The First Step can be the Hardest

images-62I would imagine we all have experienced times where we are gripped with fear of the unknown. Like my sister and brother who when they were younger took skydiving lessons. Yes, they jumped out of perfectly good airplanes at 13,000 ft above the earth. They said the hardest part of their adventure was the first step out of the plane into the unknown atmosphere. Wow! I don’t want to even imagine how I might feel. I would probably scream like a baby.

Let me say no matter how old or rickety the plane might be, it’s made to fly and becomes a comfort zone for those in it. But, when we are faced with defying the established laws of the universe, as those who are expected to jump out of a plane are, you will more than likely get hit in the face with fear, doubt and anxiety. Why, because we weren’t made to fly.

With that in mind let’s look at Matt 14:23-33, where Jesus sends the disciples by boat to the other side before Him. Being in a boat on the water was a comfortable and familiar way of life and for some like Peter and Andrew it was where they had


It’s only when you get out of your boat do you see the miracles of God. 


made their living. Yet, things were radically going to change in their surrounding and life. A boisterous storm moves in changing the atmosphere and out of the dark Jesus comes walking on the water overturning their comfort and ultimately challenging their faith. Thinking Jesus could be a ghost fear began to grip and overtake them. With calming words of “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.” Jesus speaks to them. But Peter wanting more evidence, like a child saying to his peers “prove it”. He blurts out, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” The vary fact that Peter would even consider asking this was mind-boggling. What he asked shows that he believed that Jesus had the power to override any earthly limitations or laws. I believe a mixture of assurance and dread came over him when Jesus answered with the word, “Come”.

It was probably like the feeling my brother and sister felt when it was time to jump out of the plane. That first step of transitioning from security and familiarity over to the unknown is one many will never overcome. But if never taken there is the absent of experiencing the wonders and adventure of over-riding the established


God doesn’t want us to stay where were at but to crossover to the other side


limitations. When Peter acted on the word of Jesus, which revealed his understanding of who he understood Jesus as, he walked on water. Peter began to move in another dimension, one that none has ever walked in to the same extent. He not only gets the award for being the only one to walk on water but more importantly he confirmed to himself the belief that Jesus was able to empower him Continue reading

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The Night Hope Broke In to our World

3330791The walk from the back of the church seemed to be in slow motion as I walked to a narrators reading of the Christmas story. As I took each step in my makeshift gunnysack shepherd costume, this nervous six-grader who was in the Christmas program was drawn into the biblical truth. Though my cane and turban might have been nothing more than homemade, the reality of the birth of our savior was becoming personal to my young heart.

Every year as I watch the young children put on their annual Christmas programs I can’t help but reminisce not only on my own experience of the birth of Christ but also the account of the shepherd’s that were tending their flocks. In Luke 2:8-10, we read their story, “there were … shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them…”.

Let your minds eye wonder with imagination to that hillside outside the city in a distant field. Not only did the livestock live and settle there but the lowest of the social pyramid, the shepherds also made it their home. An occupation that was high


Hope didn’t come through a palace but through a Savior being born in a humble stable for all the earth to receive.       (tweet)


on the list many years before had now slid down to the lowest of low. Shepherds were in the same category as tax collectors and those that cleaned up dung in the streets.

It was quite different from what we had seen mentioned early in Genesis and throughout the times of the Patriarchs being a shepherd was a desired lifestyle for many sects of mankind. The sons of Isaac and Jacob tended flocks (Gen. 30:29; 30:12). Jethro, the priest of Midian, employed his daughters as shepherdesses (Ex. 2:16). Even Moses was a shepherd on the backside of the desert before he was branded by God’s glory. Yet, in the course of time things had changed and now being a shepherd was for the lowly.

Hope had also dwindled in the midst of God’s chosen people for it had been spiritually quiet for four hundred years. I am positive on a clear night many shepherds as they watched over their herds would gaze at the beautiful star-studded sky Continue reading

Embracing the very Purpose of God with Hope!

sunriseMy pager went off at 11:30pm with a message saying I needed to go to a room at the far end of the fourth floor. As a hospital chaplain you never know what kind of situation you will be walking into when the call comes in. In this case I was puzzled when I arrived to a dark empty room filled with an atmosphere of hopelessness that could be cut with a knife. There was absolutely no one in the hall or even near by. A matter of fact, it was a section of the floor that was not occupied other than this empty room with a deceased corpse in it. Needless to say I was confused and


If God had a refrigerator, your picture would definitely be on it!   –   (tweet)


wanted to make sense of this situation and answer the “why”. I began to research and try to pieced together what had happened only to get a more complete understanding a day later when a newspaper article had came out with some details.

The patriarch of a national family company who seemed to have a life of success, notoriety and material gain had fallen into the clutches of suicide. Being at the age that one would think would be delightful and full of enjoyment it was filled with hopelessness to the point of prematurely ending his journey. Unfortunately, this same story is repeated much to often. Many people go through life never really understanding purpose and grabbing ahold of what God thinks about them.

In Jer 29:11 we read God’s thoughts towards us, “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Did you hear that? God has good plans for you! He’s not up on a cloud somewhere with a hammer waiting to crush you. But has plans for your future filled with hope and goodness. He doesn’t look at you and think evil about you! Actually, the


Many people go through life never really understanding their purpose and grabbing ahold of what God thinks about them.   –   (tweet)


psalmist says in chapter139 of Psalms in verse 17-18, “How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand”. If God had a refrigerator, your picture would Continue reading