A favorite fish of many hobbyists is the Japanese carp, commonly known as the koi. The fascinating thing about the koi is that if you keep it in a small fish bowl it will only grow to be two or three inches long. Place the koi in a large pond and it may get as long as a foot and a half. The size of the fish is related to the size of the pond.
What about us? Is our growth determined by the size of our world? Of course, it is not the circumference of the earth or our physical size that is important, but our spiritual growth. Are we allowing our growth to be stunted by the size of the tank we have placed ourselves in? Some people’s world revolves only around themselves, what they want, where they want to go and what they know. They remain a small fish in a very tiny fish bowl.
Let us open our minds to the vastness of God’s ocean. Let us stretch our horizons and grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord. But how? Well, you got to get out of that little fish bowl or as I like to refer to it — your comfort zone. You’ve got to take an interest in others and other things. There are many programs and activities that you can be involved in here at Aldersgate if you would make the effort. We are always open and looking for more and better ways to reach others with the gospel and to strengthen the members of the congregation. Our goal is to work, communicate, share, live and grow together in such a way that we become BIG fish in a BIG pond!
It was not uncommon to see a path of raised dirt going across the front yard at my childhood home. Occasionally you might even seen the ground being worked and with a shovel dig up the mole. Although moles can disrupt gardens or manicured lawns, they have something valuable to teach us about church life. Moles spend most of their time underground, using a complex system of tunnels to find food, take shelter from the elements, and sleep in safety. Although many moles may use common tunnels (like highways), they generally retreat to their own holes or nests to bed down.
Spiders also have a lesson to teach us. They spend a great deal of time carefully weaving webs that become intricate, perfectly symmetrical masterpieces. Because each strand of the web is connected to another, spiders can sense the tiniest of vibrations no matter where they are on the web. If part of the web becomes damaged or lost, they work quickly to rebuild it.
Churches can be like mole tunnels or spider webs. Just like a mole’s underground world, churches can be a place where everyone enters the same door and uses the same hallways but eventually retreats to their own space, isolated and detached from the others. People often carve their own tunnels and separate themselves by age group, theological beliefs, political affiliation, season of life, or many other factors. When this occurs, ministry becomes just another compartmentalized area of our lives. On the other hand, churches can instead choose to be like a spider web, where each person/ministry/age group is connected and intertwined, becoming a system that struggles and thrives together as one. In this model, people form relationships across generations, lifestyles, interests, and beliefs. There is intentionality and cohesion throughout the entire web.
We want to be like a spider web, not a mole den. Each “strand” in the Body of Christ is both important and necessary, from our babies in the nursery to our homebound church members throughout the community, and everyone in between. Let’s weave a web of love together.
The season for the garden and the vegetable are a lesson in God’s concern and care for our health. God has literally given us a medical pharmacy in our gardens.
A sliced carrot looks like the human eye. The pupil, iris and radiating lines look just like the human eye. Medical science now shows carrots greatly enhance blood flow to and function of the eyes.
A tomato has four chambers and is red. The heart has four chambers and is red. All of the research shows tomatoes are loaded with lycopene and are indeed pure heart and blood food — God’s pharmacy again.
A walnut looks like a little brain, a left and right hemisphere, upper cerebrums and lower cerebellums. Even the wrinkles or folds on the nut are just like the neo-cortex. We now know walnuts help develop more than three dozen neuron-transmitters for brain function.
Celery and rhubarb look like bones. These foods specifically target bone strength. Bones are 23 percent calcium and these foods are 23 percent calcium. If you don’t have enough calcium in your diet, the body pulls it from the bones, thus making them weak. These foods replenish the skeletal needs of the body.
Avocados, eggplant, and pears target the health and function of the womb and cervix of the female – they look just like these organs. Today’s research shows that when a woman eats one avocado a week, it balances hormones, sheds unwanted birth weight, and prevents cervical cancers. And, how profound is this? It takes exactly nine months to grow an avocado from blossom to ripened fruit.
Sweet potatoes look like the pancreas and actually balance the glycemic index of diabetics. Onions look like the body’s cells. Research shows onions help clear waste materials from all of the body cells. They produce tears which wash the epithelial layers of the eyes. Kidney beans actually heal and help maintain kidney function; they look exactly like the human kidneys. God’s unity in creation is astounding. God’s pharmacy is amazing!
Rick Hoyt was born with severe disabilities. He was unable to talk, walk, or use his hands. Doctors told his parents that he would never be anything more than a vegetable and that they should just put him in an institution. Rick’s father, Dick, was unwilling to accept this. He could see in his son’s bright eyes that he was not a vegetable. He eventually fitted his son with a computer that he can use to communicate by tapping a button with the side of his head. Not only did this enable Rick to graduate High School, but he also went on to college and got a degree in special education.
When a classmate was injured and the school organized a charity run, Rick typed out to his dad, “Dad, I want to do that.” So Dick prepared to push his son in the wheelchair. When they started the five mile race, many of those watching thought he would push his son down to the corner and come back. But he didn’t. He ran the entire five miles. Afterward, Rick typed out, “Dad, when we were running, it feels like I’m not even handicapped!”
So began the first of many races which not only included marathons, but triathlons as well. Dick really got into shape, leading some to suggest he try racing without his son. But he will not. Rick cannot race without his dad, and his dad will not race without his son. They are called “Team Hoyt.” Dick has become his son’s arms and his legs in the races. Dick outputs an amazing amount of time, effort, and energy for his son. They literally do everything together!
This is the way it is with my Heavenly Father. My sins twisted my life and rendered me a powerless slave to them. He took those sins and bore them upon himself out of love for me. Without him, I would still be enslaved. It is my Father who is at work in me both to “will and to work for His good pleasure” (Phil 2:13). Truly, I can do nothing without him. I am still weak, but his power is demonstrated in my weakness. He carries me through life with his strength. When I sin, I remind myself that I can do no better without Him, and that I need to reconnect with Him. I cannot do it on my own. Without him, I would be stuck right where I was. The strength that I now have is really not my own. He gave and continues to give to me endlessly.
It appears that you could divide Christians into three broad classifications. First, there are the Minimum Christians. According to the dictionary, the minimum is “the least quantity assignable, admissible or possible.” This would include those who attend as few services as they think is necessary and do the absolute least work they think they are required to do.
Second, there are the Medium Christians. They are comfortable in being “in a middle position.” They are not the strongest Christians nor are they the weakest. They are satisfied with being average, not the best but not the worst. Maybe they could be among the “lukewarm” (Rev. 3:16).
Then there are the Maximum Christians. They would be those who are of the “highest, greatest, or utmost development.” They are present for every service, are constantly striving to build up the church and lead others to Christ and are “ready unto every good work” (Titus 3:1).
Which of these three types do you think pleases the Lord? This has nothing to do with your talents. A one-talent person could use that one talent to the maximum. A five-talent person could use those talents to the minimum. The one who pleases the Lord is one who uses his abilities “to the proportion” of his faith (Rom. 12:6)
Paul gave this exhortation on giving to the Corinthians, ” But since you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you—see that you also excel in this grace of giving”. (II Corinthians 8:7) The word “excel” means to “abound or super abound.” Let’s strive to be Maximum Christians by always excelling in the work of the Lord.