Hey everyone, we are going to be “Presenting Jesus in Mendo” starting Saturday 7/13. I will be leading a study in the life and character of Jesus Christ as we go through the Gospel of John at the Community Center of Mendocino every Saturday night at 6:30. We’re going to meet in the beautiful Curry Community Room. The whole community is invited, and I love to see old friends, church family, and many others from every walk of life attend as we look at the most amazing person in the history of the world. We’ll have free coffee and some snacks too. Hope to see you there!!
Yet none of the rest dared join them, but the people esteemed them highly. And believers were increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women -Acts 5:13-14
These verses depict the church when she was just getting started. The disciples were full of the Holy Spirit, boldly preaching the Gospel, and performing miracles. These disciples were also distinctly different from the world around them, yet highly respected by unbelievers. Most importantly, through their witness and preaching “multitudes” were being added to the Lord. Why do I bring this up?
In today’s Christianity there is a temptation by many of us to try to reach out to a new generation with what I perceive be that light of Christ masked by the world’s darkness. I understand the motivation, and I even think the heart behind the action is good. We want people to know Jesus, we want people to be saved. I get that, and I desperately want that too. But, the question is how do we do this? And, do the ends justify the means? Is being relevent or cool the path that leads to reaching a generation that is turned off to the Church? I think these verses help us with those questions, and give us an example to follow in order that multitudes of every age would be added to the Lord Jesus Christ.
The first thing we see is ” none of the rest dared join them” Does that sound like the disciples were focusing on being relevent? No, I don’t think it does. They were focused on Jesus Christ, and they were one with Him (as Jesus prayed they would be in John 17). They did this by living with simplicity of heart, loving Jesus and being one with those who also loved Jesus with a pure heart. The disciples stayed steadfast in prayer, the apostles teaching, fellowship, and communion (Acts 2:42). Then they prayed for boldness, and used every God-ordained opportunity to share the good news of Jesus Christ. As they kept a simple focus on the Lord Jesus, the Holy Spirit was working powerfully through their lives, and the light of Christ was beaming from their congregation. The power of the Holy Spirit was so evident, and their lives were so radically different and honorable to Jesus Christ that people were actually afraid of them. Now, the first thing that pops up in my mind when I write this is that people being afraid of Christians can’t be a good thing for evangelism. But, we must first make sure the people are a little wary for the right reasons. Unbelievers should never be afraid because Christians are judgemental, unwelcoming, violent, busy-bodies, gossips, harsh, self-absorbed, or corrupt just to name a few. No, they should be wary because the light of Christ, His love and holiness, is so apparent that it would be shocking, and unlike anything this world has to offer. The reason an unbeliever should be wary of Christians is because what is going on in the Christian life and congregation is radically different.
The next thing we see is although no one dared join them, “the people esteemed them highly”. So the unbelievers were afraid, but they held the Christians in great respect. Why is that? Imagine if you saw a group of people who loved one another so fervently that the other person’s well-being was always at the forefront of each persons mind. Imagine a group of people laying down their lives in every way for the friends around them. Imagine a group of people who never cheated anyone, didn’t get involved in sexual immorality, that never lied to one another, that never slandered one another, didn’t covet money, but coveted loving and honoring their Holy God, and loving each person around them with an absolute humility and lowliness of mind. Basically, imagine a group of people really, really living like Jesus. Now, I am not saying these people were perfect, but they way they lived was different and it was honorable, and this life they lived was lived out-loud. Although, many people may not have agreed with these Christians, and some people would be greatly offended, the fact that these Christians were filled with an above reproach love had to be honorable in some degree. Could you imagine a conversation between someone trying to explain why they hate those Christians:
“I hate those Christians. I just can’t stand them.”
“Why do you hate them? What have they done?”
“Well, they are just so loving. They love their wives too much. They care about each other waaaay too much. They won’t lie about anything. They work really hard, and they seem to have no worries. They just worship that Jesus all the time”
“They sound like pretty up-standing citizens to me”
“Well maybe, but they just make me mad. I can’t figure it out, but they have to go”
Finally, we see that this lifestyle of loving and worshipping Jesus, and not being conformed to this world, but being transformed (Romans 12:2) led to believers being added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women. So back to the beginning, we want to see people come to Jesus Christ and experience His love, grace, and forgiveness. We want people to be saved, right? Well this lifestyle of abiding in Christ and being focused on Him in every aspect led to just that. These disciples were not sitting around trying to figure out why more people aren’t coming to the Lord, and trying to be more appetizing to an unregenerate world. The early disciples were a group of radicals set apart from the world, and people could tell they were different. They loved Jesus, were filled with the Holy Spirit, and shared the Gospel boldly. There focus was on pleasing God, not men. That is how people are added to the Lord, not by being cool or being relevant.
Let the words of Paul seek deep into our hearts, “For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” and “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes” Love and abide in Jesus Christ because He loves us, and then let His life flow through each on of us in the power of the Holy Spirit, so that He might add many to the Lord Jesus Christ.
My wife and I went and saw The Hobbit this evening, and while I found the movie very entertaining, what stuck with me the most wasn’t the dwarves or hobbits, but the previews of upcoming films. There was something in common in each one of these films, and they got me thinking about the current climate of the world today, and the people who live in it. It seemed, whether it was a remake of The Wizard of Oz or another Superman movie, that each movie had a great crisis, and the need for a man to become more than a man, and then to save the world.
The Wizard of Oz was very different from bringing Dorothy and Todo back from Kansas, but had a man who was to come to Oz and fulfill the prophecy of becoming a great wizard and man who defeats the wicked witch. He is their only hope. The Superman movie shows Clark Kent being told to hide his powers as kid because the world would not accept him, but there seems to come a time where he will need to change the world, and Superman will decide if the change will be for good or for evil. Even, the Hobbit has the powers of good and evil pitted against each other with talk of prophecy coupled with the notion of love and kindness being a key to overcoming evil.
Now I don’t mean to ramble on, but the reason I bring up these movies is because I couldn’t help realize these are these types of movies that are wildly popular today. They all have varying levels of fantasy or magic, coupled with the need of a Savior to overcome a great evil. As I look around the world today it is undeniable the cultural instability is on the rise, economies are tanking around the world, natural disasters are happening in an increasingly rapid progression with unprecedented severity, and people are looking for hope. They are desperately looking.
I think all these factors make a movie like the Hobbit more appealing than ever. A far away land that seems so different from our own, a world that has the assurance that good will overcome evil, and that s savior will appear to initiate the victory. That sounds absolutely wonderful in comparison to the uncertainty of this world and the era we live in today.
Now, the reason this is so exciting for me is that I know I do have a Savior, and that He will overcome all evil in the day of His return. I am completely assured of the victory in Jesus Christ as a born again believer in Him. As I was changed in an instant when I put my trust in Christ, and gave my life to Him, I now know that no matter what happens in this world, I have a place prepared for me in heaven that cannot be corrupted and will go on forever. Living in glory with my Lord will be so much better than any movie can portray. So with that, these movies can be a type of reminder of the glory to come.
Yet, there is a cold reality of this truth and assurance. While God has made a way for all people to enter into this glory, or heaven, for all eternity through His death at the cross and resurrection from the grave, many people have not accepted the free gift of eternal life. Many people have no assurance at all today, even though the gift of eternal life is readily available and freely given. If we saw someone in one of these aforementioned movies turning down the greatest gift from the most loving God ever imagined due to pride, selfishness, or unbelief we would be heart-broken, and consider that person foolish at best. Yet, so many are doing that very thing today, and it breaks my heart.
Here the world is groaning and aching for hope and for a Savior, but turning away from the Jesus Christ who is all those things and more. People are turning to any other form of temporary fulfillment or peace imaginable, but rarely to Christ. And I am even more saddened that there will come a man some day soon who will seem to fit all the credentials of a Savior and bring about great peace, but he will, in actuality, be that dark force that desires to deceive and kill. Yet, most of the world will clamor for him, and throw away any right they have in order to come under his care. All the while the true Savior calls out with tears and love to any who would come to Him and be saved.
So, with that if you are not a believer in Jesus Christ I would ask you to examine your heart, and examine the world, and seek the true God with all sincerity because he does exist, and He does love you, and He does want you to be saved, and He did send his perfect Son to die in your place so you could live. God is calling to every heart in this earth begging you to repent from your sins, and believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. But he will not make you come. I would encourage you to google Matthew 24, and John 3:16 and read them. Google Romans 3:23 and Romans 5:8 and Romans 10:9 and read those also. I would encourage you to read the HOW TO BE SAVED link on top of this page. Then confess your are a sinner and ask God to save you. If you believe in Christ, you will be saved.
If you are a Christian, I would encourage you, as I have been encouraged writing this, to realize that the time is short, and there are people’s lives at stake. To understand that people are in need of a savior and desperate for hope. To take personal responsibility to share the good news of Jesus Christ to a desperate generation of people who are looking for hope in all the wrong the places. Let us have the compassion of Jesus, mixed with an unwavering commitment to be about our Father business, and pray to God to give the increase of salvation while we faithfully live as His disciples.
But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. -Matthew 6:44,45
Jesus came to the earth and was the express image of the Father as it says in Hebrews 1. As I have been reading through the sermon of the mount I have been praying to see Jesus, and to really be changed by His words. What Jesus said above shows exactly how God treated me before I came to Christ. I was hater of God yet he blessed me, provided for me, and drew me to himself with His amazing love. My hope is that I can treat even the person who hates me the most as Jesus stated above, and truly live as a son of my Father in heaven.
So the Lord said to Moses, “I will also do this thing that you have spoken; for you have found grace in My sight, and I know you by name.” -Exodus 33:17
This is the sweetest thing I have heard in a long time, if not ever. To know in all my impossibilities and heartaches that I have found grace in God’s sight, and even more that HE KNOWS ME by name. I had to highlight the knows me part because when the world becomes overwhelming, and the struggles of life fall down upon me like an avalanche, the fact that God knows me by name reminds me of all the love He has for me, and all that is true in the world. It reminds me of all that really matter, and today I need to be reminded.
Every time I read this, I just weep because I see the love and kindness of my God and my heavenly Father pouring through the words above, and I need to know just how much He loves me. I don’t know why certain things happen in life, and I can’t see God’s plan or understand His way, but I know that He loves me and I know that He knows me, and that is enough. Much more than enough.
So, now as I get ready to head out on a journey today, I don’t know what lies ahead of me, but I thank God that before I go He has brought me to place similar to where He brought Moses. And I echo what Moses said after being overwhelmed by the circumstances around him, “Please, show me Your glory.” (v.18)
To see God’s glory is all I want in this moment, and it’s all that matters. And, maybe I am beginning to see a little bit of why God has brought me to this low point.
Finally, I love that God does not turn me away when I come to Him, but He answers my prayers and says, “I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before you.” (v.19) I absolutely need God’s goodness to pass before me, and I need to be near Him. I love that when I cry out to Him, he doesn’t leave it up to me, but he picks me up and places me close to Him, and sets me firmly upon the rock that is His Son and my Saviour. “And the Lord said, “Here is a place by Me, and you shall stand on the rock.” (v.20) I need Him, and I need to be firmly standing on the Rock that is Jesus Christ when the storms of life rage upon me.
After I have looked at the Word of God, wrote down what God is speaking to me, and meditated on Him I realize that I have had God’s goodness pass before just now, I realize that I have been placed close to my Father, and I realize that I am suddenly standing firmly on the Rock that is Jesus Christ. How faithful is my God. Thank you Jesus.
As I was reading Psalm 107, a couple of verses jumped off the page. As I sat and read over the verses several times, my heart began to break for all the people in the world who are sitting in darkness because they have rejected the light of Christ. Here are the verses:
“Those who sat in darkness and in the shadow of death, Bound in affliction and irons— Because they rebelled against the words of God, And despised the counsel of the Most High” (NKJV)
As I thought over these verses, I couldn’t help but think about so many people I know and love that are sitting in darkness right now. It breaks my heart to think about people being covered by the shadow of death, and being bound in the affliction of sin. This is all the more hard to swallow because each person in this world chooses whether to come to the light, or to stay in the darkness. John 3 gives the unfortunate truth about the majority of mankind,
“And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.” (NKJV)
As the Psalm states, people are bound in affliction and sitting in darkness because they have rebelled against the words of God. The verses from John above spell out why people reject God, but these verses from Psalm 107 caused me to think about what people are actually rejecting when it says they rejected the words of God. What are the words of God?
The words of God are actually rather simple, but obviously unappetizing to the vast majority of people today. In fact, most people (even some self-proclaimed Christians) flat-out do not like the Bible, which is the Word of God. But, the basic message from God, from His word, is simply the gospel or the good news. The gospel message can be summed up in this: all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 6:23), and God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). It is really that simple. All have sinned, God cannot be together with sin, God knew all this and looked upon our sinful state with incomprehensible love, and therefore sent His Son to die for us so that we could have a way to be with God for eternity. The Word of God is one of love and redemption. So why do people reject it?
There are a myriad of things that will keep a person from accepting Jesus and the words of God, but the two that come to my mind are the love of darkness, and human pride. While John again clearly states that people love darkness, and therefore they reject the light, not realizing they are rejecting eternity with God almighty,. People also flat-out reject that they are sinful, or reject they are sinful enough to be sent to hell. This human stubbornness (that I know so well in myself) absolutely kills me. So many people believe that they are good people, and therefore in no need of confession of sin, no need of repentance, and in no need of a Savior. For these reasons and more, people continually reject the words of God, therefore rejecting Jesus Christ, and rejecting God the Father. You cannot reject the Words of God, and then accurately state you belong to that same God, and are going to spend eternity with Him.
So, as I come full circle with this I think of the beautiful words God speaks remembering the birth of his chosen people, the Israelites in Ezekiel 16:
“And when I passed by you and saw you struggling in your own blood, I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!’ Yes, I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!’ (NKJV)
God says the same thing to every person on this earth today. As we struggle in our sin, and the fallen state of this world, God is calling anyone and everyone to come out of the darkness, and behold His glorious light. God is calling to anyone who will come to Him to be set free from the bondage of sin, but we cannot be set free if we continue to reject the Words of God. We have to believe in Jesus Christ, and His work on the cross alone for the payment of our sins, and our way to eternal life. Jesus is the way the truth and the life (John 14:6), and God is waiting patiently for any who would accept His free gift of salvation, not desiring that any person should perish, but that all would come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).
If you have not received the love of Christ and the words of God, you can do that today. Just cry out to God, and confess your sins, ask Him to forgive you, and believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. If you do that with a true heart, you will be born again of the Holy Spirit of God, and welcomed into the family of God as His child forever.
And for the Christians, what can we do? This time with the Lord has again just convicted me to continue to stay steadfast in prayer for those who are still sitting in darkness, and to pray that God would help me shine brightly as His light so that those around would see and come. He has convicted me to pray that people I know and love would be set free from the bondage of sin, be drawn out of the darkness and the shadow of death, and be brought into the presence of God by the blood of Jesus Christ. The time is short, and God hears the prayers of children, so I encourage you all, as I encourage myself, to get alone with God and pray more earnestly. God bless you all.
With love and prayer, Cory.
Tonight, for the first time in my life, I sang in a church choir. There I was in the first row, trying to read music, follow harmonies and melodies (like I have any idea how to do that), and being singled for my “wandering tune.” I listened closely to the more experienced singers around me, and just came to an understanding that I was the worst person at “Choir” in the room. But, here’s the funny thing: I honestly and truly had a great time. I got to learn a little about reading music, I got to sing songs about Jesus, and I got to hang out with people who I love and enjoy being with. I also learned a few things. As I sat in my chair in between my parts there were two things that came to my mind…
First, the old me (that is before I came to know Jesus and was miraculously changed into an entirely different person) hated things like choir. The last time I sang in a choir was in Everett, WA at Hawthorne Elementary. I was 7 years old, and choir was mandatory. I actually gave choir my best effort back in 1992, but I was terrible. I really wanted to be the best at choir (for those of you who know me you can stop laughing :-D), and I wanted the solo part for the school concert. Everyone’s parents were going to be there, and this was my chance to shine. My chance to master another area of life… the arts. Needless to say I did not get the part, but the music teacher graciously let me sing in a quartet, while the choir star, A.J., got the solo in front of the whole school. As you can tell, I still remember this incident vividly. I was mad at the teacher, and I slandered him to my family. I was mad at A.J., and set out to humiliate him in the classroom and the playground (my stronger areas). It’s weird how bitter a 7-year-old can be just because he can’t sing, especially when no one even treated me unfairly. In retrospect, I was given more than I deserved be being allowed to sing in the quartet. Truly, putting me with 3 other kids that could actually sing was an act of mercy, and saved me from public humiliation. Nevertheless, after that incident I decided I was an athlete and a brainiac, and singing was for girls or geeks. Ofcourse, this is not true, but I had to justify myself for not being good at singing, and this was the easiest way, albeit the shallowest and most sinful way to go about the failure.
Back to the choir night, there I was singing in a choir with my brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ. I was at MY Church, with MY Pastor, and doing all this of MY own accord. As I sat there, I thought how amazing is my God? More amazing than I could ever know or imagine. The Bible says that, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV.) There couldn’t be any better example of what this means than me being at church to sing in the Easter choir in hopes of glorifying Jesus Christ BECAUSE I WANTED TO. Just amazing. Jesus Christ took a black-out drinking, cocaine abusing, adulterating, mocker of God and all things religion, and simply told me He loved me and had been waiting for me…that’s when I gave my life to him, and now I am a Choir Boy. I’m also married to the assistant pastor’s daughter. I also haven’t drank, done drugs, been involved in any sinful relationships, or gone to any parties since the day I met Jesus.
But, what I have done is even more crazy. From the day the Lord said to me seek my face, I have been seeking after Jesus and walking with Him to the best of my ability (When I first came to the Lord Jesus, He spoke Psalm 27:8-10 to my heart in a very powerful way) because I love Jesus with all my heart, and it is my desire, not my church’s rule or any other regulation placed upon me, but my heart’s desire to live for Jesus, and to know Him as much as possible. Even if my church completely walked away from the Lord, and every Christian I know turned out to be faking it (This will not happen because I have some of the most amazing brothers and sisters in the Lord, who love Jesus with all their heart), I would still love the Lord. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus is alive, and that He is living inside of me, and I know this because of what He has done in my life.
One definition of grace is: the divine influence upon the heart of the believer. It is a definition of grace because God freely gives this divine influence to those who believe in His Son, Jesus Christ. And, this divine, supernatural, only from the one true God influence on my heart was so evident to me tonight because I wanted to be a Choir Boy. I made the decision of my own free will, with gladness and excitement to sing to the Lord with people I love, and to try do something that I am terrible at and have not touched in nearly 20 years. Talk about divine influence on the heart! There is absolutely no way the old black out drinking, filled with pride and ego Cory would ever even think about doing an activity at a church, let alone be a choir boy there. I am so glad Jesus loved me, and saved me. I can never say thank you enough.
My second thought is a different kind of amazing, but also very interesting. Even as I sat there enjoying myself, I could feel myself wanting to go do something I excelled at after this choir session. Even as a Christian (we are not perfect, but saved by grace) I find myself struggling to partake in an event that I am not naturally good at. I like doing things that I am the best at, and I think that has to do mostly with my sinful pride, but does have a healthy dose of laziness mixed in.
To my shame, I want people to think well of me, and to look up to me. And, as I said before, I had to come to grips with the fact that I was the worst person at this particular thing in the entire building. I thank God for tonight because the pride and ego that dwell inside me have no place in the heart of a Christian, and He continues to work on those areas of my heart. Unfortunately, those characteristics will continue to rear their heads from time to time regardless until I am perfected with the Lord, but I pray that God would take as much of this pride out of me as possible, and replace it with an active knowledge in my heart of what it means to be truly humble and to have no thought of self whatsoever. I pray that He would teach what it means to be the lowest servant, and teach me how to be a servant of all. I thank God for what He is going to do through this choir experience because I obviously need some refining.
The wonderful thing about God is that He is faithful to complete the work He starts in each believer (Philippians 1:6). I will be praying for growth and a deeper knowledge of the love of Christ in myself, and every Christian who reads this little post. I will also be praying for every person that has never met Jesus, and does not how much He loves you that you would choose to seek Jesus Christ because He is, and has been, waiting for you to come to Him, the same way He was waiting for me. He will not turn you away no matter what you have done if you come to Him with humble heart because He loves you, and went to the Cross for every sinner (person) that ever came into existence. All you have to do is repent (turn from) your sins, and believe on Him who died and rose again, Jesus Christ.
May God bless you, and cause His face to shine upon you.
I was talking with my Pastor about the definition of grace because I had always defined grace as an unmerited gift or unmerited favor, as in God gave His only Son although I did not deserve that gift, and I was not owed that sacrifice. Yet, he used a term I have heard before in Bible Study: Grace is the Divine influence on the heart of a believer. To me, those are two very different definitions. As we talked about grace I found that the greek word we translate into grace has much more meaning than I had always thought the word grace to mean, and includes the Divine influence upon the heart of a believer. So, I decided to look it up in the 1828 Webster Dictionary out of curiosity (I like this early edition because in 1828 they had not edited out God from the Webster dictionary) and the definition was very in-depth, and I thought I would share. Here are just the top ten definitions:
GRACE, n. [L. gratia, which is formed on the Celtic; Eng. agree, congruous, and ready. The primary sense of gratus, is free, ready, quick, willing, prompt, from advancing.]
1. Favor; good will; kindness; disposition to oblige another; as a grant made as an act of grace.
Or each, or all, may win a lady’s grace.
2. Appropriately, the free unmerited love and favor of God, the spring and source of all the benefits men receive from him.
And if by grace,then it is no more of works. Rom.11.
3. Favorable influence of God; divine influence or the influence of the spirit, in renewing the heart and restraining from sin.
My grace is sufficient for thee. 2 Cor.12.
4. The application of Christ’s righteousness to the sinner.
Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound. Rom.5.
5. A state of reconciliation to God. Rom.5.2.
6. Virtuous or religious affection or disposition, as a liberal disposition, faith, meekness, humility, patience, &c. proceeding from divine influence.
7. Spiritual instruction, improvement and edification. Eph.4.29.
8. Apostleship, or the qualifications of an apostle. Eph. 3.8.
9. Eternal life; final salvation. 1 Pet.1.13.10. Favor; mercy; pardon.
Bow and sue for grace
With suppliant knee.
Find the rest of the defintion at: http://1828.mshaffer.com/d/search/word,grace
Wow… that is quite a description for one word, and just re-emphasizes how amazing, and how wonderful the grace of God is. We can’t truly understand the grace of God in it’s entirety, but we definitely can be thankful.
God bless you!
It’s been awhile since my last post, and I’ve really been wanting to write about something God put on my heart a few weeks ago. In all honesty, I am learning how to balance keeping a strong, healthy relationship with Jesus Christ, building a healthy marriage on the foundation of Christ, and ministering to my wonderful new wife. Doing all this while working at least 40 hours a week and just living life… A humbling experience for sure, but I praise God for the work he is doing in me, and that He is so faithful to transform those who belong to Him from glory to glory.
Back to what I want to talk about though. About two weeks ago I was walking to meet my wife, and a car was trying to pull out onto a main street from a side street. I was walking towards the car pulling out, and there were cars parked all along the sides of the street making it very difficult to see if any cars were coming from the car’s left. THe woman driving looked right, and initially there were no cars coming for a long ways off. But because of the lack of visibility to her left, the woman very slowly started to creep out into the street to get a better look. She literally inched out into the main street for about ten seconds continually only looking in my direction, presumably forgetting all about the possibility of a car coming from the other direction.
As I was watching her I was at first astounded by how cautious she was being, and how much time she was taking to make the turn. Then I realized there was a large SUV that had also turned onto the main road and was heading right for the intersection we were at full speed from the previously clear direction. The woman trying to pull out, but had no idea of the oncoming car and impending disaster.
Now, this woman was fixated on the direction she wanted to go, and was paying no attention to what else might be happening around her. She was clearly looking in my direction, and I knew that if I warned her she would at least be made aware that I was trying to tell her something. I pulled my hand out of my pocket, and quickly pointed in the other direction. She looked, and then accelerated onto the main street and safely merged into traffic. She gave me a thumbs up and a look of gratitude as she drove away… I had clearly blessed her and helped her avoid a possibly very serious accident.
I walked away from that feeling blessed that I had played a small part in helping that woman avoid a car accident. All I did was point, but maybe me being willing to warn this woman helped avoid a person dying or being seriously injured. I said in my heart, Thank you Lord for letting me be apart of that. It was a true blessing. Then the Lord spoke to me…
I was willing to point out the oncoming car accident to this woman, and I was very happy that a car accident had not taken place, but The Lord spoke to me and said, there are people dying all around you… There are people all around you headed for an eternity separated from their Creator, destined to spend eternity in unthinkable torment and utter darkness. And what have I called to you to do? Have I commanded you to do anything but be willing to take your hand out of your pocket, and point to the coming judgement, and then point them to Me and the perfect, sacrificial love I have for them?
All God has called us to do is point people to Jesus Christ, God the Son, who was tortured and killed so that anyone who repents and believes in Him would be saved. Are we going to stand up as Isaiah did and say, “Here I am Lord, send me'”? Or are we going to keep our hands in our pockets, and walk through life with our head down, so that we don’t have to look at all the people around us who so desperately need the love of Jesus Christ?
Christians, I want to encourage you to lift up your eyes up, and notice that the harvest is truly plentiful, but that the laborers are few. I want to encourage you to be willing to step out of your comfort zone, and share the love of Christ with someone who comes across you path in the days to come. I know all the reasons and excuses why we don’t or why we can’t step out and boldly be Christ’s witness because I have used them all in my own mind and in my own life. Whether I have a work obligation, or “I know” that person won’t receive what I have to say, I have decided not to pull my hand out of my pocket and point to Christ on more occasions than I would like to admit. But let me ask you this: Are you at least willing to pray that God would change the very person you are? God has given His people the ability to be His witnesses by His dynamic power in the form of the Holy Spirit, but we have to be willing to use it. Will you pray that God would use you to minister to, and share His love with the people in your life? I know I want to be changed more and more into the image of Christ, more and more into the servant He wants me to be, and I will be praying that the people who read this will have that same desire.
God loves every person enough to give His only Son to be tortured and killed so that they might be saved from eternal condemnation. Do we love these same people enough to even just point them to the Jesus? Are we willing?