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  • Writer's pictureSouth Lyon Church

Almost 30 years ago a single man stood in front of a column of tanks the day after a protest in China was brought to a forceful end. This one man who has been dubbed “Tank Man” has no identity that we know of other than the back of him caught on video from quite a distance away. As a column of nearly a dozen tanks rolled down this major road in Beijing he, carrying what appears to be two sacks of groceries, steps in front of the lead tank. As it tries to maneuver past, he moves with it continually blocking its path. He then climbs on the tank, seems to say something to the driver, then as the video ends, he is again seen standing in front of this lead tank. It is pretty amazing to watch, and yes you can google it to find the video.

Unfortunately Paul Harvey, who was very popular at that time wasn’t there with “the rest of the story,” giving us, though his witty charm, the details of what became of the individual or what events it prompted. We don’t know what happened to the “Tank Man.” Did he go on to lead an underground resistance? Did he go back to life as normal? Did the government find him and end his life? We do know it seemed to have no effect on the Chinese government since they are still in power today and the rebellion that was crushed the day before has not risen since.

What can seem like a small event that has no effect can in essence be just the opposite. Matthew records Jesus talking about a mustard seed (13:31-32). It is the smallest of seeds, yet it grows to be the largest in the garden, useful to the birds that need a place to rest.

What actions do you consider to be small events? Asking someone at work or in your neighborhood how they are doing? Or maybe what can you keep in prayer for them? It may seem like it is not a big deal and they may not enthusiastically respond, but that doesn’t mean it is not significant. It may have an impact on them simply because you cared. At the very least it tells them who you are. And who knows what great things God can do with a simple discussion prompted because you cared.

You probably aren’t going to see any tanks rolling down the road this week for you to stand in front of—but there is Satan. He is rolling down the streets of our neighborhoods, where we work, at the activities we attend, and he’s crushing people daily. Sometimes we just need to step out in front of him. We won’t stop him forever, but that doesn’t mean we can’t positively impact someone’s life for that one small moment in History.

Ready to stand,

Randy Schilling

  • Writer's pictureSouth Lyon Church

What direction are you heading?

Directions are a big part of our life. We have the basic north, south, east and west that we use all the time. They usually refer to longer distances or areas. “I’m going up north for vacation.” “They go down south for the winter.” “We live on the west side of the Detroit area.” “I have enjoyed going to visit out east, but would not like to live there.” Right and left are reserved for more of a local area. “Go about a mile and turn right at the old red barn.” “Follow that road for about a half mile and the place you are looking for is on the left.” Up and down can also be thrown into the mix at times, as in “The place you are looking for is up the road a piece” or maybe “Go down the hill and you can’t miss it.” We would be lost, geographically, if we didn’t have directions.

When it comes to our spiritual lives we have directions. We think of Heaven as in one direction and Hell, well that is in the other. As we have gone through this year the elders have asked us to think about three directions. They are more general in nature rather than specific and deal with people and relationships more than places. We can remember these though the idea of IOU dealing with our response to what has been given us.

We are to look inward to each other. This is a focus on the body and what we can do for each other. What have you done for a brother or sister this past week or month? In what ways have you encouraged them? Maybe stopping by to visit someone who would enjoy sitting and talking? Sending a card just to say you were thinking about them? Praying for them is always a great way to be there for them. God wants us to be an encouragement for our brothers and sisters.

We also need to look outward, to those who are outside of God’s kingdom. We often think of those that are in need or down on their luck. And we do need to be there to serve and help them. But looking outward isn’t about just serving someone in need, it is about bringing them into God’s salvation. Who is not a part of God’s kingdom that you can you drop an encouraging note to, maybe stop by and say hi to? But don’t stop there, though Satan wants you to, go ahead and invite them to be a part of something we are doing here. Maybe to be part of one of our small groups that are starting back up, maybe to join you on a Sunday morning or at one of our fellowship activities. Or maybe ask if they are open to studying God’s word with you. Our focus can’t be just inward, it must also be outward.

These two things are hard, and take looking past one’s self. Which is where the “U” or Upward comes in. Looking to God to grasp what has been done for you. Looking to God to help you as you look past yourself to others. Looking to God for peace when this world does not provide it. In all that we are doing, make sure you set aside time to be with God each day. Maybe it is five minutes most days and then a longer period when you can. Don’t leave God out, He is our strength!

So what direction are you going to go? Left? East? Down? Regardless of what physical direction you travel through this world make sure that you are looking inward to encourage your brothers and sisters, outward to help others know of God’s love for them and upward to your Heavenly Father for the guidance as you go forward, remembering what has been done for you.

On the move,


  • Writer's pictureSouth Lyon Church

According to Merriam-Webster upside down means “in such a way that the upper and lower parts are reversed in position”. This can be a really bad thing when you are talking about the ice cream sundae that you have been waiting for all day. Upside down on the floor is not a good thing at all. Now, it isn’t quite so bad when it comes to cake being on the bot- tom and the fruit is on top when we flip it out of the pan. When the fruit is pineapple it can be a very good thing, which we call pineapple upside down cake. So, the term can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on the situation.

But Merriam-Webster gives a second definition, “in or into great disorder”. Then it gives an example, “turned their world upside down”. The idea that the normal order of things is not what it normally was. In the first century Jesus came and turned the world upside down. What was normal, religion as usual, the structure of things, was not going to be what it was. His followers went on and turned the known world upside down as they spread not only His message but lived as He called them to. Then it got even more turned upside down a couple of centuries later when the Roman government, which at one time was persecuting those who followed, was now embracing it and the ruler was seeking the blessing of the church. Yea, you could say it was in great disorder from what had been normal.

What about today, could the world be turned upside down by the followers of Jesus? Could they make such an impact that the people would notice the influence of Jesus? Could there be such an impact that those in government would be influenced by Jesus?

Maybe if we set up a tent in our yard so all those who daily pass by on Pontiac Trail would notice. We could have a sign in our front yard saying “Tent Meeting”, get a well known speaker in. They would just flock to our building. Naw, that is too old school.

Maybe design the best web page, have ads pop up on news feeds younger people get. We turn our service into a high energy emotionally charged event where people are just bounc- ing off the walls with a rock band to bring in the younger crowd. They would just flock to our building. That may work, until people found something more entertaining and they would bounce over there.

Maybe we do it God’s way. It was about personal responsibility. Jesus told His followers to go and make disciples (Matthew 28:19). Maybe a clearer picture would be, “go and talk to your friends”. We are told that when the church was scattered (Acts 8:4) they announced to those around them the good news of Jesus. We see the example of it spreading be- cause someone was willing to invite friends and relatives to come and hear that good news (Acts 10:24). Spreading God’s love and showing people Jesus is about relationships, yet we want to reduce it to hype, a program, or an event. We keep trying to improve on God’s way of doing things, do we really think we have a better way?

We all want the church to grow. And we want someone else to do it. But unless we take the responsibility upon ourselves to “Go”, we will limp along until five, maybe ten years from now we sell the building and move into something smaller. Then five to ten years after that close the doors of that place. It’s about dying to self, it is about stepping up and doing what may not be comfortable, it is about following through on that commitment to Christ.

Jesus and His church are all about relationships. The world has turned that upside down and made Christianity about the outward flash. It is time we stopped following the world and

start following God’s ways. It is time to turn the world upside down one person at a time!

Flipping things over, Randy

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