After Jesus’ famous “I am” statements in John 14 with the disciples saying, “I am the way and the truth and the life,” Jesus tells them that if they see him that they see the Father. He proceeds to tell them that they will do even greater things than what they have seen him do. Now here is what I want to look at – “And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” John 14:13-14.
Ask for anything? I believe that many people have taken this the wrong way. This does not mean that Jesus can be our puppet or my token god, only there to spoil me by granting my every wish. I believe we can go the other extreme and not ask for anything.
If all of your prayers were answered, how many would be about you? Would they all benefit you? Would they bring glory to the Father?
In 1 Kings 3, Solomon is well into the kingship that his father David handed down to him. He showed his love for the Lord by walking according to the instructions given him by his father David, and went beyond that by offering sacrifices and burned incense on the high places. The Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream and said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.”
Look at Solomon’s response, 6 Solomon answered, “You have shown great kindness to your servant, my father David, because he was faithful to you and righteous and upright in heart. You have continued this great kindness to him and have given him a son to sit on his throne this very day.
7 “Now, Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. 8 Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. 9 So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?” 1 Kings 3:6-9
Did you see his humble request? He wants a discerning heart to lead the people and know the difference between right and wrong. The Lord was very pleased with his request. The Lord told Solomon that He will grant what he asked for and that He would also grant what he didn’t ask for. He even lists the things he could have asked for but chose not to – long life, wealth for himself, or the death of his enemies.
There seems to be a cause and effect relationship between Solomon’s loving generosity in making his offering to the Lord, and God’s loving generosity in making him the offer. The answer came from a deep, abiding relationship. This brings a whole new light to Ephesians 3:20 when it says, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” The emphasis is on the power of God at work within me. That makes me want to know God more and more. I ask for the things in the will of God and He will take care of all the other things. That is true contentment.
If you get a chance today, go to 1 Kings 3 and ask yourself what you would ask for if God gave you the chance. Wait, He has already done that.
I am looking forward to continuing in John as we look at having a big faith in a big God.
Joy in Jesus!
Vacation Bible Adventure is in full swing. It has been an excellent week so far. We have so many people that are spending their free time investing in children and families. It is overwhelming the amount of people it takes to pull this week off. I think it gets bigger and bigger every year.
As I walked through the different stations and heard the different stories and verses, I was struck by the fact that we are not only evangelizing and sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ, but we are discipling as well. We are discipling adults and children alike. Not only are the children learning about Jesus, but the teachers and leaders are learning more about Jesus and his love that draws us in.
I want to focus on what Jesus calls us to when we become a disciple of Christ. In Mark 8:34, Jesus says, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” In Luke, he adds that it needs to happen daily. That means in every and all situations.
Taking up your cross is the ultimate act of surrender – a conscious choice to deny yourself and live for Christ. It means a willingness to follow and obey Christ to whatever end. God calls us into his kingdom through grace. Being “born again” (John 3:3) means that we have new life. Although salvation is a free gift, it costs us everything. We cannot buy God’s love and forgiveness. But Jesus doesn’t beat around the bush: it will cost us everything to follow him. If we truly follow Jesus with all of our heart, then we can have no other gods before him. There is a plethora of gods we can choose or even teach our children to choose before the Almighty God. To follow Jesus it takes absolute surrender.
That, my friends, is what we are teaching our children. It is about having a deep, audacious commitment to the One who gave his life up for us all. Our theme this year is “SLIME.” It stands for the Savior Lives In Me Everyday.
If you haven’t been able to come out this week, I want to encourage you to come and check it out. As you are here, pray for the children and the families that are participating. We need a spirit-filled renewal amongst our families with young children. I pray that it happens this week.
On Sunday following the second service, we will have our Sunday Funday. The picnic will be for everyone. If you are limber enough, maybe you can participate in some of the activities. If not, then you can enjoy watching others that may think they are limber enough. All I know is that it is going to be a fun-filled day of being together and enjoying hearing the stories of what God is doing.
Joy in Jesus!
Rev. Mike McClurg
Senior Pastor, Findlay First Church of the Nazarene