A message from Ken…
Jane and I have been talking a lot lately about the “condition.” You know the one, the condition of the world around us. As a culture, “the secular world” has become so complicated; it’s consuming more and more of our attention and time to keep it stable. It’s much like the contrast between flying a plane in beautiful weather and piloting one in a storm; takes more effort, creates more stress. It seems very stormy right now! I think we’re living in extraordinary times. I have to keep reminding myself that there’s never really been an easy time. In fact, in spite of the terrible threats, bad attitudes, suspicious economies, frustration, bad tempers and gas prices, I suspect that Christians have always had to look at the world around them with some mild bewilderment at the way we have to face and try to solve the problems the world brings us.
We find from the earliest Words of God a world full of “trouble.” Adam, Joseph, Moses, David, Elijah, Paul, Peter, Jesus! They all faced the impossible. And, just as they were not born into a time of security and comfort, so are we not born into a “heavenly” place. Very simply, God calls all of us to a life of adventure, challenge and in some cases risk. But God has given us “information,” information that, if we will, we can take to heart: He has come with the purpose of giving us the opportunity to overcome trouble. And, while the storms seem to come from every direction, we can surely find rest in the middle the turbulence through the Grace and Mercy of God.
Paul is my favorite “dude” to watch in the Bible. He was “in danger at sea, in danger on the land, in danger of the Jews and Gentiles.” Paul was in danger all the time in almost all that he did! For our Peace, we must not forget this is a journey, a trip with high visions and sometimes valleys of disappointment. We travel in a land we are not sure of and a land not accustom to positive, spiritual travelers. It’s more familiar with the secular and the greedy than the humble and the tenderhearted. We are characterized in Scripture as strangers and wanders in this world.
Looking very closely at the text of Matthew 11:25, we find Jesus was talking about a tough time: John the Baptist questioned who Jesus was and doubted if Jesus was the “Expected One.” People rebuked him saying Jesus was a glutton and a drunkard. The cities, in which he had done most of his miracles, repented not! Not a good day you might say. But Jesus, at that specific time, said, “Even so Father…it is well in Your sight.” In other words, he found “rest” at a time when everything seemed to be going against him. A time of disappointment and failure in man’s eyes is not always a disappointment and failure in the Father’s. In that Scripture, Jesus, surrounded with trouble and disappointment, turned to his weary servants and offered them the same “Rest” where he had found his: In the Father’s purpose!
It is rarely the circumstances of the moment that causes us great fear. Rather, it is mostly the uncertainty of not knowing the future that produces the fear that sometimes overwhelms us. But, a Peace that reigns with His presence produces the Peace which nothing can disturb. That same Peace will keep and guard our hearts and minds (Phil 4:7). Think on these things; whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these. If you do these things then the God of Peace shall be in your presence.
Jane thinks I’m a “risk taker” because I like changes. I always want to change something at home: paint, siding, shutters, etc. She likes “no change.” She likes to have tomorrow just like today. It’s always seemed exciting to me not to be able to know tomorrow. I really believe that’s why we were permitted to do the radio station. It was a huge risk for our family. (I’m not talking about risk like you take at the casino, I mean a risk that is taken for the Gospel, one that is based on “What would love do?” a risk that produces “Life as the Father would have it for you.” That kind of risk and that kind only!) It was for the Gospel’s sake, but we were strongly inspired to do so, not just in our heads but also in our hearts. In my mind, God just took advantage of my nature for change. Another “great adventure.” When we first started the radio station we understood that we might fail! But, most importantly, we wanted to do this in God’s purpose, His mission, His Character. The important thing was not whether we failed at keeping it on the air, but if we did not make it, if the station ceased to exit, the story that would be told about it’s effect in the community would be more important than the length of our existence.
BVN is a part of the larger Church structure: “occupying until He comes.” We wanted to be busy about “His work,” not just sitting and waiting but actually active in “praising Him.” We took the “gospel risk” because we wanted to help create an environment for people to experience the “presence” of God in their lives and be a way to generate that Peace that passes all understanding in this “troubled world.”
“Faith is the ability to not panic, and when we get tangled up in our problems, be still. God wants us to be still so He can untangle the knot!” The Gospel is not so much living risk free as living free to risk (for the Gospel’s sake)! Yes, the “condition” is overwhelming sometimes. Yes, some of the things that we have to deal with as a citizen of this country and as a Believer in the Church are unfair and hard to live with. But being a Christian comes with the Leadership of the Spirit to guide us in these times. Truly, living your Christian life requires courage. Our life goals require that same courage and sometimes risk-taking for the Gospel’s sake. There is an old saying: “Learn from the turtle, it only makes progress when it sticks it’s neck out!
“We can take those ‘gospel risks’ that are found in our hearts and trust God to get us through. Live to do the things that will produce “Life as the Father would have it for us”. Faith, rooted and grounded in Love, produces the Liberty for us to do the most redeemable thing in our lives. Many times the things that make us feel vulnerable are the very things that God finds in His purpose. At the most unfortunate time in the ministry of Jesus, when things were falling apart, Jesus still found a way of experience and offer a powerful Rest. His load is easy and his load is light. All who are weary and burdened down, He offers that Rest. That’s the remedy for our “condition”.