About Dr. Gary Sorrells

From birth to death, I am God-wired. My body is not as energized as in earlier times, yet as my soul runs toward the finish line it carries a dream. I want to give glory to God by writing. Only now is the timing right to lean hard into this gift from God. For the first time in life, the totality of my God walk with family, the church, academic training, work experience, life scars, and accrued wisdom, provides value to share through the written word. It is as if all of the trails of life are crossing at this point. My formal education includes the B.A., M.A. and the Doctor of Ministry degrees in Bible from Abilene Christian University. Between 1980 and 2011, I worked with the Non-Profit entity, Great Cities Missions. I currently serve as Director Emeritus and as a member of the Board of Trustees. -Gary J Sorrells Gary@GodReflection.org

He Invites Me to Join with Him to Work Together


GodReflection: Does God Care Specifically About Me?

gary portraitIt was an invitation that set the direction of my life.

There are non-consequential invites and invitations that change the course of one’s walk. Seldom does an invitation to a party, a meal or a friendly outing redirect one’s life.

Consequential invitations are game changers.

Most of us would be rather surprised how few invitations are the biggies. Morality, education, career, and family direction are set by a handful of consequential decisions.

inviteHalf way through my junior year at the university I received a personal invitation to join a work that was to become a major game changer. The uniqueness of the opportunity caught my attention. I sensed God call and felt His selection tap on my shoulder.

The invitation came from sixteen families who moved to Sao Paulo, Brazil after their own college graduation to plant churches. The story I chronicle in the book, Make Your Vision Go Viral, arguably places my acceptance of their invitation as one of two most consequential invites of my life.

As significant as was that invite it wasn’t the most consequential.

The biggest one took place when Creator God invited me at an early age to trust Him and place my life under His direction. He invited me to join with Him as we work together. I’ll admit, that is quite a claim on my part. Such an invitation could only come from a God who overflows with grace and seems to relish invite2His role as Father.

In essence when I accepted His invitation through faith and baptismal water I did no less than sign up to join in the work of the God of the Universe.

Without a doubt that was the most consequential invitation I’ve every accepted.

In Paul’s first letter to the church in the city of Corinth (1 Corinthians 12) he goes to great lengths to describe the variety of gifts God distributes with diversity among believers. Paul specifically makes the point that in each of our gifts “it is the same God at work” (1 Corinthians 12:6).

Is it too bold to think that God looks forward to the day when any of His created ones accept His invitation to join with Him in His work?

invite5In concise language the apostle Paul paints a portrait of God’s invitation to join his work:

And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2: 6-10).

So here I am, “created to do good works.” Throughout my daily walk I use my God-issued skillset with full confidence that He is at work with me as I deploy each bricks2gift.

With this, I set brick number ten of twelve.  He Invites Me to Join His Work.

Like the previous nine, I lay this brick with a sense of awe and humility to help me become less of an “earthoholic” and more addicted to the Holy as I seek God’s reassurance that He care specifically about me.

Have you ever thought about your earth-walk in terms of a joint venture with the God of the Universe?

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells
A GodReflection: He Invites Me To Join With Him to Work Together.

Gary@Godreflection.org

http://www.GodReflection.org

http://www.MakeYourVisionGoViral.com

 

He Knows My Name and Desires My Company


GodReflection: Does God Care Specifically About Me?

gary portraitLife in the Pecos Valley of New Mexico’s Chihuahuan Desert was rather informal.

Mostly, we were on a first name basis. Although, at school we addressed the teachers and our principal as Mr., Mrs., or Miss—dependent upon marital status—and we prefaced those who practiced medicine or dentistry with Doctor.

name4On the street and in the church, we went by a person’s given name. Theron was our song leader, A.C. our Bible teacher, Bob worked with our teens, and Robert or Ray preached from the pulpit.

There was not a lot of sophistication in the desert. There was respect but little pretense. Regardless of age we knew each other by name.

Holy Scripture paints the portrait of God as the Almighty who knew by name each person of His creation.

name5From a bush consumed with fire the name “Moses, Moses” rang out. Surely, there is more to that scene than the text shares. There stood Moses. I can only imagine the quiver of his lips and the lack of stability that must have shook his legs as he responds to a plant on fire.

His “Here I Am,” began a four decade-plus relationship between Father God and one of His beloved human creation.

At the end of his walk across life and the desert his epitaph reads: Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face (Deuteronomy 34:10).

Over a millennium later Jesus reveals a newsflash. Creator God is His Father who not only knows my name but also desires my company.

Jesus raised the curtain on his identity with his declaration to Philip, “If you really know me, you will know my Father also.”  He did no less than opened the door I needed for reciprocal companionship with Creator God.

When I see Jesus for who he is I actually see Father God.

pain14So, I read of God who knows Mary, Martha and Lazarus. I see Creator God as He loves them, dines with them, and cries with them (John 11-12).

In Luke’s gospel I read of Martha who opened her home to Jesus. He is the embodiment of God who “loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus” (John 11:5).

Companionship is what happens when hearts link together. Through Jesus I see God who always knows precisely what is on people’s heart.

Martha, Mary and Lazarus linked hearts with Jesus. Frequently, He came and went from their home. Companionship was real. Jesus’ presence in their home was no less than the reality that God enjoyed the company of Martha, her sister Mary and Lazarus her brother.

Ok, what does all of this have to do with me?

Immediately, I’m drawn to Jesus’ words as he addressed a crowd of multiple thousands in Luke chapter twelve:

name6“Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”

Should there be any doubt that a God who knows every sparrow and numbers each hair on my head would also know my name? And, Father God wants me to know I am valued.

I think of one other incident from Luke chapter ten that took place in the home of the two sisters and their brother. It too is a reminder of God who knows my name and desires my companionship:

Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

name8“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

There are times in my life when I find myself “worried and upset about many things.” I too need to hear companion God call my name. “Gary, Gary,” (God uses given names) “few things are needed—or indeed only one,” that is to keep company with the One who knows your name.”

So here is the ninth brick of twelve, He knows my name and desires my bricks4company. I lay brick number nine to help me become less of an “earthoholic” and more addicted to the Holy as I seek God’s reassurance that He care specifically about me.

God also knows your name and desires your company. How do you respond?

Stay tuned. 

 

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells

A GodReflection: He Knows My Name and Desires My Company. 

Gary@Godreflection.org  www.GodReflection.org

www.MakeYourVisionGoViral.com

 

He Shares with Me His Spirit


GodReflection: Does God Care Specifically About Me?
gary portraitMy acquaintance with the Holy Spirit is a process. Like the metamorphic change of a caterpillar into a beautiful butterfly I have a profound desire for the resident Spirit to work its transformative power to help me move from acquaintance to a close relationship.

An almost forgotten voice in my family church linage is that of Kentuckian Barton W. Stone (1772-1844). In his sermon “The Four Unities,” his fourth unity which he identifies spirit0as “fire unity” where he affirmed that the Spirit’s residence in the hearts of believers is what unites the body of Jesus—the church.

I am united and with Jesus and all believers through His Spirit that took up residence in my body and soul when I submitted to God through His Son.

spirit3With the apostle Peter’s revelation and instruction “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit,” Jesus shares His Spirit with all submissive humans.

Another apostle, Paul, wants me to join with Timothy his protégé to “guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.”

Do I have to understand the reality of the Spirit within for me to trust its reality?

When I think of Christ followers of the first three centuries I am reminded that their walk with Jesus took place without the advantage of a Bible with sixty-six books and letters. Truth is, until recent times a majority of the Christian world walks an identical path.

I suspect those early believers were hard-wired to the daily present Holy Spirit far beyond what I can possibly imagine. Their discernment antenna probably tuned into the Spirit more readily than mine does.

spirit6In stark contrast, I have 24/7 access to Holy Scripture through King James, the American Standard Version, the RSV, NIV, the ESV, and a gazillion other translations to aid my walk.

Around-the-clock, podcasts, sermons, websites, and Christian writers flood my brain. I suspect the Spirit sifts and chooses through all of that input to provide me with daily guidance.

However, with all my advantages could it be that I fail to see through it all to appreciate as I should the Spirit’s action within?

spirit7I would like to think that my Spirit discernment is on the upswing as my path wines toward the sunset. There times when I see His presence with greater clarity. But, through it all I plant my eighth brick on the witness of the aged apostle John.

Most likely in his nineties, after walking Jerusalem’s street and country sides with Jesus; after observation of death, burial and resurrection; after persecution and a lifetime of perseverance; after daily acquaintance with the post ascension presence of Jesus’ spirit within his own body; old John writes:

This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them (1 John 4: 13-16).

spirit10Through a lifetime I’ve seen enough intermittent signs of the Holy Spirit to trust His presence as an indwelt guide. I know He is there even when I miss His sign posts.

So here is brick number eight of twelve: He shares with me Hisbrick7 Spirit.

Like the previous seven, I lay this brick to help me become less of an “earthoholic” and more addicted to the Holy as I seek God’s reassurance that He cares specifically about me.

Don’t you suspect we would all be more successful at life were we to acknowledge Holy Spirit presence and accept His assistance?

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells
A GodReflection: He Shares With Me His Spirit

Gary@Godreflection.org
http://www.GodReflection.org
http://www.MakeYourVisionGoViral.com

I Sit with Him at the Family Table


GodReflection: Does God Care Specifically About Me?
“Blessed is the one who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.” Luke 14:15

gary portraitI come from a long tradition of the family table.

Grandparents, aunts, uncles, aunts, cousins, and other friends had WELCOME signs engraved in doormats and hearts. There were always open chairs at the tables.

From toddler through high school graduation, our meals were served at the family table. However, from the table more than caloric nutrition was imparted to those seated in our family circle.  At each meal my dad directed a simple prayer to God: “We thank thee for this food and all other blessings.” Under that holy anthem we learned to laugh, converse, enjoy and tolerate each other.

picnic1On celebratory occasions the family table morphed into feast mode. Grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins gathered around a table weighed down with apple, pecan, peach and cherry pies along with a huge variety of cakes, meats, salads, and breads. Noticed I mentioned the pies first.

Our church family table was an even greater feast. Together we celebrated family and the blessing of abundance.

The prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel anticipate the time of a grand banquet with the Messiah at the table of God. With the arrival of Jesus, through parables, teaching, miracles, and quotations from Isaiah, Jesus set the banquet table in anticipation of His death and resurrection.

feast13His stories were of feasts at weddings, a great supper, and miraculous mountain-side abundant supplies of food for hungry people. He invited a Roman centurion and a Canaanite woman into the presence of the Holy Banquet Hall.

His description of the Great Banquet tells of the Father who prepares a feast to honor His Son. The guest list is prepared and sent out. Every invitation was refused even to the point of mistreatment of those who delivered the Father’s request.

feast9The Great Banquet doors lead to the Father’s table are swung open at His command. A new invitation went out to we common folks of the streets and alleys characterized as good and bad, poor, crippled, blind and lame.

At the end of the story there is still room as the master pleads, “Go out to the roads and the country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full.”

It’s an almost unbelievable invite to receive an invitation from the Creator of the universe to dine with Him.

Jesus’ Great Banquet story saw fulfilment after his resurrection as faith was placed in him for admittance to the Father’s table.

feast10In more somber moments the Great Feast helps me make sense of what seems in my mind as the delay in Christ’s return. There is still room at His table.

The Father wants every vacant chair filled.

To pick up on the duel feast imagery of the prophets and the gospels there is more to it than the grand eternal reward. There is a now aspect. I enjoy the table fellowship in the present.

My current reality of the foretold table feast is a resounding “Yes” in Christ. The Son-Messiah is the guest of honor. Because of the son, Paul the apostle uses colorful phrases to describe the table confidence I claim in the present.

Kingdom people are alive to God in Christ Jesus. Security is found in the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. In Christ Jesus we are all children of God through faith. We are blessed in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing un Christ. We belong to God’s household.

feast14So here is brick number seven of twelve to help me become less of an “earthoholic” and more addicted to the Holy as I seek God’s reassurance that He care specifically about me.

I have accepted the invitation. I sit with Him at the family table.

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells
A GodReflection: I Sit At the Family Table

Gary@Godreflection.org
http://www.GodReflection.org
http://www.MakeYourVisionGoViral.com

He Sees Me with Grace Eyes


GodReflection: Does God Care Specifically About Me?

gary portraitAt the ripe old age of eight I was introduced to the world of optometry. I climbed into the big chair as the doc with his headband-spotlight challenged me with the eyecharts on the opposite wall.

grace3“Are the letters lighter or darker?” he questioned as he clicked and moved the lens in a large contraption strapped to my head. “Are the letters fuzzy or clear?” Which one do you like better, this one or that one?”

The exam’s climax with the verdict and a question. “You need glasses.” “Will you wear them?”

Just out of the second grade I had not seen classmates with glasses and for sure, I wasn’t about to show up at school with the humongous lens container like the one in the exam room tied to my head. 

grace1Now in my seventh decade I continue to use glasses to see my world with greater accuracy. They make the fuzzy clear.

I learn from Scripture when God looks at me, He too uses a special lens tinted with Grace. He sees with clarity through my fuzzy sinful self. He sees a perfect me as I will appear in the next reality.

The tint in the lens of His grace eyes is due to blood.

The blood hue allows Father God to look past my imperfections and love me in spite of them. It was blood given as a gift for all humanity and was obtainable from a cross that displayed the grace gift of the one and only Holy Son of God.

Julia H. Johnson (1849-1919) penned over 500 hymns. I think of the words to one of her songs sung by Christ’s followers across the globe:

Marvelous grace of our loving Lord, grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt. Yonder on Calvary’s mount outpoured, there where the blood of the Lamb was spilled.

Grace, grace, God’s grace, Grace that will pardon and cleanse within; grace, grace, God’s grace, grace that is greater that all our sin.

Sin and despair like the sea waves cold, threaten the soul with infinite loss; Grace that is greater, yes, grace untold, points to the refuge, the mighty cross.

Dark is the stain that we cannot hide. What can avail to wash it away?
Look. There is flowing a crimson tide, brighter than snow you may be today.

Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace, freely bestowed on all who believe.
You that are longing to see His face, will you this moment His grace receive?

Grace, grace, God’s grace, grace that will pardon and cleanse within; Grace, grace, God’s grace, grace that is greater that all our sin.

grace10We human types are all too aware of our constant imperfection. I don’t have to be overly honest to see how often I disappoint myself. Nor do I have to be overly honest to see how often I fail to live in the perfection of Holy God.

If I add  up my sin over a lifetime, the idea of grace that is greater that all our sin, is hardly credible.

So here is brick number six of twelve to help me become less of an “earthoholic” and more addicted to the Holy as I seek God’s grace12reassurance that He care specifically about me.

As I lay my brick I do so with awe in humble acceptance of the gift given me through Jesus: my God see me with grace eyes.

Will you join me in acceptance of the Marvelous grace of our loving Lord, grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt?

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells

A GodReflection: He See Me with Grace Eyes

Gary@Godreflection.org  

www.GodReflection.org

www.MakeYourVisionGoViral.com

 

I Cause Him Pain and He Never Leaves


GodReflection: Does God Care Specifically About Me?

gary portraitTo begin this post, I must return to Jesus’ wayward sons story and its focus upon the ever-present father and the noncompliant boys.

It was Timothy Keller in his book The Prodigal God, who first help me see there were two wayward sons in Luke’s account of Jesus’ three stories on lost treasure—the lamb, the coin, and the sons (Luke 15).

pain1The younger son did not want to be in fellowship with the father so he left and in a “far country” broke all of the rules and squandered his portion of the father’s inheritance.

The older son in his self-righteous refusal to attend the restoration party broke fellowship with both his brother and his father. He followed the rules but lacked heart connection with his father.

The father’s eyes had searched the earth’s horizon for an absent son and had witnessed the closed and pouting horizon of another son who in self-rightness shut him out.

Pained by both sons the father couldn’t help himself—he could only love. He loved them both beyond anyone’s comprehension.

pain13His automatic response was to fling his arms wide open and invite them in—even though they had caused him pain. The father never left. He was always there in wait of hopeful return.

Somewhere along the way I was introduced to Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Portuguese Sonnet 43: How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

It occurs to me that with a small play on words that wouldn’t be a bad title for a confession: How have I caused Thee pain? Let me count the ways.

pain8Filled with blood and genes from Papa Adam and Mama Eve and from my kinship to the Father’s two sons in Jesus’ story, I wouldn’t have to be overly creative to make long lists of ways I’ve cause my Father God pain along my life walk.

pain14But regardless of my omissions and commissions He never leaves. As long as I turn my heart toward His, He is there.God is the Father whose heart fills with pain (Genesis 6:6) over sin.

He is also the God who is the very definition of love. He hurts at the sight of human frailness.

I can hardly believe it but it is true. As long as I remain soaked in the blood of Jesus—Father God can’t see my sin through the thick blood.

The greatest pain I caused Him was the fact that my sin resulted in the death of His Son. Because of that death He is always present in the blood and never leaves me.

pain16So here is brick number five of twelve to help me become less of an “earthoholic” and more addicted to the Holy as I seek God’s reassurance that He cares specifically about me.

As I lay my brick I lament and rejoice, “I cause Him pain and He never leaves.”

I don’t know about you, but I don’t always remember this brick. Will you join with me and help me stack it where I can see it more often? What do you think? Do you also have a hard time keeping this brick in view?

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells
A GodReflection: I Cause Him Pain and He Never Leaves.

Gary@Godreflection.org
http://www.GodReflection.org
http://www.MakeYourVisionGoViral.com

 

He Came to Me and Gave Me Himself


GodReflection: Does God Care Specifically About Me?

 But God demonstrated his love for us in this: While we were still sinners, [He] died for us (Romans 5:8).

gary portraitConfession Time:

I have never approached another human being with the proposal, “I see you are weighed down with a huge burden called life. If you will give it all to me I will carry it for you. You need not worry yourself any longer.”

Flash Back:

I was already several years into cross-cultural church plants prior to enrollment into a World Religions course.

The big eye opener was to see that every religion known to humankind—with one exception—are all “to do” religions that require sacrifices and offerings IN EXCHANGE FOR hopeful salvation.

The Exception:

He16In Holy Scripture God came to me free of charge. He did not bring a list to fulfill for salvation.

He came to communicate from His heart, “I see you are weighed down with a huge burden called life. If you will give it all to me I will carry it for you. You need not worry yourself any longer.”

This is a Holy-Reality thought. It should stop me dead in my tracks about every fifth step. Its truth is so grand that it verges on the too good to be true.

The idea that God comes to me goes against lifetime bombardments of “to does to be save.”

“Hey God, I’m over here. Just a minute and I will read from my Bible, make a promise to do better, attend a church activity, or send some money to a good cause.”

I cringe when I find myself chasing God to get His attention.

He14In stark contrast Scripture shows me a God who ran to receive a lost son (Luke 15:20).

He is a God whose highest priority is to seek and to save any individual—including me—who is lost (Luke 19:10).

The same Jesus who declared Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father (John 14:9), demonstrates a Holy God who sought out and dined with abused women, dishonest business people, lepers, and those with every imaginable sin.

He came to them with outstretched hands just as He came to me and to you.

He is the God who pursues, who hunts, who seeks, who invites, who looks. He is the one who comes. He is the Holy Aggressor.

I worship a God who did the unthinkable.

From His Holy vantage point in the Throne room—after His creation lived in chronic unfaithfulness throughout thousands of years—He determined the time had come to act.

He12He would come to earth, seek out, and walk with any human being who would join their heart to His. He came to me.

He would come to give Himself—through Jesus His Son—who:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.

 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind (John 1:1-4) who became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14).

Ok, I’ll readily admit this next thought is beyond my pay scale.

He15He not only came to me but, he took every sin, misstep, and mistake I will ever make, and died in my place so that I would not have to pass through eternal death.

He came to me so that I can be raised like Jesus to live eternally in the presence of the Holy.

As I seek God’s reassurance that He care specifically about me, I now add a third brickGod came to me—and brick four—He gave me Himself.  

So, here is my third and fourth of twelve steps to help me become less of an “earthoholic” and more addicted to the Holy.

Will you believe that you are in God’s direct line of sight? He comes to you because He gave Himself for you.

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells

A GodReflection: He Came to Me and Gave Himself for Me.

Gary@Godreflection.org 

www.GodReflection.org

www.MakeYourVisionGoViral.com