Having your own website can be both good and bad. You can write on whatever you want, when you want, and for whatever reason you want. That may seem like a good thing, but it can also be a bad thing, as you might go off in rather odd directions.
This piece might be like that. Some may think it too autobiographical or too personal or too unnecessary. So it might be best to advise you now to perhaps read no further if you prefer, as it may not be to your liking. But then again, that is probably true of all my articles: many folks would just not like them.
That is always my dilemma. I need to overlook the critics and determine if what I am doing is what I am supposed to be doing. So I need to remain in regular prayer. I often ask God if I should even continue this ministry. I know most folks are either uninterested in what is said here, or dislike what is said here. Those who actually like what is found on this site, and more importantly, benefit in various ways from what they read here, may be few and far between.
So I am often lifting this ministry up to the Lord, asking him if I should stop and/or maybe do something else. Unless this work is of God, and is being used by God to impact others, it is just a waste of time. So I need to keep putting it back on the altar, and keep praying that this is indeed what God wants me to do.
Even this piece I had to pray about: “Do you want me to write this article Lord?” Unless it is of some use for the Kingdom, why bother? I realise I can be far too melancholic and introspective, but it is good not to assume what you are doing is always what the Lord wants. It is good to keep asking questions and keep giving things back to the Lord.
Indeed, I did that just again moments ago. And then the mailman comes, and I get a letter from someone I think I have never met, saying he is being helped by my ministry, and a kind financial gift is enclosed! So that encourages you to keep on keeping on.
Although at the same time I realise that it is easy to surround yourself with “yes men” or those always singing your praises, and end up thinking that this must mean that God approves of what you are doing. The truth is, you can be getting a lot of praise from men, while God may NOT approve of what you are doing! So we always need to be cautious here!
Hey, I told you this would be rather personal and autobiographical! But let me move on to more important matters here, although still very personal in nature. It involves two very recent things that have just happened – both of which I have been following somewhat closely.
For what it is worth, I am not a very emotional guy. I tend to be far too cerebral! But sometimes I might latch on to some odd thing, and find myself getting a bit emotional about it. For some strange reason, I have taken a bit to following Roger Federer and his amazing career of late.
He seems like a nice guy and a humble guy, and for various reasons, he seems to remind me of one of my sons. So anyway, when he gets into a big tournament, I follow him and hope he wins. Anyone who likes tennis knows exactly where I am going with this. But for those who are utterly clueless, he just played in a Wimbledon final.
At 37 years of age it is amazing that he was even there. The same with Serena Williams. But while she bombed out of her final big time, Roger lasted the whole five sets in a gruelling 5-hour marathon. I actually went to bed during set one, but could not sleep, so got up to watch the last set.
He just lost in the tie break, after a 12-12 draw in the fifth! While Novak Djokovic is also a nice guy, and a Christian as well I believe, I did throw up a few prayers along the way for Roger. I did want him to win, as did millions of other Federer fans.
But it was not to be, and I went to bed at 4am a bit sad. Later this morning upon waking I read his post-match remarks and he too is sad, not surprisingly. This may have been his last chance ever to win another Grand Slam. But he has had an amazing career without doubt. Many consider him to be the greatest male tennis player ever.
Anyway, I must say that when I do shoot up a prayer for him to win a match, I also shoot up a prayer for his salvation. I am not sure of where he is at spiritually (he may have had a Catholic upbringing), but being in right standing with God through Christ is far more important than being the greatest tennis player ever.
So while I was a bit sad about him losing again, I will keep praying for the much more important matter of him becoming a real deal Christian who knows the much greater joy of knowing the Lord. So it is a question of priorities of course. As Jesus said, ‘what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his own soul?’
And the other incident that just took place really does help to put things into perspective. Around six years ago I was invited to speak for a week at a YWAM school in Hawaii. While I can reach various people through a website, it is even better to do face to face teaching ministry.
Often friendships will result from these sessions that will last and grow. Sure, most students who have heard me teach over the years have forgotten all about me. But sometimes a few will be really keen, and follow me online long after I have left. This was true of a terrific mother and daughter who were there.
They befriended me right away during the week, and on the social media. We have kept in touch ever since. But the last few days the mother has posted about a sudden health issue for her daughter. So I kept them in prayer of course. I even thought how much more important this matter is than some dumb tennis match.
And I also reflected on the gift of friends that God gives. As mentioned, the great majority of those you have taught over the years will quickly and permanently forget all about you. Some will have quite disliked you. But a few will have appreciated you and your ministry, and will stay in touch.
Thus my shock and surprise when this morning I discovered on the social media that this champ had died in hospital! This is what I just posted on my own page:
A FB friend and YWAMer (a student that I taught some years ago), has just suddenly passed away. Please pray for her mother Yolanda and other family members. I was just thinking yesterday that most people I have taught over the decades quickly forget about you. But a few appreciate your teaching, keep in touch, and continue to be good friends. Roxanne was like that. She would often send me personal messages about current events stuff she thought I should be aware of. Bless you Roxanne.
Yes please do keep them in your prayers. As I said, it is rare when a former student keeps running with you and your ministry years later. So Roxanne was special – and now she is home with her Lord, with her mother having to deal with all this. Bless you Yolanda.
As I say, life is about priorities. Roger is hurting right now about his tennis loss – it was so close. But at the end of the day it really is not the most important thing in life, and hopefully he knows that as he still has his wife and children that he clearly loves. He may regret last night for some time to come, but in the eternal scheme of things, it does not really matter at all.
But losing a beloved daughter is so very difficult for anyone, no matter how strong your personal faith may be. But this we know: Yolanda will see Roxanne in heaven one day. And one day I will see both of them as well. What a glorious reunion that will be.
And someone like Novak sounds like he will be there as well. As he once said, “Before being an athlete, I am an Orthodox Christian.” So it appears I will rub shoulders with him as well when we get to the next life. I am not sure how much the two of us will talk about tennis, if we meet and have a chat.
We both will be far more interested in talking about our wonderful Lord who graciously made it possible for us to be set free from our sinful lifestyles, and find new life in Christ. That is what we Christians want for all people. I want it for Roger.
Yes it would be kinda neat if he could win one more Grand Slam. But I would much prefer that he never wins another game again, if it means I will join him in heaven singing praises to our Lord, shouting “Worthy is the Lamb”. In the meantime I will keep praying for people like Roger.
And please join with me in praying for Yolanda and the other family members.
And remember that one day the Lamb that was slain will wipe away all our tears.