I am trying to sleep but the slumber leaves because of all the connections at the Alabama District Council where the Council celebrated one hundred years. Everything was nice and full of great remembrances and bench marks. I have been a part of the Assemblies of God and the Alabama District since 1972. I joined a little church in north Alabama and struggled about the decision. But the last 43 years have been very fruitful and I have nothing but good memories of the pastor and Church I started at, the churches I was a pastor, the people, the leaders and all the great opportunities.
But tonight my mind is racing to make sense of all those who I saw and those I did not see this week. I saw so many of my great leaders, aged and bodies weakened and wondered about how they are doing. I listened to some who told me of personal struggles of finances, depression and other battles life just keeps throwing at people. I got to eat a hamburger with friends and listen to their jovial comments and sincere concerns. I listened to pastors who now are bi-vocational yet seem so encouraged. Someone even slipped and paid for my lunch without letting us know about their names, just the church they attend. I listened to people who are close to changes and could feel the concern in their eyes and words. I played some golf with buddies and laughed a few hours away. I experienced those who were glad to see me and others who wondered who the old guy was? I looked across the room and saw people who are facing debilitating health issues yet they worshiped with all that was in them.
I guess what makes me mellow in all this is the ones who were not there. We lost several who the Lord called them home. Their impact on my life in so many different ways is hard to put into words. There were others who were not there maybe because of finances or health. Some were not there because of discouragement I am sure. Those who I did not get to see mean so much to the Alabama family. The family is changing and many of us are finding our places are becoming different. That is okay as long as we can continue to be a part of the family God has made us to be.
I preach a lot about faith. The preaching I do about faith is not the type that has people bringing you their seed money or new cars and such. The message I believe is the type of faith message that gets you ran out of town.
To think that breaks, promotion, opportunities and wealth is coming your way because you are a Christian is faulty thinking. To think that you can receive blessings without being a blessing is as smart as thinking you can get a harvest from a field where you have planted no seeds! So you think that seed faith is a good principle? No, I don’t! I think when you do good to others then over time people will do good by you. I think that if you show up for work and do it often enough you will get promotions and raises. It is the investment of time, sweat and sacrifice that brings future blessings. I think a life well lived is a life well rewarded.
I am sorry if I offend you but blessings come from God and they have little to do with gold. Today a mother who finds bread to feed her children in a third world country has been blessed. A child who sleeps on the streets in the winter and finds a warm spot has been blessed. A man who is blind with cataracts and has a doctor come to his country and perform a free surgery is blessed.
There is nothing wrong with wealth but there is a lot wrong with the concepts that I am owed wealth because I have made Jesus my Lord! Christians around this globe are persecuted, impoverished, slain, robbed, raped, abused and treated less than animals. I have met pastors in countries whose monthly salaries are $15.00 a month. I have watched people cry when given a meal to eat. These people are God’s children and He loves them as much as He loves me. His blessing on my life is not measured by the change in my pocket but the change in my heart. I am not covered by His blessing because I have a roof that covers my family. I am thankful, overwhelmed and happy because of it but not blessed because of it! I am blessed because Jesus has given me eternal life. All those other things allow me to be a blessing to others!
Bottom line, love God and love others. Use what God has given you to be a blessing to others. Work hard, expect great things, as you invest your life. If you want promotions then show up for work! If you want breaks then give others a break! If you want wealth spend less than you make! If you want opportunities then look for them don’t wait for them. If you want happiness quit looking for it in a bank account!
Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
Missionary Charles Greenaway used to say, “If you want Pentecostal power put yourself in a position to need Pentecostal power!” The Believer who makes a difference is the person who walks on God’s Word and lives by God’s promises. Until we quit meandering through the valleys of ease and ignoring the mountains of challenge we will never win the victories needed for this generation. The midgets we wrestle with should be left for the fight with the giants who have homesteaded on the property God meant for us! God has positioned us for the greatest move of His Spirit of any generation. Let’s move into position for the fight for souls and not the easy selfish life!
Definition of a miracle – “any amazing or wonderful occurrence.” Of course there is more to this word,”Miracle!” It can be something that is supernatural and that which only God can do. I wonder though how many miracles are left undone because we never realize that each of us has the power to release a miracle in someone’s life. We all have in us, around us or on us the miracle of someone’s need. To us that thing may be so insignificant that we are just kicking it around to get it out of our way. To us it is insignificant and small but to the person needing it, it is a miracle.
Maybe it is a idea, a good word, a kind word, an expression, a old car, a old computer, a book or maybe just a little money! What you have should not be stored up in the barns of your life but released in the field of other people. Look for those people which you can invest love and resources. You may never know or understand the miracle or the power of the seed in your possession. So do you do this to receive a great harvest? Please, quit being and living such a selfish existence! Let go of such thinking! Your life is a seed planter or a seed barn. Burn the barn if that is all it is about! A seed planter can never build enough barns to hold all thy God wants to get through them! The joy of being a miracle in the lives of others is a great reward for those who search for the miracle needed and the resources released!
Luke 24:5 Why do you look among the dead for the living?
I often wonder why people continue to harp on people who are living compromising lives. So many in the church in America have fallen away from a consecrated life to Christ. Sanctification and holiness are foreign terms to many today. So many who lead in the church are not qualified to do so because they have never really experienced or practice the moving of the Holy Spirit in their lives. Now my purpose is not to criticize them but we who continually castigate them. I mean what can you expect among the dead? They have no awareness, no knowledge, no vision, no ability to change- they are dead! So what are you expecting from them? Why do you continue to stand among them? Move out of the grave yards and on to the venues of the living! Leave the dead alone and let them rest in peace! Move on to the people who need your life and where you can make a difference. If you continue lingering at the graveyard you will become like those you are with. Your words of life will continue to fall on deaf ears but it will make you old and cranky. Our words should be words of life to those living so they can spread the Good News! Move on to the opportunities of the living and leave the graveyards for the dead!