In those days, the multitude being very great and having nothing to eat, Jesus called His disciples to Him and said to them, “I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now continued with Me three days and have nothing to eat. And if I send them away hungry to their own houses, they will faint on the way; for some of them have come from afar.” Then His disciples answered Him, “How can one satisfy these people with bread here in the wilderness?” He asked them, “How many loaves do you have?” And they said, “Seven.” So He commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground. And He took the seven loaves and gave thanks, broke them and gave them to His disciples to set before them; and they set them before the multitude. They also had a few small fish; and having blessed them, He said to set them also before them. So they ate and were filled, and they took up seven large baskets of leftover fragments. Now those who had eaten were about four thousand.
Mark 8: 1-9 (NKJV)
A few weeks ago I read Mark 8. For some reason this story captured my as it never has before. I promptly turned to Matthew 15, Luke 9, and John 6 to read the other Gospel accounts. Since then, I have not really been able to read beyond this. It captured me and I’ve continued reading all 4 of the Apostles’ accounts…
So, I have been ruminating on this for awhile, wondering why it has held me for so long this time, and thinking about how this relates to our work and our mission at VantagePoint3. I have too many thoughts to share them all here, but a couple pieces keep shining through…
1. Jesus took notice of what the disciples had missed…the crowd was hungry. Literally hungry.
2. Jesus used what little the disciples had to provide more than what was needed to fill the hunger.
Something I sometimes take for granted, when I read Bible stories I have heard numerous times, is that this REALLY HAPPENED! This is not a fictional story. This is a real event and it was recorded to teach us something…
Last week I was in Garden Grove, California for the Converge denomination’s Transform Network Gathering…their national conference. Hundreds of pastors from across the North America gathered to worship, collaborate, and cast vision for the future.
I was present, manning a VP3 vender booth and talking with pastors and church leaders about discipleship and leadership development. While there, I had the privilege of meeting MANY incredible people. I was also reminded that there really is a deep hunger among God’s people to draw closer to Him and to live in close alignment to our unique created purpose. There is a growing need, a deep desire, a hunger that, much like the disciples, many of our churches and church leaders do not know if they have what is needed to meet/fulfill/quench it. That feeling of not having what is needed to fulfill that growing need can be a paralyzing feeling. I know because I have had that feeling myself. The disciples plan was to send the crowd away to go feed themselves. They had done what they could and they, themselves, did not have what it would take to meet the hunger needs of the thousands of people.
Jesus took a different approach. He asked them what they had available. The disciples gathered what they had…a small basket of bread and a couple of fish. I wonder what they were thinking when they showed Jesus what surely was not nearly enough to feed the masses of hungry people. Jesus then showed them that a little bit of something, surrendered to God, is more than enough.
Now, you may think I am going to take this too far, but I think that what we have at VP3…a small team of passionate, gifted, and surrendered people and some pretty incredible God-inspired materials…is more than enough to quench the deep hunger in our culture for something more.
While in L.A., I had the opportunity to attend the Wednesday night Mid-Week service at Mosaic Church on Hollywood Blvd. (Mosaic is a church I have always wanted to attend if I was ever in the L.A. area.) Well, the scripture passage for the message that night was Mark 8: 1-10 – “Feeding the Four Thousand.” Of course it was! (I actually laughed out loud when he said, “Turn in your Bibles to Mark 8.”) 3 statements made in that message that night are still resonating deep in my soul…
1. “Where the disciples saw scarcity, Jesus saw abundance.”
2. “Jesus is saying, ‘Give me what you’ve got and it’s more than enough.”
3. “God wants to heal the world through the talents and gifts in us.”
In the course of my 2 years with VP3, I have talked with numerous pastors that underestimate the influence they have on the lives of their church family. I think, for many years, VP3 has done the same.
At our booth last week, I had a pastor come and tell me that he heard some pastors talking
about how VP3 processes had helped change their church culture by deepening the lives of their people. I sensed a hint of frustration, bordering on anger, when he then asked me the following question, “After all I’ve heard people say about the impact of partnering with you guys, how come I’ve never heard of VantagePoint3 before?”
We know God inspired Randy Reese to develop VP3 for a great purpose…to meet a growing need…to fill a great hunger. We are giving all we have. Knowing that, through Christ, it is more than enough.
I want to thank you all for your partnership and ask for your continued prayers as we surrender all we are and all we have for God’s glory. We do this with the hope that we will play a role in his great mission to transform our culture and redeem his people.
A burning passion in me and a prayer that I am praying daily is that no one will ever again ask, “…how come I’ve never heard of VantagePoint3 before?” All of you can help us prevent that from happening again by sharing your stories, your transformed life, with others who are desperately hungry.
I want to thank all the people that stopped by our booth in Garden Grove last week. I truly appreciated every single conversation and every person I was blessed to have met. I also want to thank Joe, Deb, Jody, Bob, Deryl, Kirk, Bob (yes, 2 Bobs), and Ben for your friendship, your hospitality, and for your testimonies that helped bring new friends “to the table” (literally).