Walking with God…..
Devotional Thought of the Day:
22 They came to Bethsaida, where some people brought a blind man to Jesus and begged him to touch him. 23 Jesus took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village. After spitting on the man’s eyes, Jesus placed his hands on him and asked him, “Can you see anything?” 24 The man looked up and said, “Yes, I can see people, but they look like trees walking around.” 25 Jesus again placed his hands on the man’s eyes. This time the man looked intently, his eyesight returned, and he saw everything clearly. Mark 8:22-25 (TEV)
212 Let us marvel at the lovable paradox of our Christian condition: it is our own wretchedness which leads us to seek refuge in God, to become “like unto God”. With him we can do all things. (1)
15 years ago this month, I was a young pastor, at my first church a little over a year. I was starting to crumble when a query about a church conference turned into an opportunity that changed my ministry career. I was offered the chance to replace a pastor that had dropped out of an exclusive preaching program at what was called the Fuqua School of Christian Communication. The Basic course was supposed to have 25 students, and one backed out. It was held at the Crystal Cathedral, in conjunction with other seminaries who made it part of their DMin program.
It required me to be videotaped during a short sermon, 15 minutes or so.
Most of the other pastors were from churches of 350-1500. Some were on television, some pastored famous churches. I was pastoring a church in the desert, one many have given up on. We would work 5 to 1 with some of the most famous preachers and christian communicators in the USA. My mentor was Juan Carlos Ortiz. If you’ve never heard him, in English or Spanish, you should. He is one of the most dynamic, deep preachers you will ever hear. He had the first megachurch in his home country of Argentina, came to the USA and started a church for people speaking Spanish at the Crystal Cathedral.
As I watched him shred the first four pastors in my group, I became more and more fearful. I was very stiff, monotoned and tried to stuff 45 minutes into 15. I could anticipate every comment he would make, and already feeling overwhelmed by my “peers”, I was wondering if his advice would be similar to what I had heard before. That I wasn’t cut our (some said I didn’t have the gift ) to be a preacher.
That’s not what Juan Carlos did. After shredding (very politely constructively and with the skill and elan of a world class fencer ) the more renowned and skilled preachers, he focused only on a 75-second portion of my message.
There, I told the story of the picture above, although thirty-five plus years in the past. Instead of my son and I, I was the son, my dad beside me, on the same road along the shore of Lake Ossipee in Salem New Hampshire. Then and still, this is the relationship we are to have with God, walking hand in hand down the road together. Sharing the problems of life, our doubts, our joys, our anxieties. We would ask questions about this life that puzzle us, Asking for help in making life right. (confession) And sometimes, it is simply walking in silence.
It is this communion that is what the life of a Christian is to be. It is how Jesus ministered to the blind man as well, taking him by the hand, and walking with Him. It is as St Josemarie talked of, where our problems, our anxieties, our fears, our sins are the very thing that drives us to God in the first place. There. everything becomes right.
What Juan Carlos told me was to tell this story, the same way. To get people to know the God who walks with them, as a father walking with his son. If I did that, everything else would fall into place.
Today I took that walk with my son…. today, I thought back on that lesson… today, perhaps you need to get back on that road you used to walk with your Father in heaven.
It’s time – let’s all go for that walk….
Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). The Forge (Kindle Locations 926-927). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.
Posted on October 21, 2014, in Devotions, The Forge, Theology in Practice and tagged anxiety, Crystal Cathedral, Dad, First Christian Church-Yucca Valley, Juan Carlos Ortiz, Lake Ossipee, me Deer Cove, peace, Questioning God, questioning life., the life of the baptized. fear, walking with God, William, worry. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.