Why Standing Stones?

Why Standing Stones?

In ancient Israel, people stood stones on their end to commemorate a powerful move of God in their lives. It was a memorial to something God spoke or revealed or did. Often these standing stones became reference points in their lives. Today, we can find reference points in the written Word of God. Any scripture or sermon can speak something powerful into our lives, or reveal something of the nature of God. In this blog I offer, what can become a reference point for Christians, taken from God's ancient word and applied to today's world.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Dream Rangers

This video is a commercial for a Taiwanese bank. It talks about dreams and living for your dreams. Obviously they are trying to sell loans or banking services. But it can speak to Christians, as well because it is also about vision. These are men who didn’t want to sit out the end of their lives living just to keep alive. They have decided to do something with the end of their lives.

Actually this video is based on a true story. There are three things that this video speaks to us I think.

· We can be motivated to by current crises to risk it all
· Age is not a factor in the completion of vision
· They weren’t limited by circumstances

I think the biggest impediment to living out the will of God, for most Christians is…themselves. We limit ourselves. We think that we are unable to rise above the circumstances in out lives; the disabilities, the difficulties. Today I want to look at different men in the Bible who are “Dream Rangers.” Despite what was happening, or had happened in their lives they overcame the circumstances and triumphed in God. I wan to examine how those things can be applied to our own lives. I want to use a simple text to examine Dream rangers in the Bible.

Proverbs 29:18 (KJV)
29:18 Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.
Where there is no vision the people perish. According to Miriam-Webster Dictionary vision can be defined as: the act or power of imagination. If you can imagine it, you can make it happen.

Disneyland is a place where the creative spirit is encouraged. They are true believers in the idea that if it can be imagined it can be built. In fact, they use a staff of civil and mechanical engineers to design and build equipment and rides. Those engineers are called “imaginers.” The people at Disney have vision.

Vision is responsible for all the major success in any form: Literature, Art, Business, even Church planting. All of these things derive from somebody’s ability to imagine it. That’s what vision is: Vision is what will cause you to override your circumstances and move forward.

The Four Beggars – Circumstances Cause Risk and Change

2 Kings 7:1-8 (NKJV)
7:1 Then Elisha said, "Hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord: 'Tomorrow about this time a seah of fine flour shall be sold for a shekel, and two seahs of barley for a shekel, at the gate of Samaria.' " 2 So an officer on whose hand the king leaned answered the man of God and said, "Look, if the Lord would make windows in heaven, could this thing be?" And he said, "In fact, you shall see it with your eyes, but you shall not eat of it." 3 Now there were four leprous men at the entrance of the gate; and they said to one another, "Why are we sitting here until we die? 4 If we say, 'We will enter the city,' the famine is in the city, and we shall die there. And if we sit here, we die also. Now therefore, come, let us surrender to the army of the Syrians. If they keep us alive, we shall live; and if they kill us, we shall only die." 5 And they rose at twilight to go to the camp of the Syrians; and when they had come to the outskirts of the Syrian camp, to their surprise no one was there. 6 For the Lord had caused the army of the Syrians to hear the noise of chariots and the noise of horses--the noise of a great army; so they said to one another, "Look, the king of Israel has hired against us the kings of the Hittites and the kings of the Egyptians to attack us!" 7 Therefore they arose and fled at twilight, and left the camp intact--their tents, their horses, and their donkeys--and they fled for their lives. 8 And when these lepers came to the outskirts of the camp, they went into one tent and ate and drank, and carried from it silver and gold and clothing, and went and hid them; then they came back and entered another tent, and carried some from there also, and went and hid it.
These four men are lepers, they’re living in a very difficult time in Jerusalem’s history. This moment takes place in the middle of a siege so overwhelming and lasting that women have begun to boil and eat their babies. These are dire circumstances, extremely difficult time. The circumstances have begun to control people’s actions, even their emotions. How desperate do you think a woman has to be to kill and eat her child? But look at the attitude of the lepers:

2 Kings 7:4 (NKJV)
7:4 If we say, 'We will enter the city,' the famine is in the city, and we shall die there. And if we sit here, we die also. Now therefore, come, let us surrender to the army of the Syrians. If they keep us alive, we shall live; and if they kill us, we shall only die."
Maybe it’s because they have nothing left to lose, but it is the circumstances that have moved these men to action. “If we stay here, we die. If we go into the city, we die. But if we go to the Syrians we might die, but we might not.” Their circumstances were actually the motivation for them to take action.

Look at our world today. These are also desperate time. There is violence and unrest throughout the world. Sickness and disease are increasing, with super bacteria and the like. There is an increase in deaths to do natural disasters, such as earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunamis and the like. There is even the global economic crisis. These are desperate times for many people. These are times every bit as desperate as the time the lepers in which the lepers lived. Their circumstances caused them to act. But what about the circumstances we’re facing? What are we going to do?

After all, as Christians, we are the ones with an answer to desperation and hopelessness. But often we’re sitting and watching as the world becomes less and less caring, and more and more brutal and dangerous. We have two choices, we can sit here and do nothing or we can answer the call that God has placed on our lives and take a risk.

The thing is that some of you reading this know God has a call on your life, but you are allowing your own dreams to override His vision for you. Some people can sit by and watch people perish, and be fatalistic about it. “Oh well, that’s just the way it is today.” It’s easy to do that so we can sit there like that or we can be like the lepers and say. If we stay here we die…and then take action.

Can you sit and watch or can you be galvanized into action? These are ugly times, but guess what, they’re going to get uglier, especially if Christians sit and do nothing. Don’t let you fear regulate your ability to answer the call of God on your life. The lepers didn’t know what they’d face if they went over to the Syrians, but they went anyway.

In the last month, or fellowship has launched seven couples into international works. Some of those couples were launched right into the middle of the violence and unrest. These couples have answered the call of God to go into the middle of the danger. They don’t know what it’s going to be like; they don’t know what’s going to happen. But they’re going anyway: Like the lepers.

In fact no couple that’s launched out to pioneer a church knows what the future will hold. But they go. They answer the call. It is much easier to do nothing and many make that choice. They want to wait until the circumstances are right. When I have more money. Maybe when the kids are older. Or whatever the circumstance in their lives is that overrules their calling. But I want to tell you something there is no right time to get pregnant. If you wait until the circumstances are perfect, you’ll never have kids, because the fact is there will always be problems and difficulties. That’s how life is. If you wait until your circumstances are perfect to do something for God, then you never will.

When these lepers did this it saved Jerusalem. They took a chance. They took a risk. What about you? Are you willing to risk?

Abraham and David – You’re Never Too Old or Too Young

Genesis 21:1-5 (NKJV)
21:1 And the Lord visited Sarah as He had said, and the Lord did for Sarah as He had spoken. 2 For Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him. 3 And Abraham called the name of his son who was born to him--whom Sarah bore to him--Isaac. 4 Then Abraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him. 5 Now Abraham was one hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him.

1 Samuel 16:10-13 (NKJV)
16:10 Thus Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel. And Samuel said to Jesse, "The Lord has not chosen these." 11 And Samuel said to Jesse, "Are all the young men here?" Then he said, "There remains yet the youngest, and there he is, keeping the sheep." And Samuel said to Jesse, "Send and bring him. For we will not sit down till he comes here." 12 So he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, with bright eyes, and good-looking. And the Lord said, "Arise, anoint him; for this is the one!" 13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel arose and went to Ramah.
These men in the video were eighty-one years old when they began that trip. But they got it into their minds that even with all the frailties that come with age, their sicknesses and their disabilities, that they could do it. They didn’t allow their age to limit them.

Do you realize that God is not a respecter of age? Abraham is being given the son of promise, Isaac, at one hundred years of age. God isn’t worried that Abraham is too old to do what God has purposed for him. David, on the other hand is anointed king at sixteen years of age. God isn’t worried that he isn’t old enough to carry out God’s plan for Israel.

The problem is that the world limits people based on their age. The elderly are set aside too old to be of any help. The young don’t know anything. What could they possible achieve?

Ronald Reagan was reelected president of the United States at seventy-three years of age. In that term as president he ended the cold war with Russia.

Mark Zuckerberg was twenty-three years old when he created Facebook …he’s a Billionaire.

We don’t have to be limited by age. We are neither too old, nor too young to answer God’s call. Those couples that were launched out some were very young and others were in their fifties or older. An older person with wisdom and experience can serve God. A young person with energy and zeal can serve God. Do you know what’s the perfect age to answer God’s call? How old are you? That’s the perfect age. God calls you by his measure, so if you’re hearing the call you’re old enough, or young enough as the case may be.

Moses – His Circumstances Didn’t Stop His call

Exodus 4:10-17 (NKJV)
4:10 Then Moses said to the Lord, "O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue." 11 So the Lord said to him, "Who has made man's mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the Lord? 12 Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say." 13 But he said, "O my Lord, please send by the hand of whomever else You may send." 14 So the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses, and He said: "Is not Aaron the Levite your brother? I know that he can speak well. And look, he is also coming out to meet you. When he sees you, he will be glad in his heart. 15 Now you shall speak to him and put the words in his mouth. And I will be with your mouth and with his mouth, and I will teach you what you shall do. 16 So he shall be your spokesman to the people. And he himself shall be as a mouth for you, and you shall be to him as God. 17 And you shall take this rod in your hand, with which you shall do the signs."
So Moses wasn’t perfect to answer God’s call. Moses was concerned that his disability would keep him back. He was slow of speech, do you know that means, he stuttered. He had limitations. He had also tried to do what God was calling him to do once before, on his own. He completely messed it up. He tried to do the whole thing on his own strength and ended up killing a man and thereby making everyone else unwilling to follow him. That’s why in Exodus three he is so concerned about, “who shall I say sent me?” But when God makes the call he goes and God is able to use him in spite of the things he sees as his weaknesses.

I’m not just talking about physical disabilities here, though. This is really about the kind of weakness that we all have. All of us have things that damage our confidence in ourselves. Things that make us think we can’t do it. That’s what Moses said, “I can’t, I’m not good enough. But what was God’s reaction?

"So the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses”

I guess God had a different idea. God wouldn’t allow Moses to use his personal circumstances to keep him from answering God’s call. Moses overcame his circumstances, sufficiently, to become one of the greatest leaders in all of history. Maybe God wants to do that in you, as well.

Are You a Dream Ranger?

So, the question before us is this…Are you a Dream ranger? Are you able to put God’s call before everything else? Are you willing to answer God’s call; willing to respond to God’s vision? These are desperate times for the world. So much of prophecy is right before our eyes. I truly believe, that more than ever before, we are hurtling toward the return of Jesus. These are the times for action. These are not the times to sit back and nurse our wounds or worry about the circumstances of our lives. There are so many people whose eternity hangs in the balance.

In the book of Esther, Mordecai is talking about the call on Esther’s life. It was a desperate time for Jews. Haman had gained power and convinced the king that the Jews should die. The decree had gone out, the time was set. Only Esther had access to the king, but even for her it was dangerous. No one could approach the king, if he had not called them. The penalty was death. Esther was hesitant and Mordecai tells her this:

Esther 4:14 (NKJV)
4:14 For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?"
She listens and responds, “If I perish, I perish.” She’s going to answer the call. She’s going to put aside her concerns and be about the business of God. She’s a dream ranger. What about you, are you a dream ranger?

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