Adopt a Revolutionary Motto for Your Life – Chapter 16

Posted by on May 30, 2014 in The Story | 0 comments

In the early formation of our nation George Washington had the opportunity to become king of the
burgeoning nation. But given the young nation’s experience with England and because he had a robust
prayer life he knew there was only one King, so he declined the offer.

The people of the land apparently knew the same. “In a 1774 report to King George, the Governor of
Boston noted: ”If you ask an American, who is his master? He will tell you he has none, nor any governor
but Jesus Christ.” The pre-war Colonial Committees of Correspondence soon made this the American
motto: “No King but King Jesus.”

The story of God’s chosen people might have gone very differently had they chanted the same motto.
Instead, they wanted a king. Over the period of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah there were thirty-eight
kings. Only five of them were good. Of the others a refrain heard throughout the Old Testament goes
like this: “They did evil in the eyes of the Lord.”

Prophets appeared exhorting the people to turn back to God. God spoke through one prophet—Isaiah—
to tell the people of Judah that they would be captured and deported to Babylon but afterward he would
bring them back home. The purpose? “Then you will know that I am the Lord; those who hope in me
will not be disappointed. Then the whole human race will know that I, the Lord, am your Savior, your
Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob” (Isaiah 49:23).

In Isaiah 53 the prophet depicts the coming Messiah. “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by others, a man of
suffering, and familiar with pain” (Isaiah 53: 2, 3). God did not want the people to miss him. But they
did. And still do.

Our nation would have gone a much different route had Washington agreed to be king. But he seemed
to know what many others didn’t. When we displace God on the throne of our lives, the outcome will
go horribly wrong. But when we put God on the throne in our lives, we put ourselves in the best possible
position for godly success.

Maybe our American ancestors knew the best way to start a revolution. Adopt the motto “No King but
King Jesus” in your life. See what changes that ignites in your life.

1 Idea from Randy Frazee’s sermon on The Story, Chapter 16. Reference from “Is America a Christian Nation?”

Read The Story. Experience The Story. Used with permission © Zondervan 2010

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Can You Hear Him Now? – Chapter 15

Posted by on May 20, 2014 in The Story | 0 comments

Verizon Wireless created one of the most memorable marketing campaigns ever in 2005. In their
commercials a so-called “test man,” accompanied by a crowd of network engineers, travels the country
asking the simple question, “Can you hear me now?” in an ongoing exercise to determine the reliability
of the mobile phone carrier’s network.

The “catch phrase” caught on. The company’s market share went up and employee turnover went down.
It seemed people could relate to the struggle to connect. Folks were tired of dropped calls and unreliable
communication systems. And Verizon sent a message that they wanted desperately to connect with its
subscribers and wanted its subscribers to be able to connect with each other.

At the risk of selling him short, God has done the same. Even when the Kingdom had split in two, he
kept sending his message. He gave the people of the Divided Kingdom some 208 years to decide whether
they would “accept” or “reject” his call. He sent his own “technicians” to get the message out. We call
them “prophets.”

The job of the Verizon technician is unique. But not nearly as unique as the task given Hosea. Hosea,
himself a prophet, appeared in a down time in the nation of Israel. The reality is that people often hear
best when things are at their worst. So Hosea signed on with God. But God gave him a most unusual
assignment. Hosea’s life would be his message. He was to marry a prostitute named Gomer and love her.
What an incredible request! (Just imagine a young man with a seminary degree in hand trying to explain
that one to a pastor search committee.)

The tough assignment was made even more difficult as Gomer left Hosea. She would conduct her ‘transactions’
with customers and all the time in her mind believing they were the ones supporting her. In
reality, though, it was Hosea who continued to care for her and provide for her necessities even during
her times of unfaithfulness.

God tells Hosea to go and demonstrate his love for her, so he does. Now picture this scene, as ugly as it
is: Hosea pays some Hebrew “pimp” for some time with his wife, Gomer. When she enters the room
expecting her next customer, she comes face-to-face with her husband. It is then that Hosea tells her
again he loves her and wants her to come back home.

It’s the lived-out message that Hosea later gives in words. And it’s the same message God sends today.
He loves us—even in our extreme unfaithfulness. And he wants us to come back home, even though we
have abandoned him. But much like a call on your cell phone, you can hit the “accept” button or the
“reject” button. You have the power to send God to voicemail and make him wait. Or you can answer his
call today. The people of Israel had 208 years to pick up and they never did. The network is clear.
The message is reliable. Can you hear him now?

Read The Story. Experience The Story. Used with permission © Zondervan 2010

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When Life Feels Like It’s On a Roll – Chapter 20

Posted by on May 12, 2014 in The Story | 0 comments

Sometimes you may feel like life is a big gamble. Like the outcome of your life is resting on how the dice
roll for you. If they roll right, you get “lucky.” If they roll badly, your life goes down the tubes.
There are times when the stars seem to align just right and you find yourself basking in a bundle of blessings.

Then there are times when everything seems out of sync and you find yourself drudging through
a junkyard of disaster. Some would call this a coincidence. Others would call if pure luck. But another
group would say that someone is working behind the scenes working out your destiny. And they’d be
right! But is more than just someone.

Esther would understand. She is minding her own business as her people are captive in Persia. Meanwhile
Haman—who has been given great authority by the King of Persia—is developing a hatred for
Jews. In particular, he hates Mordecai. It seems Mordecai will not bow down to Haman whenever he
parades through the streets of Susa.

Haman decides to teach Mordecai a lesson. He gets King Xerxes to sign a decree that on a certain day all
the Jews can be killed. And anyone killing a Hebrew would be allowed to keep the personal possessions
of the deceased Hebrew.

To determine the exact day when the Hebrews will be exterminated, Haman rolls the dice. Adar the
13th becomes the target date.

In the meantime, the king is having some issues with the queen. She refuses the king’s summons so she is
released of her queenly duties. Then, because he needs a new queen, he holds the first “Bachelor” contest
to find a new wife. The short story is that Esther gets the rose and becomes his queen.

Yet Xerxes did not know Esther was a Hebrew. Nor that Esther was kin to Mordecai. The king adds
another edict that will allow the Hebrews to defend themselves, which turned out good for the Hebrews
and bad for any Persian that attacked a Hebrew on Adar the 13th.

And Haman? Well, in a strange twist of events he wound up impaled on a pole he himself had erected
for Mordecai. Not sure he got “the point” of the story, but I hope you do. Oddly enough throughout the
book of Esther you will never find the name of God mentioned. Not once.

There are days you may think he is not around either. But the story of Esther reminds us that he is, sometimes
behind the scenes, working things out for “good for those who love him” (Romans 8:28).
And when you don’t feel he is around, that’s more your problem than his.

He has put you right where you are, right now, so you can make a difference. You can say the words
someone needs to hear. You can be the example someone needs to see. You can help someone find
freedom from sin. So let others roll the dice and you let God take care of the rest.

Read The Story. Experience The Story. Used with permission © Zondervan 2010

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Don’t Forget to Wish For the Best – Chapter Thirteen

Posted by on May 5, 2014 in The Story | 0 comments

Here’s something that might bring back memories for some of us. Think back to Christmases of our
childhood: what was the symbol of all our Christmas wishes? How about the Sears Wish Book? Do you
remember it from when you were young? We would hopefully page through the giant catalogue, circle
our choices in pen, and pray that Santa would deliver our requests on Christmas morning.

The first Sears Wish Book was printed in 1933. Over time it has diminished in size and was even discontinued
at one point. It was revived in 2007, but the current books are nothing in size compared to the
books some of us can remember from our youth. Children today don’t really need one. They have the
Internet and their high tech toys to cruise the information highway to identify their holiday “wants.”
But “back in the day” the Sears Wish Book helped us answer the seasonal question: “If you could have
anything for Christmas, what would you ask for?”

You may not need the Sears Wish Book today, but you have some wishes too, don’t you? Next Christmas
how would you answer the question, “If you could have one thing in the world, what would it be?”

Solomon had to answer that one. He asked for wisdom. And God gave it to him. But by the end of his
life he had accumulated more and more: more gold, more horses, more wives. He had it all and wanted
more. In the midst of all these gifts he lost sight of the Giver. He turned away from God and lost it all.

Another King gave us another path to follow. He had it all and gave it all . . . for us. In the Christmas
season, or any season for that matter, you can guard yourself from the tyranny of too much stuff by giving.  Simply give so that others can simply live. That’s what the King born as a baby in the manger did.

And my wish? That you visit the manger and find him.

Read The Story. Experience The Story. Used with permission © Zondervan 2010

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