THE SHARED SOLITUDE
I had a wonderful day in July riding my motorcycle to Indianola and back on unfamiliar roads across some of Iowa’s beautiful countryside. I went down several gravel and dirt roads on my return trip. On those roads I did not come across another vehicle. The beauty of the scenery was enhanced by the solitude. It is hard to explain the satisfaction of being by oneself exploring new roads on a motorcycle. But if one motorcyclist meets up with another and they chat about the highways and byways there is a shared sense of knowing and understanding this satisfaction even if there are not words adequate to describe it.
It is quite similar for true Christian believers. It is also hard to explain the satisfaction of knowing God and joining Him in a work he is doing in someone’s life. The experience of knowing the presence of God as King over the heart is unique to every disciple. And even though it is a great satisfaction, that satisfaction is hard to explain. Yet when one disciple meets up with another and they begin to chat about God leading them on highways and byways of life there is shared sense of knowing and understanding this satisfaction of being God’s servant even when words are inadequate to describe it.
Here is an experiment: For the next month, start out your day praying this simple prayer. “Lord Jesus, how may I serve you today, my Lord and King?” Then expect an answer. A thought may come to your mind right away, (especially if you combine reading the Bible with this prayer). Or a situation may arise much later in the day, and you will ‘just know’ you are supposed to say or do a certain thing. Then look for chance meetings with fellow disciples. Enjoy the sense of knowing and understanding each other even if the words to describe your unique experience serving the Lord are hard to come by.
KEEP IN STEP
My Grandfather was a WWII B24 Bomber pilot. He flew 35 bombing missions over Germany helping to defeat the Nazis. Even though his plane took frequent damage, he did not lose a single member of his crew. Confident in their cause and in defiance of the enemy, with mockery at the danger, he and his crew named their plane, Patches. At his funeral, a large turn-out from the American Legion paid him tribute with full military honors. They made a large half square around the grave site, colors (flags) rifles, “taps” on the trumpet, flag folders. It was so impressive to watch them keep in step with the commander and his orders. Likewise, it would have been impressive to watch my grandfather’s crew “keep in step” with his orders and with one another as they executed their missions.
You and I have the premier commander at our side. We have orders and missions to be executed, each one of us daily and all of us at OSLC as a unit. Our greatest privilege, joy and challenge in life is to recognize his ever presence, hear his commands, draw strength from his leadership and execute his orders. Orders from our Commander come in all sizes. For example, “stop long enough to acknowledge this toddler’s “hello” with locked eyes, a return reply, a smile and genuine warmth.” Or, “Get involved with sex-trafficking rescue operations.” It takes training and discipline and desire to recognize His presence and hear his orders. And it takes obedience. The more often you obey his prompting commands the easier it is to recognize (hear) the next. With practice we become an elite and impressive fighting force advancing the Kingdom of God. So, fellow soldier, “keep in step with the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25). Our Commander is with us, leading the missions.
Wow am I ever tired, just plain beat. It’s been a constant river of activity these past five weeks. However, with the help from friends in Norwalk and friends in Audubon, we have gotten moved. Now the time has come to start enjoying our new environment. So far the greatest enjoyment has been the many conversations I’ve been having. Some of these conversations have been impromptu, others planned, but all of them have taken on spontaneous lives of their own. Many times an additional party joins the conversation (this is otherwise known as prayer). All of these conversations bring an energy into me! This energy overcomes and displaces my tiredness instantaneously and with lasting impact. In fact, just writing about conversations has energized me. Now, instead of feeling, “tired, just plain beat,” I feel alert, enthusiastic and the anticipation of good times as this day and week and month unfold. So, DO NOT hesitate to give me a phone call or stop over to visit. Never think, “oh, I don’t want to bother him, he is probably very busy.” Your conversations are like fuel in my gas tank. There are times I am running on fumes. At those times, I’ll be grateful for a conversation energy boost! Proverbs 27:17 sums up these thoughts “as iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” Hooray for human sharpening!
Hello Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church family,
Getting started with you in this last week of April gives me a chance to share a thought or two in this May newsletter. So, that is pretty neat, I think. Here goes:
Thought #1. “Whoa! Whoa! Whooooa, Big Fella!” I’ve heard something like that watching old westerns on T.V.
A seasoned cowboy yells it as he grabs hold of the reigns on a runaway horse. At times, these first few days of being Our Saviour’s new pastor has felt like I’m on one of those runaway horses, and I’m wanting to holler, “Whoa! Big Fella! Whoa!”
Thought #2: God is so cool! Every day I pray, “Lord, please order my steps today.” And, each day I see ways he grants my request. A couple of examples; A few days ago I was in Pam’s office asking for Frank’s phone number. As I came out, guess who was just leaving the church building-yup, it was Frank! I ran after him and we talked. God was ordering my steps. Fun! Today, I needed to talk to Kyle, so I sent him a text message in the morning asking him to call at his convenience. He called a couple hours later. He said something like, “I’m heading over to the field to plant…I could stop by the church building on my way…see you in about 10 minutes.” I told him I was on the square walking to the post office, and 10 minutes ought to be good timing. Inside the post office, it seemed to take a bit longer than I expected, but when I was walking back east almost to City Hall, guess who drove by and honked at me from his truck. Yep, Kyle. God was ordering my steps. Fun!
Thoughts #3: I am riding a runaway horse, but the Lord Jesus himself is playing the role of the horse. And rather than have me saying, “Whoa! Big Fella! Whoa!” he wants me to just enjoy the ride. He wants you to do the same. By his grace, I am enjoying the ride. You can learn to do the same. Start by praying, “God, please order my steps today.”