A New Campsite!

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Last week, I shared with you my own distinct, unique campsites where I have pitched my tent on my life’s trip to the City with Foundations of Revelation 21. I was prepared to post a diagram this week that shows, beautifully and succinctly, how God is using the camping experiences in all of our lives to extend His Kingdom. I even mentioned to you “A picture is worth a thousand words” in anticipation of that diagram.

However, in the famous words of a 1966 musical comedy, “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.” A few days ago, while lying in bed just before getting up (that seems to be God’s  favorite time to speak to me), I was struck with a new, earth-shaking idea that I have to share with you before we can go on. 

I suddenly realized that I have been, for some years already, camping right in the middle of a brand new campsite!  This campsite is Experiencing Now Our Commission to Rule Over the Earth. I have been camping at this site for over a decade, completely unbeknownst to me, while enrolled in my favorite university, NSU!

This is exactly what I preach constantly—God does His work: Naturally, Spontaneously and Unconsciously (NSU). Why then am I so surprised this has happened?  Looking back, I see now when I began to experience this for myself. It was when I took a second swing at substitute teaching in the public schools. My first attempt had been a colossal, disastrous, three-day failure in the early 2000’s, as I simply couldn’t stand the disrespect and disobedience the kids gave to subs.. 

This time, some ten years later, my efforts were gloriously successful, not because the kids had changed (if anything, they were worse than ever!) but I had changed! My attitude went from seeing these teen-agers as rebellious, out-of-control pagans, not remotely interested in learning, to lost waifs who had not yet seen and experienced Jesus Christ for themselves. 

Some amazing things began to happen with both students and faculty. I remember a full-class, 20 minute discussion on the structure and functioning of the New Testament church, and how I was involved in starting such churches, all arising from the question, “Mr. Andrews, what did you do before substitute teaching?”

Meanwhile, I discovered that I was not the only student enrolled at NSU. I watched a check-out lady at Walmart address a morose, surly welfare patron directly in front of me in line, with a sunny, smiling, enthusiastic, “And how are you today?” After his mumbled, inaudible no-answer, I watched, fascinated, as she continued to lovingly interact with him, until he actually smiled at her and told her “good-bye” as he picked up his grocery bags and walked away!

As the next in line, she said to me, “And how are you today?,” as she began to ring up my groceries. “After watching you check out that last guy, I couldn’t be better! You’re a Christian, aren’t you?”

“Oh, yes!” she said, as she broke into a big smile.. As we talked briefly, she related how her goal was to get everyone she checks out to at least respond with a smile by the time she gives them their bagged groceries. NSU, she had turned that check-out stand into a personal contact with Jesus Christ as she ruled there in God’s kingdom! For her, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives (and rules in Walmart) in (and through) me” (Galatians 2:20)!

One day I watched as an older, slight, white-haired, middle-school librarian took over the class I had just spent an hour unsuccessfully trying to corral. I watched incredulously as she quietly instructed the seated, 30-member class in their activities in the library for the day, as they sat quietly without making a peep. There was only one brief interruption as one boy was whispering to the student next to him. The librarian said quietly, never breaking her calm tone; “Quiet, Billy; eyes on me.” 

Billy, property chastised, obeyed immediately and the class proceeded, eventually into the book-shelves, each student searching for and finding the book they needed (often with the assistance of the librarian), before returning to their seats and studying until the end of the period. I recall this experience as “Jesus moving among the library shelves.”

I waited until class was over to talk to the librarian. I introduced myself and told her how impressed I was with her control of the very students  who had ignored my attempts to maintain order. She did not respond to my overt reference to Jesus living through her as had the check-out lady in WalMart, but simply broke into a big smile and said “They know that I love them.” It was obvious—yes, they did!

The final example I’ll share of us ruling on the earth is a plumber friend of mine, who, as an experienced journeyman plumber, always has an apprentice he is training.at the plumbing company where he works. When we got together he always shared how frustrating these apprentices were in terms of their negative outlook on life, their negative work habits, etc. 

He had already trained several of these beginners, and they had gotten their journeyman’s licenses and gone to work at other companies. When I asked him if there was anything new going on at work (he hadn’t volunteered any info as he generally did) he said, “No, not really. Same old stuff.”

Then he thought for a moment, and said; “There is one thing. My boss (the owner of the company) called me into his office the other day and told me, ‘I have watched how you handle your apprentices, and I can’t afford to lose you, so I’m giving you a raise.’  I was surprised—it was really a big one!”

The Kingdom of God is on the move—NSU—and I am just now, as an octogenarian, 60 years as an earnest Christian, beginning to recognize it! As the 1.) Gospel of the Grace of God and the rule of the 2.) Law of God in His Kingdom (together they are the Truth of God! – John 1:17) are both preached, the church becomes an unstoppable force! Next week we will look at such an NSU church in the New Testament, and you have never even heard of any of its leaders!

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  1. Duane Hodges says:

    What a great way to start the week! If you wrote these “NSU” stories all day, I would stop and read immediately. Thank you!

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