DayBreaks for 1/12/17 – The Power of Team

DayBreaks for 1/12/17: The Power of Team

Ecclesiastes 4:12 (AMP) –And though a man might prevail against him who is alone, two will withstand him. A threefold cord is not quickly broken.

On September 12, 2011, Brandon Wright, a 21-year-old Utah State University student, was driving his motorcycle en route to the school’s computer lab when a BMW pulling out of a parking lot collided with him. Both vehicles burst into flames. The BMW driver quickly escaped from the car, but Wright was trapped under the 4,000-pound sedan.

The horrific accident drew an immediate crowd of students and construction workers. One passerby walked around the burning vehicles to survey the situation and saw a motionless body, apparently dead, beneath the BMW. Another individual, testing his strength, attempted to lift the car, but without success. A handful of others joined the effort but could not budge the car. A young woman lay on the ground to peer under the car and saw evidence that the trapped victim was still alive.

The flames were intense at the front of the car, where the motorcycle also lay on the ground burning. Nevertheless, at this point a dozen members of the growing crowd joined shoulder to shoulder at the side of the car, lifted in unison, and tilted it high enough to allow another rescuer to pull Wright to safety. At that point the city’s emergency responders appeared on the scene. They doused the flames and transported Wright to Intermountain Medical Center, where he was treated for two broken legs and a fractured pelvis.

What one person could not accomplish alone, a team of people did. “Every one of those people put their lives in danger,” assistant Logan police chief Jeff Curtis said. “Those people are heroes. You can only speculate what the outcome would have been if they hadn’t lifted that car.”

I have often wondered how Jesus feels about how people from different denominations think about and treat those from other churches or traditions. I cannot imagine how sad it must make him when we spend more time judging on another because of silly trivialities instead of working together to save those who are pinned under the weight of sin, despair, loneliness and shame.

Are you part of a small group or team of some kind? Talk about this with them. Pray about it, and let His Spirit lead you to something you can do together that will bring someone to the Great Physician.

PRAYER: Help us not to worry about getting glory for ourselves, but for rescuing those who are trapped in the clutches of the evil one. Teach us to work together for Your glory and the greater good of Your kingdom. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016 by Galen Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 7/18/16 – RX for a World Torn Apart

DayBreaks for 7/18/16 – RX For a World Torn Apart

From our Sunday worship bulletin (and some of my own input, too):

Whatever comes out of these dates, we’ve got a better chance of survival if we work together. Do you understand? If we stay together, we survive. – Maximus

This quote is from the movie, “Gladiator,” and the context is gladiators coming together to fight a common enemy. I love the quote because it’s a great illustration for the church. If the church works together, if it stays together, then whatever common enemy we face, we can survive. Now, Jesus said He would build His church, and therefore the church at large is not going to disappear. We’re here to stay. Still, the church, in this age, can certainly be threatened. There are enemies which would seek to eliminate it. So, the church is in a definite battle. There is spiritual warfare going on.

Who is the enemy? The apostle John instructs the church to …not love the world or things in the world. For all that is in the world – the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and the pride of life – is not from the Father but is from the world. (1 John 2:15-16) In this context, we get a glimpse that the enemy is, in some ways, our own sinful desire. The apostle Peter also says, Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8) The enemy is the devil, and it’s the world around us, made up of sinful people, including us. My contention is often the enemy (regardless of who or what it is) threatens to pull us apart, isolate us from one another, and bring us to disunity.

This is a huge issue, not just for the church but for our nation. But what’s so scary about it for the church is that it’s often subtle. We can easily testify Jesus is our Lord and Savior, and our lives can be isolated from one another. We are not working together or staying together. We may have gotten to the point, in which we understand we even need to be together.

So, what do I mean “to be together”? Well, we’re in relationship with others in the church, those who know us, including some of our struggles. Yes, that’s scary, and there are a lot of challenges with that. Still, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t seek it out. Why? Because we need one another. To walk this journey of faith, which is hard enough, I’m convinced we can’t do it on our own. We need the church. We need to be in relationship with God’s people, and that’snot just your name on a roll.

The enemy is at the gates. If we’re to stay together, as a church, as a nation, if we’re to work together, we must first be together. United we stand and survive, divided we fall.

PRAYER: Jesus, in an age characterized by anonymity, isolation and texting instead of face-to-face conversations, it’s easy for us to withdraw, to not be together with others. Let us learn from your example that you didn’t text us from heaven, but you came to BE with us. Create that desire in us to be with others, to risk the relationships, so we can work together in peace and harmony. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016, Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

DayBreaks for 12/16/15 – Pick Up the Baby

DayBreaks for 12/16/15: Pick Up the Baby

Do you remember when you came home from the hospital with your first baby? I do. We were young – oh, so young – and neither of us really knew what to do with a crying baby. We were clear across the country from our parents and as the baby howled, we were at a loss what to do. Even at the hospital when the nurse placed the baby in my wife’s arms as we were ready to drive away (no car seats back then that I can recall!), my wife started crying as we drove off, eeking out the words between sobs: “I don’t know how to take care of a baby!” Fortunately, a truly gracious and wonderful older woman from church came to our rescue!

Sam Levenson tells a wonderful story about the birth of his first child. The first night home the baby would not stop crying. His wife frantically flipped through the pages of Dr. Spock to find out why babies cry and what to do about it. Since Spock’s book is rather long, the baby cried a long time. Grandma was in the house, but since she had not read the books on childrearing, she was not consulted. The baby continued to cry. Finally, Grandma could be silent no longer. “Put down the book,” she told her children, “and pick up the baby.”

Good advice. Put down the book and pick up the baby. Spend time with your children. Particularly at Christmastime. We have the mistaken notion that good parents give their children lots of things. Wrong.

In a survey done of fifteen thousand schoolchildren the question was asked, “What do you think makes a happy family?” When the kids answered, they didn’t list a big house, fancy cars, or new video games as the source of happiness. The most frequently given answer was “doing things together.”

Will you give that most precious gift to your family this year? Forget about all the fancy, expensive presents. Time together as a  family is truly priceless…and it echoes the truth of the Incarnation as well!

PRAYER: Jesus, still our hearts and open our eyes to the priceless gift you’ve given us of our families, loved ones and friends. Thank you for them! Let us be resolved to spend quality time in the midst of these most amazing gifts this year and be a little less concerned about batteries, bikes and video games. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2015 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 8/27/15 – The Power of Together

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DayBreaks for 8/27/15: The Power of Together

From the DayBreaks archive, 8/29/2005:

It hasn’t been that long – you may remember it. A few years back a tremendous human drama played out above and below ground in the Quecreek mine in Pennsylvania.  A group of miners were drilling in a coal mine shaft. Unbeknownst to them, their map was wrong. They believed that they were hundreds of feet away from an old mine shaft that had long ago been flooded.  As their drill bit broke through into the flooded shaft, millions of gallons of water began pouring into the mine where they were working. The water filled the lower section of the shaft and cut off their escape route to the surface. They were trapped in a cold, totally dark mine shaft. 

I probably would have totally freaked out – I am claustrophobic, and one of my worst nightmares is to be trapped somewhere. But these men decided early on that they would live or die as a group. They wouldn’t split up, taking their chances as individuals. Whatever their fate held, they would face it together.  And so days passed while rescue teams drilled a new hole through which the men might be rescued. As they huddled together in the cold, dark wetness of the shaft, when one member became too cold, they would all huddle around that man and hold them until they warmed up, and then they’d take turns warming others. 

Eventually, the rescuers managed to reach the men and they were all rescued from several hundred feet underground. The rescue was shown on television.  It took place at night, as I recall, when the first miners were brought up to the surface, soaked, dirty, but very, very happy to be alive. I was very moved by the images of the men coming up out of that dark pit.

As Christians there are powerful lessons in what happened to these men. 

FIRST: it’s important to have the right map. If they’d not had an incorrect map, they wouldn’t have ever drilled the hole that let the water in. We can easily look for direction in the wrong places. Guidance must come from a reliable source.  If you want truth, you must turn to the Truth.

SECOND: there was power in the men staying together. It’s easy to think that we can go it alone and survive. And in fact, rather than binding together as people who are going through an ordeal (make no doubt about it, we are living in a very serious and deadly situation), we often turn on one another and are more interested in scoring points rather than survival and helping one another live. 

THIRD: waiting must be extremely hard to do when you are in a flooded tunnel with a diminishing air supply in total darkness. Yet these men realized that their best chance for survival was to stick together and wait for rescue to come. They could have untied themselves and tried in vain to swim through the pitch-black tunnels in search of the exit – and they would have drowned, almost certainly. As Christians, we need to tie and bind ourselves together with the love of the Lord, helping one another survive until the Rescuer from above appears.  Scripture is full of admonitions to persevere, to wait upon the Lord and His time and will. 

Romans 8:23-25 – Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

PRAYER: God, help us love one another truly from the heart and be united in love and by the family ties that bind us! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple. To email Galen, click here: E-mail Galen.

DayBreaks for 09/20/11 – What Mattered

DayBreaks for 09/20/11 – What Mattered

It's what matters...

Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age. – Matthew 28:20

Skye Jethani relates a story about a series of meetings he held for college-aged students. The range of topics was wide: doctrine, hell, dating—but each conversation had the same three rules: be honest, be gracious, and be present. On one night the students wanted to discuss habitual sins. Although they struggled with a variety of sinful behaviors, they all agreed on one thing: God was extremely disappointed with them. One student said, “My parents were students at a Christian college in the early ’90s when a revival broke out …. They were on fire for God. And here I am consumed by sin day after day.” Often through tears, many other students shared similar stories about how they believed God must be disappointed with them.

After listening to their stories, Jethani asked, “How many of you were raised in a Christian home?” They all raised their hands. “How many of you grew up in a Bible-centered church?” All hands stayed up. Shaking his head in disbelief, Jethani said, “You’ve all spent eighteen or twenty years in the church. You’ve been taught the Bible from the time you could crawl, and you attend Christian colleges, but not one of you gave the right answer. Not one of you said that in the midst of your sin God still loves you.”

Jethani concluded: “I did not blame the students for their failure. Somewhere in their spiritual formation they were taught, either explicitly or implicitly, that what mattered was not God’s love for them, but how much they could accomplish for him.”  –  Skye Jethani, With (Thomas H. Nelson, 2011), pp. 80-82

Jesus’ promise in Matthew 28 was not made to perfect people – far from it.  There would be many failures in the coming years for those who watched him ascend into heaven.  We essentially have the same promise: I will never leave you or forsake you.  We seem to forget that God is WITH us.  That is the very meaning of the Incarnation, is it not?  But just knowing God is WITH us is not necessarily comforting (witness how people reacted when in God’s presence, and what if He were with us but was AGAINST us in His presence?)  But the good news is this: God is with us, but He is also FOR us (Rom. 8:31), and that makes the world of difference!

If we can only get our hearts and minds around those two amazing statements, “God is WITH us” and “God is FOR us”, what else do we need to know?

PRAYER: Glory to you, Lord, for these two great promises and statements that buoy our faith and give us certain hope!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2011 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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