Friday, November 13, 2009

OnFire #205 Roll Away the Stone

OnFire Encouragement Letter
OnFire #205 Roll Away the Stone

Hi Folks:

Last week’s vacation felt good. I did a little hunting. Ian saw as many deer in two days as I did in several years before, so that was good. I did a few things around the house, and when Jan went to her pastors’ wives retreat, I took the boys to visit my family on PEI. A good week off.

The boys had their parent teacher interviews this week and are doing very well. At church we’re getting ready to host the Three Colors of Spirituality seminar on Monday with Christian Schwartz and we’re looking forward to that. I am told there is room for a few walk-ins.

Blessings for your week.

"What are you doing?" Miss Dover was our grade six teacher and she asked me this question one day in class.

"Nothing," I replied.

"Exactly. Get to work!!"

To my 11-year-old mind this was brilliant. Get me to answer in a way where she can use my words against me. Very clever.

Questions are powerful motivators. Who? What? Where? Why? These are not just the fundamentals of a news article, but may prompt us to think more deeply about our priorities and purpose.

I sat in a meeting this week with a church consultant talking about the results of our latest Natural Church Development survey.* His questions were penetrating. We answered some, but there are others that we will need to ponder because we do not have the answers. We hope in the end to lead our church to better spiritual health and vitality, and so we willingly submit ourselves to this (sometimes uncomfortable) probing process.

This week, also, a number of us from the church fasted and prayed over John 11:39-40. To those not familiar with the story, Jesus was called to the village of Bethany where his good friend Lazarus had recently died. Martha and Mary accompanied him to the tomb where he wept and then startled the women with these words.

"Take away the stone," he said.

This was a strange and troubling request. "But, Lord, this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days."**

In their mind (and ours if we had been there) there was no reason to roll away the stone. Lazarus was dead and there was nothing Jesus could do now, was there? Furthermore, the rotting stench of decomposing flesh would drive them out. Why not leave well-enough alone? But this was not the right question...

"Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?"

There was only one proper answer to this question. Hidden between the words was a challenge. "If you really believe, roll away the stone."

So they did, and they saw the glory of God in a very powerful way when Jesus called Lazarus into life again. There is a lesson for us. There are times when we have to act against what our reason tells us because faith doesn’t always follow common sense. If we want to see the glory of God, we have to act in faith.

This leads us back to a powerful question. What are the stones we are afraid to roll away? This question is sticking in my mind and so I share it with you today. What is the step of faith we need to take in order to see the glory of God?

I hope this helps. Be on fire.


OnFire is a weekly letter on faith and character by Troy Dennis. Troy is the Pastor of Family Ministries at Highfield Baptist Church, Moncton NB Canada. This letter published Nov 13, 2009. To subscribe or reply, email Archives are located at Blog located at * ** Scripture taken from the New International Version.

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