Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Til I Met A Man...

There are good times and there are bad times in any area of life. The ministry isn't any different. On some days, it's glorious to be sold out to God - leading His people into worship and the Word.

Other days, well, let's just admit that church people can find a way to take all the fun out of church. It might be a fight over what to keep or what to toss on cleanup day, or who spent how much on what, or even my all time favorite - whether to open or close the curtain in front of the baptistry.

Had a few cat fights today to handle.

But they all pale beside the man I visited in the hospital who had his hands amputated Sunday.

As I was trying to help him - sharing the love of Christ, praying for Him, letting him know that he is loved by God and by God's people, I knew that I wouldn't face any challenge today bigger than his. And I knew that God would meet all our needs from His riches.

Someone told me once that the difference between the average painter and van Gogh was one word - perspective.

Now that I have that, I should be able to handle anything else - today.



Tuesday, August 23, 2005

A Living Illustration

My friend, the right reverend Arnold Hendrix, called me a "story teller" today. Now before you get all third grade on him, you should know I take that as a compliment. That means like my Master Jesus Christ, I take life and God's Word, and bring both to this life and the living of it. I tell stories. You can call them their proper name, "illustrations", as they are referred to in preaching textbooks too. Every now and then I even bump into one.

Reading this weekend, I came across this passage.

16So we're not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. 17These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. 18There's far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can't see now will last forever.
2 Corinthians 4 The Message

Then today I went to see the illustration.

Rick Barton is a man with a host of troubles. A long time diabetic, recipient of a donated kidney that's failing and requires dialysis three times a week now, finger tips that have turned black from lack of circulation - the body that encloses Rick's soul is in need of repair. But Rick's a man that doesn't depend on his own will to live, though that is fierce. Rick depends on God's grace, and though he needs all of it he can get, Rick's still looking for people to share it with.

Rick's roommate Lloyd has heard from Rick about the grace that God is giving him. And in the most unlikely place, at the most unlikely time, from the one who outwardly seems to be falling apart - Lloyd met Jesus, and was embraced in God's love himself. Now Lloyd calls everyone "brother" and "sister", and has a real faith growing each day. Nursing home evangelism might be Rick's ministry gift. It was a great thing to see.

Friends, God shows us the truth of His Word not just in the splitting of infinitives or parsing of ancient languages. He illustrates it in life. I saw two men both experiencing hard times, who have turned their eyes away from this life's standard of living toward the next. They are living for forever. That's real life.

Take a look around today friends. See whether you're living for the soon past or the forever future. You can make a difference for eternity.


David Wilson


Monday, August 22, 2005

Who, me?

Dear brothers and sisters, pattern your lives after mine, and learn from those who follow our example. Philippians 3:17 (New Living Translation)

Was talking with a young man recently, and as he was speaking of his life as he saw it, he blurted out "I want life like you have it."

We finished our talk, but that hadn't finished resonating with me. When he said it, part of me wanted to laugh, part wanting to scream "are you kidding me", and part of me just was shocked. I am blessed with a great family. I am blessed to be doing meaningful work. I am blessed to be healthy and well taken care of. But someone wanting my life?

How do you handle that?

My life isn't without heartache. Not a day goes by that I don't think of my granddaughter's death. Even the tragic loss of our dog 4 years ago still scars me. There are events that have happened here as we worked our way to a healthy church that still are dull aches. (Consolation - that's better than open wounds)

My life's not without fear, or doubts, or worries - all that's common to man.

But I do have a faith in God. I do have a certain knowledge of His love for me. And if I died tonight, it would be fine with me. Maybe that's what he wanted.

Funny isn't it, that without a sermon being preached, people still hear the message - and want it to be real in their lives. I pray my friend finds what I have and more.



Thursday, August 18, 2005

It Moves Me

Living in Florida has done a lot of things to me. I've learned that jeans are for dressing up, that shorts can be worn year round, and that a portable generator is as indispensable as a refrigerator. I've changed from someone who really didn't pay attention to the weather, to a person who knows how to plot tropical storms by latitude and longitude, and who just has to have live weather instantly available on my PC. My Earth Science teachers would be so proud.

Yesterday, I was reading about the weather and stumbled across an article in which the writer (overzealously I thought) tried to connect every dot of activity across the globe to a corresponding weather phenomenon. His premise was that if a tree fell in Africa, or a butterfly flapped its wings, the earth everywhere would be affected.

I'll have to mull that over for a while.

But I know this, when I see a butterfly amidst the flowers as I walk along the bay - it moves me.

Psalms 33:4-5 (MSG)
4 For God's Word is solid to the core; everything he makes is sound inside and out.
5 He loves it when everything fits, when his world is in plumb-line true. Earth is drenched in God's affectionate satisfaction.

Why does it affect me?

Because I know to the very core of my being that our God loves me enough to create a world I can never cease to be amazed by - just so I'll remember His love toward me. He is the One who holds everything within His power, Who caused everything to be...

and He loves me.

Yeah, that moves me.


David Wilson


Friday, August 12, 2005

The Real Deal?

On the way to the church today, fashionably late, and already thinking about the day, I reached my last turn and was blocked by men, trucks, and asphalt. The ditch they had dug across our road and left two weeks ago was getting fixed at last.

Now to go another way is a pain, and there are times when the combination of A: late, B: busy, and C: inconvienced would mean a David not exactly exhibiting grace. I'm a long way from the days when I'd have saluted them or yelled, but murmuring is within my skill set.

But today, I whipped the car around, cut across and parked.

On the way into the office, I looked over at the workers standing maybe 100 yards away. I was thanking God for the victory over my emotions, when one of them waved.

Then it dawned on me. He had connected the dots between guy, car, church parking lot and pastors office. And I hadn't let him down.

Thank you God for giving me the strength to reflect Your grace... today. :)

Sunday, August 07, 2005


Having the best job in the world is a great feeling. But if you do it long enough there will be times when you just aren't "up" to the task. In my case today, I was running on fumes because of a terrible nights sleep the night before. "I slept like a baby" wasn't even accurate.

Yet every time I laid back down, I knew that in a few hours I would be called to be a representative of Jesus. We had a 101 class scheduled, communion within the service - and I wasn't happy with the message for either service.

What to do? I prayed. Most of the time that I was lying in bed hoping the heartburn would cease, or willing my lungs to place nice and give me a breath - I prayed. But I left the house for church feeling like I was carrying a weight.

Upon arrival, I was stunned by how many people were in our gathering before the Bible Study hour, and amazed at how many were in the 101 class. But nothing prepared me for the biggest crowd of the whole year in worship.

Praise be to our God, Whose power is perfected in weakness.