Friday, July 20, 2012

The Miracle Of a Seat

This past Monday, as I was traveling with our team from Promise International Fellowship to Nicaragua, I almost got bumped from our flight that was going from LaGuardia (in NYC) to Miami where we would get our connecting flight.  You see, through the kindness of someone in our church, I now normally fly American as an employee. That means a much better rate; but it also means flying on standby. 

When I got to our gate, I was told that, because of cancelled flights the night before, all of the flights from NYC to Miami were overbooked and that only one or two spots may open up for standbys.  Well, after everyone had been boarded, including our team, those of us who were on standby were told that the airplane was filled and that we needed to go to Gate 10 (we were at Gate 1) to see if we could get on the next flight that would leave an hour later. So, I did as told. 

When I got to Gate 10 no one was yet there, so I went for a cup of coffee. After about ten minutes I returned to the gate, met an agent and was told the flight was full and that I would have to wait for the next flight which would be another hour later (and that, that flight was probably filled as well).  But, as I walked away, I heard my name being called back to the gate’s desk. A woman called out to me, “Hurry up, a Spanish woman is looking for you.”  I asked, “Who? Where?”  She said, “I don’t know…Gate 3 or 5.”  So, I ran down to Gate 5. When I didn’t see anyone, I went quickly to Gate 3.  Again I didn’t see a “Spanish woman” who would have been looking for me.  Then I thought, let me run back to Gate 1, even though I was sure that my flight was long gone.  When I got there, the attendant, the “Spanish woman,” yelled to me, “Hurry up they held the plane for you. There is one more seat left!”  

Panting and bewildered, on got on the plane, sat down, wondering what had just happened.  How was it that this seat had opened up?  Why did the crew hold the whole flight for me? How did they find me and how did I find my way to them?  I almost started to cry as I began to sense deep in my heart that God had intervened to get me on this flight—not so much for my sake, but for the sake of our whole team; that we might fly together and arrive together  as the team we were supposed to be.

I know that God doesn’t always step into every little thing that happens in our lives so that we escape every bit of hardship and inconvenience that may come our way.  But, I as well know that there are times when he does—not just that we might live our lives free of inconvenience but for the greater purposes he has in mind; and sometimes simply as a reminder that he is watching over our lives with eyes of love. 

As I sat down in my seat, I was reminded that God is watching over my life.  For that I am grateful—whether or not I get bumped on my next flight. 

“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they are.” (Matthew 6:26 – NIV)

Have a great day! 

Pastor Tim Harris 

Friday, July 13, 2012

Going Somewhere

As I write this, Kim and I are sitting in LaGuardia Airport waiting to fly out to Detroit, Michigan for a wedding I will be officiating tomorrow morning.  (Congratulations Tina and Larry!) Within the hour, we will be getting on our airplane and flying off to our destination.  We have come here because we are going somewhere. 

Of course, that is the case for just about everyone who is here—that is, everyone except for the workers.  All these people who are standing on line, making their way through security, schlepping their luggage down long hallways and up escalators, and sitting in the restaurants and lounges are all headed somewhere.  No one comes to an airport, nor is allowed to enter an airport without having a definite destination. Each person knows exactly where he or she is headed.  No one is wandering around trying to figure out which flight to get on or what city to fly to.  Once they have entered the airport, and usually long before, they know where they are headed. They know exactly the somewhere to which they will fly. 

In the gospel of John, Jesus said, “In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so I would have told you.  I am going there to prepare a place for you.”  (John 14:2 – NIV)  Jesus teaches us that he has a somewhere in mind for each person who will follow him.  He tells us that he has gone ahead of us to that somewhere to get it ready for us. In fact, he goes on to say, “…I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” (John 14:3 – NIV) 

We don’t need to wander through life wondering where we are going or what our final destination will be.  Like people entering an airport with their ticket in hand, knowing their destination, we can live our lives with the assurance that Jesus will be faithful to his word: he is preparing a place for us and one day we will be with him forever. 

We are going somewhere! 

Have a great day! 

Pastor Tim Harris

Friday, July 6, 2012

Celebrating Freedom

Celebrating Independence Day for my family meant once again going to our town’s fireworks display. With blankets and chairs in hand, our family joined hundreds of others from across our town on the high school field to watch the night sky fill with bursts of color and light. For about thirty minutes we oohed and aahed over the rings and showers of light that seemed to almost rain down upon us.  In fact, this year’s display was really quite awesome. 

Throughout this past week, towns and cities all around the country had their own fireworks displays. In some places, thousands gathered to see a display that lasted thirty to forty minutes. Here in the New York City Metro area, people lined both sides of the Hudson River, some waiting for hours for the fireworks to begin.  Why? Aside from the fact that fireworks are an incredible spectacle, they are meant to help us celebrate the fact that we live in a country wherein we are free to live and worship as we so desire; we are celebrating the fact that we live in the “land of the free.”   

Of course freedom is a great thing. And, I am truly grateful for the freedom we enjoy every day here in this great nation.  But, I am reminded today that there is a freedom that is much greater and much more valuable than any political or national freedom we may have. It is a freedom that goes beyond what is happening in our world or in our nation.  It is a freedom that no government or political power can ever take away. That freedom is the freedom that comes to us through Jesus Christ: freedom from the power of sin.

 Jesus said, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36 – NIV)  The Apostle Paul wrote, It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.” (Galatians 5:1 – NIV)   John wrote of “…him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood….” (Revelation 1:5 – NIV)

What an incredible thing it is to be free, especially free from sin!  Maybe we ought to set off a firework or two to celebrate!  Well, let’s at least remember to give thanks to God for all He has done for us through His Son, Jesus.   Let’s celebrate freedom!

Have a great day! And, Happy Independence Day!

Pastor Tim Harris