The blind date
Illus by Paul Fritz
A father wanted to read the paper, but was being bothered by his little
daughter, Vanessa. Finally, he tore a sheet out of his magazine, on
which was printed the map of the world. Tearing it into small pieces, he
gave it to Vanessa, and said, "Go into the other room and see if you can
put this together."
After a few minutes, Vanessa returned and handed him the map correctly
fitted together. The father was surprised and asked how she had
finished so quickly.
"Oh," she said, "on the other side of the paper was a picture of Jesus.
When I got Jesus in His place, then the world came out all right."
When Jesus has His place in this world, everything comes out all right doesn’t it? 2000 years ago, there was a picture of the world on one side of a plan and on the other side was a picture of Jesus as the answer and solution to the plan!
Getting to know the Lord up close and personal seems like it should just be a natural thing that evolves with time, for each and every human being.
I mean after all, if someone were willing to take you to the most wonderful place ever known to mankind and you were going to spend eternity with Him there,
Wouldn’t you think, you would want to get to know Him before hand, before the day arrived.
I’ve heard of blind dates working out before, in fact right here in this church the Westbergs met on a blind date and we’re married for more than 70 years.
God is the only one who has showed up for every blind date in the history of the world! The Scripture says for whosoever, God is willing to show up and enter into a relationship for all of eternity, with that person!
Its mind boggling isn’t it? So many want to go heaven, but so few really want to get to know the one whose coming to pick them up beyond a blind date experience, before He gets here!
In fact, never has there been more promised to receive with the least qualifications required to obtain the promise. God didn’t design it that way you know, He made getting to know Him easy enough a child could understand and grasp ahold of.
John 3:16 NKJ
16. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
17. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
All we have to do is believe, how could something so easy be so hard for so many?
So many churches in every community,
So many opportunities to worship the Great creator!
So few willing to pursue a relationship with Jesus and to be found faithful, concerning the things of God.
Everyone is always on the lookout for the perfect opportunity, for the perfect relationship and individual that can help them achieve what they’re looking for!
And when they finally find what they think is the right opportunity, they seize the moment and take advantage of what they have found!
And for those who didn’t, society would be quick to point out the fact that they wasted an opportunity, that could’ve forever altered the course of their life.
That seems to be the case with every opportunity, except for God’s amazing offer to the world, without limitations!
If the world would just wake up and realize, everything they are looking for:
*happiness...His Joy brings strength
*contentment...God offers the ability to abound in all circumstances
*love...His love knows no boundaries and is unconditional
*peace...Jesus offers peace that passes all Understanding
*wealth... God wants you prosper, even as your soul propers
*knowledge and opportunity...there is no greater source for either, than the One who created them!
All those promises and so many more, can be found in and only through a relationship with the one who created them, why would anyone look anywhere else, but the source?
Two reasons...Because they don’t know, Or they know and refuse to believe.
Jesus came so we could experience all that God has to offer us, which is everything that Jesus has available to him!
1st John 4:17 Amp
In this [union and fellowship with Him], love is completed and perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment [with assurance and boldness to face Him]; because as He is, so are we in this world.
Phillipians 4:19 NKJ
And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
With everything Jesus has available to Him, available for the disbursement to those willing to pursue a relationship with Him.
Why wouldn’t everyone want to Know Him and everything about Him?
That’s a question that has been asked all down through history.
And for the ones who do know Him as their Lord and Savior,
why wouldn’t they want to know more of Him and strengthen their relationship with Him on a daily basis?
Because the more we get to know of Him, the less it becomes about us and the more it becomes about Him! The more of the control in our lives we turn over to God, the less control we have to hang on to.
If there is one thing human nature likes to do, is control the environment in which it inhabits!
2nd Corn. 5:14-15 NASB.
14. For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died;
15. and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.
Does turning over control of our lives and destiny to God, mean that were out of control? No, it just means our love and trust for God has replaced our will or desire to control the outcome of events that happen in our life!
Most would never admit it, but control issues, keep us from receiving everything that God has for us!
You see, the Power of God in your Life, should be and is, a Life Changing Experience! No one can ever be in His Presence and remain the same!
Not trusting Your relationship with Jesus enough to give God control of your future, severely limits the plans and blessings God has for you!
Each time someone experiences the Presence and Power of God, they should never leave the same as they were before!
God’s daily life changing Power is available to all who will choose to experience it, and that being the key word, (Will).
Its amazing how much our will and the will of those around us, influence what we do and what we become, not only in life but our spiritual walk too!
Some people don’t want to experience anything new in their life or walk with the Lord, their stuck on the way things are,
Been this way for 50 yrs. And it still works, the squeaky wheel may need some oil now and then, but why would I want to change anything now! All the while never realizing the accuser is the one walking around with the oil can of Mediocrity and the barely get by mentality.
My question is, why in the world would anyone want to stay in the same circumstances or experience the same of anything for 50 years?
Gods not that way
Is. 43:18-19 NKJ
18. Do not remember the former things,
Nor consider the things of old.
19. Behold, I will do a new thing,
Now it shall spring forth;
Shall you not know it?
I will even make a road in the wilderness
And rivers in the desert.
God is all about doing a new things, so much so, that it springs forth from Him and He wants you to be aware of it.
He wants to take you to new levels, He wants to take you to new heights in your life and in your walk with Him.
Psalm 2:8 NKJ
8. Ask of Me, and I will give You
The nations for Your inheritance,
And the ends of the earth for Your possession.
God is willing to go to great lengths for His Children, TBS.(the bible says)
He will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert, to provide a new way of opportunity for you!
God says; forget about the former things, I want to do a new thing for you!
But in order to experience the new, you have to be willing to walk out of the old life and into the new one with Him that’s available to you.
You see, the enemy (the accuser) knows this better than anyone,
Because he has experienced the never ending defeat of God’s never ending new ways many times when someone gets a hold of what were talking about here,
and he will go to great lengths as well
to keep you from experiencing any thing at all with the Lord,
especially the new stuff God wants you experience.
he knows, its like an taking off the blinders, a night and day, type of experience!
(insert personal experience, how God has brought new things and ideas about in your life, that once seemed foreign to you)
The accuser will even take the things of God and make them seem foreign to you and seem like there not of God at all, because he knows when you find out you will have the ability to influence and help others come to the same understanding!
Take the apostle Paul, before his conversion, he was already a highly educated religious leader.
He was there when Stephen gave his great sermon on the history of Israel,
about all that God had done for them and how they had resisted, kicking and screaming all along the way,
and we pick up on it in Acts 7:51-60 MSG.
51-53."And you continue, so bullheaded! Calluses on your hearts, flaps on your ears! Deliberately ignoring the Holy Spirit, you’re just like your ancestors.
Was there ever a prophet who didn’t get the same treatment?
Your ancestors killed anyone who dared talk about the coming of the Just One. (talking about Jesus here)
And you’ve kept up the family tradition traitors and murderers, all of you. You had God’s Law handed to you by angels gift wrapped, and you squandered it!"
54-56. At that point they went wild, a rioting mob of catcalls and whistles and invective. (which means violent)
But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, hardly noticed he only had eyes for God, whom he saw in all his glory with Jesus standing at his side.
He said, "Oh! I see heaven wide open and the Son of Man standing at God’s side!"
57-58. Yelling and hissing, the mob drowned him out. Now in full stampede, they dragged him out of town and pelted him with rocks.
The ringleaders took off their coats and asked a young man named Saul to watch them.
59-60. As the rocks rained down, Stephen prayed, "Master Jesus, take my life." Then he knelt down, praying loud enough for everyone to hear, "Master, don’t blame them for this sin” his last words. Then he died.
After Saul, as he was called then, watched this awesome display of courage by Stephen, this man full of the Holy Ghost and the new thing God was doing, what did he do?
He didn’t try to stop what was going on, instead he was influenced by what happened. He held their coats, while they stoned him to death. And that was only the beginning.
Acts 8:3-8 MSG.
3-8. “And Saul just went wild, devastating the church, entering house after house after house, dragging men and women off to jail.
Forced to leave home base, the followers of Jesus all became missionaries. Wherever they were scattered, they preached the Message about Jesus.
Going down to a Samaritan city, Philip proclaimed the Message of the Messiah.
When the people heard what he had to say and saw the miracles, the clear signs of God’s action, they hung on his every word.
Many who could neither stand nor walk were healed that day. The evil spirits protested loudly as they were sent on their way. And what joy in the city!”
What Paul had witnessed, the accuser made seem foreign to him, The life changing message was spreading like wild fire and the devil was pulling out all the stops, to extinguish the raging inferno!
The accuser knew, someone like Saul would be extremely dangerous if they were really to get a hold of the life changing message of Jesus and the Holy Spirit!
And he was right, probably for the first time in his life.
Fact is: Everyone, including each and everyone of us here this morning, is verry dangerous as far as the accuser is concerned, when they get a hold of the Life Changing Grace Message of Jesus!!
Acts 9:3-6 MSG.
3-4. He set off. When he got to the outskirts of Damascus, he was suddenly dazed by a blinding flash of light. As he fell to the ground, he heard a voice: "Saul, Saul, why are you out to get me?"
5-6. He said, "Who are you, Master?"
"I am Jesus, the One you’re hunting down. I want you to get up and enter the city. In the city you’ll be told what to do next."
At this point, the Lord had his undivided attention, sometimes the Lord has to do extreme things to get our attention!
10. There was a disciple in Damascus by the name of Ananias. The Master spoke to him in a vision: "Ananias."
"Yes, Master?" he answered.
11-12. "Get up and go over to Straight Avenue. Ask at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus. His name is Saul. He’s there praying. He has just had a dream in which he saw a man named Ananias enter the house and lay hands on him so he could see again."
13-14. Ananias protested, "Master, you can’t be serious. Everybody’s talking about this man and the terrible things he’s been doing, his reign of terror against your people in Jerusalem! And now he’s shown up here with papers from the Chief Priest that give him license to do the same to us."
You can imagine how he must have felt, he was probably shaking in his boots (I mean sandal’s) saying,
Lord you know who this is don’t you, the guy who has come here to do us all in,
Surely you must be mistaken, but the Lord told him,
He is the one I have chosen, to take my message to the Gentiles, to Kings and to the Jews.
17-19. So Ananias went and found the house, placed his hands on blind Saul, and said, "Brother Saul, the Master sent me, the same Jesus you saw on your way here. He sent me so you could see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit." No sooner were the words out of his mouth than something like scales fell from Saul’s eye she could see again! He got to his feet, was baptized, and sat down with them to a hearty meal.
The Lord got a hold of Saul and what a powerhouse for the Lord he came to be,
His name as you know was changed to Paul and he took the Life Changing Grace Message of Jesus to all the world!!
As Paul learned, just because you may not be used to the new things God is doing in and around your life and in His church,
DOESN’T MEAN ITS NOT OF GOD!!!!
If it lifts up the name of Jesus, it’s of God!
It may not be the way you’re used to doing things, news flash... it doesn’t have to be!
God’s ways are not always our ways, And they don’t have to be. There so much higher than we could ever think or comprehend and if we are privileged enough to be part of something new, stop and realize how important your are to God, He Loves you enough to let you be part of the plan!
The devil is not privy to the new that has planned for this church, or for your life! I encourage you to embrace the new, don’t let the devil steal the anything God is wanting to do!
Illus. By Richard Jones
Many years ago, executives of the Time-Life publishing organization discovered that the company’s profit margin had shrunk to an alarmingly low level. Consequently, they began an intensive effort to try to cut costs.
Efficiency experts suggested that substantial savings could be effected in the renewal department. There were 350 people working full time sending heartbreaking pleas to readers whose subscriptions were about to expire.
(For example, "Will you dare face your children without "Time" magazine on your coffee table?")
In any case, enormous quantities of these letters were being prepared manually. It was calculated that if a machine could be found to replace the manual labor, millions of dollars in overhead would be saved.
In time, IBM came to the rescue with an enormous computer, delivered to Time-Life in a blaze of klieg lights and fanfare. Then the New system was installed.
The name of each subscriber was put on a separate little plate and run through the vast machine.
Whenever a nameplate came along that was within six weeks of expiration, a series of dots and dashes at the top of the tab triggered an electronic impulse that caused it to drop into a slot.
The name was then affixed to one of the "heartbreaking" letters which was then folded, stuffed into an envelope, labeled, stamped, and dropped down a chute to the basement where a United States Branch Post Office was set up--all without a single human hand touching the operation.
The system worked flawlessly for a while, until that fateful, hot, humid, sticky day in New York City when one of the nameplates stuck in the machine. A few days later a lone sheepherder in Montana received 12,634 tear jerking letters asking him to subscribe to "Life" magazine.
The sheepherder, who hadn’t received a letter in years, took his knife, carefully slit open one of the mailbags and began reading his mail. Three weeks later, red-eyed, weary and up to his hips in 12,634 opened pieces of mail, he made out a check for $6.00, filled out a subscription coupon and sent it to the President of Time-Life personally, with the following note:
"I give up!"
If we were to add up all of the opportunities and blessings God had already prepared for us, that were missed and wasted through the years. It would no doubt be hundreds of thousands, if not in the millions.
Yet God continues, to look for new ways and opportunities to bless us on a nonstop basis, ready to deliver the moment we notice what He has always been faithfully doing!
God has already said, I Love you before you ever became aware of His Love!
If you will let the Lord have his way in your life, you too can have a Saul to Paul experience!
It not only will change your life, it will change your whole world, Praise God!!!
Sometimes in the natural, we don’t see how Gods promises are going to come to pass in our lives and in the church. But we have been reassured many times, through a prophetic word, He will be faithful to complete the work He started.
Pray for the new that’s coming, be willing to let go of the old before it does and hold on to your hat, because God is working on something new and exciting for all those who love Him and want to be a part of the new that’s coming sooner than you think!
This world in which we live, is changing so fast around us, we can hardly keep up with the changes, even with round the clock news coverage.
There has never been a time in the history of the church, that has been closer to the second coming!
Embrace the new, set aside the old and get ready to embrace the exciting things God is going to do!!
Praise God, Amen?