Tag: Bob Gempel

LA Story – The Edge

I have a T-shirt that I like to wear; it is a T-shirt for disciples. On the back are these words: “If you’re not living on the edge, you’re taking up too much room!” Jesus lived his 33 years as far out on the edge as it is possible to get. And he calls each of us to follow him out there. “Normal” people do not want to get close to the edge. It is not safe there, and it certainly is not comfortable. But “normal” people don’t change things. They stay in the middle of the crowd, and they get pushed in whatever direction the crowd happens to be moving. They don’t have much impact on the world. Jesus had impact wherever he went, and his disciples do, too. That is what happens out on the edge. Jesus always has an incredible effect on the crowd when it stops long enough to listen to him. In Mark 4:1, Jesus drew the people to the edge of the water to hear him and be changed by him.

Aren’t you thankful to be out of the crowd and out on the edge? Aren’t you thankful to be in the Kingdom of God? Aren’t you glad that you are not “normal” by the world’s standards any
more? A few weeks ago Gloria and I, together with Bob and Pat Gempel, leaders of HOPE worldwide, were in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. We were there to celebrate the first anniversary of the King
Sihanouk HOPE Hospital and to preach to the incredible Phnom Penh Church of Christ. It probably had the most personal impact of any trip we have ever taken. Cambodia is a beautiful country with beautiful people. But every citizen there has lived through unfathomable suffering. Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge army tortured, starved and killed nearly three million people, one third of the population, in the late 1970s.

LA Story – Fearless ~ April 1997

Life does not end after 50, or 60, or 70, or… So much of age is in the mind and heart. I have been through the black balloons and graveyard humor of my 40th birthday and of my 50th. But I don’t feel much older than I did at my 20th or 30th. Last week one of the evangelists here in LA referred to all of us over the age of 55 as the “elderly.” At 56, I definitely do not feel “elderly.” And I told him so! In this issue of LA Story, called “FEARLESS,” I actually get to write about people who are older than I am, disciples who are over 65 years of age.

In our American society, people plan for retirement at 65. Retirement is designed to be a time of leisure – golf, fishing, travel – or whatever else appeals to you once you are beyond your “productive” years. To most, retirement is the state of no longer doing anything that is useful. Somewhere I read that the average person who retires at age 65 will be dead in 18 months if he/she does not have a dream to keep them going.

Whether we are old or young, sick or healthy, married or single, poor or rich, uneducated or educated, God wants all that we have and are. 

Things are so different in God’s Kingdom! We don’t  live by the world’s timetable. Our usefulness is not age-dependent. Caleb is a role model of what disciples ought to be. After spending 40 years wandering in the wilderness that killed off all of the unfaithful Israelites, he was ready at age 85 to drive out the giants of the land and claim God’s inheritance. As has been humorously stated from time to time, disciples don’t retire, they just retread and keep on rolling.

Blown Away

In Habakkuk 1:5 God talks about his people being “utterly amazed”. A modern phrase that fits that mental image is “Blown Away.” That is just what all of us in the L.A. Church have been as we have seen God’s mighty works in the past few weeks.

Heaven & Earth

We are saved to save others, not just a few others but a world of others. We have the authority in Matthew 28:18-20. We have the power from God. We have the message of the resurected Christ.