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The novelty was wearing thin. What could he do to make the crowds keep coming back. Blondin thought that it might thrill the crowds if he did it with someone on his back. But who was crazy enough to do that? He looked at his manager Harry Colcord.
“Do you really believe in me. . .”
Colcord grudgingly agreed.
The first time I came across that story I thought, “Now that’s faith. Do you really believe? Climb on board.” Difference between saying you believe and really believing.
But then I came across the rest of the story. Harry Colcord’s account.
1000 feet is a long way to carry another man. About half-way across Blondin got tired and stumbled. They stopped. Harry climbed down and so Blondin could rest. Then he carefully climbed back up. Blondin had to stop and rest four more times. They got into more trouble when they came to a guy rope near the Canadian side. The tightrope started swaying dangerously and Blondin struggled to keep his balance. Then a guy rope broke. And the pair nearly fell. When Blondin finally came to the Canadian shore he was drenched in sweat and Harry Colcord’s eyes were shut tight.
Colcord later said, “The ordeal was a nightmare from beginning to end.”
Sometimes we do that. We think, “Man this is it. This is the big deal and so we rush into things without really checking it out. And we get burned.” Have you done that before? Maybe you’re doing it right now.
My dad used to have a phrase, “Son,” he would say, “Look before you leap.” Know what you are getting into.
He didn’t know it, but my dad was giving me biblical counsel.
(Proverbs 22:3) A prudent person sees trouble coming and ducks; a simpleton walks in blindly and is clobbered.
One of the aspects of wisdom is learning to predict the problems and make wise choices. And the result is a life that is a lot less stressful. Sounds good doesn’t it. So be wise. Check it out first. Look before you leap.
Serve One Ministries will host the Youth Mission Team from Fellowship of the Rockies. Projects include foundation construction for Iglesia Casa Vida Tamarindo, Home Remodel in El Llanito, School Refurbishments in El Llanito and Beach Outreach Ministries.
Collins and Porras discovered that most of the world’s top flight corporations had difficult beginnings. When Masaru Ibuka founded Sony in 1945 he had no idea what he wanted to make. He considered a wide range of possibilities from sweetened bean-paste soup to miniature golf equipment. He finally settled on electronics and produced a rice cooker that did not work and a tape recorder that failed to sell. To keep the struggling company afloat they resorted to stitching wires on cloth to make crude heating pads. The company that brings so much wizardry and innovation to life started out selling heating pads!
Sony’s experience was not the exception. Nearly all eighteen of the most visionary companies in the world struggled to survive at some point in their lives. Many times they found success producing products that they did not set out to make. Collins and Porras wrote:
“J. Willard Marriott (Marriott Hotels) . . . decided to start his company with the only viable idea he could think of: take out a franchise license and open an A&W root beer stand. . . Procter & Gamble started as a simple soap and candle maker . . . Motorola began as a struggling battery eliminator repair business for Sears radios.”
We think that successful people are naturally gifted with some fabulous earth shaking idea and that they cruise to triumph without a care. According to Collins and Porras that is not true. The secret of success was not so much in the charisma of the leader as it was in his perseverance and a dogged determination.
Can I invade your privacy long enough to ask, a personal question? How is it going? I mean really going? How’s your dream coming? Is it tough? Are you about ready to give in and give up? Let me encourage you to take a lesson from the world’s finest. Stay open for unexpected opportunities and don’t quit. Who knows? You might be the next Masaru Ibuka.
Here’s a verse that always encourages me. I hope it helps you.
(1 Corinthians 15:58) Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.
We get locked into a ruts and a patterns and hit the cruise control. In the process we miss much of the beauty of God. I believe God wants us to explore.
‘Oh taste of the Lord and see that He is good.’ How do we do this? You have to open your eyes
(Ephesians 1:18) I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.
We are surrounded by opportunities, but we don’t see them.
We get locked into a pattern that forces us to see things only one way.
Someone sent me this last week. It really highlights what I’m talking about.
Here’s a one-question I.Q. Test:
There is a mute who wants to buy a toothbrush. By imitating the action of
brushing one’s teeth, he successfully expresses himself to the shopkeeper and
the purchase is done.
Now if there is a blind man who wishes to buy a pair of sunglasses, how should
he express himself? Think about it first before scrolling down for the answer.
He opens his mouth and says. “I would like to buy a pair of sunglasses.”
I got so stuck on that. I wanted to make him mute too. He’s could communicate perfectly well. But the pattern locked me out of the solution.
Nothing is more dangerous than an idea when it is the only one you have,
~Emile Chariter, Philosopher.
The last person to ask about water is a fish. You get so used to business as usual that you don’t see what you can do. Open your eyes. Explore other ideas. God is moving all around you, but you have to be willing to see. And to do that you have to look past the obvious.
Surely the lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it. (Gen 28:16)
I may never march in the infantry
Ride in the cavalry,
Shoot the artillery,
I may never fly over the enemy
But I’m in the lord’s army.
Uh, what good is it to be in an army and NOT go to battle? I may never ride or shoot or fly but I’m in the Lord’s Army!
Compare that to the great anthem, The Church’s One Foundation. Listen to the lyrics.
The church’s one foundation
Is Jesus Christ the lord.
She is his new creation
By spirit and the word.
From heaven he came and sought her
To be his holy bride.
With his own blood he bought her
And for her life he died.
Mid toil and tribulation
And tumult of her wars
She waits the consummation
Of peace forever more.
Till with the vision glorious
Her longing eyes are blessed
And the great church victorious
Will be the church at rest.
The great church victorious will be… one day they will be the church at rest. But not now. Not here. Not while the battle is still raging. We are called to engage the enemy. And that means we ride, we shoot we fly. We DO!
We have forgotten the biology of theology. We focus on “thinking right about God,” but we miss the powerful truth of following God. And to be honest I think this is what makes church boring. We’ve missed the power of the adventure.
(Ephesians 5:14-17) For this reason it says, “Awake, sleeper, And arise from the dead, And Christ will shine on you.” Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
I like the way that Peterson translates that in the Message.
“Wake up from your sleep,
Climb out of your coffins;
Christ will show you the light!”
So watch your step. Use your head. Make the most of every chance you get. These are desperate times!
Don’t live carelessly, unthinkingly. Make sure you understand what the master wants.”
God is saying, Wake up. Explore with me the wonders of my world and my ways. He has a plan for your life, but you have to choose to join him in it. And to do that you will have to crawl out of your crypt and learn to ride, shoot, fly and march.
That’s how some people see him. Just a little harmless figure. It makes me think of my favorite story of Christ’s birth, which can be found in John.
John, unlike Matthew and Luke, John does not have a nativity story. He starts big and theological.
(John 1:1) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
The Word, Jesus, was in the beginning with God. Now skip down to verse 14, this is the nativity story from John’s perspective.
(John 1:14) And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
There it is. The nativity story. God put on skin. Grace wrapped itself in Jesus.
Get a feel for the majesty of God. How big. Not a little-g god with all the pandering and problems we face. The big-G. Only God. The God of time and space. The God of eternity. Creator of the universe. Back up to John 1.
(John 1:3) All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.
All things were created by him and apart from him Nothing was created.
They have this theological word concerning the creation. Ex nillo. Out of nothing. There was nothing, and now there is something. And the something we now have is covered with the fingerprints of god.
Consider the vastness of the creation. Lucado helps with this:
Our Galaxy is one of billions. Who can conceive of such a universe. . . no one can. But let’s try anyway. Suppose you attempt to drive to the sun. you get into a space car that goes 150 mph. you hop in, open the moonroof, and blast off. Any guess as to the length of your trip? Try 70 years.! Suppose you fuel up to head to the nearest star, Alpha Centauri, best pack a lunch . . . you’ll need 15 million years to make the trip. Traveling at 600 mph it would take 17 years to reach the sun and 690 years to get to Pluto!
No matter how big this all is, god is bigger. That big God, squeezed into skin and showed us what he was like and what he loved. Think about that.
(2 Timothy 2:1) You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
“Be strong. . . ” I understand that part. Paul was an avid sports fan. He often compared the Christian life to sport. So I understand what he means by strength. Be strong like an athlete is strong.
Champions are strong. In fact, you will never find a champion that isn’t strong. Most of them are physically strong. But that’s not really the secret to their excellence. Championship athletes are mentally strong.
Before he moved to Shreveport, NFL quarterback Doug Pederson was in our church. Doug’s a great guy and a man of integrity and faith. One day we were playing golf and Doug showed me about a champion’s mental toughness. As we came to the end of the front nine Doug was messing up a little, and I got lucky and parred a couple. Then I got cocky. “Pederson,” I said, “I’m taking you down on the back nine.” Doug said, “Pastor, would you like to put something on it?” Of course it isn’t gambling if it’s for food, so I took him up, “How about a coke?”
It was as if I’d lit a fuse in him. He was two under par going into 17. I was playing somewhere around bogie golf.
I said, “You know Doug, it’s really sad what you will do for a coke.”
He smiled and said, “I want extra large.”
Champions are mentally tough! I believe God wants us to be mentally tough like a champion athlete. But that isn’t exactly what Paul has in mind here. Paul says “Be strong, in grace.” He’s calling us to “grace toughness.”
You might not be physically impressive, and you might not have that mental toughness of a world class athlete, but you can still be strong if you will find your strength in His grace. It happens every time you let him take control of your trouble or your life. Strenght in grace shows up whenever you trust him for your future or your care. When that happens you become strong enough for anything that comes your way.