Category — Stories of God’s Faithfulness
16. Small groups are like the “mud room” in the farm house! Come as you are! A small group must be a safe place to be transparent and honest. In the small group we cry and laugh together. As long as we live behind a facade before others, we will not grow in Christ and we cannot help others grow in Christ. James said, “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other.” (James 5:16)
17. Small groups provide us with the accountability that we desperately need! A few years ago, I was leading a men’s small group over the lunch hour. One of our guys (I’ll call him Kent) came in late and was noticeably troubled. We greeted Kent and I asked him what was wrong. He blurted out that he had just had a fight with his wife. I asked him if he had reconciled with her, to which he answered no. He explained what their argument was over and it was crystal clear to all of us that Kent was being extremely unreasonable and unloving toward his wife. Playfully, we told him to get back home and make things right with his wife and to let us know how things went. To Kent’s credit, he did! Kent was grateful for our tough love for him (and so was his wife!). [Read more →]
February 27, 2012 No Comments
God delights in turning misfortune to good fortune, calamite into blessing and great need into abundance! In 1 Samuel 1 we read the account of a woman named Hannah. Although she and her husband had been married for many years, she remained childless. Her inability to bear a child was a source of “great anguish and grief” to her. Not only did she personally long to hold and nurture her own child, but her rival cruelly mocked and taunted her because she couldn’t bear children.
One year, while Hannah and her husband were worshiping at Shiloh, Hannah prayed a desperate prayer to God again begging him to give her a son. It’s striking that she specifically asked for a son. Furthermore, she promised that she would devote this son to the Lord and His service all his life. Meanwhile, Eli the priest saw her praying and told her, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.” (1 Samuel 1:17) [Read more →]
March 21, 2011 No Comments
God created us for relationship with him, but what does that look like? How do we interact with God? What does he expect from us? We are to love God, but what is this about enjoying him? Two-way communication is a hallmark of any relationship, so how does communication function in our relationship with God? How does God speak to us? How do we recognize his voice? What do we do with what he tells us? Rob seeks to answer all these questions and more through the Scriptures and lots of examples from his own life, so that you too may be enthralled with God!
Enthralled with God–Cultivating a Joy-Filled Relationship with Him is available on Amazon.com! You will find the book in both soft-cover and e-version.
Below is the brief introduction from this book that I’m sure you’ll want to read. [Read more →]
March 4, 2011 No Comments
A fifth benefit of hardship is that it stretches us and builds character. Romans 5:3 explains, “We rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” The perseverance produced by suffering molds and shapes our character.
I can’t think of a better example from the Bible of this benefit and principle of hardship and suffering than the account of Joseph in Genesis. Although Joseph’s brothers meant to harm him by selling him as a slave, God turned it into something profoundly good. But for 13 years Joseph suffered severe hardship as a slave and then an inmate in an ancient Egyptian prison. His hardships also included the pain and agony of being separated from his family and the cruel rejection he had experienced at the hands of his brothers. [Read more →]
January 27, 2011 No Comments
At times in my life I’ve been very career oriented— seeking out new challenges and keeping my resume up-to-date in the event that the right opportunity would present itself. I know I’m not alone in this incessant press to better our careers and circumstances. For a great number of us, this describes the American way.
Yet, as I read through Genesis again I’m utterly amazed at God’s career plan for Joseph. Through Joseph’s dreams it appears that God had given him an inkling of what the future might hold for him. His brothers and even his father interpreted this as arrogance. In fact, his brothers were so incensed by Joseph’s dreams and preferential treatment by his dad that they hated him (Genesis 37:4).
So at about the young age of 17, Joseph’s brothers plotted to kill him, then thought better of it and sold him as a slave to Midianite merchants who in turn sold him to one of Pharaoh’s officials in Egypt. Meanwhile, Joseph’s brothers cunningly convinced their father that Joseph was dead, having been torn apart by some wild beast. [Read more →]
May 9, 2010 1 Comment
In my new found relationship with God, David was one of my heroes. As I learned about him in 1 and 2 Samuel and read his prayers in the Psalms I wanted to imitate his love and passion for the Lord. David’s strong, masculine relationship with God also demonstrated for me what God wants to do in and through a man who follows him.
After God delivered David from those who were trying to kill him David wrote Psalm 18. There he credits God with the strength and protection that spared his life. I love the way he expresses his dependence and diligence as a man trusting God. In verse 29 (NLT) David shouts with joy to God, “In your strength I can crush an army; with my God I can scale any wall.” I too wanted to be a man who is following Jesus Christ and trusting him for strength and leading.
Well, at 19 years old, we were still at war in Viet Nam and the draft was still in force. So when I received a letter from Uncle Sam informing me that I was being inducted into the military, I remember feeling a sense of excitement and anticipation. I knew that nothing like this could happen to me without God’s sovereign direction. The military was not something I had shown any interest in, but I took it as an opportunity to grow in Christ and serve my country. [Read more →]
September 23, 2009 3 Comments
Right after high school I attended Multnomah Bible College in Portland, Oregon. Now you might think, “Wow, Bible college, pretty holy dude!” But unfortunately, if it’s possible to hang out with the wrong crowd at Bible college, I did just that. I was neither serious with my studies nor with my relationship with God. You see, I had accepted Christ as my Savior, so I was “in”. I had my “ticket” into heaven. What more did I have to do? What more did God want from me? I had a relationship with God, but he seemed somehow distant and irrelevant to my everyday life.
Still, there were aspects of Bible college I really enjoyed—especially the relationships I had built with friends. So after the first semester, when my money had run out, I was crushed because I couldn’t continue. I remember wondering why God didn’t provide for my tuition like he had for other students. Having to leave school just didn’t make sense to me. Why would God allow this to happen? Isn’t going to Bible college a good thing to do? [Read more →]
September 12, 2009 2 Comments
Although at the time I did not recognize the danger signs of what I was doing I clearly see them now. In my junior and senior years of high school I became totally preoccupied with a sense of duty toward the Lord. In addition to being a full-time student, going out for sports, delivering newspapers daily and working another part-time job, I also carried a full load of Christian activities.
My Christian activities included: going to church, Sunday school and youth group weekly; serving as president of our high school Campus Life Club; functioning as a charter member of a Christian fraternity called Alpha Chi; singing competitively with a Christian music group; counseling at summer and winter camps for juvenile delinquents; participating in a national contest selling Campus Life Magazine subscriptions; and taking a leadership role at the Youth For Christ rallies. I rose early each morning to keep my quiet time with the Lord in which I prayed and read the Bible. (I had faithfully kept up that habit since the fifth grade.) [Read more →]
September 9, 2009 No Comments
When I was 16 years old, I participated in a 1300 mile bicycle trip around Lake Superior. The trip took us through Wisconsin, Ontario and Minnesota. Twenty three of us embarked on this adventure. Although we had trained hard to get ready for cycling 100 miles a day, once into the trip we realized that the only way to really prepare for riding 100 miles a day is to ride 100 miles a day!
I was riding a 1968 Sears and Roebuck ten-speed racer with a hard plastic seat. Others rode heavy Schwinns and quite a few bought brand new Gitanes—a super light-weight French bike. But no matter what we were riding, by the third day our butts were sore! Past that third day mark we began to get into a groove in which we felt good and rode hard. [Read more →]
September 4, 2009 6 Comments
Others have a profound impact on us, whether for good or bad. The Scriptures remind us of this in a variety of ways. Proverbs 27:17 NLT says, “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” And the apostle Paul urged us, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1 ESV) But we’re also warned, “Bad company corrupts good character.” (1 Corinthians 15:33)
The other day I began thinking back over some of the key people in my life who had a profound impact in modeling Christlikeness for me. My parents played a huge role in demonstrating the lifestyle of a Christ follower for me. They were human, sinners and had weaknesses just like everybody else, but their lives were also on a continual upward trajectory of growth in Christ. Who they were in private at home was who they were in any and all other settings. [Read more →]
August 31, 2009 2 Comments