I personally subscribe to a particular blogger that updates his post every single day. It's not long, but it's potent. It's not time-consuming to read, but I imagine the thoughts contained took a little while to pen. What if we all took a little time each day to reflect on the things that we've learned that could help someone else? What if we shared those ideas with others and actually helped them? What if we stopped focusing on ourselves so much and looked outward to influence a generation? Maybe there's one thought you could share today that would impact someone for a long time to come. Be a fork in the road and force those you encounter to make a decision on where their lives are headed.
It's so true that if you just give God something to work with, He'll use you and it will blow your mind what He can do in and through you. Here's the breakdown of people being saved:
Impact Services - 26
Wild n Wacky Kids Services - 45
Blast Kids Camp - 7
Individuals praying with others - 12 (that have been reported to us)
Outreach on the streets - 863
We've seen God do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think and He's not finished with us yet!
But what about believers? Could it be that we are sporting our own special set of spiritual blinders? Could it be that we fail to see what’s right in front of our very eyes? Yes, indeed!
John 4:34-36 NIV 34"My food," said Jesus, "is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. 35Do you not say, 'Four months more and then the harvest'? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. 36Even now the reaper draws his wages, even now he harvests the crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together.
This interaction between Jesus and his disciples occurred shortly after Jesus’ dealings with the “woman at the well.” You remember the story? Read the entire chapter for a refresher.
The disciples just didn’t get it. They were concerned about Jesus getting some lunch. Yet Jesus was concerned about the spiritual harvest that was right before them! What happened after Jesus said these things to his disciples? The people from the town came and many of them became believers!
The same kind of thing happened over in Matthew 9. (Read Matthew 9:35-Matthew 10:1) Even after Jesus spent time preaching the good news and healing the sick, he was MOVED WITH COMPASSION. Why? Because there were so many people and he knew he couldn't do it all alone. He said, "the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore, pray for 'HARVEST HANDS!'" But he didn't stop there, he proceeded to give them authority.
A lot of people think that if they just pray for the laborers, they are doing their part. NOT SO! Jesus said pray for the workers, but then he turned around and essentially said, "BE THE WORKERS!"
It's time for we as believers to open our eyes to the spiritual harvest right in front of us. What about the guy on the other side of the cubicle? What about the lady behind you in line at the supermarket? What about the student sitting across from you in class? Could their hearts be ripe for the harvest? Open your eyes and look!
For further reading along these lines, check out Luke 10:1-3!
reckless abandon - a complete surrender to SUPERnatural impulses without restraint or moderation; freedom from inhibition or conventionality.
This concept is more than a concept. It's an attitude, an action and more importantly, a state of being. It says, in essence, "I choose not to allow anything or anyone, including myself, to hold me back from living my life as God designed...in abundance and complete surrender to His purpose and plan!"
In this life, there are countless obstacles that would present themselves in order to dissuade or distract us from living the abundant life. Obstacles brought about by the enemy or just obstacles from life itself. However, many times the obstacle standing in our way is in fact ourselves.
I've identified several ways that we as believers hold back:
1. Caring Too Much About What People Think
What will they think if I lift my hands in worship? Everybody will stare at me if I "jump for joy." I can't share the gospel, what will my friends say?
2. Absence of Trust
How can I follow God's plan for my life when I need x amount of dollars to sustain my comfortable lifestyle? My future is uncertain right now, so I'm going to do what I think is best for me.
See Matthew 6 and start seeking first HIS kingdom...
3. Ignorance of Who We Are in Christ
E.W. Kenyon said “The reason that the majority of Christians are weak, though they are earnest, yet they are weak, is because they have never dared to make a confession of who they are in Christ.”
We have to learn and acknowledge every good thing we have in Christ. (Philemon 1:6)
4. Focusing on Past Mistakes
No one will listen to me because I used to do the same thing they're doing. I can’t witness to my friends because they heard me cuss last week. I acted up in class last year so I won’t do well this year either. I failed 9th grade because I slacked off, I should just drop out.
Let's follow Paul's example in Philippians 3:13-14 by forgetting those things that are behind and moving forward! God has chosen to forget our sins and past mistakes. Let's accept his forgiveness and advance!
If we want to live the abundant life, we have to make a quality decision that we will live our lives with reckless abandon!
So I've been doing a little research on some tools for doing just that in order to help our congregation make fishing a reality in their lives. One such tool that I've discovered is simply to create a link on your web page (i.e. blog, facebook, myspace, twitter, etc.) to one of the sites created by NAMB with a clear and compelling gospel presentation.
Here is a link to one that I like: FLIPZ.
Here are two more: ALIVE. SEEK.
So, go ahead. Launch out and put a link on your page. It may lead one of your friends into a relationship with Jesus Christ!
Romans 1:15-16 NIV "15That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are at Rome. 16I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile." (italics mine)
eager - adj. - marked by enthusiastic or impatient desire or interest (impatient at delay or restraint)
ashamed - adj. - restrained by anticipation of shame (a consciousness of shame or guilt, i.e. embarrasment)
You and I should be eagerly looking for the opportunity to rescue the perishing instead of looking the other way when those around us are lost, hurting and dying.
Naturally speaking, what kind of human being would you be if you had a lifesaver and someone around you was drowning yet you didn't throw in the very device that would save his life? In the same way, you and I have the very thing that will turn their broken and tired lives around, yet we hesitate to dive in and rescue them.
Being ashamed will hold you back from not only sharing the gospel with others, but also from living life to your full potential. Break through the barrier of shame and recognize that what you have inside you is the POWER of God to rescue those in need.
So, you know what I did? I called. I asked if they offered financial assistance or could set us up on payments. She explained that their policy was to usually not do any discount or write-off for customers that have insurance, but she would ask her supervisor for me. I thanked her and waited.
When she came back to the line, she said her supervisor was in a giving mood and they lowered our bill by 40%! I thanked her again...even more exuberantly! Our $1700 bill had just transformed into $944! That's the favor of God...overriding policies for His children!
James 4:2b Yet you do not have because you do not ask.
So when $700 and some change is on the line, it literally pays to ask. The next time you're afraid to ask for assistance, remember the payoff for just a little bit of nerve. And be encouraged by the words of Jesus, "ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and the door will be opened to you." (Matthew 7:7)
A couple of weeks ago one of my favorite superman dolls was kidnapped from my office. (aside to Superman dolls - don't worry, guys, you're all my favorite). I came back to work after a long weekend to find an email in my inbox addressing part of the terrorist's demands.
P.S. AGAIN NO COPS OR HE GETS THE SUPER CYCLE!!!!!
I was heartbroken. I looked in the place where my Superman once stood only to find a bloody outline on yellow legal pad paper displaying the napper's first round of wants...a white chocolate reese's and hershey's symphony bar. Apparently, our criminal has a sweet tooth. I immediately went into CSI mode and noted all the clues that would let me in on who the deviant mastermind could be. My lightning fast mind quickly figured it out and I felt like a 3rd grader who'd won "Where in the world is Carmen San Diego?" I responded to the email with one line: "We do NOT negotiate with terrorists!" But of course, after scrolling down, the fiend could see that I would give in to his requests. And I did. I tracked down what he needed (with a trucker hat in the place of O2 shirts) and immediately sent them to the appropriate destination. Within a few days, Superman had returned!!! My heart was full again! I held him and squeezed him and loved him so. He knew I had missed him.
And this thought followed: If I care this much about a "stupid doll" (aside to Superman dolls - You guys aren't stupid to me, I love you all!), how much more does God care about me?! He was willing to pay the highest price necessary to get us back from the evil mastermind, satan. He purchased our ransom with the blood of Jesus Christ. What must God have felt like once He had paid the ransom for you and I and we were returned to Him? We once were kidnapped, but now we're back into His loving embrace! Thank God for His magnificent love!
blueprints - plans, designs, details, smurf markings
jeremiah 29:11 is my favorite scripture of all time. i find myself quoting it and meditating on it quite often. i memorized it in the NIV..."i know the plans i have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future."
it's amazing to me that the master architect has blueprints for my life. a plan and design specifically for me. and he not only has plans for me, but plans for you, too. he cares about you so much that every lyric of your song was written before it's ever been sung. every page of your book penned before it's ever been read. every note in your melody composed before it's ever been played. every detail of your life etched in stone just like a sculptor creates a brilliant masterpiece. the very God of the universe has done that for you and me.
fingerprints - proof of touch, evidence, csi stuff
psalm 139:10 even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.
the hand of our Creator is upon us...leading us and guiding us into his perfect plan for our lives. his fingerprints are the evidence of his existence in our lives. the fact is, for those that call Christ Savior, he has us right in the palm of his hand and NOTHING can snatch us from his grip.
oh that our lives would match up with his blueprints and we would live in such a way that people notice his fingerprints.
Either way, what does it mean to "be the arrow"? Well, I found this passage in the Message a couple of weeks ago and it hit me like a ton of bricks. Let's see what it does to you:
psalm 25:12 (the message) My question: What are God-worshipers like? Your answer: Arrows aimed at God's bull's-eye.
WOW! Every time I read this, I'm in awe of its simplistic confoundness. Let me explain. Those who worship God, living lifestyles of surrender to Him, are arrows directed at the center of God's perfect will for their lives. This idea is found elsewhere in the first part of Romans 12..."submit your bodies as a living sacrifice to Him (your spiritual act of WORSHIP)...then you will be able to test and approve God's good, pleasing and perfect will!"
So, be the ARROW. Live your life completely and wholly for Him and watch your life get right on target!
He said that the more we (as individuals and groups) worship Him, the deeper He'll take us in our relationship. As I reflected on what He said, I couldn't help but think about all those whose relationship with God is nothing more than a once a week or twice a week experience at church, with little to no effort on their part to engage in worship and then halfheartedly listening to the sermon of the day. Those folks have a shallow relationship, if any, with Christ. It only makes sense that the more time we spend in His presence, the deeper our relationship with Him will be. So let's purpose to spend more time in His presence worshiping Him, not just on Sunday and Wednesday. And we'll see our relationships with Him go deeper before our very eyes.
Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. - 2 Corinthians 2:14 NKJV
Today my daughter Karis is one month old.
[Happy 1 Month Birthday, Karis!]
After Karis was born, people said she looked a lot like both Kristen and me. More recently I've been hearing a lot more people say she looks like me. She definitely has the shape of my eyes and my fingers and toes, I can say that much for sure. But as for what she'll look like as she gets older, God only knows. This is one of the great mysteries. All I know is that the first time I looked in her eyes, I felt as if I had known her all of my life. There's such a freaky familiarity about it all. It's almost like looking in a mirror that lets you see your past self. Being a father has totally changed my life in one of the best ways possible. I never knew a love like this could even exist.
So, you wanna hear the secret?
God loves you so much that He sent His only Son to die on the cross to take your place so that you could go to heaven when you die and live an abundant life here on earth.
If you believe that Christ died on the cross and rose from the grave, all you have to do is confess Him as your Lord and Savior and you're in on the secret. It's now your number one mission to tell others about the hope you've found in Him!