Monday, December 03, 2007

Raising Their Ebenezer - Jimmy and Meagan

Jimmy and Meagan are celebrating.

Meagan explains, “(Psalm 34:3) has become one of my favorite verses in the bible as it reminds me of my purpose – to glorify God in all I do and to exalt His name forever! I love this verse because it casts a general emotion of celebration. Many times in the Bible, God calls His people to celebrate, yet I believe this is a command we tend to forget. We get so caught up in our daily lives that we often don’t stop to celebrate all of who God is and what He has done in our lives. I love that twice it (this verse) mentions togetherness in celebration. What a beautiful invitation to come celebrate the glory of the Lord with another brother or sister in Christ.”

Last January when Jimmy and Meagan launched in Geelong, Australia (suburb of Melbourne), they only knew their team of 8. As they near the end of their first STINT year, they gathered students last month to have a little celebration of the Lord. Meagan says, “It was incredible to see around 30 people gathered to celebrate the glory of God and the great harvest He has brought in this year. In Geelong, we have seen 38 decisions to trust Christ as their Savior. We also celebrated the favor of God as we have seen 3 movements launched, with 3 more campus movements primed and ready to begin in February. This year we have gotten to meet with about 20 students on a regular basis and encourage them in their walks with God and disciple them to follow after the example of Jesus.”

Megan - along with Jimmy of course - will fly back to US on the 10th and then return with a new STINT team in January. She says, “Overall (this celebration) was just a tremendous evening. I left joyful and thankful beyond words for all God had done in and through us this year. In the end, it’s not about exalting our names or the name of Campus Crusade for Christ – for we are sinful and unworthy. It is about glorifying and exalting the name of the King of Kings, the one worthy of all honor, praise, and glory – God.

The Sunday before last, Autumn Film led worship at our church. One song Tifah led us in was that old Christian hymn, “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing”. When we got home, Robin asked me what an “Ebenezer” and “fetter” was. Being the Bible-Answer-Man for my family, I nailed the “fetter” and came close on “Ebenezer”. I had to look it up to get the full reference.

In 1 Samuel 7, the people of Israel are in a desperation situation. (When are they not?) A generation earlier, the Philistines captured the ark of God. Eli – who had fatten himself on the priestly tithe – and his corrupt, exploiting sons died. But, it didn’t take long for the Philistines to decide that the Ark of God was nothing to trifle with as their god kept bowing to it and they were stricken with plagues. So they sent it on its way. Not sure why those Nazis in Raiders of the Lost Ark didn't read this passage.

Now 20 years later, Israel was mourning and seeking the Lord. Samuel, all grown up and now their team leader, told them to rid themselves of the foreign gods, commit themselves to the LORD and serve Him only. Samuel, whose words never fell to the ground, prophesied that if they did this, God would deliver them out of the hand of the Philistines.

So they did. They came together, fasted and confessed. The Philistines being Philistines decided, “Hey, this is a good time to attack”. Defenseless and sacred, the Israelites told Samuel: "Do not stop crying out to the LORD our God for us." While Samuel did this, the Philistines drew lines to attack. But God thundered from heaven. It threw them into panic and the Israelites routed them.

God thundered from heaven. Must have been some thunder and a display of His power and glory! In response, Samuel took a big stone stuck it in the ground and called it Ebenezer – a stone of help. It was a celebration. It was a visual reminder that God’s word is sure and that if they repented and cried out to Him that He could and would deliver them.

I wonder if they really had remembered if they wouldn’t be so fearless again when they faced the taunting Giant Philistine Champion only a few years later. God once again would route their enemies when a small shepherd boy would believe God and raise a well-placed Ebenezer.

As you near the end of your Fall (or year, if like the Williams’ you launched in January), throw a party! Glorify the Lord and exalt His name together. Celebrate… and raise your Ebenezer!
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