Supreme Ambition Ministries

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

NINE MILE: A MICROCOSM OF CHURCH

NINE MILE: A MICROSOM OF CHURCH

 

I am a part of a clan of Scottish decent known as Lewis. We are a proud lot, perhaps too proud sometimes.  However, even though I am nearing retirement, memories of my mother’s family flood my mind with a sense of well-being and gratitude for the good things that I inherited from being part Lewis.

 

Recently, I have been made aware that the Land upon which my mother’s parents forged a life for themselves and their children has been sold.  Many of my cousins are hurt and saddened by the loss of the land.  So am I.  Some feel the loss that their own children will never be able to run, work and play in the creek and hillsides, smell the fragrances of the spring flowers and freshly cut hay, even as we did as children.  Many emotions flood my own soul, even as I pen these words.  In my musings of days gone by, I have a lingering memory of one annual event that left a lasting impression upon me.  Furthermore, God has used that memory to give hope to me about something that has been lost in much of the church for 1700 years . . . Fellowship!

When considering the fellowship of the Church of Jesus Christ one must be careful to not be mistakenly looking for a utopian society; one which is devoid of problems. This is not the Church, at least not this side heaven. Rather, the Church is to be a society lived “in the world and yet not a part of it.” While I would be careful to press an unrealistic concept of Christianity too far, I can definitely relate with those who find a societal image that so captures their attention that everything else pales in comparison, and to which one’s life can be given, unashamedly, and uncompromisingly. Such is my quest for true fellowship in the Church.

As I look back over my life I am made aware that I was placed in varied atmospheres from time to time, which gave hints to the meaning of fellowship. One such realm was at the annual Christmas Eve celebration held by my mother’s family. Both my parents came from rather large families by today’s standards, and, due to the rural nature and economic conditions of the times my mother and her siblings formed a rather close bond with one another. Couple this with a basic Christian world view and the fact that all these siblings raised their families near one another and it is not difficult to see how a virtually spiritual relationship was forged within a biological unit. This was never more evident than when all these families came together for the annual Christmas Eve celebration.  This was a rather informal gathering in an old shanty-like house up the old Nine Mile Creek Road in the hills of West Virginia not far from a little town called Point Pleasant. My! What a time we had! The cousins played, making up games as we went. Some looked at pictures of far away places through the “view-finder”. Others shared war stories, or played Chinese checkers, while still others told the latest funny story. My grandparents little house was literally dancing with activity. The aroma of roasted turkey and country ham was married to the titillating smells of fresh baked pies and cakes. The women and older girls were in the kitchen and dinning room getting everything ready for one of the finest meals anyone ever had. Yes Sir! The old house was alive with all the sounds and smells that evoked a warmth and security that only enhanced the smell of wood and coal burning in the fireplace and the old pot-bellied stove.

Sometime during the evening Grandpa, who was a very educated but simple man, would pick up his tuning fork and a hymnbook and begin to sing a Christmas carol. We all joined in. Then the evening seemed to flow like an orchestra with the Conductor being that unseen Guest. No sooner had one song ended than another began. Interspersed between them, we children stood and said the “Christmas pieces” we had learned for our church programs, as well as poems by noted authors such as Edgar Allen Poe, and James Whitcomb Riley. Then, right on cue, the Divine Conductor seemed to stir Grandpa to pick up his Bible and give it to his oldest Son, Milton, who read Luke’s account of the birth of Christ. Maybe it was my age, or maybe it was because it was Christmas, I’m not sure. All I know is that when he read from the Bible on Christmas Eve the words seemed to dance within my head with life. Afterward, we gave the gifts we had gotten for the one in the family whose name we had drawn some weeks earlier. All too soon the evening was over, but I was left with precious, lingering, memories, and a longing to repeat that evening, or something akin to it, as soon as possible. Now, years later, and with over forty years in the ministry, when I think about what true fellowship in the Church should be, it is the memory of those Christmas Eves that floods my mind. You see, Christmas Eve with my mother’s family became for me a microcosm of the way things ought to be. It may even have been a hint from the Lord Himself as to the only effective way to live the Christian life and to do Church. Yes, this family Christmas gathering so many years ago became the seed of a search that was to fuel the fires of my ministry.

I join my cousins and our friends in the little community of Beech Hill, West Virginia in grieving the loss of something special, but from now and throughout all eternity each time I see their names, their faces, or hear their voices, I will smell the aroma of what God might call FELLOWSHIP.

March 28th, 2012 Posted by | Biographical, Church, Fellowship, True Church LIfe, Uncategorized | 8 comments

A MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION

As I meditate upon the events which took place at this time of year two millennia ago, I am struck with the freshness of the message. I never cease to be amazed at the uniqueness of our Lord. Although he was the consummate and representative man for all men, and although he faced everything every man has had to face, there were areas of his life that cause me to scratch my head and ask questions. Fortunately, the asking of those questions often results in a perspective upon the uniqueness of Christ and the challenge that uniqueness presents to the corporate Body of Christ.

There were experiences in his life that are very ‘telling’ as to what separated him from the rest of us. I was reading through the gospels recently and came upon a specific character trait that I thought was interesting. Jesus had times when he was obsessed. In Luke 12:49-50 Jesus said, 49 I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled? 50 But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened?(pained) till it be accomplished! He had a fire to send and a baptism to be baptized with and he could hardly wait until he could get it done. The fire he hoped to send was a cleansing and a purging of the earth by the spreading of God’s Word and the baptism of an old rugged cross was the means of the accomplishment.

When you pause to think about that statement, it is quite unusual that he had the thought, much less obsessed about it. Of course, this was the same person, who made it acceptable to lust. Yes, I said acceptable to lust. And he said unto them, ‘With desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer’:” (Luke 22:15, KJV). An alternate word for ‘desire’ is ‘lust’. With lust I have lusted to eat this Passover with you…” Of course this is not to say that Jesus approached the Passover with the same enthusiasm as a glutton might salivate over lamb chops and mint jelly.

Apparently, spiritual lust properly motivated can be not only acceptable but also preferable. To have one’s deepest desire to be for God’s glory and to desire for it so much that it lies at the root of all you do and all you are was the essence of who Jesus was and should be the goal of every believer. The obvious cry of ‘thirst’ from Jesus on the cross carries with it the interpretation of a physical body needing water. While this is certainly true, might it not be possible that in the midst of that physical cry was also the cry of One, who was thirsting for the streams of living water? Jesus desired from the depths of his being that he could return to the glory he shared with the Father before the foundation of the world (John 17.5), and that his select ones could share in that same glory (v. 24).

Interestingly, the process through which Jesus would see all this accomplished would be through his own suffering. How or why would such a process be necessary? James and John made the request to be one on his right and one on his left. Jesus asked them if they could be ‘baptized’ with his baptism. They responded in the affirmative. He granted the baptism and, however, left the promotions to the Father. There is never a cross without a crown. There is never a victory without a battle. Jesus desired from the depths of his being to spread a fire of God’s word across the earth. He wanted to kindle a fire that would never go out. The writer of Hebrews reminds us that in bringing many SONS to glory…the Captain of salvation would be made perfect through suffering. Thus, if the Captain achieves his Magnificent Obsession through suffering, then, we, like James and John, will have our own baptism. I, too, ‘lust’. But my lust is more often than not for those things which I believe will make my life a little easier. My ‘pained’ desire is that I might sit on the right or the left of my Lord. I think I may have spent much of my life trying to get Jesus to do something for me he never was willing to do, because he wanted my desires to be salted with fire. So, my prayer is that I will have such a longing in my heart for the will of God that I can hardly wait to get started in the process. I pray that my very being will drip with desire to both see and be with the risen and eternal Christ in all his glory. Frankly, in my weakened and very human state, I’m not up to much in the way of suffering but I believe God is able to help me and each of us to take one step at a time.



March 19th, 2008 Posted by | Discipleship, Uncategorized | comments

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