Monday, September 18, 2017

My Encounter With God


After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.  - 1 Kings 19:12-13

I always enjoy reading stories about near-death experiences and other encounters people have with the heavenly realm.  It encourages us in our faith, and gives us hope in a future eternity with God. I shared one such story from a friend in a previous blog entry, The Day I Touched Heaven.  And I'm currently reading an amazing book, Imagine Heaven, by John Burke, which relates several incredible stories of people's miraculous journeys to heaven and their meeting God or Jesus (or both).  

Reading this book reminded me that I have yet to share on this site my own amazing story of meeting God (I shared it in my book); it changed my life and continues to give me confidence and hope daily, and I pray it does the same for you.

Many years ago, I dozed off to sleep one night, unaware that I was about to encounter the Creator of the universe. I dreamed I was at my grandparents’ home. Everyone in my core family was there in the dream with me - my parents, brother, grandparents, and aunts and uncles. Suddenly, someone in the group told me that God wanted to speak to me, and it was as if I knew just what to do or expected it. I had no fear. 

I was in the family room, and a fog or mist, low to the ground, came out of the hallway that led to my grandparents’ bedroom. The fog came right toward me, and I somehow knew that God himself was approaching.  I covered my face with my hands as He drew near, and I knew in my Spirit that I could not look.  

I squeezed my eyes shut just as I was engulfed in the brightest light I had ever seen. There was warmth around me that made me so comfortable and free; the warmth may be the thing I remember most vividly.  Then I felt a hand on my right shoulder, and I was aware that it was God’s right hand. As I reflected on this later, I knew this was a purposeful and orderly act, because this would not be the natural placement of someone’s right hand as they were reaching out to touch someone’s right shoulder.  Scripture also confirms this:

When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said, “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last.” - Revelation 1:17

While He was touching my right shoulder, I heard a voice in my right ear speaking these comforting words, "It's okay; it's okay."  Amazingly, His voice was both different and as familiar as my earthly father's voice.  The voice was speaking into my right ear.  This was strange and unbelievable.  Why? Because I've been deaf in my right ear since birth!

It was a perfect moment - blinded by light, enveloped in radiant warmth, a hand on my shoulder, and the familiar, paternal voice of my Father. The experience only lasted for several seconds.  I was so upset when I woke up because I never wanted to leave that moment. I was so comforted and at peace.

This dream changed my life forever and serves as a foundation of my faith today. I now have the confidence of knowing that in the heart of it all, the God whose presence I experienced, whose hand touched me, and whose voice I heard, is alive, He is real, and He loves me as a father loves his child. I also no longer have a fear of death - if leaving this world means getting to be in His presence and having that same experience for eternity, I’m ready to go at any time! That’s how amazing and real my dream was.

I hope this testimony encourages you to know that God loves each of us in a very real and personal way.  As you walk through life's journey, He is with you every step of the way, encouraging you with the comforting words, "It's okay." Because an eternity of joy, peace, love, and God's warm presence awaits you.  

The people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. - Matthew 4:16

-Adam Gellert

Sunday, August 27, 2017

What Color Were Your Shoes?



"He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end." -Ecclesiastes 3:11

In the natural world, time dominates much of how we operate our lives.  We wake up and go to sleep at certain times, we celebrate another year of being alive on our birthday, and we see the impact of time as our own mortality comes into view in our later years.  The idea of eternity is so difficult for humans since our lives are time bound, with a defined beginning and end.

So what will our eternity look like?  What will we remember from our time on earth?  It boggles the mind to think about the concept of our existence never having an end, forever living in our spiritual bodies.  What will carry through from our time in this life?

During my participation in Gateway Church's freedom program called "Kairos," a story from one presenter still sticks in my mind and has changed how I view my priorities during my time on earth. 

The presenter asked God these same questions about eternity, and God answered:

"You were in second grade, right?"  
"Yes," the man replied.  
"Do you remember what color your shoes were the first day of second grade?"  
"No," was the response. 
"Do you remember what you had for lunch the first day of school?"
Again, "no."
"But you were there, right?"
"Yes," was the reply.

Then God said, "This is what eternity will be like. You will know you were on the earth, that you were there, but that's all you will remember over the span of eternity."

This story really shook my world.  What it made so clear is that our day-to-day life, and the things we worry about most of the time, don't really matter in the long run.  My focus should be on eternity, and my relationship with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, who will be with me on the eternal journey.  And what can I be doing during my short time on earth to impact eternity - who else can I help introduce to Jesus?  How can I be a light to the world? I can see now why Jesus and his disciples were focused solely on bringing people into repentance, into a relationship with the Savior - because in the end that's all that matters. 

Knowing this truth about eternity, and the few things that will remain from this earthly experience, what are you focusing your time and attention on?  Are those things going to last, will they have eternal impact?  If not, maybe it's time to take a fresh look at your true calling and purpose as a follower of Jesus.


I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints. -Ephesians 1:18

- Adam Gellert

For more information on Gateway's "Kairos" program,  click here.


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Strawberry Fields



"Abide in Me, and I in you.  As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me." - John 15:4-5

I have to admit, I have a rebellious tendency that can get me into trouble.  I recall a personality test I took at work years ago, where the watch out for my manager was to "understand his need to rebel."  I also rated high on "mischievous" on another assessment, defined as a "fondness for causing trouble in a playful way."  This can make for a dangerous combination, but also has some positives in that I'm willing to take risks and challenge the status quo when a different direction may be needed.

So why do we rebel? It's because we resist control and authority.  We see it as teenagers when we resist our parents' control and authority over our lives, and as adults in the workplace when we resist a manager's direction or a company policy.  And we see it in the Bible, with many examples of people who resist submitting their will to God because of their desire for control and independence.

I was spending time with God recently during a period of heightened rebellion in my relationship with Him, when He said, "Strawberries."  I was left with the impression that He was using this to describe me, so I looked up strawberries to discover what it was about them that He attributed to me.

Sure enough, I learned that strawberries can be very high maintenance.  When in growth mode, strawberries produce "runners," or vines that extend from the "mother" plant and try to grow new "daughter" plants.  The problem is, these runners take energy away from the mother plant, and farmers typically trim most of these runners back to allow for more growth of the mother plant.  So while strawberries have many outstanding health benefits and taste great, farmers who grow strawberries know they are dealing with a fruit that takes more care than others.

What does this mean for those of us who tend to be more rebellious? It's actually great news, because God created each of us to be special and unique, and He knows that He has to tend the "garden" of His creation in unique ways.  It's no surprise that He began creation with the Garden of Eden, with its large variety of plants and trees.  He loves tending to His garden of unique personalities with each person He created, and He's not scared or intimidated by your unique personality traits.

But now that I know I'm a strawberry in God's garden, I want to be more mindful of the potential "runners" in my life that keep me from bearing the best fruit possible. For me it's rebellion and the desire to have control.  I can ask God to expose and trim back these runners, so I can better submit to His perfect plan and will for my life.

What runners are getting in the way of your best life?  Ask God, the perfect Gardner, to expose and trim these areas, so you can bear the fruit God intended.


-Adam Gellert
adamgellert.com

Friday, May 5, 2017

Man Overboard!


"Keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith." - 1 Timothy 1:19

In the Christian community, we like to talk about our ability to cast our cares upon Jesus.  1 Peter 5:7 says, "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you."  And Psalm 55:22 says, "Cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken."  For me, when reading these verses I always had an image of taking whatever cares or burdens of our lives - worries, grief, hurts, anger - and placing them on Jesus' back as I walk with Him on life's journey.  As I hike up the mountain or down into the valley, Jesus is walking ahead of me, guiding me along the path with my heavy backpack of burdens on his shoulders.

But that implies that our burdens are still with us on the journey, that Jesus keeps those burdens as we walk together.  And our burdens actually need to be cast away, or released, since they get in the way of a full relationship with the Lord. 

Recently, God gave me a vision that has changed my perspective on what it really means to cast our cares on Him.  He showed me the image of having to throw the cargo overboard on a ship during a storm.  And it made me wonder, why did people do that during Bible times?  We see in the story of both Jonah and Paul that they were on a boat that was in danger of sinking because of a storm.  The crew starts throwing its cargo overboard, so why did they do this?

To lighten the ship.  A heavy cargo makes a ship sit deeper in the water, which is dangerous in shallow water.  The crew threw the cargo overboard so the ship would sit higher in the water in case they were blown near land, where their boat would get destroyed on the shallow reefs, rocks, and harbors.  If the bottom of the ship ran aground miles from any shore, they faced the prospect of being tossed into the sea.  Thus, when you are faced with life or death, everything (even the food) becomes expendable.

Lightening the ship also stabilizes it in rough seas.  If the ship got tossed to one side and became unbalanced, a heavy ship would be more likely to follow the energy and due to inertia (the law where objects in motion want to stay in motion), it would tip over.

Further, throwing cargo overboard makes the ship go faster in case the men wanted to try to outrun the storm.

With this analogy, God was showing me that there were some things I was holding onto, that I needed to throw away to lighten my ship.  The storms that will hit all of us at some point or another, can serve as a way to force us to throw away some things we view as "precious cargo," such as a job, money, pride, rebellion, or anything else that keeps us from relying solely on Him.  When the seas are quiet and the ship of life is cruising along smoothly, we aren't challenged to let go of some things that could make us stronger in the long run. 

What cargo do you need to throw overboard to lighten the load?  Ask God to reveal this to you through the Holy Spirit, and watch your ship pick up speed past the storms, and into the calm seas of God's presence.  And you'll find that the cargo you thought was essential to your journey, were actually a hindrance to being who God created you to be...

"We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek." - Hebrews 6:19-20

-Adam Gellert
adamgellert.com


Thursday, March 30, 2017

An Ocean of Secrets


"Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective." - James 5:16

I was watching the movie Titanic recently, one of my favorites.  The main character, Rose, tells the story of her romance with Jack, which ends when he dies in the Titanic sinking.  Nearing the end of her life, Rose confesses to her granddaughter this secret love she had before meeting her husband later in life.  In this moment of confession, she says to her granddaughter and the others listening to the story, "A woman's heart is an ocean of secrets."

This was such a interesting statement, and my first reaction was to think, "Not just a woman's.  We all have an ocean of secrets."  And while the movie portrayed her secrets as part of her adventurous, romantic mystique, most secrets create a bondage in our lives.  People keep secrets because they are ashamed, and don't want others to know about the sin committed, lie told, or law broken.  We have an image to uphold in front of others, and we are afraid of what people may think about us if they were to know about these secrets. 

Fortunately, God knows everything about us - what we have done and what we will do - and loves us as sons and daughters.  He sent Jesus to forgive us from our sins, and if we will receive it, we are washed clean from our ocean of secrets.  I know I am comforted knowing that He is aware of everything I've done and will do, and loves me all the same.

But sometimes that's not enough to heal us from our ocean of secrets.  As we see in James 5:16, God tells us to "confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed."  Confession releases power in your inner healing, as God honors the Body of Christ as a conduit for his work in each member of the Body.  In other words, we were not meant to "go it alone." 

One person who learned this powerful truth was Agnes Sanford, a founding member of the Charismatic Movement in the mid 1900s.  Agnes had a powerful healing ministry, and her first book, The Healing Light, was a best-seller.  But she found herself drained of her power as she gave more and more of herself in prayer for others, and from traveling around the country speaking.  One day she asked God how her strength could be restored, and He revealed to her that confession was the answer.  As one of her friends told her, "The confessional sets free in you the power of God through the forgiveness of Jesus Christ. It releases power in the way that is the most simple and wholesome and human."

So Agnes, coming from a church background that did not practice confessionals, split her life into seven periods of time.  She asked the Holy Spirit to reveal to her any unforgiven sins, hurts, or other memories from each of those seven time periods, writing them all down.  Finally, she shared everything from her list with a priest from another church, who prayed with her for her forgiveness.  The priest said, "Although so few people know it, the church through Jesus Christ really does have the power to forgive sins."

Sure enough, Agnes said she "had hardly gone out of the place before I was flooded from head to foot with the most overwhelming vibrations...and indeed a healing process did begin in me at that time."  She was able to continue her ministry with vibrancy and power after learning to take advantage of confession.

My home church, Gateway Church in Southlake, Texas, aligns to this approach and includes a confessional time in its "Kairos" freedom program.  I participated in this myself, and agree with Agnes that there's something powerful about telling another person about a sin you have never told anyone about, that's been kept buried inside.  It was very liberating.

If your "ocean of secrets" is keeping you from being the whole person God intended you to be, I would encourage you to explore a confession of those secrets to a member of the Body of Christ - a priest, pastor, or other Christian brother or sister.  And watch Jesus work in His promise to heal you and set you free.

-Adam Gellert
adamgellert.com


Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Wait


"But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." - Isaiah 40:31

When I was told ten months ago that my position was being eliminated at the company where I had worked for over ten years, I wasn't too worried. I was confident in the experience I had built over a 17-year career, and knew the economy was strong in my area.  God had warned me about the change by telling me He would give me "strength for the days ahead," and that He would "close my wound with new skin quickly" (Isaiah 58:8).  The company offered me a lower level role, but I turned it down, confident in God's word for me and excited to see what God had in store for my next adventure.

Little did I realize the challenge I was going to face in finding employment, and had I known the long and difficult road that lay in front of me, I might have made a different decision.  Most of the time I've felt the strength promised by God, but I've also had periods of anger, confusion, and doubt.  I don't understand why God's timing has to include a wait of several months for the next part of my journey to begin.  I've enjoyed the time off from a busy work environment to spend more time with family and friends, and in quiet time with God.  But we were made to work, to have a purpose. So why do I have to keep waiting?

In the midst of this struggle, I was going through some old files on my computer, and I found the following poem that I had saved from 1999.  I don't know why I was attracted to the poem at that time - I graduated from school that year and landed a job right away, and was engaged to be married, so I didn't have a reason to be drawn to it.  But now, in this season, it is perfect. Looking back, it seems as though God called me to this poem as a prophetic look into a future time when I would need it, and then prompted me to search through these files at just the right time.  He is amazing!

I hope this poem, written by an unknown author, encourages you during a season of waiting.  That may be now, or could be many years from now, so save it for whenever you may need it.  It shows us that waiting may, in the long run, will be the greatest gift we could receive in this season, and we'll look back later and be thankful for God's perfect timing as our life's plan unfolds.

WAIT

Desperately, helplessly, longingly, I cried;
quietly, patiently, lovingly God replied.
I pled and I wept for a clue to my fate,
and the Master who gently said, "Child, you must wait."

"Wait? You say, wait!," my indignant reply,
"Lord, I need answers, I need to know why!
Is your hand shortened? Or have you not heard?
By Faith, I have asked, and am claiming your Word.

My future and all to which I can relate
hangs in the balance, and YOU tell me to wait?
I'm needing a 'yes', a go-ahead sign,
or even a 'no' to which I can resign.

And Lord, You promised that if we believe,
we need but to ask, and we shall receive.
Lord, I've been asking, and this is my cry:
I'm weary of asking! I need a reply!"

Then quietly, softly, I learned of my fate
as my Master replied once again, "You must wait."
So, I slumped in my chair, defeated and taut
and grumbled to God, "So, I'm waiting....for what?"

He seemed, then, to kneel, and His eyes wept with mine,
and He tenderly said, "I could give you a sign.
I could shake the heavens, and darken the sun.
I could raise the dead, and cause mountains to run.
All you seek I could give, and pleased you would be.
You would have what you want - but you wouldn't know Me."

"You'd not know the depth of My love for each saint;
You'd not know the power that I give to the faint;
You'd not learn to see through the clouds of despair;
You'd not learn to trust just by knowing I'm there;
You'd not know the joy of resting in Me
when darkness and silence were all you could see.

You'd never experience that fullness of love
as the peace of My Spirit descends like a dove.
You'd know that I live and I save....(for a start),
but you'd not know the depth of the beat of My heart.
The glow of My comfort late into the night.
The faith that I give when you walk without sight.

The depth that's beyond getting just what you asked
of an infinite God, who makes what you have LAST.
You'd never know, should your pain quickly flee,
what it means that "My grace is sufficient for thee."

Yes, your dreams for your loved one overnight would come true.
But, oh, the loss! If I lost what I'm doing in you!

So, be silent, my child, and in time you will see
that the greatest of gifts is to get to know Me.
And though oft' may My answers seem terribly late,
my most precious answer of all is still, "WAIT."


May God give you strength and peace in your seasons of waiting, as well as a closer walk with Him!

- Adam Gellert

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Children of Light



Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark,
it will be just as full of light as when a lamp shines its light on you.” - Luke 11:36

Jesus told his disciples to be a light to the world.  But what does that mean?  Is it just a figurative expression for demonstrating God's love by showing the joy we have in Him as Christians?  That's partially true, but do you realize that there is also a very real light shining in you that comes from accepting Jesus as your Savior?  Two incredible stories have changed my view of what it means to have Jesus living inside me, and the power I have through Him to make an impact on both the natural and spiritual world.  If you accept this truth, you will never be the same!

About five years ago I heard the story of a witch doctor who had the ability to leave his body and travel in the spirit to people's houses to place a curse on them.  People would pay this witch doctor to do this to their enemies, and he made a good living at it.  But one day, he left his body and went to a man's house he was supposed to curse.  When he arrived at the window, all he could see was a blinding light coming from inside.  The light was so strong, and so powerful, he could not enter the house.  He could see the man, but surrounding him were three figures shining in a bright light,  Puzzled, the witch doctor later learned that there were three Christian missionaries at the man's house that night, sharing the gospel with him!

The second story reinforces this incredible truth.  Agnes Sanford, in her autobiography Sealed Orders, tells about growing up in China with her missionary parents.  She describes how the Chinese were able to easily comprehend the idea of Jesus Christ having the power to drive out evil spirits, because they believed in and even saw them.  She goes on to say, "Not only that, but they perceived, in a way that we are unable to perceive, that those who accepted Jesus walked in a circle of light that protected them from evil spirits.  Knowing this, a heathen family would sometimes invite a Christian family to live in a haunted house rent free for a few months, believing that after a while the Spirit of Christ abiding there would make it untenable for evil spirits."

Of course, being the light of the world also means living in such a way that others see and want what you have.  Matthew 5:16 says, "In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven."  But I hope these two stories give you the confidence to see who you are from another perspective.  As a Christian, when you walk into your office at work, go into the mission field, or just sit having coffee with a friend, you are emanating the light of Jesus Christ, which has the power to "demolish strongholds."  You are driving out darkness wherever you go!  And with this knowledge, walk boldly in your inheritance as a son or daughter, and shine brightly in a world filled with darkness.

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden."
- Matthew 5:14

"Believe in the light while you have the light, so that you may become children of light."  
- John 12:36

- Adam Gellert
adamgellert.com