Initially, I considered naming this post GOING OUT ON A LIMB for the LORD or BRANCHING OUT in 2010. Either way, it reminds us all what happens when we reach out to Jesus. Desperate men must take drastic measures to get to God.
Yes, prayer is a whisper away but obedience outstretched to the Omnipotent is OUTSTANDING! Deity delights in deliberate and obnoxious faith. The Bible in Luke 19:1-10, talks about a man named Zacchaeus. Studying this passage I learned a couple points.
For starters, we “SEE the SINNER” – Zacchaeus was not only short in stature but sophisticated in sinning. This brother was considered the lowest of the low by oppressing folks who were already down. The only folks worse were warped grave robbers but at least their victims couldn’t feel anything. They were dead! He was short in stature. Not just socially or economically but physically. Worse, spiritually! He was a dead man walking. He had money in the bank but no Savior in his tank. David Koresh was known as the Wacko in Waco. Now, we meet Zaccheaus, the “Sicko in the Sycamore.”
The Bible notes he was not only a tax collector but a chief tax collector. When the Lord is not living in us we are tempted to hide behind “titles.” God is not impressed with titles. Why? For one, when you own the cattle on a thousand hills, tossed the stars in their existence and at your Name every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that “JESUS CHRIST IS LORD” I am convinced God is not impressed with our “titles” but what catches His attention is our testimony.
We are a sin-sick society in desperate need not of health insurance but Heaven assurance! Ironically, the Sycamore Tree resembled Zaccheaus. How? Both were considered “un-clean.” The Sycamore is never noted as being elegant (not that trees are invited to galas or fashion runways). Despite his errors, to his credit it is evident that Zachaeus had some questions and heard that “The Answer” was coming to town. No, we are not talking about Allen Iverson 🙂
Secondly, we “SEE the WINNER”. Christ commanded a crowd wherever He went. This day was no exception, as the Almighty strolled through the street, He (like the Good Shepherd) willing to leave 99 to catch the one that was lost came to stop at this Sycamore tree. Picture this, The Treasure is now at the trunk of the tree and what does He see but a man desiring to encounter Eternity!
The beauty about this passage is that this man who was “short in stature” and soaked in sin scrambled up a Sycamore to see the Savior. Zacheaus did what no one else that day did or dared and ironically, the Lord did what no one thought imaginable. Zacchaeus in his search to see God and perhaps “find God” literally went “out on a limb” to look at the Lord, get a glimpse of God and see the Savior for himself. This is important because we cannot get to Heaven on anyone else’s coat-tails or shoulders but we must have a real relationship with the Redeemer. It has been said: “If you always do what you always did you will always get what you always got.” Sometimes we have to BRANCH OUT and like Star Trek, “boldly go where no man has gone before.” Sure, everyone has sin but very few went to such lengths (limbs) to grab God.
The Bible says that Zacchaeus couldn’t see Him because of the “press.” I always thought it fitting the word the King James Version used because it was referring to the crowd but reporters in media (press) don’t want us to see God either these days. It was a disadvantage his whole adult life being short but the blessing about Zacchaeus being “small” is that it forced him to get out of his comfort zone, create a plan and climbed a tree. Call him crazy or creative but he had a crisis and for the first time in his life considered that perhaps Christ not the crowd could satisfy.
Zacchaeus, his entire life felt demoted but with his faith and God’s grace he was about to be PROMOTED. It is true: “The darkest hour of the night is always the hour before dawn.” Sometimes we got to get to the end of self before we can see God. Our “advantages” can make us immune to going to the next level in life and with the Lord. Sometimes, our past successes are more dangerous than future failures. We must come to a point where we are “sick and tired of being sick and tired.” Bless his heart, Zacchaeus, paraded by day as a winner but hit his pillow at night knowing he was a wannabee. He was a loser in need of a Leader and a lover for his soul. God’s favor is not fair but is forwarded to those with great faith.
Zacheaus, the sinner is now Face to face with “The Winner” and now invited to dinner! The Lord looked, laughed and listened. Thank God for a Savior Who listens. Then God did the un-thinkable. The man who went “out on a limb” was now going to have a meal with the Master. Dinner for two. A sinner seated for supper with the Savior. The crowd would remain outside and for the first time in his life he who only knew of being an outsider looking in would be “in” while everyone else out.
God going to his house showed He was humble. The crowd cried: “Look, He is a friend of sinners.” Jesus knew that sinners need a Savior. Plus, Jesus went to his house on Earth so Zacchaeus could one day go to His Heavenly Home. The crowd was shocked, Christ smiled and this crook is stuffed (not just satisfied in the stomach but the soul). The Master knew that most meals made by man are temporal but breaking bread with the Bread of Life are ETERNAL!
Now, we “SEE the DINNER”. I imagine Jesus delights in “left overs.” Not so much in food but folks who have been “by-passed” for far too long. Regardless, if it was a leper who needed a healing, a woman caught in adultery needing forgiving or a man in a tree that needed a taste of Glory; all of us need the Lord. Jesus loves second chances and He specializes in grace. Everyone knows Him as the Great Physician and Wonderful Counsellor but Christ is also the consummate Chef. The Prince of Peace prepared a meal that no man or woman could make. For starters, it not only satisfied his stomach but saved his sin sick soul. Jesus meets both our outer and inner most needs. He ministers physically, spirtually but also by building community. Lordship loves fellowship!
Just like that Sycamore who’s nature is “unclean” we resemble Zachaeus more than we would like to admit. Our works fall far short of the Kingdom of God. We were “second class” citizens since the fall of Adam and Eve. We sold out in sin before stretching out and standing UP to see God. Jonathan Edwards wrote: “We are sinners in the Hands of an angry God” but this day; once again, we were ALL sinners in the Hands of a Gracious God. Standing at the base of that tree, the Lord could have thrown the book at him, the woman living in sin or you and me but “The Book” gave great grace opposed to grumbling or grief. The answer that day and today, was not the tree but that Zacchaeus met the Trinity.
Christ was looking for Zacchaeus all along and perhaps the reason why He stopped so quickly is because He could relate. How? Perhaps Jesus saw Himself in that tree. Not long after this encounter, Jesus would exit and embrace an old rugged tree. Zacchaeus got down and I am certain Jesus in His mind got up. At this moment, Zacchaeus had supper but Jesus began to suffer.
Trees are important to God. For one, He made them. Two, He used them to redeem us. Adam and Eve failed by eating forbidden fruit on a tree and Jesus won our victory on a tree (cross) at Mount Calvary. The Bible notes: “He that knew no sin became sin.” The unblemished Lamb (Jesus) inherited our shame and sin and like that Sycamore Tree was deduced to become unclean. Today, as you drive home from work or walk to school tomorrow do this homework assignment. STOP and STARE at the trees. Look closely, and if you gaze long enough you will see a man perched in a tree. That is Zacchaeus. Now look closer, and you begin to see me sitting with him. Don’t blink now, I know your eyes may be straining as you squint or tears blurrying your vision but you are in that Sycamore tree too!
We are sinners and here comes The Winner daydreaming about dinner. Skipping down the street we see the Savior, right up the road is the Redeemer and coming over the Hill is Him! The One who would rather die than live without you and He invites you to Dinner (The Marriage Supper of the Lamb). Today, is the day of Salvation and when the Savior speaks we need to listen. Jesus not only cooks but cleans. One AMAZING attribute of God is that He makes the “un-clean” clean.
Millions have been touched by the Master and He could be a “professional Savior” but He elected to be a PERSONAL SAVIOR. Each person comes to Christ one at a time. Zacchaeus was won by One. Today, souls are still won – one at a time. Jesus sole mission was to redeem souls. The Bible is clear: “He that winneth souls is wise.” May we all be willing to “branch out” and dare to be different, risk reaching for the Redeemer, stretch out to the Savior and go out on a limb for the Lord because like that Elvis classic: “Reach Out to Jesus because Jesus is Reaching Out to You.”
Frank, your sermon was UNBELIEVABLE last night at Red Sea Jam VIIII at the Rodgers Theater in Poplar Bluff, MO. Too bad we didn’t have a stadium for you to preach that in because it was incredible.
Scores of folks came up to me and said they loved and your message and God really used you to touch everyone! We love you man and hope you had a safe trip back to Maryland. Hope to do it again sometime – You were AMAZING!!!
Frankenberry – Brother, you rang bells on New Years Eve at RED SEA JAM VIIII. You knocked the bottom out of Heaven and the Glory of God rained down on us with your message about Zaccheaus.
Frank, you are the preacher’s preacher and I have seen you preach in Georgia, Maryland, Alabama, Missouri and Illinois and your message last night was on all cylinders. Your impressions were never better and you may have mastered dozens of celebrity voices but most importantly, you hear from The Master’s Voice.
That crowd clung to your every word and I couldn’t be more proud of you. Brother, you flat out preached and I have yet to hear you preach the same thing twice and you never dissapoint. The sky is the limit for you brother and the power of God is on you in a special way.
God orchestrated that entire meeting last night and I pray you get invited to speak at the WILDERNESS OUTCRY event in June to speak on stage to the anticipated 250,000 people at Poplar Bluff, MO on the 40th anniversary of Woodstock. With speakers Lou Engle, Dutch Sheets, Karen Wheaton, Gov Mike Huckabee and others. You would fit right in! Its just a matter of time before scores hear about your ministry
Brother, I count it an honor and privilege to be your friend. 2010 is going to be a great year for you and Mary Ann and I wish you, Ruthie, Hannah and baby Andrew a wonderful New Year. Love you Frankenberry!!
Happy New Year & Blessings!!!
Hey Frank i have enjoyed our talks and i enjoy reading your blogs and that is a blessing.The more we humble ourselves the better it gets.The more we see ourselves as nothing and the saviour as everything the more blessings that come our way.There are many like Zachaeus that are in hiding that want to be seen and heard and have a lot to say but there are also many phaisees that do there best to keep them in the tree.I remember the pharisee that Jesus went and had dinner with and the part about Jesus not washing his hands and doing all the non biblical stuff they did in luke ch 11,and Jesus talked about the outward side of them but the inward side was not right and we still see that as well today and for some reason many will not change,and that is because real men of God cannot be heard very much because they want to keep them out and are so afraid of change.The cross was the best candle stick ever and always will be.That light still shines bright today and i pray many this year will see the light that still shines bright from that cross.I as well pray that many will help these Godly men out from the trees they still sit on and understand these are Gods chosen ones.If not many will miss out on what God has in store for so many.Jesus said we must love one another in order to love the father and so many have missed out on that or just do not want to think about it.Way to many still preach John 3/16 and forget the rest and without the rest that one vs will not get anyone into the gates.He said wide is the gate and narrow is the way and few that will find it.I wonder why he said that?If John 3/16 was all we needed to worry about he would have never made that statement.God never has used the proud but always the weak and the humble.I bet it took Zachaeus all the strength he had to climb that tree but it was the best climb he ever made, amen.I wish you well this year and all the brothers that are still waitng to fall from the trees to serve the one they love,Jesus Christ.We all must never forget that God has many he wants to use but the pharisees are continuing to keep them in the trees,i say come from the trees and hit the streets as we have a God that can do anything if only we will humble ourselves and love all.Time is so short and we all need to hear from the best that God has chosen and not man because if the words are not from the Holy Spirit himself they are worthless to our ears.God bless and be with each of you and i pray this will be the year of real change and not just a bunch of talk.Real men that love Jesus love everyone and will give to the ones that have sacrificed all for him to bring the truth of the gospel.Anyone can preach a message but only the called by him can bring change.The next time anyone takes communion and does not have a tear in there eyes ask why?Just thinking about what was done for us all should bring many tears,it was horrible,but out of love for all.Happy New year to everyone and i love you all.haroldwillettministries.LICJ Harold.
Happy New Year – keep spreading the word
Brother Frank, we are looking forward to you speaking at our YOUTH SUMMIT in Philly this year! Good speaking with you over the weekend and God bless you
If I didn’t know, I’d say, “Frank, where do you get this stuff?”….but I know. 🙂
You are the Ace of Alliteration.
That is good stuff right there!
Hey Frank! just wanted to ask you a favor. I know you are a busy man, but I have a situation that needs special prayer over. The Lord knows it all so I won’t go into details, but I would like it if you could remember me and my family in your prayers. There is Power in Prayer and I know you know that.
Yeah, He was “repositioning” himself to see the Lord! As He took those drastic measures, it brought the attention of Jesus. What about the woman with the issue of blood, or Blind Bartimaeus? The cry and act of desperation always attracts the “touch” and attention of our Lord!! Hopefully, we will learn from those examples
Frank, great post as usual brother. The rich man that approached Jesus ealier had open access and knew Jesus was savior but couldnt give up what his position to follow Christ – zacchaeus overcame all obstacles to see Christ and immediately confessed and made restoration not only in Christ’s presence but to the entire crowd – came down to who wanted Christ more and for what motives-
To be seen as a friend of Christ or to be Known personally by Christ-so it is today – some think its good for their agenda to attend church and be known/thought a christian and then those who only care to be known by Christ Himself with that as their sole motive
Well said my brother. Looking forward to reading what you write on Facebook this year. It is always one of the highlights of my day.
Thanks Frank! its always been good to hear you -i remember when we were playing basketball in middle and high school . You was the team pastor you always had the gift of spreading the word of what needed to be heard
happy new year brother
Thank you for your kind words Frank. I love your heart for God and it i am the one who is blessed to call you friend!
Praise the Lord for what u doing in your Ministry, May God’s abundant blessings
be upon your Ministry and family and may He continue to use you mighty as u
spread His word. God bless