Jump-out of your Helicopter

Recently I watching the movie, “The Guardian”, with Kevin Costner. He plays the role of Ben Randall, who served in the Coast Guard as a Rescue Swimmer. Jumping out of a roaring helicopter, he risks his life on many occasions – just to save a life. This brave man put his life on the line as he enter sub-freezing waters to swim to those how have been shipwrecked. There’s such a spiritual parallel here in this verse.

“A true witness delivers souls, but a deceitful witness speaks lies.” [Prov. 14:25]

The word, “delivers”, in the original language is literally: Snatches away, strips, plunders, rescues, recovers, and saves. Would Ben Randall, (played by Kevin Costner), really be a “true witness” of the U.S. Coast Guard if he didn’t jump out that helicopter, to go after that one, who was perishing? Of course not! He would be reprimanded, or kicked-out of the Coast Guard! We would say of such a one, “If you’re not going to do your job, what in the world are you even doing in the Coast Guard!?”

If you and I are called, “sons” and “daughters” of the Savior of the world, are we really being “true witnesses” of what we are called to represent? Because a “true witness” delivers, recovers, and saves souls. Could it be that one of the reasons why most Christians aren’t saving souls is because we aren’t fully walking in “truth”? Could it be that there is some deceitfulness (ouch) taking place in our lives? Could it be that we’re actually deceiving ourselves by thinking that we’re OK? I think we, as Christians, need to have some arctic cold water poured into our warm beds of Christian comfort, so that we might “awake to righteousness” (1 Cor. 15:34), and to begin jumping out of our comfortable helicopters, and begin to get busy with the business of rescuing the drowning souls around us. If we don’t, we’ll prove ourselves to be “deceitful witnesses”, just coming to Church, singing songs, while the world around us plunges to their eternal death. Are you a “deceitful witness”, or a “true witness”? No matter where you’re at today, you can change which type of “witness” you are! Maybe you’d even like to pray this – rededicating yourself to the task of rescuing souls.

“Lord, I come to you today to say, I’m sorry for not taking my job description as a “true witness” more seriously. People are drowning all around me, and I don’t seem to be as concerned as I ought to be. Yes, I’m praying for them, but (like Kevin Costner), I want to jump out of the comfortable “helicopter” of my familiarity, and begin to take the plunge into the icy water where the lost are at. Please, help me Lord, to be faithfully obedient to you – so I will prove to be Your true witness. I ask these things in Jesus’ Name, Amen.”

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Freebird

If you grew up in the 70’s, (or if you watched Forrest Gump), you know the song, “Freebird”, by Lynyrd Skynyrd. Part of the song says,

“I’m as free as a bird now, and this bird you cannot change, Lord knows I cannot change.”

Many times we try to escape our problems by simply running away from them. “Lord knows I can’t change.” Actually… He does. In fact, He can set a person free in a different way that’s not necessarily by your own doing.

“…let the living bird loose in the open field .” [Lev. 14:2]

It’s amazing that God revealed in the Old Testament what to do when an incurable disease was healed, (Lev. 14:2). To God, doing the impossible, is just everyday, ordinary stuff that He does. Even when we were still partying it up, and sinning like there was no tomorrow, Jesus had already made provision for our Salvation (Rom. 5:8). The very fact that He included this in His Word ought to cause everyone to know that whatever mountain of difficulty is before us, whatever sickness or disease – God is able to make provision to heal, and set us free!

Digging a little deeper in Leviticus 14, what do each of these things mean? The priest was to take two birds (remember this, it’s important for later), a piece of cedar wood, a piece of scarlet material, and some hyssop. Then he was to put one of these in an earthen vessel, and then kill it over running water. Then he would take the living bird, and the other things, and dip them all in the bird’s blood, (…I know this sounds heavy, but hold on it’s gets easier to understand, I promise). The the blood would then be sprinkled on the leper seven times; and then the living bird would be set free in an open field.

Bird Killed in an Earthen Vessel: This represents Christ, leaving Heaven, inhabiting a human body, then dying for our sins. (2 Cor. 4:7)
Bird Killed over Running Water: This represents how Jesus acted in obedience to the Word of God in actually going to the Cross. It also represents the Holy Spirit, who alone empowers us to lay down our lives like Jesus did. (Zech. 4:6)
The Cedar Wood: This represents the Cross of Christ. (John 19:17)
The Scarlet: This represents the Blood of Christ, and the deliverance that it brings. (Josh. 2:18)
The Hyssop: This represents the passing-over of our sins by the Blood of the Lamb. (Ex. 12:22)
The Living Bird Loosed in the Open Field: This represents 1) the Resurrection of Christ, but also 2) it’s symbolic of us being set free by the death of another – namely Christ. (Rom. 8:2)

Can’t you just see that living bird, covered with blood and water, flapping vigorously, thinking: “Whoa? I almost DIED!! I can’t believe I’m flying away now! ‘O thank You, Jesus!” If you’re thinking, “Lord knows I can’t change” then maybe you need to know that Jesus was was that other “bird” that was killed, instead of you and I. Think of it! The Lord knew you couldn’t change on your own, that’s why He left Heaven 2000 years ago to become a human – just like you and me, to take our place.

‘O that you would soar in life, because of what Christ did on the Cross for you. Then you can truly sing, “…and I’m as free as a bird now…”

Would You Go to Hell for Someone?

“What a grim thought?!” Hold on, hold on… I didn’t think of it.

“I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh.” (Romans 9:1–3, KJV)

As I read this verse this morning it actually brought tears to my eyes. ‘O such love! I’d venture to say that so one I know would be willing to go to Hell for anyone. I, myself don’t want to go to Hell – to somehow “pay the price” for someone to get to Heaven. But that isn’t the point, because Jesus, HImself, was already cursed for us, (Gal. 3:13). The apostle Paul is using extreme language to convey his great love for his people, Israel.

Check this out! In reading Acts 7 this morning, Stephen, that mighty servant, who was chosen by God to, not only serve tables, but to do miraculous signs and wonders, willingly gave himself to have rocks thrown at him for Christ. He even forgave them while it was happening, (Acts 7:54-60). You throw a rock at me, and my “Chicago” is gonna come out, and it’s not gonna be pretty! But ‘O what a heart in Paul and Stephen, to love those who simply don’t understand, and are blind to the love of God.

As I read Romans 9 this morning I thought of Kula, Upcountry, and Hawai’i, and great love began to fill my heart. But how can I have a heart like Paul, Stephen, and Jesus?

Here’s 4 quick things that might help you get that Love pumping:

1. BEGIN TO PRAY FOR OTHERS MORE IN MY PRAYER TIMES.
2. BEGIN TO WITNESS TO THE PEOPLE THAT YOU SAY THAT YOU LOVE.
3. MAKE A GOAL TO WITNESS TO AT LEAST ONE PERSON EVERY DAY.
4. BUY SOME GOSPEL TRACKS ON-LINE, AND ALWAYS HAVE THEM ON YOU.

If you have any other ideas, feel free to comment.