Supreme Ambition Ministries

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

An Eight Cow Christian!

     ticket-scalping.jpgWhat is my value to God?  How does He view me with all my warts…failures…and…well…sins?  Jesus opens a window into the value he places upon me and every Spirit-born believer.  In Matthew 13 our Lord shares a number of parables all wrapped around the theme of the ‘Kingdom of Heaven’.  Interpreting parables can be a fussy kind of thing.  One must keep in mind that with the parables there is one interpretation. There may be multiple applications within the context of truth declared but the interpretation is single in its scope.  Ok, enough with theology!  Let’s get to the heart of the issue. 
     
     I don’t have time to argue this point, but believe me when I say that Jesus uses the term “Kingdom of Heaven” to define that period of time between his first coming and his second coming.  Also, please undestand that to the ancient Hebrew the pearl had no value whatsoever.  In fact, you will not find it used in the Old Testament at all, except for some mistranslations.  Furthermore, Jesus own interpretation of the parable of the weeds sets the prameters for the interpretation of the Eight parables, when it comes to identifying the characters in the parables.  For instance,  the ‘man’, the ‘sower’, the ‘merchant’ must always refer to God, because Jesus defined him as such in the parable of the weeds.  The ‘field’, Jesus said, is the ‘world’.  Get the picture?  In the parable of the Pearl of Great Price Jesus says, ‘…the kingdom of heaven is like a ‘Merchant’ who went in search of fine pearls…”  When Jesus said this, the disciples were in great confusion.  It would be like me saying, “the kingdom of heaven is like a ‘cow-pile’.  Yeah!  You heard rightly…cow-pile.  I guess that’s not quite right either, because you can use manure for fertilizer, but you get the picture, don’t you.  NO VALUE WHATSOEVER IN THE PEARL!
 
     Apparently, Jesus saw value where no one else did.  From before the foundation of the world our Lord made a decision that he was going to shed the garments of diety and go on a quest for something of such unique value that all except he would not even recognize its value.  You and I are that pearl.  He saw value where there was none.  He saw us not as we are but as what he would make us to be. pearl-of-great-price.jpg
      Perhaps I can tell this better by offering a cultural illustration.  In the South Pacific it used to be the custom of men to trade cows for a wife.  A father might receive two cows for an average daughter.  An above average girl would often bring her father three cows.  Only a rare beauty would bring the unheard of price of four cows.  Once there was a father with a daughter so homely that he was hoping he could get just one cow for her.  There was another man on the island, who was considered to be a very astute trader.  One day he came to the father with the homely daughter and offered eight cows for her.  Everyone thought the man to have lost his mind.  However, it was not long before this homely girl was transformed into the most beautiful and gracious woman in the land.  She had started to think of heself as ‘an eight cow woman’, and she became one.
 
     cow.jpg Did you notice in the parable of the pearl how much Jesus paid for us?  The Bible says, “…he went and sold all that he had…”  The blood of God’s Son was the price paid for us.  Hey!  Can you get what this means?  I am an Eight Cow Christian.  You are too!  There was no value in us as far as the world was concerned, but the King of the Universe  saw us wallowing in the mire and muck of this world.  We were dressed in the most homely, unattrative manner.  Our hair was unkempt, and a beauty king or queen we weren’t .  But O Look at us now! One final thought. What would it be like if we would start treating one another like Eight Cow Christians instead of a one or two-cow deal?
 

May 6th, 2009 Posted by | Christian Education, Christian Life, Discipleship | 2 comments

THERE WERE TWO TREES IN THE GARDEN

     Living the Christian Life is not hard…it’s impossible.   Now before the theology police try to have me burned at the stake,two-trees2.jpg let me explain why I would risk expressing such a thought.  This statement is a product of about 40 years of ministry and dealing with many people who have become frustrated with themselves and their inability to live up to the ideals of what some say constitutes the life of a good Christian.burned-at-stake.jpg  I mean really, if each of us believers in Jesus was to make a list of everything every preacher told us to do to be a good Christian, we would need an extra sheet of paper, maybe two (Timmmmmberrrrr!).  Here’s a partial list of some of those things I have heard and tried (unsuccessfully) to keep perfectly.  Read your Bible…Do it every day…and be sure and get up at 5:00 in the morning to begin.  You slouch!  You’re already behind John Wesley.  He got up at 4:00 a.m. and had preached Three times before noon.  Second, Pray!  Do it on your knees and at least 1-2 hours per day.  Third, Witness for Jesus...Remember, “…he that winneth souls is wise…”  Fourth, Obey the Holy Spirit.  Don’t dare miss a leading of the Lord or you can’t go to heaven.  Fifth, attend church faithfully…and don’t miss a service.  God doesn’t like it when people miss church.  Follow those few with Tithing, being filled with the Spirit, and finding your gift area and walking in it.  Whew!!!  I’m tired already.  Oh, wait a minute…I forgot Sanctification.  We’ve got to be sanctified.  “…Without holiness no one shall see the Lord.”  Let’s see how I’m doing so far.  Forget that!  How did I do today?  Let me get my list and check a few of these off.  Hope I didn’t miss one.
      Just writing that paragraph makes me nervous.  Actually most of the things I listed and so much more are helpful and some are even tree-of-knowledge.jpgnecessary for a successful walk with God but there is a problem.  The problem is the approach.  It is a “Do” oriented approach.  Now “Doing” is important in the Christian Life also, but it can never come before ‘being’.  The secret to living the Christian Life is hinted at in Genesis 2:9b.  “The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”  Look a little more closely at this verse.  Do you see it?  There it is?  Both good and evil are in the same tree.  What!  Yeah!  Good and evil are in the same tree.  There is the problem with trying to live the Christian Life.  Men have a tendancy to live in extremes.  Once we are saved we want to please the Lord with our actions, but we do it out of the abundance of our souls rather than our spirits, and we do as many good things as we can.  We make our lists of the good and right things we are supposed to do.  Our list is not too long when we first start, but as we listen to sermons and read our Bibles and go to seminars our lists get longer and longer until we become wrapped up in our list.  The end result of this is frustration.  Frustrated people either give up or, worse, just settle into a ‘religious’ life.
      A religious life usually consists of someone who has made a list just long enough that he can be relatively successful at keeping.  Her ability to keep the list makes her very proud and…if you please…a member of a very exclusive club…LEGALISTS.  There is also another side to religiosity, LICENTIOUSNESS.  These folks think that God’s grace has little to no responsibility attached to it.  As long as they feel comfortable for having prayed a prayer of repentance so they can go to heaven when they die, they are actually fairly satisfied with their life as is.  All of this comes out of the same tree.
      Therein lies the big problem.  As long as we keep trying to live the Christian Life out of our human souls we will fail.  The soul is where the Intellect, Emotions and Will reside.  God is Spirit…not soul.  Spirit is the highest life form.   The Christian Life is…God.  That is…whatever God does is the Christian Life.  Here are some questions we might ask ourselves. Does God read his Bible?  Does He tithe?  How about Church?  Does He go there on Sunday?  Surely He speaks in tongues, right?  Again, let me say these things are important (I hate burning at the stake).  But the key is to become a participant in Eternal Life.  Peter said in 2 Peter 1:3 “His divine power has granted us all things that pertain to life, and godliness through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence…so that…you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.”
 
     I wonder if this conversation ever took place?  Did Jesus speak to the disciples just before the Ascension and say, “…Now boys, I lived the Christian life by partaking of my Father’s life.  I only did what I saw him doing and only spoke what I heard him saying.  We communed together every day.  We enjoyed one another’s Presence.  But you peons can’t do it that way.  You need to Read your Bibles and pray and tithe and…and…and do it all without complaining.  I connected with my Father, but you will have to live the Christian Life by a secondary method.”  That conversation never took place.
tree-of-life.jpgIf Adam had partaken of the Tree of Life, the very Life of God would have flowed through him.  His obedience would have been the result of his passionate relationship with his loving God.  God would have been “at work in him both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Phil. 2.13). A Christian cannot obey his way into fellowship with God, but he can fellowship his way into obedience to God. Interestingly, when a person becomes a Christian he receives that Life, Eternal Life.  God begins to commune with him through his spirit.  He begins to produce in him the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5.22-23).  What is fruit anyway?  Fruit is the result of a tree that is drowning in life.  In Christ we have the privilege of choosing once again how we will live the sanctified Life.  We can choose one tree out of which still flows good and evil or we can choose the other one…The tree of Life.  There were two trees in the garden.  There still are.  One leads to fellowship, the other to religion.  Which will you choose?

May 5th, 2009 Posted by | Christian Life, Discipleship, Fellowship | 7 comments

MY JOURNEY 19

IT WAS LIKE GRAND CENTRAL STATION!
 

 ny_026.jpgHow many times I have heard the statement, “It was like Grand Central Station”, I do not know, but on each of our four trips to NYC after 9-1-1 the Lord seemed to direct us there.  It is a massive building near the United Nations’ building.  During the busiest times of the day subway cars and trains carrying thousands of people arrive and depart to and from the Station.   New York City is a melting pot of every tribe, tongue and nation on the earth.  Grand Central Station seems to be the giant dispensary for those people.  One might go there and enter into the giant room containing the rotunda and find very few people.  However, within a matter of seconds as trains and subways arrive and depart the room could be so packed with people that one could virtually stir them with a stick.

ny_grand-central-station-dave-anderson.jpgOn our first occasion we walked into the Station we had  little knowledge of what we were going to do.  We walked into the Rotunda, spread out into different sections with our sticks and just stood, trusting for the Lord to bring to us those whom He would.    At that time the city was crawling with members of the military.  The city and the nation were shaken to the core, fear clouded the faces of countless numbers.  Once secure people, who gave little consideration about ‘tomorrow’, were now even concerned about ‘today’. Parents, husbands, wives, whose minds had previously been wrapped around the best way to make the next dollar seemed to be thinking of little except how grateful they were to be alive and have their family in tact.

Numbers of people walked up to us asking about the meaning of the sticks.  Among those who asked about the sticks was a very distinguished young woman.  She approached Steve Coder and me in a most unusual way.  She came off a subway into the rotunda, and marched directly toward us.  If you could have seen her, she was like one who was on a mission.  Approaching us she said, “Where can I get one of those sticks?”  Steve said, “Right here!”  She asked how much they were and we explained to her that they were free.  She exclaimed, “Oh wonderful!  I want one!”  Steve said, “Wait, I need to tell you the story of the sticks first.”  She said, “Oh, I already heard it from someone at Ground Zero Yesterday!”  We had been asking people to share the message that we are to be one nation united under one God.  Apparently, someone with whom we had shared the gospel message had shared with her.  She had thought about the responsibility of what it meant to receive and carry a stick and she was ready.  If you could have seen her take that stick and walk away from us into the mass of people, I don’t know what you would have done.  I looked at Steve and said, “Brother, there goes the gospel into NYC…”

Suddenly, the Lord stirred our hearts that we needed to sing.  As I indicated we were not a choir, but a few of us could sing a little.  On one occasion as the rotunda area was packed with hundreds of people rushing to their next destination.  We stood in the middle and began to sing some patriotic numbers, including ‘God Bless America’, and ‘This Land Is your Land”.  What happened next was amazing.  All those hundreds of people, who were nearly stepping on top of one another came to a screeching halt.  The anointing of the Holy Spirit was upon us as we sang.  The people began to cry out, “Sing! Sing!  These are our songs!  We need you now!  Sing!  Sing!”  Tears were streaming down their faces.  Some were holding up their cell phones so that those to whom they were speaking could hear the singing.  Everyone seemed to want a stick.  We quickly challenged them to turn their hearts toward God and share the message with others.  Several people thought we were a choir, but when they found out we were just Christian pilgrims from different parts of the U.S, who had come to bring a message of hope in Christ they could hardly believe it.

Over and over as we walked the streets of the city we saw people carrying their sticks.  An entire floor of one building ny_030.jpghoused several nurses and medical personel.  Each of them received a stick and they began to meet daily at lunch for a Bible study…each carrying a stick.  Wall street lawyers and financial investors asked for them, as well as taxie drivers, police officers and firemen.  We visited fire stations and police precints and prayed with men and women who had been devastated by the tragic events of 9-1-1.  At one fire station we met a man who was the only one left out of 13 at his station.  He looked at me and said, “That would be like losing everyone of you but one.”  The sadness emanating from him was almost more than anyone could bare.  How blessed we were to come with a message of hope in a time of terror and confusion.

ny_fire-station-greenwich-village.jpgThere are times when the hearts of people are so hard that to attempt to share a gospel message is almost futile.  However, God has ways of using experiences of life to make the heart receptive.  It is important that we in the church are ready to take advantage of every open door as it comes.  We must not miss the opportunities given to us.  Just as quickly as a door opens it can also close.  At any moment the quiet road of life you travel may be packed with men, women, youth and children, whose lives have been turned upside down.  Who knows?  It may even look like Grand Central Station.  Will you let them walk on by into a hopeless sea of humanity or will you begin to sing the ‘song of the Lamb’ and bring hope and life into their barrenness? Historically the church has been spiritually AWOL at  the most inopportune times.  The prophet Isaiah said to his generation words that are applicable to ours.  “Awake!  Awake!  Put on thy strength, O Zion.  Put on thy beautiful garments…”  

May 4th, 2009 Posted by | Biographical | 3 comments