Sometimes the Answer is No

"Sometimes the Answer is No."

Parents, have you ever said that to your kids?

Your child makes a request. “Can I go to Joey‘s house?”


“Why not?”

“We can’t do that right now.”


“Stop whining. Sometimes the answer is no.”

And then we get frustrated when we ask our heavenly Father for something, and He says no.

Last Sunday we discussed prayer. Prayer moves the hand of God, and we should pray big things. God is never going to be intimidated by a prayer request. And knowing that He is powerful and He loves us certainly gives us plenty of reason to pray.

The burning question, though, we addressed briefly, is this one: “Why doesn‘t He answer sometimes?” Sometimes you pray and pray and fast and pray and fast - and there seems to be no answer. Or the situation even takes a bad turn. The cancer gets worse, the money gets tighter, the marriage is even more strained, the kid are even more rebellious…

This is by no means contradictory to what I said in the sermon or a detraction from Sunday. This is just a reminder. Well, 2 reminders:

  1. God is not a vending machine. Prayer is not pressing B5 and getting a Snickers bar. I have seen people’s “faith” shattered because God didn’t give them exactly what they wanted when they thought they should have it, AKA immediately. It's a shame when your "god" is given zero latitude to say no because you have convinced yourself you know what is best.
  2. God is, however, the most loving and perfect Father ever. He loves us. And He wants to hear from us, and He wants to bless us - but His knowledge is infinitely greater than ours, so His answer may look different than the one you were looking for. But He still answers. And His answer is always better than what we were asking for anyways. It’s like asking for God to remove a thorn, but instead He gives you His strength. 2 Corinthians 12:1-10 says something about that.

Sometimes God doesn’t take away the adversity because He intends to reveal Himself to you through it. And I promise you, looking back on this life from the perspective of heaven, you will fondly recall as your favorite memories of earth the times God’s answer to your distress was His presence.

p.s. - Thanks God for unanswered prayers, just like Garth Brooks

God's Math: 0+0=1 (?)

1 Corinthians 3:3-11 - For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way? For when one says, "I follow Paul," and another, "I follow Apollos," are you not being merely human? What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God's fellow workers. You are God's field, God's building. According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

It’s a sad testimony to the church when you hear people say things like, “All they ever do is bicker and fight at that church!" Too many churches have gone off-mission because all their energy is spent fighting their own members! There is nothing new under the sun. It has always been Satan’s way. If he can’t destroy a church from outside opposition, he will try to destroy it from within, a sort of Holy Civil War.

The Corinthian church had such a problem. People put themselves in two camps. While some wore their “Vote for Paul” t-shirts, others had on their “I Heart Apollos” buttons. It was like children picking sides for kickball!

But Paul wrote to them to tell them this was foolishness. And here we see an interesting display of God’s math. God says 0+0=1. Did you catch that? So neither he who plants (Paul) nor he who waters (Apollos) is anything. So planter Paul = zero, and waterer Apollos = zero. But then he says he who plants and he who waters are one… So planter (0) plus waterer (0) equals one!

This is God’s math. We tend to think we are something special, “this church would collapse without me.“ But the truth is, you and I are just links in God’s chain. A link by itself is nothing, but all together, they form one chain. Paul did his part and Apollos did his part. Individually, they are nothing. The same is true for you and I in the church. You do your part, and I’ll do mine. But unless God is in it, nothing is really happening! That’s why Paul said only God gives the growth.

I am so excited for the launch of this church on October 2. We have an amazing team of people all eagerly doing their part. Individually, we are all zeros. But linking together, with the Holy Spirit reigning through us, God is going to do big things.

Want to link up with us?

p.s. - is a zero, but slightly offended at being called “a big fat zero"