Tag Archives: God at Work

Storms

This song has spoken to me many times……

In the eye of the storm, You remain in control
In the middle of the war, You guard my soul
You alone are the anchor, when my sails are torn
Your love surrounds me, in the eye of the storm

When the solid ground is falling out, from underneath my feet,
Between the black skies and my red eyes, I can barely see
When I realize I’ve been sold out by my friends and my family, 
I can feel the rain reminding me

In the eye of the storm, You remain in control
In the middle of the war, You guard my soul
You alone are the anchor, when my sails are torn
Your love surrounds me, in the eye of the storm

When my hopes and dreams are far from me, and I’m running out of faith
I see the future I pictured slowly fade away
And when the tears of pain and heartache are pouring down my face
I find my peace in Jesus’ name

In the eye of the storm, You remain in control
In the middle of the war, You guard my soul
You alone are the anchor, when my sails are torn
Your love surrounds me, in the eye of the storm

God and Crockpots

No, that’s not a typo.   Usually you’d read that as God and  cracked pots.    As in, God uses people who are broken, people who struggle, people who don’t have it all together.   Imperfect people.

People like you.

People like me.

But this isn’t about that.   This is about crockpots.   You know what crockpots are, right?

They are the cooking instruments where it takes 4 to 8 hours or more to cook something.    You don’t order drive through for crock pot food.    You plan it ahead and you wait.

And while you wait and while it cooks, you enjoy the smells and the flavors.   It permeates the house and when you walk in the door, you immediately smell it,  “Hmmm, that’s good…….”

Yesterday, one of our pastors preached on the story of Mary and Martha – and how Mary was sitting at the feet of Jesus absorbing every word and soaking in the presence and the good of being with Jesus.    Martha was in the kitchen doing good – but being too busy and missing out on the presence of Jesus.

That’s when he said it – “God’s not in the microwave business, He’s in the crock pot business.”   

God isn’t in the business of providing answers in 30 seconds on high or 1 minute and 45 seconds if it’s on defrost.

God isn’t in the business of “zapping” something so that the solution is immediately present.

God’s in the crock pot business.

His answers move slowly.   Many times much more slowly than we would like.  

His answers need to marinate and to permeate every inch of our hearts, our souls and our lives.

His answers take time.   Time that if you are too busy you will miss.

Time that if you are too busy trying to microwave and go off running in another direction, you’ll miss his dinner.

Yeah, you’ll still get your food, you’ll still get your needs met but rather than sitting down to a lavish meal that has satisfied not only your hunger but also your taste buds and your desire for pleasing aromas, tasty  nutrition and a chance to sit around the table and share your day with those close to you.

Crockpots give a more full, a more pleasing and more enriching meal that microwaves typically do.   Allowing God the time and spending the effort and the patience to contemplate what God wants, to be open to his moving and to be silent enough to hear His call raises faith and makes for a deeper and more soul satisfying relationship with God.

Too often, we live in a microwave society with a desire for a microwaveable faith.   May we all learn to seek out the crockpot moments, the opportunities to be still and know that God is God.

I want to take that one step further and address something that I know many of us are struggling with.    There appears to be so much bad stuff happening in the world right now – Paris, San Bernardino,  ISIS, Boko Haram, racist thoughts and actions that are on the rise, tensions between the police and citizens, battles between gun  control lobbyists and 2nd Amendment supporters – the list could go on and on.

There’s really not a lot to be happy about in the world situation.    It’s even making it that Facebook isn’t a fun place to be nearly as much as it used to be!  

Many people are wrestling with where God is in all of this evil and darkness.    I think that the story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10 illustrates where God is.

God is here.  

God is working.

God has a plan.

But it’s His plan, not our plan.

and quite often God works his plans at crock-pot speed when we want the problems solved at microwave speed.

May we all learn to appreciate God’s crock pot and to savor and contemplate Jesus and what He is doing.

Tom

The Importance of Being

A little cutie I met at "Church on Halloween"

A little cutie I met at “Church on Halloween”

As I have journeyed through this last 6 months of trying to figure out what God had as #plannext for me and my skills and my passions and my desire to make a difference, I’ve learned a lot of things.

One of the things that I’ve learned is the importance of being.   No, that’s not an incomplete sentence.   It’s the importance of BEING.

Being what?   Being many things.

Being aware of God.   God doesn’t usually shout His plans from the mountain top (thank you Moses) or from the clouds or by means of a person visiting you at your tent.    But that doesn’t mean that God doesn’t speak.    But we’re too often too busy to hear God.

Being able to step into the fog.   Fog?   The unknown of life.   The “I don’t know how this is going to end up but I feel strongly that God is calling me to do this, so here goes.   God uses many ways to help us see “just enough” of the path so that we can take the next step.   One of the ways that He has helped me step into the fog has been a group of very dissimilar but very like minded people on Facebook that was started by Jon Acuff (of Stuff Christians Like fame).   We’re called the Dreamers and the Builders – and every single one of us is stepping into the fog of life and convicted that we’re meant to do something big with that fog.   Even if it’s big in a small way (huh?)

Being able to see the small things as big things.    Investing in the lives of those around me.   Seeing the difference that small things can do to bring healing, to bring hope, to bring encouragement.

Being able to see the big picture.    There are things that I wasn’t able to see in prior situations in life, working for the orphanage, working in the banking world, that I have a different perspective on many things.    But those “things” are a topic for many other days.

Being here.   Being now.   Being the hands and feet of Jesus here and now.   Today.

Being able to dream.   Being able to say, “What if…..”    Being able to say, “God what do you want?”

Being able to write.   It’s invigorating.   It’s thought provoking.   It helps me be where I am.

Being.

Being with God.

Being able to sit in where God has put me and say, “Here’s where God has put me.  So here’s where I’ll be for Him.”

Thanks for being here with me.   God promises us that He has an amazing journey with an awe filled ending to it.

Tom

P.S. If you want to read about Church on Halloween where I met that little cutie in the picture, go to http://tomvanderwell.net/2014/11/i-went-to-church-on-halloween/

Amazing Story–It’s Complete!

Next problem – the package that the vaccines will be coming in is too big to go in typical carry on luggage. What to do? Three phone calls later, I got to talk to “Captain Jones” in their command center. He authorized the okay for the vaccines to be stored in the ONLY available storage space inside the plane that isn’t typically used. There was one closet by where the flight attendants work that could fit it.

Oh and the “oversized luggage fees” of $425 – American Airlines voluntarily waived them because the vaccines were ending up in Haiti. I hadn’t even had a chance to ask and he said he’d do that.

So, it’s all in place. Wednesday morning, I get a text message from John, “Picked up the vaccines on the way to the airport.” “Boarding plane, all is well.” In the mean time, I’m talking to our people in Haiti who are talking to Junior in Miami. Junior met the plane and around 11:00 Wednesday night, I got a text message, “Met Junior, handoff complete.”

Junior took the vaccines into Haiti Thursday morning and by the end of the day on Thursday, the vaccines were being distributed to a variety of clinics and hospitals that our staff in Haiti know. Those vaccines, in less than 48 hours, went from San Francisco to saving lives in Haiti.

All because of people who went above and beyond with no reward expected but strictly because it was the right thing to do.

A Front Row Seat to God at Work……………..

Amazing Story, Ordinary People–Part 3

She ordered the vaccines and we were told it would take about a week to get them in to San Francisco. That would put them arriving in San Francisco on a Wednesday.

Monday morning, John calls me, “Hey Tom, I heard this morning that the vaccines will be delivered on Tuesday! Oh, and the next challenge is that they need to travel temperature controlled – they can’t get too cold or too hot.”

So, I start working on it and talking to our people in Haiti and realize that one of our friends was in Miami and had a seat on a charter plan (because the Port Au Prince airport wasn’t open to regular traffic yet) on Thursday morning. So, in order to get from Miami to Port Au Prince in a timely manner, we had to get the vaccines from San Francisco to Miami by Wednesday night – in other words, around 24 hours after they get delivered to the doctor in San Francisco.

As it turns out, there was one flight per week that went non-stop from San Francisco to Miami. And it flies on Wednesdays. A non-stop flight was crucial to being able to make sure that the vaccines got to Miami on time and got there without being ruined by either heat or by cold.

That flight was on American Airlines – the only airline that consistently runs from Miami to Port Au Prince (at least when the airport is open).

A quick check revealed that there were seats left on that plane.

But who was going to fly with the vaccines? A quick call to my brother who lives about 3 hours from Sacramento – no one in his family could make it. A couple of other calls were made, it was noon on Tuesday and no one was lined up yet.

And then John called me, “Hey Tom, I just talked to my boss and got the okay, I’m taking Wednesday and Thursday off and I’ll fly the vaccines to Miami.”

Wow, not only did he do all of this legwork he’s using vacation time to help an orphanage and people he’s never met.

(Stay tuned)