The Hands of the Lord

Scripture: Mark 6:41, Luke 4:40
Date: 09/23/2000 
This sermon focuses on the hands of the Lord, primarily the hands of Jesus. Twelve different aspects of God's are discussed, starting with creation through the new earth.
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Note: This is a verbatim transcript of the live broadcast. It is presented as spoken.

Good morning. Now this morning we’re going to be talking about the hands of the Lord. Most of the message is going to deal with experiences specifically related to the hands of Jesus. But Jesus made several debuts, personally, in the Old Testament; not the least of these was the creation. Have you thought much about hands before? Your hands? The hands of the Lord in particular? How many times they appear in the Bible and what the hands of God are doing? Most of the time blessing, creating, supplying, providing, healing, giving life. You see, you cannot be saved unless we place our lives in God’s hands. There are a lot of songs that deal with the hands of God. Look at the picture there, what do you think of? He’s got the whole world in His hands. And as we go through the message I’ll touch on a couple of other songs and they deal with the hands of God.

I’d like to take 12 different aspects of how we can see God’s hands in the Bible. And by the end I’m hoping that you can believe that you can trust your life and place your life fully in His hands.

First of all, let’s talk about the creation. Now the first way we find God’s hands appearing in the Bible is God has hands that create. Now when the Lord made everything on the first six days of creation, are you aware that He spoke everything in to existence? But when it came time to make man in His own image, the Bible tells us, Genesis 2:7, “And the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground.” Picture Jesus kneeling down and gathering up the dust and forming this creature in His own image. Isaiah 64:8 says, “But now, O Lord, You are our Father. We are the clay and You our Potter, and we are all the work of Your Hand.” When God made man and woman He did it with His own hands.

Any of you ever notice with a baby’s hands that if you take your finger and place it next to a baby’s hand, what does the baby do? It reaches out and it grabs you. And one of the things that separates humans from the other creatures in the world is our hands. And I realize that not only do we have an opposable thumb, you could say that many of the apes and monkeys also have an opposable thumb, and that’s true. But the dexterity and the complexity that is accomplished by the human hand, there’s nothing like it. Have you ever watched an accomplished classical guitar player? I mean a really good one. If you listen to them it sounds like there’s five guitars playing. And they pull back the curtain and you find out, or you see on the video, that it’s actually one man who is so accomplished with the fingers and the dexterity and the signals that he’s sending and the sounds that he’s recreating that it’s mind boggling. Or a brain surgeon with his delicate instruments. There’s nothing quite like the human hand.

Human hands can do much good and they can do evil. The Bible says that you can determine who a person serves by how they are marked in the hand. The Bible tells us those that follow the Lord have the law of God in their hand and between their eyes. Those who have the mark of the beast it’s evident in the hand and in the forehead. So hands are very significant. God’s hands formed us.

Second point. God’s hands are hands of provision. His hands are hands of provision. Mark 6:42, you remember the story of when the people were hungry. And they took the five barley loaves and the two fish and they gave them to Jesus. They put them in His hands. And He looked up to Heaven and He blessed and He broke the loaves and He gave them to His disciples. He placed them from His hands to their hands. And they set them before the people. And the two fish He divided among them all so they all ate and were filled. Now this is a very important principle. Anything that you place in the hands of the Lord has a tendency to multiply. Whether that’s your physical bread or your spiritual bread. God, every day of your life, is providing for you from His hand.

You can read in Psalm 145:16. I’m going to share a lot of Scripture today so you may want to take notes. They will not all be on the screen. “You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.” The hands of God are not only providing for you and me, He’s feeding the sparrows. He takes care of the earthworm. The Lord is taking care of the bacteria. God is aware of every living thing. Now if He is going to supply the needs of these little microbes that have eyes and lenses in the abdomen of a wasp, do you doubt that He’ll take care of you? He is a God of provision. Whatever you place in Jesus’ hands you can trust. Martin Luther said, “I’ve held many things in my hands, and lost them all. But whatever I have placed in God’s hands, that I still possess.”

Third point. The hands of the Lord are hands of healing. Jesus has healing hands. And you know there are hundreds of references I could give you here. The Bible says in Mark 5:23, “And they begged Him earnestly saying, ‘My little daughter lies at the point of death. Come, lay Your hands on her that she might be healed, and she will live.’” You know the story of when Jesus went to the house of Jerius and He touched the little girl and she came back to life. Mark 8:23-25, “He took the blind man by the hand and led him out of town.” Jesus’ hands are hands that lead, also. “And when He spit on His eyes, He put His hands on him. He asked him if he saw anything. And he said, ‘I see men like trees walking.’ And He put His hands on his eyes again and made him look up. And he was restored and saw everyone clearly.” Now you know, I included this story out of the hundreds I could use. People have asked, when the Lord healed this blind man why is it that first he saw men like trees walking? I think the Lord wanted us to… What that means was, you know, people were blurry, like trees with leaves moving around.

The Lord sometimes heals us with His hands in degrees. It doesn’t always happen right away. God could have spoken man into existence, but He chose to form him with His own hands. Sometimes the Lord heals with His hands in degrees. Luke 4. This covers the whole thing. Luke 4:40, when the sun was setting, “All those who had any that were sick with various diseases brought them to Him and He laid His hands on every one of them and healed them.” Jesus was a touchy-feely man. He touched people. The leper said, “Lord, if You want You can make me whole.” Jesus not only said, “Be whole,” He reached out and touched the leper. He understood the importance of physical touch. You know, there’s a Bible doctrine that’s called the doctrine of the laying on of hands. I’ve not yet found that in the 27 fundamental beliefs, but Hebrews speaks about it. Back in Bible times they had baptism and all the other doctrines and it talks about the doctrine of the laying on of hands. It’s very Biblical that there’s a time for us to lay hands on people. When we ordain, when we commission, when we set aside, when we pray for healing, when we anoint, the Lord tells us to touch. I think there’s power in human touch. How much more is there power in the touch of God.

Point number four. The hands of the Lord are hands of truth. Have you ever noticed that some people, when they teach, use their hands more. One reason I don’t stand behind the podium when I teach is because I like to use my hands. I don’t know if it helps, but it helps me. I know I have some Italian friends and they say, “If you tie my hands, I can’t talk.” People teach with their hands. I think it’s more interesting if folks are a little bit animated when they teach. Hands of truth. You know, when you go and you take an oath, what do they tell you to do? Raise your hand. When you do the pledge of allegiance, you do something with your hand. When you show respect for an officer, we salute with our hands. We use our hands to sign our hands. And they say that no two signatures are the same. They call it handwriting. Hands reveal truth. In the book of Revelation, we find that God tells us that Jesus’ hands have very unique things in them.

These things in the hands of the Lord help relate different aspects of truth. Revelation 1:16 for instance, “I saw in His right hand seven stars.” Revelation 5:1, “I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a scroll.” Revelation 14:14, “And in His hand a sharp sickle.” You can look at what’s in the Lord’s hand and each of these things have tremendous significance. We learn from the hands of the Lord. Now I don’t have any video footage of Jesus. But I’m going to speculate that when Jesus taught, He moved His hands. Just because of everything else that we find out about Him.

The hands of the Lord are hands of blessing. Point number 5. The hands of the Lord are hands of blessing. You remember the story in the Bible. These mothers brought their children to Jesus. And they said, “Please lay Your hands on our children and bless them.” And the disciples said, “Oh, He’s busy. He’s teaching. He’s doing all these profound things. He’s healing. He doesn’t have time for all the kids to pester Him.” Jesus was very displeased at what the apostles had said. And the Bible says He rebuked them. He said, “For of such are the kingdom of Heaven.” And He said, “Bring the little children unto Me.” And He took them up in His arms, and He put His hands on them, and He blessed them.

You know, when I went to India and we did our meetings there, following the meeting I would walk out and greet the people. I like to go out and talk and shake hands. And at first you know, a lot of the people there spoke Tamil and I didn’t speak anything. And they’d come up to me and they’d lower their heads. And I thought, “What are they doing?” And they’d go like this. And I’d look at their head and I’d think, “What’s the problem?” And my translator finally caught up with me and he said, “He wants you…they want you to bless them, to pray for them.” And at first I did the typical western prayer, you know. And I’d place my hands on their heads and I’d offer a long prayer. And some of them started getting restless. And I…you know…if the translator…I was praying…he said… You know we had hundreds of people lined up waiting for me. “They just want you to touch them.” And I found out they were satisfied to just have me touch them on the head and say, “God bless you.” It was a blessing they wanted. They didn’t want a long prayer. They just wanted to be blessed. That was part of the culture. And you know, this is something that was in Bible times.

Not only did Christ bless the children, but the Bible says that when He ascended up to Heaven He had hands of blessing. Luke 24:50, we read there, “He led them out as far as Bethany. And He lifted up His hands.” And what did He do? “He blessed the people.”

Number six. Hands of forgiveness. The Lord, when we think about His hands, do you think about His hands forgiving? The Bible says He has hands of forgiveness. The woman caught in adultery. John 8:11, “And He said, ‘Woman, where are your accusers?’” Remember Jesus had taken His hands and He was writing on the dust of the temple floor, and we imagine He was writing out the sins of her accusers. That could also mean He was writing out the law again. Which, you know, was very synonymous with identifying what the sins were. And He said, “Woman, where are your accusers? Has no man condemned you?’ She said, ‘No man, Lord.’ He said, ‘Neither do I condemn you. Go [and sin] no more.’”

You know, I think it’s interesting. When God writes something in the Bible, it’s very significant. I can think of three times in the Bible when the Lord wrote. He wrote, the Lord, with His own finger, I mean He commissioned most things through Moses but with God’s own finger He wrote the Ten Commandments. He wrote judgment on the halls of Babylon in the Book of Daniel. But He wrote sin in dust. Isn’t that good to know? That our sins are written in dust that can be blown away in the breath of His forgiveness. And so His hands are hands of forgiveness. And that’s one of the things He was etching there for that woman, who we believe to be Mary Magdelene.

Point number seven. The hands of Jesus are hands of cleansing. His hands are hands of cleansing. Just before Jesus died, with His own hands He washed the apostles feet. John 13:3. I want to remind you that we will be having our communion service this next Sabbath here at Central. We want to have everything right with the Lord as we get ready for our evangelistic meetings. Amen? That will be Saturday evening. Sabbath evening. John 13:3-5, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, He rose from supper and laid aside His garment. And He took a towel and girded Himself after He had poured water in a basin. And He began, with His own hands, to wash the disciples’ dirty feet. And to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. The hands of the Lord are hands that cleanse.

Now how many of you are parents? Especially if you are parents of little boys. When they’re little and you say, “Go wash your hands for dinner,” that sometimes needs follow-up. And I remember one time my mother had a housekeeper. And I don’t remember her name. But I’ll never, ever, forget this experience. She says, “Go wash your hands for dinner.” She was taking care of me that day. And I went and washed my hands like I typically did. And I came back in. And she said, “No, you didn’t really wash your hands. Let me help you wash your hands the way I wash my little boy’s hands.” And she took me in the bathroom. And she got a hold of my hands with her hands. And she got the soap all over her hands, and she rubbed my hands back and forth, in between the fingers. And while she’s doing this, she’s telling me how white they were going to be when she was done. And she made it just a joyful experience. And she rinsed off my hands and she said, “Now look at your hands now.” And I thought, “Boy, how come I could never get them this white?” And I still remember that vividly, to this day, that to get your hands that way you’ve got to do like this lady did. And I wish I could remember her name. But she took my hands in her hands. And she rubbed them vigorously, soap in between the fingers and all over the backs, and sometimes a little more on the calluses and the thumbs. And when she got done they were white. And I never forgot that. And you know, I’ve never washed my hands the same way since. Because someone else took my hands in their hands and washed them. Sometimes we need to ask the Lord to cleanse our hands.

Pontius Pilate, he didn’t want to be responsible for the blood of Jesus. So he thought he could just take his own hands and wash away the guilt of that violation of integrity in water in front of the people. He said, “I’m washing my hands of this deed. It’s your problem.” You can’t wash away sin that way. You cannot wash away your own sin. Only the Lord’s hands can cleanse our hands. Amen? Jesus’ hands are hands that cleanse.

Number eight. They’re hands of protection. The hands of the Lord are hands that protect us. You know, we think of Christ as that Shepherd, like David, who laid down his life to save the sheep. How many of you remember the stories about angels that protect? Especially angels protecting children. When angels are sent by the Lord to protect us, or to protect children, we really know that it’s the hand of the Lord that delivers, right? These are hands of protection that God provides. And we’ve got some Scriptures here. Psalm 91:12, “In their hands they will bear you up, lest you dash your foot against the stone.” Matthew 28:20, God says, “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” He’s with us through the Holy Spirit, in person. He’s with us through His messengers that He sends to minister for Him and to protect us. Isaiah 58:11, the hands of the Lord protect and guide, “He will guide you continually and satisfy your soul.” Some of you remember the story of Moses, where God put him in the cleft of the rock. And what did He do? Covered him with His hand. There’s a song, “He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock and covers me there with His hand.” That hand that protects us from the glory that we cannot even bear lest we be destroyed. The hands of God are hands of protection. He knows how much we can handle.

Now right along that line, you may not like to think about it, but the hands of the Lord are hands of discipline. Now the good news is that God actually does not discipline with His hand specifically. Notice our story. John 2:15. At least twice in the ministry of Christ He expelled all of the sacrifice salesmen from the Sanctuary. And it says here, “When He had made a whip of cords.” They had some cords they were using to restrain the sheep and He took them and He fabricated a whip right on the spot. He took it up in His hands and then He said something. He said to them, “This is My Father’s house. It is to be a house of prayer. You have made it a den of thieves. He drove them all out of the temple with their sheep and their oxen. He poured out the changers of money and overturned their tables.” Does it say anywhere in any Bible account that He whipped them with the whip? He made a whip, He held it, but He never used it.

You know, even when God disciplines He never actually strikes with His hand. You know I went to some parenting classes. And one thing that several of the classes emphasize is there is a time for corporal punishment. And I’ll confess I have not always done this right. But they say when you need to administer corporal punishment, don’t actually use your hand. Get a paddle. I know at Bonnie’s house, at Grandma’s house, she’s got something called Grandma’s Paddle. It’s hanging up on the wall. It’s got this much cushioning on it. It’s got embroidery on it, Grandma’s Paddle. Because it’s supposed to be intimidating to the kids. It’s telling us that Grandma’s, because of their overzealous love for the grandchildren, just can’t bring themselves to administer corporal punishment. In the Bible, it tells us, “Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.” Now, you know, one of those is for guidance. But the rod was for correction. He didn’t use his hand, but he held the rod in his hand. So his hands, you might say, directly or indirectly, are hands that discipline.

Did God discipline Jonah? When Jonah ran from God, in order to save him, God, through the hands of the Lord, sent a storm. And He prepared a fish. And God did these different things to discipline Jonah, that reluctant prophet. Why? Because He hated him, or loved him? To save him and to save others through him. And this is the purpose for discipline. It’s ultimately that God might save us.

God’s hands are hands of intercession. The Bible tells us that Christ is our, this is point number ten, Christ is our interceder. Have you read the prayer in John 17 that Jesus prayed? Who is He praying for? Is He spending all of His time saying, “Lord, I don’t know if I can handle the cross?” “I’m afraid of the whipping and the beating and I hear they’re going to pull out my beard?” He knew what was coming. But what does He focus His prayer on? He’s praying for the apostles. He’s praying for the disciples. He’s praying for their unity. He’s interceding in their behalf. We can read about this also in Hebrews 7:25, “Therefore, He is also able to save unto the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He’s always making intercession for them.” Now, I don’t know how you picture it when you pray, but when I pray, and I ask God to forgive me, where is Jesus right now? He’s in Heaven in the Heavenly temple, isn’t that right?

Do the hands of the Lord have scars? We know that because even when He came forth with His glorified body, He still bore the scars. And He will always have them. There’s another song I like to sing. It’s one of these southern gospel songs. It says, “The only flaw in Heaven is the scar in the Savior’s hands.” No, no. “The only thing there that is made by man are the scars in the Savior’s hands.” Everything else in Heaven is made by the Lord. The only thing there made by man… You know we talk about what’s man-made. The only thing in Heaven man-made are the scars in the Savior’s hands. And when I pray, I picture Jesus. I have no right to get anything from God. If I get what I deserve… Who here wants what they deserve? You don’t want what you deserve. We can thank the Lord He has not rendered unto us according to what we deserve. I’m praying for what Jesus deserves. And I’m asking Him to plead His merits. And He holds out His nail-scarred hands to the Father and He intercedes, through His hands, for you and me.

Someone… You know I get all kinds of stuff through email. I probably am getting ready to change my address again. Because I just… So many people have found my address. If I don’t check my email on a regular basis, I go a couple of days without checking my email, I open it up and I’ve got a zillion messages. But I read as many as I can. I’ve got this problem. I’m chronically curious. And so every now and then, some of you send me some good illustrations. And I don’t know where it came from, but somebody emailed me something about, a true story I understand, about a mother living in south Florida where alligators are. And she lived right near the edge of a lake. And her boy wandered too close to the edge and this alligator that was just under the surface lunged out and got a hold of the boy’s legs. And the boy was kicking and screaming and clawing the shore as this alligator is pulling him off into the water. And the mother heard the shouts and she runs out of the kitchen and she got a hold of her son just as he was getting pulled out.

Once the alligator gets you in the water, they spin you around and they drown you and there’s not much hope. And she knew that. And she got a hold of her son’s hands. Well, the alligator wasn’t going to let go, and the mother wasn’t going to let go either. So here she’s got her son’s hands with her hands, and her fingernails may have been a little too long. And she is pulling one way, and she’s having this tug-of-war with the alligator. And she’s screaming and the boy’s screaming. And the man who lived next-door was a fisherman, he grabbed his rifle and he ran out and he shot the alligator. Well the boy’s legs had scars on them. And he went to the hospital and they were treating the scars on his legs. And the boy said, “Yeah, but look at the scars that Mom put on my hands!” The alligator wouldn’t let go, but Mom wouldn’t let go either. And the scars from Mom’s hands, on his hands, were forever a reminder that Mom wouldn’t let go. The Lord is interceding with His hands for you and me. And the scars are there to remind us that He doesn’t let go easy, does He? Our God is a God of love.

His hands are hands of recognition. This is point number eleven. Hands of recognition. You cannot be saved without knowing the Lord. You know the Bible says He is known by His hands. John 20:20. When He said this after He rose from the dead, they didn’t believe it was Him. He showed them His hands, and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. They recognized Him by His hands. John 20:25, “The other disciple, therefore, said to Him, ‘We’ve seen the Lord.’” So what did Thomas say? “Unless I see in His hand the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”

Some of you remember the story, where on the the road to Ameus, when Jesus is walking down that road, Luke 24 I believe it is, starts with verse 14. And He meets the disciples, the resurrection afternoon. The sun is going down. And as they’re walking down the road He says, “Why are you so disconsolate? What are these sad communications?” They said, “Are you a stranger? Don’t you know all these things that have happened?” He said, “What things?” They began to say, “Oh, concerning Jesus who was crucified and rose again.” “And He said, ‘Oh fools and slow of heart to believe. All the prophets have spoken.’ Beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.” And I think He was probably walking down the road with His hands tucked in His sleeves. The Bible says they didn’t know Him. Maybe He had a hood on and His face was obscured. They used to wear these hoods sometimes and turbans in Bible times. And when they got to their home, they said, “You know, it’s almost evening.” Their hearts had been warmed and were burning by the things this Man had said.

He obviously knew the Scriptures regarding the Messiah. They said, “We don’t want to let You go. You come in and You talk to us.” This is where we get that song, “Abide with me, fast falls the eventide.” They said, “Evening’s come. Come in and abide with us.” So He sat down. And the Bible says, “As He broke the bread…” They said, “Why don’t You have the blessing.” And as He broke the bread and they saw His hands, they knew Him. The Bible says they knew Him because of His hands, and they knew Him because of the way He broke the bread. And then He disappeared. Later on He met them again in the upper room. Christ is known by His hands. You know, we’re told that we would be wise to spend a thoughtful hour, meditating on the life of Christ. In particular on the closing scenes. The closing scenes is where He received the marks in His hands.

Point number 12. The hands of the Lord are hands of salvation. His hands save. Matthew 14:31, “And immediately, when Jesus saw that Peter was sinking, He stretched out His hand and He caught him. And He said, “Oh you of little faith, why did you doubt?” You know the story, Peter was sinking in the water because he took his eyes off Jesus, became preoccupied with the storm. And as he’s going down, Peter reaches up his hand and he says, “Lord, save me.” One of the short prayers in the Bible. “Lord, save me.” And Jesus immediately heard that prayer. He reached out His hand. He pulled him up out of the stormy wave. And evidently Peter felt the water go solid under his feet again, and they walked back to the boat hand in hand.

Isaiah 62 says, “You shall also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, a royal diadem in the hand of your God.” God’s saving the world through Christ. Every good and perfect gift comes through the hands of Jesus. You remember the story of the thief on the cross. Even through Christ’s hands were nailed to the cross, the devil could not keep Jesus saving with His hands, could he? When the thief said, “Lord, remember me,” Jesus said, “Verily I say unto you today, you will be with Me in paradise.” The hands of the Lord could still save, even though they were nailed to the cross. As a matter of fact, His hands were even more effective saving then, than any other time. God saves the world through the hands of Christ. That’s why it’s important that you and I must learn that we can trust the hands of the Lord. Makes a big difference whose hands something is in.

Now someone emailed this to me also. I’ll share it with you. A rod in my hands might keep away an angry dog. A rod in Moses’ hands will part the mighty sea. It depends on whose hands it’s in. A baseball bat in my hands is worth about $19. A baseball bat in Mark McGuire’s hands is worth $19 million. It depends on whose hands it’s in. A basketball in my hands is worth about $23. A basketball in Michael Jordan’s hands is worth about $33 million dollars. It depends on whose hands it’s in. A driving iron in Tiger Woods’ hands can send a golf ball hundreds of yards. A driving iron in my hands is a dangerous weapon. My thing is racquetball. It depends on whose hands it’s in. A tennis racquet in my hands means exercise and diversion. A tennis racquet in Pete Samper’s hands is a Wimbledon championship. It depends on whose hands it’s in. A sling in my hands is a reckless toy. A sling in David’s hands is a mighty weapon. It depends on whose hands it’s in. Two fish and five loaves of bread in my hands is a couple of sandwiches. Two fish and five loaves of bread in Jesus’ hands will feed thousands. It depends on whose hands it’s in. And now you can see. Oh, wait, wait a second… Nails in my hands might hang a picture. Nails in Jesus’ hands will prove salvation provided for the entire world. It depends on whose hands it’s in. You can see everything depends on whose hands it’s in. The Bible tells us that we must learn to cast our cares upon Him.

Now you know, I’ve always wanted to do something as I get older and I’m watching my body change, I figure I’d better do whatever it is I want to do, because I might not be able to do it someday. One of the things I always wanted to do is I wanted to go skydiving. Now hold this picture for just a second. Anyone else out there have that desire, or am I the only one? To just fall through the air. Now I want to just be given my own parachute and jump out of an airplane.

As a matter of fact, when Karen and I went to Orlando for an Evangelism Council they had a wind tunnel there. It blows wind 120 miles an hour. I don’t know if I told you this, but me and some friends and even Stephen, we went into the wind tunnel and we learned how to free fall. You’re just falling. You’re not weightless, you feel the wind. It pulls your face back and you have to wear these special goggles. And if you don’t know how to hold your body, you start bouncing off the walls and you can get hurt. But that wasn’t the same thing as skydiving. I wanted to go skydiving.

Now my son Daniel kept saying, “Dad, let’s go bungee jumping.” That makes me nervous. I’ve seen some of that video where the cord broke, you know. Or the bungee was too long. And I was nervous about this. But Rob Casebolt, many of you know Rob, we want to thank him for helping us get the screens up with Leon. Rob said, “Doug, I’m going parachuting. Are you interested?” I said, “Are frogs waterproof? You bet I am.” I wanted to do this for years. But you have to go tandem. That means until you’ve got thorough training, they don’t hand you your own parachute and you can jump out of an airplane. Because it’s a lot of training involved. That means the first time you jump, you’ve got to basically place your life in someone else’s hands. That unnerved me.

So Daniel, I called him up, and Daniel came… Did I see Daniel here? No, Daniel isn’t here today. I thought Daniel might be here. I called Daniel, my son, up, who wanted me to go bungee jumping. I said, “I’ll compromise. Let’s go parachute together.” And Rob Casebolt, we met at this place over near Davis, Yolo airport there. And the guy in the pink jumpsuit was the man I was going to be attached to. This was a New Zealander, a kiwi, he had a peace sign around his neck, and ponytail, and he smoked, and was real colorful, as you can see from the picture. The guy on the other side of me is the cameraman, because we also opted to get the pictures. I’m glad I did that today for your benefit. I didn’t know it would come in handy. And so, you can go ahead to the next picture now. But his name was Dino.

And what they do is they train you, you watch a video. First you sign an insurance release that says that if you die, they’re not responsible. And you watch a video that says it is possible for you to die. And, of course, I knew they had to do that. The legal department made them do that. You see the trees there? Right beyond the gravel where you land, the trees, is a shooting range. I thought that was the strangest thing. I kept hearing, “POW…POW.” I asked Dino, “What’s that?” He said, “That’s the shooting range right there.” And then someone called me over to the picture wall inside their office and it showed one of the parachuters landing in the shooting range and it said, “Don’t do this.” He missed the gravel and he landed in the shooting range. And you know, those guys get trigger happy. So that was a little unnerving.

And then, they take you into a room where you get outfitted. And they gave me my harness and someone walked by and said, “Dino, you guys still using that old harness, huh?” I found out they do that to everybody for a kick. But even though I knew they were probably kidding, it made me a little nervous to know here I’m going to trust my life into the hands of this nylon harness that’s supposed to hold me up. I don’t get a parachute. I’m attached to the the guy with the parachute. I’ve got to trust this hardware to keep me alive.

Then they take you 13,000 feet up in the airplane after you watch this training video. Now, I’m a pilot. I’m not worried about being 13,000 feet up, but I’ve never been in the door, 13,000 feet up, getting ready to jump. Without my own parachute. Oh, one more thing I should add is, he said, “Now, keep your hands close together. You see how I’ve got my arms folded?” He said, “Now we don’t want you flashing around and panicking, and pulling our cords, because then you endanger our lives.” And he had these two big colorful pull cords on the front of his vest. He had a big green one, and he said, “This is the emergency chute if something should go wrong.” And he assured us, “If I pass out on the way down, you don’t need to worry. Because we’ve got the chutes developed now where there’s a pressure gauge. And if we’re going more than 120 miles an hour and below 2,000 feet, this chute opens automatically. It automatically opens.” And so that was reassuring. And I said, “What’s the red thing for?” He said, “If you lose control and there’s a chance that you’re going to kill me, it’s the disconnect. We’re cutting you loose.”

Now, we were in the airplane and we went up, like I said, 13,000 feet. And Daniel was sitting across from me and we were the only two that were training. They had a bunch of other skydiving addicts up there. And they have these guys, they are just a whole subculture by themselves. And they’ll jump several times a day. They get in formations and they do these maneuvers and all this stuff. And they’re up in the airplane and having a good time. And you’re sitting on a bench that you straddle with your legs because now the guy behind me, he’s buckled up behind me, and he’s cinching me tighter and tighter. And Dino is suddenly becoming very serious, where he was joking and everything before. He’s telling me what to do and what not to do, and reminding me about the stuff that was on the video and the training process that they gave us. So I noticed that… We were the last ones to go out of the plane, Daniel and I.

First all these other guys were going. I thought they were going out with absolutely no precautions at all. They couldn’t wait to jump out of an airplane. So I kept telling myself, “It’s going to be okay.” And I remember as I got close and they took this picture, the guy with the camera says, “Are you scared?” I said, “I’m extremely excited.” Men never admit when they’re scared. “I’m extremely excited.” That’s what I said. And he took that shot. And then, go to the next picture, next thing I know he counts to three and that’s my… I’ve got my arms tucked and you can see the airplane prop at the top of the picture. And you’re tumbling 13,000 feet through the air. Your life is in the hands of Dino. I had to keep reminding myself, statistically, they kept saying, “Statistically you’ve got a better chance of dying on your way here than dying…” They do have accidents where people die, but it’s very rare. And you know, I believe it because that day I saw hundreds of people jumping out of airplanes. And nobody got hurt. And boy, some of them come buzzing in for landings fast, too.

And as we’re tumbling for the ground, you just freefall. We freefell for 60 seconds. It doesn’t seem like that long, because your heart is racing. Your skin is pulled back in your face, like that. You can see that. It looks like I’m smiling real big. I was trying to frown. You don’t have a choice. Dino was becoming very responsible. He was watching his altimeter, because he was supposed to make sure you open your parachute at the right depth. Then he did these spins and we went clockwise and we went counter clockwise. And eventually he opened up the parachute. And right now he had a little trailer running behind us. You can go to the next picture. That kept you from spinning around. It’s like kind of a tail on a kite helps the kite stay up. They’ve got the tail going opposite and it keeps you from flipping around, upside-down, in case you don’t hold your body position right.

But it really is a sensation, to be up there in the air. Things are perfectly quiet. I’m shouting and he says, “I can’t hear you,” because the wind is going 120 miles an hour. There’s a cameraman a few feet away from me, he’s got a video on his hood. He’s waving at me and getting all these different shots and he’s completely comfortable. He’s like he’s in a lounge chair and he’s taking shots and going under us. He’s taking all these pictures with his video camera as I’m plummeting to the earth. And we’re so high up that all these farms look like little bitty squares. And then they started getting closer. We went from 13,000 feet down to about 5,000 feet in 30 seconds.

And finally he gave a signal to the cameraman who backed away. Because you come to an abrupt change in speed when he finally opens the parachute. And he pulled the rip cord and the chute opened up. I don’t know if you’re allowed to say “wedgie” in church. But it’s an experience. And he opened the parachute… You’d better move ahead. And he safely brought me in. You know, I was a little bit disappointed because Daniel said that the guy he jumped tandem with allowed him to get a hold of the cords and Daniel was steering his parachute. And I never thought to ask the guy. Daniel said, “Let me try,” and he said, “Sure.” And he was steering. While I wanted to steer, my guy thought it would be fun to show me how to spin. So he took his parachute and he was going like this. And pretty soon I said, “I was fine, till now, and I’m getting seasick.” And I asked him to stop. Then he came in and made a decent landing and we survived.

And the moral of the story is that you can trust a man. You know how many times through the day you put your life in the life of another human? You put your life in the hands of another human being? And I can trust Dino to get me to earth. But he couldn’t get me to Heaven. If you’re going to get to Heaven, you’ve got to learn to trust your life in the hands of God. Some of you remember the most famous hands in the world that are painted are the hands that you find on the roof of the Sistine Chapel. It’s the hands of Adam and the hands of God. And the interesting thing about this picture, is it shows the hand of God is straining to the ultimate limit, desperately reaching to touch Adam. And Adam’s hand is limp and indifferent, representing the human race has an indifference. God is looking for man and Adam is running from God. God is desperate to touch you and me. He wants to reach into our lives. He wants to get our attention. He wants to teach us to trust Him.

You know, it makes a big difference whose hands it’s in. Is your life having problems? Having problems with family, your possessions, your health? Whatever the situation is, you need to take everything and cast your cares on Him because He cares for you. You need to place all that you are and all that you have in the hands of the Lord. And you can trust Him. He’s not interested in jumping tandem from Heaven to earth, He’s trying to get you from earth to Heaven. Amen? He will not let you go. He’ll never leave you or forsake you. He’s wanting to touch you today with His hands. He’s wanting to bless you today with his hands.

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