Welcome to my blog...

Green trees, cool water, a gentle breeze...the perfect place to sit at the feet of the Master and learn. Jesus taught so often on the shoreline, and He's still speaking today.

This is where I share the lessons He teaches me, often during the time I spend on the shores of a local lake. I don't have all the answers...and some days I don't have any. But I go here when I need to draw near to Him in a tangible way. Come with me...

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Beyond the Beyond

Last year, I attended a Bible study where, via DVD, one of the speakers was Priscilla Shirer.  She is a wonderful speaker - funny, down to earth, and powerful.  She's also the daughter of preacher Tony Evans.

I have seen many of her teachings on DVD, but one has stayed with me more than the others, perhaps because I've seen the subject played out so many times in my life.  Priscilla was talking on Ephesians 3:20 and 21.  "Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever.  Amen." 

I've heard the words from those verses spoken many times as a benediction or in sermons, and I confess, until I listened to her teach on them, I never fully grasped the enormity of them.  Perhaps it was her examples.  She gave several, and each time she was done with the example, she'd shake her head and say...no, no, you still don't get it...let me tell it to you this way.

Her last example was of a friend who had a special birthday coming up.  She was lamenting to Priscilla that her husband wasn't the type to make a big deal of such things, and while she loved him dearly, she wished he'd a least make a minor fuss by giving her a card.  The day of her birthday came and her husband gave her more than a card...he actually presented her with a gift!  An...umbrella.  Well, it wasn't candy, flowers, or diamonds, but she didn't want to look a gift horse in the mouth - it was more than he'd done before.  Then, he handed her a card.  It said 'don't forget your umbrella - I hear it rains a lot in Paris this time of year.'  Yes, he had gotten her a trip to Paris! 

Okay ladies - focus - this is not about what you didn't get from your husband on your last birthday...and guys, this isn't a tutorial on how you should right that wrong LOL.  This is an example of how we come at God with low expectations...hoping for a card...and how he not only meets them, but exceeds them...he goes beyond the card by giving us a gift...and then beyond that by giving us the gift of a lifetime!  Beyond the beyond.

As Priscilla describes Paul in this passage, she says Paul is running out of words - he is piling superlative upon superlative to get the point across of how much God is able to do - "far more abundantly beyond"...some translations say "exceedingly, abundantly more".

Why do I write about this today?  Because I'm in the middle of watching it happen...again.  In an earlier post, I described what I learned in Kids Camp, which is my church's name for Vacation Bible School.  At the end of Kids Camp this year, an announcement was made.  An opportunity has arisen for us to take this same program to a location in a more economically challenged part of Trenton the week of August 22nd.  It's the first time in our over 155 year history that we have done such a thing, and our goal is to register and reach 150 children.  I accepted the task of creating a menu and finding ways to feed those 150 kids not a snack, but an actual dinner for 5 nights on a budget that amounted to less than $2 per child.

I immediately began writing to different organizations requesting donations of food, but I know many of the chains like a lot of notice - at least a month - and the day I began writing was a month to the day of when the food will be needed.  One large chain sent me my first turn down yesterday.

Of course, 'me' of little faith begins to fret.  Not sure why my first reaction is so often doubt and fear when I've seen God come through time and again, but, the tiny time frame silhouetted against the enormity of the task allowed them to come in, kick off their shoes and make themselves at home in my mind for a bit.  Then after the person in charge told me last night she was going to have to cut my budget to move monies elsewhere, doubt and fear got really comfortable - they even ordered take out because they figured they'd be there awhile.  Enter God.

A few minutes later I was in my meeting planning what the menu would be, detailing who I'd contacted for donations, soliciting suggestions on how we could cut costs, when one of the team members walked in.  It seems while I'd be courting doubt and fear, she'd been counting stock...and arrived to tell us she had access b to 5 types of entrees - kid pleasing foods - and there was enough for 150 kids.  Did you catch that?  God not only provided food, he took care of ALL 5 DAYS from one source.  We still need to provide some side dishes, but I'm not worried anymore...I'm just looking to see when and how many are coming our way.

As Priscilla would have said, you aren't getting this, let me put it another way!  I walked into a pizza place before my meeting...a place where I know the owners...and said to one of the guys 'do you ever do donations?  I'm hoping to get some free pizza for something my church is doing.'  'Sure, sure' he says...and he hands me a receipt for 1 large free pizza.  I thought...that's not what I had in mind...at this rate, I'm going to have to hit a lot of pizza places!

My efforts netted very little.  But God is not a one pizza God.  God was already going exceedingly abundantly beyond what I was asking for or could imagine he'd do - he was taking care of all 5 meals at once.

How big is your God?  Do you trust him to meet your needs?  Do you trust that he can and will do that and even more?  Don't let fear and doubt limit your perspective of what he's capable of...as I learned again last night, He loves to go beyond the beyond.

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