The Children of Barnabas

Barnabas accompanied Paul on his first mission expedition recorded in the book of Acts. Barnabas is mentioned in Acts for as bringing money from the sale of land to the apostles in order to care for the poor among them. Later in the book when there is a disagreement dividing the church in seeking to describe the severity of it the words used were, “even Barnabas” was pulled the wrong way.

In a world where we are measured by accomplishments and accolades we easily forget the power of encouragement. I know that God shows me truth in my heart and the ability to express that truth in words and “parables”. My sharing them here is out of a desire to help others to see and understand the world of the Spirit.

We Live in a world filled with news of floods, uprisings, death and tragedy. In a world of tragic calamity, we must understand the causes and effects of life. Without understanding the spiritual world we are like people without sight or hearing walking through life not understanding the things that strike our lives daily.

Yet because I find that most of the people I encounter have little value of these things and I often feel disparaged by the things I don’t do so well rather than the Gift God has given me. I feel rejected because I don’t remember names so well or because I am somewhat disorganized. At times I am so filled with the words that come to mind I don’t take the time I should to hear, to finish listening to the one before me.

So this morning I find a comment from one I have never met saying that my mind has value. Only a few words but words that cause my heart to soar. I would write more here but I easily begin to think that perhaps since so few look at them that maybe they really do not have value.

Just a few words from a stranger this morning remind me of a Gift that I am to share. My prayer becomes, “Lord, just as Paul spoke to Timothy to “stir up the Gift that was in him.” I find myself by only a few words from a stranger encouraged again to “stir up that Gift.” May I not fail to accomplish all You have set before me to do. As I look at the demands of this day, the needs of a dying world and the urgency to bring the remaining sheep into the fold before the time comes and we can work no longer I think, “Lord, who is sufficient for these things!” Yet, though Paul was just one man, encouraged by Barnabas, encouraged by others that one man sowed the seeds of Life that now nearly 2,000 years after his death still are bearing fruit! With God nothing is impossible!

Not one of us is sufficient for these things. Not one of us can accomplish all we are called to do without others who come alongside us. May we love one another with new raging fires of passion so that our love, our encouragement may feed the fire of another. Separated by the pain of life and the self absorption that often accompanies it our fires can dim and separated each fire may grow cold. But together the collective passion of the fire that burns within us becomes an unquenchable fire consuming the hate of a dying world and burning through the underbrush of confusion to blaze a path which together we can walk into the eternity of God.

May God grant us grace to walk together and encourage one another! Amen.



The screech of tires! The scream of a child! Our favorite place desecrated by a thoughtless act! These are but a few of the images that in a moment can burn into our mind and heart. To a lesser degree there are those conversations, meetings, news reports, sights and sounds of our busy world that pull us from some piece of sacred space ever closer to a precipice into the yawning jaws of fear, worry, or hopelessness.

None of us are immune from these things. “When I was prosperous I said, ‘Nothing can stop me now!’ Your favor, O Lord, made me as secure as a mountain. Then you turned away from me, and I was shattered.” Psalm 30:6-7.
“I cried out to you, O Lord. … Hear me, Lord, and have mercy on me. Help me, O Lord. You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy, that I might sing praises to You and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever!” (Psalm 30:8, 10-12)

I am thankful that the Psalmist did not stop with verse 7. But unfortunately we often do. We sometimes go days, weeks, months in our shattered state. This is all so unnecessary. Why do we do this?

I believe that there are two reasons why we do.

1) We have believed the world around us which with ever growing crescendo proclaims to us that the solution to our problems is in the right insurance, phone, detergent, car, music, etc. Mindlessly we rummage around for answers and fulfillment where none can be found and often in the act increase our problem.

2) We do not believe God. In God’s Word and the testimony of the Church triumphant we have ample evidence that trust in God is still the only way to “stop the fiery arrows aimed at you by Satan” (Ephesians 6:16).

Today are we shattered? We cannot heal ourselves. We were never meant to heal ourselves. We have been created to live with God in constant connectedness. We have been and are lied to on a regular basis and told that we must do it ourselves. Yet the evidence floods our world that we are destroying our lives, others and our world. Our leaders can’t lead us out of this mess. Our doctors cannot cure all our ills. Our scholars cannot bring to us the wisdom we need to find our way.

There remains, as from the beginning, but one way to mend our shattered and broken lives.
“May God’s grace be upon all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with undying love.” Ephesians 6:24

The Illusion of Strength

The Illusion of Strength

Having returned from spending an entire day painting our rental apartment, I awoke this morning feeling tired and sore in places that I had forgotten existed. As I struggled with the fact that I would indeed have to get up out of bed, I thought of a thousand excuses to just stay put. It would have been so much easier to have just hired someone to do this work. I could have then avoided the after effects I was now experiencing! It occurs to me that most of modern life, in fact, consists of conveniences designed to minimize such physical work. As a result, we are increasingly a society growing flabby and weak in both body and soul.

Physical exhaustion now and then either from overworking or perhaps from a period of illness or incapacitation, can sometimes serve as a reminder to us that we are not superhuman. That we have limitations. That our bodies are aging. That most of the time our faith in our own strength is really just an illusion. The truth of the matter is that one unfortunate accident or illness can side line us indefinitely. However, most of the time we live as if we are indestructible and can do anything, accomplish anything, if we just push ourselves hard enough.

The reality is that this is not so. Floods, hurricanes, and tornados are powerful reminders of nature how the seemingly indestructible can perish. In our own lives, an illness, an accident, the loss of employment, death of a family member, a economic downturn, a divorce- these can all test the limits of our strength and endurance. For many of us, it is only such drastic events as these which force us to turn to God and acknowledge our weakness and need. It is only in these circumstances when we cry out to Him. And sadly, once our world is righted again, we forget how much we truly need Him, and it’s back to business as usual. The illusion of strength returns…..

How wise are those who live in constant dependency upon Him! Blessed are those who remember daily their own insufficiency for all things and rely upon His grace and abiding love to navigate every circumstance in their lives. They have relinquished the illusion of strength and embraced weakness. And it is in this weakness that His strength is made perfect! Amen.

Revelation and Global Warming

Revelation and Global Warming

Revelation. Jesus Christ … Revealed! The line is longer to read the latest scandal revealed in the tabloids than this. That said there is no shortage of speculation about what these words mean. “When is the end? “, seems to be the major concern.

In recent years I have been struck by the correlation between the projections for what will occur if the world warms 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 degrees on average. At one degree (about where we are now) there begin to be noticeable changes in rainfall, drought, and ocean levels. These events and their effects are daily in the news. However as the global average temperature creeps toward the point of averaging 3 degrees above average (the point where future increases and their effects are irreversible) these effects become increasingly dramatic.

I am certainly no expert on global warming but I have observed a correlation between these effects and the description of the process of world judgment in the second vision of Revelation (4:1 – 16:21). In Revelation 8:7-12 one third of sea life dies, one third of freshwater becomes un-potable, and the heavenly bodies become dimmed in the night sky by one third. I cannot help but see the correlation here to the effects upon our planet of our life here.

No generation since the Revelation of Jesus Christ was given has seen these things. Jesus said, “But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” (Luke 21:28).
We must therefore give greater heed to the things of eternity for we surely have less time than we imagined.