Archive | August 2014

of dog and man

1

Reba and Penny

You were just a tiny pup,

When you came home at first.

I thought that I would teach you things,

But then my bubble burst!

 

Crossing over the threshold

you peed upon my floor.

Then just a few seconds later,

You pooped right by the door.

 

But we grew up together,

you were the first dog of mine.

We taught each other things

Expanded each others minds.

 

I taught you to fetch,

to stay, sit, and down.

I taught you how to “heel”

That’ll do and spin around.

 

But you taught me more than I taught you

like responsibility,

to love and to live ev’ry moment,

and to not take life to seriously.

 

You taught me devotion,

what joy looks like each day.

To prize devotion ‘bove all else,

I learned loyalty that way.

 

You were my traveling partner,

my friend, and confidant.

Through the tuffest of life’s struggles

You withstood the brunt.

 

Do dogs really go to heaven?

The Bible ain’t real clear,

but if heavens like the first creation,

we certainly know they’re there.

 

So Just because you beat me there,

I plan to see you again.

Just meet me at the gate,

With your tail waggin’ and a big ol’ grin.

Most of you know Penny, my two year old blue heeler.  She has been a teacher, a confidant, and friend  to me since I brought her home.  She teaches me more about myself than any other thing on the face of the earth.  My insecurities are brought out when Im with her.  My faults are on display when we are training or working together.

What you probably didn’t know is the reason we got her was because of another dog.  My buddy Lucas had a dog named Reba, a red-heeler, that he had raised since she was a pup.  She worked cows, did tricks, and followed him across the country to rodeos.  She was a cow dog, and like k9 officers and their dogs, that working relationship only made them closer.  She was lost once for a few days…it was a tough few days.  Lucas’ wife would tell you that Reba had his heart first, and its true.  Ivy would also say that Reba graciously let her into the family.  Reba was a great dog.

The other they came to the CYRA Finals to preach at cowboy church and Reba was there, laying in the arena, never losing sight of Lucas.  She had been having trouble breathing for some time, and that night she was suffering so much that she had to be put down.  I hurt so much for Lucas and Ivy when he told me.  A good dog wraps itself around your heart like a branch grafted into a tree.  So seamless that it is tough to tell where one begins and the other ends.  Reba was a great friend to one of my best friends and that is why I hurt for them.

Reba, Pumpkin, Buck, Bo, Jesse, Gina, and Hawkey, were the reason we got Penny.  They, like so many four-legged-companions in your life, teach us so much we would never learn on our own…and for that we will always be in their debt.

Baxter Black said it best:

Advertisements

Leading the Next: Elijah Call’s Elisha

IMG_2146The first time I felt grown up I had a hay hook in my hand. My family was putting up some brome on Grandpas farm and needed another person, no matter how skilled. Upon arrival I was put up on the hay wagon directly behind the baler. Grandpa kicked it in high gear and we stacked bales upon bales. I don’t recall how many I put up myself but it wasn’t very many. I was 10 and poor help. We pulled the full hay rack into the barn and began throwing it into the loft. It being my very first time, I doubt I accomplished much. But I do remember the lesson I was given on using a hay hook. On the fly I was shown how to operate a sharp, bent piece of steel. How to stick it into a bale, pull back on the handle and lift with your leg. That lesson changed me forever. As a 10 year old in somewhat rural America, a hay hook, and the skill to use it is a rite of passage. From then on, I wasn’t as much of a liability to work, as a partner. Not so much a space filler on the hay crew, but a hand with a purpose.  The same could be said of Elisha when Elijah got a hold of him.

Elijah’s brokenness was assuaged with God’s message that his ministry would outlive him; that his work was not in vain; and he would be instrumental in bringing up the next in line. He is instructed to anoint the next king of Aram (Hazael), the next dynasty of Israel (Jehu), and the next prophet in line (Elisha).

Elijah took these instructions seriously. He went from the Mountain of Sinai and found Elisha with his hand to the plow. It is fitting that he was preparing the ground for planting, because that is what his life will be about.

The prophets, especially at this period in the history of God’s people, are much less harvesters than stump pullers. Elijah has been engaging opposing worldviews for a majority of his ministry, preparing the ground. Looking back on the ministry of the prophets, they spent more time confronting sin and morality than they did “planting” seeds of righteousness. Much more time was spent attempting to remove and displace the idolatry and evil in the kingdom, than talking God’s plan for the nation. Elisha spent his days prior to ministry, making hard ground suitable for planting and in ministry, attempting to make hard hearts suitable for planting. 

As Elisha is plowing, Elijah runs up to him, throws his cloak around his waste, and runs off. Elisha forsakes his oxen and plow, and chases down [hb. rus] Elijah. The same word [rus[is used of Elijah out running Ahab (18.46) down the mountain. Elisha, filled with similar passion and excitement that Elijah displayed, catches up quick. Elijah gives him permission to say one last good by to his family and work. He kissed his parents, burned his plow, and feed the people his oxen.

“Then he set out to follow Elijah and became his attendant [sarat].” (1 Kings 19.21)

What Elisha was excited about, I cant say exactly, but I think this verse hints at it. Today we use the words “servant” and “attendant” synonymously, but in hebrew there seems to be some difference between servant [‘ebed] and attendant [sarat]: Elisha is said to have become Elijah’s attendant [sarat[ which conveys the idea of: 

  • Partnership. Elisha and Elijah from this point on were partners in ministry. Elijah had more experience and took the lead, but Elisha had come alongside him in ministry not behind him in ministry. Take for example Joshua. He was a servant [‘ebed] of the Lord (Josh 24.29; Jud. 2.80, but an aide [sarat] to Moses. With Moses, Joshua stood alongside him as he stayed on the mountain 40 days and nights (Ex. 24.13ff.) and wouldn’t leave the tent of meeting as Moses and God spoke (Ex. 33.11). When Moses did ministry, Joshua was beside him, learning and doing. I think Elisha reveled in the idea of being a sarat, not just an ‘ebed.
  • Purpose. In the OT servants performed any number of odd jobs, but attendants performed only the highest of tasks. Three times sarat is used of articles used for worship in the Temple (Num 4.9;2 Kings 25.14; 1 Chron. 6.32). Numerous times sarat is used of the Levites “assisting” in worship led by the priest. Elisha understood that Elisha was calling him to a live of purposeful service in worship to God. This was not the kind of intership where Elisha will be mailing out 5,000 postcards, or filling 10,000 waterballons, but a chance to do dirty-hands, front-line ministry.

These two reasons, I believe, are why Elisha can outrun Elijah. For these reasons, Elisha would burn his oxen and plow. The chance to be caught up and swept up in life changing ministry and the adventure of following God in daily service alongside a passionate leader, is what brought excitement to the life of Elisha.

Elijah was anointing a partner in purposed ministry. This is an opprotuinty that many in younger generations would leap at and get excited for. There are many who have been disappointed in the past because their preparation for ministry involved purposeless busy work, the understanding that they were not partners but projects, or their voice and opinion didn’t matter. The next generation of leader wants to partner in ministry; do significant work; and lead alongside. With that being said, who are you partnering with in ministry today? What younger man or woman, are you involving in your sphere of influence, your ministry, or your service? Who are you pouring into, giving responsibility too, and training to serve, worship, and lead?  These are the things I hope to convey to my bullfighting protege above, my students at Robinson, and the men I get to pour into every week.  Who are you bringing onto the crew?

Brokenness and Failure: Elijah’s Mountain Top

IMG_1516Farming is a patient endeavor. Three out of four years in high school, I planted a very good hobby garden. Tomatoes, Corn, Asparagus, and Broccoli were my crops of choice. I worked hard to till the ground, plant everything in rows, keep it all watered, and even took care to cross pollinate a little bit (I saw a youtube video on it). Every year I was met with success except for one. That year I discovered 13-13-13 fertilizer. If corn grew fast on its own…why not help it with 40 lbs of fertilizer. I burnt my corn crop to a crisp. Sometime we try to force growth. When something isn’t going well, we blame ourselves, we try to hard, or we press to make it grow. Has your influence or ministry ever not gone the way you wanted it too? Elijah’s ministry wasn’t and it nearly broke him.

When we last saw Elijah, he was sleeping in a cave, which is never a sign that things are going well. He is fresh off of his 40 day-night journey from the Northern Kingdom to Mt. Horeb (Sinai) in lieu of a threat by Queen Jezebel. (1 Kings 19.1-2) From this lone cave, on an isolated mountain, miles from his home, Elijah and God exchange words.

 “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

I am a firm believer that God asks some questions just to hear us answer. It has nothing to do with Him not knowing the information, but with us acknowledging our thoughts and understanding of the situation. (see Gen 3.9) God knows about Elijah’s journey, his mountaintop moment at Carmel and his desert prayer (1 Kings 19.4).   God knows why Elijah is here, He just wants to hear him say it.

“I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.” (1 Kings 19.10)

These are cutting words. Scripture is shady on the tone with which Elijah is speaking his reply.   I always assumed it was a whinny tone. “God you just don’t get it…I served you and this is how you are going to repay me.” My interpretation rests solely upon the reason Elijah is on the run in the first place…he was afraid. (1 Kings 19.3) The problem lies in the word that is translated “afraid”.

The hebrew word wayyare, could be the word for “afraid” or it could be a verbal form of the word ra’ah, meaning “to see”. The NIV has a footnote at the bottom of the page acknowledging the ambiguity in the translation. If the word is read as “saw”, the passage, and the character of Elijah, takes a different direction. A character sketch of Elijah does not produce a man who runs from a challenge. He has already confronted Ahab twice (17.1; 18.16ff.), 450 prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18.19), and a crowd of people who were living unfaithful lives to God (18.21), without cowering. Now he is going to go AWOL because of some harsh words from Jezebel? But if we read it as “saw”, instead of a fearful man, running to save his skin, we see a man who for three and a half years battled to force of Ba’al, and to keep his servant, Jezebel, from claiming a victory in the name of Ba’al by executing the prophet of Yahweh, Elijah ran. He saw that “he was no better than his ancestors” (19.4) because in the same way that they had ultimately failed in their attempt to return the nation’s hearts back to God, he too was unable to sway the leadership of the nation and by proxy its people.

Elijah’s problem was his short sightedness. He thought that the ministry was done with him. He understood God’s work in pursuing His people, continuing His communication with His people through the prophets, and those remaining faithful shrinking. Elijah was broken because he saw the end caused, in his mind, by him.

So his statement: “I have been very zealous for the Lord…” can be understood as a statement of failure and disappointment, instead of a whinny accusation towards God. Elijah, stuck in a cave on a far away mountain, is feeling the sting of a ministry that he views as a failure. Brokenness is overtaking him and he expresses that notion to God.

“Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord for the Lord is about to pass by.” – God (1 Kings 19.11)

In a story reminiscent of Exodus 33.21-23 where the hand of the Lord covers Moses as He passes by, God gives Elijah the same experience. Moses in a time of questioning the ministry God has put him in (Ex 33.15-20), is allowed to view the presence of God. Elijah, on the same mountain and in similar fashion is shown the presence of God.

A great and powerful wind tore apart the mountain…but God was not in it. An earthquake shook the mountain…but God was not in it either. Fire rained down, in the same way it had at Carmel…but God was not in it either. After the suspense was sufficiently built, the Lord spoke to Elijah in a gentle whisper (1 Kings 19.11-13). Elijah put his cloak over his face and proceeded to have the same conversation with God as earlier. This time God speaks to Elijah’s brokenness.

“Go back the way you came…” In the next few verses, God’s answer is simple: “My redemption of this world, doesn’t end with you, Elijah!”  Elijah is given a to do list:

  •  Anoint Hazael King over Aram. Ben-Hadad current king of Aram has been an agitator for years…God says: “His reign is over…and I’m still God.”
  • Anoint Jehu as King of Israel. Jehu will be the only somewhat good King in the Northern Kingdom’s history (2 Kings 10.30-31) and he will bring judgment on the house of Ahab (2 Kings 9-10)…and God will still be working.
  • Anoint Elisha as your successor as prophet…he will continue to speak, communicate, and pursue his people. Elisha will do even greater miracles than Elijah by the power of an active God.
  • I reserve 7,000 faithful…”you aren’t alone Elijah. I’m still at work.  I was at work before you came along and I will be at work long after.”

Have you ever felt like you were failing in ministry? Ever felt the brokenness and isolation of following God? Maybe your influence isn’t have the effect you thought it would and your service to others is not being received like you hoped. It could be that you hit the end of your rope, pouring yourself out for the sake of others and for God, but you just don’t see the return? The shame is suffocating and weariness sets in.

You are in good company. Elijah finds himself miles from home, on a lonely mountain, in order to see that God is in charge and God directs his ministry. Elijah thought he was a failure until God showed him what He was doing behind the scenes.

There is nothing more demoralizing, shameful, and guilt-ridden than feeling like you let God down in ministry….BUT nothing more liberating, healing, and grace-giving than realizing you were never holding Him up!

Elijah was learning what Paul expressed in 1 Corinthians 3.6-7:

“I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow”

As you influence, pour into, disciple, and love others, avoid the mindset of Elijah that believes that God’s work started with you and ends with you!  Avoid the pressure that Elijah put on himself to be the reason for the success of God. Be thankful play the part you do, be a solid link in the chain, be diligent in your leg of the relay, refuse to pass judgment on your work, and let God take care of the results.

When Mt. Carmel Crumbles

IMG_1560It is surprising at times, though it really shouldn’t be.  If you can read this then you are old enough to know that life changes in an flash.  In a split second things can go from good to bad.  It is commonplace in the life that we live, yet we are still caught off guard.

I was speaking at a camp last weekend where my cell service is spotty at best.  Across my facebook came questions about an injury sustained by a stock contractor/bullfighter, that I have worked for and looked up too for years.  He was fighting bulls last weekend when a bull stepped on his chest, crushing his sternum.  He went from code yellow to code red in the ambulance on the way to the hospital.  Everything was taken care of and he is recovering well now but in a split second, so much had changed for him.

So much can happen in a second…

When the diagnosis comes down as cancer?  When a car crash claims a life?  When layoffs happen?  When kids rebel?  When drug addiction or alcoholism is discovered?  How do you respond?

Things can change so quickly.

Elijah is fresh off God’s victory over the prophets of Ba’al and has witnessed the power of God in his corner versus the prevailing worldview of the day (1 Kings 18.21).  He has also out run a chariot, being carried along by the “power [yad] of the Lord”.  (Literally, the “hand of the Lord” carried him as he ran ahead of Ahab. [1 Kings 18.41-46])  All of the exploits on Mt. Carmel gets back to Jezebel.  Her answer:

“May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them.”

He had all the prophets of Ba’al killed (1 Kings 18.40) and now Jezebel make it known that she plans to make him like them within the day.

Has life ever had you on cloud nine, succeeding at whatever your hands find to do, excercising your giftedness and playing a role in the kingdom…only to blindside you? Muck you out?

My story is long and complicated.  To spare you many of the details, I felt like I was running on all 8 cylinders last year for the first time in a long time.  The middle school ministry at the church was thriving.  Not only did we have a huge number of students, but we had a plan to introduce them to a God who loved them very much.  Our students were very different from what I was used too, but for the first time we had a plan to purposefully meet them, on their terms with the Gospel.  Our adults who helped on Wed night were committed, loved students that were at times hard to love, and were being used by God in ways I doubt they ever envisioned…something that I came alive being part of.  Our High School youth were working on Archaeology stuff in a ministry called the Forum.  They were writing articles about archaeology, interacting with the Biblical text and soaking up knowledge about the Bible.  They spent a weekend seeing the Dead Sea Scrolls which is not real high on most students to do list.  In youth group they were finding and utilizing their gifts, their worship styles, and embracing community at a level I had never seen.

Then it came crashing down.

My brother-in-law, our children’s pastor, went to our Senior pastor and two elders and told them that the church needed to fire me.  I got a text that night asking me to speak with our pastor and an elder the next day.  When I went into the office, I was told that I would be put on probation.  The elders were to be briefed of this at the beginning of October.  When that October meeting came, our Senior pastor meet with me the morning of the meeting and expressed that probation was not working and he was requesting that the elders fire me.  The elders arrived that night, with no prior knowledge of issues, received a handout detialing my transgressions, and voted to fire me.  One elder refused to let me go and refused to let that vote count.  A month later, the elders met with me to hear my side of the story.  Three weeks later, two elders met with me after church to ask for my resignation.  A month later, the night before my birthday (it was a rough week), I sat down with two elders and negotiated my termination.  A month after that, the Church was informed by the Elders, that I was leaving the ministry for other options.  The onus was on me.  I sat in the balcony as kids and parents asked me why I was leaving and wasn’t able to tell them i was asked to go.  A week later, the elders tried to clear it up…I wasn’t there.

During this time, as life was falling apart around me and a ministry that I had given my all to over the last 7 years was “going a different direction”, I thought back to all the success that God had given us and desperately tried to reconcile it with my current situation.

Elijah was broken and ran for his life.  In the desert, where God tends to make and form his people (Moses [Ex. 3.1]; the people of Israel [Deut. 2.1]; David [1 Sam 23.14, 24-25; 25.4]), Elijah reaches the point where life has crashed down around him and he shows his response.  He sits under a broom tree and prays.  Elsewhere he has prayed to God (1 Kings 17.20; 18.36) in tense circumstances (1 Kings 17.20; 18.36), but those prayers don’t seem as dire as this:

“I have had enough, Lord.  Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” (1 Kings 19.4)

All of Elijah’s ancestors fell by the sword (1 Kings 19.10) and Elijah now wants to be like them.  In exhaustion he falls asleep that night.  He is certainly no the only one who felt this way.  He joins a distinguished list of the great men in Scripture who have not wanted to go on living.  Job, Jonah, Isaiah, Solomon, Jeremiah, Moses, and now Elijah (Ex. 32.32; Num. 11.14; Jer. 15.10; 20.14; Job 3.11; 7.16; Jonah 4.3, 8-9; Isaiah 6.5; Ecc. 2.17), each questioned why they are living instead of dead.

The next day, after God fed him twice, Elijah headed to the Mountain of God, Horeb, where Moses had met with God.  The journey was to take 40 days and nights. (1 Kings 19.8) That is a long journey on foot.   A long time to think, ponder, and contemplate what brought him to this point.  This is a crock-pot story in a world of microwave stories.  Crock-pot’s are slow cooking.  When resolution isn’t just around the corner, Crock-pot stories are the way to go.   God has some work to do with Elijah.  And this journey and time spent on the mountain, is the slow-cooking crock-pot environment that Elijah needs at this point.

Matt, the bullfighter I wrote about earlier, was there at the beginning of my crock-pot time (of which I am still in the middle of).  The weekend after our Sr. Pastor suggested the Elders fire me, he hired me to work a few high school rodeos.  As we talked about life and rodeo, it was the perfect start to healing that I needed.

This journey was about Elijah’s healing.  I know where he is coming from.  Shame, discouragement, questioning life?  Jesus said that it wouldn’t be easy…but we are convinced serving God should be the path to a better life.  Life changes though in an instant.  Elijah wanted to die when the tides turned.  I wanted to die when the tides changed.  My crock-pot is now a year old.  Many great conversations about the desert have come from the firing.  I take solace in the fact that God wasn’t done with Elijah.  The journey was just the beginning of Elijah’s healing and preparation for his next role.

Maybe you are stuck in the crock-pot?  Maybe you are on a journey towards healing and restoration?  You might be at the end of your rope, exhausted from doing the right thing only to be ran over?  Maybe you are on the mountain top alongside Elijah (1 Kings 18.42) and things are going well…but sometime you will be with Elijah in the desert (1 Kings 19.4) and you need to think back to this?

Elijah went from the top to the bottom in a hurry, but our God is a God of the highs and lows, the mountain tops and valleys, in times of prosperity and famine.  God is God at all times and in all situations, never giving up on his servants and refusing to stop working in them…it takes some convincing to be thankful for that at times.

God Why Am I Still Alive–Burnout in Ministry Study

Limping to Mt. Carmel

I can’t stand watching videos of myself fighting bulls for one simple reason: I hate what I look like when I run. This insecurity comes from years ago. Every year at North Fairview we would have a field day where every student competed in skill challenges and foot races. My parents still have the video of me finishing nearly 25 yards behind all other competitors during a 75-yard dash. I broke my leg when I was 5. I still contend that I was pushed down the stairs on the deck, but the story is as muddied now as the Zapruder film (perhaps there was a second pusher). The broken leg caused me to run with a limp while I was growing up. To this day, I am one of the slowest people you will ever meet. In middle school, at my first track meet, I finished dead last in the 800, nearly 200 meters behind the last person, who was a girl. My only medal in high school track was from a 6th place finish (out of 6) where I was beat by not one but two girls in the two-mile. I go from zero to 60…never. It shows on video when I fight bulls. My gait is just awkward. In life I struggle with the same problem.

Like it or not we are all chasing something. Everyday we run and strain after something or someone. Usually it is a half hearted pursuit and usually its at a labored pace. For many non-monogamous chasers we limp along until something else catches our eye and we take off in pursuit of that flavor of the week. I use the word limp for two reasons: 1) it is the most accurate word for our pursuit. The chase has lasted so long that weariness has overcome us. We limp because we know we must keep moving but not enough strength to do so. 2) That is the word that Elijah put to it. 

In 1 Kings 18.21, Elijah tells the gathered people of Israel “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but Baal is God, follow him.” The word ‘waver’ [hb. pasha] is also used in 2 Samuel 4.4, when the nurse carrying Mephibosheth dropped him as she was fleeing. He was crippled [pasha] in the fall. The people that Elijah addressed struggled mentally in the same way Mephiboshet struggled physically. In Mephibosheth’s case his legs were wobbly, but the minds of Elijah’s audience wobbled. Mephibosheth’s legs were unsure, the Israelites loyalties were unsure.

When Elijah calls the people on their lack of commitment, they had nothing to say. (1 Kings 18.21)

Elijah’s audience struggled, limped, wavered between service of Baal and service of Yahweh which makes the setting so perfect. Mt. Carmel was on the Eastern border of Israel, situated between Israel and Phoenicia. Phoenicia (the city of Sidon) was the home of Jezebel, the wife of the King, who instituted Baal worship as the State religion of Israel. Baal was the storm God of the Canaanites, the one responsible for bringing rain.   In the midst of a three year drought (17.1; 18.1) this battle between Yahweh and Baal seems appropriate.

Both sides (450 prophets of Baal and Elijah) get a bull. Both get wood to sacrifice on. And both get to call on their God. The one that answers by fire, he is God. (1 Kings 18.24)

The people like this idea better than Elijah pointing out their lack of devotion. “What you say is good.” (1 Kings 18.24)

The prophets of Baal enter the ring first. They called his name from morning until noon with no response and no answer, despite their dancing. They danced [pasha] in the same way the people’s minds wavered [pasha]. Elijah mocks the silence, suggesting that Baal is meditating, preoccupied, or out to lunch. Some versions translate sig [“too busy” in the NIV] as Baal having gone to the bathroom. Elijah is letting them have it, so the prophets up their game by slashing themselves and shouting. From noon to evening their blood and cries flowed from their bodies, imploring their god to answer. Again with no response and no answer.

Elijah calls the people to himself. First, he repairs the altar that had fallen into disrepair, we assume from lack of use. Second, he prepares the sacrifice, the bull and the wood. Everyone is tracking with him thus far. The prophets of Baal did similar things hours ago. His next step must have baffled the people. “Soak the offering” was Elijah’s command. Three times he has them pour water on the sacrifice (18.33-35). They are still in the middle of the drought. The people are mumbling “We cant water our lawns and Elijah is three times soaking the offering. Water waster.” They probably didn’t mumble that but still.

Then he prayed. “Answer me of Lord, answer me, so that these people will know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.” (18.36-37)

God is in the business of drawing us to himself. He is constantly in pursuit of us. He has watch his people, over the last 150 years fall apart, worship false gods, be taken in by idols, and become spiritually bankrupt. He has seen his Kings and Queens turn the people towards false gods. The people, His people, are now so confused, they are immobile, crippled, and maimed.

God answers in front of the people. “Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench.” (18.36) 

The people responded in worship. The cried out: “Yahweh—he is God! Yahweh—he is God”  They went from speechless (18.21) to agreeable (18.24) to praising (18.39). The people went from wavering to worshipful because of the faithfulness of Elijah and the activity of God.

Have you ever limped through life? Ever been wavering between the world and God? The people of Israel followed their leaders in their sinful ways. They followed other gods in their service. They were unfaithful to their God. They had forgotten who they were.

The world tells me that fame and buckles should be chased…so I limp that direction. I want a house, a three-horse slant, and a truck to pull it…so I hobble that way. The world tells that money will bring me more satisfaction than anything else…so I stagger after it. I am amongst the audience that Elijah is confronting. I stand there speechless (18.21) waiting for this contest to play out.

I know who the winner will be, but I waver still. I often find myself stumbling towards the wrong things sometimes. It usually takes a reminder, a person of faith, an action of God, a word from the Word, or a worldly lie revealed that brings me to 18.39 worship. Do you limp along, chasing the wrong god’s or do you find yourself overtaken in 18.39 worship? Chasing the Lord in word, in action, and in life at an all out run?