is truly guiding and empowering our lives, this is what we should expect to see -- more of Christ. This is the ultimate answer to what the “Spirit-filled” life looks like! The “Spirit-filled” life looks like Jesus. Those who have the Spirit will look more and more like Christ. 
  • Of the nine fruits, which is an area where you have really seen the Spirit at work recently? Of the nine fruits, which is an area where you would like to see more of the Spirit’s presence and power?
  • Memory Verse: Romans 8:6 Letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace

Dan Hamel
Teaching Pastor

Acts: The Holy Spirit - Thursday

Posted on Thu, Apr 16, 2015

The Holy Spirit will speak through us 
 
One of the reasons most people (myself included) find it challenging and intimidating to share our faith is because we aren’t sure we’ll have the right words to say at the right time. It’s easy to get psyched out and think, “What if they ask a question I don’t know the answer to?” Or, “What if they think I’m one of those weird Christians and then don’t want anything to do with me anymore?” Or “What if they think I’m judging them?”
 
Have you ever felt that way? I have. And when I feel that way I’m tempted to clam up and just be quiet. But that decision is based in fear, not in faith. And the person I decided not to share with is left without the opportunity to hear about the saving love of God. 
 
Jesus knew that His followers would occasionally be insecure about witnessing and would often be uncertain about what to say and how to say it, so He told them he would give them the Holy Spirit to help them. 
 
Matthew 10:19-20 says, When you are arrested, don’t worry about how to respond or what to say. God will give you the right words at the right time. For it is not you who will be speaking—it will be the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
 
It’s so easy to be governed by fear or immobilized by insecurity. But God has given us the Holy Spirit to speak through us when we share about who Jesus is and what He has done. It’s not about you, it’s about Him!
  • Think of one person you have wanted to share your faith with. Identify what the specific issue is that has held you back from sharing with them, and then ask the Spirit to help you overcome that obstacle. Commit to taking advantage of the next opportunity you have to share Christ with this person or invite him or her to church. 
  • Memory Verse: Romans 8:6 Letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace

Dan Hamel
Teaching Pastor

Acts: The Holy Spirit - Wednesday

Posted on Wed, Apr 15, 2015

The Holy Spirit guides us
 
Oh how navigation has changed over the last 10 years! In the old days, if you wanted to go across town to a friend’s house you had to write out the directions on a sheet of paper and follow them step by step. It was pretty easy to get turned around and lose your way. 
 
With smartphones we have maps and a GPS to tell us exactly where we are at all times. No one ever has to get lost anymore! And there’s even a voice that tells us when to turn left or right in order to get us to our destination … even if that destination is 3,000 miles across the country! 
 
In the same way that smartphones have changed the way we navigate through town, the Holy Spirit has changed the way we navigate through life. Though we don’t typically hear the Holy Spirit’s audible voice like Siri, the Spirit speaks to our hearts and helps us know which path we should take. Listen to what Jesus said the Holy Spirit would do:
 
John 16:13-14 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future. He will bring me glory by telling you whatever he receives from me.
 
Jesus gave His followers the Holy Spirit so they could better comprehend truth and come to a fuller understanding of the life He wants us to live.
 
Three of the primary ways the Spirit uses to guide us are:
  1. Scripture (which the Spirit Himself inspired -- see 2 Peter 1:20-21
  2. Prayer 
  3. The counsel of Spirit-filled friends, mentors and pastors.
  • As you go about your day, continually engage with the Holy Spirit, asking Him to guide you and show you which paths to take and which decisions to make. 
  • Memory Verse: Romans 8:6 Letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace

Dan Hamel
Teaching Pastor

Acts: The Holy Spirit - Tuesday

Posted on Tue, Apr 14, 2015

The Holy Spirit makes us a temple
 
One of the reasons I love camping so much is because it almost always involves building a fire. There’s just something about the heat and glow and beauty of the flame that always amazes me. 
 
When I think about fire, I think about camping. But when the Israelites of the Old Testament thought about fire, they thought about God’s presence. When God appeared to Moses, it was through a burning bush. When God led the Israelites through the wilderness at night, it was by a pillar of fire. When God instructed the Israelites about the Tabernacle He told them, “The fire must never go out, it must be kept burning at all times.” 
 
The Israelites knew that fire represented God’s presence, and that is what makes the arrival of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost so amazing. Take a look at Acts 2:1-4: On the day of Pentecost all the believers were meeting together in one place. Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting. Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability
 
The very fire that represents God’s presence, the very fire that was always lit in God’s holy Temple comes to rest on Jesus’ followers. What does that mean? It means that each follower of Christ has become an altar, a temple -- visibly on fire with the presence of God. We are now God’s dwelling place!
  • Today, when you look at your reflection in the mirror, remember that you are staring at the actual temple of the living God. When you eat and exercise, remember that you are nurturing and maintaining the temple of God. When you are tempted, remember that God’s temple is to be kept pure and holy.
  • Memory Verse: Romans 8:6 Letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace

Dan Hamel
Teaching Pastor

Acts: The Holy Spirit - Monday

Posted on Mon, Apr 13, 2015

It’s better to have the Holy Spirit
 
Can you imagine anything better than having Jesus alongside you every single day? Think about it. How incredible would it be to literally have Jesus physically right beside you in every situation? Imagine the scenarios: 
 
Should I take this job? What do you think, Jesus? 
Should I buy this house? What do you think, Jesus? 
Should I date this person? What do you think, Jesus?
We ran out of food at the party. Can you lend us a hand, Jesus?
 
Having Jesus right next to us would be unbelievable. But Jesus, in all of his wisdom, said that there is something even greater than Him being next to us -- having the Holy Spirit inside of us. Take a look at what Jesus told His disciples on His last night with them:
 
But in fact, it is best for you that I go away, because if I don’t, the Advocate won’t come. If I do go away, then I will send him to you.
 
How can it be best for Jesus to leave? Because when the Spirit comes, we no longer just have God next to us, we have God inside of us. 
 
What a revolutionary thought: God inside of us! And here is the glorious part about it -- everything we wish we could do if Jesus was next to us, we actually can do since the Spirit is inside us. When we need help, when we need wisdom, when we need faith, when we need strength -- all we have to do is ask.
  • How would you live differently if you went about your day with the continual awareness of the Holy Spirit’s presence inside of you? How might it change your interactions at work, your level of engagement with your family, even your random conversations with people around town?
  • As you go about the day, remember: As great as it would be to have Jesus next to us, it’s even better to have the Spirit inside of us!
  • Memorize: Romans 8:6 -- Letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.

Dan Hamel
Teaching Pastor

Rewind: Easter - Friday

Posted on Fri, Apr 10, 2015

Jesus replied, “...As for you, follow me.”
 
From our college dorm window, we had a perfect view of the steps down from campus toward our dorm.  By perfect, I mean it was THE PERFECT distance for shooting acorns with a slingshot at poor saps who were coming down the stairs.  We kept acorns in our fridge and when the sun went down, we got to slinging.  Those saps had no clue what was hitting them and causing stinging welts to rise on their bodies.  I won’t lie, it was awesome.  Until we got busted.  The Dean of Men was at our door in no time confiscating our slingshot and acorns.  We got in a little bit of trouble.  I quickly started bartering infractions from others on my floor who seemed a lot worse than me.  But ol’ dean wasn’t interested.  He told me that this was about me and no one else.  Dern!
 
Jesus tells Peter about how his faithfulness was going to lead to Peter’s death.  Peter quickly asks about John and how he would die.  Jesus tells him to worry about Peter and no one else.  He says, in effect, “Peter, do YOU and follow Me.” (CHV - Chris Hahn Version)
 
We tend to look at the inability of others to follow rather than our own inability to follow.  It’s easier that way.  But Peter’s second chance is about Peter and no one else.  Your second chance is about you and no one else.  Jesus says to us, “Do YOU.  Follow Me, and don’t concern yourself with anyone else.”  Following flows out of relationship. Your relationship with Jesus is your relationship with Jesus, and yours alone. 
 
Your second chance is about a relationship.  It’s about following Jesus and loving Him.  
  • As this week comes to a close, are you still in the boat or have you jumped at your second chance?  
Jesus is standing there, asking you to bring some of your fish, to love Him, to follow Him and live in relationship with Him.  If you want to learn more about how to claim your chance with Jesus, jump!  We’ll help you get to the shore.  Go ahead, JUMP!

Chris Hahn
Lead Executive Pastor

Rewind: Easter - Thursday

Posted on Thu, Apr 09, 2015

Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”
 
When I was in second grade, we sold spices for a fundraiser.  Spices.  As a 7 year old kid, I was expected to peddle the dream of a “better tasting everything” with the purchase of one box of these amazing concoctions.  I could not have been less motivated.  But then my teacher laid out the prizes for the differing quantities sold.  The big prize was a bike, but that was like 50 boxes.  Not a chance.  The more manageable quantity of 5, promised a light-up yo-yo.  Man, I wanted that yo-yo.  So I got to selling.  In no time I sold my 5 boxes and I yo-yo’d in the dark until my finger bled.  That yo-yo motivated me to do the impossible.  I was the Spice King.
 
Over breakfast, Jesus starts a conversation with Peter by asking him a simple question, “Do you love me more than these?”  Now, I don’t know if the “more than these” was about how much the others loved Jesus, how much Peter loved Him, or about the fish that Peter had just caught.  I’m not sure that matters a whole lot.  What matters is that Jesus wants to know about Peter’s love for Him.  When Peter answers in the affirmative, Jesus gives him a mission and a second chance.  Three times this dialogue takes place.  The same number of times Peter denied Jesus.  Each time, Peter responds that he loves Jesus. And each time Jesus gives him a mission.
 
Jesus wants Peter’s second chance to be motivated by love.  Not by greatness, safety, regret or penance.  Love.  Jesus wants Peter to love Him because if He truly loves Jesus, he will be motivated to persevere and to live his life for Jesus.  Way better than a light-up yo-yo or stinky spices.
 
Peter’s words affirmed his love for Jesus and so did his actions.  Read the rest of the New Testament to see that.  
  • The simple question that I want you to wrestle with today is: Do you love Jesus?

Chris Hahn
Lead Executive Pastor

Rewind: Easter - Wednesday

Posted on Wed, Apr 08, 2015

“Bring some of the fish you’ve just caught,” Jesus said.
 
I get to serve with some of the greatest people in the world.  When I scroll through our staff list and look at the faces of our team members, I pray prayers of gratitude for each person I get to work with.  So much heart, so much joy and so much ability resides in the lives of my team.  What’s really cool is that everyone is unique, and God has called every single one of us on this team to bring our uniqueness to serve the people in our communities.  He has called each one of us individually to bring something to the table.
 
When my direct team meets every Tuesday morning, I value what each person has to bring to the table.  Their contribution not only makes us better, but it’s also a personal investment in our team and our mission.  By investing their unique gifts into our mission, each person is giving a part of their life to our call.  They each have some skin in the game.
 
Jesus instructs Peter to bring some of the fish that he’s just caught to breakfast.  It’s interesting because without Jesus’ instruction in John 21:6, Peter would’ve had nothing to bring.  Jesus tells Peter to bring something that is Peter’s, but that Jesus provided.  This personal investment is Peter’s contribution to his second chance.  It’s kind of like a peace offering and Jesus wants Peter to have some skin (or scales) in the game.  Peter contributes and the ice is broken.
 
Jesus asks you to bring something to Him when you come before Him for your chance at a relationship with Him.  It may be something small like a fish, or it may be something much bigger.  The size of the sacrifice doesn’t matter, but your willingness to bring it does.
  • Are you holding onto something that is keeping you from being fully devoted to Jesus?  What is Jesus asking you to bring to Him so that you can be fully invested in His call on your life?  Why not bring that to Him today?

Chris Hahn
Lead Executive Pastor

Rewind: Easter - Tuesday

Posted on Tue, Apr 07, 2015

When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his tunic, jumped into the water, and headed to shore.
 
There are certain things in this life that I will jump at the chance to be a part of.  Anything related to my kids (who are 19 and 20) that they want me to be a part of, I’ll jump at the chance.  A weekend away with my beautiful wife, I’ll jump at the chance.  Concert tickets to see U2, REM, CHVRCHES, among others, I’ll jump at the chance.  Time at the beach, I’ll jump at the chance.  Lower level tickets at Rupp Arena to see the Cats play, I’ll jump at the chance.  Things I love, I’ll jump at the chance to be a part of.
  • What would you jump at the chance to be a part of?
Peter is on his boat after a long night of catching no fish, he’s down and he’s thinking about the last few years of his life.  The ride he has been on is unreal.  Miracles, healings, teaching, love, a new way of thinking and living.  All of those things are now in the rearview mirror of his life because he failed Jesus.  As he stares into the windshield, he only sees water, fish, nets, rickety boats and emptiness.  
 
Then the offer comes.  A miracle happens and he hears, “It’s the Lord.”  Peter’s opportunity to see Jesus again.  He sees the hope of a second chance.  So he jumps at it.  Literally.  He leaps out of the boat and swims to shore because of Who’s waiting on him.
 
Jesus is waiting.  He’s offering you a chance.  Maybe a second chance, or third, or fourth.  Regardless of how many chances you’ve already had, He offers you another.  Will you jump at the chance to have Jesus in your life?
 
When Peter jumped out of the boat, he was jumping away from the safety of fishing and swimming toward the adventure of a life with Jesus.  
  • What do you need to jump away from today so that you can swim toward Jesus?  What’s keeping you from jumping at this chance?

Chris Hahn
Lead Executive Pastor

Rewind: Easter - Monday

Posted on Mon, Apr 06, 2015

Then he said, “Throw out your net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you’ll get some!” So they did, and they couldn’t haul in the net because there were so many fish in it.
 
There’s a pond at church that we use for baptisms.  I’m nervous standing in there because, even though there have been a ton of salvations in that pond, there are also a ton of snapping turtles in there.  I’m afraid that one day I will say, “I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy MOLY I’VE JUST BEEN BIT!!!” as a turtle takes a chunk out my backside.  Lots of salvations, lots of turtles.
 
There are also a ton of fish in that pond.  I took my kids out there when they were little and we caught one fish after another.  Granted, they were as big as my little finger, but still, a fish is a fish is a fish.
 
Peter was down because he had failed Jesus.  He gave up on being a disciple because he wasn’t any good at it.  He returned to what he was good at -- fishing.  But John 21:3 might indicate he wasn’t very good at that either, because he’d been up all night and caught nothing.  Fishing is no fun when you don’t catch anything.  Might as well be called “nothing” instead of “fishing.”  But then the miraculous happens to Peter.  A dude on the beach gives instructions which lead to hope. This hope was much more than food on the table. It was the hope of a second chance.  
 
When Peter’s nets filled with fish, he knew who was on the shore and he was hopeful for a second chance.  It had to be better than spending his life on “nothing.”  
 
The resurrected Jesus means we all get a second chance … a do-over.  If you are down and feel like you aren’t worthy of following Jesus, throw your net on the right-hand side of your life, and find a miraculous catch.  Your second chance is waiting on the beach.
  • What does the resurrection of Jesus mean to you personally?  Are you living that out in your life?

Chris Hahn
Lead Executive Pastor

John: His Friends - Friday

Posted on Fri, Apr 03, 2015

Easter’s Coming!    
 
 John 11:39, NLT
Roll the stone aside,”  He told them...
 
A little over nine weeks ago, Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson reached the summit of the 3,000-foot rock mountain known as “El Capitan” in Yosemite National Park.  It marked the first free ascent up a notoriously difficult section called the “Dawn Wall.”  It was an eighteen-day free-climb, 3,000 feet up solid granite;  a feat almost everyone thought impossible. Free climbing means using only one's hands and feet to scale a rock's vertical surface, employing only ropes and other gear to stop a fall. Many describe their accomplishment – which took seven years of planning and preparation – as the greatest rock climb in the history of the world.
I disagree. The greatest rock climb in the history of the world occurred 2,000 years ago, after centuries of planning. It happened on the outskirts of Jerusalem, when a man named Jesus climbed out of a rock tomb early on a Sunday morning, three days after a brutal crucifixion at the hands of the Roman military.
Unlike Lazarus’ emergence from his tomb a week before, no one was present to help unwrap Jesus’ graveclothes or roll away the stone; so God did it. Angels assisted, and, as the great old church hymn asserts, 
 
Up from the grave he arose; 
With a mighty triumph o'er his foes; 
He arose a victor from the dark domain, 
And he lives forever, with his saints to reign. 
He arose! He arose! Hallelujah! Christ arose!
(Up From the Grave He Arose, Robert Lowry)
 
Friends, he’s the death-conquering Christ, the Son of the living God!  No founder of any other world religion ever claimed to rise from the dead – only Jesus.  No other person has ever made such a historic “climb” from the grave. Truly, it was the singular event that transformed human history.   

Gary Black
Campus Leader - Richmond Road

John: His Friends - Thursday

Posted on Thu, Apr 02, 2015

The Pain is Real  
 
So he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead..."
 
In yesterday’s devo we learned that death’s not the final chapter. There’s hope on the other side … heaven.   We also learned that the way to get from here to there is through knowing Jesus.  Mary and Martha knew this, but their brother still died, and the pain was real. So, what do you do when the pain is real? I have four suggestions:
  1. Don’t deny your pain.  Don’t try to be too religious to hurt.  I love that John tells us that when Jesus arrived, Mary stayed in the house.  (verse 20). Pain can do that to you. It makes you withdraw, isolate yourself, and hide.  That may feel better, but it won’t heal our pain.  We have to deal with it, not deny it.  Sometimes that may even require professional help.
  2. Expect suffering.  Jesus said, “...Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33b, NLT) I’m glad He was honest, aren’t you?  He suffered.  It shouldn’t be a surprise that we suffer, too.  
  3. Don’t get cynical or bitter.   Martha said, “Lord if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”  (John 11:21, NLT). I think she was angry, but I’m glad she didn’t stay angry.   She chose faith.  She said, “Even now, I know God will give you whatever you ask.” (John 11:22, NLT).  Even now faith is the best faith to have when you’re hurting.
  4. Move toward God, not away. When I run from God, the pain intensifies. Staying close to Him makes the pain bearable. The best thing God ever did for me is bring me to the place where I had nowhere to go but to Him. There I learned that He is enough … especially when the pain is real.  
Are you hurting today? Ask God to make you aware of two things:
  • There’s purpose to our pain. God never wastes it, unless we do. Don’t.
  • Ask Him to reassure you of His love. He’s eager to do that. I promise.

Gary Black
Campus Leader - Richmond Road

John: His Friends - Wednesday

Posted on Wed, Apr 01, 2015

Death’s Not the Final Chapter 
 
John 11:4, NLT
But when Jesus heard about it he said, “Lazarus’s sickness will not end in death. No, it happened for the glory of God so that the Son of God will receive glory from this.”  
 
We’ve learned the past couple of days that Jesus always has a plan, even when we don’t understand it … so we choose to wait and trust.   When Jesus finally arrived in Jerusalem, He had a message for Martha (who’d been frantically waiting).  He said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying.” (John 11:25, NLT)  That’s good news, friend! There’s hope, even as we make the longest walk in the world … the walk away from a fresh grave.  
 
I’ve heard it said, “The statistics on death are quite impressive, one out of one people die.” (George Bernard Shaw, Death and the Life After) Death is the natural end of life.  It’s also the bridge one crosses to get to the other side, whenever that comes. Are you ready?
 
A reporter asked a man, “Why do you play the lottery?” He gave an interesting, but wrong answer.  He said, “Because it’s the only thing left in life which can change everything in an instant.”
 
Not true, friend.  Only coming to Christ … or dying without Him … can do that.    
  • Spend some time today thanking God for bringing you to the foot of the Cross and giving you the gift of eternal life.
  • Spend some time praying for friends and loved ones who need to know Him, but don’t.   Ask God to send influencers into their lives to point them to Jesus.  Ask Him to protect them from the Enemy.  Ask Him to reveal Himself to them in little ways, special ways … maybe even today … because death’s not the final chapter.

Gary Black
Campus Leader - Richmond Road

John: His Friends - Tuesday

Posted on Tue, Mar 31, 2015

Wait Training (Part 2)
 
In yesterday’s devo,  we learned that Jesus’ friend, Lazarus, was sick.  But when Jesus heard the news, He stayed where He was for two more days. Lazarus’ sisters, Mary and Martha,  had to wait for Jesus’ arrival, and in the meantime, Lazarus died.   We raised the question, “Why does God sometimes make us wait?”  Consider two reasons.
 
1.   To grow our faith.  In John 11:15 Jesus says, “And for your sakes, I'm glad I wasn't there, for now you will really believe. Come, let's go see him." (NLT).  Sometimes God allows difficult circumstances to enter our lives because He knows they’ll result in growth. Prosperity teaches us little. Adversity teaches us volumes. It introduces us to ourselves.  A.W. Tozer said, “Sometimes, before God can use a man greatly, He has to hurt him deeply.”  (from Pursuit of God)  
 
2.  So we understand and receive God’s comfort and peace.  Verse 35 tells us that “Jesus wept” when he saw Mary and her friends crying. That may be the shortest verse in the Bible, but it’s also the deepest.  The crown of thorns, the agonies of the Cross, the trip to Golgotha did not make Jesus weep...but standing next to the grave of a friend, He buried His face in His hands and cried. Aren’t you glad that’s in the Bible? Only Christians worship a God who is vulnerable enough to cry.  
 
To think about:
  • The next time you’re hurting (and waiting), remember that God understands your pain. Isaiah 53:3 describes him as … “a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief…”   
  • Choose to trust.   In Mark 9, a man whose son was demonized came to Jesus and said,  “Lord, if you can, please help my son.” (Verse 22)   Jesus replied in verses 23-24 "What do you mean, 'If I can'?  Anything is possible if a person believes."  The father instantly cried out, "I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!" (NLT)   In Job 13:15, we read, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him…” (KJV). Sometimes, that’s all we can do, but as we trust, we discover that’s enough.

Gary Black
Campus Leader - Richmond Road

John: His Friends - Monday

Posted on Mon, Mar 30, 2015

Wait Training (Part 1)  
 
“He stayed where he was for the next two days.  Finally, he said to his disciples, “Let’s go back to Judea.”  
 
John 11 begins by telling us that when Jesus got word that His friend, Lazarus, was sick, He stayed where He was two days.  In the meantime, Lazarus died.  The question begs to be asked:  Why does God sometimes make us wait?   Today and tomorrow, we’ll consider some answers to this question.
 
1. Sometimes He makes us wait because we’re just not ready.   Many years ago, when my daughter was in grade school, she’d ride with me in the car and say, “Daddy, can I drive?” I’d reply, “Not yet, sweetheart, but someday.” We must’ve had that conversation a hundred times.  As she got older, it became even harder for her to wait for “someday.”  Like most teens, she was confident that she could drive before she was ready...but her father knew differently. Our Father loves us enough to do the same.
 
2. Another reason God delays is to maximize our witness. Jesus told his disciples, “This sickness is for the glory of God.”  They only understood what that meant after He raised Lazarus from the dead.   A lot of things in life only make sense in retrospect.  John 11:45 tells us that many of the Jews put their faith in Jesus when they saw what He had done.   Waiting is worth it when a powerful testimony results.  
 
Here are a couple of suggestions:
  1. Don’t expect God to operate on your schedule. He doesn’t wear a watch. David wrote, “My times are in your hands...”  (Psalm 31:15 NIV) That is enough. Trust His heart, even when you can’t trace His hand. 
  2. Look for ways to turn your trials into testimonies. Sometimes it’s as simple as a shift in the way we think; an adjustment in our perspective. Ask God to give you fresh perspective. You may be surprised at how your story, painful though it might be, can inspire and impact others. 

Gary Black
Campus Leader - Richmond Road


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