There is no doubt that this is a story of great faith and great friendship. These four men certainly loved their paralyzed friend and were willing to do anything to get him to Jesus. As I look back over this story I can see several things that could have prevented these four men. May I suggest that we need to be wary of the same possible faith stoppers because it’s not just our lives or faith at stake!
Faith Stopper #1 Convenience. Sometimes we fail to act in faith because we are waiting for the “best” time. We are waiting for God to “move” us instead of seeing that God is moving…that He is near! Serving and ministering to other people is seldom going to be at our “convenience”. In fact, God may often interrupt your day; and what seems like a series of mishaps and unplanned conversations can actually be the very hand of God! These men would have to adapt their life around their friend in order to get him to Jesus. This required time from work, family and personal time. Real ministry is found when we are willing to be inconvenienced for others.
Faith Stopper #2 Crowds. It can be one or thousands but other people can often crowd out what God is trying to do. It is so important to be aware that what others think, feel or are doing is of little consequence to what we are supposed to do. If i am to help someone it really doesn’t matter if someone else believes me or not. I have to move on what God has called me to do. One of the sad things to note here is that there were many “religious” people who were in the way and preventing these four men from getting their friend to Jesus. We need to make sure that we are not preventing or inhibiting others from getting to Christ ourselves! Don’t be part of the crowd, no matter how religious! Be part of carrying people to Jesus at all costs!
Faith Stopper #3 Construction. Stick with me here. So often it is easy for me to fall into the trap that there is only one way to Jesus. But that’s not true. There is only one way to Heaven and that is through Jesus! But there are many ways TO Jesus! These men had a plan, had the faith, had the momentum and then had a problem. It is so important to realize that what we thought would work at one time may not work now. What seems good in our heads is not always gonna play out in real life. But that doesn’t mean we stop! It means we create once again! These men realized that they may not be able to move crowds but they could move their constructions.
A construct is something upon which we build and these guys had to rebuild their approach to Jesus. Their destination was still Jesus however! They still wanted to see their friend get to Jesus no matter what it took! We must have the same outlook. There are some forms of ministry that may not be my cup of tea, yet the goal is still getting people to Jesus. Perhaps we need to remember these guys more often in realizing that the best way to get people to Jesus is through deconstructing some of our old ways of thinking and allow God to do a new thing, even if it means raising the roof to lower a friend!
The Miami trip went very well with several performances and speaking engagements. The time at Kendall Christian, Highlands Christian and King’s Christian were all full of energy and God’s Spirit.
I am grateful for the opportunities to have been at each place! I also did a little side performance at Grand Lakes Assisted Living Facility, which proved to be very interesting to say the least. It was not only a challenge for me to find the place but once we got there we had the typical “Lockhart” curse with electronics! But we got through it.
A highlight of the week was visiting Madison Towbridge in the Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital. I shared a couple of songs with her and her family in her room and we prayed for her quick recovery. Last Friday she had her operation to remove the tumor of her spinal cord and my understanding is that it was successful and she is recovering well. They will get the results from the oncologist soon.
The trip home from Fort Lauderdale was a little crazy since I was very late to the airport. As I arrived though, the Spirit airlines guy told me that all flights had been delayed due to weather. Praise God! That was a simple and small thing but I really didn’t wanna miss this flight.
Upon getting back to GA, I stayed at my good friend’s home, The Wainwrights. After a great night’s sleep I made my way prayerfully back to TN.
I used Sunday as a day of prayer and fasting and am continuing today. I am seeking the Lord’s direction in many things and for many reasons. Typically I like to take some time in the month and evaluate anyway, so this was a great time for that to happen.
I stopped and spent a few hours at Barnes and Nobel to use their internet, write and pray. It was a great time for me. Then I left, making a few stops along the way for pics. Here’s one of the better ones from the trip home.
Let me share a few things I gathered from my time in prayer, reading, writing and reflection:
Having goals is necessary to target and measure success. However, allow God the room and freedom to target me in all of it.
Never just look backward in evaluations. I have to make sure I look upward also. God is Sovereign and even if I have made errors in judgment or lapses in wisdom, He is able to make good come from it.
Remember it is not the simple plan but the simple man that succeeds. Sometimes I can get so wrapped up in planning, preparing and even praying that I can forget faith is simple. Trusting God and letting Him work is all I need to do.
Being specific is really important. If there are certain things I desire of God then pray for them specifically. Record them and ask for them…wholeheartedly, sincerely, and with confidence that God is going to move in my best interest.
As I reflect upon the time in Miami and my subsequent trip home, I guess the pirate theme is appropriate for me. Jesus said in John 10:10 that there are thieves that are seeking to steal, kill and destroy. I believe this to be true and have experienced this in my own life and heard of others recently who have been battling their own “pirates”. I recognize now more than ever that I have to do all I can to stave off these dastardly villains and protect God’s interests and His glory.
I only have one life and amid these changing seasons I am all the more aware of how important each day, each decision, each dream can be. With that, let me finish by saying that God is still my God and He is certainly working in and around me. I am excited to see what the future holds and know that just as every season brings change, so does every season bring its own beauty and splendor.
It seems that with the first couple of days of Fall having fallen upon us that I should state my understanding of the fall fashion report. Not that many of us are going to change with the state of fashion rolling out this Fall but here are a few things you may want to consider to simply stay current looking on a night out or if you are hanging out with teens and college aged kids.
1) Everything is skinny now! For the last couple of years, the skinny jean has been making its presence known. But the jean pool has expanded! Now be on the look for skinny belts, slimmer jackets, and skinny ties. Slimming down your look will never be so easy!
2) What’s up is sideways! The skinny on lines is get horizontal. From cardigans to pullovers stripes are in! When shopping for your new look, include an athletic, “varsity feeling” stripe. It’s a winner!
3) Brown is back uptown! A few years ago, brown was the new black. It was hot. Now brown is making a comeback in camel coats and khakis. Adding a brown suit and some earthy khakis for a dressed-down brown look will be a good addition to any closet.
4)Turtles have shown their heads again! Even though I am not personally a fan of turtle neck sweaters, the look for the Fall is again, thinner. Gone are the bulky and heavy shells. Maybe I’ll try one on…maybe!
5) Knapsacks are nappy! The trend is away from backpacks and knapsacks to soft leather briefcases. Although I may never go without my backpack, for those who are into trendy, business couture, this is the new look for the Fall. It is hard to wear a backpack with a $300 dollar pinstriped suit!
6) Everything “V”. “V” isn’t for visitor. The V-neck is here to stay…at least for a couple more weeks. Busting onto the scene like an interplanetary invasion, the V neck has replaced the common “t”-shirt. For those who are looking to sport a new look, add a V neck to your wardrobe and wear it like it was still summer!
7) Colorize your feet! No longer do you have to be stuck with plain old white or black “no-show” socks. There are a wide variety of colors and designs that are not just for the ladies. Color is in and don’t be afraid to mis-match! Some companies are even selling them that way! Save some money and just pair up all your mismatches from previous years!
8)Blue-faced watches don’t blush! From Timex to Rolex everyone is going blue for their watch faces. I still prefer the odd watches and unique time-pieces. But if you’re looking to stay with the times, you won’t go wrong with a blue face this Fall.