Luke 1:37 “For nothing will be impossible with God.” My friend gave me a call the other day asking for some counsel. He had a bit of a rough patch with his company, and I think that led to a bit of a rough patch with God. He didn’t go into detail, but I sensed there was a bit of anger, disappointment and hopelessness, which is natural. Thankfully by the time we spoke he had gotten into a better place. We talked about his situation, and at the end of the call, he asked me “Hey John. How can you be so positive when your dad has cancer?” So I replied “Well what you believe is a choice. And there’s a lot of research out there that shows if you believe good things and think good thoughts, then good things happen to you. It’s why top athletes visualize themselves winning competitions. So if I can choose to believe in a loving and all-powerful God, who always has the best for me, why wouldn’t I?” Even if you wanted to engineer from scratch a system of thought that helped get positive outcomes, I don’t think you could come up with anything that beats what I objectively believe to be the truth. Jesus came, healed the sick, cast out demons, fed 5000, raised the dead, then told us that we’d do even greater things than these. Meditating on that sure beats some visualization exercise. God always challenges us to have more faith, not less, because he wants the best for us and coming into line with what is true helps drive better outcomes in our lives. Lord, I love you and I praise you. Thanks for being such an awesome God. Thanks for inviting me into a greater faith today. I come into alignment with the truth. Nothing is impossible with you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Hebrews 13:8 “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Some years back, I started to spend a bit of time in our church office and I realized that a lot of the tech best practices that startups use could also be used by the church to get people closer to God. This seemed like such a new thing, because technology is changing so rapidly, and churches, in general, aren’t seen as the most innovative of institutions. But then on a visit to the Billy Graham Library, I realized that I was totally mistaken. Millions of people gave their lives to Jesus at Billy Graham’s crusades, and his sermons reached billions around the world. After seeing pictures of him with every US president since Truman, as well as world leaders like Deng Xiaoping and Kim Jong-Il, we walked into a room with pictures of Billy Graham in various TV and radio studios. Our guide said “See in his day, most pastors believed that technology and media were evil. People within the church said ‘oh we can’t go to Hollywood. That’s the devil’s domain.’ But Billy Graham believed that we needed to use the cutting edge technology of the era to get the gospel to people.” In subsequent weeks and months, God revealed to me that he had not only been working through technology in Billy Graham’s era, but really since the beginning of time. See technology is effectively our ability to store, process and transfer information. Every 18 months or so, our speed in information processing doubles, a phenomenon known as Moore’s law. This is what allows innovative churches today to use Instagram to reach the lost. It’s also what allowed Billy Graham to use radio and TV to do the same. The internet, computers, television, radio, the telegraph, the printing press, paper, and even the invention of writing itself were all innovations that God used to get more people into relationship with him. Jesus did the miracles, but it was the authors of the gospels who brought the good news to the masses. Only 3% of people knew how to read and write then, which means that Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were the software developers of their day. That feels funny to us because almost everyone knows how to read today, but in the same way, almost everyone will know how to code in a decade or two. Churches will be holding amazing virtual reality services with billions of simultaneous attendants. AI assistants will help us in our quiet time journey. Advancements we can’t even begin to imagine await right around the corner. Lord, you are the same yesterday, today and forever. You have always been using technology to bring people into relationship with you and you’re only accelerating that today. I believe you’re bringing another billion believers to know you in our lifetime. I submit all my plans to yours, and I just want to come in line with what you’re already doing. I love you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Revelation 1:8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, The Almighty.” For the past few weeks, media reports have drip-fed accounts of an understated financier named Bill Hwang. Within 48 hours he essentially lost $20 billion in one of the most spectacular failures in financial history. Though I’ve never met the man, I had heard great things about him from several mutual friends. Bill has donated millions of dollars to kingdom causes and hosts bible readings at his office 3x per week. Even at the height of his success, he lived in a modest house, drove a Hyundai and could be found taking the bus to long prayer walks in Central Park. John Bai, a finance executive who has known Bill Hwang for 30 years was recently quoted in Bloomberg Magazine saying “If you know how Bill lives, you will never think this man is worth the kind of money he was. Maybe for some, it’s an epic disappearance of wealth, but he’s got God on his side. I am not worried about Bill. He’s not about the money.” In today’s scripture reading, I’m reminded of what it means to have an eternal perspective. I’m not one to judge Archegos’ trading strategy or perhaps overuse of leverage. But I know that a deep understanding of God’s eternal nature can help anyone get past the deepest of downfalls… even if it’s $20B deep. Lord please watch over Bill Hwang and his family today. Please also help me to have more of an eternal perspective. You are the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. You are the Alpha and the Omega. My circumstances may change, but your goodness and mercy will never change. In Jesus’ name, Amen.