Footprints In The Sand – Revisited

Footprints In The Sand – Revisited

Most Christian homes have one. It’s either found on a mug, a fridge magnet or in the bathroom! Can you guess what it is yet? It’s a copy of ‘Footprints in the Sand’. I’ve decided that even though it’s the most popular piece of Christian literature outside of the Bible itself, it’s a sacred cow and I don’t like it.

So much so, that I’ve had a go rewriting it (I have a feeling that you will instantly recognize my distinct changes!) I’ve called it the BBQ’d Version.

“One night I dreamed of walking along the beach with the Lord.
Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.
In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand.
Sometimes there were two sets of footprints,
other times there were one set of footprints.
This bothered me because I noticed
that during the low periods of my life,
when I was suffering from
anguish, sorrow or defeat,
I could see only one set of footprints.
So I said to the Lord,
“You promised me Lord,
that if I followed you,
You would walk with me always.
But I have noticed that during
the most trying periods of my life
there has only been one
set of footprints in the sand.
Why, when I needed you most,
You have not been there for me?”

The Lord replied,
“Yeah, sorry about that. I would have
loved to have picked you up and given you
huggles, but I’m kind of attempting
to make a champion out of you.
If I keep putting you on my shoulders
Like that ‘Footprints in the Sand’ stuff,
you’ll never grow past being a child.
My aim is to make you a world beater,
a Goliath slayer and a real History Maker.
Get it?
So would it be alright if you stopped
complaining and took it all on the chin …

I personally think it’s much better! The original has been grazing freely in the fields of Christendom for too long. It’s time, methinks, to turn up the gas and heat up the griddle!

It’s about time that intimate cuddles with Jesus be gazumped by increased capacity in Jesus, and it’s definitely time for the wet fish approach to our faith to be replaced by a purpose driven attitude accompanied by the signs and wonders of bruises, bumps and blisters! I have to admit it – I am attracted to Sacred Cows! Once I spot one, usually when I’m seated and listening to some great preaching, I tend to make a little beeline towards it to get a better look at it. After sizing it up, I usually set the table – it’s meal time!

What on earth is a Sacred Cow? I’m glad you asked. It’s something that we all accept as universally true, yet is only actually true for a certain time and place or true within very tight parameters. And more than that, it’s protected! Whoever dares lay a finger on it (or a tong) may himself get his fingers burnt! It may be a variety of Sacred Cow that believes that a certain way of doing things is essentially holy such as the use of hymns, length of our devotional times or even creating a cell based church. It may be the variety of Sacred Cow that believes that one truth fits all, such as ‘all sickness is from the devil’ and ‘all you need is more faith’.

Usually, these Cows are or have been accompanied by very big things – the great Methodist Revival brought with it the hymns of Wesley, and the seeming increase in healings across the planet have largely been accompanied by ‘binding the devil’. Association, however, doesn’t make anything sacred or necessarily right. If it did, we’d have a Spit Ministry in every church just because Jesus did it!

So why am I so attracted to Sacred Cows? Why can’t I let them graze happily next to the healthy cows and just get on with it? I think the answer is because through being a smidgen obsessive compulsive and also possessing a streak of perfectionism, I’ve regularly tried and tested a lot of the stuff that’s been bantered around. Believing in prosperity, however, hasn’t prevented me from living in lack (as some would have it), and believing in prayer hasn’t caused me to leapfrog from success to success. I’ve discovered that fasting (I fasted over 100 days in one year once) doesn’t necessarily bind up the devil and no matter how much I push it, 80 percent of my church is still carried by only 20 percent of the people. It’s not to say that what I’ve heard and what’s being preached is all wrong, but it is to say that when certain truths become elite and a little boastful they lose much of their original potency. When sacred cows abound, people move from the field of activity to the grandstand of passivity. Lip-service replaces gritty faith and real service. And that makes me even more passionate for my BBQ Manifesto.

It’s time to turn up the heat on spiritual myths that have been around for much longer than they should have been. It’s time for all of us to become smiling Assassins of Sacred Cows!

Get your copy of Dave Gilpin’s latest book release Sacred Cows Make Great BBQ’s! This book went straight in at number 2 on the largest online Christian resources website in the UK and its still holding position in the Top 10 Bestsellers Chart!

0 thoughts on “0

  1. This is by far the most inaccurate account of the gospels I have read. There is little evidence for the prosperity in the first place, which is a given. If you believe that then I think you seriously need to go back and look at jesus’ teaching. No where does it say in the bible I am carrying you to make a champion out of YOU. There is not a shrink of justification through scripture in this account. God reveals himself through his word and most definitely not through this poem. As much as I think it is important to encourage each others work in Christ, I think it also equal important to challenge others when it is so clearly wrong. If anything we suck and the fact we even have breath we should praise God for. God does not make champions out of everyone, God does not make leaders out of everyone. God saves people through Grace to be a servant. By making ourselves prosper is never going to advance the kingdom successfully. We advance but the minute we come to opposition we fall because of faith is shallow because it is based on us. We prosper in faith not in material success, whether that be through money, jobs, or how impressive our church building is. We only prosper in faith to glorify God, and most definitely not so we can become champions.
    Pslam 115:1 ‘not for us lord, NOT for US, but for YOUR glory, because of YOUR love and YOUR faithfulness’

    We all fall short of the glory of God. God will not judge us on how big our church was, or how much success we made out of lives. Our lives will be judge on how we’ve honour god and other before ourselves. How can we do that if all we out for is to prosper ourselves?

  2. I like where you are coming from with the sacred cows – especially when it comes to tradition. Can’t do something because it’s bringing the world into the church, and ‘we’ve never done that before’ and perhaps my favourite ‘Woe betide anyone who sits in my pew…’ I would laugh if it weren’t a reflection of a more serious problem.

    Granted that there are fine lines when changing things and once crossed can lead to problems in the future of a church. If the church adopts a ‘concert’ type approach with lights and a stage then the fine line is between true worship and entertainment. I’m not saying Hope city is like that (i can’t) because the choice between worship and entertainment lies in the individual believer not the church as a whole. I love the song by Robin Mark ‘When the music fades’. Maybe it’s just me that can get caught up in the music, having fun and not focusing fully on him. On the other hand the church that sings more traditional hymns can risk their believers phasing out when they are singing and no longer worshiping. Again maybe it’s just me that has phased out and suddenly realised i’m at the end of a hymn or song and haven’t a clue what i’ve actually been singing about 🙂

    In response to what you wrote Hollin i see where you are coming from regarding prosperity and ‘God making a Champion out of you’ and i totally agree. However you are assuming that Dave is coming from a particular perspective which he might not be. Let me put it this way:

    What if God chose to make a Champion out of you because he knew you would give all the glory back to him, so glorifying his name far more than if he never made you a champion? God does all things for his glory and we like you said are told to give it all back to him because it’s all about him. However like you say, it can be taken the other way – using God to make us a champion so that we get the glory and can bask in it. Also depends what perspective you take on a champion – someone who does God’s will for them? Paul says we are more than conquerors through him (Roman 8:37). However you are correct if your perspective of a champion is someone who has all the limelight. God does not call everyone to that.

    Regarding prosperity, i also feel very strongly about this. Following God does not mean you will get rich and neither does it mean you will live a life of comfort. If it were so then tell the Christians in Ethiopia who are starving and have nothing – look them in the eye, declare prosperity over them and go back to enjoying the money God has given you on your own comfort. I saw a tv program a while back and an Ethopian church leader said, ‘we have all we need, when we are hungry God makes it so that we don’t feel the hunger’, they shared their food with the presenter and he was reduced to tears at the love they showed him.

    We are honoured not when we receive but when we give. Money is merely a tool to advance God’s kingdom, when i gave my life to God i gave it completely and became a steward to all that God would give me, talents, money and possessions. When i want to spend on myself i ask myself whether what i’m getting is a good investment of His money. My treasure is in heaven and never will be on earth – why buy a £100 shirt when you could buy a £20 one and use the other £80 to advance his kingdom? I have not got the point of selling some of my possessions to give to the poor, i hope to be counted worthy of that honour. Take a heavenly perspective on things and see things through God’s eyes – that’s freedom 🙂

    God has said that he will supply all our needs – that’s a given. If that’s what is meant by finiancial prosperity then that is the correct perspective. Yes God will finiancially prosper some believers more than others, merely because their needs are greater, meaning God’s plan for them involves a greater cash flow – not that they spend it on themselves.

    Wanting to get rich for our own gain is worldly – wanting to get rich for others is admirable. Everyone in the world wants to get rich to live in comfort and have a better life, it’s nothing new and people will try anything to acheive this – even church unless a clear message on prosperity is spelt out and people continually reminded. Not just to give money to the church (that merely gives the impression that the church just wants your money) but that after the tithe to the church people can use their money to help poor people they know. The personal touch in giving from individual believers both to other believers in need and those unsaved is priceless.

    Can you imagine the world looking at believers and seeing them living simply, giving their money away in love to help others – would they see the heart of God who gave everything in love for us?
    What better way to be light in a dark world, especially at a time when everyone tries to hold on to money.

    Anyway, enough. Had the time and thoughts just spilt out 🙂

  3. “Wanting to get rich for our own gain is worldly – wanting to get rich for others is admirable.”

    I should clarify that neither should obviously be our ultimate goal, money should never be our focus anymore than a tool takes priority over the building work which requires many different sorts of tools. Hopefully that makes sense 🙂

  4. @Hollin, Thanks for writting. Faith only comes out of brokeness and faith is the only thing that gives us access to the grace of God.
    When we are born again we hold both the brokeness of humanity and the briliance of Christ within us therefore we are both loser and winner, failure and success all because of Jesus Christ. We are going from glory to glory. 2 Cor 3 vs 18.
    Thanks for your comments.

  5. Glad someone has put it into words – I am not alone! I know there is more to faith than the sacred cows but sometimes I think the cows are winning. Great book (not finished it yet though). Thanks.

  6. Cant stand these people who go on about properity not being Gods will or part of the Christian message, these lazy, fat, self-centered socialists love taking from the Government in free health care, going to church and not contributing, taking fantastic holidays with no justification. If you really dont believe in properity,clear off to India or some other country that would just love to have a small portion of your countrys “prosperity” which, by the way, came from Judeo-christian principles. These people are hypocrates, buldgers and false christians. Get a life and get some money! Use it for Gods Kingdom, and face the fact, you all have stinking thinking. (I love these blog sites)

  7. @Fred – whilst your critique of socialism (and living off the income of others) is fair enough, you haven’t proven that it is God’s will for Christians to be prosperous. It is God’s will the elect are conformed to the likeness of Christ (Romans 8:29), i.e. that we be made holy (1 Thess.4:3), but not necessarily that they be prosperous.

    The God of the Bible may (or may not) use poverty to conform a person to the image of His Son. Prosperity is not the ultimate goal of the Christian – holiness is.

    If God’s revealed intention for His people (holiness) is subsituted for prosperity, idolatry ensues.

    If you wish to speak authoritatively then please provide biblical justification for your implicit claim that God wills all Christians to be prosperous.

  8. Thanks for spilling out your thoughts David. There sure was a few! I’m glad you are enjoying the book and I hope it’s making a difference in thinking and understanding.

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