Peace be with you

feet of JesusThe “Butt-inski”

As two of Jesus’ disciples walked along on that very first easter day, they were met by a traveler. A guy. A man headed in the same direction they were going. He walked along with them for  a while as they were headed to a town named Emmaus. This man walked up into a conversation they were having about Jesus himself. They were disturbed by some things that the ladies had said to them, and honestly, based upon this description of the conversation, I would say they appeared to have serious doubts.

He hears their doubts and challenges them

As the stranger interacts with them, they end up kind of incredulous that he appeared to be uninformed about the weekend events. In true hospitable fashion they take it upon themselves to inform him. So they tell him all about Jesus, what he did, the miracles, how he was arrested and killed, then buried. I’m sure they told him what Jesus meant to them personally. This guy, this stranger that walked with them, listened, interacted, asked questions and heard them. The stranger hears their doubts. He then challenges their doubts and unfolds the scriptures for them. When it is all said and done, He ends up at their supper, breaking bread with them, and it is only then that they realize Jesus has been walking with them all along. Immediately Jesus disappears.

Out of their element …

They were walking and lamenting the loss of their leader, their lord, their friend, and there was no way that they were going to believe he was right there. I have often asked myself why Mary at the tomb, and these guys here on the road, didn’t recognize Jesus? Then I remember all the times that I have been somewhere and someone comes up to me, or I go up to someone, and realize who they are.  Out of their normal element or relationship, I do not recognize them. Then it hits me, this is “Bill!”

I think that is exactly what is going on here. They saw Jesus buried, he cannot be here, so that doesn’t even enter their minds. I don’t know what a post burial, resurrected, but pre-ascension body looks like, but they certainly saw him when he broke the bread, when he was “In his element.” Handing out communion he was Jesus again, and Jesus alive!!

What about you?

I wonder how many times we miss God in our lives, miss Jesus doing a work, miss the Holy spirit because he belongs in Church on Sunday morning. Here we are going through our week, maybe we have a spouse and we are doing our daily thing, chasing kids, a quick kiss before we leave for work, maybe a fight and we are immediately in a tension. A flat tire and the day feels wrecked, or work is just piling up and we don’t feel appreciated, no one cares so we melt into the old pit of wallowing; no one likes me, no one notices, I’ll never get ahead. God where are you?

“… and I know that there are angels all around …”

It is at times like these that we miss seeing God in our lives. We end up so focused on our want, our need or our loss, or our problems, that we don’t lift our eyes up and look at who is walking around us. Hebrews 13:2 says, “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.”

Look!

The Kingdom of God is here. Jesus said it is near, it is coming and it is in you. Jesus is in the Kingdom, so Jesus IS here. The Holy Spirit is in the Kingdom, so the Holy Spirit IS here. Angels are in the kingdom, so angels ARE here. I want to encourage you to lift your chin and look around. God is here in your midst. In the middle of your daily struggle, in the middle of your need to make a decision, in the middle of your fight with your spouse. He is here at work. He is here in your doubt and despair.  He will never leave you alone, but we may be choosing not to believe he could be here.
Cry for nigeriaAs you travel on this road to your Emmaus, that stranger, that song, that group pf people, that church, that co-worker, God is using them to speak to you, to support you, to love you, but you have to open your eyes and believe. Stop what you are doing right now and ask God to open your eyes.

 

PATHS

PATHS

Dangerous path 2

Paths come in many forms. There is path of thought, a path of emotion, a path of friendship, there are even paths through the sky and paths through the ocean. I heard someone say something about a path to someone’s heart. I have walked many paths in my life, probably the single most fulfilling of them all is this path called “Pastor.”
Not all of my paths have been healthy, or wholesome. Early in my life I was on a dark path. This was a path that I inherited, the path of the world, a path of men.

GOOD PATH

When I was 17 I started on another path, a good path, a path of light. I didn’t do real well at first, but I walked nonetheless. As I walked the path seemed easier. I still stumble once in a while but I get back up and I get on with the walk. I like this path. This path led me to the path of Husband-hood, then to the path of fatherhood.

This path has drawn me along various opportunities. This path had me working for a major research and development firm, then for a big printing company, then for myself. Then I heard a voice. It was the voice that called me to the path I was walking upon. This voice called me to a new path that I am presently on.

I have had the opportunity to learn a lot of different things in my life. Things like, motorcycling, hunting, fishing, drawing, painting, leading people, caring for people, camping, and hiking. I have learned to drive a car, operate a tractor, ride horses, rope cattle and even train animals. I have had the pleasure of breaking horses via John Lyons, I trained a dog to work cattle, another one to pull my grandchildren around in a cart. I even had the joy for 30 years of training hawks and falcons to allow me to hunt as their partners.

The paths I have walked have had some wonderful views.

path to the oceanThe paths I have walked have had some wonderful views. From the ocean in Maine, to Washington State, from Key West, Florida to the L.A. Freeway at rush hour and all kinds of places in between; this path of life has had some incredible views. I have seen some of the castles in Germany and Spain, and played as a child in downtown Madrid.

The great thing about a path is that it is going somewhere. It leads to somewhere. Whether it is the path of life or the literal path that you are walking on in the woods, that path leads to something. Something you want to see right?

Amidst all this walking down the path, I am heading somewhere. I have never been there before, but that is the case with most of the paths I travel. This path is leading me closer to what I call home. It is metaphorically the path that leads me up the walk to my real home; what some call “Heaven.”

HEAVEN

I am looking forward to the view. I am looking forward to seeing some of the people that are there. I know some of them; others will be new friends once I get there. But more than anything, I know that God is there. I know that his son Jesus is there. I just know it. Seriously, I would not have walked this path I am on, through all that we have been through, if I did not believe this to be true with all of my heart and all of my soul.

This path has my family interacting in positive ways with other people. We walk together independently. We are involved in trying to help other people see a better life and begin a journey upon this same path.

This path is a path of peace, and a path of love. It is also a path of truth and this path cannot be deviated from, nor can it be changed to suit individual “need” or “want.” The path is established, all we do is walk it.

Dark Path ForestI walked a path once that took me into a deep dark cavern. It was up in Ohio and my friend and I wanted to go down into the cavern. It is a well known Cavern in southeast Ohio. We went down there and the young man leading us, stopped us on the path, and then turned out the lights. It was dark. No, I mean it was D.A.R.K. dark!

You could almost feel the dark. Now, we were still on the path, the right path, but we couldn’t see it. Why would you want to walk down a dark path that you can’t see? Eventually you will be off the path and just wandering aimlessly in the dark.

That describes a lot of people in our world. Not because they are wicked. No, because they can’t find purpose in money, cars, things, or relationship or the pleasures that this world has to offer.

No amount of sex, however wild, no amount of money, and no amount of power, and fame is going to help you be someone purpose on this planet. No, purpose comes from understanding where you came from, why you are here and where you are going when it is all over.

Micah 4:2b
“He will teach us his ways,
so that we may walk in his paths.”

God spoke through the prophet Micah and shared the key to a real life with you and I: He will teach us, but we need to stay on his path. Do things his way. What does that mean to you today?
walkingWhat does that say about where you are, what path you are presently walking?
Are you tired of the dark?
Are you tired of stumbling yet?
God made you a promise; he would teach you if you let him, but you have to choose to get up on the path.

God is not mad at you, he loves you and he is a prayer away with his arms wide open. No concern for anything except you being free from the struggle and the sin.