Friday, October 16, 2009

Prayer does not fit us for the greater works, prayer is the greater work.

 

Oswald Chambers: Prayer is the working of the miracle of Redemption in me which produces the miracle of Redemption in others by the power of God. 

 

 

Posted via email from John's posterous

Prayer does not fit us for the greater works, prayer is the greater work.

Oswald Chambers: Prayer is the working of the miracle of Redemption in me which produces the miracle of Redemption in others by the power of God. 
John Walters
Grace Point Church
Calling Pastor
210-559-5954

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Lack of Faith in God

Forgive me God for my lack of faith

I witnessed two wonderful miracles of God this week and found myself giving a passing thank you God, going on about my business without much more thought or consideration to how great and wonderful God is.   These were two very large prayer requests answered this week concerning friends in the ministry who were facing major obstacles.  One was a getting a decision overturned in one day, something that everyone said would take weeks.  One of our members had returned from the war with several injuries including brain damage.  He could not get transportation to his rehab clinic using Via Tran which transports those with special needs because Via Tran said his injuries were not physically debilitating enough.  But he couldn’t drive himself because of the head injuries.  His wife couldn’t take him because of her work schedule.  She filled out the paper work for the appeal while others in the church stepped up to volunteer to take him and prayed that she could win the appeal.  She turned in the appeal on Monday and by Wednesday Via Tran reversed their decision!  People said it was a miracle that they received an answer that fast. 

The second was much like the first in that people said it wasn’t possible.  One of our Faith Promise missionaries in Mexico was attempting to get a tourist visa to visit the United States.  He married a young lady from the U.S. that he met while she was on a mission trip to the orphanage in which he worked.  They both now work at the orphanage in Mexico and he had never been to the United States and had never met his in-laws.  People said it was pointless to apply because immigration officials just assume a Mexican married to a U.S. citizen in Mexico would want not just to visit but to stay in the U.S.  (They don’t have plans to stay in the U.S. and love working in the orphanage in Mexico.)  They emailed me this week very excited to say they received the tourist visa and were so thankful that God answered prayers. 

I have to ask myself, am I so numb to God’s working power that I don’t take significant time to stop, celebrate and praise Him when He answers prayers?  Or is it that I really have little faith and just pass off such “miracles” as a coincidence and do not give God his due.  I have seen many true miracles; at home and on the mission field but I pray I never take for granted God’s ability to heal, to change people’s hearts, minds and actions.  He continues to pour his love out in spite of my selfishness and lack of faith.  Forgive me God.  Thank you for your grace and mercy!

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Recharging your spiritual batteries

I love the quote from St. Irenaeus that he wrote way back in 185 AD,  “the glory of God is man fully alive”.  But what if you don’t feel fully alive. There are those days, times or seasons, for whatever reason, when I feel as if I’m on spiritual life support.  Here are four surefire ways get a spiritual recharge and help you to come alive in Christ.

·         Befriend someone who is different from you.

·         Change your routine.

·         Take a risk.

·         Go and serve in a unfamiliar place

Befriend someone who is different than you.

I know there is a desire to be around people who tend to look, talk, and act just like me.  Most churches are assemblies of like people for just that reason.  There is a sense of comfort and safety hanging with people of like interests and backgrounds.  The problem with that is, it is difficult to grow when you are around people who think just like you. You won’t ever change much and you won’t have much chance of changing anyone else.  So you pretty much stay the same.  Instead of hanging with people who are just like you, befriend someone who has different interests, or someone from another culture. Find a church that has a diversity of people instead of one whose congregation think and worship just like you.  Or better yet, reach out to someone who is not a Christian?  Spend some time with people who don’t go to church, who don’t think like you and make an impact on them for Christ. 

One recent ministry opportunity that really made me come alive spiritually was with the Amigo program at Lackland Air Force base.  This program connected families in San Antonio with a student from another country who was in San Antonio for 6 months to study English.  Many of the students were from Iraq or former Soviet countries.  Many were Muslims.  These men and women had little to no opportunity to get off the base and experience San Antonio.  Families would commit to meeting them through Amigo and provide a way for the foreign student to experience life off of the base.  Barbara and I met a wonderful man from Iraq who was serving in the Iraq army and had been put in prison while serving in the Iraq army under Saddam Hussein.  We had dinner with him in restaurants several times and even had him over for dinner.  We got to share about our faith in Christ and hear his many fascinating stories.  It was really exciting and we left our meetings with him fully charged and felt fully alive in Christ.  We still hear from him from time to time.  He had an impact on us and I know we impacted his life also.    

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Legalism and NFL Football

I got home from church last night and to my surprise the NFL game was still on because of the double header and late game on the coast.  I am not at all a Raiders fan and because I lived for a time in San Diego, the Chargers have been a sentimental favorite.  However, the overruled call by the refs after replay against the Raiders was a horrible call and a great example of adhering to the letter of the law without any regard to the spirit of the rules.   Just what we fans fear most from the instant replay challenges,  long delays while refs try to find marginal rules violations that would never be discernable without super slow motion replay.  When a catch is made and the replay has to be slowed down to such a degree to find any sort of movement of the ball to determine if the receiver had “control” of the ball is a disregard for the spirit of the game.   The catch would have been ruled complete 100 out of 100 times by the naked eye and even with instant replay all announcers agreed it was a good catch and should not have been overruled.

Unfortunately what seemed to be a good idea has turned replay refs into Pharisees of Jesus’ day.  The refs remind me of many Christians today who love to point out the violators of the law without any regard to the spirit of the law.  Jesus was adamant about his distaste for those who were the legalists of his day.  He knew the hearts of those who tried to follow the law to gain their righteousness and Jesus strongly rebuked them.  Legalism is bad news for the game of football but deadly in the game of life.   I can choose not to watch the football games but having to deal with Christian legalism is much more difficult.  It brings discord to the body, turns non-believers away from Jesus and brings a false sense of security to Christian brothers and sisters who try to gain their right standing by keeping the rules.  If indeed we believe that somehow our obeying the laws and even our good works gain us any better standing before God, then we must believe the work of Christ alone is insufficient for our final salvation.  Don’t fall into that trap. 

John Walters

Calling Pastor

Grace Point Church

210-558-5954

Posted via email from John's posterous

Monday, September 14, 2009

Who did you encourage today?

I read that baseball star Reggie Jackson once said "I'll tell you what makes a great manager; a great manager has a knack for making ball-players think they are better than they are. He forces you to have a good opinion of yourself. He lets you know he believes in you. He makes you get more out of yourself. And once you learn how good you really can be, you'll never settle for playing anything less than your very best." Don't forget to encourage someone everyday.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Inertia

Have a dream you want to accomplish but can’t seem to get there? Inertia is probably what you need. The definition of Inertia is the resistance an object has to a change in its state of motion. Even though we believe the first steps to accomplishing something as being small or insignificant; actually they are usually the most important. Significant accomplishments never occur until the first small steps are made in that direction. Many times God inspires us to do or become but dreams don’t come true because we never take the first small step.
We usually think that we don’t accomplish something simply because we just don’t do it. Well that is not totally accurate. Newton’s first law of Motion teaches us that “objects tend to "keep on doing what they're doing." In fact, it is the natural tendency of objects to resist changes in their state of motion. This tendency to resist changes in their state of motion is described as inertia.
We don’t accomplish a certain task because we have a tendency to resist doing something different than we always are accustomed to doing. You go to work and you do certain things. And you will continue to do just what you always did until something changes. That change is called inertia. We all will just keep on doing what we always do, until we do something or something happens to cause us to alter our behavior or our daily routine.
I have dreams and grand ideas but I am a procrastinator at heart, waiting to take action until I know that I will not fail. Usually for me the most important step is just making up my mind to go and then taking the first small action to getting there. It could be packing my sports bag the night before to get ready to go to the gym the next morning.
So you can dream that you will someday have a certain job, get healthy, make a difference in the world, or lead your friend to Christ but it is only a wish until you take the first step, until you change your state or motion, your routine of life you provide the inertia to make that dream come true. It doesn’t have to be a big change, just something to get the ball rolling.
Dream big and then take a small step.

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