Friday, August 26, 2011

When the Ground Shakes

This past week, up and down the East Coast most of us felt the moving of the ground like never before. I was getting out of the elevator on the fourth floor of our office building when I heard a rattling in the ceiling and then felt the building begin to sway.  At first I thought it was just me getting dizzy from the elevator ride. However, when someone called out, “What’s happening? Do you feel that?” I knew it wasn’t just me. Sure enough, I had experienced my first earthquake!

Thankfully the quake was minimal with little damage done, and no loss of life. For a few moments, however, it was a bit frightening as we wondered whether or not it would intensify or come to a quick end. For a couple of moments, none of us knew exactly what would happen next.

That’s how  our lives are so much of the time. The ground beneath our feet begins to shake and we don’t know whether or not it’s going to subside or intensify. We don’t know whether things are going to get better or worse. And, it’s not for us to know. Nevertheless, it can be quite scary, discouraging, and even painful living world in which the things upon we rely are so easily shaken. It’s hard living in a world wherein one turn in the market can strip away our savings; a change in the weather can wipe away our physical belongings; one turn of events can steal from us our loved one. All too often the ground beneath our feet is shaking.

Thankfully, we have a promise from God for a world that will know no shaking. The Scriptures say, “…since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe….” (Hebrews 12:28-NIV)

In the midst of all the shaking of this life, I’m grateful for the hope that one day God will lead us into a kingdom that will never be shaken! 

Have a great day! 

-Pastor Tim Harris

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Strong Rope

This week for the first time in about a year, my three kids and I went to the rock climbing gym.  After belaying two of them, I took my turn scaling the wall. As I did, it became quickly obvious that I was both out of practice and out of shape. As I climbed not only did I feel quite awkward moving from one hold to the next, but the muscles, especially in my forearms, began to quiver with pain. Quite a few times I lost my grip and found myself dangling in my harness attached to the top rope, sometimes thirty feet or more in the air. At those moments, I was really glad for a strong rope (and a son who knew what to do with it!).

Without the rope properly attached to my harness , I would have surely fallen and seriously injured myself. Without the right rope, I would have easily plunged to the ground below. In fact, without the right rope, I would never scale a wall as high as I did, hanging onto small rock holds up to thirty-five feet or more in the air. Before I climb a wall like that, I need to know I’m attached to a strong rope.

As I go through life, I find it is often like scaling a wall at the rock climbing gym. I’m constantly looking for the next step (the next hold) as I try to get a “grip” on what is happening around me. Sometimes I find myself feeling pretty secure and moving forward. At other times, however, I suddenly lose my hold and slip back a few feet. Then there are those times when I feel like I’m just dangling in the air! It’s at those times, when I am slipping or even dangling that I am especially grateful for the strong “rope” in my life. I am glad to know that God is able to keep me from plunging to the ground.

The Psalmist wrote, “...I trust in you, O LORD; I say, ‘You are my God.’  My times are in your hands….” (Psalm 31:14-15 – NIV)  The Apostle Jude wrote of him, “…who is able to keep you from falling….” (Jude 24-NIV)  Both had learned that there is nothing and no one better to depend upon for safety  than God himself. He is our strong rope!   

We all need a safety rope as we go through this life. Life can be pretty precarious. There are times when we will slip and times when we will even be left dangling in the air.  At those times, in whom or what are you going to put your trust?  Let me encourage you to put your trust in God.  He alone is the strong “rope” in whom you can always depend.

“Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.” (Psalm 20:7-NIV)

Have a great day!

-Pastor Tim Harris

Friday, August 12, 2011

An Incredible Friend

One of the most exciting things about embarking on a new place of work and ministry is the opportunity to make new friends. Although I am grateful for all the good friends I’ve had through the years, and I hope to keep many of those friendships alive, I realize that I am in a season of developing new friendships.

As I have begun to meet the people of Promise International Fellowship (PIF) and City Vine Church, sharing a meal or a having a cup of coffee, meeting in my office or at a table during  our post-service receptions, I have met some really great people who, up to this point, I didn’t even know existed. I know it’s early, but I can sense that God is bringing  a new set of people into my life – people with whom I can share life and do ministry; people whom I will soon consider as good friends.

I thank God for all the friends I have had through the years, many who are still good friends. And, I look forward to making lots of new friends in the weeks and months to come.  But, I’m also reminded of the fact that I have a Friend in heaven, for the Bible reveals God not only as a Father, but also as a friend.

The Apostle James referring to Abraham wrote, “…and he was called God's friend.” (James 2:23-NIV) Jesus said to his disciples, “I no longer call you servants…Instead, I have called you friends…” (John 15:15-NIV) To think that the Lord of the universe would us his friends! What an incredible thought!

Because of his great love and mercy towards us, we can sing, “I Am a Friend of God.”  We have a friend in heaven, one who “sticks closer than a brother.”  (Proverbs 18:24) What an incredible friend!

Have a great day!

-Pastor Tim Harris