Tag Archives: Flood

Unbridled Power

​They had lived by that river for decades and thought they knew it.  But when the St. Vrain ripped through town, uprooting and destroying rouses, roads and utility plants, they realized they didn’t know the half of it, not really.  Because it happened in the dead of night, most could only hear it.  Sounded like the roar of an enormous frieight train, they said.  The sound of unbridled power.  Like the voice of Jesus. 

Nobody knew Jesus better than the Apostle John.  But he didn’t know the half of Jesus’ power.  And when Jesus gave him more of a glimpse, John collapsed in fear.  He recalled the experience like this:

The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters.  (Revelation 1:14-15)
“The roar of many waters…”   That phrase grabs me, stops me, pulls me back to try to grasp what John was expressing.  Hmmm…  Perhaps this: If you think you know Jesus, remember that we cannot know the half of Who He really is, the half of His unbridled power.  

Ready or Not

The waters of the North and South St. Vrain are rising again.  So are the fears of the folks in Lyons, Colorado.  Last September, after 18″ of rain, those two rivers ripped through town and left little behind except twisted, mud-soaked wreckage.  The River Church building clung tenaciously to its foundations, against a 6′ surging torrent, until a telephone pole swept down and knocked the corner of its foundation out from under it.  By God’s grace, most of the rest of the building hung on.  By God’s miraculous grace, scores of volunteers from around the country have reconditioned and restored that building from the foundation up (see more below).  But now the heavy snows in the Rockies are melting.  The St. Vrain is rising.  If you are praying for rain, please be specific about where you need it!

Jesus said life on this planet would resemble the Lyons flood.  But He also gave us words to survive by – the Sermon on the Mount.

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” (Matthew 7:24-27)

Live by the Sermon on the Mount and you will survive the pounding floods of life.  Easier said than done.  Living with an awareness of spiritual bankruptcy, hungering for righteousness, being salt and light in the world, loving your enemies, never thinking about sex outside of marriage, avoiding the pull of materialism, …  putting the words of Jesus into practice seems impossible.  It’s like saying to a caterpillar, “Just become a butterfly and you will be able to survive life’s troubles.”

Don’t despair or quit.  Just as there is a way for a caterpillar to become a butterfly, there is a way for you and me to begin to live by the words of Jesus.  They both involve a complete transformation, from the inside out.  We cannot make it happen or pay to have it done.  The charges have already been fully paid at the Cross.  Our only part is surrendering to Jesus, confessing our bankruptcy and inability, asking for and accepting His forgiveness, and then trusting His Spirit to begin the transformation.  Our part is to humbly call out to Him for rescue.  As Jesus begins the work of transformation, your life will begin to conform to His words.  I wonder if caterpillars feel amazed to look down one day and discover they are flying.  If so, they must feel like people who trust Jesus and discover the new birth and growing influence of His Spirit in their souls.

One last note:  Jesus didn’t say that if we follow Him there would be no floods, only that we would stand.  You may not live near the St. Vrain, but know this:  the water is rising.

PS – You can see pictures and find more about The River Church here.

Jesus’ Zip Line

Yesterday, the Big Thompson River, in Colorado, was ripping away lower portions of her house as a woman stood, helplessly, watching rescue workers assemble on the far side. She was stranded. There used to be a bridge, connecting her to the highway but it was submerged, and being disassembled by the angry waters. It’s worth watching the You Tube – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b43XEfPXy6c . It shows a zip line being set up across the river. When all is ready, the woman is strapped in and hangs on as they drag her over (and a bit through) the torrential flow to safety. She’s scared, she’s wet and bruised, but she’s alive.

Question: What was her part in the rescue? Accepting it and hanging on, right? There’s a picture there of what it means to say that Jesus is the “Author and Perfecter” of our faith (Hebrews 12:2a) If you haven’t read that verse, check out “Keep the Faith – Part 4“. It is important to understand that Jesus reaches out to rescue us, that He is the One to set up the “zip line,” so to speak. Our part is to accept His rescue and to hang on. The woman had to trust her rescuers to strap her in and then to hang on. But what she was hanging onto was the equipment that they brought in, that they provided. Jesus brings faith to us and says, “Trust Me; Hang on.”

He gives us the faith and it is by that faith, that we hang on! Admittedly, that is hard to understand. Religion teaches that we must provide the effort, that we must do enough to rescue ourselves. But religion does not work. Like the woman on the far side of the river, there is no way we could do enough to affect our own rescue. That is why Jesus showed up and brought us what we need.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – (Ephesians 2:8

The woman who was held by and who held on to the river zip line was ultimately given more days to live. If you trust Jesus, if you are held by and hang on to His zip line, what can you expect on the other side of the river? It is eternal life, an intimate connection to God through His Holy Spirit.

Let’s begin a closer look at the Holy Spirit. Stay tuned. And by the way, please pray for us out here in Colorado. Over a foot of rain has fallen in some places near here and the devastation from the flooding is unprecedented.