God is the prime mover, but He is not a fast mover. As prime mover, God set all things in motion. As a general mover, God is frustratingly slow. Two stories serve to demonstrate.
The pace of Luke 8 seems fast and furious. Jesus is healing. He is teaching. His family is looking for Him. He is caught in a turbulent storm that He calms while crossing the sea. He casts demons out of a maniac man who lives in a graveyard. There is a lot happening. The more He does, the more attention He draws and the crowd grows.
When it seems like the stories have reached fever pitch, Jairus, a ruler of the synagogue falls at Jesus‘ feet and asks Jesus to accompany him to his house. His twelve-year-old daughter is sick and dying. Jairus is desperate for Jesus to heal her. Jairus thinks he needs Jesus to move fast. Jesus is more interested in helping Jairus go far.
As much as Jesus has going on, He complies and begins the walk toward Jairus‘ home. The next part of the verse sets the scene, “As Jesus went, the people pressed around him” (Luke 8:42). Imagine a throng of people, each of whom has needs, vying for Jesus‘ attention as He walks. The scene is loud and chaotic.
All of the sudden, Jesus stops. Unknown to the crowd, a woman with a blood issue has touched the hem of Jesus‘ garment and is healed. She has dealt with this problem for twelve years and had spent all of her money on physicians who all failed to help her. Like Jairus, she is also desperate.
Her problem probably caused her to have a constant menstrual flow. An issue of blood in Jewish culture was not merely a physical problem, but a spiritually crippling one. Because of the flow of blood, she was constantly unclean and would not have been allowed to enter into the Temple for worship.
Jesus stops. Though the crowd has no idea of what happened, Jesus knows. With all that is going on, Jesus is able somehow to focus on one thing. The Master is not a multi-tasker.
In the midst of a throng of people that is described by Luke as a “press”, Jesus addresses the crowd and asks a question: “Who was it that touched me?”
The Bible says that everyone in the crowd denied it, yet Jesus must have persisted to know. Peter, wanting to bring some logic to the situation, tells Jesus that it is impossible to know who touched Him. It is a press of people. A press is a group so large you have to keep moving, but you are stopping. Who touched You? Everyone is touching You!
Yet someone touched Jesus in a way that power came out of Him and He knew it. Eventually, the woman reveals herself, and Jesus simply says to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.” - Luke 8:48 (ESV)
Luke records nothing of Jairus’ reaction in this moment. As the father of two daughters, I cannot ignore the man. Luke says little of him in the scene at this point, but I can see him. Time is running out. In his mind the solution is in hand, but far from where it really needs to be. We must keep moving.
For a man who needs Jesus to move fast, walking would be difficult enough; stopping and taking the time to poll the crowd for a mystery toucher would have been excruciating. In Jairus’ mind his total focus must have been on the fact that it appeared by stopping for the woman, Jesus was going nowhere.
It is inexplicable, but there are times in walking with God, that when it seems we need Him to move the most, He stops.
The progression to the next part of the scene is heartbreaking. The Bible says while Jesus was still speaking, as if He is putting the final touches on His statements about the triumph of the woman’s faith, Jairus receives the most devastating news. A nameless woman in the crowd may have been healed, but “Jairus, your daughter is dead.” The bearer of the bad news follows up his statement: “do not trouble the Teacher anymore.”
For the nameless woman, the stop was the beginning of new life. For Jairus, the stop appeared to be the end of life. Don’t trouble the Teacher anymore. He’s too busy dealing with other things.
Read the rest - #THEWALK, now on Kindle for just $3.49. Get your copy today.
In the new year we often commit ourselves to reading. If reading is part of your resolution, please consider my book #TheWalk that was released last October. #TheWalk is a great choice as your first book for the new year.
Why #TheWalk? January is a month of regret and resolve. Our regrets often give birth to our resolutions. The 7 pounds I gained from Thanksgiving to New Year's Day has served to make dieting a top priority in my life. While weight, reading, saving, and time considerations often dominate the top of our list, there should also be some more lofty goals somewhere in the mix. Instead of only considering what we may lose, save, or manage, how about considering some things you would like to finish, start, or even create?
It is difficult to be different. If you want your situation to change, you must change. The failure to be different is what usually trips up our resolutions. John Maxwell said, "You'll never change your life until you change something you do daily." It is at this point, daily change, that I believe you will find #TheWalk most helpful.
#TheWalk is not about doing more, but doing less. It is not about meeting life goals as much as it is about doing something different daily. No matter how big or how small the objective before us, there is only one way it can be accomplished; one step at a time - walking!
#TheWalk was born at the beginning of 2014 out of my own frustrations of having great ambitions, but feeling as if I had accomplished very little. While praying through Psalm 119:133 God opened my eyes to a revolutionary principle that has changed my life - steps.
Rather than asking God to help me arrive at certain destinations or to accomplish certain long term goals, I now ask God one simple question each day, "What step do you want me to take today?" Breaking life down into steps has made me more content and effective in everything I do. I believe #TheWalk can do for you what the journey of preaching and writing it did for me - #TheWalk helped me be different.
Here is a short excerpt from the book that I hope you will find to be helpful. I pray you will have a great 2015 and that you will consider adding #TheWalk to your book list this year.
Honestly, I’m not a big fan of the circus. Even though there is a lot going on in the three rings, something about the chaos of it just doesn’t hold my attention. Trapeze doesn’t do it for me. If you are a circus clown and you are reading this book, I’m sorry to offend you, but what you do in the circus doesn’t connect with me. However, I would love to know how so many of you get in those little cars. Other than that, I’m not a fan of the clown. The dog trainer part of the show is absolute torture for me. They are about to fire a man out of a canon. Do the circus people seriously believe that a poodle hopping through a hoop is supposed to psyche me up for the human cannonball? Get the little dogs off the floor and let’s see a guy fly through the air like a missile. I see dogs everyday. Missile men - not so much.
There is one point of the circus, however, that grips me. Bring out the lions and the tigers, and I’m all in. Those massive majestic animals are mesmerizing. Put a guy in there with the real potential of being mauled right before my eyes - I’m all over that - from a safe spectator distance, of course!
Have you ever noticed that the lion tamer takes only two things into the cage with him? He takes a whip, which I can understand, and a chair, which I cannot. Yet in that infamous image of the lion tamer that is etched in our minds, you see only two things in his hands, a whip and a chair.
Most of the time when we watch the lion tamer work his craft, we are excited by the whip, but think little of the chair. But the chair is the most important element of all. The whip has little to do with influencing the animals.
With the whip, the lion tamer controls the crowd. We love the crack of the whip and, as humans, we are sympathetic to the sting. Indiana Jones may do it for humans, but Indy does nothing for lions. The whip may capture our attention, but it is with the chair that the lion tamer controls the beast.
Lions have an impeccable ability to focus. When the end of the chair is extended toward a lion, the lion becomes almost paralyzed. Now, instead of focusing on one thing, the leg end of the chair presents the beast with four. The otherwise perfectly focused animal doesn’t know what to do next. He has too many choices to make.
A powerful creature out of focus is ineffective.
I find myself like the lion a lot of times. I have so much in front of me that I lose focus and become ineffective. I find myself looking at the leg end of the chair way too much.
In a lot of ways, it is easy to become confused and paralyzed in your walk, wondering what to do next. You have too many things in front of you at one time. This is why priority is so important. When it comes to your walk, the first thing determines everything. With so many things in our vision, how does one possibly narrow it all down to one thing? The good news is that God has made it an easy choice for you. Remember, God has ultimately called you to do only one thing, walk in a way that pleases Him.
Jesus said it like this, “Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” - Matthew 6:31-33 (ESV)
What we eat, drink, or wear is the leg end of the chair. Jesus teaches us that if we can get those things in the right order of priority and make the one thing the main thing, all of those other things God will provide. Remember, He is the provider for those who walk with Him.
That word seek, Jesus uses in the passage, means “to walk with focus.” It describes investigation and searching. You can’t seek several things. There is an old proverb that says, “He who chases two rabbits captures none.” The only way you can truly seek something is to get it down to one.
If you could get four or five things out of your face and bring one thing into focus, it would help you go further. Why, because according to Jesus in Matthew 6:31-33, the first thing determines everything.
It is difficult for many of us to believe that God wants us to be satisfied. My wife affectionately refers to me sometimes as a “fun-sucker.” A “fun-sucker” is someone who can emotionally vaporize every ounce of joy in a room with a single word. I am a master at the craft.
One of our favorite things to do in the spring of the year is to attend the University of Georgia G-Day football game. The weather is warming. There is a real family atmosphere in the stadium. It has been a long, dark winter and it has been a long time since we have seen some football. Best of all, its free! A game will cost my family a small fortune in the fall, but the spring game is perfectly priced.
We get out of bed the morning of G-Day and the weather is perfect. Our plan is to stop at a mom-and-pop breakfast joint in our town and grab biscuits on the way to the game. Apparently, everyone else in the metropolis of Chatsworth, Georgia had the same plan. We live in a small town with only a few thousand people. Apparently all of them meet up at the same hole-in-the wall joint for biscuits and invite out-of-town guests.
We sat at the drive-thru 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 20 minutes, and it seemed like we had moved less than a car length closer to the window. It was at that moment that fun sucker determined to save the day.
I loudly expressed to every passenger in my van my thoughts regarding the inefficiency of the restaurant servers. I condemned harshly the idea that other people in our town would want biscuits as badly as I did. Comparatively, I pointed out why my day must certainly be more important than theirs. How dare the good people of Chatsworth inconvenience a man on a schedule going to a glorified spring football practice! By the time I had yelled, stomped, and slung gravel while bolting out of the parking lot, there was not a single ounce of fun left within the confines of our Honda Odyssey van. Mission accomplished.
For some reason we believe God is a “fun-sucker.” We believe God is a mostly stoic, otherwise temperamental, unpredictable, ruler of the universe who requires us to be miserable if we are to have any shot at being godly. If you share this belief allow me to ask a few questions.
Who was it that created the Garden of Eden full of perfect provision and told Adam and the Eve to have it all, but one?
Who was it that invented the day off?
Who was it that instituted seven feast days on the Jewish calendar?
Who was it that created the concept of a promised land flowing with milk and honey?
Who created Paradise?
God is not a fun-sucker. The God of the Bible is happy.
In John 17 we have recorded a divine conversation between Jesus and the Father. There Jesus prays, “But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves.” - John 17:13 (ESV)
As a happy God, the Bible teaches that there are things that God approves, that He delights in (Psalm 35:27). We have a God who actually likes things. Remember why we said that, when we turn our attention to God’s face instead of our own, we are more likely to be satisfied? Because you need only one “like.”
Someone may object and point quickly to the Ten Commandments. It is difficult to envision a happy God who likes anything when the 10 most familiar statements in the Bible begin “Thou shalt not.” Through our eyes we see God as a warden on patrol. He has a scowl on His face and He is quick to bring harsh judgment on anyone who dares to break one of the ten rules. But is that really a fair assessment of what the Ten Commandments truly are?
Is it really fair to presume that negative statements are always motivated by hate? When a child walks too close to a fire, is it hateful for a mother to scream out, “Stop!” Is it judgmental for the manufacturers of rat poison to put a skull and crossbones on the box and to warn you that, if you eat it, you will die? Think about this: Do the warnings on a box of poison diminish in any way the pleasure that is found in cake?
What we need on a box of poison is a warning about the contents, not a commentary on the taste of cake. Would you rather the box list all the things you can eat and allow you to figure out by the process of elimination what you can’t eat without harmful repercussions? No way! What we need is for warnings to get to the point. It’s not so much negative as it is practical.
What if you rethought the Ten Commandments and didn’t see them only as negative statements, but as affirmations of what God loves? If the Ten Commandments are the primary list for what God doesn’t like, what do the Ten say about what God does like?
Let’s take the last 6 as an example. The last 6 govern our relationships with one another. Honor your father and your mother. Why, because God loves the family.
You shall not murder. God loves life.
You shall not commit adultery. God loves loving marriages built on trust.
You shall not steal. God wants you to enjoy ownership and have security with your stuff.
You shall not bear false witness. God loves truth and in the same way He protects His image (no graven images, do not take the Lord’s name in vain), He protects your reputation.
You shall not covet your neighbor’s house or wife . . . or anything that is your neighbor’s. God values contentment and security in community.
Is it really a fun-sucker move on God’s part to protect your property, your marriage, your parents, your children, and your very life? The Ten Commandments say more about who God is and what God likes than they do about what He doesn’t.
If you will learn to like what God likes, you can have your fill of it. It is here that the word “fun-sucker” enters the equation. So what does God like? Is it singing in the choir? Wow, now that sounds eternally fun - forever a choir boy!
Surely God likes modesty. Does that mean I must wear khaki and white everyday? If we like what God likes, we imagine ourselves having only our fill of a monkish life, holed up in a bell tower, hooked on Gregorian chants, destined to forever wear khaki. Nothing could be further from the truth. God has greater desires than khaki for His people.
We get a lot of information but have lost the art of meditation. We know what is happening, but think very little of what it means. Those who want to go further must also go deeper. When was the last time you read something from the Bible and thought about it the entire day?When was the last time something you read in the Bible changed the way you saw things throughout the day? If the brain is constantly interrupted by notifications, giving proper attention to deeper truth is impossible.
Because we are at a place in time and technology in which we want to know so much, we have reached a place in which I believe we know too much. The fast pace at which we receive notifications is causing the erosion of one of our greatest God given abilities - the ability to think. We no longer take time to think about what we know.
Isaiah 26:3 says, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” With constant notifications we are not at a pace for peace. It is difficult to get our minds to “stay” on the Lord when it strays after every vibration and alert that comes through our smartphone. Get your copy of #TheWalk today:
You make a critical mistake if you believe that God is not interested in the details of your life.You may feel that God is uninterested because you are unimportant.You may not be one of the 40 most influential people under 40 in your city.You may not be a leader in your company.The only picture of you in your high school yearbook is the one they made you take in front of a cheesy background in the cafeteria.You may not think anyone is interested in your steps, but, if you walk with God, He is interested in each one of them.Look at Psalm 37:23 again.If you delight in His way, He will take delight in yours.
Another mistake is to believe that God is interested only in the big things. Whom should I marry? Where should my kids go to school? What should I do with my life? Psalm 37:23 doesn’t say God is interested in your leaps. God is interested in your steps. If you will learn to acknowledge God on your way to taking the plunge, you will find that He would not have walked you to the edge of the cliff in the first place. Even big decisions which require great risk are the culmination of many steps.
I like the choice of the New Living Translation. The NLT says, “The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.”The qualification for God’s involvement is not the size of the step, nor is it the size of the person. For the godly, God is involved in every step.
Have you ever thought about what God teaches us in the pace of creation? If God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light, don’t you think He could have just as easily have said, “Let there be a universe, fully furnished” and there would have been life as we know it? Yet it took Him six days to talk it out and work it out.
If it took God six days to create the world, what is it that you and I think we can accomplish by trying to outpace Him in a week?
We must learn to do what God does - pace the day.
God has infused a rhythmic schedule into creation. It would benefit us greatly to walk accordingly. There is day and night. Some of us never quit, so God turns the lights out as a signal. The sun has gone down. So should you.
Get off of Facebook. Turn off the television. Stop working. Shut down the computer. Relax. Don’t work. Talk. Tell the story of your day - God tells us the story of His. Go to bed.
If God waited until day 2 to create the heavens (Gen. 1:6-8), what is it that you and I have going on that can’t possibly wait until tomorrow?
Guided by GPS, we can arrive at any destination and have no idea how we got there. Long life with the Lord is not merely about arrival at a destination, it is about steps. It is less about praying about where we want to be and more about paying attention to where we are and how what the Bible says applies to today.
Living at smartphone speed, we are deceived to believe we need all the answers. If you want to go further, do what David did in Psalm 37:23. Do life at a walking pace, with the Word of God in hand to light the path before your feet. If you live like that, you don’t need all the answers, you need only one. What’s the next step?
We need to be asking more questions like "What's next?" rather than questions that begin with "When?" Your phone may know exactly "when" you will arrive, but God is less concerned with the "when" and more concerned with the “way” you get there. At one time the Christian life was actually known as “the Way” (Acts 9:2). Living long for God has never been referred to as “the When.”
If you can hold off - HERE IS HOW YOU CAN HELP. On Tuesday I am going to offer the print edition of #TheWalk at $14.99 ON AMAZON ONLY instead of the retail price of $16.99. The goal is to sell 500+ copies in 48 hours. BUY YOUR BOOK ON TUESDAY ON AMAZON!!!
SHARE #THEWALK Book with your friends and encourage them to buy a copy on Tuesday as well. I AM GOING TO POST AN AD YOU CAN SHARE ABOUT TUESDAY'S FIRST STEP PROMOTION
WHY? One of the reasons I am excited about #TheWalk is not only is the book full of wisdom for life, but it is full of Scripture and the gospel. Sadly, many Christian books published today have a lot of great information in them, but they do not have a clear invitation for a person to be saved. #TheWalk contains a clear, simple call for a person to respond to Christ in repentance and faith.
By concentrating sales of the book on a certain day, the book will pop up on Amazon and other sites as recommended reading for customers purchasing books in similar categories. Yes, it will pop up in Christian living, but I am hoping it will also search in "management" and "family" categories.
I am praying for God's favor on this project and that we will see many people come to Christ. There will be other promotions announced along the way - and some fun stuff as well!!! I hope #TheWalk becomes a community as we read it together and learn to break life down into one simple question, "What's the next step?"
It has been quite awhile since I have posted to FeelMyFaith. I have a good excuse. I have been writing!
I have started many books, but I have never finished one. I am happy to announce, however. That is no longer the case. On October 3, 2014 I became a published author with my first title #TheWalk.
This book has been an incredible experience to write from inception to publication. It all began with a great deal of frustration about the status of some goals in my life and a morning of praying, no - more like whining, to God. As I prayed/whined I cam across a verse in Psalm 119:133, "Keep steady my steps according to your promise, and let no iniquity get dominion over me."
You can't accomplish goals unless you are taking steps.
Through an incredible study of the concept of "walk" and "steps" in Scripture I came to a life changing question that has revolutionized my prayer life. Instead of asking God "why" I have learned to ask God "what." More specifically, "What's the next step?"
Through this prayer God has helped me to focus less on my dreams and more on my days. As a result I have seen more things come to fruition and carry a sense of blessing with them than ever before.
In the coming days I will be releasing more information about #TheWalk. There will be promotions, sales, and conversations. You can be a big help in getting the message of #TheWalk into people's hearts and hands. The thing I am most excited about with #TheWalk is that there is a clear presentation of the gospel throughout. More than selling copies, I want to see people saved. I am praying for God's favor on #TheWalk as a means of spreading the gospel.
Thanks to everyone who said, "I can't wait to read it." You kept me going!
For information and updates, keep visiting the blog, but you can also join #TheWalk community at: