Thursday, May 8, 2014

the BIG ones

I sat at the table with some of the greatest people I know.  They aren’t rich.  They aren’t famous.  But these people were some of the ones who have stuck by me and served with me for several years.  We’ve done life together for several years.

What happened next was not what I expected to say the least.  The fellow leading our meeting, a good friend, asked us to create a time line for our lives.  On the line that represented the years that we have lived thus far are points that stick out in our minds.

Mine was full of historical moments that continue to hold my heart captive because of how I experienced God as various places and in situations.  Today I share with you some of the verses that are scattered along that line that stuck out in moments that I chose not to forget and find myself often sharing with the people I get to minister to.

Have you found, as I have, that where we have experienced God are the places where we can identify with and encourage others?  God doesn’t waste a hurt, Rick Warren said, and I have seen that become a reality.

These verses and a few thoughts are close to my heart.  My prayer is that you will find courage to live with faith and encouragement to make a difference in the lives of others.

Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.

It was as a teenager at a relationship conference that I remember learning how to deal with lust.  That is a big deal for a teen guy.  But that verse has continued to be part of my arsenal ever since and one I share with lots of people.

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way.

A couple years later our close youth group shared so many spiritual moments and growth.  One of my friends, a girl I had my heart set on, was leaving town.  Before she left this was a verse marked in my Bible.  That is the Bible that I started studying the word and preaching with, and those two verses have been a prayer I have used often.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.  Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.  His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

It is hard to pinpoint when these verses moved in to my life, but there are many occasions when they were filled with promises of God for me.  Taking it many steps forward I have quoted this in sermons, counseling sessions, among friends, at conferences, when I’ve been alone and so much more.  Not long after I met Julie, who is now been my wife for over 20 years, God gave me these verses as a clear statement to step forward in faith trusting God.  This is maybe the biggest one of all. 

Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.

One of my mentors taught me this verse in all its different realities.  We need vision, the voice of God speaking to us, about the plan we are to carry out.  It is bigger than any of us.  Another version says “when people do not accept divine guidance, they run wild…”.  That is a fact.  We need His voice daily, and the best time to hear His voice is in the morning with our Bible in our hands.  There are other places.  But that is my favorite.

For I am about to do something new.  See, I have already begun!  Do you not see it?  I will make a pathway through the wilderness.  I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.

Helping to start The Community Fellowship is one of my favorite memories, and this verse is one that drove me and continues to drive me as we share His love with others.

John 10:10  NLT
The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.

A daily reality is meeting people who the enemy is currently destroying and allowing each of these people to find life from God.  It never gets old.

Some people are always greedy for more, but the godly love to give!

I can share more, but I will stop here.  I love to give.  Whether it is time or resources or encouragement, there is nothing like helping another human being connect with our great God.  That really is why these verses are the BIG ones.

Take some time to look back over your life.  What are the happenings that stick out to you, and how did God show up and change your life?  The verses and situations you point to will help change others to.  Share your BIG ones with others.

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