John Telgren

I sat at the light waiting to go. The car stalled when the light turned green. What do I do? People are behind me honking. I am frustrated. They are frustrated. Oh, yes. Turn the key and re-start the engine!

Sounds fairly simple doesn't it? When something stalls, re-start it. But the problem may go deeper than this. There was a reason my car stalled. It did it regularly. It needed a "tune up." When I worked on avionic equipment on airplanes, we called tune ups "alignment." All of the systems needed to be periodically checked, worn parts replaced, electronic parts adjusted or "aligned," dirt and foreign matter cleaned out, and everything tested. The ignition system in my car needed an "alignment." It needed new spark plugs, the old air filter needed to be removed and a new one put in its place, and the wires also needed to be replaced.

If we "stall" in our faith, or in our walk with God, or even in congregational ministries, we need to "restart" them rather than sit in the intersection frustrated that it has stalled. Sometimes what needs to happen is an "alignment" process. Perhaps something is not functioning the way it needs to. Maybe there is foreign matter in the system that needs to be cleaned out. Maybe something needs to be renewed or replaced.

The alignment and cleaning out process has to start with Jesus. Heb 12 reminds us to "fix our eyes on Jesus." It reminds us that in so doing, we need to "run with endurance the race that is set before us." If we stall in the race, we need to fix our eyes on Jesus which means doing as our Lord instructs. Anything that is not pleasing to God needs to be fixed and done away with. Anything that falls short of God's purposes and mission needs to be fixed and aligned. Anything that saps energy and resources, whether it is physical energy and resources or emotional needs to be pruned or dealt with.

When this takes place, there can be a successful re-start after a stall. We should never be discouraged at the stalls. It is an opportunity to take a look at what needs to be fixed, cleaned out, or aligned.

The Apostles had all kinds of stalls in their walk with Christ. Each was a learning process. Whether it was their inability to cast out a demon, sinking in the sea after a few steps walking on water, or one of their own betraying them by handing over their leader and master to the enemy, it was all part of the process of forging them into the agents of the Jesus movement that was to rescue the broken and the lost. They could have stalled and never restarted. But they didn't. They re-started, re-aligned, cleaned out the junk, and went forward. That is exactly what we periodically need to do - Clean out the junk, re-align, and re-start, and move forward.