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Monday, April 9, 2018

God at Work


I had a good conversation with a dear friend, the other day, whom I have known since early childhood.  During the conversation, I shared some photos from recent trips of mine, and it all got me to thinking.  I was thinking about I have been very blessed in life to get to see and experience lots of things.  

Let me share some of the things I recalled as I was reflecting.  I have hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, and been atop Pike’s Peak.  I have walked ocean beaches of the Gulf of Mexico, the Pacific Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean.  I have stood at the top of the Empire State Building, the Washington Monument, and beside the roaring waters of Niagara Falls.  I have stood where America’s founding fathers first read the Declaration of Independence in Boston, and where they signed it in Philadelphia, and seen one National Archives of Washington D.C.   I have toured government buildings in our nation’s capitol and enjoyed the beautiful homes of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson and several other presidents.  I have stood where Abraham Lincoln read his Gettysburg Address, and where the Civil War ended settled at Appomattox Courthouse.  I have been inside a space shuttle and a retired presidential jet, touched a moon rock, stood at the base of a Saturn V rocket while wandering around Cape Canaveral.  I have been to Disneyland and Disney World and other amusement parks, and even traveled on a cruise ship.

I have walked among totem poles in Alaska and waded in the oceans of Miami Beach.  I have seen great masterpieces by Monet, Pissaro, Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Renoir, Rodin, Degas, Dali, Picasso, Cassatt, Homer, Rockwell in the art museums of cities like New York, Washington D.C., Chicago, Oakland, Los Angeles, Kansas City, Austin, as well as in the home of an acquaintance.  I have attended plays and musicals on Broadway (and elsewhere), enjoyed live presentations of magic by David Copperfield and Dough Henning and attended the filming of a network sitcom in Burbank. 
I have stood on five continents, and seen some of the wonders of the world.  I climbed pyramids in Egypt and Mexico, stood atop the mountain fortress of

Masada, climbed to a cave where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found and entered the treasury room of the magnificent desert city of Petra.  I have eaten lobster in Maine, clam chowder in San Francisco, bar-b-que in Kansas City and Houston, wonderful pizza in New York and sub sandwiches in Pennsylvania, Tex-Mex in San Antonio, sea bass in Seattle and great steak in Kansas City and Omaha.  I have watched them make Hershey kisses, and toured Kodak’s great photo factory in Rochester.  I have been to professional football, baseball, hockey, basketball, car races and soccer games.  (Yeah, I know, those of you who know me well are stunned by that last sentence!)
I have hiked to the bottom of the Great Meteor crater in Arizona, climbed the stairs inside the Statue of Liberty, and descended the stairs inside the Washington Monument.  I have been to many historical sites, and have enjoyed watching meteor showers in August and December, eclipses, alignments of planets and the first moon landing by Armstrong and Aldrin.  (I didn’t watch that last one in person…it was televised.  😊)

I spent great times with lots of aunts and uncles and cousins at their homes and family reunions.  I have experienced the joys and difficulties of having and raising children, of being married and of caring for aging parents.  I could go on, but you get the idea---I have been lots of places over the years, and gotten to see and do lots of things. 

At the same time, there are plenty of things I haven’t experienced.  Things like owning a Lambourghini or vacationing at the fancy resorts in Hawaii or the Caribbean.  I have never seen the Eiffel Tower, the Great Wall of China, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, or Michaelangelo’s paintings in the Sistene Chapel.  I have never had millions of dollars (or even hundreds of thousands) of dollars in the bank available for me to just spend any way I would choose.  On the negative side, I have never been imprisoned, nor been so enslaved to drugs that I would steal, lie and cheat just to get money to get them.  I have never known what it is to be starving, to live with a terminal disease, to grow up in foster care, to fight in the combat of war, or to be in fear of my life from marauding bands of soldiers in my own country. 

Okay, so I recounted all those things so that you could have a point of reference to understand my conversation with my good friend (remember that?) as I share what struck me as a significant point.

I was showing my friend photos from my trips to tour mission work in Bangladesh and, more recently, in Bolivia.  As we talked, I thought of all the wonderful sights I have seen in my life, but it occurred to me that all those things just don’t compare to being somewhere watching God moving in the lives of people, as I did in Bolivia and Bangladesh, and so many other places.  I have been privileged to watch God do things not merely far away, but in the churches I have pastored, at children’s camps I have helped lead, at conferences I have attended and prison ministries I have served, at concerts and revivals and prayer groups and Bible studies and even over the kitchen table in my home.

There is nothing more amazing than being present when the Spirit of God is in the business of touching hearts, changing lives and saving souls.  

If I had to choose between all the wonderful sights I have seen or being present when God is changing someone’s life, I would choose to be present where God is moving, especially when He is giving ME the opportunity to be one of the agents that He is using!  

I invite you to look around you and ask yourself, where God is at work in YOUR part of the world, and how YOU could be one of the agents through which he does his life changing deeds.

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