Hold What You've Got!
Fun facts at the end....
Years ago, when Janice and I were in Bible College at Life Pacific College, the school founded by Aimee Semple McPherson, we had a beloved homiletics professor by the name of Paul Hackett. He told the story of a student who had been a veteran in the Vietnam war and who was by all means not much of a communicator, except when he told stories from his experiences. It was one of those experiences that I would like to write to you about.
Life will have challenges.
I know that is a shock to some (not really, but it is rude). Jesus Himself said, "33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." (John 16:33 - NKJV)
Let me illustrate and then elaborate.
During parts of the Vietnam conflict, there were amphibious landings and so the men had to train. Many did down at Camp Roberts in Southern California where there are many different kinds of terrain, including the sea for amphibious landings.
It was during this training that the gentleman I spoke of earlier gained such an invaluable lesson. Imagine this, you are fully clothed with a ruck sack weighing in at 40-60 pounds on your back, full combat boots, side arm, rifle, ammo belt, helmet and a stick about six to seven feet tall made of sturdy wood.
Because of the lessons learned in World War Two, when many men were lost when they had to go over the sides under withering machine gun fire from the German entrenchments on the coast, causing them to drown, the US command came up with strategies so that men were not lost in the surf.
Under the watchful eye of the Sergeants, when the surf would begin to engulf them, the Sergeant would cry out, "HOLD WHAT YOU GOT!"
With that cry, the men would plant their poles into the sandy bottom as deeply as they could and hold on while the rough surf would crash over them. Until it would recede and they could continue their progress. A few more steps and then the cry of "HOLD WHAT YOU GOT!" would ring above the deafening sound of the surf and wind. Once again, the men would plant their poles and hold on to their anchor point in the rough water and wait for the violence to subside. On it would go until they were were they could navigate the water without the pole's aid.
We are in as season like that. Rough waves sometimes overtake us, rip currents that pull at our moorings and our standing. The word of our Lord Jesus to us in this time is, "HOLD WHAT YOU GOT!" As we plant ourselves in Him and who He is, we can't be sheltered in this rough season, waiting for the order from Him, "Forward!"
In this life, you will have trouble, but be of good courage! The world system, the "kosmos" (the Greek word for world and its systems) will work against you. It is antithetical to the kingdom of God and its expansion.Take courage my friends! He has overcome the world! When things get testy, hold what you got! Stay rooted in Him and wait until He says to advance. He is the very peace you seek!
We now are in a place where we will see the difference between these two men from Jesus' parable.
"46 "But why do you call Me 'Lord, Lord,' and not do the things which I say? 47 Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like: 48 He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock. 49 But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell. And the ruin of that house was great." (Luke 6:46-49 NKJV, see also Matthew 7:21-27)
We all know, but occasionally need reminding (at least I do) that Jesus is the only rock, the only foundation to build a life, a family, a business, a ministry and even a day on.
As these days proceed, there will be a stark contrast between those who build on sand (earth without foundation) and those who build on the Rock.
Psalm 40 illustrates this in the Old Testament, that to be on the rock, one must do the will of the One who establishes them.
My encouragement to us asa a people is this: be careful how you build early in this season, because when the storms and waves come, they will expose every faulty foundation.
So how do you build?
Every day, be centered in Jesus. Don't start your day with your problems, start your day with the Solution, Jesus. Ask Him, invite Him to your world. Ask for wisdom and don't go about like a functional atheist, figuring everything out on your own. Consult Him through His word, early and often. Make prayer the court of first resort rather than the last. Wait when He say ,"wait" and go when He says, "go". Turn your affections to Him early in the morning, in the middle of your day and at night. Focus on what He is doing and trust Him where you don't see anything. This is the way through the dark, through the storm, and through the confusion. It is always back to Him.
Are you ready? Do you hear Him? "HOLD WHAT YOU GOT!"
Aimee Semple McPherson was a pioneer in every way. She founded the Foursquare Church, in which Pastors Doug and Janice were ordained and served in for thirty years. A controversial figure by any means, she toured the US in a car when, no intercontinental roads like I-70 existed, when women had not yet been given the right to vote, much less preach. She held interracial meetings. She was twice kidnapped, once by the Klu Klux Klan. She was a pioneer in radio. She proclaimed the ministry of the Holy Spirit and saw hundreds of men and women healed and delivered by His power. Pastors Doug and Janice recommend a few books if you want to dig deeper into her life, which was not without controversy.
Sister Aimee by Daniel Mark Epstein. Our absolute favorite. He tells her story with honesty and compassion.
This Is That by Aimee Semple McPherson. Aimee's autobiography that catalogues many healings and includes some sermons as well.
Defining Moments by Bill Johnson and Dr. Jennifer Miskov. A breif look at the moment of turning from Aimee Semple McPherson's life.
A brief overview of her life from the Foursquare Church
This was a PBS documentary.
A newsreel announcement from Aimee. If her voice sounds husky, remember she preached for ten to fifteen years without amplification to thousands.