I was at my eye doctor’s office this past week for a follow up visit to some recent treatments. One of the things they needed to do was take some pictures of both eyes. It was while I was getting those pictures taken that I heard probably the best example of what real faith is.
Andy, the eye photographer, told me that when he was much younger he went parachuting. He said that he only went three times, but that is still three more times than I have. He told how back then they would connect your rip cord to a static line so when you get far enough away from the plane it would tighten and thus pull the cord that would cause your chute to open. So that only left two things for him to do.
1) Step outside of a perfectly capable airplane of landing to the little 2×4 connected to the bottom of a wing support.
2) The hardest part: Let go of the wing.
He told me he was scared like crazy! Not exactly his words, but I think you get the point. He informed me that the hardest thing to do was letting go of the wing. He said as he was going 120 mph out there on the wing thoughts would run through his mind, “Who packed my chute?” “Did they do it right?” But no matter what came to his mind, he did it. He let go.
Yes, Andy is right. This is one of the best examples we have of faith. When we are faced with a situation that is bigger than us there are a lot of things we can do, but none is better than “letting go” and trust in God. If you happen to be faced with one of those kinds of situations do what Andy did; “Let go.”
Last night I had the privilege of listening to and experiencing Bob Goff. What a humble man that is used by God in such a mighty way. Bob shared how wherever he goes he finds a way to let people experience heaven. One story he shared was when he rode in a limo. He asked his driver if he had ever ridden in the back. The driver said no, so Bob got him to pull over and they switched places. Bob said, “I even put on the guy’s hat!” The limo driver smiled as he felt real love and concern just like we will in heaven. He felt a little touch of heaven.
Bob went on to share numerous examples of how he doesn’t know what he is doing, but simply says, “God use me.” This is the heart of a humble man who sees his world through the eyes of Jesus. Bob doesn’t try to convert anybody to Christ. He leaves that up to Jesus. Bob believes if someone touches heaven and feels heaven on earth they might just want to know how to have that feeling every day and for eternity.
My favorite story Bob shared was about his neighbor. He told how she called and gave him the news that she was dying of cancer. That year Bob’s neighborhood changed the path of their yearly parade, so every neighbor could wave to her as she watched from her living room window. He later asked her if there was one thing she has never done but always wanted to. She replied, “Toilet paper someone’s yard.” So one day at 4:30pm they did just that. When the police showed up and informed him it was a misdemeanor he told them, “I have diplomatic immunity and she will be dead next week.” Bob’s neighbor had heaven touch her just before she touched heaven.
Touch the people around you with heaven. Leave them longing for more of the love of God.
Gen 3:1 The serpent was clever, more clever than any wild animal GOD had made. He spoke to the Woman: “Do I understand that God told you not to eat from any tree in the garden?”
Gen 3:2 The Woman said to the serpent, “Not at all. We can eat from the trees in the garden.
Gen 3:3 It’s only about the tree in the middle of the garden that God said, ‘Don’t eat from it; don’t even touch it or you’ll die.'”
Gen 3:4 The serpent told the Woman, “You won’t die.
Gen 3:5 God knows that the moment you eat from that tree, you’ll see what’s really going on. You’ll be just like God, knowing everything, ranging all the way from good to evil.”
Gen 3:6 When the Woman saw that the tree looked like good eating and realized what she would get out of it–she’d know everything!–she took and ate the fruit and then gave some to her husband, and he ate.
Gen 3:7 Immediately the two of them did “see what’s really going on”–saw themselves naked! They sewed fig leaves together as makeshift clothes for themselves. (MSG)
Packed into these few verses is so much! So much of how sin appeals to us. So much about how we start thinking in our mind that we understood what God “really” must have meant, but He didn’t say. In verse 4; no the woman wouldn’t die physically, but after disobeying God she begin to die spiritually. In verse 5 we see the devil tell Eve that she will be “like” God. The very thing that got him and his followers kicked out of heaven. In verse 6; Eve no doubt on the first shopping trip pictured how the fruit would match her outfit, and thus complete her ensemble. In verse 7; was the first time a woman uttered the words, “Don’t touch me!”
Seriously here is how sin works: Eve saw, Eve thought, Eve touched. One will sin every time most likely when they “look” too long. When they “think or reason” in their mind too much, and it is almost impossible to stop once they “touch”.
So what does your fruit look like? What is your weakness? What do you need to not look at too long, or at all? What thoughts do you need to stop thinking? What, or whom, do you need to not touch?
When I was a youth minister in Massachusetts the local ministers from various churches would gather for a pre-Easter service. Seven ministers would get up one by one and share the last seven phrases that Jesus said from the cross. I always wanted to be asked to share number 6, “It is finished”, but I was never asked to, so today I will.
Saying the words, “It is finished” can bring relief. The pain, the distress, the task at hand, or the conflict is over. No more of whatever was causing such discomfort. Those words certainly said a lot for the one who spoke them that day, for he was going down a “dead end!” But was “it” really finished? Sure the work Jesus came here to earth to do was, but I believe our work was just beginning.
Jesus showed us how to live, pray, “be”, love, overcome, deal with evil, trust our heavenly father, face fear and even die. When He said, “It is finished” He might as well gone on to say, “You are just beginning. Now go and show others there is a better way to live. Don’t just tell them, but show them the love of my Father as I have shown you. Convince them that in believing in my death and resurrection there is so much hope it will last for eternity.” For us, it isn’t finished, yet.