As I record this, the date is November 13, 2009. and it’s about 10:30 p.m. Almost exactly five years ago at this very hour I spoke very nervously into a microphone at the back of the sanctuary of what was then known as calvary temple, and recorded the very first Christian podcast not based on repurposed church sermons.
I felt as if the Lord had called me to proclaim his name through this new technology, this new medium, and that is what I did. With much trepidation, in a barely lit sanctuary, I sat in the sound booth of that church and told whomever might be listening, why I am a believer in and follower of Jesus Christ. I spoke of his love, and his mercy. I talked about the problem of sin and the wonderful solution God came up with, at His expense, to bring reconciliation between Himself and me…and you.
I think I played music from Anne Davis on that first show. If it wasn’t that one, it was probably the second show.
I invited emails and comments, and I surprisingly heard from folks around the world…almost immediately. I was humbled that anyone would listen, and thankful for the emails. To me, it was a confirmation that I was doing the right thing.
Who knew what would result from that first show? I must say that I had no idea how much my life would change in the next five years. Then, my windshield repair business was doing well, the lovely lady LeeAnn was home schooling our two youngest sons, and I was asking God how I might serve Him.
Today, our windshield repair business is on life support with a weak, thready pulse with blood pressure dropping…as a result of the horrible economy. The lovely lady LeeAnn has had to find employment outside of our business, our middle son has graduated from our local public high school, our youngest is a sophomore at that same school, the oldest is now married to a beautiful young woman, and I’m wearing several hats in order to earn a living…all of them centered around my computer. I’m a voiceover artist, an audiobook editor, a video editor, a wordpress website developer, and a podcaster. I’ve probably forgotten something in there, but the point is that five years ago, I would have never imagined that my life was going to be so completely turned upside down. Nearly everything has changed in my daily circumstances.
There are, as I sit here and think about it, two enormously important constants over these five years. The first that I’ll mention is the love and support of the lovely lady LeeAnn. Through everything, she has been there to love and support me. She is my best friend, she is my sounding board, she is my companion. The strength of our marriage has only grown, and I am blessed beyond words to have her to be my life’s companion.
The second thing that has been constant has been the presence of God in my life. In Malachi 3:6, God says “I am the Lord, I change not.” And that has become for me a wonderful scripture of comfort.
To know that God is not changed by the circumstances and foibles of man, to know that there is a safe place, a source of strength when everything else seems to be about as stable as Jello…well, that knowledge helps me to move forward and keep fighting the good fight.
A scripture that has become very popular over the past few years is Jeremiah 4:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
I love that scripture. It is a wonderful promise, to be sure, but I’ve learned that putting a scripture in context is always a good thing. It brings more clarity and understanding, in most cases.
Now listen to the context.
Because the children of Israel had rebelled against God, He—after numerous warning through His prophets—allowed them to be taken into captivity and exiled from Jerusalem into Babylon. But because of His great love for them, He gave them this promise. Listen to verses 10 through 14:
10 This is what the LORD says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”
What a marvelous, loving God. Even though there was a history of God providing miraculously for them, and them abandoning Him, and this chain of events happening over and over, His loving nature was to, yet again, offer this promise of hope and restoration.
And of course, ultimately, it became apparent that this cycle would never end, because it is the nature of man to rebel…to sin. God allowed the multiple cycles not because He was under any notion that man would someday “get it”, but so that we might see our complete inability to maintain any kind of righteousness. We would never be able to live according to God’s standard of behavior…to be without sin.
And then, according to Gal. 4: 4 But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law,5 so that He might redeem those who were under the Law.
At just the right time in history, Jesus came into the world to break that cycle we spoke about. Jesus came to make full and final payment for my sin and yours, so that we might at last have lasting peace and relationship with God. He did that by taking my sin and yours upon himself and paying for them with his own blood…his own life. And then proving his right to do so by being resurrected on the third day. If he had remained dead, then it would have all been for nought. But He showed himself to be God, to be the only one with the power to bring forgiveness to us, by his resurrection. How do we know it really happened? For one thing, there were many eyewitnesses. He appeared to over 500 people on one occasion. The fact that most of his disciples chose horrible deaths over denying Jesus’ resurrection is another fact that lends credibility, and there are others.
The point is that because of what Jesus did all those years ago, and because of the fact that we know God doesn’t change, you and I can have peace and even joy, despite this changing and unsteady world in which we find ourselves.
God is still God. He is still;
El-Shaddai — The God Who is Sufficient for the Needs of His People
Jehovah-Elohim — The Eternal Creator
Jehovah-Jireh — The Lord our Provider
Jehovah-Nissi — The Lord our Banner
Jehovah-Ropheka — The Lord our Healer
Jehovah-Shalom — The Lord our Peace
and all the other names we learn about in Scripture.
If you are looking for peace, my friend, the only place you will find it is in the loving arms of this God. He created you. He loves you with an intensity and a depth that is impossible to express in words. He wants you to know him and to have an ongoing, intimate relationship with him. And that is only possible through knowing Jesus Christ. Listen to some of Jesus words…
“I and the Father are one. No one comes to the Father but by me. If you love me, you’ll keep my word, and my father will love him and we will make our home with you. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life…”
Eternal life. Eternity is a long time. It’s forever. The changes I’ve seen in my own life over the past five years show me that this world is far from forever. There are constant variations and movements in my circumstances. But my Rock doesn’t move, doesn’t change. My present is uncertain, but my future is secure.
How about yours? If you are not sure, if you have questions, if you have doubts or fears, I would love to hear from you. I’m not a preacher. I’m just a guy who has found peace, and I would love to provide whatever answers I can if you have questions.
Email me at steve (a t) lifespringmedia.com, or phone me at 951-732-8511. I will get back to you.