Thursday, July 30, 2009

Road Trip - Roadblocks and Detours

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” – Romans 8:28

We have been talking the last few weeks about being on a “Road Trip” with Christ. The highway of life can’t always be straight and smooth; there are hills, construction, rough spots in the road and even “Roadblocks”.

“Roadblocks” are obstructions in the road that keeps us from growing and going in Christ… Anything that can slow our pace in getting closer to God and our goal is a “Roadblock”. Either the enemy places them in front of us to slow us down, or maybe we place them there ourselves (Self Pity, Pride, Guilt, Unforgiveness, Envy, Anger… and many more)… Your “Roadblock” may be different than mine, but they are there. We can allow these “Roadblocks” to become stumbling blocks in our lives, or we can turn them into stepping stones and go on to the next level. I could stay right here all night, but…

Just like “Roadblocks”, there are many “Detours” may come our way.
We all have experienced traveling down the highway and came across a sign that said, “Highway Closed. Follow the Detour Signs.”

Life and our “Road Trip” are very much like that at times. Maybe we go along for months and everything is going good and smooth, then we have some trouble and we have to take a “Detour” in order to get back on the right path… So, here are some things that I have noticed about “Detours”:

Sometimes “Detours” appear suddenly and without warning. I am reminded of our youth trip to Shabbach Youth Conference in Myrtle Beach… we were headed down 501 and all of a sudden, our vans came to a sudden stop. There was a power line down across the road and traffic was stopped. We ended up turning around and taking a “Detour” in order to get back on the main road. It is very hard to prepare for troubles and “Detours” that may come our way, even though we know that sooner or later, they will be there.

We don’t know how long the “Detour” will be. When the highway sign points to a “Detour”, we take it not knowing how long it is going to be. They always seem to take us out of the way and delay our arrival to our destination. When life’s “Detours” appear, we don’t know how long we will have to suffer, but we are hopeful that at any moment we will be back on the main road.

“Detours” can have good results. Sometimes while on a “Detour”, I see some of the most beautiful scenery and coolest things I have ever seen. Getting away from the billboards and bright lights of the highway, there are great things to see. Just like we talked about a few weeks ago… Exiles… getting away from the things of the world allows us to see great things from God.

On a “Detour”, we must drive by faith. The “Detour” road is one that we may have not been on before. We have to trust the signs that they will lead us back to the main road.
In the same way, We Must Trust God! He may be leading us in a direction or ministry we have never been in before. He will work it out!
Remember, Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.”

Usually, we do one of three things when we face these “Detours”?

We can turn and go back… But Philippians 3:14 tells us, “I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Don’t give up and turn back… keep moving, pressing toward the goal. Don’t be afraid, He will guide you.

We can take the “Detour” but grumble and complain about it every step of the way… A lot of people press through their troubles, but they complain and tell everyone they meet how bad it is… It is hard to be around those people. I almost become depressed myself. I want to be encouraged not discouraged, how about you? 2 Corinthians 4:9 tells us, “…persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed…” God will take care of us, we will not be destroyed! God has called us to be a GOOD witness for Him.

Or we can accept the “Detours”, be of good Cheer and learn from them… Look at the apostle Paul. If anyone had to endure “Detours”, it was him. Paul wrote a lot of the New Testament from jail. He wrote in 2 Timothy 4:16, “No man stood with me, but all me forsook me.” But yet he kept going. He never let the “Detours” keep him from going where he was supposed to go and preach what he was supposed to preach.

So, even though we come across “Roadblocks & Detours” and we spend a lot of our time being “Backseat Drivers”, there really is only “One Way” we can go on our Christian “Road Trip”… We must Follow Him!

John 10:27, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me”

Matthew 4:19, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

Friday, July 24, 2009

Road Trip - Back Seat Drivers

For some reason, we all have different agendas why we get on this “Road Trip” with Christ. Some, and most obviously, start this trip because they want to avoid Hell. Some get on board to please their parents or their friends; it is what is expected of them. Others jump in because they sincerely want more of God, they want to Follow Him (Matthew 4:19) where ever He leads.

But then there are those who go because they want access to a “Vending Machine God”. They like the idea that when they want something or have the craving for something, they can go, make their selection and “poof” there it is. The problem with that is when it doesn’t happen or they don’t get everything they want, they begin to question God and doubt creeps into their mind.

God says for us to just trust Him and follow Him, that’s all… God wants us to give Him control of our lives. So, here is what we do, we jump in the back seat and allow Jesus to take over (I know what you are thinking… this is not a line from a Carrie Underwood song). We begin to say things like, “Where ever You lead, I will follow” and “I’ll go where ever You take me”. Then for some reason, we begin to do something else. We become “Back Seat Drivers”. We begin to ask and say things like, “Why hasn’t God blessed me yet?”, “What is taking so long?”, “Just pull over and let me do it!” or even “Are we there yet?”. Does this sound familiar? For some reason, we try to blind fold Christ and tell Him which way to go and what He is doing wrong. Maybe we try to tell Him how we would have done it, if we had the chance.

But, we are not alone… The twelve who were with Christ the most, they were also “Back Seat Drivers”. Look at Matthew chapter 26. We all know the story of how the lady anointed Jesus with the very expensive oil. But look at how the disciples acted… verse 8, “When the disciples saw this, they were indignant.”Why this waste?" they asked.”

Let’s look at the disciple for a moment. Maybe they were ready for some “Big Movement” where Jesus was going to become the “King” He said He would. They were probably ready for Him to rule over all. Or maybe they thought Jesus had no structure, He obviously didn’t care about money and He was always offending the Jewish leaders. I can here them asking, “What is He doing?” They began to get upset with the situation and, yeah you guessed it, they became “Back Seat Drivers”. They just thought they would tell Jesus what He should have done… verse 9, "This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor."

But look at what Jesus did. If you are a parent like me, you have been here before. Jesus said to them… in verses 10 through 13, “"Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. I tell you the truth, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her." Basically, you know when you are on a long trip and your kids constantly ask the question, “Are we there yet?”, well, Jesus gave them the same kind of answer we would give to our own kids. Now this is the PS translation of course but I believe Jesus turned around to them and said, “Just sit back and be quiet!” That is awesome! The disciples, for a moment, were blinded about what and how Jesus should be and what His mission was, and He let them know about it.

Are we so different? How many times do we, as Christians, try to tell Jesus what to do? How often in our own live do we try to be a “Back Seat Driver” to Christ and just give Him a little nudge in the direction we think He should go?

All Jesus said was to “Follow Him”. If we follow Him, He will take responsibility for the outcome. He is not going to steer us wrong. Always remember, He knows the way! We must try our best not to be “Back Seat Drivers” and allow God to lead us on the path He has for us.

So, give God control of the wheel and just sit back and enjoy the ride…

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Road Trip - One Way

Our Christian walk is like being on a “Road Trip”. After all, didn’t Christ Himself say, “Follow Me” and “Go”? The first thing we must learn about this trip is, there is only “One Way” to go to get to our destination.

My wife and I live on a cul-de-sac… there is only one way to get to our house from the entrance of our subdivision. In the same sense, there is only “One Way” to get to Heaven, our one true home (1 Peter), remember, we are just passing through. Check out this scripture:

Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life." -John 14:6.

Have you ever been on a trip and had to ask for directions? Were you able to under stand them? Did they get you where you wanted to go? It can be frustrating when we receive directions but they are so complicated that they are hard to follow. What we ask is a simple question, but too often a simple answer is not what we get in return.

There are many people who give life directions from their own ideas. The best directions usually come from those who are familiar with where you are and know where you are trying to go. There are those who are trying to find the way to God. They are going through life, but have no idea which way to go. Many have decided to stumble through life, hoping they will stumble upon God and happiness. Some have even asked directions from others who have steered them in the wrong direction and left them confused and even lost. And unfortunately, because of that, some have stopped looking altogether.

The way is not complicated... Follow Christ! As Christians, we can rejoice that we have found the right directions to heaven and God. Jesus, who has been there and lived here, has shown us the way. With Christ as our tour guide, we know exactly how to get there from here (or where ever we may be). That's why we follow Him and take no chance of getting lost, He knows the way! My family and I go to Garden City Beach just about every summer. I could drive there from Greenville with my eyes closed; I wouldn’t, but, you know what I mean… This year, I decided to come back home a different way because the traffic was unbelievable. So I asked for directions. Luckily, the guy I asked was also from Greenville. He knew exactly what to tell me and which way to go because he had driven it many times before… he knew!

So, while on your "Road Trip" called life, look to the One who knows the right way to go. Remember, there really is only "One Way"! So, don't get distracted and veer off course, going "One Way" really is that simple!
Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Matthew 4:19
And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature." Mark 16:15

Monday, July 6, 2009


Hello everyone. It has been a while since I had been on here, I apologize. The family and I have been on vacation and really busy with my son’s baseball (practices and tournament).However, while on vacation, I met a group of students who called themselves “Exiles”. As I begin to talk to them, I found out that they had come to S.C. from Minnesota and beyond to spend time with God, kind of in “exile” from the world they were used to. As I thought about this, God led me to 1 Peter chapter 2…
1 Peter 2: 11,12, “ Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.” (NKJV)
Wow, as Christians, we are called to be “Exiles”… sojourners, pilgrims, strangers, aliens to this world in which we live in. We are called to be different! I believe, just like the group I met, God wants us to “get away” from everything of this world and draw closer to Him. In doing so, we are preparing ourselves for our true home… our home in Heaven.
The scriptures show us that everyone who lives by faith is an “Exile” here on earth…
Hebrews 11:13-22, “Each one of these people of faith died not yet having in hand what was promised, but still believing. How did they do it? They saw it way off in the distance, waved their greeting, and accepted the fact that they were transients in this world. People who live this way make it plain that they are looking for their true home. If they were homesick for the old country, they could have gone back any time they wanted. But they were after a far better country than that—heaven country. You can see why God is so proud of them, and has a City waiting for them. By faith, Abraham, at the time of testing, offered Isaac back to God. Acting in faith, he was as ready to return the promised son, his only son, as he had been to receive him—and this after he had already been told, "Your descendants shall come from Isaac." Abraham figured that if God wanted to, he could raise the dead. In a sense, that's what happened when he received Isaac back, alive from off the altar. By an act of faith, Isaac reached into the future as he blessed Jacob and Esau. By an act of faith, Jacob on his deathbed blessed each of Joseph's sons in turn, blessing them with God's blessing, not his own—as he bowed worshipfully upon his staff. By an act of faith, Joseph, while dying, prophesied the exodus of Israel, and made arrangements for his own burial.” (The Message)
Just as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph, we are to, as “Exiles” …
First, SEEK and look for our true home and secondly, DESIRE God and be after a far better place.
The words to a popular worship song we often sing (“Rescue”) says, “This world has nothing for me…” Nothing can ever compare to Christ and the place He has prepared for us in Heaven! A lot of times, we may think this world has something to offer and that it can satisfy our needs, but don’t be deceived! The truth is that we as Christians are just passing through and the things of this world are just temporary.
Listen to Philippians 3:20, “For our citizenship is in Heaven, from which we eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” I wonder how many of us are truly “eagerly waiting” for our Savior to return… Or are we just too busy being entertained and distracted by the things of this world? Remember, an “Exile” living by faith is desperately “seeking and desiring” another home, not just settling for this one.
The awesome thing I discovered about living the life of an “Exile” is, that is when God usually gives us our greatest revelations. It is there where God reveals His plan for our lives. (ex. You know… John…Isle of Patmos…Book of Revelation… Ha Ha) God wants us to get away from all this junk and grow closer to Him.
But don’t be confused, getting away doesn't mean that we are to go into hiding. He doesn’t want us to put on a disguise and hope no one knows we are a Christian. We are to lead others to the life of an “Exile”, we are show EVERYONE that there is a far better place for them too.
The life of an “Exile” is not easy, but it is required. Are you willing to live for Christ? What do you need to give up in this world to become an “Exile” and draw closer to God?
Listen to 1 Peter 2:11,12 again in the Message translation, “Friends, this world is not your home, so don't make yourselves cozy in it. Don't indulge your ego at the expense of your soul. Live an exemplary life among the natives so that your actions will refute their prejudices. Then they'll be won over to God's side and be there to join in the celebration when he arrives.”
The choice is yours!