Supreme Ambition Ministries

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

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

If God Can Do That, He Can Do Anything!

daddy-and-little-girl.jpgOur daughter, Stacye, has always been “my little girl”. From the time she was able to toddle around the house she would follow me and get into whatever project or ‘honeydo’ thing I was doing. There are many experiences I could relate about her life, but none could match the lesson of faith God gave our family related to her wedding day.
Several years ago, while living in West Virginia, Kathi and I were enjoying a much needed ‘day-off’. We drove to a town about thirty minutes away and Kathi wanted to stop at a health-food store. I had little interest in going into the store so I stayed in the car and turned on a Christian radio station. They were playing some good worship music and I was enjoying the Presence of the Lord. Suddenly, a song began to play about a Daddy and his little girl. It was a ballad and the storyline spoke of the relationship between the Daddy and his little girl from her earliest years, through the teen struggles and ended on her wedding day. As the song played I began to think about Stacye. She was about 12 or 13 years old at the time but she seemed to be growing up all too quickly. I thought of what it might be like on her wedding day and I began to cryCry. Kathi came back to the car and found me dissolved in tears. Being the caring person she is, she asked what was wrong with me? I tried to tell her about the song and I told her I felt I needed to sing it on Stacye’s wedding day.
There was a problem, however. I did not know the name of the song and I did not know, who was singing it. I immediately called the radio station but they were unable to identify either the song or the recording artist. For several weeks and months I searched at Christian bookstores, record shops (that dates me doesn’t it?) and asked everyone I thought would know, but came up empty. Finally, I simply prayed a prayer of desperation. I said, “Lord, if you want me to sing that song at Stacye’s wedding one day, you’re going to have to find it for me. I’ve done everything I know to do and I just can’t find it.” At that point I was able to release the whole thing into the hands of a soverign God.
Days became weeks and weeks stretched into years. I don’t remember being overly anxious about finding the song. I had given it into the hands of the One who knows all, so why should I worry? Some years after, the Lord moved Kathi and me to Sarasota, Florida to minister to a small group of believers. We had been there about a year and a half and Kathi and I went out to eat at an Amish Diner. After enjoying a fine meal, we were walking out the door and I saw a poster advertising “Steve and Annie Chapman”. Steve and Annie are Christian entertainers. Dr. James Dobson has called them, “Missionaries to the home”. I said to Kathi, “Oh, honey! I would love to see Steve and Annie.” You see, Annie and I were raised in the same community. We went to the same Church, attended the same schools and belonged to the same 4-H Club. I had not seen her in many years and my heart thrilled to think of the opportunity to renew our fellowship.
The date arrived and Kathi and I went to the Mennonite Church in Sarasota for the concert. It was so good to hear them sing and several of their songs brought tears to our eyes. Just prior to intermission. Steve Chapman said there had been a request for a certain song that he had NOT planned to do, but he felt the Lord would have him grant the request. As he began to sing I immediately knew it was the song I had heard some eight years previously and which I had committed to the Lord to help me find. I turned to Kathi and said, in a not so quiet voice, “KATHI! THAT’S THE SONG”! I had spoken with such force and joy that people were turning around, looking at me from several different places in the sancturary.
Can you imagine the thrill in my heart? I had truly committed this into the hands of the Lord. I had not worried about it. I had actually trusted God about something that was really important to me…and do you know what I discovered? I discovered it was important to God too.
After the concert Kathi and I were invited by a family to share in a reception for Steve and Annie. We had a marvelous time reviewing ‘old times’ together as children. I finally had the opportunity to tell Annie the story I have just told you. She said to me, “Well, Dave, I’ll just send you the accompaniament tape so you can sing at Stacye’s wedding.
Little did I know eight years prior, sitting in my car, listening to a song on the radio in West Virginia that God was going to use that experience to teach me one of the greatest lessons of faith I have ever had. Later that night I was reflecting about the experience. I looked up to heaven, lifted my hands in praise and said, “God, if you can do that, you can do anything!” To this day that experience in Christ remains as one of the most glorious in my walk with Christ. I have reviewed it a number of times as I have faced times of testing and trial in the succeeding years. The thought of what God did for me then encourages me to continue to ‘fight the good fight of faith’.
Below are the words to: YOU’RE THE ONLY LITTLE GIRL IN MY HEART!
bride-and-groom.jpg
She skipped across the room in her pretty new dress.
Did a balerina turn in her patent leather shoes.
and to say the very least I was impressed. She was my little girl.
Chorus:
And we played our little game again. I said,
‘Who’s the only man in your heart’?
And she smiled as we held each other’s hands.
She said, ‘Daddy don’t ya’ know, Daddy don’t ya’ know?
You’re the only man in my heart.
A few years later in her life. I saw her walkin’ home from school.
She had her books in her arms and a young man at her side.
And I felt a jealous pain. And I felt just like a fool.
But when the young man told her ‘Bye, I said,
‘Can I walk with you’?
And we played our little game again. I said,
‘Who’s the only man in your heart’?
And she smiled as we held each other’s hands.
She said, ‘Daddy don’t ya’ know, Daddy don’t ya’ know?
You’re the only man in my heart’!
It’s hard to believe. That day has come and gone.
He put a ring on her hand that held her Daddy’s heart.
And I’ll always remember, when they played that wedding song,
the words my little girl said to me…
“Daddy! Can we play that little game?
Who’s the only little girl in your heart?”
And I cried as I softly called her name.
I said, “Honey, don’t ya’ know, Stacye don’t ya’ know
You’re the only little girl in my heart.
I don’t know what special thing God may have promised you or how bleak the situation might be to see it come to pass. My encouragement is for you to turn it over to the One, who knows all things and, who is able to do exceeding, abundantly more than we can ask or think. Who knows? You may be having a quiet evening out with your companion or friend and, in a moment God may do something special for you too…And, if God can do that, he can do anything.
Oh yeah…I and Stacye’s best friend, Naomi, did sing the song at her wedding. I ‘blubbered’ my way through it. But it was even more special than I can tell you. She’s still the only ‘little’ girl in my heart.

August 29th, 2007 Posted by | Faith, Prayer | 12 comments