Thursday, October 31, 2013

Lovest Thou Me More Than These?

I tend to derive my worth from how much of an impact I perceive I'm making in people's lives.  We all want to feel like we're accomplishing something--that we're making a difference.  I also tend to let my perception of impact dictate my emotions.  Recently, I was discouraged because there was a high time when it seemed like I was impacting a lot of people, but suddenly that high dropped.  I felt like I wasn't seeing fruit in the lives of many of those I thought I'd been impacting.  But in church on Sunday, God changed my perspective a little.

First of all, I realize that we can't always measure impact.  Seeds are planted and people are affected by the work of God in their lives through people years and years after the fact, and many times we may not even see the effect we have.  But there's still a problem with wanting only to have an impact in the world.

We were singing a song:
More than anything,
More than anything,
I love You, Jesus, more than anything.
More than worldly wealth,
More than life itself,
I love You, Jesus, more than anything.

As we sang, suddenly the words of Jesus came into my head: "Lovest thou me more than these?"

The words come from the epilogue of the gospel of John.  Here's the context.

John 21:10-22 KJV
(10)  Jesus saith unto them, Bring of the fish which ye have now caught.
(11)  Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes, an hundred and fifty and three: and for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken.
(12)  Jesus saith unto them, Come and dine. And none of the disciples durst ask him, Who art thou? knowing that it was the Lord.
(13)  Jesus then cometh, and taketh bread, and giveth them, and fish likewise.
(14)  This is now the third time that Jesus shewed himself to his disciples, after that he was risen from the dead.
(15)  So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.
(16)  He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
(17)  He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
(18)  Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.
(19)  This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.
(20)  Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee?
(21)  Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do?
(22)  Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me.

The disciples had returned to fishing after Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection.  But Jesus hadn't called them simply to fish--He had called them to follow Him, and become fishers of men.  I've heard preaching on this passage before...some believe when Jesus asked if Peter loved him more than "these" he was referring to the fish, and some to the other disciples.  Either way, I was convicted.  

Our love for Jesus has to be more than anything.  I realized our reaching out and loving people needs to stem first from our love for Him.  It can't be the reverse.  I can get so focused on what kind of impact I'm making, but really it doesn't matter.  Jesus should be the most important thing in my life.  I realized I want to feel like I'm having impact because it means that I'M doing something, I'M doing something cool for God, I'M making a difference.  But it isn't about doing something cool for's about God.  It's about having a relationship with Jesus.

If we love Him, it doesn't matter what He asks us to do.  It doesn't matter if it seems like what we're doing isn't making any difference (if success is measured in terms of impact, Jeremiah sure had a floundering ministry, and Ezekiel was told straight out that people wouldn't listen to him).  It doesn't matter what anybody else is doing.  All that matters is if HE asked us to do it, and if He did, we do it out of our love for Him for the rest of our lives.  It's not about what WE are doing.  It's about what HE is doing.  Don't go back to fishing...don't compare yourself to John.  Simply follow Jesus, and feed His lambs and His sheep.

I shared what I had been convicted of with the church family I was with and someone brought up an old hymn, But I Love Jesus Best of All.  It's important to keep priority on Jesus. My mom read me a portion of a story about this televangelist who was very successful in a worldly sense who raised $17 million a year just to keep all of the many ministries he started going.  But he didn't know Jesus, and admitted that later in life when everything else failed.  "What does it profit if you gain the whole world and lose your soul?"

It's just a reminder...Jesus at the center of it all.  At the center of everything we do for Him. :)

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Under Drake's Flag-an exciting new drama!

I am blown away.  I just finished listening to "The Extraordinary Adventures of G.A. Henty: Under Drake's Flag."

A friend of mine, Aaron Fullan, whom I met attending the first Lamplighter Guild for Creative Disciplines in 2011, is working for a company called Heirloom Audio Productions, which just produced it's premiere of an exciting new series of dramatizations based off G. A. Henty's amazing historical fiction novels.

It's natural to be skeptical when encountering anything new.  Who knows what the quality of the sound, acting, content, and message will be?  But I had no need to fear!  Using actors, writers, and sound designers who have worked with programs like Adventures in Odyssey, Radio Theater, Lamplighter Theater, and much more, the Heirloom Audio team has produced a captivating, edge-of-your-seat drama that will keep listeners engaged, entertained, and impacted.  The production of the entire story is phenomenal.

G. A. Henty wrote action-packed adventure stories that weave in historical occurrences from all different locations and time periods.  Under Drake's Flag centers on the 1500s during the time of Sir Francis Drake.  These dramas will be invaluable tools for parents and teachers desiring to communicate the treasures of history to students who think it's boring in an engaging and memorable way.

Not only does it communicate history in an exciting fashion, but key character qualities are emphasized and taught through the stories and characters.  Overcoming fear through faith and courage is a key element of this drama.  The main thing that stood out to me, though, is the theme of becoming a man.  In a culture where manhood is undervalued and underdeveloped, stories like these are essential for communicating the truths that boys need to know as they become men!  The main character, Ned, grows up without a father, but he learns what it means to be a man through the influence of men like Sir Francis Drake, but most of all through the trials and tests placed before him by his Heavenly Father.

I definitely recommend looking into this exciting new audio drama series!  Don't just take my word for it...listen to this 60-second promo, then go to and download a copy for yourself!  You won't be disappointed...the story carries you along into inspiration to not live your life passively and cowardly, but passionately and courageously!

In fact, this drama will inspire you to pray along with the words of a prayer penned by Sir Francis Drake himself:

Disturb us, Lord, when
We are too pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true
Because we dreamed too little, When we arrived safely
Because we sailed too close to the shore.

Disturb us, Lord, when
with the abundance of things we possess
We have lost our thirst
For the waters of life;
Having fallen in love with life,
We have ceased to dream of eternity
And in our efforts to build a new earth,
We have allowed our vision
Of the new Heaven to dim.

Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
To venture on wilder seas
Where storms will show Your mastery;
Where losing sight of land,
We shall find the stars.

We ask you to push back
The horizons of our hopes;
And to push back the future
In strength, courage, hope, and love.
This we ask in the name of our Captain,
Who is Jesus Christ. - See more at: