Escape from Gilligan’s Island: Intro

We have start­ed a new series at Flatland Church called “Escape from Gilligan’s Island.” Our pas­tors intro­duced the series yes­ter­day by, of course, talk­ing about the TV series Gilligan’s Island and how they nev­er got off the island (at least not until the stu­pid movie). We even sang/spoke (poor­ly) the theme song, at least the part where the song lists off all the peo­ple strand­ed.  It was fun! But our pas­tors still had some seri­ous things to say.

They dis­cussed how we can find our­selves strand­ed in some way in our lives. We can be strand­ed in our rela­tion­ships, our jobs, our finances, our addic­tions, among oth­ers. They encour­aged us that we can escape from being strand­ed through God’s pow­er. Over the next eight weeks, they will be show­ing us God’s pow­er that can deliv­er us as seen in the book of Exodus.

I have been strand­ed myself with regards to my health. I am get­ting rather frus­trat­ed over the lack of health late­ly; gluten-intol­er­ance, neu­roupa­thy, vaso­va­gal syn­cope, and a spas­tic esoph­a­gus. It seems that dur­ing the past few weeks I have had them all flare up rather heav­i­ly.

At least one doc­tor I vis­it­ed believed that many of my prob­lems all stem from the gluten-intol­er­ance. Unfortunately, I man­aged to acci­den­tal­ly get some gluten into my diet recent­ly so I had a fair­ly nasty break out of the skin blis­ters that it pro­duces. Gluten also caus­es me to have rather nasty abdom­i­nal pains and oth­er nas­ti­ness (celi­ac dis­ease).  During church ser­vice yes­ter­day, I was expe­ri­enc­ing some very severe chest pains, caused by the spasms in my esoph­a­gus. So, even as our pas­tors were talk­ing about being strand­ed, I was lit­er­al­ly feel­ing it.

During our Oasis ser­vice on Wednesday, I also felt strand­ed and very frus­trat­ed because of my gluten-intol­er­ance. We cel­e­brat­ed the Eucharist (bit redun­dant, I know) but there I was, not able to ful­ly par­take because I can’t eat the bread. Waves of sad­ness real­ly hit me. Communion has always meant so much to me through­out my life and to be cut off from it because of some stu­pid  ill­ness dri­ves me crazy.

Some might chide me a lit­tle say­ing, it is only sym­bol­ic. And, yes, I rec­og­nize that par­tak­ing of the bread and wine is not salvif­ic but I have a ten­den­cy to fol­low to a small degree Calvin’s view of the Eucharist which says there is some­thing spir­i­tu­al that takes place dur­ing Communion. What that is, I can’t say. I just know that Paul would not have need­ed to warn us about tak­ing part in our cel­e­bra­tion through the bread and grape unworthi­ly if it was pure­ly sym­bol­ic (1 Cor. 11:27–30 [show]ERROR: The IP key is no longer sup­port­ed. Please use your access key, the test­ing key ‘TEST
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Anyway, I look for­ward to this series. I may not be able to escape from my ill­ness­es per se but I believe that God can lead me away from the emo­tion­al feel­ings of being strand­ed. Our pas­tors empha­sized that we need to be alert to God’s sal­va­tion. He may pull up to our iso­lat­ed island in a cruise ship or just a row boat — either one can res­cue us. But if we just want to get on and look for a cruise ship, we may nev­er get off the island because He has pro­vid­ed us with some oth­er form of res­cue.

There is an inter­est­ing pas­sage in 1 Timothy 5:23 [show]ERROR: The IP key is no longer sup­port­ed. Please use your access key, the test­ing key ‘TEST
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that has recent­ly caught my atten­tion again. Paul urges Timothy to drink a lit­tle wine for his stom­ach because he is sick fre­quent­ly. This has to real­ly get under the skin of those who believe that tak­ing med­ica­tion indi­cates a lack of faith. Paul, super apos­tle, giv­ing med­ical advise instead of say­ing, “BELIEVE and you will be healed!”

Why would Paul tell Timothy to take his med­i­cine? Paul rec­og­nizes that until the res­ur­rec­tion, we have to suf­fer from the effects of sin. He sees that God has pro­vid­ed us with ways to stay healthy and cure ill­ness that may not seem to be mirac­u­lous but still a gift of God. He also rec­og­nizes that God’s pow­er is made man­i­fest in our weak­ness. God can do amaz­ing things through us, even when we are weak. This is going to be one of the mes­sages we will see in Exodus, God’s Power in a weak ves­sel.

And so, although we may think we are only going on a three hour tour, we can find our­selves strand­ed on some desert­ed trop­i­cal island. God can and will res­cue us from being strand­ed, if we only let Him. I will try to be open to what God wants to tell me and hope­ful­ly you will come along for the ride and dis­cov­er your own way to be res­cued (and be sure to lis­ten to the pod­casts of the ser­mons — either on Flatland Church’s web­site or sub­scribe via iTunes).

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