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

 

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

 

I Am His Prized Possession


GodReflection: Does God Care Specifically About Me?

gary portraitMy baseball card collection from the 1950’s Topp’s Chewing Gum Company of New York had them all.

The rookie cards of the New York Yankees’ Mickey Mantle and Yogi Berra, the St. Louis Cardinals’ Stan Musial, the Giants’ Willie Mays, the prized1Cubs’ Ernie Banks and the Braves’ Hank Aaron.

It was my prized collection. The picture cards of the very best baseball players during the 1950’s decade composed my treasure.

In hindsight, I was posed to experience riches.

Collected from five cent packs of bubblegum with the prize insert of a half-dozen heroes, my prized possession was securely guarded in a cigar box carefully selected from the discards at our corner grocer.

prized3My mistake was to leave my treasure stored in the home garage when I departed for college and later discover it didn’t accompany the family move.

I lost my prized possession. I would never be rich.

Unlike me God never abandons His prize possession. God moves across the face of His globe and His glowing galaxies while He always keeps me—His prized possession—within His loving embrace.

It’s rather audacious to claim to be a prized possession of God, isn’t it?

Care1The neat thing is that Creator God who created an endless universe has a heart equally endless in its capacity to contain every child who gives a heart to Him. Each becomes a distinct prize possession of the Holy.

As I write this it’s the time of the year when I find myself in the Psalms. I am impressed again with the freedom the writers feel to praise, complain and lament. They do so out of deep felt relationship to Holy God. They know Whose they are. They are prized by Creator God.

New Testament writers live on this side of cross. They fully understand what God has done through Jesus, the cross, the resurrection, and the ascension.

prized5The tenor of their message to each individual is simple. Anyone who has placed their heart, their trust, and their hand into the hand of Jesus, receives individual prize possession coverage summarized by Peter the apostle:

You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light (1 Peter 2:9).

prized6.jpgAs I seek God’s reassurance that He cares specifically about me, I add to the first brick—God placed me on earth for this time and this place—this one: I am His prized possession.

So it is my second of twelve steps to become less of an “earthoholic” and more addicted to the Holy.

That not too hard of a buy-in, is it?

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells

A GodReflection: I Am His Prized Possession

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

 

Did God Put Me on Earth for This Time and Place?


GodReflection: Does God Care Specifically About Me?

gary portraitWhy I am a resident on planet earth is not a question that is high on my list at this point in my walk.

Although, I don’t know that I am absolutely right in my conclusion, I resolved it—at least to my satisfaction—earlier on in my earth journey. When I looked at my Bible I found that God selected rather ordinary people for His assignments.

He always knew them by name and was quite aware of each person’s strengths and weakness. But for each He had an assignment during a time and place in history.

earth10I like to think that I’ve lived with a sense of purpose. I read about God’s assignment for the prophet Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart . . .” (Jeremiah 1:5).

I have a suspicion that God sees each of us in the same light. When we complete His design, and fulfil His expectation He must smile. How He must hurt with disappointment when we determine to go in our own direction and create our own agenda.

When Paul the apostle wrote to the Asian gateway church in the Ephesus, surely, he remembered the Jeremiah scroll as he penned:

For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.

In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves . . .

In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will . . . (Ephesians 1:4-6 & 11).

earth3The best I can tell, the same God who cares specifically for each sparrow and knows the exact number of hairs on my head (Luke12:6-7) placed me where He did at a specific time in history.

That I was born into a certain family and church tribe in the New Mexico desert didn’t catch Him by surprise.

I suspect God set it within my heart to fulfil His purposes in certain locations during the dash that will someday be on my tombstone. It goes without saying that at any point where I’ve been found to aligned with His design; those tasks were carried out in less than stellar fashion.

Paul was familiar with the prophet Isaiah’s description of God as potter and we human types as clay. I like the apostle’s use of the imagery as he describes our feeble attempt to be light over the course of our short walk:

earth4We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us (2 Corinthians 4:7).

Andy Lee, a North Carolina writing friend, on her daily blog, Words by Andy Lee, sums up God’s love for each of us, His awareness and presence with each of us over our time and place walk:

“God hasn’t called us to be a BIG somebody . . . He’s called us to follow Him. Whatever that looks like. He’s called us to make a difference in our part of the world. He’s called us to live with eternal perspective.”

earth7When I take my eyes off of me and look across even my limited horizon of the church, I stand in awe at the variety of people and the powerful way God uses them specifically to touch unlimited corners of our world.

Is this not our God’s specificity at work through each individual at specific times and places across our globe?

Have you considered the possibility that you were placed by God on this earth for this time and this place?. I would love to hear your perspective. What conclusions have you reached?

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells

A GodReflection: Did God Put Me on Earth for This Time and Place?

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