Monday, August 1, 2011

On the Road to Damascus..........or something like it.

   I was inspired recently by my favorite person in the whole world, my wife, to start this blog.  You see, my wife is, and has been, an aspiring writer for some time now.  She has actually done quite a bit of writing in the time that I have had the privilege of knowing her.  At first, I knew of her poems and her lyrics.  And it grew into a heart's desire to share the experiences and insights that God has given her with others around her.  She has written a number of devotional inspirations to women and I have heard (and seen) of the tremendous impact that it has had on the women she shared with.  And now, my wife, the woman who for so long struggled to find what God had called her to be, (outside of the wonderful mother of our children and amazing wife and friend to me) has finally put pen to paper and started her own blog!  (I guess pen to paper is kind of an outdated imagery point now.  More like finger to computer I guess!)  

   In one day she got 57 hits in four countries!  WOW!  So you may ask, is this a competition to see who can be the better blogger?  No.  Decidedly no.  Terrifyingly no.  I have no grand illusions that my blog will be some sort of competing interest, nor is it likely to draw as much interest as my wife's.  You see, my wife has the gift of voice and encouragement.  When she meets someone, there is an instant connection.  She has a way of just seeing into the heart of the person and sees deeply the spirit within them.  Me, I'm more of a bumbling fool in that regard.  I get so easily distracted and it can be painful sometimes.  I love people and genuinely want to get to know them on a personal level, but I am so easily distracted.  You see, I am a pastor and the number of families I meet and the concerns that I go through in ministry quite honestly draw my attention so much!  Not only that, but my mind is constantly running about in circles with family, ministry, school, other work and so on and so forth....  Not that I am uninterested, quite the opposite really.  But my wife, she is AH-mazing!

   And that brings me to this post.  I've titled this blog "The Romans Journey" because in my life, I am so impacted by the Apostle Paul's ministry and dedication to Christ.  Paul was such a miraculous and encouraging leader and disciple of Christ, effectively the first "great" evangelical witness to the world!  Paul was so sold out for God and he was determined that nothing was going to separate him from the love of God.  But you know, it wasn't always that way.  Paul had a torrid and tumultuous past that was filled with actions and dedications set against the Gospel.  But Christ got a hold of Paul on the road to Damascus, and the rest is history...

   And isn't it the same with us?  We all have a past that was set against Christ.  We all determined our actions and our decisions predicated by the desires of our flesh.  But Christ got a hold of me.  And I hope he got a hold of you!  God looked down on me and blessed me with amazing grace and mercy that He did not have to.  He plucked me off of the road of my life, blinded me to the lies, and opened the truth of his Word before me.  Look in the Book of Acts (chapter 9) and see what I mean.  Here, God described Paul (Saul of Tarsus) "breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord..."!  Wow!  I read that and thought how angry and justified does one have to get to go to the level of animosity that Saul was at?  And yet, I have the possibility of doing that every day.  Every day that I choose my way and not God's I sound that bell of war that screams of my independence and defiance.  But it's not everyday and it's not murderous by any means however, each time I choose the lesser of the two, I create this separation between God and I.  Sin takes over and if given the time and space to grow, would overtake me and lead me to death!  But that's where God meets me each and every time.  Like Christ did on the road with Saul; "Why are you persecuting me?"  

   And that's what is so gracious about our Lord and savior.  Christ gently dealt with Saul in a way that prepared the way for the greatest Evangelist the world has likely ever seen!  I love how God describes Paul's conversion; Acts 9:17 and following shares that "Ananias departed and entered the house, and after laying his hands on him said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road by which you were coming, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” And immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he regained his sight, and he got up and was baptized; and he took food and was strengthened."  Paul immediately began to preach about the wonders of Christ and I hope to be like the same.  My hope and prayer is that this blog can play a very small part in that.  If I can inspire you to share the Gospel, to be compelled beyond a shadow of a doubt to disciple the nations, then I am excited to do so.

   Like Paul said, "for my part, I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.  For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes..." Fellow Romans, I hope you'll join me on this road.  It's sure to be a bumpy road, and there's a chance for a few interesting challenges we will face along the way, but it promises to never be dull and Christ never falls short!

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