Posted tagged ‘having faith’

From Here To There

June 15, 2018

In my quest to run 200 miles by mid-August I’m in the midst of it! One third of the way in and making “significant strides”, so to speak! It is the point of commitment…either stay the course or convince oneself of the lunacy of continuing to go forward. It’s the in-between…the “Kansas”, if you will, of decision roads. Getting from here to there is the challenge that often derails the pursuits of life.

In regards to my running, I’ve noticed that I encounter several quitting points each day in the journey. I question why I’m doing what I’m doing and plant seeds of doubts into the pace every time a stiff head wind offers more resistance to the effort. The quitting points never happen at the beginning or towards the end. They always invade my thoughts in the midst of the run, that tipping point where I’m the most vulnerable.

“Staying the course” is not something our culture is passionate about these days. We are addicted to the better deal and prone to give up because that’s the easier road to take. These days people are not convinced that perseverance has value and that resolve is a great quality to have.

When we’re between the here and the there retreat gains a following…or whining! I see it with a lot of children and youth these days. In the midst of the school assignments the student’s whining begins with a great sense of injustice…and the parent takes up the cause in support of their child’s lack of staying the course.

Getting to “there” was never meant to be a comfortable experience that demanded nothing. I’m getting “there”! Slowly, but I’m getting there!

Getting My Gospel Jet (or Wolfe Wings!)

May 31, 2018

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                     May 31, 2018

                                  

I don’t have a jet, not a single one!

“Lord, what did I do to deserve this lack of air travel, even a propjet!”

My bitterness stems from the report this week that Louisiana evangelist Jesse Duplantis is raising funds to add a fourth jet to his fleet, a three engine Dassault Falcon 7X to be exact. A new one right  from the showroom goes for just 54 million, although used ones can be had for the bargain basement price of 20 million. 

Jesse, with his snow white hair, heard the voice of God tell him to aim high! He needs this fourth jet that can fly 700 miles an hour to preach the gospel around the world. I’m not sure what the other three jets he already owns are to do. Having a backup is always a good thing, I guess! But a backup to the backup to the backup…seems kind of overkill!

Jesse is committed to the prosperity gospel, a twist on the words of Jesus that says God desires to bless his people with wealth…and jets (my paraphrase!). 

He rationalizes his need for Jesse Jet IV with the statement that if Jesus was on earth today he wouldn’t be riding a donkey any more. Sound theology!

One young man I pastored a while back DID refer to my Honda Civic Hybrid as “the spaceship!” Other than that, however, I’ve ministered with all four wheels on the ground and two feet on the cracked sidewalks. 

Perhaps I should aim higher! Maybe I’ll take the idea of “Wings for Wolfe” to the little congregation in the small Colorado town on the eastern plains I travel to speak at. It takes me 45 minutes to drive there. Perhaps I should tell them to have faith and give funds. 

Tele-evangelist Creflo Dollar asked his congregation and listeners to give $300 a piece so he could buy a $65 million dollar luxury jet. Unlike Duplantis, however, Dollar needs a new jet to replace his old one that he says no longer works. (I know where he can get a Dassault Falcon 7X for 20 million!)

Here’s how my pitch to the congregation in Simla, Colorado, will sound and their obedient response!

“God has called me to fly! He wants me to spread my wings and spread His Word! And he has told me that y’all are going to have faith enough to raise the funds for me. Would you help me fly today? Can you believe in miracles?”

And they would shout “Yes! Yes, we believe!”

And then the next Sunday with tears of joy running down their faces they’d present me with a package. “We believed, pastor! We believed! We raised the money to make “Wings for Wolfe”…Wolfe Wings, if you will, possible.”

Tears would begin to stream down my face as I opened the package, expecting to see a pair of keys. Instead, however, the opened box top would reveal a red cape inside, and then they would look at me and say, “Okay, Pastor! We believed! Now…how much faith do you have that God has called you to fly?”

Discerning Perseverance

March 4, 2016

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                       March 4, 2016

                                    

This past month I have been going through the application process to be a substitute teacher here in Colorado. Your first question might be “Why?” My response, besides the fact that Walmart wasn’t hiring any new store greeters, would be “Why not?” I enjoy being around young people, and I get tired of hearing people say “Act your age!” At my age I’ve got one foot heading towards a tombstone!

The process, however, has been an exercise in frustration. It’s like an ongoing visit to the DMV, something very few of us list as one of our pleasurable activities. On the Colorado Department of Education application it seems I was asked about five times whether or not I’ve committed a felony. By the fifth time I was starting to think that I had…kind of like when my mom would keep asking me “Are you sure you didn’t do that?” I’m sure at some time through the process I confessed to her that I had committed some offense that my brother, Charlie, had really done.

In my application process I’ve struggled with new technology that I didn’t have to worry about when I applied for a summer job at Rollyson Aluminum Products back in 1973. How do I scan a document? How can I attach something to an on-line application without staples or paper clips? Why do I have to be reminded of the sad state of my first year college grades?

A friend of mine suggested that the torture of the process is God’s way of telling me that there is unconfessed sin in my life, and that I should repent…and then become a pastor again! I failed to connect the dots of his reasoning, but it did make me think of the Christian exalting of the ability to persevere. The Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 5:3-4 that “…we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” In James it says to “Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:4)

So the question is how does one discern the need to persevere versus God closing a door you keep trying to go through? One of my favorite Far Side cartoons is of a bespectacled young boy trying to enter the door to his school. He’s pushing, but the sign on the door says to pull. Above the door is a sign that says “School for the Academically Talented and Gifted.”

No matter how spiritually connected a person is there will be a constant discernment struggle about whether he is to keep on keeping on…trusting in God…persevering in the faith…and seeing that the door is closed.

I know I’ve confused those two a number of times over the years. The temptation to persevere gets easily attached to something that offers more prestige, more power, and more money. Closed doors are often in the background of decisions that offer no enhancing of my resume. Inconvenience gets viewed as a sign that God is saying “No!”

Going back to “sin in my life”, I recognize that the distance I put between myself and God because of my desire to be in control also causes a blurred vision of what I am being called to do or not do.

In my life recently I’ve had several situations where discernment has been needed. I wish I could say that I’ve nailed it every time, but there have been a few times where I’ve been pushing on the door when the sign says “Pull!” Quite frankly, when I’ve stepped back and finally seen what the sign says I turn red in spiritual embarrassment!