From the Faith Baptist Church Blog

Soaring

In the Northeast corner of our church parking lot resides an aesthetically pleasing tree. It is not beautiful in the traditional sense, because it is not vibrantly green, full of foliage, nor symmetrical. It has a rustic and time-worn beauty, dripping with mossy strings. My eyes are frequently drawn to its branches and the birds and squirrels that rest there. Last week, I saw something in the tree that I had never seen there before – three majestic bald eagles!

This inspirational sighting was tainted by a scrub jay that was irritated by the eagles’ presence. From a few branches away he loudly voiced his displeasure. I thought, “What a brave little bird.” After a few moments, my thoughts (and ears) fell in line with the eagles’ point of view, “What an obnoxious pain in the neck!” Not only are scrub jays ill-tempered, but their screech makes fingers on a chalkboard seem pleasant.

It wasn’t long until the eagles had enough of the pestering. With powerful strokes of their wings, they floated out of the tree and began flying upwards towards the sky. It was beautiful. It made me think of Isaiah’s vivid imagery, “those who wait on the Lord, shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” As I watching them fly away I saw something else – the scrub jay was following them!

One of the eagles flew off by itself, but the other two stayed fairly close to one another. The scrub jay zipped back and forth between those two eagles, yapping and screaming as only jays can. He was driving the eagles away from what he considered to be his territory. His movements were quick and jerky, while the eagles’ were elegant and flowing. It was quite the contrast – a tiny blue and frantic bird protecting his airspace against two regal and dignified birds trying to represent the United States of America.

I kept watching. The eagles circled in slow repetitions, climbing until their height was greater than what the scrub jay could sustain. He finally descended and left the eagles to continue their graceful circles high above. These powerful eagles had their peaceful rest at tree level disrupted by a nuisance. They could not stay there maintain that peace. They had to ascend. They had to soar above the fray, -- flying so high that the nuisance could not follow.

The Lord has given us “wings” of prayer and mediation that we might soar towards Him and away from the aggravations of life that so often plague us. Relatively speaking, our problem may only be a scrub jay in significance, but when it is screeching and pecking at us, it can be extremely disconcerting. Even flapping your wings becomes difficult. Persistent and irritating small problems can seem much bigger than they are and their impact can be greatly inflated when they are right on you.

The eagles knew they could not outmaneuver or catch the jay in their talons to crush it. Engaging it in a battle would only prove a waste of their energy. Trying to wrestle with the jay would only make them look foolish and powerless. All they could do was rise.

How many times do we yap back at the scrub jays of life? How often do we try to fly wing to wing with them and deal with them on their terms? How often do we seek rest on a branch and hope the problem goes away? Instead of these futile efforts, we should mount up with wings of prayer, turn our eyes to the Lord, and meditate on Him. Circling higher and higher in prayer until we have risen above the situation. Once in His presence, and carried by the winds of His love, we can soar with the elegant peace that passes understanding.

On wings of eagles,
Pastor Dave

Wednesday, August 27, 2014 | by Dr. David Anderson

Looks Good

For a few years, I had a clock on display in my office because it looked good. I don’t mean it looked good for me to have a clock in my office, but that the clock itself looked good. It had a black frame, simple block numbers and a bold red OU logo emblazoned on its white face. A piece of art. I thought it was a great addition to my office, but guests found it perplexing. They would look at it, tilt their head, raise an eyebrow and then ask hesitantly, “Is that time right?”

Well, it was right … but only twice a day. It was stuck on three o’clock. What threw people off was that the clock ticked and its hands appeared to move. But they didn’t. Something was wrong with the mechanism that controlled their movement. The hands just quivered with the tick sound, so if you glanced at the clock you thought the hands were moving. When I revealed that the clock didn’t work, my guests would ask, “Why do you keep it on the wall?” My answer? “It looks good.” (Plus, some historians believe the interlocking O and U could be a first century symbol of Christian faith. I read that somewhere.)

The clock definitely looked good, but it wasn’t fulfilling the purpose of its design. After a while, I stopped looking at it. It became irrelevant. I eventually took it down and stored it away. I think my clock is a good analogy for the Christian life not surrendered to the Holy Spirit. It may look good and still be on display, but it is not fulfilling the purpose for which it was designed. After a while, this life is in danger of becoming the castaway that the Apostle Paul lamented.

The reason my clock didn’t work was because it had been damaged in a fall and I wasn’t able to fix it. The outer appearance looked the same, but the internal workings were affected. Inevitably, there comes a time in each believer’s life when “a fall” of some sort occurs. This trial either refines our faith or fatigues our spirit. The experience can cause damage so severe, that it prevents us from working as God intended. On a regular basis, we all need forgiveness, healing, comfort and encouragement to resolve these falls.

Just as the clock on my wall couldn’t fix itself, neither can you and I. We need help. We need Someone to step in, pick us up, adjust our faith, and fix the mechanisms that equip us to serve God. That primary Someone is the Holy Spirit. According to Romans 8:26-27, the Holy Spirit not only knows the mind of God, but He also comforts us and intercedes for us based on that knowledge. He fixes us through His own power, and the ministry of other believers (Heb. 10:24-25, Rom. 14:19, II Cor.1:3-4). He does the fixing, but He frequently uses another believer as His technician.

There were times when I thought I had fixed my clock. The hands would begin to move, but 12 hours later, they would get stuck again. In the walk of faith, we might find the same dynamic. We believe we have resolved an issue or conquered a problem, only to find out that the problem has returned. One fix is not usually enough. We need the daily maintenance of His Word, His Spirit, and the fellowship of other believers to remain fully functional. What kind of clock are you? One that works, or one that just looks good?

Is your time right?
Pastor Dave

Wednesday, August 20, 2014 | by Dr. David Anderson

Far Flung

I once was part of something big, solid and strong. I don’t know what happened, but I broke off and fell into a stream. It was the same stream into which many others like me had also fallen. For years I rolled in the current, and was pushed against hard sharp objects. I eventually lost all my rough edges and became smooth and round. Unknown and unnoticed, I stared up at the bright sky from the shallow water for so long that I wondered if I would ever get out.

One day, a young shepherd picked me, and four others, out of the water. He put us into a small leather bag and started running. The jostling around in the bag drowned out the noise outside. When he finally stopped, we heard an angry and booming voice. It was coming from someone mocking the shepherd. That’s when the shepherd opened the bag and took me out. He placed me in a piece of leather attached to two strings and dropped me towards the ground. I was jolted upward in a great surge of energy and was hurled round and round. I kept going faster until I was flung out at an exhilarating speed. The power was amazing! As I flew through the air, I could see a giant of a man, in the distance, covered in armor. I was headed right towards him.

He and all his friends were still laughing and shouting insults when I struck him in his head. He toppled over and fell to the ground with such a loud sound that it caused the crowd to go silent. The shepherd ran over, picked up the giant’s sword and cut off the giant’s head. Suddenly, a shock wave of cheers and shouts rushed over me. The ground began to rumble as thousands of men began fleeing from the thousands chasing them. They ran right past me like a thundering herd of animals.

What the shepherd did that day made him a hero. Women from cities throughout land sang songs about him in the streets. His story was written down in a very special book so people could read it for the rest of time. I am humbled to think he chose to include me in this historic battle. That’s the only reason I had a part. He chose me. He had a purpose for me. A purpose I never could have imagined, nor fulfilled on my own.

Even though all I did was yield to the power of the shepherd, I’m mentioned in the book containing his story (verses 40 and 49 of the seventeenth chapter of the first book of Samuel). Me! A small, forgotten, helpless, submerged stone, was touched by a shepherd and became a part of something wonderful. It’s amazing. As people remember what he did, they remember me, too. For the rest of time. It’s all thanks to a shepherd -- a shepherd who became a king. He did all the work, but he lets me enjoy his glory.

God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. 1 Cor. 1:27-29

It’s all thanks to The Shepherd,
Pastor Dave

Friday, August 15, 2014 | by Dr. David Anderson

Little is Big

If big freighters, tankers, cruise liners, and commercial fishing vessels lose power, get stuck, or have to move through a passage, channel or docking area, what to they do? They call a tugboat. So do large vessels that can’t move on their own, such as; barges, log rafts and oil platforms.

Though small, tugboats are strongly built and have engines powerful enough to maneuver much larger vessels by pushing or pulling. A tugboat can go out into the ocean, break ice, salvage and fight fire. They are not built for speed or beauty, but for functionality and versatility. They are little, but can do big jobs. A tugboat is not pretty … unless you need one.

Last night, Colly and I were viewing an episode of Deadliest Catch, a program about crab fishermen in the Bering Sea. I get cold just watching it. During this episode, the Cornelia Marie was in a precarious position tied down to a dock engulfed in a hurricane. It needed to move from the dock to avoid being ripped away and crushed against the nearby adjacent rocks. The ship could not propel fast enough to counter the winds and waves so they called for a tugboat to help.

The little tugboat nestled itself against the ship and pushed with all its might to keep the Cornelia Marie close to the dock. That effort allowed the bigger ship to untie its ropes before they shredded, turn into the wind and move out of harm’s way. It was a very tense exercise that required split-second timing. They succeeded, but only because the tugboat gave them the support they needed.

Barbara Waters might ask, “If you could be a boat what kind of boat would you choose to be?” Battleship, cruise ship, freighter, and tanker are all good answers. But is there a boat more valuable than a tugboat in a time of trouble? Tugboats don’t get glory, but they often shower glory on magnificent ships entering a harbor. They don’t get jealous. Tugboats are humble. They know their role. They are here to help, rescue, protect and give strength to ships in need. They are here to serve.

Christianity needs tugboats. We have lots of speedboats, yachts, cruise ships and so on, but we need humble servant ships. Jesus told us that the greatest among us is the one who serves. Paul instructed us to use our liberty in Christ to serve one another in love. Serving requires that we shift our focus to the needs of someone other than our selves. Serving involves putting our concerns, needs and hesitations aside in order to help someone else. Serving reflects both the mind and life of Christ.

Hebrews tells us to look to the Author and Finisher of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, although He despised the shame it signified. He set aside His concerns. Paul told us Jesus left His glorious place in Heaven, humbled Himself and came to earth in the form of a servant -- to save us.

All believers have issues that need attention. We all have our own plans and desires for the day. Being a servant does not mean that we just happen to have a lot of free time and no needs of our own. That’s the challenge of being a servant -- putting our needs second. Prioritizing another believer’s needs above our own is a sign of spiritual strength, character, love and humility. That’s just one of the reasons Jesus said the greatest among us are the ones who serve. Another reason might be that there are so few who serve.

Be a Tugboat,
Pastor Dave

Thursday, August 07, 2014 | by Dr. David Anderson



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