Tuesday, September 13, 2016

A Thousand Generations...

Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.

Deuteronomy 7:9

I have often told people that I have no imagination. I'm not good at "visualizing"; I need to actually see the picture to "get" the picture. Usually when the Lord speaks to me I get what I call a word picture; in other words, I get a description of a picture, not an actual vision or picture. And if I try to imagine something, I have to use objects that I have actually seen before. For instance if someone were to say to me, "Imagine a red couch along this wall" I would have to imagine MY red couch because I have that as a form of reference. Make sense? (Can you imagine that?)

This past Sunday morning our church choir sang what was to me, a new song. It's a song by Bethel music called Be Enthroned and it is powerful!

Be enthroned upon the praises
Of a thousand generations
You are worthy. Lord of all
Unto You, the slain and risen King
We lift our voices with heaven singing
Worthy, Lord of all

 As the choir sang, and then as we joined in, I began to try to imagine... 

A thousand generations
The King of Kings enthroned
 All of heaven singing
"Worthy, Lord of all!"

First of all, what does the throne look like? Now, remember, I have to go by what I have seen and I have never seen a royal throne. The closest thing I could come up with was the Lincoln Memorial (go with me here).

I was raised in Washington, DC and remember going to the Lincoln Memorial, standing at the base of his seat and looking up. It was huge, and it represented power and authority. And when you stand at the base and look up all you have in your vision are his feet and fingertips. But from out across the Washington Mall it is lit up and bright and can be seen from most anywhere in DC.

Then I tried to imagine a thousand generations; what does a thousand generations look like? Can you imagine it? All the generations before us, for thousands of years; all of the generations to come after us for however much longer the people of God remain on earth.....millions upon millions of people surrounding the Throne.

There is a scene in The Lord of the Rings that shows thousands upon thousands of people, warriors really (but aren't we warriors?). However, the picture depicts what I expect a thousand generations could look like ... people as far as the eye can see.

Now, we add all of the Hosts of Heaven: the angels, cherubim, seraphim. This one I cannot even begin to imagine. I have no form of reference. Isaiah wrote,

"I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; 
and the train of his robe filled the temple. 
Above him stood the seraphim.
  And one called to another and said:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; 
the whole earth is full of his glory!"

So I'm envisioning this huge marble seat, thousands upon thousands upon tens of thousands of people surrounding it, with all of the host of heaven intertwined among them, singing,

"You are worthy, Lord of all!"

By this point in my imagination I am overwhelmed....undone. Even in my limited imagination, I am lost in the awesomeness of the God we serve. The wonder of who He is, how He loves me and the unfathomable knowledge that in that crowd of a thousand generations, He looks out among them and

He sees.......me. 
He sees ...you.

And all I've been able to sing for two days is:

Be enthroned upon the praises
Of a thousand generations
You are worthy. Lord of all
Unto You, the slain and risen King
We lift our voices with heaven singing
Worthy, Lord of all

Highest praises
Lord of all

Here is the link to the song:Be Enthroned
Prepare to be undone..... 


Thursday, September 1, 2016

"I Want to Change the World"

"Go into all the world 

and preach the Good News to all creation." 

(Mark 16:15)

That is what Jesus told his disciples and it is known in Church circles as the Great Commission. And if you have grown up in the Church, as I have, then you have seen countless people follow that Commission and travel the world to preach the Good News. We, as the Church, have encouraged our young people to listen for the call of Jesus, follow the call of their heart, and step out in both courage and faith to spread the Good News throughout all the world.

We spend hours and hours teaching them and training them. Making sure they are informed about the dangers, the things for which they should be aware of, how different cultures behave and perceive actions and words. We anoint them with oil and pray blessings over then and we send them out.

Unfortunately, we tend to forget one thing.....it costs a lot of money to travel the world and preach the Gospel.

I had a gentlemen ask me the other day, "You know, we hire pastors to come and work at our church, but why do we make our missionaries raise their own money?" I didn't have an answer for him.

Jesus also said in Mark, to "take nothing with you, no bread, no bag, no money" (Mark 6:8). But we do live in a different world now; a much larger world than the disciples even knew existed. And while our missionaries usually take very little with them, it does cost money to actually get to the place they are going.

Why am I telling you all of this? I know five young people between the ages of 20 and 24 who are leaving in a few weeks for missions trips. Two young ladies are going to a Youth With a Mission (YWAM) base in Hawaii for training before going out on an outreach trip and three young men are leaving in ten days for a YWAM base in Germany, then on to an outreach in the 10/40 Window for three months before spending three months with our missionaries in Uruguay. Between them all, they have had to raise close to $35,000 to "go into all the world."

Unfortunately, all of them are still needing a great deal of money to make this happen. They have sent out sponsor letters, worked all summer and saved every penny, created GoFundMe accounts, and still the means to reach the "world" are not there.

We, as the Church of Jesus Christ, have encouraged these young people to find their passion, their purpose, their calling, and go. But we aren't giving them the means to do so.

Ultimately, God is our provider; He is THEIR provider. But God uses people; He uses the Church.

So, I'm asking that you consider how you can support these young people as they follow the call of Jesus and go into a dark and hurting world to spread the Gospel.

And I'm asking that you pray for each one of them by name:
Teigan Barlow
Emily Horner
Bracken Hibbard, Sam DeVos, Mitchell Ehlert

As you can see, my son is one of them; He's the one that said, "I want to change the world." Maybe that makes me somewhat prejudice and this post somewhat self-serving, but he, like these other young people, has finally found his passion and his purpose. And I want to see him and these other students follow Jesus and “go into all the world.”

There is a new generation of missionaries being raised up by the call of the Holy Spirit. Will you help them follow the call? Each one of them has a GoFundMe account. Or you can send donations directly to them. If you are interested in giving, send me a message and I will give you their information.

Let us be the Church that makes a way to reach out and "change the world."