Connecting the Dots

Written by cycleguy on October 3rd, 2010

I have a grandson who turns four this October 17th.  We really don’t get to see him as often as we would like (like every day) but when we do we are astounded at how much he has grown and how much he has learned.  (I keep saying he has his grandfather’s genes but everyone laughs when I say that.  Just watch when he gets to be 6’5″ then they will know!)  😛  Anyway, he loves to sit on grandpa’s lap and watch CARS, go outside and play baseball (he has the motions down to a “T”) or to do puzzles.  I bought him some of those easy puzzles that I sit with him and do.  And yes, I can do them!  He knows his alphabet, writes his name and I am sure can leap tall buildings with a single bound.  But the one thing he has not mastered are numbers & counting (unless he astounds us when we see him in two weeks) which means pictures where he has to connect the dots is out.  You can imagine what his picture would look like if we were to hand him a pencil or crayon and say, “Okay Braden…connect the dots.  Then when you are done you can color the picture.”  Talk about a convoluted mess!  However, picture the scene if I took his hand in mine and we went from number to number as it should be done.  What a significant difference!

Sometimes people have trouble connecting their life properly.  In my sermon today/yesterday I talked about our PEACE Plan that we use to help guide us in fulfilling our Mission.  I would like to share that with you in the next post but for now I want to go in a different direction.  Throughout the years I have learned (sometimes the hard way) that it is not my job to “fix” people.  It is God’s.  It is, however, my job to love, accept and forgive in order to help people reconnect with God.  My analogy may break down but it is my/your responsibility to take people by the hand and help them in their effort to connect the dots in their life.  Ultimately, God does the connecting and coloring and fixing… I understand that.  But sometimes people need help in getting to that point.

Are you helping people connect the dots in their life?  Are you loving, accepting and forgiving people as they are in order to point them to the ONE who can make sense of their disconnected life?  I know I want to be more purposeful in helping people do that.  What about you?  How do you think you are doing?  I would like to hear from you.

Update: yesterday was phenomenal!  Many of the people experienced two services in a church for the very first time.  To say I was pleased would be an understatement.  We had over 50 brave that 8:30 a.m. worship experience.  And no one fell out of a window!  😛  The second experience had over 90 including the kids and we have very few chairs left for the adults to sit in.  Praise God for His blessings!  And in case you wonder…I will let you know in the next post what I ended up doing with the church’s Mission Statement.  You can see the previous discussion here. Thank you so-o-o-o-o-o-o much for you prayers.  God was there!!


52 Comments so far ↓

  1. Linda M says:

    Hi Cycleguy,
    The idea you present here may be where God is taking his people. “…loving, accepting and forgiving people as they are in order to point them to the ONE…”

    What I’m thinking is that church denominations may not be able to participate. What God might be doing will not fit their system and denominational beliefs unless they literally become generic in these. No more catholic, pentecostal, baptist, lutheran, etc. etc. Young people are disillusioned today and very wary of ‘church’ Many are making and adopting their own ways and beliefs for providing guidance for their lives.
    What I am wondering is the idea of people being either good or evil. People of good moral standard, good character, good works or people that are the opposite. There is no doubt in my mind that as christians we will be facing the advance of other religions in our respective countries. In Britian they have just recently formally acknowledged the Druid religion in their country. In Canada we are definitely acknowledging and teaching the religion of the natives.
    I think as christians we may be witnessing and pointing to God the Father and his son Jesus Christ as the only true God. Shining our light apart from any church denomination.
    We can probably do that best by our personal one on one contact and interaction with people of all cultural backgrounds and religions. We have to get past the fear that has been instilled in us by the longtime teaching of churches. We can have interaction with the world, we can’t or shouldn’t participate in its idolatry.
    I think this helps to explain the bible verse in Mark 13:12 about family members betraying each other to death. It won’t be catholic vs protestant denominations. It will be person against person.
    These are my thinkings and musings today. Does anyone have something they want to say about what I have posted? Bill? Are you seeing something different in the scriptures and in our world? What are you thinking?

    • cycleguy says:

      Linda: In all honesty, you have taken this where I was not even heading. I feel that the local church body needs to practice love, acceptance and forgiveness in order to help people connect to God. It is His job to fix them. It is my/our job to show them and point them to Jesus. I appreciate you taking the time to comment but it was off the subject of this post.

      • Linda M says:

        Sorry about that Bill. This is one of my weaknesess in blogging. I have a hard time understanding how to stay on topic.

      • lindaM says:

        Hi Bill,
        I think that people in the local church are going to have to put some disciplines into their lives. Disciplines of prayer and reading the Bible. I don’t know how we get into a position to be able to witness effectively without these disciplines occuring regularly in our lives.
        I had to go forward to the altar for prayer by the church people several times in order to get back into reading my Bible. God was gracious and merciful and allowed me to have this ability to read again. We are going to have to seek it with all our hearts.

  2. Michael says:

    Bill, congrats on the two services that is so cool. I also loved your mission statement.

    I try my best to help others connect the dots. As you stated, I too want to be more purposeful in helping others out. Something that I have been praying for a while about.

    • cycleguy says:

      Michael: Thanks. i can see you helping people connect the dots. God has some powerful things He is going to do in you and through in the future. I believe that wholeheartedly.

  3. Jim F. says:

    I think it is part of my call as Pastor to help people connect the dots (I am sure you agree). Some of that I believe this comes in the messages that are preached and the other formal teaching time we have with the church. I also see those times of counseling and just talking that are informal as times of trying to help people connect the dots.

    Connecting the Dots are something I try to do in a purposeful way but I am not always successful.

    Glad you had a great service and praying for many more!

  4. techgeek says:

    I find that I need to be more purposeful in this. I don’t have a problem forgiving or accepting people, but I typically don’t go out of my way to look for new opportunities.

    • cycleguy says:

      Techgeek: Don’t suspect you are alone in this. Many don’t want to or don’t find it easy to go out of their way. You have some incredible gifts that you do use and that is important.

  5. Jaycee (E.A) says:

    I’m excited that you had a phenomenal church day. My prayer is that the church will continue to increase to where God wants it to be.

    As for helping people connect the dots, I fell in love with the description of how if you could take the hand of your grandson, it’ll be easier for him to connect all the dots.

    My thoughts: I think we need to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit to help us find out whose hands we’re supposed to be holding, because in as much as we want to help people connect the dots, we’re not sent to everybody. But once we realize what our callings are, we must go out there with boldness and do the bidding. (I’ve been learning a lot about sensitivity to the Holy Spirit).

    PS: I’ll also use this as an opportunity to thank God for placing people in my life who have helped me connect the dots in the past, and who are still helping me. But most of all, I thank God for being the one who ultimately connects all the dots for me.

    • cycleguy says:

      Jaycee: Glad you liked the description. But I especially like your words about being sensitive to the Holy Spirit in order to find the hands we need to be holding. He will show us who is in need. Sounds like God has blessed you with some great people as influencers.

  6. Ani says:

    I don’t do good all the time. I don’t always succeed in helping people to connect the dots in their life. Sometimes I try but fail, sometimes I fail because I don’t try and there are times I try and it works. I have felt and sometimes feel like Paul where he says he wants to do good but doesn’t and he does what he doesn’t want to do? I don’t know if it’s clear but you do understand me right?

    I’m so happy it was a good day yesterday. It made me smile. I love God so much for His goodness and faithfulness.

    • cycleguy says:

      Ani: please don’t beat yourself up. We all fail and fall in our attempts to help. And yes, I certainly understand what you are saying. Thanks for the shared happiness.

  7. herbhalstead says:

    I used to think it was kind of lame and hokey to use journey language with the Christian life – However, I’ve learned that it is a great linguistic connector – but only if we see it as a trek with fellow travelers. We are not in this alone – God uses people to minister to people – He intentionally connected us in this way. Therefore not only is helping one anther along the path something that we should do, it is something that is built into our new DNA – that new DNA that we received when He made us new. When we are not traveling together we sense something s missing. Sometimes we look at that and say, “I am alone” – but maybe we ought to be saying, “Where is that brother I am supposed to be walking with?”

    • Ani says:

      I LOVE your comment. Lately you are amazing in your comments. I don’t mean you weren’t before but you are MORE amazing. I better stop because it’s getting weird my reply. You understand what I mean, right? 😛

    • cycleguy says:

      Good thought Herb. I was once told I should never do ministry alone. Bring someone along with me. You have a good question to ask. Thanks.

    • lindaM says:

      Hi Herb
      In this post you have been able to articulate in a very eloquent way my thoughts as well.
      For an example, this blogging site of Bill’s. By this site those that visit here are able to daily connect with one another. Bill provides the leadership and catalyst for each of our thoughts and topics. We’re purposeful in what we talk about. We’re talking about God. Even though you are in Indiana,USA and I am in Alberta, Canada we are able to communicate our thinking every single day on this blog site if we choose to. We can also read one another’s thoughts on this blog site without having to speak and put our thoughts forward. We can do this with believers all over the world. That’s pretty awesome. We are not alone in this journey and we shouldn’t be.

  8. lindaM says:

    Hi Bill,
    You know I’m the critic but I do have alot of love for people in general. About Braden connecting the dots… sometimes that convoluted connecting of the dots can bring forth a picture that is astounding. Just some thoughts.

  9. Kim says:

    First – a big congratulations on expanding your services. You must be quite excited. Hope the adjustment isn’t too hard on you.

    Second- I need reminded of the part where it’s not my job to “fix” people daily. That is one of the biggest things I struggle with. I feel like a failure when I can’t fix the people around me. I know that is not my job, just always seem to forget that part 🙂

    Thanks for the reminder!

    • cycleguy says:

      Thanks for the well-wishes Kim. I used your contribution in the message yesterday. 🙂 As for the second comment: I have to remind myself of that a lot. I am a big “fixer” and that is an issue sometimes. We’ll just have to keep praying for each other.

  10. Sean Sullivan says:

    This subject is very personal to me. As one who is a new follower of Christ, I know that I am where I am today in my relationship with God because of the guidance, support, understanding & insight I’ve gotten from the people at OVCF & you Bill to help me connect the dots. There’s a lot to learn and having people that are willing to help in a life changing search, whatever it might be, are so important I think. God has a purpose for each of us, but unless we have some help in realizing it, many of us will remain lost. This is definately one way that people can make a difference and impact the world. Thanks…

    • herbhalstead says:

      ^^^ that’s what it’s all about right there.

      • cycleguy says:

        You are right Herb. So many people have played an influence in Sean’s new life. it is cool to see.

      • Ani says:

        Oh, stop with your great comments, actually don’t, I’m just teasing.

        You just put into one sentence what I tried to explain below. I always end in trying to explain what I mean. Better let you comment and than say “see comment Herb”.

        Therefor. See comment Herb. All of them.

    • cycleguy says:

      Sean: you told me when we were riding today that I shouldn’t be surprised if I saw a comment from you. I still am. The first one! 😀 thanks so much for the kind words but I am so glad that you pointed out the influence of the other folks at OVCF. They are what is making things happen right now. I pray you will continue seeking God’s purpose and plan for your life.

    • Ani says:

      Wow! Thanks for this. This helped me personally because I always ask the Lord to send people from Him to those who are new followers of Christ. So encouraging. Thanks again.

      And thanks for telling us what kind of pastor Bill is. We already knew off course 🙂 but it’s always nice to hear from those who know him.

      • cycleguy says:

        Ani: I could make a smart remark about having Sean fooled but he may agree! 😛 It has been fun watching him grow in his faith. Just today while riding we had a pretty intense discussion about living for Christ in the corporate world and what defines success. Pretty cool actually. Thanks for the kind words.

        • Ani says:

          Aaawww, he must be a gift from God.
          Did you tell him that there was a party going on in heaven when he accepted Jesus in his life?

          We should have a party here when someone accepts Jesus as their Saviour.

          Bill, love your heart. 😀

          • cycleguy says:

            Not sure if I told him or not but he is not into music (except what I call now-I-lay-me-down-to-sleep music) That alone may keep him out of heaven because he won’t like the music. hahahahahahaha Thanks Ani. That means a lot.

  11. jasonS says:

    So glad to hear the first services went great! Praise God! I love the picture of you holding your grandson’s hand to help him see and create the picture. And I forget sometimes I can’t ‘fix’ other people and it’s painful at times to watch them go a seemingly disastrous direction, but God is faithful and He hears our prayers.

    Great post, Bill. So blessed by your report!

    • cycleguy says:

      Thanks Jason. It was because of people like you praying. The problem with not being able to fix people is exactly what you say…it in painful. Thanks again for your prayers.

  12. Danielle says:

    I am glad you have made me stop and think about how I am doing in the love and forgiveness department. Let me be honest, I am much better about it now than what I used to be. I think it is an age thing. The older I get the more patience I have. The more patience one has the more it is easy to love and forgive others. I wish I had the patience that I have now in my twenties, but I think patience like wisdom comes with age for a reason. It is for sure much easier to love and forgive others after you have made quite a few yourself. It is much easier not to try to fix others and judge them for what they do when it has happened to you on more than one occasion. Thinking about “connecting the dots” has made me think of all those in my life that have been there through all my rough times. They were there not judging not trying to fix me but just loving me. I believe this is all God asks for in return for his perfect love. Go out and love others like He loves us. That is the Christian I want to be. One who loves others and does not judge and try to fix others people’s lives, but one who loves unconditionally like others have done to me. If it were not for some of these key people in my life that did not love me at my lowest, I may not be a Christian today because I seen and felt Christ’s love through them. Your blog has blessed me today, and it made me take a minute out of my day to say thank you Jesus for some people in my life. I love the point you made about it being God’s job to do the coloring and fixing, and does He ever!! It is amazing how God’s love can turn the ugliest life beautiful.
    I loved the service on Sunday. I was nervous about coming to the early service. There was no difference. It was just as enjoyable and a huge blessing.

    • cycleguy says:

      Danielle: you are suffering from what many of us have- the “I wish I knew that when I was younger” syndrome. 🙂 I do that a lot, especially in the ministry area. You are right though…age should show us how growth is essential. Also glad to see that you acknowledge those in your past (and even now) who have gone through the rough times with you. If you are like me the list seems endless but I wouldn’t have made it without them. Thanks for allowing God to speak to you through my blog. I am humbled by it. He is amazing! Glad you liked the first service. I think there may have been a lot of nervous people. 😛

  13. Bill,
    Congratulations!! How exciting to have 2 services and all the beautiful souls hearing hope and love and Jesus!
    I absolutely adore your analogy of connecting dots. I have to tell you this past week I received an influx of emails from followers of my blog who were in desperation and pain, needing Jesus and needing hope. A few of the stories were heartbreaking. I am talking devasting hurts. When I get these hands that reach out my initial reaction in my flesh is panic. How can I help them? What will I say? How can I affect healing in their lives…they have no one else. They need ME. Oh boy.
    I have learned after taking many burdens on myself that it is not MY job to heal or affect change or fix…like you brilliantly said..I just point them to the ONE who has the answers and love them. This week I almost shut down my blog because I felt overwhelmed at the hurts around me and the hurts I possessed..I felt I was a sham. Who am I to write or blog and give people hope when I have no answers and am so messed up and broken?
    Its not my job to have the answers or be perfect…only Jesus.

    • cycleguy says:

      Julie: Thanks for the kind words. About your blog: you have taken a unique approach to reaching out and have struck a chord with so many who are hurting. That is what is so cool about blogging: different strokes for different folks. While some won’t darken the door of mine they find rest in yours and visa versa. I pray you will continue doing what you are doing and not be too overwhelmed. You do the right thing…point them to Jesus.

      • Tami Grandi says:

        I agree- I know I don’t comment and I usually go visit when my dad refers to it in a post or a comment but I know that I leave the blog blessed and most days challenged. Read yesterday’s and left encouraged (yesterday was a ROUGH day emotionally/mentally for me- just very overwhelmed with a lot and I have tried to keep my chin up while discussing things regarding christian women/men and dating (not me dating him- just in general) and where the singleness topic was going in class. He is just very bitter and something he said on FB (partly because he believed it to be true and partly because he is a pot-stirrer) on Sunday brought it to a head and I broke down. Everything I have tried to communicate for the last month and a half fell on deaf ears and in turn caused a bit of heartache. I needed that post on hope…

        • cycleguy says:

          Thanks for commenting Tami. I know you are having a tough time with the singleness deal right now. But as we have talked, God has a plan for you. at this stage, singleness is a gift. Any others want to add even at this late date?

          • Tami Grandi says:

            I am actually not necessarily struggling. Just fed up with the attitudes of other people toward it- like it’s not okay to be single (and this is other single people not even married people saying this). Like I said in my last blog post I have experienced MANY things that I would not have if I were married. I KNOW beyond the shadow of a doubt that God’s plan is so much bigger than mine I just desire to rest in HIM. The conversations I have been having are more of “other side”- the blessings, the celebrations, the different perspective written toward someone makes generalizations (the latest was Christian women are not really interested in dating christian men) and is very bitter in his statements. I’ll have to fill you in more about it at another time dad.

  14. Tom Raines says:

    I am days late getting back here but see your last line “I will listen” seems to be the best way to connect the dots and the humbleness you mention “but I wouldn’t have made it without them” brings us to a place of empathy and compassion that allows us to meet people where they are.My experience in recovery has been the best opportunity I have experienced in removing all pretense. Honesty and being real allows us to plant seeds our Father does amazing things with..GREAT leader you are Bill! Happy for your services!!

    • cycleguy says:

      Thanks Tom. Your recovery (which has been talked about on his blog) has been a blessing to yourself and to many others as you share what you learn. Thanks for the kind words.

  15. Duane Scott says:

    I think I would like to have a pastor like you.

    Once in a while, I need someone to help me connect the dots… and it helps if it is someone that you know will do it along with God.

    That’s you. Keep helping God by helping people.

    I’m proud of you!