Bible, bible study, Christian, Christian Church, christian encouragement, christian men, christian podcast, Christian women, Faith, Jesus, Jesus Follower, podcast, Uncategorized

The Singing Warrior

“At this they tried to seize Him but no one laid a hand on Him because His hour had not come.”  John 7:30
“Noah did everything just as God commanded him.” Exodus 6:22

My church is in the midst of a study of Genesis and a few weeks ago we landed on the story of Noah. Christians and non-Christians alike are very familiar with this famous Bible story.  How often do we see cute children’s books, artwork, decorations that take up this story showing all the cute animals piled into a tiny boat riding out the storm with a rainbow overhead?  

During the sermon I was struck with the thought that this is not a sweet story at all.  It’s a story of total depravity on the part of man versus the faith of one warrior for God.  The face-off between a world bathing in the flesh and one, lonely soul swimming against that tide.  The ark was a last chance lifeboat built by a soldier, an obedient servant who loved God.

For anyone who has ever seen the movie, “Evan Almighty” – a theatrical depiction of a modern-day Noah – the result of being a warrior for God, even a reluctant one, is shown in all its technicolor truth.  Friends, family, neighbors, the media, and even the government may come against us.

“When you give your best to the Lord, it’s not unusual to be criticized by people who ought to encourage you.  Moses was criticized by his brother and sister.  David by his wife, and Mary of Bethany by an apostle.”  

Warren Wiersbe commentary on 1 Samuel

During the extreme lockdowns of 2020 there were many “warriors for God” who found themselves on the receiving end of much criticism from Christians and non-Christians.  Pastors and even Catholic bishops who insisted that churches needed to remain open and serve their flocks were impugned by church authority, the media, non-believers, and parishioners.  In some states the government brought the full force of the law down with arrests and extravagant fines.  

Now, some might still say churches should’ve been closed to protect people from illness.  But these flock protectors felt called by God to bring healing to people’s hearts and minds and souls.  Church attendance has never been a requirement for anyone.  And they believed those who needed church should be allowed to partake in its offerings.  Parallel arguments about keeping people from getting sick included the admonishment to obey governments based on Romans 13.  And yet the clarification of hierarchy of obedience is spelled out in Acts 5.

"The apostles were brought in and made to appear before the Sanhedrin to be questioned by the high priest. “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,” he said. “Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man’s blood.”

Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than human beings!” Acts 5:27-29

About a few months into the lockdowns, I started seeing a confident warrior for God pop up in my Instagram feed.  This young man had originally run for a state office in Northern California.  He ran as a conservative Christian in a heavily liberal area and lost.  I had donated a small amount to his campaign about a year before and had apparently “followed” his account.  He is a musician by trade, a devout family man, and a fervent follower of Christ.

And when our churches shut down in California, he stepped out onto a stage bigger than he’d ever imagined.  Compelled by visions given by God, he would show up at a beach with a local pastor, his family, a few other musicians and put on a revival meeting of sorts.  As word grew, each time he held a “Christ concert” more people would find their way to listen.  More people asked to be baptized in the cold ocean waters.  And more people started harassing them.  And fines by local authorities started piling up.  And he wouldn’t stop.

You may have heard by now about Sean Feucht and his merry band of “Let Us Worship” team.  They’ve since led large worship services all over the United States, including Washington DC.  Sean may have lost a politician’s job but he gained so much more. Throughout the pandemic their small pastoral team helped lead thousands to give up fleshly addictions and find Christ.  All the while, others would show up at these events screaming demonic words, throwing blood on them and even accosting his pregnant wife.  

Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’” Matthew 4:10

I can only imagine how many times Sean and his family have reminded themselves of this statement by Jesus to Satan.  I’ve watched the videos of Sean’s meetings in Portland and Seattle.  It’s some of the most disturbing things I have seen in terms of demonic possession of people.  You may raise an eyebrow at that statement but truly, I have never seen anything like it.

Sean is just a man.  A man with a family to protect.  A man who is trying to make his way through this world just like you and me.  He didn’t start serving the Lord suddenly during the pandemic, he has a quiet history of spreading God’s Word including countries outside the United States.  He has led missionary trips to Afghanistan, Iraq and Saudi Arabia.  He is obviously a man used to trusting God.  And isn’t it fascinating to know that he went to those dangerous places to share the gospel seemingly as preparation to lead thousands into worship in a “safe” place like the United States?

We won’t all be warriors for God just like Sean but every person who chose to attend one of his meetings during these difficult times was a warrior in their own way.  Today, every person who hears God’s urging to step out in faith and stand for Him takes up the armor and can call themselves a warrior.  We have a lot of good soldiers who have paved the way for us, to drawn on how they trusted God to protect them until their time was done.

As God always does, He has placed quite a lot of podcasts, sermons, and Bible studies in front of me in the last few weeks on this very character trait of Jesus.  I wanted to share with you a prayer from Sparkling Gems from the Greek to help spur our warrior character on.

Lord, help me start seeing myself as a might soldier in the army of God.  You have provided every weapon I need to prevail against the enemies that come against my life, my family, my business, my friends and my church.  I want to stand tall and firm against the wicked plots the devil tries to exert against people’s lives whom I love and need.  Holy Spirit,  give me the power and strength I need to successfully resist every attack and to drive all dark forces from my life and from the lives of those close to me!   I pray this in Jesus’ name!

Bible, bible study, Christian, Christian Church, christian encouragement, christian men, christian podcast, Faith, Jesus, Jesus Follower, podcast, Uncategorized

He Serves Humbly

“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” He replied.  “Now get up and go into the city and you will be told what to do.”  Acts 9:5-6

I did not grow up in a strong, male-led home.  My father was a sweet man who worked a lot.  When he got home from work we ate dinner, he showered, and then fixed himself dessert and watched TV.  On the weekends we didn’t do family activities and outings.  He was just, well, there.  Not bad and not great.  He is an atheist who believes he can work through any problem in life in his own head.

So, when I met my father-in-law, I expected the same.  But I couldn’t have been more wrong.  One of my first encounters with John Shetter lives on in infamy.  And yet shows his commitment to humbly serving others.  You see, I was out visiting my then boyfriend and his parents and we took a short drive from their hometown into nearby Boulder, Colorado.  After a nice morning we had lunch, walked around a bit then headed back for the 20 minute drive home.  Suddenly, my lunch decided it wasn’t agreeing with me.  I whispered to my boyfriend that trouble was brewing.  He then turned to John, who was driving, and said I needed a bathroom – pronto.

The car seemed to have entered hyper speed and we may have turned into the driveway on two wheels.  The first out of the car was John.  He ran to the front door with keys ready and flew the door open for me.  I’m not sure if I have ever been more grateful in my life!

A funny tale for sure but John’s desire to make sure my needs were met as quickly as possible is his calling card throughout his life.

Dad is dedicated to Jesus’ teachings – he approaches all people with consideration, thoughtfulness and patience.  He has given himself in service to so many entities:  church, senior center, hospital, YMCA, underprivileged children.  To serve others, therefore serving God is in his DNA. 

Dan Shetter, youngest son

I didn’t grow up around any devoted Christian men in my life.  In fact, most of the men I’d been around, either through work or school, were not the “humble servant” types.  To see a strong, head of household with a job in the corporate world balance those roles with the character of Jesus is truly a great lesson for us all.

And he wasn’t alone.  I found, as I married John’s son and met so many of their family friends, that he was surrounded by men of humble servanthood.  Men who attended church regularly, went to Bible study, volunteered throughout the community, loved on their families, and talked comfortably about praying for others.  They are bankers and realtors, teachers and business owners.

John’s service to the community is something he prefers to “keep behind the scenes.”  His commitment to our church is exceptional as he has served in leadership, providing children’s messages, and many other tasks too numerous to mention!

Longtime friend, Chuck Allen

My younger daughter recently told me that one of her company’s core values was that everyone be willing to make the office coffee.  I love that.  It makes it clear that no task is too small for anyone throughout the organization.  During a particularly busy season they asked the corporate staff to give one hour a week to the production floor because they were behind on orders.  No job is too big or too small for even the CEO.

That’s how John sees his life.  A few years ago, he helped set up a warming shelter at his church.  On particularly cold nights they open their doors for the homeless to spend the night.  But he didn’t just help set it up.  I have been at their home when he headed off to his shift in the dead of night.  No bells or whistles.  In fact, I wasn’t sure where he was going at first.  Just off to serve the Lord’s flock.

“You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did.”  James 2:22

He has even turned his favorite pastime into an act of service.  He loves historical stories, especially related to the old West.  He trained to become an official storyteller, a “Spellbinder,” just so he could go into schools and share his tales.  This imposing 6’ man sits in a tiny school chair and regularly spins yarns about Indian folklore and pioneer heroes.  All because he loves to see smiling little faces.

John doesn’t wait for someone else to fix a problem.  He turns to the Lord for direction and takes a step forward.  He may not always get it right but he knows he is always working from the right heart.  

There’s a lot of “Johns” out there in the world.  Men carrying the weight of their family.  Men on their knees praying for God’s guidance.  Men serving their communities and answering the call to, “feed my sheep.”  So many serve quietly and humbly and we might overlook them.  The noise today is that men are evil, men are self-serving, men need to be less like, well, “men.”  But it is on men, like Saul in our first verse, to whom Jesus placed the weight of the world to spread the Good News.

A humble servant.  A man of strength.  Those aren’t mutually exclusive.  They are an opportunity to achieve God’s holy balance.