Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘fishers of men’

Keep it Real (Urban Dictionary)

Definition: to not inhibit yourself or pretend to be something you are not. (One of many definitions on this page)

Jesus must have been a realist. 

How else do you explain His words and ways?  He used parables to bring the point home.  He compared and contrasted what people have heard or what is written to how it really should be with God’s people.  He kept it real for real.

Jesus didn’t sugar coat or water down His message.  He had to be a realist.  Even while on trial after being arrested, he let Pilate know that no earthly authority compelled Him to do anything that was not in His Father’s will.  Obviously, Brother Pilate was not informed of how Jesus blew the detachment of soldiers away by simply saying: “I am he.”  Jesus demonstrated His power with that I am

He was real.

Can we be a little more like Jesus? Seriously.  If we are truly going to be followers of Christ, let’s start by following in His footsteps.  Let’s do like He did and do as He would do.  We have too many euphemisms and schisms to be like Jesus.  We need to drop some of that stuff that hinders us from going beyond our limited scope.  We need to get real with ourselves and stop faking and fronting.  That keeps us from masking our pain, guilt and uneasiness beneath our Sunday’s best and all of that.

We don’t have to fake it.  We don’t have to front.  We can simply look at the Lord’s example and do our best to keep things as real as can be.  From there, the world we see that we are not super sanctified or ultra holy.  They’ll see us for what we are.  They’ll see us as people who catch hell just like the rest of the world, but they’ll see that we are simply keeping it real and keeping the faith.

That’s real talk.

FYI: Here’s the link to that Keep It real t-shirt, too!

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Public Prayer

And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. – Matthew 6:5 (NIV)

We need to understand the tenets of public prayer.  Jesus was concerned about it.  He did not want us to become like the hypocrites.  That was part of Jesus’ concern about public prayer.

Is Tim Tebow being a hypocrite when praying on the field? How about those kids in New York who were suspended for Tebowing at school? Were they being earnest, seeking to pray without ceasing or just trying to showboat in some self-righteous display? Even some Christians condemn Tebow’s display of prayer.  Some people have even gone so far as to use this very verse to justify how Jesus would have condemned Tebow’s public prayer on the field as hypocritical.

In His famed Sermon on the Mount, Jesus shares some things that we should do and should not do.  He does not denounce public prayer.  He shuns the practice of public prayer with the intent of seeking to be seen by others rather than to impact others.  If we pray in public, it should be prayer that touches the public rather than simply show them that we are so righteous and right with God that they never could attain our superior status.  That is the epitome of what Jesus called being like the hypocrites.

We need to pray in public.  We need to organize public prayer rallies.  We need every prayer rally possible at City Hall, at the steps of Capitol Hill, and on the streets of the inner city.  We need prayer in the midst of drug-infested projects and amid out-of-touch politicians and civic leaders.  We need prayer for the streets for safety and peace.  We need prayer.

We need testimonies of answered prayers on the streets.  We need to stand before those who do not know God and share how God answered our prayers.  We need to encircle one another, encircle the community, and simply circle up and pray.  Our standing in public places and in prayer should give others hope today.

On Tebow, I don’t believe that the brother is trying to show off or prove himself to be more righteous than the next man.  I believe that, if we were truly honest, we would not simply target Tebow.  We would all see that any person in any capacity related to professional sports needs some prayer.  In fact, didn’t former NFL pro defensive lineman Rosey Grier turn into a Christian social activist and prayer warrior? We didn’t bludgeon Rosey then as much as Tebow today.  Why because he’s 6’5″ with God on his side? I don’t think so. 

Let’s get real about this.  The world is going to twist the Word of God out of convenience and seek to take Christians through the ringer when they profess their faith publicly.  We need more public prayer in the right places for the right reasons and with the right intentions.  It can make a difference.

Read Full Post »

In 1967, our vision was to reach Los Angeles. This vision broadened to include California, then all of America, then the entire world.  – from The History of Victory Outreach International

As Christians, we are to be in a position of ambassadors of Christ to others.  We can be a bridge between people and the Savior.  We need to be messengers who share the message of the Good News about the victory that is complete in Christ.

Victory Outreach started with a novel concept.  They sought to reach the city of Los Angeles with the gospel.  That grew and expanded since 1967. 

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. – Acts 1:8 (ESV)

What if you simply set your focus on reaching a city or region for Christ, spreading the news about the victory that is available through Him? It is possible.  It is doable.  It provides us with a focal point for the work of the ministry.  We can do more for the Lord with a focus that can help us grow from there.  We can be voices of His victory on the street corners of metropolitans like Los Angeles or we can speak loudly about His victory in a rustic church out in a rural area.  Location matters as a starting point.  Location should not stifle us from doing the work of the ministry.

Where is your Jerusalem? What serves as your home base or headquarters? Start right there.

What is your Judea or Samaria? Identify surrounding areas near your locale to spread the news of Christ’s victory.  Use these as key points on your map of ministry.  These will serve as the points where you have identified the need for both the presence and preaching of gospel-believing people.

. . . and to the end of the earth

God will send you where He has for you to serve Him.  He may start you out in one place, but He may send you further and further away from “home.” He wants to use you.  He start you out right where you are and grow you right before the eyes of your family and friends.  He could also send you away to develop you far away from all that you have known.  He just wants you to serve as a voice of His victory and the victory that you have in this life through Him.

Read Full Post »

“We cannot expect people to be saved by our messages

unless we really try to instruct them by what we say to them.”

 – C.H. Spurgeon

Let’s do something different in 2012.  Let’s try to become a little more radical, even revolutionary, with how we share the Word of God with others.  I do not mean for us to get people in an uproar or upset.  I dare not mean for us to simply cause people to become rebels.  I simply implore and beseech us to revolutionize how we live out the gospel of the Lord.

Take an example from some of the modern-day revolutionaries out there:

  • John Burke: The Soul Revolution and No Perfect People Allowed are books by Burke that can help us see how to radically alter our approach to church and Christianity.
  • Brennan Manning: Author of The Ragamuffin Gospel, Manning shares that we cannot serve as self-appointed gatekeepers in this timely treasure of a grace-oriented perspective on the Christian faith.
  • Shane Claiborne: His aptly titled The Irresistible Revolution sent shock waves throughout the Christian community as he shared about the Simple Way and his personal reflections on the Word and the ways of the world in war and peace, even what we have come to accept as love.
  • Francis Chan: “Jesus asks for everything,” Chan wrote in Crazy LoveHe gives us a straight talk on what we should be in Christ and where we fall short if we do not submit to the Lord.
“Mother Theresa always said, “Calcuttas are everywhere if only we have eyes to see. Find your Calcutta.”
Shane Claiborne, The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical
 
Let’s revolutionize our ministry in 2012.  Be blessed.

 

Read Full Post »

 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
– Matthew 9:37-38 (ESV)

Jesus expects us to have compassion on the sight of those who look like sheep without a shepherd.  He also wants us to be discerning about what it takes to the reap the harvest of souls throughout this world.  He knows that our hearts cry out for the very souls of the poor and needy, the ones who do not accept the Lord as Savior and those who never heard His Word.

The Lord has an expectation of us as believers.

He wants us to be more:

  • Ready: The Lord stated the bounty of the harvest.  If we are to harvest souls, we need to be ready to reap.  Our readiness will determine how much and how well we reap what has ripened in its season.  He expects us to be ready.
  • Responsive: The Lord points out that the laborers are few.  In the right season, you will be expected to be responsive.  The appropriate response to the harvest is to get to work and pray.  Work with what the Lord has provided you in your spiritual gifts and resources, but also be sure to pray to the Lord of the harvest for the help that you need for the harvest.  Work and pray as part of your response to the Lord placing you in position to respond to the plentiful harvest.
  • Reliant: The words of Jesus make sense.  We are expected to work in the midst of the harvest.  However, we are also expected to pray and rely upon the Lord of the harvest for who He will send our way and into the harvest.  We cannot simply rely upon what we have in our hands or heads and on our hearts.  We have to rely on God Almighty for all the help that we need for the harvest.  He is the Lord of the harvest and has all things within His power.  We need to become more reliant upon Him throughout the season of the harvest.

 And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.
– Mark 16:15 (ESV)

Read Full Post »

O taste and see that the LORD is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!- Psalm 34:8

The psalm shares how taking refuge in the Lord can cause one to be blessed.  In fact, it starts this particular verse with an intriguing invitation to “taste and see that the Lord is good.” It is an entreat, starting with “O.” It implores and beseeches the one who reads or hears it read to pay close attention to what is being said.  It calls upon one to open his or her ears and eyes to what is being laid out.

O taste and see. . .

In other words, the psalm writer is beckoning others to come and try the Lord out for themselves.  He doesn’t simply say for others to take his word for it.  He offers others the opportunity to taste and see about the Lord on their own.  He assures them that once they have tasted of what the Lord has to offer that they will see just how good He truly is to those who seek Him.

Beyond everything else, the psalm shares how taking refuge in the Lord can lead to one being blessed by the Lord.  You do not have to keep running around and looking here and there.  Run to the Lord.  Seek refuge in Him.  Go to the Lord.  Flee to Him.  Make haste and come unto Him.  He alone can bless you beyond belief.  God alone can bestow blessing upon you that surpass your own imagination.

Try to recall the last time that you invited someone to taste of the Lord’s goodness and see for themselves.  Offer the invitation to the blessing of a lifetime to someone who may be near and dear to you.  Share it with a perfect stranger.  Put it on your Facebook status.  Tweet it in a direct message to a friend.  You’ve already tasted of His sweetness.  Share it with someone else.

Read Full Post »

We need to look at how we present the Gospel.  We need to be mindful of how we share it and spell out what it means to accept Christ as one’s personal Savior.

Yes, we can lead someone down the Romans Road, but it needs to lead them to the cross and to Christ.  That should be the main aim of our Gospel presentation.  Regardless of the format, whether  Bible study, revival, small groups, etc., our focus should remain pointing people to Christ.

Here is an example developed some time ago through Life Path Publications for offering salvation without strings:

Salvation: Study the Romans Road to lead someone to the cross. Romans 10:13
Offered: Without putting what is studied or understood into practice, we are negligent. Romans 10:14-15
Without: Drop those hang-ups about evangelism Matthew 28:19-20
Strings: Share the Gospel of salvation alone.  No pressure needs to be added upon the person.  Scaring someone out of hell is NOT the same as sharing the Gospel that will keep them from an eternity in hell. 1 Corinthians 2:2

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »