Boldness in the Air

I prayed for a first class upgrade on my return flight from Minneapolis last week. It worked for the outbound version on Monday morning. I could get to like that treatment.

But, as usual, the inbound to Orlando flight on Wednesday night saw every seat filled. I had to settle for coach. Woe is me.

God had a design in it all. Surprise, surprise. I got seated by a Delta pilot on his way home from a flight from the UK. Turned out he was verbal. He actually wanted to talk. In this day and age of the tablet and smart phone, most folks plug in and lay low. Witnessing chances on planes come few and far between.

So I took the plunge and engaged. Turned out his kids attend Master’s Academy. I breathed a sigh of relief. He must be a believer, I thought. Surely he wouldn’t send his children to Christian school if he wasn’t. I was off the hook. This was going to be a breeze. No pressure. Piece of cake.

Then I asked him where they went to church. Let’s just say the answer put me back on alert that I might still have some gospel work to do. But then the beverage cart came around. He donned his ear buds to watch a movie. I figured that was that. End of story.

But as the plane started its descent into Orlando the conversation window opened again. Man, I debated whether or not I would take the plunge. I am such a weenie. Then I remembered the exhortations I heard at the conference about trusting the sovereignty of God and being bold in witnessing for Jesus. Regeneration is a miracle anyway so why not trust God and determine to be His means of conversion if He is so pleased?

So off I went. Long story short, I got to share the gospel with the man. Gave him my card. Invited him to church. Chalk one up for boldness in the air.

Now if only I can muster up  some boldness on the ground where I spend most of my time. Lord, hear my prayer for me and for us all.

Blessed By Boldness

A neighborhood book club simpatico insisted that I just had to read Ken Follet’s Pillars of the Earth.

Set in medieval times it tells the long tale (just short of a thousand pages) of the building of a cathedral and all that entailed.

I haven’t finished the book yet, but I have found it an interesting read, particularly as OGC closes in on the completion of its facility. I am thankful we haven’t undertaken the construction of a vast stone cathedral!

I also find myself grateful not to have lived in such difficult times in human history. No need for details. But one lesson has stood out in my reading that made me feel very blessed.

The main character, Prior Philip, finds himself at points dependent upon King Stephen for his benevolence in order to finance the building of the cathedral. Follet does a good job of drawing the reader into the angst of the Catholic priest, particularly at one point, where he must wait for the king at court to acknowledge him and invite him into his presence to present his petitions. He does not. Philip goes away grossly disappointed.

I found myself enormously grateful that God doesn’t treat His “subjects” that way. Because of Jesus’ finished work on the cross, we have bold access anytime we wish to approach the throne of grace to find help for our time of need (Heb. 4:16).

The blessedness of this boldness in Christ before God the high King of heaven came into even greater perspective as I read a passage this week from Puritan Richard Sibbes’ brilliant treatise on 2 Cor. 3:18 entitled Glorious Freedom:

We see the glory of God with boldness in the gospel. We have boldness and access to God through Christ by the Spirit . . . . Christ by his Spirit takes us by the hand and leads us to his Father. God is not now terrifying to us but in Christ, God’s nature is fatherly and sweet to us. We may boldly lay open our souls in prayer and bring all our complaints before him as to a Father. We do not come as malefactors to a judge or as slaves to a lord, but as children to father, as a wife to her spouse. The gospel by shining upon us takes away a spirit of fear and bondage. The more we see Christ, and the more love, the less fear. The more we see the grace of God in Christ, the spirit of fear is diminished and replaced by a spirit of love and boldness. Grace presents to us in Christ full satisfaction to divine justice. When we offer Christ to the Father whom he has sent and sealed for us, God cannot refuse a Saviour of his own sending, sealing and appointing. It is a marvelous privilege that we see God clearly in the gospel, with open faces, with a spirit of boldness, the veil of ignorance being taken away.

Blessed boldness that comes from the gospel.

Be gone spirit of fear and bondage.

We come to a heavenly Father ever sweet in Christ.