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Circumstances for Clapping Hands is a blog about reasons to give praise to God, despite my circumstances. As Henry David Thoreau once addressed, “There is no value in life except what you choose to place upon it and no happiness in any place except what you bring to it yourself.” The challenges: 1) Find value in everything you do and 2) Find joy in doing it.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Other Side of Damascus...

Today at church I had the privilege of listening to one of the best speakers I've heard with reference to ministry. Francis Chan, who my ears first encountered way back during my years at Biola, spoke via video message this morning from his home church of Cornerstone Community (Simi Valley).

The topic was simple, "God is strong." His purpose, to speak with reference to our perspective of God when dealing with "life". After listening to a multitude of people speak on similar topics in past, Chan's vivid description of this topic can be summarized in three valued points.

- Where is our focus? Too often we limit God's strength by our own definition of power. (Example: If we can't control it, God surely can't either.)
- Where is our faith? Similarly, we try to remove God's sovereignty from our daily lives, replacing it with the idea that WE are in control.
- Where is our confidence? Finally, we disable our ability to confront life's daily problems due to the fact that WE lack confidence in God's authority.

It's funny to sit and re-read these notes. As Christians, often times we feel like God's in control. Yet, when things get hard or distractions brew, the hypocrite in us says one of two things: "I got it God," or "How could you have let this happen God?"

One of the best quotes I've heard lately is Chan's reference to J. Vernon McGee (the well known Presbyterian minister) who once said, "This is God's universe, He does things His way. You may have a better way, but you don't have a universe."

Who are we to say, "I've got it God," or worse, "How could you have let this happen?" It's by His reason alone that we exist and it's by His will that we function. Where our foresight is limited, His remains limitless. Even when the immediate looks bleak, the possibilities for improvement always remain.

With that in mind, how can we be anything but STRONG IN OUR FAITH? Like Paul who embraced a life-altering event on the road to Damascus, I hope this message does the same.


  1. Oh Francis...your words have always stirred my soul. Oh do a good job summarizing and framing these thoughts.

  2. I love Francis. I'll always remember the two times I saw him in chapel at TMC.

    God is the potter, we are the clay.