I have been in quarantine since mid-March and that is a long time to be in isolation! My wife and I travelled to Thailand at the end of February to visit our eldest daughter. When we landed back in the States we were automatically put into a 14-day quarantine. I have been locked up for a long time! Whenever I think of my quarantine, I consider that it could have been a lot worse. Think about what it was like for the Israelites who were stranded in the desert for 40 years. Can you imagine it? Imagine being stranded and isolated for 40 years in a hot desert. I am struggling at home after a couple of months and l’ve got Amazon, wifi, Netflix and a popcorn machine!
I have been married for 24 years to my lovely wife, Meg and we have 3 incredible teenage daughters (side note: please be praying for me) all who have been born in Australia. We all moved to the US about 13 years ago so that I could go into full-time ministry. If I could be honest with you, I never wanted to be a pastor. In fact, before I became a professional Christian, I was actually a TV sports reporter back home in Australia for a show that was basically our equivalent of ESPN Sports Center. I know some of you are probably thinking “There is no way that guy was on TV.” Back then I worked as part of a TV sports team but we were really just a group of individuals. You see TV sports reporting is a competitive business. Everyone is out to promote themselves, build their own career, and they have their own agenda. While we were all working on a team and working together to try to get out a TV show every night, in reality we were all individuals and even competitors.
When I got into full-time ministry I learned in the Church everyone truly works as a team. We all stick together because it’s not enough just to get the job done, you have to get it done together. You have to lean on the people around you because when we all support each other, collectively we are much stronger and we are able to achieve so much more. I am reminded of this fact every time I go to the Holy Land.
There’s this really well known place in the middle of Jerusalem that, for me, is a constant reminder of how important it is for Christians to not only stick together but to lean on each other. Now, I don’t know how many of you have been to the Holy Land but tell me in the comments below what was your favorite place! Was it the Sea at Galilee, the Mount of Olives, the Garden of Gethsemane, or Jerusalem? Tell me where your favorite place was and if you haven’t been, tell me where you would like to go! Go ahead and put it in the comments now!
The Western Wall in Jerusalem is a 187ft section of the ancient wall that once surrounded Herod’s Temple at the time of Jesus. This wall is absolutely incredible because it dates back to 20 BC. If you’ve ever been to the Western Wall you may already know that some of the larger stones right at the base were built 20 years before the birth of Jesus and actually weigh up to 5 tons! I think that is just incredible and what makes it even more incredible is that everyone of these stones had to be precisely and intricately planned.
According to a lore in 1 Kings, there was not to be any noise allowed at the Temple Mount. Not only are these stones really big and old, but they were constructed in an unique way. This lore meant there were probably hundreds of thousands of stones that went into the building of the Temple and they had to be designed and cut and shaped at a quarry that was more than a mile away. This required that every single stone that went into the building of the Temple had to be planned and measured well in advance. Architects would have had to draw up detailed blueprints for every single stone to make sure that they fit perfectly when it was moved from the quarry up to the Temple Mount construction site. These blueprints would have been drawn down at the quarry when each stone was being carved out of the rock. Then the stones would have been shaped, measured and designed so that it matched the blueprints exactly. Doing all of that and then moving those 5 ton stones right up to the top of the Temple Mount would be relatively easy in the modern world with cranes, bulldozers and such. However, this all happened a couple of decades before the time of Jesus.
I think the construction for the Temple is pretty amazing and with that picture in your mind, consider the words of prophet Isaiah,
“Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness and who seek the Lord: Look to the rock from which you were cut and to the quarry from which you were hewn.” Isaiah 51:1.
Once the stones were moved to the top of the Temple Mount they had to be placed in the right spot, the spot that they were specifically designed for. I mean that is an incredible game of Tetris! I think that is an amazing picture of how each one of us has been intricately designed and made by the Master Architect for a specific purpose and place. You fit perfectly in the place God has designed specifically for you. I know some of you may be thinking the plan God designed specifically for you is not particularly glamorous. You’re more of a behind the scenes guy and a lot of what you do goes unnoticed by a lot of people. Here’s the interesting thing archeologists have found out about the stones at this site that are 20ft, 30ft, even 50ft underground that form part of the Temple Mount foundation. These stones would have never seen the light of day, yet they were discovered to be just as carefully designed and carved as any of the stones that sit on top of the wall above ground. That’s a reminder to me and you: we matter, no matter what we do, we matter because God has designed a place just for us.
There’s another interesting thing about the Western Wall, there is no cement, no mortar, no glue between any of the stones that make up the wall. The wall stands strong because the weight of each stone leans perfectly on the stones around them. Think about that for a second. The wall has stood strong for more than two thousand years only because each stone leans on the other ones around it. I think that’s interesting because Peter, who was a disciple of Jesus, in one of his letters he wrote to a group of Christians being persecuted said
“And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple.” 1 Peter 2:5.
I believe, just like the Western Wall, each one of us has been perfectly designed and positioned with a purpose by God in his new spiritual temple and we will stand strongest when we lean on and support one another.
How do we stand strong?
How do we lean on each other and support each other?
Well, I think that happens when we pray for each other. In fact, I think it is fascinating that the only things in the Western Wall are little pieces of paper with prayers on them that have been written by millions and millions of people over the centuries. Every single day thousands of believers come to the Western Wall with those tiny pieces of paper with prayers, they roll them up and place them in between those stones. I know that I have placed many pieces of paper in the wall each with prayers: for my family, my wife, my marriage, my daughters, prayers for their future, and even for my future. This is how we lean on each other, support each other, and stay strong by surrounding ourselves with people who will pray for us and with us. I really love the way Pastor Craig Groeschel from Life Church puts this idea,
“You can never be who God called you to be outside the strength of a biblical community.”
See if you want to stand strong: be a strong husband, father, brother, or uncle; you need to surround yourself with people you can lean on and who will support you with prayer. You will stand strongest and stand the test of time as long as you have those supporting stones with prayers in between.
Social Media and Online Pastor at North Point Ministries
Let’s start that wall of support. Click below and let us pray for you: