Looking for a signal?


Throckmorton

The following scenario is played out over and over again across the fruited plains, mountains and foothills of America each and every day. I happened to stumble upon such an occurrence a few weeks back as I taught the scriptures to young people at a beautiful Bible Camp nestled in the hills of Southern Ohio. Mt. Hope Bible Camp resides on a scenic winding road of the same name where there is absolutely no cell tower coverage… that is, with the exception of a three to five hundred foot stretch near the end of the road! What I found interesting as I drove twice each day to my assignment was an unusual scene of cars that were parked along that lonely stretch of thoroughfare. All they wanted was a signal! The only place they could find it was there! Perhaps like myself they had jettisoned their land line and there were no other options to make a call, or maybe it was the internet they sought. In either case, in that part of the county there was only one place to make a connection… right there! The ability to access the world-wide web or make a phone call may be elusive from time to time but as the psalmist David describes for us, our creator is always accessible! “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, you are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, you are there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me.” Talk about divine GPS!

Kind of reminds me of a story I heard about an old man and an old woman, who had been married for many years, who were driving to church one Sunday morning. They fell in behind another car being driven by a young man. He was of college age or younger. Sitting beside the young man was a young woman, obviously, his girlfriend. In fact, she was sitting so close to him that a credit card could not have been slipped between them. She was almost sitting in his lap, her head resting on his shoulder. The old woman grew nostalgic. She began to think of her and her husband’s younger years when they were so in love with each other. They used to drive up and down the strip of their hometown every Friday night just like the young couple now in front of them. She turned to her husband sitting behind the steering wheel on the other side of the front seat. Accusingly, almost bitterly, she said, “Look at them. Look at how they love each other. Why don’t we drive through town like that anymore? Why don’t we sit that close together like we used to?” She was met with silence. Her husband said not a word. After a few minutes the old man looked over at his wife and said, “I haven’t moved.” I love that! It’s true, isn’t it? Often when we find ourselves in a difficult place it’s because the signal was lost and we are not in constant communication with the God. We must be careful not to drift into a place where we lose the signal.

I remember an old study I shared once about drifting and it focused on three key thoughts. First, Drifting requires no effort. Just stop rowing the boat and you’ll see clearly the danger here. Perhaps that’s why the Hebrew writer warned, “Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.” Secondly, Drifting can be an unconscious process. It is possible to drift and not be aware you are drifting. I remember what Dennis Kinlaw once said. “It is tragic to not know Jesus, but it is more terrifying to picture the soul that thinks they have God and do not!” Remember, when a Christian begins to drift it starts slowly. The last truth I want to share is that Drifting never takes you upstream! You always go down –never get closer to God. Faithfulness to the Lord requires effort on our part. You must be constantly be adding to your faith. Pastor Peter said, “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and forever. Amen.” If you want good reception in your communication with God then it’s up to you. Always make sure there is never anything blocking the signal! Don’t drift, stay focused and stay faithful. Dr. B.J. Miller once said, “It is a great deal easier to do that which God gives us to do, no matter how hard it is, than to face the responsibilities of not doing it.” J. Bridges in “The Pursuit of Holiness” writes, “Faith and holiness are inextricably linked. Obeying the commands of God usually involves believing the promises of God.” Are you looking for a signal?

Tim Throckmorton is the former Executive Pastor of the Plymouth Heights Church of the Nazarene in Franklin Furnace Ohio and the Portsmouth First Church of the Nazarene in Franklin Furnace, Ohio. He is currently the Senior Pastor at Crossroads Church in Circleville, Ohio.