Friday, July 13, 2018

A Dangerous Mission!

It seems like the whole world was captivated by the plight of the twelve boys and their soccer coach who were trapped in that cave in Thailand.  I know I was. It was as if we were all sitting on pins and needles, watching a drama unfold that one would have only expected from a fictional movie.  Unfortunately, it was real. 

Thankfully, with the help of an incredibly brave group of divers and all of the rescue workers on hand, all twelve boys and their coach made it out alive and are currently recuperating and doing well.  There was one diver, however, Saman Gunan, who did not make it out alive.  I’m not sure exactly how it happened, but it appears that during his mission to deliver oxygen tanks into the cave for the boys and the other divers, he lost consciousness after not having enough oxygen for himself. 

The most incredible part of it all is that, Saman did not have to be there. He was a former Thai Navy diver who came of his own accord, volunteering to be part of the rescue mission.  He knew the risks were high, yet he willingly offered himself for the sake of those whose lives were in such great danger.  I don’t know much about Saman; I don’t know what kind of faith he had (most likely he was a Buddhist—I’m not sure).  But, I do know that what he did for the sake of those boys and their coach was very much reflective of the heart of God. He modeled the very way Jesus lived his life and taught us to live ours. 

Saman Gunan entering the cave to rescue the boys!
Jesus said of himself, For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” (Luke 19:10 – NIV) Elsewhere he said, “…whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:27-28 – NIV) Jesus came on a very dangerous mission, a mission that eventually cost him his life.  Because he did, you and I can know the joy of being rescued from our sins and from an eternity of separation from God. We were once lost in our sin, but because Jesus laid down his life, we have been found!

Let’s ask God to give us his heart for the lost people of our world.  And, let’s live our lives like Jesus did—even a bit like Saman Gunan did—always looking for ways to seek, to serve, and to save those who are lost. 

Have a great day!

Pastor Tim Harris

Friday, July 6, 2018

Raining on Lewis Street!

As I was driving home yesterday evening, I had a very strange experience.  As I was driving south towards my home, it was beginning to lightly rain.  As I usually do, when I got into Eatontown I made a right onto Lewis Street heading west, and as I did it was pouring as hard as could be.  I then had to turn back east to cross over the highway toward my neighborhood. The rain lightened up again. And, when I turned down my block, the sun was shining bright as could be.  In my neighborhood, no one would have known that less than half a mile away, on Lewis Street, it was raining cats and dogs!

Many people might try to read some sort of significance into all of this.  Was the rain a blessing for the people on Lewis Street since they (and we all) need the rain for our lawns?  Or, was it a blessing for my neighbors and me on Applebey Street that the sun was shining? After all, I was hoping to grill our dinner (which I did). Which was the blessing, the rain or the sunshine?  Was it one or the other? Could one neighborhood claim God’s blessing over the other?  Maybe it depended on one’s perspective. 

Jesus said, He (God) causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Matthew 5:45 – NIV)  In other words, we all constantly live surrounded by the blessings of God, blessings that none of us deserves and none of us can earn.  Each one, the rain and the sun, is a sign of God’s grace yet at work within our lives and our world.

I would suggest that, no matter what we receive, the rain or the sunshine, we would learn to see the gracious hand of God at work within our lives. May we learn to recognize that there is a God in heaven who is constantly at work in our world and in our lives, pouring out all kinds of undeserved blessings upon us, as he seeks to let us know of his great love for us. And, may we learn to respond to him with the thanksgiving and praise that he deserves. 

I want to remind you today that, whether or you live on Lewis Street or Applebey Street or any other street, God loves you and has many blessings in store for you.

“May the peoples praise you, God; may all the peoples praise you. The land yields its harvest; God, our God, blesses us. May God bless us still, so that all the ends of the earth will fear him.” (Psalm 67:5-7 – NIV) 

Have a great day!

Pastor Tim Harris