Friday, April 28, 2000

One Year and Counting

I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ. (Philemon 1:6)

One year ago today "Frank's World" was born. It started with a Verse of the Day and Sports page, and has grown considerably ever since. I'd like to thank all of you for your support and encouragement for there have been times when I wished I never made this daily commitment. I've had files corrupted and spent days completely rebuilding the pages from scratch. I've anguished over the design of the site and struggled to find ways to make it more interactive. I've encountered hotels with no dataports and lines that refused to keep a connection.

But all these battles are something I've come to embrace. I take too much joy in sharing the gifts the Lord has provided me with to allow these things to affect me. I also take great pleasure in watching the Lord work within me: I remember struggling with "The Road to Salvation" application all day that Saturday. I would write a paragraph, and then delete it. Write two paragraphs, and then delete it. I got so frustrated I was going to scrap it altogether. I was all set to shut down my computer for the night when I said a quick prayer: "Lord, I know what I want to say but I just can't seem to find the right words. Please guide me through this." Thirty minutes later the application was written and posted onto my site. His power never ceases to amaze me.

The greatest personal joy to come from this site is that I now have an answer to the question I posed in the "God is Faithful" application: "Lord, why all the years of pain and suffering?" I truly didn't expect an answer, but the Lord provided one anyway: "If you didn't experience all those years of trials and tribulation, you would still be the selfish, arrogant man you were. There would have been no desire to serve; only the desire to be served. Furthermore, what on earth would you have been able to write about in all your verse applications?"

I hope this site has been a positive ministry to you all. I don't know how long "Frank's World" will survive but I sure hope the spirit of Christ will never die from within me.

Saturday, April 15, 2000

A Call to Serve

I know, O Lord, that a man's life is not his own; it is not for man to direct his steps. (Jeremiah 10:23)

Twenty nine years ago today I breathed my first breath on this earth. Little did I know then what my life would be like or what type of man I would become. Fortunately, from an early age my parents rooted a foundation of faith in Jesus Christ within me. I developed a quick sense of right and wrong, and I tried to live my life as Christ would want me to live it. However, too many times I came up woefully short. I was judgmental, envious, proud, and selfish - a far cry from the man I knew Christ wanted me to be.

In college, I got involved with a service organization that helped instill a desire within me to serve someone other than myself. I visited nursing homes, served at soup kitchens, and worked at shelters. One of the most fulfilling days of my life came when I was serving at a Christian shelter in New York City. During the day, I developed a close relationship with one of the guys at the shelter; we ate, worked, and went to an evening service together. After the service, one of the leaders of the shelter came up to him, and provided him with a polished pair of used shoes. I thought nothing of it, but my friend was overcome. I'll never forget the tears of joy welling up in his eyes as those shoes were placed in his hands. In his mind, the shoes weren't old and used, they were a gift; a treasured gift from God.

My life would never be the same. I went home that night and cried a good cry. I thanked the Lord for all the many blessings in my life that I had always taken for granted. I thanked Him for the opportunity to meet my friend at the shelter, and recognized the irony of being served by a man I started the day looking to serve. I offered a life of service to the Lord that night; I wanted to serve Him by serving others. I wanted others to know Him through me, whatever sacrifices that might mean.

I don't know what became of my friend at the shelter. I can only pray that all the struggles that brought him to that shelter are far behind him, and that his joy and love for God are as strong now as they were that day.

Wednesday, April 5, 2000

Broken Promises

When you make a vow to God, do not delay in fulfilling it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow. It is better not to vow than to make a vow and not fulfill it. (Ecclesiastes 5:4-5)

This verse pierces me deep down to the soul. It forces me to think about all those times I brought empty promises before the Lord: "Dear Lord, if you could please help me through X, I'll do Y in return." Time and time again, the Lord helps me through X, but I never even attempt to fulfill Y. Why on earth do I do that?? Do I not take my promises to the Lord seriously? Do I consider Him so loving and forgiving that I find it acceptable to break my vows to Him?

The truth is, I would do almost anything to avoid breaking a vow to a family member or friend, but when it comes to the Lord I am considerably lax. This is something I must make every effort to change - not for the Lord's sake but for my own. The Lord doesn't need anything from me, but I need all He has to give: His fellowship, His wisdom, His strength, His mercy, His forgiveness...

Perhaps someday I'll make a vow to never make an empty promise to the Lord again. Hopefully I'm never that foolish, unless I mean it with every fabric of my being.