Here is the intro to today’s message at Indian Creek Olathe. I’ll share the rest inside the message. Come on out in the snow. If you give God a chance today He will speak.
Today as we conclude the Miracles series I felt like we needed a message that tells this truth:
We don’t always get what we want when we pray for a miracle.
That’s the truth, isn’t it? But there is more here than you might think. Since it is true, We don’t always get what we want when we pray for a miracle, we need to appropriately set expectations. Maybe an adjustment is necessary. It is also true that sometimes we get more than we expected. Sometimes the answer is different, but ultimately it is better.
We’ve acknowledged in this series that God is always working! There is divine activity when we pray. But let’s be honest, we all tend to pray for the big miracles. Clearly God and Jesus are in the miracle business.
The question we find ourselves asking is, If God can do a miracle, where’s mine?
Mary, Martha and Lazarus
Today we are going to look at the story of a family who experienced this–Mary, Martha and Lazarus. Everyone wants a miracle at some point. But the reality is, we don’t always get what we want, when we want it. This was the experience of Mary and Martha. When their brother Lazarus was sick, all they wanted was for Jesus to come and give them their miracle—to save their brother from death. But that’s not what Jesus did. He chose to remind them who He was in a way that was different than they or anyone else expected.
Today’s Big Idea: Jesus chose to show them that He cared for them, even when they didn’t get what they wanted.
Everyone who’s prayed for a miracle knows that there are times where you pray for something and it happens–almost magically. It can be shockingly easy at times. But it is also true that you’ve prayed for things and wanted them desperately when they didn’t come to pass like you hoped. It can drive you crazy unless you accept the truth that is God is in control.
Things don’t always happen like you want but God is still in control of the world (and you). He loves you and His way is best.
Here’s an example of how I learned this truth.
The Fire in Mexico
Several years ago Indian Creek Student Ministry partnered with Youth Front and others to travel to Mexico every year for twelve years! I led many of those trips and we developed some very good friends in Monterrey, Mexico. Many of you would know the name Enrique Cepeda. He is a dear friend of Indian Creek. He opened his network of friends to us and some of those friends were the Vasquez family.
They had a hacienda outside of Monterrey that was perfect for hosting a large group. A great pool, dorms for guys and girls, a place to meet and eat and some nice outdoor places to rest or play under the trees; made it a great setting! The Vasquez family often hosted groups and they believed their small ranch was a gift from God that they could use as a retreat center for Him. All in all it was about ten acres of land.
One trip will be forever etched in my memory—never to be forgotten! It was on a Thursday afternoon, after our morning sessions of a 5-Day Vacation Bible School. Our team could sense the end near. We had just one day left. Though exhausted they were excited and happy to have participated. Now they had one last chance to go to town to shop for souvenirs. I had stayed at the ranch because of a couple students who were sick. Truth be told, I wasn’t feeling so well myself. Montezuma was having its revenge, if you know what I mean.
The students were sleeping in the dorm and I had just lain down to take a nap. The next thing I knew the owner of the hacienda was shaking me awake shouting “El fuego, el fuego!” I’m not the best at Spanish but I knew I’d heard that word before back in my Junior High Spanish class. What did it mean? Then it hit me—fire! From the look on her face I was sure I had it right.
I jumped up and ran outside to see that we were clearly in danger. The hacienda sat next to a large sugar cane field. The cane stood about eight feet tall and the field was on fire. That meant the flames were two feet above the top of the cane. It was an incredible sight! The fire was at the other end of the field but coming our way. The wind was blowing and it sounded like a freight train. My whole body felt fear. We didn’t have much time; I figured 45 minutes at best.
We needed to get all of our group’s belongings into our bus and get off the property. The hacienda was surrounded on two sides by the field and trees formed a natural boundary between the two. I could imagine the fire jumping to the trees and then to the buildings. It was hard to imagine any other scenario.
I woke the students and we started pulling everything out as quickly as possible! We didn’t care what got mixed up we just threw things in the bus. We kept one eye on the fire and one on the work.
I’ll pick up the story here at the Olathe campus at 9 and 10:30 a.m. I hope to see you there!