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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

How BIG is Your God?

For some reason I started thinking this morning as I walked down our short hallway to our bedroom to help Piper up for the day, about how long I have enjoyed writing.  I went back to one of my early writing assignments during my days in elementary school at St. Eugene’s Parochial School.  If I remember correctly, it was more of a penmanship exercise than the writing of an essay.  As a homework assignment, we were all given a card that described a location in Europe and were instructed to copy it using a ball point pen on a sheet of white college rule paper.
At some early period in school I gained an appreciation for really nice pens.  In fact, a group of us used to trade each other for pens when I was at St. Eugene’s!  Well, for that assignment I had a nice new writing utensil and was actually quite excited about getting to use it on the assignment.  I don’t recall too much more about the assignment except that I was happy with the finished product and pleased with my penmanship, even though my fancy pen leaked and a couple of fingers on my right hand were bright blue!
Okay… now I remember how I got off on that rabbit trail this morning… It was because of a picture in one of the little Christian quotes books that my lovely wife had given me during the first years of our marriage.  This particular one had a drawing of a little boy with his hands out spread with the caption over him asking: “How Big is God?”   And then answered under him declaring; “Sooooo Big!” 
I ended up cutting out that page in the book and copied the picture as an illustration for many of the handouts, lesson plans and retreat notes that I used in my first ministry position as the Youth Minister at First Baptist Church in the late 1970’s.  You see, I have put my love for writing into use in every position I have held over the years.  This would include both my Christian ministry positions as well as my secular jobs.  Among other documents, I re-wrote the official safety manual for the Fabrication Division at Agilent Technologies back in 2001… Hummm… I wonder if they are still using it?
The question and demonstrations of “How BIG is Your God” is one that my wife and I have constantly attempted to impart to our students whether they be children, youth, young adults or the general congregation of the church attending our classes or the occasional service sermons.  That one black and white drawing of that little boy has gone with me through all my assignments and I still have it today… not real sure where… but for sure, in one of the stacks of boxes in our second bedroom!
The question of “How BIG is your God” has also been the foundational beginning point of just about every step of faith Piper and I have attempted to take over the last 45 years.  As my eyes fell open my open Bible on the table first thing this morning, I was almost immediately energized with the answer to this question as I read, amplified and personalized Isaiah 12:2 from the God’s Word © translation.  I unabashedly declared: “Look!  Behold!  Wow!  God is my Savior!  And I am confident, expectant and unafraid, because the Lord IS my strength and my song.  He IS my Savior!”  The next verse continues as a response to that triumphal statement exclaiming: “So with JOY I draw from the springs of Salvation!”  The Message paraphrase expresses: “Joyfully I will pull up buckets from the wells of salvation.”
The truth of that statement and response sure gets my blood to pumping!  How about you?  Albert Barnes in his “Notes on the Bible” matter-of-factly puts it that “God is the author or source of my salvation.  It has not been brought about by any human hands, but it is to be traced directly to him!”
Is that the same God that you serve?  Is He the one that you give ALL the credit to in your daily life?  Is He the one that you seek FIRST when troubling situations come up?  I hate to say it, but I’ve come to learn the hard way, that not every Christian will respond this way!  Not everyone will jump on the band wagon with you when you decide to follow and obey His Word.  It kind of reminds me of our beginning days leading praise and worship.
Most times it was just my wife and I with my guitar.  Our voices would carry the tune (my wife, most times, getting and keeping me on tune!) and the rhythm and strum of the guitar keeping the timing and beat!  But in the early eighties with the Charismatic movement, most Sunday services would also include a few individuals in the congregation that would bring their tambourines!  The problems ensued when they either chose to do their own thing or couldn’t keep a steady beat!  (I learned in my beginning days with our rock band many years previous to this time - before I learned to play the guitar - that it takes a bit of training and natural rhythm to properly play a tambourine!  And to be honest… most of these folks – usually visitors at our church - possessed neither of those two talents!)
After Piper and I had attended a Second Chapter of Acts concert and the husband of Annie Herring (who was also the band manager and producer) got up and commented to the audience: “This isn’t a hootenanny, so please don’t play your tambourines!”  I asked our head usher to gently ask our tambourine playing visitors to please put away their instruments because it would always throw me off beat!
In Piper’s and my experience over the last six years, we realized that we couldn’t listen to those who had a small God!  We’ve also learned that we have to daily be in His Word in order to sustain and increase the size of our God for us and the needs that we are facing!  I have come to be very alert to and aware of all the scriptures that talk about a gift or promise of God that is expounded upon by an “and” mid-scripture as the writer goes on to include the extra blessings that God wants to tack on for His faithful children.  Take John 10:10 for an example where Jesus tells us that: “I have come that they (you and me) might have life, AND that they might have it more abundantly.” (KJV)
That’s the God that we serve… He is a very BIG God… and can be as BIG to each of us as we allow Him to become through the growth and development of our faith through His Word!  So… just like that black and white drawing of that little boy that I’ve kept throughout the years asks… I’ll ask you to look deeply and honestly inside and ask yourself… “How BIG is MY God?”
Have a great day.  Stay in tune to His Word, and keep asking yourself… “What or How BIG am I expecting my GOD to be today?”

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