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Monthly Archives: August 2012

God fulfills His purpose for me

Today I was reminded of Psalm 57:2, which reads, “I cry to God Most High, who fulfills His purpose for me.”

There are projects I start, and which for one reason or another I cannot, or do not finish. As I reflect on my life, I am reminded in many ways that my best laid plans are flawed. It’s not that they’re bad plans or ideas, it’s not that I’m lacking the resources to accomplish them, it is because I am a flawed individual.

At this point in my life, I find it easy for me to look back on so many things I’ve started and never finished. “If only I would’ve finished my business marketing degree. If only I would’ve stayed in that business and just toughed it out.” There are so many of those “What ifs?”

When God redeems a man does he just redeem us for eternal life, or is there a redemptive element in this present life? In other words, does His purpose for me only get fulfilled in eternity or is there a here and now aspect to His redemptive work? I believe there is! I believe that all my failures, disappointments, discouragements, all my shame, and pain are not wasted. He is not a God who is far off, but a God who is near, and very near to all my life experiences, whether they be good or bad experiences. He’s familiar with me and to every experience I have encountered or endured.

“You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good,” has been a theme verse for much of my Christian life.

It is God’s purpose He will fulfill in me, not my purpose. Sometimes, I get that turned around. I want Him to be there when I need Him. When I feel that things aren’t going the way I planned, I just need him to come alongside and make up for my inabilities–it’s the God “AND” complex. He’s just there to help me with my agenda when I can’t finish the task. However, for the beginning to the end, He has to be the author and finisher of everything in my life.

So, I have this assured hope that when God is in control, He will fulfill his purpose for me. This fleeting life will not have been wasted, and my hope will finally we realized when He completes the work he’s begun in me on the day of Christ Jesus.

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Posted by on August 31, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Preaching to a Preacher

I was at the mall the other day shopping for my son’s graduation clothes at a men’s suit store. The owner of the store was a seasoned tailor, an Indian by way of South Africa. Upon entering his store, one gets the immediate impression that this man knows his trade. We chose this place because we had gone to a Men’s Wearhouse across the street and was told that nothing in the store would fit my son, and that we should go see this man who catered to youth sizes.

We were greeted by Musta, a friendly dark-skinned man with silvery hair and goatee. He was very likeable from the beginning. As my son was in the dressing room trying on various things, he made natural conversation with me. It got down to the question that many people ask, “How’s work?” I answered, “Well, work’s work. I enjoy it though.” He asked, “Oh yeah, what do you do? Are you an engineer?” I’ve got to say that I’ve never been mistaken for an engineer. With a look of surprise I asked, “No. What makes you think I’m an engineer?” Musta replied, “Oh, no, I was just curious. So what DO you do?” I replied, “I’m a youth pastor.” He seemed to be genuinely interested in my work. And, he seemed to have a better understanding of youth ministry than I would have guessed. From that point on, Musta addressed me simply as “Pastor.”

Well, after trying on an ensemble and a suit, we decided to go with pants, shirt, and a skinny blue tie. It was nice that Musta was the only tailor in our area who carries youth sizes. He told us that alterations would take 35 minutes. My son, daughter, and I wandered the mall for about 30 minutes, bought some snacks and drinks and sat down for ten minutes, then returned to the shop. Musta was sitting outside talking to a couple of people. I think one man was a customer, and the other, an associate of Musta’s. When he saw us coming he immediately rose from his seat and said, “Your clothes are being pressed and will be ready in ten minutes.” Meanwhile, the associate had joined us in the shop and began making conversation with me. Unrecognizing his deep Latino accent, I asked him where he was from. This man was short, stocky, and dark-skinned. It said, he was from El Salvador–though he did not look anything like a Salvadoran. I thought he looked more like an indigenous Oaxacan.

The most interesting part of the whole conversation was when he asked what I do for a living and I told him that I am a youth pastor. What followed a virtual diatribe of how evil our world had become and that Jesus is coming back soon. It was clear that this man had read some Scripture–though it was clear that he hadn’t read enough Scripture. He talked about the terrorists, sex on TV, gang bangers, drug pushers, etc. He said these are all signs that Jesus is coming soon and that God’s judgment will be poured out on these people.

I was grateful that this man was so willing to engage in dialog. I was able to agree that there are many signs that seem to indicate that Jesus is coming soon. However, I stopped him and said, that’s why the world needs Jesus. It’s easy for Christians to criticize the world for it’s immorality, and wish them all to burn in hell. Personally, I hope that someone wasn’t thinking the same way about me before Jesus saved me.

God would be fully right to judge a sinner like me but with love and grace he chose to redeem me through His Son. As I shared with him about how God delivered me, and that it is my goal to share this hope with everyone, his tone began to change.

The conversation ended with him saying, “You’re a good person.” I was thinking, “You’ve completely missed the point. God doesn’t save good people, he saves evil people.” But I just ended it with “I’m a different person now because of Jesus’ grace toward me. He loves you just as much as He loves me.”

 
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Posted by on August 28, 2012 in Uncategorized