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Archive for the ‘works’ Category

At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God.  All those who heard him were astonished and asked, “Isn’t he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn’t he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?”
– Acts 9:20-21 (NIV)

When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus. – Acts 9:26-27 (NIV)

Look at Paul during his transition from persecutor to preacher.  He was constantly met with opposition to his change.  People repeatedly questioned him.  After all, he had been on his way to persecute the church more than what he had already done.  In their opinions, he was still “the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem.”  From where they stood, he was still a persecutor of the church.

Thank God that Paul didn’t fall for it.  If he had wimped out and succumbed to their views, he would have never accepted going forth with the message as a missionary.  He would have wallowed in self-absorbed pity and kept to himself.  He would never have raised his voice beyond his original detractors.

God inspires us to go beyond the thoughts and ideas of the very people around us.  He inspires us to impact others beyond our family and friends.  He offers us fuel to fortify us against the negative perceptions of the people that we may very well be trying to help and who act like we are not worthy of offering such help.

Think for a minute back to 1992 and the riots in Los Angeles that immediately followed the verdict of the Rodney King trial.  Many will recall the looting and burning of many parts of the city of Los Angeles.  There was Reginald Denny, the white man pulled from his truck and beaten in the streets.  The media made that gruesome footage part of our daily diet as it replayed it again and again. 

However, few will recall the name of the man who stepped in to help Denny.  Bobby Green was his name.  He witnessed the mayhem and decided that enough was enough.  He made the trek about a half a mile from his home to where Denny was being beaten on live television and saved the man’s life.  It is a shame that we cannot recall such a man as Bobby Green, but we surely must understand that we, too, must impact this very world where evil gets splashed on the front page and scandal makes the eleven o’clock news broadcast

Imagine what breaking news it would be if we all started impacting our world because we were inspired to do so.  Don’t simply go with the flow.  At times, God will direct you to simply go against the grain.  Bobby Green did so in our times.  Paul did so in his times.  John the Baptist did so.  Jesus did so. 

Let yourself become inspired to impact others.  Let God use you for you to do so.

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“Let the redeemed of the LORD say so. . .” – Psalm 107:2

We who have been saved by the grace of the Lord need to say so.  We need to share about the Savior and the salvation that He offers us.  We owe Him at least that much for all that He has done for us.

As we move towards Easter and the celebration of the Lord’s resurrection, let us recall all that He has offered us through His saving grace.  He has not only risen.  He has bought us with a price through His precious blood.  He has brought us into a right relationship with God.

Say something about the Savior through the way you celebrate His resurrection this year.  Share your testimony with others.  Don’t let this year go by with you simply blending in with the world rather than standing out by saying something about the Savior.

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“Don’t ask what the world needs.
Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it.
Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
Howard Thurman (Christian clergyman, author, and activist)

Analyze where the Christian church stands today.  Take an honest look at the standing of one of the most treasured institutions of society.  Make an earnest appraisal of the modern church.  See where the church stands today.

For far too long, in the eyes of many, the church has remained in isolation.  In the opinion of some, the church has appeared inactive, almost docile, dormant and dulled, if not deadened.  Others have said that the church has simply dwindled into a state of sheer ineffectiveness.

George Barna has studied and evaluated the church for years.  Henry Blackaby has shared some insights and findings as well.  John Maxwell has offered multiple volumes on Christian leadership.  Rick Warren weighed in with The Purpose Driven Church.  There is no shortage of Christian perspectives of what the church is not and where the church has fallen short.

Don’t disregard the Reformation or the Great Awakening.  Don’t toss aside the Progressives or the Abolitionists.  Do not forsake the social activism of Prohibition and the Salvation Army, YMCA, and YWCA.  Don’t forget how Christians fought Darwinism and the teaching of evolutionism in the U.S. school system.  Forget not Azusa Street and the likes of Oral Roberts or Billy Graham.  Do not frown upon the church’s role in the Civil Rights Movement, the anti-war protests, and the pro-life debates.  Consider all of the church’s storied past.

Recall that the church has been called to be more than a building.  The church has a calling as the body of Christ.  Look at Luis Palau, Chuck Colson and Prison Fellowship, and the countless missionaries and ministries that exist today.  See how many are fed, clothed, sheltered and ministered to through street ministries and storefronts alike.  See the church playing an active role in society.

Do not grapple with public opinion.  Do not spend hour upon hour debating with the church’s critics.  Stand proudly and boldly to be counted among the many who diligently serve the Lord by doing all that they can with what little they have for “the least of these.”



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Key question: Have you built a ministry that builds up people to be better servants of the Lord?

Take your time.  Think about all of the people who serve under you.  Let things play back in your mind. 

We need people experiencing edification.  We need people being built up within our midst.  We need to get busy building folks up.

Why?

Their responsibility is to equip God’s people
to do his work and build up the church,
the body of Christ.
– Ephesians 4:12 (NLT)

We are called to do so.  We have been commissioned to do so.  It is our calling.  Let us live up to it.

Give the people who come to you an extreme experience.  Offer an edifying experience.  Take people to the edge by standing on the cutting edge as opposed to the status quo.  Let people experience Christianity beyond the stuffy, Sunday morning sermonized Savior that seems so distant that He could not have possibly walked on earth.  Give them the real deal when you share about the Savior.  Show them the Jesus who saves.  Share the Jesus who sacrificed for the sinful.  Provide an opportunity to experience Jesus in spirit and in truth.
Look at some examples of radical Christianity. . .

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“A problem is a chance for you to do your best.” –Duke Ellington

God expects us to do our best.  He desires it of us.  Essentially, we are to do our best to give Him glory.

Have you done your best with what you have been given by God?

  • Marriage?
  • Children?
  • Job?
  • Spiritual gifts?

The list could go on.  We have to answer whether we have truly handled what God has given us to the best of our ability.  We have to do our best and give Him the glory in doing so.  He has entrusted us.  That’s about stewardship.

Do your best and give God the glory.  He did so in saving us.  He did not hold back.  He did not spare anything.  He offered His best, a lamb without spot or blemish.  We should do the same.

What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? – Romans 8:31-32 (NIV)

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 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, [even] unto the end of the world. Amen. – Matthew 28:19-20 (KJV)

The Great Commission gives us the disciple-making formula.  We have been referencing it for years.  We have used it for our mantra in evangelizing the entire world, putting much of our focus on the going and baptizing with regards to all nations and unto the end of the world. 

What about the teaching part?

. . . and teach all nations. . .
. . . Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. . .

Our discipleship process should make a difference.  It should make a difference in the people who are discipled by us.  It should make a difference in them as they become fishers of men.  It should make a difference in them to the point where they make a difference in the world around them.  We, as the body of Christ, are to develop difference makers.

Get ideas and insights on how to develop difference makers:
We need today’s Christian to be able to sort through the muck and the mire.  We need Christians who will know what is truth and what is false, calling out the false prophets and standing for the truth.  We need Christians who are not blinded by the glitz and glamor of Hollywood, MTV and other fantasies.  We need people who will stand upright as the world goes astray, working in this ministry of reconciliation.  We need Christians to serve as Christ’s army.
Read the likes of J.C. Ryle, Francis Chan, Oswald Chambers, Watchman Nee, William Wilberforce, and William Carey.  Try to get a hold of the works of Hudson Taylor, Richard Allen, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Al Sharpton.  Look into men like William Tyndale, Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell and John Bunyan.  Let the words of these men sink into your heart, mind and soul.  See how they made a difference.  See how others taught and trained them.  See how you can develop others to make a difference.

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8But you must defend
those who are helpless
and have no hope.
9Be fair and give justice
to the poor and homeless
– Proverbs 31:8-9 (CEV)
We all should question ourselves.  We must answer for what we do and we fail to do.
I love the opening chapter of The Street Lawyer by John Grisham, I love the line of questioning by one of D.C.’s homeless brothers to a room of high-priced attorneys whom he has taken hostage of in their office:
  1. How much money did you make last year?
  2. How much money did you give to charity (to the poor and the needy) last year?

Doesn’t that make sense to you? Do the math.  #1 may outweigh #2, but there needs to be some actual figures for each one of those.  For instance, if #1 for you is $100,000 and #2 is $10,000, then you have given 10% of your income to charity.  No matter if you gave to the animal shelter, the rescue mission or the youth ceneter, that money went towards people doing good works.
 

It reminds me of an old school Hollywood flick called Boys Town.  I saw it before Ted Turner started touching up the old black and white movies, but even after it has been remastered, it still has an old school flavor to it.  Spencer Tracy plays an inner city priest who watches over a flock of unwanted urban youth, offering them compassion and hope despite poverty and the dire conditions of the city life.  It reminds me of Sleepers.  The one where Dinero plays the priest who is smoking either Pall Malls or Lucky Strikes.  He plays the part where he offers an alibi for the kids-turned-adults who murder an abusive juvenile detention center guard.  That was “Sleepers,” not “Boys Town.”  They’re not the same movie or even the same type of movie, but they have similar characters.  They have the guy- whether he’s a priest or not- who looks out for the youth of the community beyond their spiritual needs and offers a role model or father figure for them to look up to and see working within the community. 
Every community needs both groups of people.  Each community needs someone who will give some part of what they have to help others and those who serve to help others.  It’s philanthropy.  We need more people giving towards good causes.  We need people to offer a helping hand by being a role model or a father figure, even a big brother or big sister.  Plenty of kids desire to have someone show them some love and appreciation.  The elderly want that, too.  The disabled want it just like everyone else does.
Be a voice for others.  Be a helping hand for others.  Make a difference with what God has given to you.

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