On a recent movie night, my family watched the movie Big Miracle. It is based on the true life story of three gray whales that were trapped in ice in Alaska in 1988. They got separated from the ocean by a ice wall that formed keeping them from their pod that was headed to Mexico and when the rest of their pocket of water froze they would die. The whole community and world (including President Reagan and the Soviet Union) came together to save these three mammals.
If you haven’t seen it and don’t want to have it spoiled please stop reading….but like Dolphin Tale, Free Willy and The Mighty Ducks this movie, for the most part, had a happy, feel-good ending. The citizens dug a path of breathing holes through the ice, some guys from Minnesota showed up with a heater, and the Russians smashed the sea wall down. Just another day in Point Barrow, Alaska. Before the credits rolled the whales were breaching on the ocean side and showing their iconic little flukes for the cameras before floating off to join their posse in Tijuana.
Feeling incredulous I pulled out my phone to go to Wikipedia and see if this all was real. I discovered that it indeed had happened. It was referred to by the gov’t as “Operation Breakthrough.” The big difference however was that in real life they never knew if it worked. Once the wall was broken they never saw the whales again on the land side but they never saw them surface on the ocean side either. There was no photo-op, or tingly, fireworks-going-off, tears being-shed-climax to all the work that had been done to free them. If the whales had survived they didn’t seem to care enough to say thanks…they just swam off into obscurity.
I thought how unsatisfying that would have felt for the laborers. Here they had worked so hard to save the whales and they never knew if they had been successful or not. For all they knew the whales ignored the path and drowned. What a letdown!!
All of a sudden it dawned on me that often that’s how it is for us. God calls us to be faithful in circumstances and do our part even though we don’t always get to see the results. That person you are kind to might not ever soften. That prodigal child might not come around in your lifetime. Those seeds you plant might not ever seem to hit good soil. But that’s not to stop you!
We can’t save the whales. But we can break the ice. We can’t force anyone to come to Christ, but we can break down obstacles and make them an easy path. And even if we never see the whale-tale up in the air or have a blow-hole-filling-the-sky-with-mist happy moment, we might just get to heaven and find out that those we thought were stuck in ice had a happy ending after all. We were never promised closure on this side of eternity anyway, just do your part and keep chipping away at the ice in front of you.
1 Corinthians 3:6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.
It’s true. And I don’t mean that like the kids say it. I mean that sin literally sucks, like a leech or a blood-sucking tick.
If it gets a hold of you it will drain your confidence, power, strength, your witness, the joy from your relationships, and eventually it will suck the very life from your veins. James said that, “when sin is full grown it gives birth to death.”
The longer it stays there, the more it will suck from you. It will never be glutted until you are in the grave.
That’s why the Bible compels us to deal so ruthlessly with sin, to mortify our flesh (that literally means put your sinful inclinations to death.) Jesus said that we should be willing to pluck out our eyes, and chop off hands if they are causing us to sin. That harsh language is intended to come across as gross. But He is the great Physician and He knows that sin is like cancer and if tumors are allowed to remain they will always spread. They must be cut off with the scalpel. Sometimes the most loving thing a doctor can do is to amputate.
I once had a tick get on to me. I was on a horse-back ride in the jungles of Belize. At the end of the ride I was brushing mud off of me when I noticed a big piece that wouldn’t come off my chest. To my horror I realized it wasn’t mud but rather a blood-sucking insect! I went to pull it off but a guide quickly told me not to and then proceeded to burn it off. He said that if I pinched it out part of it would remain buried in my skin.
There is a spiritual parallel to this as well. Sin must be pulled out from the roots or it will simply grow back. There can be no concessions. You can’t negotiate with your flesh. If you give it an inch it will always take a mile. It will always take you further than you wanted to go and steal more than you were willing to give. If you don’t put your old man into the ground it will put you into the ground.
“We ought to maintain a conscience always washed in Christ’s blood. We ought to confes sin the moment we see it to be sin. We must never think a sin is too small to need immediate application of the blood of Jesus Christ.” -Robert Murray McCheyne
Check out this video we put together to show what we saw God do at this summer’s O2 Experience events.
By the way, we are currently praying about our schedule for 2013 and beyond. If you or your church would be interested in partnering with us to bring a fresh look at life, death, sex and romance to your community you can request an event here.
We are coming down, quite literally, from an absolutely incredible week of ministry in Colorado. Both O2 events were amazing. Even thinking about trying to describe what we saw God do overwhelms me because there is no way I could put it into words. Seeing people stream forward in response to the gospel, and then watching individuals, all over the auditorium, stand to their feet, embracing God’s plan for their sex lives, no matter what is behind them, and rise up for honor and purity moving forwards–it’s a thrill beyond measure. Powerful to watch and humbling to get to be a part of.
In all we saw 240 people make decisions to follow Christ and 876 commit to sexual purity! I am so proud of our team and thankful for the great churches in Colorado who understood the vision and partnered with us. Here are some photos to give you a glimpse of what we saw God do.
We are here in Colorado for the weekend and loving life in the mile high state. I went for a bike ride yesterday and realized how much of a difference the elevation makes! Tonight is the Colorado Springs O2 Experience. It is so surreal being here and doing ministry in the area where I grew up. I haven’t spent very much time here since I left in the 5th grade so it has changed a lot but certain things: Driving past the school I went to in Kindergarten, seeing landmarks that I used to watch pass by from the backseat of my parents car and the names of the streets are all like emotional time machines. It’s a trip!
There seems to be a real buzz and momentum building for tonight’s event. We have heard from churches that are driving in from across the state to attend tonight in Springs or on Sunday night in Denver. Our team has been working around the clock to get everything ready and people have been hitting the street inviting people out. We are praying for God to move in power. That there would be an awakening to who Christ is and an uprising of honor in this great state. I pray that young people would see that their sexual purity is something to be protected and cherished for what it is–the path to their greatest pleasure. Please join us in prayer!