Friday, October 21, 2011

They had been with Jesus

Nicolas plays basketball on a city league here in Emporia. The other evening a few of the guys that he plays with practiced out at our church’s gym. When they were done, one of the fellows approached Nic and asked him if he attended church there. Nic’s reply was yes.


The fellow then proceeded to ask Nic if he knew a certain individual who he thought attended our church, Nic replied that he did. The conversation resulted in how this gentleman knew our fellow church member when the gentleman commented “well all I can tell you is that he is a (political party affiliation).”

As Nic related the story to me I was saddened that the man’s remembrance of this fellow wasn’t that he was a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ, but what his politics were.

You may think that politics are important. That by being involved you can change the world, and influence things for the better, but let me remind you that the apostles, who had every reason to hate the Roman empire, and politic against it with everything they had, choose instead to become known as followers of Jesus; people who had been with The Christ. Their influence is still felt to this day, centuries later.

Election season is upon us…whether we like it or not, and I am already sick of it, and we don’t get television. If I had a nickel for every e-mail that I have received bashing Obama, the Democrats, politicians in general, I’d be a wealthy person; and I mean WEALTHY!

When people speak of you, and they will, who will they affiliate you with? Whose follower will you be?

13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marveled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus. Acts 4:13







Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Scent of Water....grace for every kind of broken


For there is hope for a tree,
if it be cut down, that it will sprout again,
and that its shoots will not cease.
Though its root grow old in the earth
and its stump die in the soil,
yet at the scent of water it will bud
and put out branches like a young plant.
JOB 14:7 – 9



I don’t know if there is a formula for reviewing books, and I’m sure that the abbreviated description I give here of an outstanding book will not even begin to do it justice, but I hope that simply because I am holding it up to you as something worth while you will take my word for it and read it.

I had no idea what this book was going to be about, but the fact that she is Ravi Zacharias’ daughter, and Anne Voskamp recommended it on her reading list on Holy Experience were two reasons that assured me it was worth taking a chance on; I underestimated it.

The Scent of Water by Naomi Zacharias is a continuation for me of a Bible study that we did at church this last summer on prayer. We studied different countries and cultures, and then prayed for those people groups within those cultures and the issues that we in this country can’t even imagine. Issues that they face as the norm everyday. A theme ran through the entire study that we all, admittedly, recognized by the end of the summer. Women and female children in other countries, especially third world countries, suffer tremendously.

I did not intentionally read this book for that reason, as I said, I had no idea what it was about, but the theme and subject were not lost to me as memories of this study at church came to mind as I read.

In The Scent of Water she puts names and faces, and personalities to the generalities that we learned in our Bible Study. I found myself feeling sick after reading some of the chapters, and actually told someone the book was depressing. I realized that as I read further and she shared her observations, the lessons learned about perspective and how experiencing hopeless situations changed her, that if I HAD been able to read this book without the sorrow and sickness in my stomach, there would have been something desperately wrong with me.

As I read this book, not just about the situations and circumstances through wonderfully told stories told by an excellent story teller, I appreciated her admission that one of the biggest reasons that she started Wellspring Ministries was because she is a fixer, and this outreach made her realize that she couldn’t rely on herself; she saw her limitations and only God would do in these situations and circumstances. However, she also was reminded that she could be Jesus over and over again to others in the smallest, gentlest, and easiest ways and make an impact on a heart and a life.

At the end of the book is a review that I felt captured the entire tome perfectly—I share it with you here.

Naomi Zacharias takes us on an eloquent, page-turning tour of abject human suffering, giving us an intimate view of physical, mental, and emotional despair on a level we can barely comprehend. As she relates the painful stories of others, she leads us on a parallel track, describing her own personal struggles and heartaches. Instead of impeding her goal to help others, the very hardships she was experiencing empowered her to empathize with them. It was through losing herself in the suffering of others that Naomi found herself, and through witnessing the sheer triumph of spirit in people who converted agonizing experiences into unquenchable flames of service that she discovered the boundlessness of God’s grace. For when God is in charge, there is hope for the seemingly hopeless, hope that can flourish with just a “scent” of God’s promise of redemption. In The Scent of Water, Naomi shows us the truth of James 1:2 – 4: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

DAVID LIMBAUGH nationally syndicated columnist and author of Crimes against Liberty