The Bus Stop is a series of true stories about my life, people I've worked with and events I've experienced. Of course the names have been changed. I hope these stories will brighten your day with a few laughs as well as give you encouragement. Hopefully you can avoid making some of the mistakes I've made and if you have already made them, then you can identify with me.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Power of Desire

It’s taken me many years to understand this one principle and I wished I would have understood it so much sooner. It could have saved me a lot of grief and confusion to see this one principle.

The “Power of Desire” is so strong and it’s deeply rooted in our basic nature of sin. There is no one with magic words that will change the course of our intent if the intent has totally consumed us with getting our way. Only God can intervene and protect us from following through. The strongest of these I’m sure you know: Food, Sex, Alcohol, Drugs Tobacco. These are the most difficult because they are intertwined with bodily or physical pleasure and immediate gratification.

Have you ever got mad at God because He stood in the way of a sinful desire you wanted so much. I have. “Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.” James 1:15 This is simply saying that if we fulfill our sinful desire then we have some horrible consequences down the road.

In Luke 22:51-52 talks about when Jesus was arrested and Peter grabbed a sword and took a swing at the guard and cut off his ear. Immediately Jesus reached down, took the ear, placed it back on the man and healed it. You would think these people would have second thoughts about going through with their plans. It didn’t sway their purpose at all. Then later on the Jews were so adamant about crucifying Jesus. Nothing, absolutely nothing was going to get in their way of going ahead with their plans.

Jesus didn’t try to defend Himself in this kangaroo court because He knew it was a waste of time and words. The people had made up their minds and no one could change them. Still we have to remember that they didn’t take the life of Jesus, He gave His life. As He said earlier, “Don’t you know that I could call for 12 legions of angels and they would come and rescue me?” Matthew 25:53 Jesus was completely innocent of all charges and then the Jews spoke some of the most horrifying words in history. And all the people answered and said, “Let His blood be on us and on our children.” Matthew 27:25 I believe this is why the Jews have had so much pain and hardship throughout history. Remember the holocaust.

So how does this apply to my everyday life? Be on guard and not allow yourself to become obsessed with anything such as a person, place or thing. Once the obsession has taken over it’s very difficult to turn back without God’s intervention.

I have had several people approach me wanting me to talk to someone and see if I could help them to change their destructive life pattern. Many years ago this would appeal to my ego and I would arrogantly try to persuade them Of course it never worked. Now if anyone approaches me I know there is only one thing I can do and that’s pray for them. There is no one, no matter how clever they are and good with words can change their mind. All throughout the Bible it mentions several similar statements: Don’t waste wisdom on fools, don’t cast pearls before swine and so on. People that aren’t listening can’t hear. It’s that simple. Sounds like a teenager huh? If by chance I was to say anything that someone heard I know that it was God and not me.

It’s been said that the only person’s mind you can change is your own. This is not true once we become obsessed with a desire.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

To Honor and Serve

Some of you know that Karen (my wife) is in China right now. After flying out of Dallas they headed for New Jersey for a layover. During the flight Karen got up and her knee went out. She has been having difficulties with it everyday that she has been there. I couldn’t help but wonder what God was up to because I knew He was going to do something great and teach her some really cool stuff.

I learned this morning God was not only teaching her, but me as well. The Chinese students have been wonderful to her. They have been pushing her around in a wheel chair, helping her upstairs and more or less pampering her. I told her to sit back and enjoy it. God was showing her how much He loves and cares for her.

The story she told me this morning really touched my heart and convicted me as well. They went to see The Great Wall this morning and she was unable to climb the steps required to go to a certain area. So she just sat down and waited on everyone else. One of the female (Chinese) students stayed with her. Her name was Betty. (American name) Betty had never actually seen the Great Wall. She only lived a couple of hours away and has never seen it herself. Karen told her to go on, but she refused and said she was staying with her. Karen told her she didn’t want her to miss out, but Becky explained to her that it was an honor and a privilege to be with her. Wow!

How many times have we denied ourselves a possible a once in a lifetime experience to minister to the needs of another? If we did, then we probably would have resented it, got mad at God and the person we helped. They made us miss a very important engagement like going to the movies, late for a meal or missing a TV show. This is really preaching at me. The other side of the coin is if we did something selfless we became so proud of ourselves we made our arm sore from patting ourselves on the back.

Of course in everything there is balance. We can’t constantly miss engagements and appointments because we are ministering to the needs of others. This is the problem many pastors get into and they justify it be saying it’s their job and responsibility. So their family has to suffer because of their dedication. With some people it’s just the opposite. All their dedication is to their family and they have no time for anyone else. God’s way has always been balance. The most important thing is the heart and motives.

There are people in America that do such things as self-sacrifice, but only if there is a tip, paycheck or some kind of exchange involved. If we do acts of kindness with the expectation of getting something in return then it’s not an act of kindness.

So do we go out looking for someone to serve? No. We become aware of our surroundings and wait for God to show us who or what. So do we do it so God will bless us? No. We do it simply because it’s the right thing to do and not because it makes us feel good about ourselves. God may even bless someone else for our service. You see, I push elderly people around in their wheelchairs several days a week and maybe Karen is getting the blessing for this. I think that’s wonderful.

If we set out to do this within our own will power and flesh or selfishness God will not acknowledge our work. It has to come from the heart and no where else. As I talk to Karen everyday on Skype I learn more of the exciting events that God is doing through her. I can’t wait to see how this story ends. I guess you can call this Part 1.

Monday, May 2, 2011

What is God's Will for You?

Most of my life I have spent looking for God’s will for my life. It was a will that didn’t exist because God didn’t have a specific will for my life and He never has. That’s why I couldn’t find it. The truth is God only has one will and that’s His. It’s my responsibility to seek His will and get involved with what He is doing and not try to get Him involved with what I am doing.

Then my thought was, “Why did He give me these certain abilities, talents and gifts if He didn’t want me to use them?” He did, but not for my purpose, but for His. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28

I have had a very prideful attitude lately thinking since I’ve learned so much over the years and have been in high positions I was too good to do menial tasks. Was I ever wrong! I was unable to see myself doing these tasks and recently God opened my eyes to see myself and it was somewhat repulsive. It’s like walking into a new job and immediately expecting others to be awed at my presence. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. Matt. 20:26-28

For some time I’ve been feeling like I just don’t fit anywhere. So I just decided to sit and wait on God to send me a great revelation or phone call. That didn’t work either. You can’t sit still and do nothing and be in God’s will. I had to get involved with life again and while I am going see what and who God brings into my life. Then when He does then I need to be obedient and do what He tells me. This is where He will use the talents, gifts and abilities He has given me.

The way I saw it was God’s will is like a river that’s constantly flowing. I can either wonder around on the banks trying to do my own thing or I can get involved with what God is doing and get into the boat. His grace carries me down the river bringing new opportunities. When I’m obedient and can be trusted with the little things He will bring greater things into my life. “His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” Matthew 25:23

There is God’s obvious will and that’s simply learn to apply what He has already told us in black and white. God’s Word is His will written out for us. The 10 Commandments is a good place to start. If we’re not even familiar with those then we’re not ready for greater things. It’s like walking into a hospital wanting to be a heart surgeon and we’ve never even been to school yet. I’m sure we would be escorted out swiftly by security.

I know that getting involved with what Jesus is doing is so much easier than trying to do my own thing, but I know it has to start with humility.