A Gift of Faith for the Graduate: God's the Glue
- Wednesday, June 08, 2005
If youÕre going to hold on to the enthusiasm you have for life today, if youÕre going to hold on to the dreams and delight of today, youÕll need to know one thing for sure: GodÕs the glue.
Only a relationship with Jesus Christ will allow you to keep your childlike heart, the joy and hope you carry with you today. If you donÕt have that assurance of salvation, find it. Take a look at the Bible, read the book of John, connect with a Bible-believing church, and dive into the wonderful world of faith in Christ.
Get this part right, and the next nine principles will be a lot easier.
The following sections tell about adults who are living life still young at heart, adults who know that their faith is the basis for that youthful life.
Give God the Title Deed
The late Dr. Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade for Christ, often referred to a decision he and his wife made in the spring of 1951. It was a decision to becomeÑas Bill liked to say itÑslaves to Jesus Christ. Total, absolute, sold-out, surrendered slaves to Christ.
ÒWe wrote and signed over the Ôtitle deedsÕ of our lives to Him, and a day later God gave the two of us a vision for the Campus Crusade ministry.Ó
The way Bill viewed it, after deciding to live for Jesus Christ, he was no longer his own. Rather he had been bought with a priceÑthe price of ChristÕs blood shed on the cross. Bill would tell people, ÒIf God can create and rule the universe, think about what He can do for us and through us, if we ask Him to do so.Ó
Every day after that decision, Bill Bright would get down on his knees and give gratitude and praise to Jesus for being his Savior. He would tell the Lord, ÒJesus, I want to be close to You. Walk in my body, think with my mind, love with my heart, speak with my lips. Do whatever You want in and through me. Take my attitudes, my motives, my words, my actions, my desires and orchestrate them by Your Holy Spirit.Ó
Forever Young in War
In the warm dawn hours in Iraq that April day in 2003, NBC news correspondent David Bloom grabbed his phone and played back his messages. Halfway through the recording was a long message from Jim Lane, a New York financier. It had become habit for the men to share a daily long-distance devotion using Oswald ChambersÕ classic book, My Utmost for His Highest. Lane read the message for April 5, an inspirational piece taken from Matthew 24. ÒBecause of what the Son of Man went through, every human being can now get through into the very presence of God.Ó
BloomÑwho had been sitting in a modified tankÑthen climbed out, took a few steps, and collapsed, dead instantly. Less than a minute later, he was experiencing the reality of Matthew 24Ñfinding his way through to the very presence of God.
BloomÕs death was a devastating shock to his family and the nation. He was regularly watched by millions of viewers as he traversed across the desert, covering the story of the war in Iraq. At age thirty-nine he was a prime example of living forever young, of realizing that GodÕs the glue if youÕre determined to hold on to the excitement of youth.
For there was a side to David Bloom, TV correspondent, that the nation did not see. David was a devout believer in Jesus Christ. He grew up in the church, but two years before his death, he truly came to a saving knowledge of Jesus, a knowledge that started his greatest journey of allÑhis journey into eternal life.
Meeting God Weekly
Bloom joined a weekly menÕs discipleship group founded by Jim Lane. While attending meetings, he developed friendships with some of the great men of the Christian faith, including Chuck Colson, founder of Prison Fellowship. During that time, it was clear to all who knew him that Bloom had a hunger for God that demanded he continue studying the Bible.
On the day he died, friends say Bloom was in a very good place, at peace with himself, his family and his God. That peace was evident in the last message he sent his wife. ThereÑin the midst of a battlefieldÑDavid BloomÕs own mortality was evidently on his mind.
Bloom wrote, ÒWhen the moment comes, in my life, when you are talking about my last day, I am determined that you and others will say, ÔHe was devoted to his wife and children; he was admired; he gave every ounce of his being for those whom he cared most about . . . not himself, but God and his family.ÕÓ
The lasting image of David BloomÑone that will remain in the memories of his family and the American publicÑwas that of a youthful man, bouncing across the Iraqi desert, poking his head out of an armored tank. His dirt-streaked face and wind-blown hair did nothing to cover the sheer exuberance of his living life to the full, at peace with God and himselfÑa picture of a life lived forever young.
Resolve that youÕll live your life in a way that other people will know about your faith. If they spend any significant amount of time with you, theyÕll see your actions or hear your conversation or become aware of your convictions, and your faith will be as obvious as the rising sun.
It was important to Brian Vahaly, internationally ranked tennis player, that people saw him as a Christian. ÒI wanted them to see the way I lived and because of that, to trust me!Ó As the trust grew, Vahaly would have an opportunity to share his faith. How did he do that? Whenever he roomed with a teammate or traveled with one, he saw it as a chance to make a difference in someoneÕs life. Tennis can be a great avenue for telling someone the truth!
The faith-walk that keeps a person young, will also keep a person eager about sharing his faith. Who in your life today needs to hear the good news about Jesus? Be willing to share your faith with your friends.
I Never Thought of That
YouÕve made it through school, youÕve graduated, and you probably have the next goal in mind. But there are a few things you may not have thought about:
Bill Selby of the St. Louis Cardinals says that the amazing thing about being a Christian and growing closer to the Lord is that the more we mature as Christians, the more we see how far away we are.
ÒI know God is shaping every inch of my life,Ó Selby has said. ÒHeÕs allowing me to see where I stand with Him and how thankful I am that HeÕs selected me to be His child.Ó
Likewise, most people donÕt think about their dream job as anything other than a job or a career. Not NFL quarterback Kurt Warner. He sees his job as a platform.
ÒGod has given me an unbelievable platform that reaches an enormous amount of people,Ó he says.
Warner understands that part of his platform is the pain that has come to his family. His son was injured at a young age and has some physical and mental disabilities. His wife lost her parents in a tornado, and at one point Warner worked as a stock boy at a grocery store.
ÒWeÕve had difficult timesÑour son, my wifeÕs parents, us financially
Ñand then we had success,Ó Warner said. ÒWe can touch an unbelievable amount of people and speak to them on a lot of different levels because of that. ThatÕs the way I like to look at all weÕve been through.Ó
The Lord wants you to give everything up to him: your career, your energy, your talents. Along the way, there will be stumbles and falls, trip-ups and temptations. They will be fewer if you determine to give your life to Christ and avoid compromising situations.
So many people have lost everything because of an illicit affair, an illegal business deal, or a life riddled with drugs and alcohol. Those people look older than their years, worn and weathered, with worry lines across their foreheads and around their eyes.
A life lived for self and pleasure, a life of careless sin, is a life that ages people quickly. Living life for Christ will ease the lines in your face and make you youthful in every sense.
When IÕm on the road, I like to stay in my room and order room service. Sometimes I hang out with other Christian guys. I never go out to go out. I donÕt enjoy it. I love my wife and I take my marriage very personally and to heart. Whenever you commit to those vows, theyÕre for life.
Tom Landry, longtime coach of the Dallas Cowboys, was known for his strong Christian faith. Landry said, ÒFaith gives a man hope, and hope is what life is all about. ThatÕs why won-lost records, championships and all that has gone on in the past, really have so little meaning for me. All that is nice, of course. But itÕs not what matters most. . . . I live my life for Christ in every area, and I work hard because God expects us to be the best we can.Ó
Take the advice of a Cowboy.
On one occasion, Senator Robert Pittenger and my friend Dr. Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade, met with former Texas governor and presidential candidate John Connally. After a long discussion on world affairs, Bill asked the governor if he knew Jesus. The governor, a confident man, pulled himself up an inch or so and said, ÒDr. Bright, I donÕt believe in wearing my religion on my sleeve. ItÕs a personal thing.Ó
Then, in a firm but sensitive tone, Bill said, ÒGovernor, Jesus Christ died for you in a very public way. It wasnÕt just a private thing to Him.Ó Bill then presented the governor with the Gospel, and left him material on how to know Christ.
Eight months later, the governor spoke at a major Campus Crusade event. The first words out of his mouth were, ÒJesus said, ÔI am the light of the world. If you follow me, you will not stumble in the darkness.ÕÓ
If you believe in Christ, tell someone else. ItÕs no fun staying young and vibrant all by yourself!
President George W. Bush makes no apology for his faith-based leadership. In their book on the president, Carolyn B. Thompson and James W. Ware include a quote that sheds light on the manÕs deep, abiding faith.
ÒI could not have been Governor if I didnÕt believe in a divine plan that supersedes all human plans. Politics is a fickle business. Polls change. TodayÕs friend is tomorrowÕs adversary. People lavish praise and attention. Many times it is genuine, and sometimes it is not.
ÒYet, I build my life on a foundation that will not shift. My faith frees me. It frees me to put the problems of the moment in proper perspective. It frees me to make decisions that others might not like. It frees me to try to do the right thing, even though it may not poll well.Ó
One way to stay young is to walk in perfect faith. IÕm not talking about perfect performance, because none of us will be perfect. But if your faith and trust, your belief and hope in Jesus are right, everything else will fall in place.
Read these words that shout at us from the pages of Isaiah 43:2Ð5 (NASB).
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, nor will the flame burn you. For I am the Lord, your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior; . . . since you are precious in My sight, since you are honored and I love you, . . do not fear, for I am with you.Ó
God did not say the rushing waters wouldnÕt come. He did not say we wouldnÕt see the flames or feel the heat. Instead he said in the rising waters, He would be with us. He said in the middle of the fire, he would be with us. He provides for us in times of need.
Want some good news? Nothing surprises God, nothing catches him off-guard. He knows exactly what heÕs going to do in every situation. God is never befuddled by any situation, no matter how hard or desperate it seems to us.
I have a pastor friend in Atlanta, Johnny Hunt, who says, ÒDid it ever occur to you that nothing ever occurs to God?Ó
Faith means believing that even when we canÕt see the way from here to there, God is in control. End of story. Believe it, live like you believe it, and youÕll be on your way to capturing a view of what itÕs like to live forever young.
Rev Up the Race Car
How can you rev up the engines of your spiritual lives? Very simply, you must pray. Prayer is our act of talking to God. When we donÕt pray, we walk through life with our greatest friend at our side, never talking to him.
Race car driver Scott Sharp once said, ÒI spend some time in prayer every day of my life; not just when IÕm driving race cars. I donÕt know how other people who arenÕt Christians, who donÕt have a relationship with God, can handle all the distractions, pressures and concerns.Ó
Prayer is like a pressure reliever. You give your troubles and fears and concerns to God in prayer, and he is more than happy to take them.
ÒWhere do the worries go for the people who donÕt pray?Ó Sharp said. ÒItÕs unbelievable to me, to leave those things to Him. That makes me think so much clearer and so much freer.Ó
I grew up in Wilmington, Delaware, and from the time I was a small boy, I attended church and Sunday school on a regular basis. I even went to a Baptist college, Wake Forest University, in North Carolina. However, it was not until I was twenty-seven years old that I realized that I wasnÕt a Christian and needed to make a decision to accept Jesus as my Savior and Lord.
I made that decision on February 22, 1968, in Spartanburg, South Carolina, and my life changed dramatically. For the first time I realized my sins had been pardoned and there really was a purpose for my life. GodÕs peace flooded my soul and his power has undergirded me every day since.
As a Christian, my life has not been perfect. I have had many difficult experiences along with many triumphant moments. However, through it all the Lord has been the centerpiece of my life and has never left me or forsaken me.
I often tell young people that when you make a decision for Christ, he gives you an abundant life here on earth and an eternal life after you take your last breath. Everything we do on earth lasts for just a short time, but it gives us an opportunity to practice getting ready for our life in heaven where we will spend trillions of years.
ThatÕs an exciting way to live your life now and the first-class way to go into your forever life in heaven.
The Bible is my daily map. ItÕs GodÕs word.
ThereÕs so much wisdom there, that you
have to read it on a daily basis.
ÑTim Salmon, Anaheim Angels
I confess my sins as I exhale, and I receive GodÕs grace and forgiveness with every inhalation.
ÑBill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade for Christ
ThereÕs no way of knowing the peace that
comes from experiencing GodÕs plan for your life,
until you recognize the importance of close,
consistent fellowship with Jesus Christ.
ÑBob Estes, pro golfer
Whoever is on GodÕs side is on the winning side
and cannot lose. Whoever is on the other side is on the
losing side and cannot win. Here, there is no gray area . . . no gamble. There is freedom to choose which side
we shall be on, but no freedom to negotiate the
results of the choice, once it is made.
ÑA. W. Tozer, author and pastor
If you say you know ChristÑwithout changingÑ
you should question who you know.
ÑAnne Graham Lotz, speaker and author
I didnÕt go to religion to make me happy.
I always knew a bottle of port would do that.
If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly donÕt recommend Christianity.
ÑC. S. Lewis, author
As a Christian, IÕm never surprised by vice.
IÕm more surprised by virtue. Because of our inherent,
sinful nature, we are more prone to do the wrong thing
than the right thing. ThatÕs why we need God.
ÑMike Cromartie, radio host
As the saying goes, there is no sinner without
a future, and no saint without a past.
ÑChris Dodd, U.S. senator
God always has my best interest at heart,
and itÕs up to me to follow Him and look for
His direction in my life. If I do that,
everything else will take care of itself.
ÑRobbie Tobeck, Seattle Seahawks
My parents always taught me that
I was fortunate, that God had blessed me to give
me these opportunities, that you shouldnÕt take them
for granted, and that not everybody had them.
ÑCondoleezza Rice, U.S. Secretary of State
God is sovereign, even in things
we donÕt understand.
Never tell a young person that anything
cannot be done. God may have been waiting
for that moment to see it happen.
ÑJohn Andrew Holmes, author
When you have nothing left but God,
for the first time, you become
aware that God is enough.
ÑMaude Royden, peace activist
Character takes years to form and a lifetime to prove.
I believe IÕm still developing and proving
the image of the God I serve.
ÑA. C. Green, former NBA player
When you think about JesusÕ life on Earth,
and what He did for us, itÕs the most beautiful thing that ever happened, and there are no strings attached.
ÑMike Holmgren, NFL coach
This is a short life . . . seventy to eighty years, at best.
To know that we will spend eternity in heaven with God, because we put our faith in Christ, is the main promise
in the Bible. What more comforting thing can
there be, than to know your eternal destiny?
ÑKyle Brady, Jacksonville Jaguars
I wouldnÕt trade my position in Christ for a
thousand NBA championship rings, for a thousand
Hall-of-Fame rings, or for a hundred billion dollars.
ÑPete Maravich, former NBA star
Nothing is or can be accidental
ÑHenry Wadsworth Longfellow, poet
A Christian canÕt lose. If we live, we go on
serving Him, and thatÕs an adventure. If we die, weÕre
in heaven with Him, and thatÕs incredible. Jesus is worthy of every ounce of allegiance we can give Him . . . our love,
our devotion, our obedience and our trust.
ÑDr. Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade for Christ
ItÕs just fascinating how God opens up doors for you.
He just kind of maps you along where He wants you
to grow and learn and mature as a Christian.
ÑHomer Drew, basketball coach, Valparaiso University
Faith is putting all your eggs in GodÕs basket;
then, counting your blessings,
before they hatch.
Jesus says I love you just the way you are,
and I love you too much to let
you stay that way.
ÑChris Lyons, pastor
Faith is like radar that sees through the fog . .
the reality of things at a distance that
the human eye cannot see.
ÑCorrie Ten Boom, author
Forever Young: Ten Gifts of Faith for the Graduate with permission from the publisher, Faith Communications, Inc.”
Thank you! And you have approval for the chapter one (God’s Rules) Forever Young excerpt (Pat Williams and Karen Kingsbury). Use this credit line: "Reprinted from Forever Young: Ten Gifts of Faith for the Graduate with permission from the publisher, Faith Communications, Inc.”
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