Archives For faith

Life ChangeBig events and moments are wonderful to experience and be a part of. That conference, missions trip or huge community outreach event that you are a part of has the ability to emotionally charge you up and bring excitement to your life. But once it is over, what then?

Before you misunderstand what I am about to say, let me be clear: I like BIG events! I go to conferences and have big events held by my church for our community. I love missions trips and think that everyone should go on at least one – preferably while they are young! So I am not against the annual events or large scale experiences that you can be a part of.

Those conferences and missions trips can bring about life-change in a person, but the reality is this: Real life-change is a day by day process. You may be motivated by a large event or experience to change your life, but the proof of that is played out as you make decisions each and every day that validate the life-change you are making.

In other words, don’t just tell me you want to be closer to God because of that experience you just had, do something to make it happen! What good is it to say you want a closer relationship with God, but yet you will not take the time to read His Word and pray. Don’t tell me you love the people on the mission field you just went to, but yet you do not serve on a consistent basis loving people in your local church ministry or loving people you rub shoulders with every day.

Real life change is evidenced in the way you live each and every day. Small deposits, made on a consistant basis, bring great change!

It is just like working out. You cannot go to the gym one time, for five hours, and think it will do much for you. But go ten times for 30 minutes and you will start to see results!

Real life change is the result of consistant deposits into that which brings about the change that you are looking for.

Start changing your life – one day at a time!

The last 18 months have been a season of more struggles than my wife and I have seen in our previous 21 years of marriage. Not struggles in our marriage, mind you, but things like the death of a close family member, failing marriages in the family, family “issues” that seem to creep up on a regular basis and then of course, our son’s accident in December. We have never experienced so much pain, sadness and frustration as we have in the last 18 months.

Now, I do not write that because I want anyone’s pity. I don’t. In fact, for the last 20+ years of my life we have been fairly sheltered from having to deal with these types of things. So, starting with getting the word that we were being laid off, we have experienced things that I never thought we would have to go through. I have never struggled to have a job. Since we were married, we have never had to live with anyone else. We have not had a lot of death or divorce to deal with in our families and we certainly have never had a child almost die in a car accident.

There have undoubtedly been moments that I have asked God “Why?” “Why do I have to go through all of this? Why can’t I find a church to pastor, why can’t I do this or that? Why is my son having to go through all of this pain?” Those are all questions that I wanted answers to. Those are questions that we all would want answers to. I believe God knows that we want those answers. I was sitting in the hospital room watching Josiah sleep one night, just thinking and being quiet before God when I got an answer.

“Why not you, Jason?” And that was it. No other answers. Nothing more specific. Just, “Why not you?”

I thought about that for several days. I never expected to be immune for bad things in life. I never held to the thinking that if I was a good and performed for God that I would somehow have a magical life. But, I also never expected these things to “happen to me.”

We have learned much over the last several months. Though many of the situations we have faced are not pleasant, we have been able to walk through them, day by day, knowing that God was in control; knowing that He has a purpose and a plan for everything. I may not know all of the “why” surrounding these struggles but I do know that through everything that God says “why not you, Jason?” that He will use it to make His name famous. He will use my struggle to allow me to be more compassionate, more loving and to be able to help others because of what we have faced. I am thankful for that.

Just this morning, I read Romans 8:35:

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?”

No matter what we face, we are not separated from the love of God. In fact, our struggles make God’s love more real and evident. Verse 37 goes on to say:

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”

I am a conqueror because of the love of God. His plans and purposes advance when I ask “why not me” and I lean in to Him, and then reach out to others.

Whose fault is it?

Jason Petermann  —  December 27, 2010 — 1 Comment

There are so many things that go through your mind when you face circumstances in your life that are tragic. As I have read through the Scriptures I see that even Jesus’ disciples first thoughts when confronted with someone in a tragic situation was to ask, “whose fault is this,” or “why?”  I am not one who believes that asking “why” offends God or makes Him mad. I think it is normal and really I believe God even expects us to ask questions when we find ourselves in those tragic circumstances.

Jesus and the disciples ran in to a blind man in John 9:1-5.  He had been blind since birth, and as mentioned, the first thoughts of the disciples were to be able to have a reason, to understand why this horrible situation existed.  After all, if something bad happens, someone has to be at fault, right?  So they immediately thought that either the man who was blind, or his parents had sinned.  Some how, they had been so bad that God decided he would punish them by giving them a blind son. Their view of God was that of some powerful and demanding overlord that would punish you physically if you did something bad.  How awful to have those first thoughts of a loving and gracious God. Certainly God could do that if he pleased.  Certainly God has every right to punish those who sin.  But that is not how God works.

Jesus replied to the disciples request to place blame with another view of the situation.  He says in John 9:3

“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.”

It was not a matter of sin on anyone’s behalf.  It was a matter of God wanting to do something that people would look at the situation and say, “Only God could have done that, it had to be a God thing.” When you think about it, how awesome is it to be someone that God chooses for His works to be displayed?

As we look at our circumstances with our son Josiah, we certainly would say that we wish we never had to face this.  I think as parents this is a normal thought, to remove pain for our kids. It is not our choosing; it is not easy. You never want to see your child hurting, even to the point of struggling to breath. Though we would take this from him if we could, we would also would stand here and say “this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.”  We believe Josiah is alive and will make a full recovery so that God will be lifted up and those that look at Josiah will only be able to say, “Only God could have done this.”

It is God that sends the rain that allows the harvest.  It is God that brings winter that turns to spring.  God is sovereign.  He is in control.  That does not change in the good or the bad of life.  We hold to that as we look at the works of God displayed in our family.