Where to Go, Where to Be? – that is the question

Have you ever been totally divided on where to be when there are at least 2 different options for where you feel you must be?  Have you felt split in the heart…Do I go  here, Do I go there?  Where to go and where to be? – that is the question.  Most everyone who reads this will probably have experienced this many, many times in life.  Choices.  Decisions.  Multiple plans, projects, and places – all happening in and around the same time.  Maybe someone is stranded at the fork in the road right now, debating what to “partake of” and what to “decline” or “postpone.”

We certainly do struggle with omnipresence.  Our physical limitations place restrictions on us.  Very much unlike God and the beauty of the Godhead, we can’t be everywhere, all the time, in each and every situation.  He can.  He is.  He will be.

I have found this to perhaps be one of the most challenging, heart wrenching aspects of having a son with cancer, who needs to travel 3 hours in each direction for treatment, appointments, tests, and follow ups.  With no options for pediatric hematology/oncology on the coast, and with some limitations to what is even offered in Greenville (ECU), the consistent weekly journey to UNC Chapel Hill is necessary.  More available resources.  More research and clinical trial information.  A teaching and learning facility.  Surely Eli is in one of the best hospital-clinics within a day’s drive.  But that doesn’t solve the issue:  His treatment is there and the life of our family is here.

More recently, and forgive me if I am lamenting – this has surfaced with his near weekly stays in Chapel Hill.  As we get into tomorrow, Tuesday, this will complete a cycle of 26 days in Chapel Hill out of the past 52.  I believe that math is correct.  Yet, other responsibilities remain here, in Carteret County.  So this dad has experienced that torn heart – that willingness to be here when I am there, and there when I am here (I hope that makes sense).  But beyond this, of course, I think of Eli, and Angela, and Sandy, my mother-in-law.  It is not fun to be confined to a pediatric cancer floor, for 6 days at a time, with your son and grandson.  I think and pray for them constantly, when I am here.

I say much of this to say this:  I am so glad our God is omnipresent and transcends all of time, space, matter, and distance.  I am glad that when there are 5 and 6 days when I don’t get to see my son and my wife, that He brings them close in spirit.  It’s like they are planted in my heart – even as miles separate us physically.  The peace He provides, and delivers, passes the understanding.  It goes far beyond it.  So many times I have thought and said, “I can’t imagine living, or being, without God being an active, welcomed part of my life.”  More recently, that has also become, “I can’t imagine facing something like this, a diagnosis like this, without having God as the centerpiece of life.”  Same thing really – but the context is expanded.  We really need Him close all the time, friends.

I would just like to ask my family and friends, who might actually read this – to continue to pray for Eli (first) and to add our family to your prayer list as well.  The next 8 week phase was shared with Angela this past Saturday, and while we were thinking and hoping for somewhat of a break in the intensity of the treatment plan and travels, it appears that won’t happen until October.  Surely Eli needs this next phase – but so much is happening right here at home too.  Just pray that God, in His infinite and supreme will, would make a way where there seems to be no way.  Perhaps the challenges we face with logistics are mere opportunities for His power to be demonstrated.  I believe He can – I believe He will.

I pray for you.  May His presence be manifested in every area of your life.  No matter what the challenge is today – God is bigger, greater, and far more powerful.  He has overcome the world.  Be blessed and be light.  You are loved!

With thanks and gratitude,

Porter

Romans 12:1-2

The Greater

I am in my low 40’s (please notice the heavy emphasis on the word, “low”).  Thought you would like that.  Anyway, the more I continue along this God-ordered, Jesus-led, Spirit-filled journey, the more I realize and see ever the more that “knowledge really does puff up, and love really does build up.”  This is in fact scriptural.  Jesus lived it out.  Paul made it a central line of his teaching.  People spend years and hundreds of thousands of dollars on tuition to obtain more and more knowledge.  Total annual U.S. sales of “Christian” products in 2005, which excludes Bible sales (this is the latest data I could find) was $7 billion dollars.  In 1969 the total was $4 million.  Source:  www.businessweek.com

Don’t tell me in the last 25 years we haven’t been predominately on a “resource” binge for more knowledge.  But why?  If what Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 8 and Ephesians 4 is correct and true and reliable, we should be seekers of love above knowledge.  After all, who in the world would want to deal with or associate with 1 more “puffed up” person?  Don’t we just want to be in on God’s love?  Don’t we want to distribute this love to the world?  Don’t we want our local churches to be more of a healing and hope center and less of an academic institution? 

I am not beating up education and sound instruction.  But what I am stating is that at some point, we have to get into the Lab.  This faith, this belief, this whole Christian experience has to hit the streets and get running.  Otherwise, one could argue and make the strong point that we are just seeking knowledge.

This Sunday, July 22, 2012, we land in Acts 9.  A powerful, life-transforming, cataclysmic event happens to 1 man.  Yes, a man, a person, just like you and me.  But the event results in him seeing the erroneous, misdirected path that he was pursuing at the expense of following the way, the truth, and the life.  He was a seeker of knowledge for many years – but on that day, he started on a new path of love.  There was a good aspect of the knowledge – it allowed him to never forget who he was, and who, in Christ, he was able to become.  The road to Damascus was the crossroad, and it required a monumental, supernatural interruption by God to get his attention.  The reality is:  God is getting people’s attention even today.  Perhaps He is knocking now, or leading now, or knocking you off a horse now…

Join us Sunday @ 10:00 a.m. as we dive into this awesome account in the record of the early church.  God is truly seeking those who will build themselves up in love, in His love.  But the first thing that must be done is that we acknowledge His presence and Who He is.  The first thing Paul said when he was laying on the ground was this:  “Who are you, sir” (Acts 9:5, GWT).  Question:  Do you know Him today?  Do you really know The Sir?

See you Sunday…I will be praying that the Holy Spirit directs our hearts as we draw closer to our time together.  May He lead us in all truth!

Porter

Anything and Everything Else

Tired of a day and time when anything and everything else seems to get more attention, more priority, and more urgency then God does?  I mean, we have time for work, for TV, for kid’s dance recitals and sports practices, for vacations and shopping – but when it comes to actively getting involved in a faith decision and taking God seriously, and knowing Him, we reason:  It will have to wait.  I am to busy with anything and everything else, right now.  Maybe later.

Over and over throughout the Word, we learn what befalls people and nations when eyes and hearts are taken off of God.  For a few decades now in our nation, faith has seemingly fallen into the genre of “optional,” “as needed,” and “only when necessary.”  The culture seemingly has no tolerance for community, relationship, and involvement with a group of Christian believers.  After all, it’s a new day and season and as time passes on, we need freshness to engage us and keep our attention.  Bigger.  Better.  More.  Much more.

The Book of Acts actively and dynamically paints a much different picture.  It shows a movement that could not, would not, and will not be contained.  It shows life in a way that nothing else can.  It is a record about a relatively small group of Sold-Out believers who partnered with God, trusted Him, and were involved in giving away Jesus and their faith.  But instead of diverging here into the vast array of evidence we have, I encourage you to join us on Sunday @ Bridgeway, 10 AM.  If you follow this Blog from outside the local area, and don’t have a church community and family who you are doing “life” with, the best advice I can give you is this:  Find one, and don’t delay any longer.

Remember:  The deepest, most important questions of life and death will never be answered by government, money, lifestyle, or the American dream.  Only God can satisfy and bring a contentment and hopefulness that the world can’t rip apart, minimize, steal, or eradicate.

Be blessed!

Porter

Not Surprised

Have seen and heard a lot of commentary in the past few days regarding the decision by the U.S. supreme court on health care.  Have seen and heard a lot of political statements on the future of this nation.  Have seen and heard from people who are on each side of the political aisle, and even some who fall in the middle.  Have seen and heard from those who are either upset and irritated or happy and elated.  Catching 10 or 15 minutes of the news or seeing it on your homepage will seemingly cover the details, and even some “spin.”  Everyone is talking about the U.S., politics, government, the election, and the supreme court.

So today, I can say, that I have “seen and heard all I care to.”

I am not surprised by what is unfolding here in our county, or for that matter, around the world.  I am not surprised at the political discourse and rhetoric that we hear from local to national politics.  I am not surprised by the path that we are on, as people take their eyes off of what is truly most important and are seemingly willing to sell their entire future for short term band-aids.  Sure, it is heartbreaking, but what can you expect?

Placing hope in politics to “fix” things or “restore” things or “change” things that matter most in life  is the clear error.  Government and politics will never transform hearts and lives; they can never answer the most important questions.  For years now, they have seemingly ceased to care about being “for the people and by the people.”  They care not about being guilty of taxation without representation.  Humble service and principled debate has been gone.  There seems to be no ethical or moral requirement to run, or qualify, for any office – anywhere.  It’s more about money and power than core beliefs and honorable service.  A catchy phrase, even with empty promises, can take you far if you are good enough to market it.

Instead of going on – I can only pray.  Instead of being caught up in the mayhem – I am only led to my knees.  If what is unfolding in our world, nation, and communities isn’t enough to drive us directly to our knees, in prayer, nothing else will.  For many eyes have been drawn off the Lord and placed on so many other things in the last few decades.  More recently, this has occurred systemically and even among some Christians.  People of all walks of life believe, today, that the system has the people’s “best interests at heart.”  That has never been true and it will never be true – no matter how well it is sold, wrapped, and advertised.  Only God has our very best interests at heart!

I pray.  Many pray.  We pray together and we must continue to.  This world, this nation, and our communities are in dire need of a movement of God.  A movement that only He can instrument and orchestrate through His Spirit.  We must return to our 1st love!  We must be about the Father’s business!  We must take to heart God’s heart and vision.  We need restoration of godliness and purity – love and community.  Yes, I believe this needs to be elevated as priority #1.  I am reminded as I sit here at home, looking upon our Eli and factoring in this aggressive treatment plan that he is in the middle of, that God has the whole thing in the palm of His hand.  Our choice and our responsibility is to simply be His witnesses and spread the Word in these days.  You do know we have good news to distribute, don’t you?  Whether on the mountain or in the pit of the valley – we need to distribute Jesus to everyone we come into contact with.

This week, let us ask ourselves:  Who can we give Jesus to, and, Who can we be Jesus to?   There is no shortage of people to reach; no shortage of work to be done.  Be encouaraged, He has overcome the world!  I hope you find that to be good news.

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you.  And you will be My witnesses to testify about Me in Jerusalem, and in Judea, and in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1, v.8).

He is worthy!  He is able!  He will satisfy!  Let us seek first His Kingdom, whole-heartedly, and we can be assured that He will take care of everything else.  You are loved!

Porter