Story time With Mr Bob

 Twenty years ago yesterday (March 11, 2016) I had a dream. It was one of those vivid dreams that you can't shake out of your head. I like to tell this story, even though its a little intense because it gives a different perspective on the story of the cross. In my experience kids are no different than we adults: We hear an important story from God's word so many times that we easily gloss over it. So, I share my dream. (Please note that the way I will share this here is much more direct than I do it with children.) 

"In the dream, my two oldest sons were the same age as they were in reality. The doctors had recently informed us that Boston (fourteen months old at the time of the dream) had a disease and would die very soon without a "suitable" donor. I'm not sure if the disease was in his lungs, blood, or skin (I am inclined to believe it was a blood disease); whatever it was, it was incurable. After an extensive search it turned out that the only acceptable donor was my oldest son, Brayden (four years at that time). There was a catch though; the donor would not live. Brayden wanted to save his little brother from certain death, knowing full well that he would have to die in his place. The doctors, Shelly and I were concerned that a child that young could not possibly grasp the seriousness of what he had committed to do (please remember this is a dream). We had him examined by several psychologists; each one stated that he definitely understood. So we went ahead with the process.

Once the "donation" had been taken from Brayden, he began to fade quickly. Boston was injected and improved equally as quickly. Shelly and I found ourselves with Brayden at some sort of amusement park (something like a Six Flags). He had been released, but would likely die within a few hours. However, they (the doctors) hadn't realized the grotesque changes his little body would go through right before our eyes.

Many of our close friends from church were there with us at the park. We were standing in a long line as I began to watch my son change in my arms. His hair had turned dark, then gray, eventually white (he is blonde) and his face twisted, contorted and twitched. I watched my son as the life was sucked from his body; even his countenance changed, and he appeared gray. To say he was feeling badly would be a gross understatement, and I knew he was rapidly slipping away. I thought, "Father, certainly there has to be something I can do", but all I could do was stand there seemingly helpless but very proud that I had been able to raise such a loving, caring, giving son even for just a few years. We watched as his face became even more disfigured (to the point I would not have known it was my own son). Finally his eyes rolled back into his head. Then I heard this booming voice from somewhere inside of me say, "Raise the dead!" My mind raced. I thought, “God is no respecter of persons, and if Jesus could raise the dead, so could I.” Now I'd like to tell you that I slept long enough that Brayden was raised up; however, I woke up at that very moment. I know that if I had slept just a little longer, I would have seen the resurrection of my son.

Almost immediately as I woke up, God showed me that I had just experienced the crucifixion, God's plan of redemption, from the Father's perspective in a way I could understand and relate with. Just as our heavenly Father had the power to stop the crucifixion at any time, so did I. All I had to say was “That's it! I've seen enough!” Just as Jesus willingly sacrificed himself for the joy that was set before Him, so also did Brayden willingly give Himself for the joy of saving his younger brother. In the dream, for some reason, Brayden had to die in order for the "donation" to be effective (in the dream I knew this and understood medically why). Our friends represented the Host of heaven, the angels who stood by to watch with the Father (or intervene if Father God or Jesus gave the call). In the days and weeks that followed I ran the gamut of emotions that could have been felt from this dream. Let me tell you, the plan of redemption means more to me than I can explain. In the past, I, like many, took the work Jesus did in order to restore us to fellowship with our Father God for granted, but no more. 

The blood that Jesus shed for me not only purchased my salvation, but it redeemed me from the curse of the law (that "curse" being poverty, sickness, and death). I understood why God "turned His back" on Jesus at that time, because I, too, could hardly stand to look at my own son. In fact, near the end I laid him on the ground and turned my back because it was too much for me to handle. Thank God, Jesus lives and is ever interceding for us to the Father. I don't believe that means that Jesus sits at God's right hand and begs Him to give us this, that and, the other thing for every minute throughout eternity. The Word says Jesus is our intercession and after having that dream I can understand that. I am just "simple" enough to believe that when God the Father looks at Jesus, he sees our needs and us. Remember, the Bible calls us, "the body of Christ", so I just believe that God sees us in Him."

As I shared this yesterday for the umpteenth in the last 20 years I was sharing it ON THE 20th anniversary of the dream. (Yesterday was Brayden's 24th birthday.) Including yesterday I could not tell give an accurate number of how many children in Kids for Christ clubs have made a decision to serve Jesus after hearing that story. I would guess hundreds, but I don't know for sure. I do know this of all the times I've shared that story yesterday was probably the most memorable. 


Denial: A Brief Observation

Jesus answered, "Die for me? I tell you the truth, Peter--before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me.—John 13:38 NLT
by Robert (Bob) Heath 

 As of late I have been listening to the New Testament while I work. Listening while working isn’t really like reading. If I was reading the word and something caught my attention I could pause and dig in easily, but listing while working is different. I listen to massive quantities of scripture and absorb contextually, but not usually deductively. 

So when I noticed that the story of Peter’s denial was in all four gospels, I had to ask, “God is there something you are trying to show me/us?” Several days after I asked that question I was preparing to minister to a group of elementary age children and God gave me a “download” so to speak. 

I feel like God was showing me/us that Peter’s denial is a picture of our’s. Not a direct denial of Christ, but a spiritual one.  It seems that sin is denying Christ. When we willfully choose to deny him by doing whatever we wish. We say I would never deny Christ, even if it means dying for Him. When we deny the truth and power of His word in our lives is it possible that when we allow ourselves to get bowled over by this situation or that, which goes against the victory we know we have in Christ we are denying Christ? 

It’s time to embrace the fact that “His grace is sufficient” to overcome any situation. Time to deny the denial. --Bob Heath