Archive for August, 2012

“So then does He who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles among you, do it by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?”  Galatians 3:5

Perhaps one of the most amazing aspects of this new life that God has called me to at The Lewis House is one that I should have had in my Christian life regardless of my profession.  It is one that I am still learning to embrace because (unlike my beautiful wife) I am a bit too logical in my make up and a big part of me want to live on the basis of logical observation instead of spiritual expectation.  God is teaching me to walk in the miraculous.

When we truly hear the Gospel with faith there should be an expectation of the miraculous.  It is part of the package.  This is not a mystical toy store or the ability to bend God’s power to our will for our happiness.  It is simply expecting God to act in my life and then walking out my faith and getting to watch Him moving and working in an around me.  The cool thing is that the miraculous looks a little different every time.  I think that one of the mistake that we often make is when something miraculous happens in our lives we run around expecting that very same thing to happen over and over or even just one more time.  This may be in part to our desire to control the miraculous.  Humanity has always had an inherent fear of the things that we cannot control.  Better to have a god who responds to our requests exactly the same way all of the time, speaking into our lives in the ways that we want Him too (as opposed to in ways that sanctify us, ever conforming us closer and closer to the mind of Christ).

The author of Hebrews reveals the purpose of the miraculous.  “…how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?  After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will.”  Hebrews 2:3-4  It confirms to us our salvation.  This approximates Paul’s statement in Galatians that we already looked.

The other amazing thing is that God will not be put in a box.  Sometimes we mistake the fact that he is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow for the fact that we will be able to manipulate and predict his actions in our lives.  This error is revealed in Isaiah, “‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, Neither are your ways, My ways,’ declares the Lord.  ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are my ways higher than your ways And my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9  Does this mean that we just drift along being pushed here and there by a capricious God?  Not at all!  We cry out our needs, concerns, suffering and desires to God and the open our spiritual eyes wide and watch Him work.  It will be amazing, and often in ways that we least expect.

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Yes FM Morning Munch Devotional August 13th – 17th

Monday  –  Passionately Involved

Tuesday – The Hard Questions

Wednesday – Ready to Listen

Thursday – Ready to Believe the Unbelievable

Friday – Obedient

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“Then a revelation from the Lord came to him: ‘Leave here, turn eastward, and hide yourself at the Wadi Cherith where it enters the Jordan.  You are to drink from the wadi, I have commanded the ravens to provide for you there.’  So he did what the Lord commanded, Elijah left and lived by the Wadi Cherith where it enters the Jordan.  The ravens kept bringing him bread and meat in the morning and in the evening, and he drank from the wadi.”  1 Kings 17:2-6

We all have pretty developed concepts of what are appropriate avenues for God to provide for us.  They are engrained in us culturally as we grow up.  We tend to follow economic paths that fall within that cultural upbringing.  Unfortunately, particularly as Christians (but not solely limited to us) we spiritualize those concepts and values and label them as Christian.  I know that since God called me to full-time ministry, and more particularly to the Urban Mission field he has been rocking my world in this area.

I can imagine Elijah’s reaction as God began to use him as a prophet to Israel.  He probably gave himself a high-five after dressing down Ahab and congratulated himself on his appointment as Yahweh’s Weatherman for Israel.  But the call to the service of our Lord and Master Jesus Christ has certain life style and life view changes that come as part of the package.  The next revelation from the Lord probably hit Elijah with as much joy as Jonah’s call to Nineveh.  Elijah already had a plan going, outlining how God could provide for him through the drought and ensuing famine; perhaps a nice cushy spot on the coast somewhere with cool deep spring and lots of fish that just jump onto the beach.  Then it comes:

“Hey Elijah, yeah you. This IS Yahweh and as you expected I have made provision…no …nope not the coast, though that would be very nice.  Nope sorry no rich family with lots of storage and living space.  I have the perfect spot, head out-of-town east.  Yes into the wilderness.  No, no spring but there will be a wadi (dried up stream bed that only runs when it rains hard) Oh yeah and I will send Ravens to feed you.”

“SEND WHAT! Ravens are going to feed me, with bread and meat in their mouths.  Have you seen a raven?  Surely there is a mistake here, I don’t eat stuff that comes from the mouth of an animal that eats mostly DEAD things.  Oh and wadi’s only run when it RAINS.”

Now of course my dialogue here is completely fabricated and probably bears a much greater resemblance to conversations that I have had with God over the way that we should be provided for but I think that the inferences are reasonably valid.  When we teach it in Sunday School it seems so cool.  Wow Elijah got to be fed from the beaks of ravens! This is the reaction of someone who has not connected raven with the bird picking at the roadkill you just drove by on your way to church!  I can continue with the proposed water source.  A creek bed that flows into the Jordan only when it rains.  This is wilderness runoff not refreshing spring water.  Consider Naaman’s reaction to just bathing in the Jordan River: “Aren’t Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel?.” (2 Kings 5:12)

However no matter what his gut reaction was to God’s plan, Elijah was obedient to his God and entered the spiritual stream of provision that would provide for him and eventually for the widow of Zarepath and her son.  But what if Elijah had turned his nose up at God’s initial provision plan?  Maybe he would have been able to eke out the time and perhaps come out still used by God but he would have missed the miraculous wonder of God’s provision and of God’s almighty healing hand.  God loves rocking our world with spiritual truth before rocking our world with spiritual blessing.

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But Jesus called for them saying,“Permit the children to come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.”

Luke 18:16-17

I just had to share this Facebook post from my lovely and talented wife Allana.  My summer of Kid’s Club ended today because I am going to the Assemblies of God National Youth Convention and Fine Arts Competition in Louisville KY next week.  It has been a blessing to have been permitted to share the Love of God with these kids!

PRAISE THE LORD! In the past 8 wks of the Kids Club lunch program that has been running Monday through Friday at The Lewis House – we have served 93 different children!!! 75 of those children have come more than one time, many of them 10 times or more. We are so excited about the 40 children that we see weekly (usually multiple times through the week). It has been so wonderful forming relationships not just with these 40 children, but their parents as well. A big big thank you to our volunteers who come out weekly to pour into the lives of these children. If you are interested in being a regular volunteer at The Lewis House – please let me know ♥

We look forward with great anticipation to our next season of ministry here in the Five Points Community of Toledo.  As Allana said if you would like to volunteer on a regular basis, just for events or live out of the area but would like to bring a visiting mission team we would love to talk with you!

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