The word participation carries with it some baggage. This is more and more true in our performance driven society. Do A get B. is the typical formula we consistently have in our current society. (more…)
I had a guy who has been a Christian for 50 plus years come into my office, sit on my couch and explain to me that we can’t use the Bible for evangelism. “People don’t respond to it cuz they don’t understand or care about it- so we shouldn’t waste the message on them.”
I was waiting for Ashton to jump out and laughing yelling, “You’ve just been punk’d!” But that didn’t happen and this guy was serious. So I began to inquire what he meant by asking a bunch of questions, but mainly the question of what message then do we use?
He said that we need to ask them what they know about Jesus and then they affirm those things- whatever that maybe. What if they go against the Bible? That doesn’t matter as long as they are attending church and the pastor keeps it under a fourth grade level with his sermons then all will be fine.
After I realized that I was awake and this nightmare was real, I began to talk. I started with 2 Corinthians 5:11ff:
Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. But what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience. We are not commending ourselves to you again but giving you cause to boast about us, so that you may be able to answer those who boast about outward appearance and not about what is in the heart. For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.
From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. -2 Corinthians 5:11-21 ESV
We are ambassadors of what? Of Christ that’s what? We are entrusted message & the ministry of reconciliation. We are to tell people the message of the gospel of Jesus, which Paul sums up in verse 21. Where do we learn of that message? – The Bible.
Look at the next chapter:
Working together with him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For he says,
“In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you.”
Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. We put no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love; by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; through honor and dishonor, through slander and praise. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything. –2 Corinthians 6:1-10 ESV
I continued, by saying if we don’t share the grace that God has given us in Jesus then we receive it in vain. People are dying everyday because people want to stay in their comfort zones and not share the message with people. Today is the day of salvation! I went on to explain that by the world’s eyes it will not look good for us but still we press on because we know the truth because we hold in our hands- the very words of God- perfect- live saving- The Bible! It’s all they need! How will they hear unless someone tells them? Faith comes from hearing the word of God.
I wish I could report revival and renewal here, but I can’t. The truth is he told me that it is good in theory but it will never work in this cold dark world. People really just need acceptance- Kelly. I finished by saying people just really need Jesus.
He thanked me for my time and let me know that he and his wife will no longer be attending services.
My heart was broken and to be honest I did shed a tear. People without the hope we find in the Bible we will never make it in this life or the life to come. Read it! Live it! Love it!
I’m a control freak. Took me a while to realize it, then even longer to admit it, but yep…that’s pretty much what I am. I’ve also come to realize that being a control freak can be a good thing and a bad thing at the same time. It’s a trait that needs balance and can be used for good…if channeled properly.
That said, because I’m a control freak, one of the bad side effects is worrying about too many things too much of the time – mostly things that are out of my control. If they’re not in my control then I automatically fret because…well, it’s beyond my command.
This revelation really came to light when I recently bought a house. I’m a first-time home owner, and I tackled the task without a significant other by my side. (Which meant I was either making all the decisions myself, or bugging my good friends for advice.) Once my offer on the house was accepted, the worrying started. I had to rely on everyone around me – my realtor, the loan agency, the government (have mercy), my insurance company…the list went on. The stark reality was that in order for me to actually get this house, I had to leave it in all those other hands while I sat back and watched, waited…and fretted more than I should have.
You’d think I would have been beside-myself-thrilled the day I got to sign all those papers and was handed over the keys to my house. Actually, I really was excited about the whole thing, but I was also petrified. All I could think about was how many things that could/would go wrong that I didn’t know how to fix. I’m pretty handy, but there’s a lot I don’t know about plumbing, carpentry, electricity – all those fun things that can go along with owning a house…on a low budget, no less. All I could envision was my appliances breaking down, my basement flooding, my roof caving in – and all of it I was sure would be my fault for whatever reason. Talk about panic.
It finally occurred to me that I was getting all worked up because I wasn’t in control. Oh, to a certain degree I was. I could make all the decisions I wanted to now that I owned my own place, but if anything went wrong that was beyond my knowledge or experience, I’d have to call someone for help. Again, I was sitting at the mercy of others.
But worrying got me nowhere. At all. If anything, it probably just started an ulcer and made my overall stress level rise. Totally not worth it. Granted, going through that time of panic revealed to me how much I was trying to stay in control of everything, which, in turn, revealed to me the necessity of loosening my grip – and letting go completely of some things.
I finally had a little chat with God, and decided to take on a new perspective. This house I bought – it was God’s house, not mine. After all, without Him, I’d have nothing anyway, and He’s the one that allowed me the income to make a purchase. Everything belongs to Him. So I decided if He was the true owner of my house, then He was the one responsible for taking care of things that would go wrong – not me. I’m not saying I decided to sit on my lazy bum and do nothing, but what this did for me was calm my nerves. I understood with new clarity that because God is ultimately in control, if He wants me to make any repairs or make any changes to the house, He will make resources and/or knowledge available to me. His house. His rules. His problem. I’m just the caretaker. It’s my job to take care of things to the best of my ability – and beyond that, I have to trust Him to give me the tools I need to accomplish whatever tasks He wants me to do.
Of course, the new perspective involved me letting go of some control. And while that in itself is scary, it released my stress at the same time. God made this whole thing possible. He wasn’t going to let me down now or in two years when something would fall apart. He’s got this, and I’m just along for the ride, learning as I go.
Funny thing is, this whole revelation can and should be applied to my life. God created me and has allowed me to dwell on His earth. I am His. He’s in control – or should be if I let Him. The rough times that are thrown my way? Sure, I need to keep a clear head and I need to deal with situations and live life responsibly – but why should I worry so? He’s got this. My life is His, which means He’s going to provide me with all I need. That does not mean I’m going to be a millionaire, live in a mansion and eat steak every night for supper. What that does mean, is He will see to my needs. I will be taken care of one way or the other. But the only way to accomplish this is to let God be in control. Sometimes things seem pretty bleak. Life can and will be depressing. Bad things happen. It’s a fact. This world is corrupt, and that’s not going to change until Jesus comes again. But while living on this earth surrounded by hardships, if I let God be in control, I have far less to worry about. He gave me a brain and I’ll use it, certainly! I still need to dress myself every day and go about living life as a responsible human being – He’s not going to do everything for me! But when it comes to the icky stuff – the hard stuff – I need to fret a whole lot less and remember He’s in charge. My life is His to take care of. And He will take care of me.
My house? A mountain to me – a piece of cake to God. My life? A horrifying nightmare to me on certain days – a work of art to God. And He can paint much prettier pictures than I can.
Sometimes we do everything we can and still not get the result we wanted. This is something that can be seen in sports quite a bit. There’s one dominant team that does everything as expected and yet doesn’t get the result. In soccer this is quite noticeable. A team has more shots, more corners, more duels won, more possession and no goal to show for it. (more…)
it will always hurt. No matter how far we run it still hurts.
It will never leave us. We can never forget where we left it.
It can never harm us yet it still hurts throughout our loves.
I don’t care for it it cares for me. Though it cares for me I cannot ever match that caring.
It cares so much that it sacrifices. Yet I take advantage for my own reasons.
It is against me when I don’t do what hurts me.
I am against it when I do what I am too arrogant to let go.
God’s conviction and calling hurts. It’s growing, changing, and convicting.
There is nothing that we can do to escape it. There is nothing we can do to forget it.
Yet we grow numb because of my own arrogance personal desires.
Lord break me, hurt me, bend me, stretch me; mend me, mold me, and bandage me.
You hurt me because you love me. You hurt me because I can’t let go of my own stupidity.
Let me be who you have called
In Bible college right now we get stats thrown at us quite a bit. Here’s some staggering things we hear. That the church is growing in South and Central America. China has lots of Christians. (I’ve heard from billions to millions to hundreds.) One I know we’ve heard over and over again this year is there are more church closing than opening now in the USA. (more…)