Welcome to Church on the Hill, Glenavon, Sask, Canada

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Doing the Impossible

Scriptures: Luke 2:52, Luke 1:28-38 & 45, John 2:1-5

Sunday July 6th, was beautiful, hot and muggy. Pastor Lorne was working with the Christian Cowboys at a rodeo so we had a guest speaker at COTH.

Robin Exner, Director of the nearby Circle Square Ranch (CSR), brought a dozen of the ranch staff to COTH with him. That was a 30% increase in the congregation for the 2nd week in a row. It’s so great to see all the youth in church.

Robin also brought along my daughter Jessica who was leading worship this week. It was nice to see her since she’s already been at camp a whole week.

The 1st thing Robin did was give out a CSR hat to the first person to find Luke 2:52 which says: ‘And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.’ This verse is the basis of CSR where they challenge the youth to grow in the 4 areas mentioned in another blog post: spiritually, intellectually, emotionally and physically. Celine won the hat.

Robin said CSR just completed the 1st week of camp. There were a little more kids than normal but they weren’t too hard to work with. A nice bunch of kids.

He said Week 2 – the Jnr teen week – was going to be a little less than normal with 52-53 kids but weeks 3-7 are full with 70-80 kids each so it all evens out at the end.

Robin wanted to encourage everyone to visit the ranch and see how it operated. Campfire each evening is a special time of worship and fellowship.

He said he’s been the Director aka Sheriff at the ranch for 10 summers now and he’s grateful for the grace of God that it all comes together each year. He said one of the biggest things is finding staff – the young people. Not just any staff, but the right people for the right weeks with the right attitudes. Even 6 wks ago, they didn’t have enough staff, nothing ready, needed a cook, maintenance workers, office staff, other staff. Then in the last couple weeks with God’s help, phone calls started coming in, people were available, and everything came together.

Robin said in 1999 during his 1st year as director of CSR, he attended a Program Conference in Ontario to share ideas for the upcoming camp season. He said it was his 1st time at a conference and for some reason, they picked him to share at the Crossroads Chapel in front of David Mainse and over a hundred other people.

Robin said he was the new guy and when he spoke behind the pulpit, he hoped no one could his knees wobbling in his cowboy boots. He said afterwards, David Mainse walked up and said, ‘That was good, can you come and share on the broadcast?’ So, Robin went down to the Crossroads, Communication TV studios and did a few minute segment on 100 Huntley Street.

For today, Robin said he wanted to talk about doing the impossible. He said to think of Joe Nichols’ country song The Impossible, where he sings:

Unsinkable ships sink, Unbreakable walls breakSometimes the things you think could never happenHappens just like that, Unbendable steel bendsIf the fury of the wind is unstoppableI've learned to never underestimateThe impossible

Robin said the dictionary meaning of impossible is something that cannot be done or achieved. Something that we cannot do. Something that cannot happen or cannot exist. In other words something supernatural. He said if we go beyond that, we can say the impossible is something miraculous.

Robin said you can have something in your life that’s a challenge like a money crisis. The money’s out there but you haven’t got it and you have no idea to get it, so it seems like an impossible situation.

He said it’s like at the ranch in the winter when he’s looking for summer staff but they’re all too busy. He wonders how he can run the camp. But then things change and the young people start phoning in and say they’ll come. He said it’s miraculous when you think the young people can go get a job for real money but instead they’re volunteering to serve kids at the ranch.

Robin said you can be discouraged in your own life. You can have a variety of things going on like health issues or money problems. Or what about family not knowing the Lord? You worry how they’ll get saved. How will God reach them? Or what about the people in your community?

Robin said God has given each person an assignment from heaven – a divine plan for your life. You might not know exactly what it is, but His plan for you is going to be big. And it’s going to be bigger than anything you can do on your own. In fact, Robin said, if you can wrap your head around how you can do what God wants you to do, then you haven’t got the whole picture. Or, you don’t understand what God wants you to do.

Because God‘s plan and His call for our lives will seem impossible. You might look at God and say, I don’t have the skills, the tools, the ability, the money, whatever to accomplish that task.

And so you ask god how? Robin said, that’s the question. How?

Robin asked us to look in our Bibles for Luke 1:28. He said we’re going all the way back to Mary, mother of Jesus: ‘The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you." Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High."

Robin said if you look at V34, Mary asked "How will this be...since I am a virgin?" So even the mother of Jesus questioned God. She admitted she was a virgin. She didn’t know a man. How was it possible for her to carry a child?

Robin says the question, ‘HOW?’ will mess with your mind more than anything. He said sometimes we ask God why certain things happen. Or we ask Him when something will happen. But Robin said he personally struggles with how things are going to happen. He said he has more of an analytical mind. He likes a blueprint or a plan to follow. He wants to know how it will happen.

He said v35 has the answer: ‘The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.’ So, Robin said, Mary’s answer was the Holy Ghost shall. That was it. The Holy Ghost would come and cause this seemingly impossible thing to pass. It wasn’t up to Mary to worry about how, because the Holy Ghost shall come and cause it to pass.

Robin said during his first year as director of CSR, he asked that question a lot. The ranch had this big 3 storey hotel – a white elephant – and he didn’t know how they were going to complete it. It was sucking up all their resources. Without manpower, he didn’t know how he was going to do the work himself. It would take thousands of manhours and hundreds of thousand of dollars to complete. How was he supposed to finish it?

Robin said that with these verses, God showed that HOW was the wrong question. He said that instead of asking HOW, you need to change the letters to read WHO. And that’ll change your perspective because when you ask WHO, the impetus is taken off of you and put on the Holy Spirit like these verses say. The Holy Spirit shall.

Robin knew that all he had to do was trust in the Holy Spirit to be there, with him and on him to empower him and reveal to him and it would come to pass.

How does a virgin girl get pregnant? Would we even understand it if God explained it to us? The question isn’t HOW but WHO.
Who is in control?
Who sent the Holy Spirit?

Robin is so glad God sent the Holy Spirit to help him. The ranch needs so much help and the Holy Spirit always comes through whether it’s getting more work done in a day, or putting a name in their mind for a certain task they need done, or sending people to help. The Holy Spirit is there overshadowing or just hovering over the situation and causing things to come to pass.

Robin said last week they lost both their cook and their maintenance man for a few days. He and Barb had to work in the office and cook and do maintenance and clean and repair and juggle these things and still minister to the kids and give them a message of substance and communicate with them the gospel about Jesus Christ.

So he was dealing with kids and catching skunks, and then dropping everything to run down to the campfire to give them a message – those are some of the things that he has to do. Robin said actually it worked out quite well. He didn’t have a lot of time to prepare messages, write notes and study, but he said God dropped things into his heart and he felt the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

Robin said it’s the same thing with the staff. He used Jessica as an example and said she has her duties with the kids and then at the end of the day, she has to put a few songs together to lead music or put a skit together. Or the kids aren’t behaving properly and the staff have to stop to minister to that kid amongst all their other duties. Everyone is juggling and the only way they can do it all is with the Holy Spirit. It’s Him. He’s the one who helps us and keeps us going.

To continue with the Gospel of Luke, in v36, the angel tells Mary that even her old, barren cousin will have a child and in v37 Mary responds with, ‘”For nothing is impossible with God."

Robin asked us, isn’t it good to remind ourselves that what we can’t do on our own, He can handle? With God, there’s nothing He can’t handle, whether it’s something that we in our own weaknesses can’t do or if it’s absolutely impossible for us to accomplish, there’s nothing impossible for God.

Sometimes we can’t do it unless God intervenes and makes something happen. Some things like cancer, we can’t overcome on our own. Robin referred to the previous Sunday when Greg Dueck was here at COTH with his testimony of how God cured him of cancer. (last blog post) Sometimes we need God.

Mary’s statement, ‘For nothing is impossible with God’, is a profound statement. First of all, Robin said, she asked how this all going to happen, then when the angel said the Holy Spirit would do it, she grabbed hold onto that and believed. Robin said God knew what He was doing when He picked Mary. He picked someone who had faith and virtue and she believed that the Holy Spirit would accomplish this miracle.

Robin said Mary grabbed onto that and held onto it. He said farther down in v45 it says, ‘Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!’ Elizabeth confirmed that Mary had faith.

We can learn a lot of lessons from this but the biggest thing when we’re looking at impossible things, is instead of being so caught up in worry and how it’s going to work out, and instead of praying how you can have a human solution, you should be trusting in God to do it.

God will change the how how how to WOW.

You can stand back and say WOW that’s amazing. I don’t know how, but wow!

Robin said at the end of every summer, he looks back and says WOW. It happened. It came together. And it was good. God brought us through. Kids lives were changed. Staff came in and it was all amazing.

In summary, Robin said he has a lot of respect for Mary because she was chosen by God to birth His son. She was doing something right in her life. Robin said he wanted to leave us with this last thought: In John 2, Jesus and his disciples were invited to a wedding in Cana. When they ran out of wine, Mary went to Jesus and told him that they’d run out. Up to this point, Jesus hadn’t performed any miracles yet and in v4 Jesus says, "Dear woman, why do you involve me...My time has not yet come?". But Mary knew her son was God’s Son. She believed He could make a miracle. V5 says, ‘His mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you." It was a typical statement of Mary’s life - she believed Jesus was the son of God throughout his life.

Robin said if we take Mary’s life lesson and apply it to our lives...if we did everything we were supposed to do, we’d be farther ahead with God that we are now.

So instead of scratching your head and worrying, change the how and who to wow and let God handle it.

If you would like to speak to Robin, please email me and I'll pass your msg along.

Comments are appreciated. If you’re not sure how, please click on ‘comments’ under 'Labels' in the right column.


No comments: