Our Father who is in Heaven, GREAT is your name... Your kingdom come, YOUR WILL be done ON EARTH as it is in Heaven.
Many of you know this is the start of the Lord's Prayer (Mt 6:9-13) and we should NOT gloss over this prayer introduction to get to the GIVE US TODAY OUR DAILY (me me me) BREAD part. Of course, our God hears, cares, and answers prayers for our needs & well-being BUT...
today let's focus on God's will not my will.
God's Will on Earth? So how is that working out?
With all the tension among believers, I am looking for an MMA pay-per-view event featuring Catholics v Protestants to determine once and for all.. who really is saved? It can't be both.. can it? I mean, one of the two must be on the fast track to HELL.
Or will there be a Pro(testant)-Wrestling match with a high-flying Beth Moore coming off the top rope attempting to way-lay John MacCarther.
But while I DO LIKE BUNNY TRAILS.. let us now return to the LORD'S PRAYER. God your will be done on Earth.. starting with .. Jeff.
Throughout my life (I am 65 now) I have prayed "Lord show me your will for my life." many times. At times regarding big decisions and that is good always to seek the Lord and His will, but I have come to realize this prayer "what is your will for my life?" can become me-centric.
Prayers focusing on the right job, house, finding Mrs. Right/Larson, or even a car purchase wanting God's can become my own little Prosperity Gospel prayer rather than 'thy will' pointing to God's kingdom (souls saved, and a society honoring Him).
Looking back I wish I could have heard an audible voice from Heaven telling me if I was close. :)
God could be heard from the Heavens with the words... "Warmer, warmer.. hmmm.. colder, colder.. now you are FREEZING. And so I guess living in Minnesota and being COLDER is about what I deserve.
Truth is (insert light bulb moment for me here) The prayer "Lord what is your will for my life?" should be more specific... "Lord how can I serve you today, show me what I can do for your kingdom." "How can I be that part of the Lord's Prayer helping God's Will be Done?
What would that look like if God's will was being done by those of us in the church? What if we were faithful in the moments that make up our days? What if we truly worshipped God in words and deeds with our eyes first on God and then on the needs of others? What would that look like?
Even my little Back Pew Ministry. I am blessed to be used by God in a way that He uniquely wired me. but even in my world of cartoons, I can take my eyes off of humbly being used by God in this small way to pray for God to bless The Back Pew into becoming The FarSide, or Calvin & Hobbes of Christian cartoons, complete with a modest (OR.. substantial) income. "SHOW ME THE MONEY!"
In recent years I have become more intentional in MY PURSUIT OF GOD. While I am and always will be a work in progress and have not resulted in an exorcism of my old self, it has become both a convicting and inspiring journey where today my prayer is .. "Lord what is your will for my life going forward? How can I serve you? Lord help me NOT to bury my talents in the sand, but instead do my part so GOD'S WILL is done on Earth as it is in Heaven. AMEN."
I write this hoping it does not take any of you 65 years to figure out God's will for you to serve Him. But if it does, 65 is not too late. Love God, Serve God where your will is God's will.
May God bless you all in this journey of discovering who you are intended to be in God's Plan and for HIS Kingdom on Earth.
Jeff (slow learner) Larson -->
So Earthly Minded.. still?
I like the old saying ‘That guy is so Heavenly minded, he is no Earthly good.’ This describes a person is so in to church and ‘churchy’ things that they don’t add much value or function outside of church walls. He can barely change a light bulb or change the oil on his car.
Over the years I have smirked at a person or twenty that fits that description, BUT I also see the irony in too many people are so 'EARTHLY' minded to be much 'HEAVENLY' GOOD.
It's just too easy to be caught up in the pace and 'stuff' of life (good and bad) to where God is put on the back burner. Instead of starting my day quiet before God, reading my Bible, and even uttering a simple prayer I am off cluttering my life with the very real demands of work, rush hour traffic, wasting time surfing channels on my big screen HD TV, or my many many many family commitments to where I have become more EARTHLY minded/focused to be much HEAVENLY good.
The real irony here is.. I often drift from God NOT when I am too busy or stressed but instead when life is good. No immediate worries or concerns so I relax my dependence, praise and appreciation of God to again become so earthly minded with erroneous feelings of self sufficiency.
I don’t believe my life is called to look as out of place like Amish folk selling home crafts in Las Vegas.. but I desire my personal faith show through in all that I do and say.
May your life be blessed and USED by God in ways that are BEYOND YOUR DREAMS having both Heaven and Earth in mind.
Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. Mt. 6:10
My best life, EVER - Paul
The Dead Sea Scrolls are ancient Jewish and Hebrew religious manuscripts discovered in 1946/47 at the Qumran Caves. These scrolls are considered to be a keystone in the history of archaeology with great historical, religious, and linguistic significance because they include the oldest surviving manuscripts of entire books later included in the biblical canons.
In another lesser known cave (Bob's Cave) was discovered the following 'manuscripts' scribed (aka scribbled) on five napkins from a popular first century delicatessen Shapiro's Deli. These napkins are covered with what is believed to be the fingerprint smudges in mayo and DNA samples of the one and only Apostle Paul. Of course the authentication of these 'Napkins from Bob's Cave' has their doubters as we unfortunately don't have a sample of Paul's DNA for a true match. So I will go with my gut feeling to their authenticity. If you disagree .. suit yourself.
excerpt from Bob's Cave 'napkin #1'
Hi, my name is Paul and let me tell you a bit about myself. Before I ever traveled any dusty Damascus road I was a big shot Pharisee who went by the name of Saul. The last thing I was .. was a Christian. In fact I was in charge of putting an end to this original 'Jesus People' nonsense.
As a young man, I even checked coats during the Stoning of Stephen. Acts 7:58
It was said about me in Acts 9:1-2 that I breathed out murderous threats against the disciples of The Way. I sought to find any (men or women) who belonged to this new movement, and take them as prisoners to Jerusalem.
We were NOT on the same team!
This was my life's mission.. my purpose until that day on that road to Damascus when I saw the light (both literally & figuratively). Of course my momma always said don’t look directly into the sun or you’ll burn out your eye balls.. well.. momma was right.
But this light stopped me dead in my tracks like a traffic light on main street .. and there was a voice from the light calling me by name “Saul (my friends used to call me Saul).. why are you persecuting me?” These were the words of truth from Jesus and they cut me to the core. Acts 9:3-5 This light, this voice, this Jesus had my full attention.
So here I am blind as a bat with cataracts and have to be led the rest of the way to Damascus. This is where I met God and to show God’s ironic sense of humor. I resigned from my position as ‘Chief Church Prosecutor / Persecutor’ and make a 180 degree change now sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to both the Jews and Gentiles.
excerpt from Bob's Cave 'napkin #2'
Once my sight returned I could not stop preaching Jesus Christ. I was of course at first received cautiously by Christians who were unsure of my motives as my whole breathing murders and threats up until this point made a negative impression. GO FIGURE.. , and my whole 'Jesus loves me this I know' attitude was now also a 'mystery wrapped in an enigma' with my Pharisee Lodge brothers.
But in time Christians saw my passion for Jesus was real, and the Jewish community realized this was not a Pharisee mid-life crisis. My life would never be the same. It was a very dangerous, but miraculous time to be a follower of Jesus Christ, but this would be my journey/mission for the rest of my days.
There was even a time where differences between myself and Silas resulted in us prayerfully and respectfully going different directions while still both serving the same God. There were some who were concerned that we would not come to agreement, but we liked to use the little word denominations to accommodate 'the church' being described as one body of many parts. Not sure this will ever catch on. Anyways..
It was a time to sing , and a time of high drama , and a time to stand up to share truth that Jesus is the Messiah!
Side note: I also remember when a young man named Eutychus fell asleep during one of my sermons, fell from a balcony to his death, but .. got better?
Anyways let’s just say from this day forward this young man was known as the unofficial patron saint for those who ‘sleep in church’ . And no hard feelings towards Eutychus, I tend to get a little long winded when I preach.
excerpt from Bob's Cave 'napkin #3'
It was the Tale of Two Ministries where it was the best of times, and the worst of times. It was a time of both great revival and great persecution. And no matter the price or personal loss the gospel message of Jesus Christ must be told to both the Jews (God’s chosen people) and also the Gentile (that is everyone else).
It was a time where zealous anger of the religious establishment had me arrested while others plotted my death .
Of course prison life, and being hated by those in power was not on my 'bucket list'.. BUT God was able to use these times to share his Gospel truth like only He could. While I suffered, God gave me peace that none of this was about me, but It was about sharing the greater hope in Jesus Christ.
excerpt from Bob's Cave 'napkin #4'
I even endured a storm at sea , and was shipwrecked on the island of Malta. I believe the name of the boat was the S.S. Minnow, and if not for the courage of the fearless crew we would have all perished . Special thanks go out to the Skipper and his first mate.. who I think the professor called.. Gilligan.
Then while around a fire on this island I was bit by a poisonous snake . Of course God protected me again.. I shook off the snake and the only frustrating after affect was that several of the crew took this as a sign to start a ‘Snake Handler Church’. Oh brother!
After 3 months on this Island we set sail again and made our trip to Jerusalem where again I could plead my case for Jesus and the truth that he was the son of God who came to earth, lived, was crucified for our sins, and was resurrected, and now is in Heaven with the Father.
excerpt from Bob's Cave 'napkin #5'
What a great honor for God to choose me the once great hater of the church to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ! God is so good, and I am blessed.
To sum it all up after the Damascus Road I was blinded, beaten, hated, ship wrecked, snake bit, and had a discount punch card for all my time spent in jail… BUT truth be told.. I was too busy serving to really notice.
These were the best years of my life.
My prayer today is that God blesses each of your lives with opportunities to serve Him and others in ways that make your lives full and complete. In ways that are beyond your dreams.
Be faithful in the moments that make up your day, and may your happiness never be measured in comfort or wealth but in service to God and others. When you discover this, then you also will be living the best years of your lives.
Ok, there you have it. The Apostle Paul's life summed up on 5 (2000 year old) delicatessen napkins. I am not sure why the world is not convinced of their authenticity. Ok, other detractors of these 'manuscripts' note they were written in English and included cartoons.. but I still believe. MAYBE.
Anyways, we do not need these 5 napkins to prove out the life and times of the Apostle Paul. We have the book of Acts, and all his letters/epistles recorded in the New Testament. The true and beautiful message of Paul's life is one of a calling from God to know Him and to serve Him. I believe all have this calling in big and small ways. As recorded in 'napkin #5' (maybe).. we are ALL called to be faithful in the moments that make up our days. Obedience to this call is where true joy and fulfillment comes from.
May God bless each of you and find you obedient to His call on your life to where you are living the best years of your life.
Jeff (best days ever) Larson
Our LWC Fellowship
Lukewarm Coffee (The LWC) is that Twiligtht Zone coffee existence between hot and cold brews where a well intended piping hot cup is forgotten or ignored. And last I checked, Starbucks does not feature LWC anywhere on their menus. Nor is there a coffee target market serving drab people wearing old sweats, doning bed hair, with a 2 day beard eating plain white bread from the bag who is demanding luke warm coffee.
NO ONE wants lukewarm coffee, though I have .. it is GOOD when I have a headache and I spot a half a cup of LWC sitting around from the morning to wash down two Excedrin.
Also note this concern of LWC is a big enough that God speaks 'directly' to the topic in Revelations where the angel of the church of Laodicea exclaims..
“‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth (like a cup of room temp generic instant decaf coffee using a non-dairy creamer and a sweetener substitute). Revelations 3:15-16
note: the excerpt in parenthesis was not from 'The Message'.. I added it for my LWC emphasis.
But there is a very sobering message in this scripture. Being a LWC believer (even with sweetener added) is not a safe place to be. Will a lukewarm faith get me to Heaven? Well, the whole God spitting me out of His mouth seems to be a pretty clear NO.
God is not amused by a half-hearted devotion or playing church when our worship and love is deserved.
Next let's move to the LWC Fellowship Center (aka Church) where I observe being seeker friendly with attendance and the Worship 'Show' have become a misguided measure of spirituality. 'Giving the people what they want instead of what they need is lukewarm at best.'
This, while hearing sermons that nothing more than a 'be a better you' pep talk without starting with a repentant heart. Note: Getting my heart right with God trumps getting what I want.
Next, read John 6:25-59 where Jesus speaks clearly to His followers ..
35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. 36 But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe.
When many of his disciples heard it (Jesus teaching), they said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” (The Truth? They could not handle the Truth!) 61 But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, “Do you take offense at this? 62 Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? 63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.
66 After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him (Jesus message was not very seeker friendly). 67 So Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” 68 Simon Peter answered him (with a Hot Coffee Faith), “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, 69 and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”
So in this LWC world with LWC churches, I pray we follow God with a Hot Coffee Faith just like Peter. Truly , "Lord, to whom else shall we go, You have the words of eternal life."
I am, you are, and we the Church are called to be the the salt and light and THE HOT COFFEE for this world serving lukewarm flavorless substitutes for truth.. in the dark.
May God bless and use you in ways that are BEYOND YOUR DREAMS for HIM!
Jeff (aspiring to be a Grande Latte) Larson
Where do you think you are going or 'yer goin' for us rednecks at heart? Honest question that can be asked of most of us. And many times the answer is.. "you can't get there from here."
This question holds true on many a road trip where I became lost, or took what I thought was short cut.
This is true for many a college graduate looking for a high paying job in Corporate America with a Masters degree in 'Cartoon Art History' with a minor in 'Bagpiping'. or that..
Mountain Climber aspiring to climb Mt. Everest, but unwilling to leave his home state of Nebraska. or..
taking a 'road trip' from California to Hawaii.
In all these cases and more.. the answer is .. you can't get there from here. While these may be absurd and hopefully amusing examples, there is a more alarming examples in today's culture.
I observe a trend in church becoming a Sunday Social Club where we go to be fed/entertained every week but never really seek God on a deeper level. We do not devote our lives to God except to be a pretty good person. Not exactly a high calling.
Will being a pretty good person get me to Heaven, or does God expect more of me? Where do I think I am going? Heaven? This is not a pointing my finger at anyone else before I point it at myself.
Is my life foremost about ME, or is it about my God? Honestly, what is my answer? Umm.. easier to talk about politics in church than my honest commitment to my creator.
The following are a few scripture passages, that are convicting and give clarity to this question? Where do I think I am going?
I Never Knew You
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ Mt 7:21-23
What good is it to love those who love you?
“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Lk 6:32-36
So based on the road I have chosen for my life.. am I going to Heaven or not? Am I a true follower of Christ or just another 'church goer'? How about you? It matters eternally what we believe so choose the God of our Bibles. There is no other God.
But many are Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, or simply believe in a 'higher power' and so we all believe basically the same thing, right?
I am the LORD, and there is no other, besides me there is no God; I equip you, though you do not know me, Is 45:5
So sincerely wrong is still wrong.
Now you may argue with me that I am wrong, but this is what I believe. So the answer for me to the statement we all believe in basically the same thing is.. If you want to get to Heaven.. You can't get there from here.
So take these words for what it is worth. I am sure I am preaching to the choir for the most part, but even us in the choir need to daily turn to God and consider seriously.. Do I serve Him first and foremost in our lives.. going beyond being a good (church goer) person?
And for those not in the choir, I respect where you are at, but prayerfully take to heart the issue of Eternity. It matters what you believe and where you place your faith. Placing your faith in Jesus, and pursuing God first in your life, then with regards to eternity, and Heaven.. You CAN get there from here.
May God bless and use us all with our lives for his glory. Amen.
Jeff (a little bit lost sometimes) Larson
important ETERNITY note: The alternative to not getting to Heaven from here.. is Hell. It is our choice alone. Heaven is the free gift from God to those who place their hope and lives in Him. Hell is the awful other choice we all are allowed to make.
There is no destination in between Heaven & Hell for being a pretty good person.
Me, myself, and I. Me.. me.. me. , What about me? , What's in it for ME?
A few years back I heard a great sermon where our pastor described the Me-Monster. I have to admit I don't recall much of the sermon, but I remember it was good AND it impressed on my cartoonist brain to sketch in my sermon notes The Me-Monster.
So I brought Mr. Me-Monster home scanned him into my computer and did a little Photoshop extreme makeover on him all so I could share his surly mugshot with you. And so BEHOLD.. The Me-Monster.
The Me-Monster is an ugly fella, and even his open mouth resembles an M, and the back of his throat an E. The disturbing thing about this Me-Monster is that when our motives, focus, and actions are focused on .. SELF.. any of us can become a pretty gnarly looking creature too.
We all notice this world is filled with attention seeking ME-folk flaunting their success and perceived self-importance without a speck of humility. So many celebrities, athletes, and politicians out there in front of the camera as self appointed experts on topics they have not a clue. They share their pious golden nuggets of 'truth' to the masses fawning for adoration... all while you can hear the wind whistling through their ears.
And our society measures our own success by the car, home, career, a trophy wife or hubby with good looking kids on the honor roll, and captain of their sports teams. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with any of these things unless it inspires a me-monster ego trip.
Now for me, I have more of an econo-sized Me-Monster. My monster does not get identity from a high profile existence, nor does my life check all the boxes above of how society measures success, but my me-monster still likes to be known even if on a budget.
You see I care what others think about me, and to be respected and viewed as successful. I desire to have friends, and of course I seek the love of my wife, my adult children, and grandchildren. I also do not want to be known for my past failings.
This also is all ok, in fact good except if I do not seek God first, and know His love and forgiveness, and while what others think is important, what is most important is how God sees me.
In fact any level of success or any talents I have are from the Lord. So who is any man to boast. For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it? 1 Cor 4:7
I could ramble on about ME as I am prone to do, but wanted to conclude with again God's two greatest commandments. 'Love God with all your soul and mind and others as yourself.' Mt 22:37.
What if I focused my life on these words of Jesus? Then all the details and trimmings of this life while nice would be trivia to a life well lived... and no Me-Monster.
So I pray for God's Holy Spirit to lead me, and for me to trust His direction so that I can SERVE Him and others. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, and finally in all things to God be the glory!
May God bless and use each of you in ways that are beyond your dreams. May our lives be about God's Kingdom and not ours. And may you be Me-Monster free.
So very Earthly Minded
I like the old saying ‘That fella is so Heavenly minded, they are no Earthly good.’ This describes a person is so in to church and ‘churchy’ things that they don’t add much value or function outside of church walls. He can barely change a light bulb let alone the oil on his car.
Over the years I have smirked at a person or twenty that fits that description, BUT I have come to believe the irony is actually there are too many people are so EARTHLY minded to be much HEAVENLY GOOD.
It's just too easy to be caught up in this pace and 'stuff' of life (good and bad) to where God is put on the back burner. Instead of starting my day quiet before God, reading my Bible, and prayerful I often clutter my life with the very real demands of work, family, rush hour traffic, and.. maybe what is on the TV and become simply more EARTHLY MINDED than HEAVENLY GOOD.
The real irony is.. When I drift from God is NOT when I am too busy or stressed but instead when life is good. No immediate worries or concerns so I relax my dependence, praise and appreciation of God to again become so earthly minded... and erroneously feelings of being self sufficient. Maybe even a little bit proud.
So while I don’t want my life to look as out of place as an Amish folk high rollin' in Las Vegas.. I do want my spirit, and life to start and end with God. A place where my personal faith shows through in all that I do and say.
My prayer for all of you is that this day and always be a life in love with God, and a life where God is not fit in around the details of the day. That sweet spot where our minds on God/Heaven impact our lives on Earth.
May your life be blessed and USED by God in ways that have both Heaven and Earth in mind.
Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. Mt. 6:10
Be 'Blessed and Used' of course in ways that are BEYOND YOUR DREAMS and all that God intends for you!
The Essential Church
In this world of Essentials we have ..'Essential Oils' (5 quarts of motor oil?).. the 'Essential Van Morrison' album compilation, and during this last year while in Pandemic lockdown mode our government determined/MANDATED everything else that was 'essential'.
In a disturbing twist of irony our secular society determined essential businesses were liquor stores, and Planned Parenthood while church gatherings were too 'risky' aka non-essential. In some states you could buy 'weed' to smoke (essential) but could not buy 'weed killer' (non-essential) at the local garden center.
So I ponder what if Mother Theresa lived during this covid-19 'pandemic' in my home state of Minnesota? Would her orphanage and ministering to lepers be considered risky? And how about JESUS CHRIST.. Would Jesus wear a mask (WJWM)?
My sarcasm is obvious as I bristle not over the health risks of Covid but rather our Government's mandated overreach regarding the good, bad, & ugly list of essentials, non-essentials complete with social distancing guidelines.
During the pandemic I listened to a sermon snippet from a Pastor on Facebook. His message was "be prayerful & smart in our response to Coronavirus but remember our (the church) focus is on Revival not Survival."
Societies message is temporal and 'non-essential' . note: liquor stores and planned parenthood are so very not essential, but the
Gospel message is essential and filled with lasting hope for today and tomorrow.
So now after a year of the Gospel according to 'Zoom' I see church beginning to limp forward moving away from 'safety being our God' and our spiritual diet consisting of You-Tube sermons.
And while.. Zoom and streaming has it's place for most of us being together face to face in a full church worshiping God looking to God and not to be entertained is what church is called to be.
And worshipping with masks is a muted sad expression of what God intends and sounds more like a chorus of 'Charlie Brown's teachers' than a choir of angels.
So I choose not live in fear and believe the church is essential. I pray the world soon leaves their masks behind, and the 'next' COVID-19 like panic (I predict Climate Change) does does not become a social and political wedge dividing our society and the Essential CHURCH.
May God bless and use each of you in ways that are beyond your dreams.
May you feel His protection and love that transcends the fears of men, and their politics.
May our safety, life, revival and hope be found in His Words, His church, and not in a mask or overbearing 'big-brother' government mandate. AND..
May God's Essential Church have an uncompromised revival.
Jeff ( Essential Back Pew) Larson
Never Never Hardly Everland (NNHELand) is a magical land where WE are all ok, and THEY are not.
In NNHELand we live by our three Statements of Denial.
1. At least I never ... (insert excuse here)
2. I am not as bad as... (so-in-so)
3. I’m sorry BUT... (insert here rationale making your apology unapologetic)
In NNHELand we can even reference our Bibles for a feel better about myself fix.
- Well at least I never tried to 'give away' my wife like Abraham.
- Well at least I never was 'saved by a prostitute'.
- At least I get along with my neighbors better than Samson did.
- Well, I know I married better than Ahab.. and married less than Solomon.
More 'I aint so bad after all' pick me ups can be found by attending church, and rubbing elbows with real life folk. The saints and the aints who again are.. ' abviously not as good as you'.
- I never have drooled into a dish at a church potluck. (I have seen this happen)
- I know the difference between figurative and literal unlike some.
- I do NOT think out loud.. most of the time
We all know Neverland is fictional and there is no Peter Pan, Tinker Bell, or Captain Hook, and also it is better to realize NNHELand is a land of make believe as in reality we are all sinners saved by Grace.
Truth be told the stories of flawed men and women of the Bible, in history, and today used by God who served God despite circumstances, limitations, and/or failings is inspirational.
Abraham the Liar - Becomes The father of a Nation
Moses the Murderer - Delivered Israel from Slavery
David the Shepherd Boy - Defeats the Giant, and becomes King
Noah the Boat Builder - saved mankind from the great flood
Peter and his sinking Faith - Was the Rock Jesus built his church on
Paul the persecutor of the Church - Becomes the first great missionary
No need to hide out in NNHELand as we are all sinners saved by God's Grace. Instead be faithful in the big and little ways in your life so God can bless and use you in ways that are beyond your dreams.
Jeff (Never Never Hardly Ever Sleeping in Church) Larson
NOBODYS Wanted - See God
How does my resume look? Am I qualified? Can God really use a NOBODY with nothing to offer? What if my self-esteem is in the DIRT of my Monday - Friday RUT where my abilities and influence never seem to make a difference for God.
Oh sure I attend church most every Sunday, and my wife and I even host a Small Group bible study every other Sunday night.. but what difference does any of that make? Who am I? Hi, my name is Jeff and I am NOBODY.
Then I reflect back over my years in the work place. I have traveled on a seemingly random career path. As a young man I worked as a logger in rural Wisconsin, then moved to the big city where I was a computer programmer/analyst, and not so many years ago I was the owner/manager of a sports officials management business.
After selling my sports officiating biz overal several years I coasted into early retirement while driving school bus part time on the side. I find officiating sports and officiating school kids on a big yellow bus are very similar.
Side note: There was one summer while between jobs I was a PAPER BOY (for God?) delivering the daily newspaper.
All while through my years in the work force I have continued my hobby/passion of cartooning..finding out it is not a successful 'get rich quick' scheme or a cash cow though I better known for my cartoons than I am for any of my proffessional accomplishments.
Then to further feed this 'I AM NOBODY' theme there was a time when I received an actual letter in my mailbox declaring my 'nobodyness'. Well, actually worse than nobody.. the letter said I was DEAD. This letter was from my bank addressed to Jeffrey DEAD Larson instead of Jeffrey DEAN Larson.
I am not sure if that was a typo or a snarky comment on my personal credit so I did quick check my pulse, and good news.. I was not dead.
Good News? I am not dead. Bad News? I am nobody!
So I turn to God's word for encouragement and inspiration in hopes to find a glimmer of hope that I am not a NOBODY, but rather a somebody. I was quickly reminded of great Bible nobodys turned to somebodys
By God using these very flawed men to serve him in great ways it demonstrates it has always about God's message and not the messenger.... so maybe there is hope for a NOBODY like me.
NOBODY(s) for JESUS.. sounds more like a label for a Christian support group than a battle cry to serve God. Can't you hear our Battle Cry?
Who are we? nobody.
The mighty mighty.. Nobodys?
Who am I without God anyways? BUT an equally good question is.. WHO AM I WITH GOD? What is possible?
This is not to say God will use me to part any Red Seas, raise any dead, or become the Billy Graham of Christian cartoons, .. but
I believe if I am willing, God will bless and use me in ways that are beyond what I could dream.
The one thing I am daily reminded is.. this life is not about me. It is about loving God with all my heart soul and mind and caring for others. To be faithful in the moments presented to me each day and then God can and will use me in little subtle ways for sure, and who knows maybe in big ways. I am sure there is a sea that needs parting somewhere.
May God bless and use each of you as you are faithful to HIm in ways that are always beyond our dreams and all that God intends.
Have a great day. Smile lots.. and enjoy life!
Jeff (NOBODY) Larson
The mutterings on life and faith by cartoonist Jeff Larson
Back Pew - Draw Close to God
116 pages of cartoons of 'Clean Humor & God's Truth'
CRITICS ARE SAYING..
Laughter is just a CLICK away