Supreme Ambition Ministries

To Know Christ and to Make Him Known – Philippians 3:10

Doodlebug Club

danderson-family2006.jpgKathi and I have four wonderful grandchildren.  Each of them is special in his/her own way.  Marshall, our oldest, is quite the athlete, excelling in running and basketball.  Hayley, is the premiere little girl of all time.  Her imagination and childlikeness is something to be envied.  I challenge almost anyone to work as hard as she plays.  For her it’s a fulltime job.  Lucas is a very handsome young man and an excellent athlete and student in his own right.  He, much like his mother, cannot stand to get any grade lower than an ‘A’.

p4180158.JPGGabriel is a very special young boy.  He is a member of the Doodlebug club.  This club is a very exclusive one.  There are only two members.  The main requirement is that you have to have a mother who calls you by placing “Doodlebug” at the end of your first name.  I have the privilege of being President of this club by virtue of my age.  My mother referred to me as “Davey Doodlebug”.  Now this was when I was very young.  So don’t get any bright ideas of addressing me by that name unless you have a death wish.  Our daughter Stacye, never knew I had such a name, but when Gabe was born, she began to call him “Gabey Doodlebug”.  Gabe and I are alike in more ways than our nicknames.  Neither of us likes school much and asking us to sit quietly for long periods of time is a little bit unrealistic.  We both  can dream really big dreams and our vision of what we want to be  and the things we want to accomplish is often clouded by pesky little life details  such as: clean your room, take a bath or study your spelling and take out the trash.  Gabe and I both try very hard to do what is expected of us but we are very sensitive and we can notice a cramp in the leg of a fly on the wall fifty yards away.  Because of that we can get distracted easily.  We eventually get to where we’re going.  We just take a more circuitous route than some.

Stacye, Gabe’s mom and our daughter, told me a story about him that made me so proud.  Gabe chose to play soccer again this year.  It’s great when a person finds their place.  Gabe found his as “goalie”.  He is so good at goalie that the other teams have a difficult time scoring on him.  In one particular game he had stopped the ball from going in the goal time after time.  Unfortunately, on one occasion, one slipped past him.  He was very upset with himself (That’s the way we ‘doodlebugs’ handle our failures).  The coach instructed him how to jump and how to stoop to stop the ball.  While the ball was on the other end of the field, Gabe would practice his moves.  Fewer balls got past him.  Recently, Stacye and Fernando had planned a trip to the New River Gorge Bridge for ‘Bridge Day’.  When she told the boys they were excited but Gabe remembered he had a soccer game.  Stacye wisely let him make the decision about whether to go with them or to play in the game.  He took quite some time to think about what to do (That is very unlike Doodlebugs).  He decided he would go with the family.  At practice he told the team he would not be there and his teammates were really sad and asked him to ‘pleaaaaaaseeee’ play in the game.  They told him he was the best goalie ever.  He came home and told his mother that he thought he should stay and play.  She said that would ok and that he could stay with one of his friends.  When Stacye called the mother of his friend, they said Gabe could stay with them but their son would not be there.  He was going to spend the night with another friend.  This put a ‘wrench’ in the works, if you know what I mean.  Doodlebugs don’t do well with change.  But Gabe thought a little more.  He decided he would go anyway.  He went to his friend’s house and stayed with his friend’s parents without his friend being there all so he could be faithful to his place on the team.  You know what I think.  I think the Church needs some ‘Doodlebugs’.  We can be emotional, flighty, frustrating and a number of other things but, if we put our heart and soul into something, we are the kind of guy you want on your team.  Oh yeah, Gabe went to the game and played  and guess what?  Yep! You’re right!  Nobody scored on him.  Yeah Doodlebugs!

 

October 25th, 2007 Posted by | Grandchildren, Uncategorized | one comment

A Key to Oneness in the Church!

gospel-of-john.jpgLocated in John’s account of the gospel is a key to one of the greatest dilemmas in Christianity. Futher exaserbating the problem is that there appears to be an instance in which a prayer of Jesus has NOT been answered. For some time I have been puzzling over a portion of the High Priestly prayer of Jesus found in John 17:20-23. The particular petitions that seem somewhat problematic are those which call for each believer to be at one with every other believer with the result being an evangelistic revelation to an unbelieving world.

Only the Lord knows how many times I have heard this passage preached and exposited. I, too, have taken my shot at interpreting this sacred prayer but each time, whether I or someone else, the net result has always left me wanting. I suppose that could be by design but I just have trouble thinking that even Jesus has a prayer that still is not answered completely. (In a strange way it also gives me hope. I’ve got a few prayers unanswered as well).

Since Jesus prayed the prayer for oneness, His Church is now more divided than ever. According to the World Christiandivided-church.jpg Encyclopedia, and strictly speaking, there are now over 33,000 denominations of the Church in 238 Countries. Whew!Tongue out Just thinking about a number like that makes me tired. There is so much division…so much variety of doctrinaire positions. How will Jesus’ prayer ever be answered? Let me say that I am fully aware of the interpretation which says that we are ‘one’ through our mutual accepting of Jesus as the Messiah, the Savior of the world. As vital an answer as that is…well, pardon me, but it just ain’t enough. When Jesus spoke of oneness, he spoke in terms of ‘…just as you, Father, are in me and I in you…’ It seems to me the answer to the question of oneness must be much deeper.

I have been meditating on the uniqueness of Christ. I have often wondered what it was like for him to realize there was ‘someone’ living inside of him. boy-jesus-at-temple.jpgI have also thought of what it would be like to be the parent of such a child. The Bible indicates he was obedient to his parents (Luke 2:50). In fact, he was obedient before his Barmitzvah and after it as well. The only time we find him doing something that was contrary to his parents’ will was when they found him in the temple at age 12 asking amazing questions of the religious leaders. There was a time when Jesus realized there was someone inside him who was leading him. In fact, Jesus began to realize there was never a time in his life when he was without that inner Presence. There was also a time when his life-submission had to be transferred from his earthly parents to his heavenly Father. His allegiance was and always would be to the Father. His submission was always to Him. Remember the wedding at Cana of Gallilee? Mary was a hostess of sorts at the wedding. Possibly it was a family member who was being married. While they reclined at the table she whispered to Jesus, ‘they have no wine’. Since Mary had been depending on Jesus after the death of Joseph, she fully expected him to take care of the situation. He startled her by letting her know that he could no longer do for her just because she asked. Now he must adhere to One of greater authority.

In John 7 there is additional evidence. There was a passover feast. Jesus’ whole family was going. He was asked to go along with them and promote his ministry. He refused to go. He could not go with them because the Spirit had not led him. Because his family was led by human thoughts, ideas and rituals he told them, ‘your time is always here’. ‘I go not up…’ He could not bend to the desires of loved ones…why? He was committed to following Another.

mockers-at-cross.jpgFinally, think of Jesus hanging on the Roman cross. The religious leaders standing nearby challenged him to come down from the cross. They said, ‘others he could save but himself he cannot save’. Often we challenge those words by saying he could have called 12 legions of angels to deliver him. The evening before he had rebuked Peter for drawing the sword on Malchus. He said, ‘…Do you not know that I could APPEAL To my Father…’? Notice the word, APPEAL. Unfortunately, while hanging on the cross, Jesus had no one to whom he could appeal. He said, “I only do what I see my Father doing…I only speak what I hear my Father saying. But now the Father was GONE. He couldn’t see or hear him. For the first time Jesus had no one to guide him. His submission was so complete so utterly complete that he literally could NOT save himself. To have come off the cross without a word from the Father would have changed the character of God. He had to go with the last word he had from the Father, which was to go to the cross.

What does all this have to do with oneness? It gives us the key. Our interpretation of scripture may be somewhat different. When baptizing, you may sprinkle and I may immerse. While partaking of the Lord’s Supper you may use one cup and one loaf and I may use individualized ‘throw away’ cups and little white pieces of stuff that tastes like styrofoam. I may use instruments in worship and you do not. Whatever our differences, the key to our unity is our submission to the will of God. Christians must make knowing God a priority. Intimacy must be our watchword. Unlike Jesus we know all too well what it is like to make decisions without the guidance of the Spirit. Let us repent of our self-centered existence. Let us lay down our lives even as he did and let us not arbitrarily make decisons, personal or corporate without the seeking of His will. Yes, we are very different. Our cultures, governments and ecclesiastical heirarchy vary…But we can be one. We can submit as the Father and Son mutually submitted to one another. Jesus obeyed and so can we. In that we can be one as He is One. Maybe then Jesus’ prayer can be truly answered.

 

October 25th, 2007 Posted by | Church, Prayer | one comment

ORDINARY PEOPLE

It seems I am about as burdened for a move of God in the Church and in our culture as I have ever been. It has been over 100 years since the great outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Wales. I’m certainly not a great student of Church history but it seems to me, when God gets ready to move, he often uses someone who is a relative unknown. Why he does that I’m not sure, except that using an unknown almost guarantees all the glory going to God.
As I viewed the video clip above, my parched soul began to long for streams in the desert. I yearn to hear the lapping ofthirsty.jpg the water of life on the shores of my heart. My flickering spiritual eyes strain to see the Son of Righteous rising with healing in his wings. Brother Leonard Ravenhill once said that he was tired of reading and hearing stories about revival. I concur. Stories about revival are wonderful, challenging and inspiring. But there comes a time when a picture, story or video won’t do. There must be a ‘want to’ in the heart of the believer.
we-are-marshall.jpgIt’s one thing to be a football player who sits on the bench cheering but it is an entirely different thing to actually be in the game. I remember playing football in high school and standing on the sidelines. I wanted to be in the game so badly that I kept pestering the coach till he put me in the game. That’s sort of how I see Evan Roberts and the Welsh Revival. God took a young man of only 26 years. He could have chosen G. Campbell Morgan, but he didn’t. He chose an ‘ordinary’ young man with a passion for God, a man unknown by men but known by God. The dictionary defines ‘ordinary’ as ‘unexceptional’ or ‘commonplace’. Interestingly, when our Lord Jesus went looking for men to handle the greatest assingment ever given, he too chose the ordinary and unlearned. Paul, in writing to the Church at Corinth pointed out that “…God chose what is foolish…to shame the wise…what is weak…to shame the strong…what is low and despised…to bring to nothing things that are so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.” (I Cor. 1:27-29). Today, perhaps more than any time in history, there are Christian celebrities. When one thinks of God sending revival, surely it would be through one of them. Perhaps. However, if history is any indicator, the instrument through whom God would send revival will be one through whom God can get all the glory. He will be a person, who can serve God without getting in the way and stealing the glory. He will be one who can say,”…may the lamb that was slain receive the reward of his suffering…” He will lay down his own life that Christ be exalted. He will decrease that He might increase.
It has been over 100 years since the Welsh Revival. Seems like an awfully long time to me. Could it be that God is in search of another man, woman, or group of believers through whom he could send an awakening? Surely the time is right. Wonder who it might be? One hundred years ago it was a young man named Evan, whose passion for God lit the flames of revival on multiple continents. Who could it possibly be? You? Me? “Coach! Coach! Put me in!”
*If these or any postings are an encouragement or create some thought or question, please leave a comment by clicking below on the “no comments” or “comments” button.

October 13th, 2007 Posted by | Prayer, Revival | 5 comments

WHY DOES GOD HIDE?

crossing-red-sea.jpgThis Lord of ours can act very strangely at times. He is hard to discern. For instance, He leads His escaping fledgling family to the shores of the Red Sea with no apparent retreat He miraculously gives Abraham a son and a promise and then asks him to take that life. Upon hearing of the sickness of his dear friend, Lazarus, Jesus purposely lets him die and shows up late for the funeral. Furthermore, when confronted with an angry mob and a Roman cross, he spoke not a word but went as a sheep before its shearers to an ignominious death. Why? Will someone please tell me why? Serving God can be so confusing. You dedicate your life the best you know only to have God leave you at a crucial moment. Warning! Be careful of those who have ready answers and ‘quick’ fixes to your personal dilemas. They are legion. But pious platitudes , empty religious sayings, and quoted Bible verses are not enough to answer the question before us.
In Chapter thirteen of his gospel John records some of the last words of Jesus just prior to that cruel death. After having been with the disciples for over three years, Jesus suddenly announces to the little band that he is leaving and they can’t go where he is going! Impetuous Peter expresses what everyone else is thinking when he asks, “Where are you going? Why can’t I come?”
You know what? I’m with Peter. This Christian walk is hard enough as it is but without Jesus around it is downright impossible. Peter already indicated that he and the others had ‘left all’ to follow him and now Jesus is telling them he is bailing out. Why does God do that? Why does He hide from us in our time of greatest need? I confess I have questioned His choices many times in my life. It seems just about the time I need Him most He is gone. I have found myself joining Peter and the twelve saying, ‘Lord, Where are you going’? Remember Mary Magdalene the morning of the resurrection? The events of the cross had taken her Lord away. She threw herself around his feet and clung to Him so hard that He had to ask her to let go so He could ascend to the Father.
I once heard a man of God say, “In the life of faith there are no questions.” However, I have found that a life ofquestions.jpg faith is often filled with questions. When Jesus goes away, when God hides from us, it creates a bushel basket full of questions. The creation of these questions is by design. Let us not forget the greatest man born of woman was confused about Jesus and asked, “Are you the one or should we expect another?” Even our Lord , while dying on the cross, was perplexed, when His Father hid from him. He said, “My God! My God! Why hast thou forsaken me?” Here, too, in perhaps the greatest hour of need of any person who has ever lived, God appeared to be absent.
There is, perhaps, a little hint to the answer in the Song of Solomon. On at least two occasions Solomon mysteriously hides from his bride and leaves her to search through the streets for him. On one occasion her search ends when she spys him peering at her from behind a wall and through a lattice. It seems that her new husband never really left her at all but hid himself that he might surprise her with his presence at an appropriate time.
native-american-boy.jpg I am reminded of a story related by one of the Brothers in our Fellowship. He told of the ancient right of passage for young Native American boys. It seems that each boy had to pass rigid tests to become a man. The last and most significant test was that the young Brave was taken out into the deep woods, blindfolded. To pass the test he must remain at his post during the night and endure all the frightening sounds and threatening voices from without and within. Through the night the Coyotes and wolves cried, the Wildcats stalked and the Owls hooted. The boy’s imagination magnified each sound into something it was not. It’s interesting how much worse sounds and experiences are, when you can’t see and you are all alone. The next morning the sunlight revealed not only a new day but each young Brave’s Father had been only a stone’s throw away all during the night. He had been there to drive away any threat to life or limb.
Why does God hide? I’m not sure I know nor can I give much of an answer but there is one thing I know. Moses let God lead him into the trap by the Red Sea and then divided it. Abraham placed his son on the altar and discovered a ram caught in the thicket. Jesus let Lazarus die and then raised him from the dead. “When we reach the end of our horded resources, our Father’s full giving is only begun”. Apparently, God longs for us to reach the end of ourselves and we only do that, when we think He is gone. When I have done all I can do and there is nothing left, God is just getting started. Jesus told Peter, I am going away and you cannot come now…” This frightened the Big Fisherman. However, it was during those hours, when Jesus hid from Peter that he discovered the weaknesses of his flesh and shallowness of his braggadocious resolve. That time of lonliness and fear turned a “weak”, Simon into “the Rock”, Peter. It made a follower into a leader. So, when the things life throws at you become overwhelming and God seems to be nowhere in sight, and all appears to be lost, remember you may be finished but God isn’t. You may be living in Friday but Sunday’s comin’. He may go away, but oh dear friend…He’s coming back, and during his apparent absence we discover our passion for him is greater and our love for him is deeper.

October 12th, 2007 Posted by | Discipleship, Faith | one comment