Thursday, January 1, 2009
Global Grace via Cornerstone
For some people, today is just another day -- and if that is your attitude, then it probably will be "just another day." However, you can choose to view today as the first day of a year of incredible opportunity – believing that the best is yet to be. God's people, people of purpose and destiny, should dare to believe that this New Year holds many great and, perhaps, even miraculous possibilities. I encourage you to "Carpe Diem" -- "Seize the Day!" Make the most of the days, hours and minutes that God allocates to you in 2009. I am expecting a year filled with God's greatest blessings for those who put their trust in Him. Oh yeah, that's a promise; "…surely you have a future ahead of you; your hope will not be disappointed." -Proverbs 23:18
I have a cool story to share with you.
It is a true story of two young people, Sarah and Khalison, from Cornerstone, (the Church that I Pastor). It is a new story, for it is but a couple of weeks old. This truly is a story of the incredible and amazing, just like our great God. It is an encouraging story that I pray will help you start this new year off with increased faith -- believing in the power of God’s global grace.
Sarah was an excited nineteen year-old. She had just completed Culinary School and a short-term apprenticeship with the Food Network in New York City. She was looking forward to a relaxing and much-needed break from the demanding schedule of school and working at the Food Network. So when some friends invited her to accompany them on a 3-week vacation in Asia, she jumped at the opportunity. This would be her first big international trip.
Sarah is the youngest daughter of a couple of key leaders at Cornerstone Christian Center. She basically grew-up in our church. Like her parents, she has been very involved in the life of the church, via such ministries as singing on the Worship Team, a spokes-person for the Media Team, served on Drama and Dance Teams, etc. She loves God and is a committed Christian.
The excursion to the Orient was exciting for Sarah. Visiting places she had never been and seeing things she had never seen was exhilarating! It was all so much fun and things were going so well – it was a trip of a lifetime. Then suddenly, toward the end of the itinerary, things just fell apart. Seemingly out-of-nowhere, issues arose, stuff happened, words were said, promises were broken and the trip-of-a-lifetime turned into a trip of another kind. Sarah found herself very much alone, very suddenly. To compound matters, she found herself very alone and very far away from home.
Anxiously, Sarah made her way through the airport in Seoul, Korea for the long flight home. She felt very much a stranger in a strange land. Upon finding the gate, she got in line to board the plane -- her mind numb and spinning from the recent events that had turned on her so viciously and quickly. The joy and excitement of a few days earlier seemed already like a distant memory. There she stood in line at the gate, disappointed, disillusioned and feeling very much alone.
While standing in line, Sarah looked about the crowd of a few hundred people who were also waiting at the gate for the flight to Los Angeles. Several feet away, a young man was sitting comfortably. His face looked so familiar. Sarah gazed at him for seemingly several minutes. Could it actually be someone she knew? Surely not in Seoul, Korea! But there he was, just the same. It was Khalison!
Khalison is also a member of Cornerstone Christian Center. Like, Sarah, he pretty much “grew-up” in the church. Though a few years older than Sarah, they were involved in the Youth Ministry and also served together on the Media Team. They have been friends for years.
Unbeknownst to Sarah, Khalison had been visiting relatives in China and was on a stopover in Seoul for his flight back to L.A. It “just happened” to be the very same flight that Sarah was on! What are the odds that two young people from the same church would be in the same place at the same time on the same flight on the other side of the world?! Those odds must be astronomical!
In the middle of Sarah’s trouble, God sent her help. On the other side of the world, on the wrong side of circumstance, through her many tears and prayers, suddenly there was Khalison. Not only did God provide a friend while she was in need, but also provided an upgrade – an open seat right next to Khalison for the long flight home. Does God’s grace go Global? You’d better believe it! The Bible is proven once again; "...I've never seen the righteous forsaken" -Psalm 37:25.
Sarah’s flight home was filled with happiness, not bitterness. Hurts were shared and hearts repaired. Weeping may have endured for a night, but joy did come in the morning. It is a testimony to the incredible grace of God that Sarah and Khalison can replay, retell and relive over and over again.