July 2011


Toward the end of several recent You’re Included interviews on gci.org, the interviewees are asked the question: what would you most like people to know about God? One answered how much God loves us; another that God is right beside us all the time.

A.W. Tozer said the most important thing about us is what we think about God. For several years, I’ve been trying to find out more about him. I want to know who he really is, not rely on other’s opinions and misinformation from people with a grudge or an agenda. The Bible holds clues to his character and nature in every book.

To me, the most important thing to know about God is that he isn’t who I thought he was. For many years, I had God wrapped up in a neat little box. That box was smashed about 17 years ago and thankfully, has stayed smashed. What is coming together is knowledge of who God is as revealed by Jesus through the Holy Spirit. Because knowing God is eternal life (John 17:3), it’s important to not try and fit him in box of our own ideas or an image of who we think he should be.

What do you think about God? Maybe it’s time to rethink – he may not be who you think he is.

On a visit to Memphis, Tennessee, home of Elvis Presley and Graceland, I drove by the mansion and saw a wall in front where people had written notes to Elvis and signed their names. A line of people awaited their turn to tour his home. Billboards advertised hotels with 24 hours of Elvis movies and guitar-shaped swimming pools. Candlelight vigils and memorial services are held yearly. He’s been dead for over 30 years, yet his memory lives on. Some say Elvis is still alive.

I can’t help but contrast the attention a dead singer receives and the lack of attention given to a man who died 2,000 years ago but is still alive. Jesus receives little public notice until Christmas and Easter, but to most, he seems to have left the building the rest of the year.

For some reason it’s easier to focus on celebrities, living or dead, than on the Lord of the universe, to whom every knee will bow and every tongue confess his sovereignty. Jesus doesn’t show up on the pages of celebrity magazines, but his home is the true grace land, and we can visit every day, just by sitting at his feet. Jesus lives!

At a convention I attended, the “prize patrol” gave away prizes to people with a certain color wristband. I didn’t win anything, but of course hoped I would be one of the lucky ones. Everyone wanted to win. We all clapped for each other while wishing we were the ones to receive the prizes.

Aren’t we all like that? Don’t we all want to be winners? In this life, that just doesn’t happen. Only some get to feel the excitement of winning. That’s what I love about God. In his eyes and in his economy, we are all winners. We are his beloved children, and we will all get to spend eternity with him if we just believe. He doesn’t withhold good from anyone who seeks him. He lets the rain fall on the just and the unjust, so even those who aren’t seeking him receive his blessings.

If you don’t feel like much of a winner, just turn your eyes to Jesus. With him, we’re all winners. What a wonderful God!

For the conference in England, we stayed at a conference center called High Leigh. The weather was really nice for most of the weekend and we enjoyed walking the grounds the first day. The middle day was full of singing God’s praises, presentations, breakout sessions, a fun game in the evening and of course, many cups of tea.

I earned my keep (at both conferences) by presenting two plenary sessions and a workshop which I gave twice (all three were plenary in Germany). My topics were The Trinity – what difference does it make?; Our Relationship with God and Prayer Outside the Box (workshop). And of course, they got me up to play Bible charades. I’m not very good at it, but at least everyone figured out what our team was trying to depict.

We had planned to tour castles there too, but were disappointed to learn most of them are only open from Wednesdays to Sundays. Unfortunately our only two days for sightseeing were Monday and Tuesday. We still went to two castles, but had to be content to walk the grounds and see the outsides. Following are some photos from the England trip: