02.18.10

It Takes All Kinds

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:45 am by Zane Brown

   All my life, I tried to fit in.  As a child, I tried to find my “fit” in my family.  In school, I played sports, drank beer, grew my hair long — it was the 60s for goodness sake — all in an attempt to find a spot, a niche, a place of acceptance. 

That’s also why I was baptized and joined the church at age nine.  It wasn’t until I was 18 that I realized my need for Christ as my Savior and really submitted to Him.   At age 20, I felt God’s call to vocational ministry.  YET, I was still trying to find a way to fit.  It was a decades-long , desperate search for acceptance. 

There are many who, like me, are searching for truth, answers, meaning in life, and acceptance.  Some turn to social organizations, some lean toward criminal gangs.  Many turn to the church hoping to find acceptance, encouragement, and love.  Unfortunately, subtle demands for uniformity have infilitrated the church.   “Come to Jesus just as you are,” we say.  But then we attempt to remake new believers in our own image.

Perhaps that’s why I felt so uncomfortable in ministry for so many years.  I had been trying to fit in rather than being myself.  But then, one glorious day, the psalmist reminded me of the unique stamp God had placed on my live when He formed me over 56 years.   I am “fearfully and wonderfully made” according to Psalm 139:14.   And the same is true of you.  God Himself formed you in your mother’s womb.  He created you to be remarkable and unique.  AND, before you ever drew a breath, all of your days were written in His book and planned.  In other words, He created YOU for a purpose.  You’ll never find that purpose trying to be someone you’re not.

The apostle Paul reminds us that it takes all kinds of unique individuals working together to be effective as the Body of Christ (I Corinthians 12).  Essentially, God has said to me, “Zane, it’s OK to be yourself.  That’s how I made you.”  My prayer and hope is that I can be as gracious to others as God is to me.  Our differences in appearance, abilities, experiences, giftedness, and methods are one of God’s ways of reminding us that we need each other if we are to function most effectively as the Body of Christ.  

Accept yourself as Christ accepts you.  Let Him bring about the changes that are necessary to give your life meaning.   Remember that He created you with a purpose in mind and when you begin to live out that purpose,  you will fulfill YOUR role in the Body of Christ.

02.04.10

Sacrificing Certainty

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:27 pm by Zane Brown

Have you ever been disappointed in someone you love?  Have you ever wondered if there was really anyone you could trust?  Have you ever gone through a time when life seemed so unfair, that you wondered if God was really there for you?   If you answered any of these questions with a “yes,” then Hebrews 6:13-20 is a biblical passage for you to underscore and highlight.   In those verses, the author reminds us that our lives and futures are dependent solely on God’s faithfulness, character, and promises.  When we place our full confidence in God, we have an anchor to hold us steady during the storms of doubt.  Indeed, in the catacombs where Christians sought refuge during persecution, one of the most familiar symbols of faith scribbled onto the walls was the anchor.

When do doubts increase??  Usually when things happen that you believe should never happen.  OR when things you believe should happen don’t.  OR when things you believe should happen now happen later or not at all.    When the people we count on let us down.

Doubts begin to loom in these circumstances because we’ve become accustomed to certainty and stability.   We like to know the beginning and the end.  And when we give our lives to Christ, that doesn’t change . . . at least not without some intentional effort.  There are those folks who would say that faith is God IS certainty and we should not doubt or fear.  But that is only partially true.  There are realms of uncertainty here.  There is spiritual uncertainty and there is circumstantial uncertainty.   Spiritual uncertainty is eliminated with faith in Christ.  We know without doubt that our sins are forgiven, heaven is our destination, and He has promised never to leave nor forsake us.  Those things are certain and absolute.    But we still live in a fallen world and inhabit bodies of flesh.  We are surrounded with circumstantial uncertainty and can do nothing about that BUT trust God.   In fact, when we submit to God’s purpose for our lives, it might result in more uncertainty that ever.  

God’s desire is for us to embrace  uncertainty as adventure.    That’s what happened to Moses in Exodus 3, David in I Samuel 17, Shadrach and his friends in Daniel 3,  the apostle Peter in Matthew 14,  Ananias in Acts 9, and Paul in Acts 20.   Each of them used the certainty of their faith to embrace the uncertainties of life and it carried them to adventures and victories that only God could have given.    Oswald Chambers wrote in My Utmost for His Highest:  “To be certain of God is to be uncertain in all our ways.  You never know what a day may bring.  This is generally said with a sign of sadness; it should rather be an expression of breathless expectation.”

Wouldn’t you love to live a life of adventure?  It’s within your grasp, but it requires sacrifice.  The sacrifice of certainty, the sacrifice of control, the sacrifice of stability.  Surrendering to what God wants rather that what you or others want for you.  It will be scary and exciting, but it will open your life to a power and strength like that of biblical heroes.   They were no different than you, except perhaps in their willingness to surrender everything, including certainty and stability,  to follow Jesus.    Stop being afraid of the “What mights” and ‘What ifs” and remember that you are linked the Anchor.   Your future in uncertain, BUT you can move towards it with confidence knowing that your faith in not in favorable circumstances but in the God of the universe. 

“The Anchor holds though the ship is battered.  The Anchor holds though the sails are torn.  I’ve fallen on my knees as I faced the raging seas.  The Anchor holds in spite of the storms. 

I have been young, but I’m older now.  And there is beauty that these eyes have seen.  But it was in the night through the storms of my life, Oh that’s where God proved His love for me.

                                                          —-  The Anchor Holds by Ray Boltz