January 1st, 2013
It’s a New Year. Many use this time on the calendar to reassess their lives and set some goals. I think goals are great, and certainly in line with biblical teaching and principals. Many of us have good intentions and make bold resolutions, only to slide back into the old us after a short period of time. If you are a goal setter and are hoping to become a better you in 2013, I wish you the best and pray for strength as you strive for it. If you don’t succeed right away, don’t give up!
The New Year also rings in a new era for Julian Drive. We have finally recorded a new worship CD! We’re super excited about the songs and pray that the words connect with hearts like never before. The title of the project is “Even if.” We’d like to give you a little glimpse into the inspiration of both the title, and the entire project as a whole. It comes from the following passage:
7 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. 18 But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the
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gold statue you have set up.” (Daniel 3:17-18 NLT)
All too often we only associate worship with singing a song or lifting our hands in praise. While those acts of adoration for our Maker are certainly appropriate, deeper worship occurs when we have enough faith to worship Him even if He does not answer our prayers the way we want Him to. Even if He says no. Even if we go through trials. Even if we endure hardships. Even if we face the fire. “Even if” is simply our mantra, a declaration, to worship Jesus Christ in all circumstances and in all seasons, for He certainly is worthy.
Please help us get the word out about our new project. Perhaps you can share this blog with your friends and family. You can purchase a digital version of the CD on iTunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/even-if-ep/id588780452 The hard copy can be purchased at our live events. We hope and pray to see you at a Julian Drive event in 2013. Until then, God bless and we love you all!
I had a bittersweet day today as I attended a funeral of the father of one of my best friends in the world. Our families go back, well before I was even born. This man became like a second father to me during my early years. We all went to church together, which is where a few lifelong friendships began, including the brother-like friendship I share with his son to this day. He even coached my little league football team. More than that, he was a model of Christianity and faith. His physical body succumbed to cancer early this week, but that was not the end.
You might be asking, “Why is this bittersweet? It all sounds sad and bitter to me!” On the surface, that’s true. Yet, in the midst of what many would view as a tragedy, I witnessed a family truly believing what God’s Word says about those of us who have put their faith in Jesus Christ. Although there were tears, there was also plenty of laughter and great joy in the blessed hope of a great reunion one day. This life is but a vapor in the entire scope of eternity (James 4:14). We’re all just passing through on the way to our eternal destination.
When someone close to us leaves this earth, inevitably, the following question rises up in our hearts and minds; “Will we see them again?” “Will they remember us?” “Is it possible that they even know what’s going on in my life now?” I asked those very things to myself several years ago when my Paw Paw went to his eternal home. I had heard about that hope, but I needed to see it in God’s Word as opposed to going on what I had heard. Perhaps there are others reading this post that have lost someone close as well and it would be helpful to see what God has to say about it.
Scripture gives us so much hope about the future of those who believe and our believing loved ones who have gone on before us. Romans 6: 9 says, “knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him.” That’s good news for us because 1 John 3:2 says “…we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” The resurrection of Jesus was a prototype for us! So, no matter what, we’ll be with Jesus and we’ll be like Him! But the Good News does not stop there. Indeed scripture points to a continuation of our present relationships with our loved ones.
The Apostle Paul established the church in Thessalonica during his second missionary journey. Persecution in the early church was vicious and many died for their faith in Christ. The Thessalonians were young in the faith and had many of the same questions that we have regarding those who had died. Many even worried that Christ had already come. Paul wrote I Thessalonians to ease their hearts and minds, and to assure them that death was not the end, and to comfort them about their loved ones.
In his attempt to comfort those believers, while maintaining truth, here’s what we’re told:
I Thessalonians 4:13-18
13 But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.
Since we know that we will be like Christ at that moment (I John 3:2), we can look to His experience in defeating the cross for the prototype. He showed himself to over 500 people after his resurrection (I Corinthians 15:6). He was real and they all recognized him. He ate, taught, and fellowshipped with his disciples. They knew him and He surely knew them; such will be the case for us.
Jesus teaches us further about this subject in Matthew 8: 11. He makes reference to the future kingdom of Heaven and states that many will come from the east and west to sit down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Further, we see at the transfiguration that the disciples recognized Moses and Elijah (Matthew 20, Mark 9, Luke9). These are other clear indications that in our Heavenly state, we are ourselves. Besides, if we did not know or remember ourselves, would it really be us? It would be more like a reincarnation, which is completely against the teaching in God’s Word.
There is at least one scripture that suggests that our deceased loved ones may have some knowledge of what’s going on in our world. Many have a problem with this thought because the super-Spiritual argument is that we won’t care about this world in Heaven, and that Jesus will be all that’s on our minds. However, let me give you a passage to chew on.
In Revelation 6:9-11 we get a picture of saints who have been martyred for their faith during the tribulation. Once they are in Heaven they clearly know what’s going on here on earth because they pose this question to God, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, until you judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” Why would they ask that of God, unless they had knowledge of the world we know? The only answer is that they do have at least some understanding of what’s going on in our world, and more specifically, people that they knew.
Acknowledging that Jesus is Lord and that God raised Him from the dead is the key to all of this hope (Romans 10:9). When we do that, we can go through anything and maintain our hope. Yes, even through the death of a loved one. I say it a lot, but our actions through turmoil preaches a lot louder than a Sunday morning message or a praise song.
Fight the good fight of faith, and until the next time, God Bless!
As I sat and watched the first presidential debate last night, my heart, soul and mind listened intently as we enter one of the most crucial time frames in our country’s history. Don’t worry, this is not a political rant; this is more about recognizing the great battle going on in the Spiritual realm right now (Ephesians 6:12). Our nation and our culture are at a major crossroads. We think the problem comes down to Democrats or Republicans. However, I agree with many spiritual leaders and theologians who have stated that without a true revival in this country, we will continue this spiral downward. Godly principals laid the foundation of our great nation and sustained it for many years, and in return, God has blessed us beyond measure. Yet now we seem to have bitten the hand that fed us!
Recently Billy Graham was quoted as saying, “Our society strives to avoid any possibility of offending anyone – except God.” I agree fully! He also reminds us that God responds to repentance. I’ve heard many sermons and read many commentaries and books that continue to come back to this scripture:
II Chronicles 7:14
14 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. (NKJV)
This was a specific promise to Israel as she continually forgot the God of her fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. They turned away time and again, but God, in His constant mercy offered a chance for repentance. Although this promise was for Israel many years ago, we can clearly see God’s nature and desire to forgive those who truly love and seek Him. The good news is, He has not changed (Hebrews 13:8)! Our country needs forgiveness. We first must recognize that our issues are so much deeper than the White House. Let’s pray that our nation’s Spiritual eyes can and will be opened and that the greatest revival in our history will unfold. If and when this happens, the 80% of Americans who claim to believe will be heard loud and clear! The White House, Congress, and local government would fall right into place because God-seekers would be placing those leaders in their positions. The key word in all of this is the word “if.”
I know this is a tough one, but we must pray for our leaders: yes even our current leaders (I Timothy 2:1-2). Pray that Godly influence will penetrate every area of our government and our land. God is not surprised by anyone who comes to power (Daniel 4:17, Romans 13:1). He has appointed every king, president, and ruler, and He has His reasons for doing so. He will not be surprised at the outcome of the coming election. Does that mean we’re not to pray for wisdom, discernment, and to make the best decision possible? Of course not! God just knows ahead of time who will be the faithful ones to call upon His Name for this discernment.
Would you join the Julian Drive team in praying daily for the current state of our nation as we close in on Election Day? Pray for true and widespread revival so that God may heal our land, and His Glory will be seen at the four corners of the earth.
As we inch further into the year 2012 we hear more rumblings of looming disaster that awaits. Many fear an apocalyptic scenario on or before December 21, 2012 because the ancient Mayan calendar ends on that day. There have been countless documentaries and interviews with those who truly believe the end of the world is at hand. The ancient Mayans were well advanced in astrology and science long before other civilizations, however I can assure anyone reading this that the world will never end! What’s my source of information? The Bible!
4 Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever
Psalm 104: 5
He set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved.
Although this world will never be destroyed, it will indeed undergo massive renovations by Almighty God (Revelation 20:1). Translated properly, when we read phrases like “end of days” or “end of the world”, it means “end of the age.” The church age will one day end, and King Jesus will descend from Heaven at the end of the Tribulation hour and will literally reign upon this earth for 1000 years. This will begin the age of perfect peace in the Millennium. So yes, the world will cease to exist as we know it, but it will never cease to exist.
Many so-called experts have come up with many scenarios that may happen, or could happen in the near future. Asteroids could hit the earth virtually wiping us out completely. Another planet could collide with earth. Solar storms may disrupt the entire earth. Nuclear war. The list goes on and on. Although many of these things can and one day will happen to a certain degree, those who believe and are eagerly looking for the appearing of Christ will not be here to witness the worst of it. Although we’ll see these things begin to happen (Luke 21:28, Luke 21:36), He will rescue those who are looking for His return from these frightening scenarios (Rev 3:10, Rev 4:1, I Thess. 4:15-17, I Thess. 1:10).
Jesus likened the last days to a thief robbing a homeowner. Jesus commands us to continually watch so we’re not walking blind during these days we now live.
Matthew 24: 42-43
“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 43. But understand this: if the owner of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into.”
What is Jesus saying? He’s saying to keep watch, be ready, and NOT to be taken by surprise. He’s telling us to read and understand scripture and how it relates to our culture today so that we walk in confidence, not fear. The Apostle Paul echoed the teaching of Jesus in his letter to new Believers in Thessalonica.
I Thessalonians 5:4
“But you, brothers, are not in the darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief.”
So, were the Mayans right? Well we know that no man knows the day or hour, not even Jesus (Matthew 24:36). However, we also know for sure that we’ll know when His return is “right at the door” (Matthew 24:33). I do believe scripture has pointed us to the season we’re in. Based upon scripture we can know for certain that it’s NOT December 21, 2012. However, “right at the door” could be next month or next year. What if it’s today? Are you ready?
This month we’ll celebrate the most significant landmark event since the fall of Adam and Eve. Sin committed in the Garden of Eden brought about the curse (Genesis 3: 17-19) and separation from God. The central theme of the Old Testament was the blessed hope in the coming Redeemer that would atone for the sin of mankind. The Torah, or the first five books of the Bible, laid out many customs, rituals, and laws for those that chose to serve Yahweh (YHWH). In that law there were very specific instructions regarding the sacrificing of animals as covering for sins. This covering was temporary and only served as a prelude to the complete and perfect sacrifice of Jesus. Hebrews 9:22 declares; “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” Someone had to pay the ultimate price for our sin. Since no one was, or is, worthy for such a task, God chose to do it himself.
One of the most amazing things about the Bible is its ability to foretell the future. Old Testament scripture gave many very specific details of the coming Messiah. I’ve read different commentaries and studies by statisticians that say the odds of any one man fulfilling all of the prophecies written is 1 in a number that’s not even comprehensible. Perhaps the most amazing truths foretold about the coming Messiah was the virgin birth as described in Isaiah 7:14. Further, he was to be born in a small, seemingly insignificant town called Bethlehem (Micah 5:2).
God chose to come to us through a young Jewish woman named Mary. Scholars estimate that she was likely 14-15 years of age. Imagine that; the Savior of the world placed such a formidable task to a teenager. She was not perfect but she loved God with all of her heart. (As a side note, let this serve as notice that age is simply irrelevant when it comes to God. He can use anyone; young or old!)
We can’t overlook Joseph. Here’s an upstanding servant of God as well that was faced with a tough decision. He was pledged to be married to Mary but found out that she was pregnant. That would be tough news for anyone. In that culture, rejecting her as his wife would have all but ruined her. Her family would have disowned her and she quite possibly may have even faced death for having a child out of wedlock. As much as Joseph wanted to believe, at first it was tough to hear the excuse of, “God’s the father of my child” (paraphrased of course)! We’re told that he even contemplated leaving her quietly (Matthew 1: 19). After an angel of the Lord spoke to Joseph in a dream, he stayed, took Mary as his wife, and this carpenter became the earthly father of Jesus.
Joseph and Mary lived in Nazareth, in Galilee. However Caesar issued a decree to have a census taken. That forced them to return to Bethlehem in Judea since Joseph was from the line of David. While on their visit to Joseph’s hometown, Jesus was born in Bethlehem thus fulfilling a prophecies of Isaiah 11:1 and Micah 5:2. This was the beginning of the greatest love story ever told when God himself came down from Heaven as the sacrificial Lamb of God.
That brings us to this season of Christmas. Jesus most likely was not actually born on December 25th, but this is the day appointed to celebrate this amazing event. I truly love this season when kept in its proper context. I love the music. I love the lights. I love the trees. People seem nicer, unless it’s Black Friday. I love spending time with family. I love many of the fond memories of Christmases of days gone by, in particular, those when my grandparents were still around. But most of all, I love it when we all remember why we celebrate it.
There’s a changing of the tide in our culture. Many simply want us to forget the true reason for the season. Many want us to believe it’s about a man in a red suit or about how much stuff we can accumulate. The television airwaves seldom even say Merry Christmas anymore because the word “Christ” is right in the middle. How sad is it that media won’t even say Merry Christmas anymore? Instead, most have opted for the politically correct “Happy Holidays.” As for Julian Drive, my family, and certainly me, it will always be “Merry Christmas!” So from all of us, we wish you and your family the Merriest of Christmases yet!
Let me begin this article by saying that I am absolutely not a Florida Gator fan! I was born and bred in the Red and Black family of the Bulldog Nation in Athens, Georgia. Go Dawgs! However, as much as I’m a fan of college football, there are some ties that run much deeper than the colors we wear on Saturdays. In a day and age where classless athletes are more concerned with how good they may appear on film and how amazing their celebration dance can be, it’s refreshing when the humble superstar ascends to the national platform. What’s even more refreshing is when the humble athlete gives glory to the One who gave him or her the talent to start with.
Anyone that knows me knows that my favorite football player of all time is Herschel Walker. Not only was he the most dominant and greatest college football player of all time, but he was one of the most humble as well. He’d run completely over you, then help you up, and then hand the ball to the referee. He would not gloat over you, taunt you, or exalt himself, as 95% of the players do today. He set numerous NCAA, SEC, and UGA records back when the season was still only 11 games. He also only played three years, not four. If a child must look up to an athlete, his example was one to be followed.
As is the case with most records, Hershel’s career touchdown record finally fell a couple of years ago. It fell to the hands of a Bulldog nemesis: a Florida Gator! Granted, it took many more games and another season, but it fell nonetheless. The young man’s name that accomplished the feat was Tim Tebow. Tim was a tremendous college football player, but more than that, he used the national platform given to him to glorify Jesus and set an example to other Believers out there.
He was not, and is not, the only prominent athlete to take a stand for His faith. There have been many in the past, though most simply do not get the press time that Tim does. His future as an NFL quarterback is questionable due to his style of play. Since getting into the league a year ago, many outspoken sports figures have been waiting patiently for his failure. With each incomplete pass, interception, and bad game, the haters raise their voices. He has become a daily topic of conversation on ESPN and other sports media outlets. Players have even gotten to the point of mocking both he and his faith. Last week a player tackled Tim and then knelt into a prayer stance as a mocking celebration.
Why such hatred? It’s simple; because Tim is unashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and it has made many uncomfortable because of it. Many sports writers and commentators have brought up great points that I agree with. Some have suggested that his way of life is simply a standard that makes the others that mock him look bad. Therefore they exalt themselves in order to bring Tim, and the Christianity he represents, down. The funny thing is, he does not boast, nor carry a Bible around condemning anyone. He simply handles himself with class and unashamedly thanks Jesus Christ for his talent.
One writer said a few days ago that if someone had mocked a player that happened to be a devout Muslim with the same sarcastic prayer pose, there likely would have been fines from the league, multiple apologies, and unending public outcries. Yet, here we are supposedly living in a Christian nation, where the outspoken Christian deals with verbal persecution and mockery on a daily basis. What’s wrong with this picture?
Roughly 76% of the United States claim to be Christians. Certainly we don’t see fruit from 76% of our population, but that many identify themselves as holding to the beliefs of the Bible. If there really is that many of us, then why do the 24% seem to always make more noise? Why do those who handle themselves with class and with the love of Jesus seem as if they are in a very, very small minority? The bible plainly addresses skewed statistics such as these in Isaiah 29:13, Matthew 15:8, Mark 7:6, and II Timothy 3: 5. I encourage anyone to read them all in context.
I don’t know about you, but I want to be more than a statistic. My deepest desire is that I can be a walking testimony of the hope and promise of God’s Word, regardless of public opinion. I don’t know if Tim Tebow will make it as an NFL player, but I sure root for him each and every Sunday. If he fails as a player, he’ll surely win in eternity, and his example will point others in the right direction as well. Which direction are you point people towards today?
May 4, 2011
In the wake of the national and international response to the death of Osama Bin Laden, I had to slow down my normal pace of life, just so I could reflect on just why it is that I even have the freedoms in my life. Many times we forget that the comforts we enjoy in the United States of America have not come without a price. Most of the time we don’t even realize what a gift it is to freely go to church on Sundays and worship the God of all creation; the only God that knows the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10). Yet in countries around the world, most notably in the Middle East, it seems we hear stories each and every day where Christian churches were bombed, congregations were subject to mass slaughter, Christians are taken hostage, and so on. It’s a routine occurrence.
Those stories make me proud to be an American that much more. America is the one that’s called upon first when disaster hits any part of the globe. America is the one who is expected to be the rescuer to defenseless nations. This land is where our many haters would relish the opportunity to live. We that live here cannot fully fathom the magnitude of the gift that is, our freedom.
There are many reasons for our blessings. Godly men many years ago signed the Declaration of Independence. “In God we trust” was a phrase that was speckled all over our governmental system. Even in our pledge we say, “One nation under God.” Even though many of our leaders today spend more time appeasing Atheists and Non-Christian religions, we were still founded as a nation under God. The bible says in Psalm 33:12,
“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people he chose for His inheritance.” (NIV)
Although America accounts for about 5 percent of the world’s population, it accounts for 75% of the world’s missionaries, money and material aid (Source: “What in the World’s Going On”, David Jeremiah, copyright 2008, page 122). God has blessed America because America’s Christians have spread the gospel message across the globe through missions.
It was the final vote of US President Harry S. Truman that led Israel to become a nation again May 14, 1948. America has been Israel’s biggest ally in the Middle East. America has enabled this small nation that’s about the size of New Jersey to be feared and protected because of its own military might. God’s Word has made it clear that anyone that blesses Israel will in turn be blessed:
Genesis 12: 3
“I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
No we’re not perfect here in America. With the magnificent freedoms we enjoy, many choose not so serve God. God gives us free will and does not force anyone to serve Him. That’s how much He loves us. Although our support of Israel is not as outspoken and strong as it once was, America still supports Israel. Lets pray we always do! The light of Christianity still shines bright in America, even though there have been countless detractors who have pushed God out of our schools and government.
Our political leaders will never say it publicly because of political correctness, but each time we’re forced to defend our nation, or come to the defense of other nations, we are looked upon as the Christian nation from the West. That’s a banner I pray will always be tagged to our country.
Many have celebrated the death of Osama Bin Laden much like King David celebrated each time God gave him victories over his adversaries. Over the past couple of days I’ve read and heard many Christians debating whether or not that’s the best reaction to have. I have no desire to get into that debate. I believe one thing that we all can agree upon as Believers in Christ is that we should pray for anyone who has not had the Truth revealed to them. Lets pray that our adversaries come to know the Truth about Jesus Christ, and we certainly should be praying for our governmental leaders as well. Both are Biblical principals that I challenge us all to make part of our daily prayers. If you’ve not been praying for your enemies and leaders, why not start today? Now more than ever, our leaders need the wisdom of God spoken into their lives.
Thanks to the brave men and women who have paid the ultimate sacrifice through the years to secure the freedom to worship the God of Abraham, Jacob, and Isaac; The God who was, who is, and who is to come. Thanks to the CIA and the team of Navy Seals who risked their lives to further ensure the safety of many just a couple of days ago. Thanks to all the armed forces that secure our freedoms each and every day they are in uniform. May God continue to bless America!
So what’s the story behind “Beauty Behind the Pain?” Unless you’ve seen us live and up close over the past year, you might be wondering this very question. It comes from a very personal matter in my own life and marriage. Though I’ve certainly had ups and downs in my own life, and certainly not without faults, God still chose to bless me with a wonderful woman of God. She too had her own bumpy and winding road that ultimately led to me. I got the better end of the deal. Thank You Jesus!
Not long into our marriage my wife became pregnant with our child, only to lose the child at 10 weeks. If that wasn’t enough, we lost two more in succession following the loss of the first one. Our hearts were not only heavy, but they felt as though they were torn into. We began to wonder what the reason might be for this. “Was God mad at us for something we’d done? Had repentance and forgiveness not taken place?” I knew I was a Believer and had been forgiven, so I did what I always do. I went to scripture for answers.
My favorite verse to quote then, as is whenever anything does not go my way, is Romans 8:28:
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (NIV)
The writings of Paul can serve as a great encouragement to anyone who’s suffered pain of any kind. He suffered much in his life, but kept such a great perspective of all of his pain and suffering, because of the radical move of God upon his life. Even in that same chapter of Romans, more encouragement is offered to us when we have a kingdom perspective:
“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”
“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”
Although the truth in God’s Word helped us overcome this part of our life, certainly in our flesh we were saddened for a time. Even now we think of those wonderful gifts that we never got to meet. However, our blessed hope and excitement In Christ, is that we’ll certainly meet again, and this time there’ll be no more parting of ways. It’ll put to death any sadness we may have left in these fleshly bodies.
Over the next few months, God made a way when the way seemed unlikely. Colleen gave birth to our son Jack on March 1, 2010, and gave birth to our next son Jayce on February 24, 2011. Talk about a double portion! Whew! Those two little guys proved to be something beautiful in the midst of our pain. God’s not finished using our pain for His glory. As we’ve been able to share our story over the past year or so, we’ve had countless emails and testimonies of those who have been, and are still in the midst, of where we’ve been. Sometimes folks just need to be reminded that they’re not alone in their sufferings.
When you’re on the road as much as we are in Julian Drive, through the years we’ve all become family more than just being a band, or even friends. As I went through this season of life, it ended up taking on a more personal tie with all of us in Julian Drive; not just me or my wife. As I penned the song Beauty, the three of us began sharing our own stories with one another about how God has always been our comfort, even when things didn’t go our way. Having that personal relationship with Christ has always been our blessed hope and comfort, even when our hearts seemed torn to pieces. As we all began arranging the song and each of the guys added their own personal tie to it, it took on a much more intimate and deeper feeling than before.
The message in “Beauty” is true for any believer. So we all decided that this was the theme that made sense for this season of where we are as a society today. Many are suffering the pain of lost jobs, lost homes, loss of hope, families being torn apart, memories of sin that won’t go away, depression, loneliness, and addiction. This CD’s purpose is to remind all Believers everywhere that all pain is temporary and it serves some purpose, though we don’t always immediately see that purpose. Sometimes it’s to pull you back on track, if you’ve gotten off track. Other times it’s simply a means to make you stronger in your walk with Christ. Many times we may never know in this life, but we must trust in what God’s Word says, even when it’s hard to do so. Somehow, some way, someday, there’ll be something beautiful as a result of your affliction…when you believe in Him.
Click the image below to buy Julian Drive’s new cd “Beauty Behind the Pain”.
On March 1, 2010 God sent a precious gift to Colleen and me. His name was Jack Michael Bowers and he was 6 lbs,
13 ounces. Words can not express the pure joy that overwhelmed me that day when I saw my little man for the first time. As much as I adored and loved him that first day, it’s only multiplied each and every day since. In my mind I constantly think, “Is there anything as precious as the love of a parent, or in my case, a father’s love?” I never thought I’d get so giddy inside from seeing him smile from ear to ear while fixing his eyes on me, even in a crowd, or hearing him cry out, only to be still and calm in my arms as I pick him up, or to see him simply being content with me by his side.
The more I’ve thought about this whole experience, I can’t help but think about the relationship of this experience to God’s Word. Now, more than ever, I really get what Jesus was saying in Matthew 18: 3-5:
3) And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4) Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5) And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me.
The innocence of my sweet little Baby Jack is exactly how God wants us to be towards Him; fully trusting in Him as the Father. When we do that, we feel that quiet peace and joy that a child feels when with their parents. As Jack does with me, God desires for us to be filled with all the fullness and joy as our eyes continually stay on Him. God wants us to cry out to Him when things aren’t seemingly going our way and for us to just “be still and know that He is God” and trust Him. God wants us to be okay in all circumstances, knowing He’s by our side. He wants us to have the humility of a child….like Jack.
There’s one other point I’d like to make about the relationship of our little miracle and God’s Word. Every parent knows the love they have for their child. Could you sacrifice your child so that someone else might live? God did……
At last report, we were to potentially have a flight out of Haiti next Thursday, January 21st. All reports have suggested that next Monday or Tuesday is the earliest that any passenger planes would be leaving Haiti. The only planes going in or out a
t this point are for the ongoing relief effort. However, we had a sea of Believers calling up prayers on our behalf to get us back home. God is so faithful. He heard those prayers and made a way when it seemed so unlikely; almost impossible. We are now standing on American soil!
A calculated effort was put together by my wife Colleen and Neil Koelbl, who is a close friend of our Holt International representative; Kris Thompson. Kris was with us on this trip as well but had the same limited communications that I did. Through these connections and efforts we somehow ended up on one of Ted Turner’s planes sent for relief and evacuation.
Much to our surprise, late last night we received word that a plane was coming for us. It sounded too good to be true, but isn’t that just like God? We still had a tough decision to make. They don’t even allow the relief workers, police, and military to work during the night because of the inherent danger. Desperate people do desperate things as you’ve seen on the news channels. There has been looting, unrest, and many prisoners have escaped as a result of collapsed buildings there. We had to make the decision whether or not to risk driving at night to one of the more hectic areas; the airport.
After much discussion on our options, we decided to give it a try. Based upon all that we’d heard, we were certain that the airport was going to be quite restricted and we’d have a tough time getting through without so much as a ticket. We were also well aware of the mayhem at the airport there without a crisis; let alone one of this magnitude. We’d witnessed that first hand when we arrived. The normal route to the airport would route us across a bridge into town where the worst devastation is. However, it was out so we went around another way and avoided much of that area. We witnessed the destruction of many structures, walls, streets, etc, but made it to the airport. Much to our surprise it was calm there. There were hundreds sleeping in the parking lot area, waiting for the passenger planes, which still might be 5-6 more days away. As expected the guards would not let us in and said the pilot would have to come find us if we are to be evacuated on a private plane. We waited and several hours later, we found ourselves boarding a small aircraft. We witnessed tons of pallets of relief products and several planes there unloading.
How did we manage this? Many might say it was luck or being at the right place at the right time. Those can call it that if they want to, but I’ll call it what it is; favor of the Lord for the cries of the faithful. Thank you so much for the prayers.
As we flew away and looked over the devastated city, I could not help but have a huge burden in my heart for those left behind that are now forced to try and reassemble a life that was already so broken to start with. God help the people of Haiti. Let this tragedy be a catalyst that drives many to You!
For Haiti relief efforts you may donate at: www.holtinternational.org
January 15, 2010
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