Being a Christian in today's world is very hard. But do not let that scare you, anything worthwhile is worth working for. Being a Christian can be hard but it can also be fun. That is my objective, through my own stories, stories of my friends and a lot of plagiarism (Just kidding, only a little plagiarism.), I am going to show that you can be a Christian and still have fun!

the most wasted of all days is one without
laughter - e e cummings

Saturday, September 24, 2005

  Thanks for the golf lesson.

A couple of months ago I asked the question, "Has God ever answered a prayer in a way you never dreamed a prayer could be answered?" Today I have a new question, "Has anything ever happened to you when after it was all said and done you knew it was God?" I have had it happen twice this week. First was last Friday, I had a few of the guys from church coming over for a "guys night" since my wife and kids were out of town. On my way home from work I was going to stop and pick up a couple of pizzas and soft drinks. I noticed my truck was running just a little hot but it has been doing that for a while so I dismissed it. Then one of the worst things that could ever happen to a man did. While I was in Sam's someone came over the intercom and said, "Who ever owns a red Dodge truck, the water is running out of you radiator." Knowing it was me, I did what any man would do, I looked around and said, out loud, "I hate it for that guy." So long-story-short, I got some water in my truck and limped it home. I normally worry about things like this, especially since I do not have the money to get my truck fixed. I just said a quick prayer, "Lord, what do I do now?"

This all happened around six o'clock, the guys showed up around seven. Then I got a phone call around seven-thirty. It was a buddy from church who was calling to see if he could park his truck in my parking area to try to sell it. I have a large area in my front yard where I can park about 15 cars. I also live on a main street in our town so it makes a great place to try to sell a vehicle. So jokingly I asked him, "How much do you want for your truck?"

"I thought you had a truck."

"I do, but it just blew up."

"Then just drive mine," he said.

"Man, I am not going to drive your truck."

"Joe, I have a company car, I don't need my truck for a while."

"I am telling you I am not going to drive your truck."

"Let me ask you one question. If you could, would you do it for me?"

"You know I.... Wait a minute, that is a trick question."

"That's right, you would. Let me do this for you. Besides that's what Brothers in Christ do."

Needless to say, I am borrowing my buddies truck.

Next case, I played golf the other day and I could not hit the broad side of a barn. It was the worst day of golf I have had with my golfing buddies since we started playing golf together. It was so bad I was wishing a bear would come out of the woods and end our day. Or better yet, I wished I had a pimped out golf cart, so I could hurry up and finish my round. It was a loooong day. I had told myself that I was going to take a break from golf. That was Saturday, Tuesday at work a friend of mine came up to me and said, "Have you ever seen one of these?" It was a Medicus, a golf club that will help you with your swing. I told him I have never used one but I have always wanted to use one. He said take it, you can borrow it. I won't need it for a while.

I knew there was a third story and I just remembered it. Last week, I received a check from my company for twenty dollars. I called the home office and asked what the money was for because I knew I was not due anything. I told the lady I did not want it if it was not mine. She said it was for an expense report I had sent in a couple of weeks before. I did some traveling for my company and turned in a gas ticket. Well since gas has gone up, they have a new gas rate we are supposed to use. I used the old mileage rate. You may say twenty dollars, big deal. Well it was a big deal at the time. You see I had made a calculation error in my checking account and did not have any money, I mean none! That was my gas money for the week.

What is my point? I did not ask God for any of this stuff but He decided I could use them. Some people would say, man you are crazy, it is just a coincidence. You are just grasping at straws to make a point. I say God is looking out for me. I didn't really need these things or even ask for them but God said, "Let Me do this for you." (Well maybe I needed some gas money.)

Luke 12:24, "Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!"

So let me ask you, has anything ever happened to you, big or small, when after it was all said and done you knew it was from God?

God bless, Joe

Thanks for the golf lesson.


At 10:12 PM, Blogger Rodney Olsen said...

I always have a bit of a problem with this kind of thinking. I'm not saying it's wrong, I'm just saying that it causes me to struggle with the issue.

Do we believe that God is vitally interested in helping you improve your golf game but he is less than interested in helping many of the faithful Christians who have had their whole lives swept away and lost loved ones during Katrina?

I know that God is vitally interested in every part of our lives, including our leisure pursuits, but how do we reconcile the idea of a God who helps us play golf better with that of a God who allows thousands of people become martyrs for their faith in Christ around the world each year?

Please don't get me wrong, I'm not attacking what you're saying, and I have seen God's hand at work in providing for me and my family in big and small ways, but I think that this is a tough issue that is worth struggling with.

At 7:48 AM, Blogger JOE B said...

Were cool. I never thought about it the way you look at it. I guess all I was tinking was God not only helps us with the big problems in life but he has time to help us with the things we don't even ask for. The things we think are small and trivial.
Thanks, Joe

At 2:55 PM, Blogger jettybetty said...

I don't have a good answer to Rodney's question either--I think God allows trials in our lives to let us know He's going to help us through it--but anyway--I enjoyed yours stories and stuff happens like that almost every day that I notice--I wonder how many I miss--so I don't praise God for what He's doing.


At 6:32 PM, Blogger Gina Burgess said...

Joe, come to my place and see how I knew it was God.

Rodney, what ever happens, it is for the glory of God. He is absolutely vitally interested in helping me find my lost keys just as He cares that one little hummingbird is dead.

You can look on the surface of a something and say, "OH, that's wrong/horrible/terrible..." whatever, but you do not know the whole story from God's persepctive. We must TRUST that God is God and God knows best. He has time to care about Joe's golf game and to save a horse from drowning and to make sure someone gets to the rooftop before the flood waters cover them over. He also told the Israelites to turn from their wicked ways, but they did not and thus were scattered from A to Izzard.

One look at Ecclesiastes (sp?) and we see that the smartest man in the entire world could not explain "Why". We know the how, we know the what...but, mankind was not given the answer to Why.

At 10:19 PM, Blogger Rodney Olsen said...

Gina, I know that God cares deeply about every part of our lives and that we'll never have all the answers this side of eternity but that shouldn't stop us from struggling with the deeper issues here.

You've mentioned how much God cares for the little things like car keys and golf games. You've then contrasted this with God's punishment for a disobedient nation.

We can all deal with the idea of good stuff for the 'God followers' and bad stuff for those who reject him but it doesn't work that way.

My question is, what about those faithfull folowers of Christ who lost everything during Katrina or during last year's tsunami? What about faithful followers who are murdered for Christ's name? Are we saying that he cares enough to save a horse from drowning but not enough to stop a missionary family from being burnt alive in a car in India as happened some years ago?

Part of the answer for me comes from Exodus 33:19 And the LORD said, "I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion."

God will choose who he is merciful to without any reference to our human ideas of fairness. From our perspective, life simply isn't fair.

Can we honestly use examples of God's hand in the small things in our lives as proof that he exists? Surely others would then point to God's perceived absence in the lives of those who suffer, despite their committment to him, as proof that he doesn't.

I must say that I will continue seeking God's help when I misplace my keys; I will continue to praise him for his every provision; I will keep praying for the trivial things but I will also keep grappling with the harder issues becuase that focusses my attention on the fact that the spiritual battle is bigger than a small god who only focusses his attention on making me comfortable. I want to serve a big God who may lead me through difficult times; a God who often doesn't make sense when I'm using earthly wisdom; a God who wants to bring everyone and everthing in this world back to himself through Jesus Christ.

At 4:00 PM, Blogger Gina Burgess said...

Dear Rodney, Absolutely focus on how big our God is! I love doing that.

When we think about God's faithful followers who are persecuted like the Chinese pastor who was beaten senseless to the point he was paralysed from the waist down and then one day, just like for Peter, the prison doors opened just for him and he walked out, walked home and was cared for by his wife and church members...that is an illustration of God's Blessings and God's power working in one man's life. A miracle. Does the beating detract from the miracle? Do we look at the prison sentence and wring our hands and wail? Do we rejoice the man walked out when he had no legs to walk for 2 months prior to the prison cell door opening?

God's point is that no matter what happens, He works everything for good to those who love the Lord all according to His good purpose. Everything. If we lose somethings, that just means God has something better for His glory in mind for us. If we lose our lives, that is gain for we are with Jesus then. This world is just temporary Section 8 home for us. God has something better planned if we are willing to allow Him to do it.

Joe, please allow me to post this address to It has a multitude of study helps, online Bibles, commentaries, devotionals and it has a forum full of studious Bible students discussing questions like this and other questions that deal with Christian living and how we relate to God.

At 6:38 AM, Blogger JOE B said...

Wow guys thanks for the comments, both make very good points.
Rodney, first of all please don'e think I was making light of all the things going on in this world. The huricanes and other bad things happening to good people. I want to serve a big God too, but I feel my God is so big that He can take care of the big stuff and the small trivial stuff, stuff that makes our lives on this miserable planet just a little better. That was the point I was trying to make.
Gina, have at it, post away.
God bless, Joe

At 12:38 PM, Blogger Bill and Glory said...

Oh my! I love these kinds of questions. Can I say that God allowed our miscarriage last year for His glory? Absolutely. It broke our hearts but that was His intention, to cause us to cry out to Him. What about rushing our toddler into Seattle for a CT scan just a few weeks ago? Well, we had no idea what the outcome would be but for a half hour we saw a large cloud in the sky above us that looked like a dove with an olive branch. God's peace that passes all understanding when we just don't know what to expect.


At 6:05 AM, Blogger Bonnie said...

Love the golf cart! I could have lots of fun with it.It looks much more fun than my ride mower.God Bless You.

At 9:33 AM, Blogger Darlene said...

God never ceases to go beyond our expectations.

At 3:04 PM, Blogger Guppyman said...

Not getting into the big things small things discussion, I just figured I'd share a little bit of what happened last night. Last Saturday night at church, my wife handed me $200 to stick in the basket... for some reason I held on to $100 and told her I felt I needed it to go somewhere else. Then I just kind of held on to it. Last night I was going to drop it in the basket because nothing had come to me....

But then a family came over to where we were sitting during our service... We had some time to get to know eachother... told our stories and whatnot about the hurricane Rita evacuation....

These folks had evacuated New Orleans... Then they had to evacuate for Rita... They came back to our area and are staying in an apartment.

I have no clue what these people's financial situation is... I have no clue who they know or what their circumstance is... But while we were doing some individual prayer, I knew where the $100 I was sitting on needed to go. I handed it to her after the service- told her I had no clue if she needed it or not, but I needed to do it. I told her if she didn't need it to toss it in the basket or donate it somewhere....

The look she gave me told me that she needed it- the tears that welled up in her eyes- the hug that followed.

I asked God to lead me where that money needed to go, and I think he answered.... It's not much, but hopefully it made a difference for them.
I have absolute faith that it's in the right hands.


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