Go Out into the World

2 Cor 6:16 (HCSB) And what agreement does God’s sanctuary have with idols? For we are the sanctuary of the living God, as God said: I will dwell among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be My people. 

Mark 16:15 (HCSB) Then He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation.” John 14:6 (HCSB) Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”  The church is the collective body of Christ. As a people who’ve proclaimed Christ as their Savior, our bodies are now the temple of the Holy Spirit. As followers of Christ, we are the Disciples of Christ, we’ve been given a tremendous task: we are to glorify God by living Godly lives and being steadfast in our commitment to Christ. We’ve been granted and called to the commission of leading others to reconciliation with Heavenly Father through belief in Jesus Christ.

I will be speaking a lot about “Responsibility in Salvation” as well as our commission to “Evangelize”.  In the fast paced, busy world that we live in today, it’s difficult to manage the reality of this assignment to go into all the world and preach the Gospel.  We don’t need to go into the WHOLE world, we only need to start by having a relationship with our neighbors, whether it be next door or in line at the grocery.  Yes! I know it’s already challenging to meet the demands of our jobs and to find balance between family commitments and our commission to share the Gospel.  When we stop at the grocery, we’re thinking about what we’re doing next and if there’s enough time to get from point A to point B before it needs to be done.  

I’d like to say that I have an answer to the dilemma, but to be honest, I just know there’s a quandary and it’s up to each individual or family unit to find the way.  For some it seems very complicated…but it may be as simple as sitting down (first alone and then with our families) and making a list of what’s really important and what’s not. 

Start this with a prayer asking Heavenly Father to show you His Will.  You can then assign each commitment a number of 1-5 with 5 being VERY important.  Perhaps when you compare notes with one another, they will give you some idea of what can be eliminated or rearranged to make room for more time to devote to Heavenly Father and the Gospel.  Through this process, you may discover that there’s certain commitments that the family is participating in under duress, you may find some commitments that you all “LOVE” and these are definitely keepers.  Now comes the point in time where you need to look at the lists fairly and arrive at agreements that the whole family can live with.  If one person has an item on their list that is very low and it’s higher up on the other lists…you need to have an open-minded conversation about why this specific commitment is or isn’t on equal footing with the whole family.  Keep in mind that this is not an overnight process and that it may take you weeks or months to sort it all out, but it will be worth it in the end.  

Once you’ve sorted out your busy lives and in some cases removed some worldly activities, now you can make time to commit to Evangelism.  Remember, we must do only things that honor His name and bring Him glory!  When we follow his commandments Mark 12:30-31(HCSB)  Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. “The second is: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other command greater than these.” We need to offer ourselves as living sacrifices – acceptable to Heavenly Father in thoughts, words and actions.  We must provide the Holy Spirit with a Temple that cherishes our Heavenly father and has the desire to share all the wonderful things that God has done in our lives.  When we’re feeling a little selfish with our time, we need to ask his forgiveness and remember:  “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.  When you talk to someone about what Jesus did on the cross for mankind, share with them that you too are a sinner and don’t deserve his forgiveness…speak to them with loving kindness and an honest desire for them to be saved.  It may be as simple as asking someone what church they go to…if they don’t have one, it will give you an opportunity to invite them to your church.  When you bring someone to your church stand up at announcement time and introduce them as your neighbor or new friends.

***HCSB is the Holman Christian Standard Bible. Very easy to read and understand…especially great for a new follower of God.

Power of Prayer

I’m going to share with you “the most powerful tool” in your arsenal: PRAYER

I’m talking about earnest, subservient supplication in the name of Jesus (Yeshua – Hebrew translation).  By no means, am I dishonoring the blessing prayer before a meal or the safety prayer when we get in our car and all the other moments that we seek Heavenly Father’s love and protection.  However, what I am talking about is the “down” on your knees (I know… not everyone can get down on their knees) displaying honest humbleness before the Lord as we rejoice in His presence and take the time to listen for His answer to our prayer.  We should spend time in prayer every day; it takes putting aside the world to feel at one with or be in touch with and get to know our Father in Heaven!

Find someplace to pray where you won’t be interrupted so you can truly focus on your time spent with God!  If you’ve seen the movie “War Room”, you will have an idea of what I’m referring to… Matt 6:6 (HCSB) Jesus said, “But when you pray, go into your private room, shut your door, and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”

  1. Prepare yourself for prayer, like David said in Psalm 66:18, God will NOT listen if we’re cherishing our sins.  When we read our Bible daily, we learn what God abhors: lying, thieving, adultery etc.  Once we have Christ’s blood covering us as a result of our enduring faith, we are saved, but that doesn’t mean that God likes our sin any more than he did before we found faith in Jesus.  Romans 8:1-8 (HCSB) Therefore, no condemnation now exists for those in Christ Jesus, 2because the Spirit’s law of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. What the law could not do since it was limited by the flesh, God did. He condemned sin in the flesh by sending His own Son in flesh like ours under sin’s domain, and as a sin offering, in order that the law’s requirement would be accomplished in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh think about the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, about the things of the Spirit. For the mind-set of the flesh is death, but the mind-set of the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind-set of the flesh is hostile to God because it does not submit itself to God’s law, for it is unable to do so. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
  2. Don’t forget that Satan will do everything in his arsenal to keep us from praying: the phone will ring, the kids will need something, unexpected company, worries about our jobs, not enough time, random thoughts that flutter around in our minds to distract us from our attempt to spend time with God!  Satan knows how powerful we are when we’re in prayer and that God listens to our every prayer.  Personal thought…I’m quite certain that every prayer we’ve ever spoken has been heard and remembered by God.
  3. Always pray “that HIS will be done” and then submit to it!  When we can’t put into words what we need to say, the spirit will speak for us.  Luke 12:12 (HCSB) For the Holy Spirit will teach you at that very hour what must be said.
  4. Realize that God can and will say NO!  Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane “Father, if You are willing, take this cup away from Me–nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done.” Luke 22:42 (HCSB) God said NO to Jesus so He willingly went to the cross and suffered for our sins.  God said NO to David when he lay prostrate in prayer for the life of his child with Bathsheba.  God said NO to Elijah when he asked God to strike him dead.  God said NO to the people who built the Golden Calf and didn’t allow them to go to the Promise Land. God said NO to Moses for striking the rock twice instead of speaking to it, so Moses was allowed to see the Promised Land, but he didn’t enter in.  God said NO to Paul when he asked Him to remove the thorn in his flesh.  Our Father’s will not ours will be done; He has a plan and He knows what’s best for each and every one of us!

Prayer Life

Psalm 95:6    “Come, let us worship and bow down, Let us kneel before the LORD our Maker.  Isn’t it wonderful that our Bible has an entire Book dedicated to songs of praise and prayer to Heavenly Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit?  Book after book, chapter after chapter, the Bible tells us to praise God and pray…there are so many verses about prayer that I couldn’t begin to count them.  Jesus prayed to His Father in Heaven.   I’ve chose some of my favorite verses to share with you and I know that you have specific verses that speak louder than others to your prayer life. 

WOW! “Prayer Life”!  What an awesome certainty we have in Heavenly Father that he listens.  The Bible tells us over and over again to have a conversation with God and that He’s listening!  The more often you pray, the closer you become with the Father, and with time, you’ll find yourself in a state of prayer from morning to evening and sometimes even in your dreams.  Prayer will become so integral to your existence that you think of going to God immediately with every hurt and with every joy of thanksgiving; it becomes non-stop conversation.  How fantastic is it to know that someone is actually listening to you and that you don’t have to repeat yourself over and over again because HE got it the first time? 

Your “Prayer Life” can have so many different connotations: we can pray for others whom we know are experiencing a time of joy or struggling because of sickness, etc.  We can pray for ourselves expressing heartfelt desires and repenting of our sin.  We can commune with God and say/sing prayers of praise and thanksgiving to Him.  I truly believe that it doesn’t matter what we pray for, he’s listening.  1 John 14:5   And this is the confidence that we have in him: if we ask for anything according to his will, he listens to us.    

Jesus went off alone to pray to His Father frequently and in Matthew 6: 7-9, He answers his disciples when they ask him how to pray:  And when you pray, do not babble on like pagans, for they think that by their many words they will be heard. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him. So then, this is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name,…

Then there’s the “Power of Prayer”!  Have you ever thought about the fact that when you’re on your knees praying, you’re actually sharing in God’s power? John 14:13,14 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son…Matthew 21:22 And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” Mark 9:29  And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.” Mark 11:24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

Now that we know that He listens to us, because the WORD tells us from beginning to end that this is the case, we need to learn to listen to HIM!  You may think that your prayers were unanswered because the result wasn’t what you wanted or expected.  Keep in mind, we need to learn to discern whether or not, we’ve actually followed what he wants us to do.  The message that I’m trying to share with you is this…don’t rely on yourself and don’t rely on others to have the answers.  Go straight to God in every aspect of your life!  He’s always there and He’s always listening.  Understand that when you think that you didn’t receive exactly the response you wanted…HE knows what’s best for you in your life.  Be still and listen!  Reflect upon this and ask yourself the question are you giving everything to God in prayer and are you listening?  Philippians 4:6-7 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus

What is Evangelism?

Evangelism is the communication of the gospel message that includes a warning, an explanation, and a call to Salvation at the Cross by the blood of Jesus. Evangelism warns people about sin and it’s consequences (John 16:8; Acts 24:25; Revelation 20:11-15). It includes an explanation of God’s remedy for sin—the gospel (Acts 8:29-35; Romans 3:21-26; 2 Corinthians 5:21). And it includes the clear call to repent (to turn from sin and to turn toward God) and believe the gospel, by faith (Mark 1:15; Luke 13:1-5; Acts 17:29-31; Romans 1:17; Romans 10:9-13).   https://carm.org/what-is-evangelism

The principle of Evangelism is to bring our fellow man to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ as his or her Savior. We must not be complacent…sometimes I think that Americans are the most complacent people on earth. We need to wake up as the day will come when His mercy will end, so we must not take His mercy for granted, share the Gospel while there’s still time!

The entire chapter of Matthew 10 tells the disciples of their commission to go out and preach, He warns them of the pitfalls…Matthew 10:16 Jesus said…”Look, I’m sending you out like sheep among wolves… so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” Matthew 4: 17 And as ye go, preach, saying: The kingdom of heaven is at hand.

The Bible teaches that as the church, we are the body of Christ. “We are to love the people of the world.  We are here for this very purpose – to go into the nations and proclaim the Gospel to all who will hear.” (The Gospel Project, Vol 2, p.96) 

As the a member of the body of Christ I’m fortunate…I know Jesus died for me and that when I repented (turn away) from my sins and put my trust in Jesus, that by His intercession, He will save me from God’s wrath.  Here’s the hitch…there are many living on this earth, in this country and even in our town that don’t know Jesus. They don’t realize that they’re dead in their sins, because they don’t recognize what sin is.  They may have heard of someone named Jesus, but they have no idea of what He did for mankind or the consequences of their thoughts and actions, because they’ve never heard the Good News. 

 “Now once a man has thus been humbled by the Law (10 Commandments) and brought to the knowledge of himself, then he becomes truly repentant for the true repentance begins with the fear and with the judgment of God.  He sees that he is such a great sinner that he cannot find any means to be delivered from his sin by his own strength and effort of works.” (Martin Luther)

The Ten Commandments EXODUS 20: 1-17 (NIV)

And God spoke all these words:

“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

“You shall have no other gods before me.

“You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.

“You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.

“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

12 “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.

13 “You shall not murder.

14 “You shall not commit adultery.

15 “You shall not steal.

16 “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

Martin Luther, O.S.A. 10 November 1483 – 18 February 1546) was a German professor of theology, composer, priest, monk, and a seminal figure in the Protestant Reformation. Luther was ordained to the priesthood in 1507. Wikipedia

As I study the Bible I see that God’s plan for the church is much greater than man’s plans.  In the book of Revelation 2, there are 7 angels sent to convey Christ’s letters to 7 churches…when you read these letters to the churches, you realize that they all fall short in one way or another.  I’ve been told by many that these letters only pertain to the churches that existed in the early church or that they’re actually periods of time throughout history starting with the early church. Fast forward to today and I believe that these letters pertain to today’s churches too. How many of us are lukewarm? How many of us make time to read our Bibles and spend time getting to know God? How many of us honor His gifts (including waking up in the morning to have another chance to get right with Him)? How many of us stay home to watch football instead of worshiping Him with the congregation? How many of us stop to smell His roses, stop to enjoy His sunset or sunrise, gasp at the beauty of a new born baby created in His image? All glorious creations of God! Everywhere we look we are surrounded by His magnificence and wonders and the testimony of His creation is before us. When I study the 7 letters to the churches, I find myself desperately praying that as a congregation of followers, we will heed the messages in these letters and try our best to follow His plans for us and the world. 

***The Gospel Project is an adult Sunday school study program with teacher’s guides and student workbooks.

Resurrection

As we enter the time of the Passover and when we celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, we know that He, a Jewish, sinless man, the Son of God; fully human in every way, feeling pain and sorrow as we do…died on the cross for us.  It’s beyond anything we can imagine…for us to feel the magnitude of His pain and sorrow as it was caused by an entire world of sin then and now. Isaiah 53:5 But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.

When we become believers we have so much to be thankful for…Jesus was put on the cross by His own hand and died, and now intercedes for us with the Father after He bore the wrath that should have been ours and would have been if it hadn’t been for His “LOVE” for us. Isaiah 53:7 He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.

 After 3 days in the grave, Yeshua Hamashiach means “Jesus the Messiah” rose from the dead and gave the whole world his grace and peace.  This is a gift that too many of us take lightly…it’s not only for us who are Christians…it’s for ALL…to be shared generously! 

Believing is the beginning…what happens after that is up to you…believing that on the cross Jesus endured the wrath of God to save us from our sins should be our wake-up call and the beginning of our taking steps towards sharing the gift of our Salvation.  There are many steps, but here are 3 to start your journey:

1.  Truly repent and give your life over to our Redeemer Jesus Christ…then share your belief in Salvation with everyone you meet.  Display your faithfulness in words, actions and deeds.  2. Get to know your Heavenly Father through His “WORD”, spend time with Him every day asking that His will be done in your life so that you can serve Him. Ephesians 1:17 I keep asking that the God of our LORD Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better.  3. Be still and listen desiring the Holy Spirit to make changes in your heart so that you can walk nearer to God in every aspect of your life and obey Him. Isaiah 11:2 The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him- the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the LORD    

Mark 16:15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”   Time is short…we don’t know when Jesus will return, but we do know that He asked us to share the Gospel with everyone we come in contact with as well as reaching out to those we don’t know.  When we choose Jesus as our Savior it’s up to us to intercede on His behalf with those who are “lost” and don’t realize that the wonderful gift of Salvation can be theirs. Matthew 29:19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” This message was inspired by studying our Sunday school workbook – Gospel Project