Thursday, May 11, 2017

You can have the power of life over death

By Rev. Timothy Throckmorton
Crossroads Church Circleville

So, I jump on a plane and head over to New York City and as I survey the passengers waiting to board with me I notice a trend, a similarity if you will. Most if not all the fellow passengers are incredibly bulked up! I mean it's like a commercial for “Muscles R Us” or a commercial for Bow Flex. Then it hit me, the Arnold Classic! That's it, these guys are in town for the Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic in Columbus, Ohio this past weekend.

So, I strike up a conversation with a few guys sitting next to me... “So, you in town for the Arnold Classic?” Their heavily accented response, “why yes we are!” They both answer in what clearly sounds to me like a thick Russian accent. They ask, “that what you are here for?” I was so tempted to say, “why yes can't you tell?” To which they would have undoubtedly just chuckled and turned away.

I was deeply touched however that they even ask me the question!
And for the record, just because I spend time talking to Nikita and Boris... (I am not making the names up!) Just because I conversed with and caught a flight with these two comrades, let me clearly state that I am not in any way connected to the Russian Government! So here I am on a plane with more muscle mass that a Super Bowl Champion defensive line. But that doesn't give me the strength to bench press 300 lbs.

They have the strength, not me. The only way I can benefit from their strength is for them to use their strength for me. That would require a bit of communication and a relationship with the aforementioned passengers of the American 727.

It's pretty much the same with God. It’s His power we need most, not ours. Jesus reminded His followers that their connection to Him was paramount in accomplishing anything in life, and yes even life itself. Listen to Jesus words in John 15, “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.

Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear the fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches.

He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.  As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.” You see, relying on God’s power makes all the difference in life, and in death.

What joy is missed, what talent is squandered, what lives go unfulfilled because of not being connected to Jesus. I love the truth told in the story about a missionary in the villages of Northern India who was preaching in a bazaar. As he closed his sermon, a Muslim gentleman came up and said, "You must admit we have one thing you have not, and it is better than anything you have.” The missionary smiled and said, "I should be pleased to hear what it is.” The Muslim said, "You know when we go to Mecca we at least find a coffin.

But when you Christians go to Jerusalem, which is your Mecca, you find nothing but an empty grave.” But the missionary just smiled and said, "That is just the difference. Mohammed is dead; Mohammed is in the coffin. And all systems of religion and philosophy are in their coffins, but Jesus Christ, whose kingdom is to include all nations and kindred’s and tribes, is not here; He is risen. And all power in heaven and on earth is given unto Him. That is our hope!

For much of the world, the German Music group’s song, “I’ve Got The Power” only brings to mind the image of the Energizer Bunny! Truth is, if we will by faith stay connected to the risen Savior, the world can know, the world can see, and the world can experience the power of life over the power of death. I love the words of the apostle Paul as he weaves together the story of the resurrection and the victory Jesus won for us in his letter to the church at Corinth. “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” I’ve got the Power, how about you?

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