Sometimes in life, we make things too complicated. We ponder the mysteries. We ae paralyzed by all the different choices that we have in life. What are we to do? What are our options? What is faith and the Christian … Continue reading
As we wrap our last day at Camp Wesley Pines, I want to share with you my last two Biblical and Star Wars comparisons. First, we’ll look at last nights, and then we’ll look at today’s. The Biblical character we … Continue reading
It’s easy to be afraid, isn’t it? It’s just a natural reaction to things. We know about flight or fight, how it is just or instinct, in times of fear, for us to naturally want to “fly” away or to … Continue reading
One of the things that we are promised in our life, in our faith, is this. It’s not always easy. There are going to be tough times. There are going to be times of trial and tears and hurt. There … Continue reading
When we think about the world we live in, it can be a scary place, can’t it? We can feel overwhelmed by challenges, worries, fears, doubts.
We can feel like there is much evil in the world, many things that are wrong, things are against. Things that we feel like we must speak out against and oppose. We can feel like that’s what we are supposed to do.
And, in a world full of evil, we do have to stand for what we believe. But here’s the thing, standing against evil isn’t the totality of our duty and our calling. There’s more. Listen to what Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5: 11:
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.
I don’t just want to stand against what is wrong. I want to persuade others to do what is right. I heard Tim Keller say at a lecture recently, “it isn’t just that we proclaim the Gospel, it is that we are to persuade people to follow it and love it.”
I don’t just want to be know for what I’m against. I want to be known for what I am for. Jesus.
Today, we are not just to be against something. We are called to be for something. I don’t want to just stand against sin (as important as that is); I want to convince people, persuade people to follow Jesus.
Well, how do we do that? First, with our lives. If we are going to convince people to follow Jesus, we have to follow Him ourselves. There must be something different about us that makes folks want to follow Him.
Second, with our love. As we love folks as He loves them, they will want to know Him. They will. They will. They will want to know this Jesus that causes others to radically love others.
Today, that’s our calling. Not just to be against the evils of this world. But to persuade others to follow our Jesus.
Today may we live, may we love. And as we do that, may we give glory to our saviour!
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You ever get frustrated with folks that aren’t Christian? You ever just really get fed up with the world, with the way that people act, that their choices, their decisions, the way that their mind works?
There’s something that I say from time to tim – I don’t expect lost folks to act like Christians. I do, however, expect Christians to act like Christians. So, if you are spending your time, expecting people that don’t know Jesus Christ, to act like me or you, than you are just wasting your time.
They aren’t. They simply aren’t. Listen to what it says in 2 Corinthians 4:4-6
In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
We see here that the god of this age (Satan) has blinded the unbelievers to the truth of God. So then, what is our move? What are we to do? What are our options?
Pray. Build relationships. Take Christ with you. Shine the light. Take it with you.
In your words. In your actions. In all that you do. Shine His. The light will shine in the darkness. And the darkness will not overcome it. Take the light of Jesus with you.
But first, and foremost. Pray. Pray for those that you know that don’t love Jesus. Pray for those that you know that need to love Him better. Pray.
Pray for His word to spread. Pray for the church. Pray for yourself.
Yes, they are blinded. Don’t get frustrated. Don’t get angry. Love. Trust. Pray.
And let God take care of the rest.
If you have been following me for any length of time, you know that April 16 is not my favorite day of the year. This is the day that I remember the power of evil and sin to destroy lives.
And it’s the day that reminds me that in the journey of my life (and our lives) that evil doesn’t win.
And each of us, we know the power of evil. We see it in the world. We saw it on 9/11. We witnessed it yesterday in Boston, and many, many lives were forever changed and disrupted. We have seen the force and power of evil.
Evil has it’s moment. But evil doesn’t win.
That said, I don’t like April 16.
On April 16, 1978, my mother was murdered. I have always called her “Mama Sarah.” She was killed as she was walking out of our house, with me in her arms. She was walking out of the house because she did not want me raised in an abusive situation, in a situation full of drugs and destruction. She was walking out of the house because she wanted me to have a better life.
She was walking out of the house because she loved me.
And in that, she laid down her life for me. Literally. I sometimes tell folks I have the burden and blessing in my life of having had two people lay down their life for me, Jesus and Mama Sarah.
And, every day I wake up and know that I am here, I give thanks for no greater love. I give thanks that I, literally, should not be here.
And if you’ve ever wondered why I’m a little on the ADD side, this is why. I’m not going to waste a second that God has given me.
And every time I look at my daughter Sarah and mourn over the fact that she will never know the grandmother she was named for, I give thanks for no greater love.
I have experienced in my life the power of evil to bring destruction.
But I’ve also seen this. I’ve seen that evil doesn’t win. See, when Mama Sarah died, I was adopted by her mother and step father. I call them mama and daddy, because that’s who they are.
By the way, if you want to know the power of evil, consider this. Mama Sarah was murdered on her mother’s birthday, April 16. And she was buried on my birthday, April 18.
Evil has it’s moment. But it doesn’t win.
I was adopted and raised by my mama and daddy. And if I had not been raised by them, I wouldn’t have been raised in the church I was raised in. Which means that I may not be a Christian. Which means that I may not be a preacher. Which means that I may not be here, doing what I’m doing.
I may not be affecting your lives and your faith.
If I hadn’t been raised by my adopted parents, I wouldn’t have went to Bouge Chitto, which means I wouldn’t have went to Co-Lin which means I wouldn’t have met Holly, which means I wouldn’t have my family.
God brought good out of this terrible tragedy.
Was my mother’s murder a good thing? No. Or course not. My heart aches for it. But, the power of God is not that He stops bad things from happening.
But that He can bring good our of anything.
Even the worst evil.
Evil doesn’t win. My life is a testament to that.
Romans 828 says this:
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
All things will work for our good. And His glory. I am thankful.
It may look bad. But know this. Evil doens’t win. Let us have that hope. And let us rejoice, even in our tears.
Listen to 1 Peter 5:8-10 this morning. Peter in this passage tells us two very important facts for our lives and our walks of faith today.
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
Today, you will face temptation. It will happen. There are forces out there, temptations within yourself, things that are going to do their best to keep you from growing, being faithful, being effect for the gospel.
Scripture tells us that the our adversary the devil is prowling like a lion, seeking whom he may devour.
That’s fact one.
Fact two is this – bring it on!
Verse 9 says resist him, stand firm in your faith, and he will flee from you. The devil is a bully. He acts big and bad. He acts like he is strong and is all powerful.
He is not. He is not all powerful. He is not the king of the world. God is.
And through through our faith and the power of the spirit, when we stand firm, he will flee. He will.
Today, stand firm in your faith. Stand firm against the doubts, the temptations, the trials, the fear. Stand firm.
The devil is a bully. He acts big and bad. He is not. Through the power of God, he will flee.
Hunger. Exhaustion. Sadness. Joy. Pain. Wonder. Love. Anger. These are all human emotions, human experiences. Everyone reading this, no matter where you has felt, or will feel these things.
There is another thing that is common to humans. Temptation. Everyone of us in the world will face temptation. Each of us will. It is what it is. It is part of the human experience. We see today, in Matthew 3: 3-4, that even Jesus faced temptation. Listen to what happened:
And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”
We see the devil come to Him and tempt Him. This is one of the three temptations that Jesus faced in the wilderness.
So, if the devil tempted Jesus, who was, you know, the very son of God, do you thing we will face temptation? Of course we will. You will be tempted. It will happen.
So, what do we do? What do we do when we are tempted? Look what Jesus did. He quoted the Bible back to the devil. He had a firm foundation of scripture that He recite in the time of temptation.
What do we need to do when tempted? First, a verse of two either written down, or even better, committed to memory that you can call up in times of temptation.
For example – James 4:7 – Submit yourselves therefor to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Know that through the power of the Holy Spirit in your, when we stand upon faith, temptation will flee.
Hebrews 12:4 – In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your own blood.
These are just a few, and here is a list of some good verses that may be a help in times of temptation.
And second, pray. When you face temptation, pray. As God to help you. Strengthen you. Uphold you. Be with you. And He will. Turn to Him when you face temptation. And He will be there.
Today, temptation will come. What will you do about it?