Monday, June 22, 2015


And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets, who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.  Hebrews 11:32-34 NASB
We all know the super heroes of childhood; Batman, Superman, Ironman, etc.  Who is your hero?  Who do you look up to and admire more than any other person?  The bible is full of true heroes, Heroes of faith. 

Oddly, the Scriptures declare that these heroes were made strong out of weakness. It seems that in order to be a real success, you must be able to be strengthened through struggle. We can identify with that kind of hero.  We need heroes who can, as these men did, report back to the world that they escaped a difficult situation. They may have felt weak or may have cried and suffered, but they still made it.  Look at these men mentioned in Hebrews 11:32. Examine their lives.  They were not glaring examples of flawless character; yet they epitomized faith toward God.  Even though most of them experienced failures and flaws, they would have made the front pages of the newspapers in our day for their heroism.  We must be careful when judging the weak moments in their lives to consider them against the entirety of their lives and see that the dent in their armor didn't affect their performance on the battlefield.

Gideon failed the biblical faith test when he sought a sign. Samson shined on the battlefield but had struggles in the bedroom.  This anointed judge of Israel wrestled with more than a failed marriage that he could not seem to regain.  He had an insatiable appetite for strange flesh, which led to his demise, yet he still made it to the list of the few, the proud, and the brave.  Oh yes, then there is Jephthah, the illegitimate child who was rejected by his siblings and ostracized by his family.  He went to the land of Tob where he became what we would call a gang leader.  He gathered together the "vain" fellows, a sampling of social rejects, and became their leader.  In spite of his adolescent struggles, and his rash tendency to make wild vows (which cost him the destruction of his daughter's future), he still made it to the roll of the renowned.  He made it because he believed God.  He lifted himself above his circumstances and fought the enemies without and within!

To me, Jephthah's gang reveals the part of ministry I think we are missing.  He built an army out of rejects.  There is something powerful about being a "chosen reject"; chosen by God but rejected by men.  There is a focus that evolves in the heart of someone who has been rejected by men.  Their rejection creates a feeling of misplacement.

Have you ever felt misplaced? Have you ever struggled to fit into some group where it seemed you were not welcome?  When we have been ostracized by someone or something that we wanted to belong to, our streaming tears cannot soften the hard truth.  Rejection tastes like bile in our gut.  However, the experience can make us bitter, or it can make us better.  
Once the reality hits us that God purposely chooses to use misplaced and rejected people then, first and foremost, we experience a sense of warm gratitude that flows through our hearts like hot syrup.  It fills every crack and crevice of our minds that suggested there was no place of meaning for us.  

Human rejection cannot hold down the body of someone who has been chosen!  If no one else embraces these bleeding, Purple Heart soldiers, perhaps they should rally together and find comfort in the commonality of their mutual experience. Thank God for Jephthah, who reminds us of the deep, abiding reality that even if we were thrown into a refuse receptacle by closed minds who decided that our dry bones couldn't live again, God is still in the business of recycling human lives!  Isn't that the gospel?  Isn't that the good news we are supposed to preach to the poor souls of broken men?  May we receive all of those God has redeemed as vessels of service in our churches.

This week our youth choir, Breaking Free is on a mission trip to Albuquerque, NM.  Each day we will tell you where they are and what they are doing and ask that you please pray for them and for God’s work to be accomplished through them.  This week they are helping with VBS and participating in community outreach.  They will be performing concerts at the Albuquerque Rescue Mission, Joy Junction, BRBC, and Crestview Youth this week. 

Scripture to Claim:
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.  Colossians 3:16

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