Archive for the ‘Jesus Christ’ Category

Safe, secure, and familiar….

March 7, 2013

‎”But when we cling to what is safe, secure, and familiar”…….

“There are moments that significantly test our resolve to be fully devoted followers of Christ. Following Christ is a cakewalk when he leads us through familiar terrain or comfortable passages.”

“But when followership means that we have to give up something important to us, or it challenges the familiar and comfortable, or it flies in the face of reason or natural instincts, then we find ourselves at a strategic crossroads on our pilgrimage.”

“When responding as a fully-devoted follower, we advance to new levels of effectiveness. But when we cling to what is safe, secure, and familiar, we put our followership on hold and face ineffectiveness and disappointment.”
– Joseph M. Stowell

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Born of the Spirit

August 10, 2012

God who is Spirit, resides in the spiritual realm (kingdom). He is also Holy. What does “Holy” mean? It means “sacred, whole, pure, or clean”. How can we unholy humans have a relationship with a God who is Holy? Do we need to go through some kind of holy religion with its traditions and rituals to become holy and accepted?

In Jesus’ day, there was a religious man who was a teacher of his religion. After he acknowledged that Jesus was a teacher sent from God, Jesus turned to him and said,“unless one is born again, he cannot see (know, perceive, understand) the kingdom (realm) of God”. Then the man said, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter back into his mothers womb and be born?”. The man tried to figure out what Jesus was talking about in his natural mind.

Man has always tried to understand God, and the ways of God, through his natural mind. He forgets that God is Spirit and his ways are spiritual. The natural man cannot receive the things of the Spirit. In fact, they are usually ridiculous to him. He cannot know the things of the Spirit because they must be spiritually discerned.
After Jesus talked about how to understand the things of the Spirit, he addressed how to enter the realm (kingdom) of God. He said, “unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God”.

What does it mean to be “born of water and the Spirit?”. First off, to be “born of water” has to do with an internal washing of the heart which is the center or core of our being. In the heart resides all our offences towards God and others (our sins). A holy God which is Spirit, will not come into a heart that has not been washed clean of all its offences. How then can this “washing” take place?

God in his love has provided a way for us to be washed (made clean) and thus accepted with him. By believing (putting your trust in) Jesus and what he did on the cross by the sacrifice of himself for our offences, we are made clean. This is an act of faith. Faith is something that you cannot see but yet you believe it. After the heart is washed clean, then the Holy Spirit which is God, comes in, and one is “born of the Spirit”.

After Jesus told the religious teacher that he must be born of the Spirit, he reminded the man about Moses and how in his day he “lifted up” a pole with a bronze snake on it and everyone who was bitten when they looked on the snake, lived. And Jesus said that just as that was so, even so I must be lifted up. And whoever “believes” in Me will not die (spiritually), but receive eternal life. When Jesus spoke of being lifted up, he was looking ahead to the cross where he knew he was going to be sacrificed for the sins of all humanity. All those who believe personally by faith that Jesus died on the cross for their sins receive forgiveness, which results in having their heart washed and cleaned from sin and filled with God who is the Spirit.

Also, by faith believing that Jesus not only died for our sins, but was buried and rose again to conquer death for us, one receives life.
In closing, Jesus said “You must be born again”. He didn’t say, I think it is a good idea or a good philosophy. He said “You must” if you want to “see” and “enter” the spiritual realm where God is. So what’s keeping you? What’s holding you back? Unbelief? Fear? Pride? Self? Give it all to Him. You will never be sorry. Then you will know what you were created for, and what you are to do. Revelation can only come by the Spirit of God within you. “Ask and you shall receive”. Keep your heart open.

More to the “thief on the cross”

October 22, 2011

Luke’s account of the common story of “the thief on the cross” sheds some light on what actually took place before the crucifixion.

This was new revelation for me of what one of the criminals did to secure a “place in Paradise”. I had never seen this before, but it surely fits with what is necessary for salvation. This was not an “earning of salvation”, but a necessary act that proceeds entering into salvation.

One of my Facebook brother’s had posted the following post. When I read it, my mind tried to recall the story. Somehow, I knew that there was something more. So, I went to Luke automatically and found his account of what had happened.

Here is the post :

“The thief had nails through both hands, so that he could not work; and a nail through each foot, so that he could not run errands for the Lord; he could not lift a hand or a foot toward his salvation, and yet Christ offered him the gift of God; and he took it. Christ threw him a passport, and took him into Paradise.” – D. L. Moody.

But what did the thief do on his own accord before Christ said, “….today you will be with Me in Paradise?”

We pick up the story in Luke 23:39.

“Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, “If you are the Christ, save yourself and us.” But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? “And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

Here we see some striking things that took place before his death. First, he rebukes the other criminal. So, whose side is he on now? Satan’s or God’s? Then he goes on and says, “Don’t you fear God?” Do you think that this guy, by saying this, might of had the fear of God in him now? He continues and says, “hey, you are under condemnation also”. “You are guilty!”

Then, if this wasn’t enough, he uses his voice again and says, “we deserve this! We have what is rightly coming to us! This is just!” “But this man has done nothing wrong”. Here he confesses that Christ has done nothing wrong. Do you think that he might be saying that he believes in Him?

Now, this tops it all off. Here he confesses on Christ. This may not be the standard way of someone “praying the sinners prayer” or even one realizing that they have broken one of the “Ten Commandments” and thus they are not “a good person”, but salvation is gained.

He says to Jesus, “Lord“. What do you think of that? Is this confessing Jesus as Lord? He then says, “remember me when you get to heaven”. Does this sound like one who is repentant in heart?

This whole story has “Repentance” all over it. Yes, he did wait till the last moment, but he did confess and showed the fruits of repentance. By his own will he chose to “stand up” in front of the other’s, not only the other criminal, but all who were there. He spoke out for Christ! He openly confessed! Christ honored that and received him to Himself.

So, can we honestly say that the commonly called “thief” did nothing before his conversion? He just kept quite and said nothing? He was just a thief that was saved at the last-minute because of God’s love for him?

I must confess, that I had never seen this before. All I heard was all the story’s about the “thief on the cross” that had to do with “last-minute” salvation or the humility of the man, which certainly was the case. Can we have repentance without it?

So, the thief may have not been able to “lift his hands or feet towards salvation” but he did “open his mouth“. Food for thought, I hope.

“I don’t know, I’m not from around here”

September 25, 2011

Imagine with me for a moment…. You’re riding your motorcycle way out in the country. You are lost, and trying to find a certain lake. You are driving in an area that is nothing but apple, cherry and pear orchards. The country roads are narrow and windy, and every farm-house is about a quarter of a mile apart. It’s a beautiful sunny day, but you are getting frustrated because you can’t find the road that goes to the lake that you came up here to visit.

You have been running from God for years now. You no longer believe that there is a God. All the stuff that has gone bad in your life, you blame God for a lot of it. You are bitter and angry at God.

Stay with me now……

You come upon the crest of the road and it heads down hill now. You haven’t seen any sight of a human for miles now, but way up ahead, you see a guy in a bright yellow shirt, standing off to the side of the road. Your not sure what he is doing just standing there by himself way out in the middle of nowhere, but it’s worth a try to ask him

As you get close to him, you shut off the motorcycle, and coast up to him and say, “excuse me, but do you know where the road that leads to “lost lake” is? The man smiles and says, “I don’t know, I’m not from around here.” You say, “oh sorry, maybe I must have passed it back there some where.” The man says, “yeah, I don’t know”.

You proceed to start your motorcycle up, but before you do, the man says, “wait, I have something for you”. He pulls a postcard out of his pocket, and you notice “John 3:16” on the top of it. The man says, “what about Jesus?” You start you motorcycle up and say, “I don’t believe in God”. The man says, “but God loves you!”

You make a quick u-turn and head off in the other direction.

NOW, BACK TO REALITY.

What do you think the man on the motorcycle would be thinking as he drove further down the road? Here he was out in the middle of no where, and a man in a yellow shirt appears out of no where, just standing off the side of the road? And this guy mentions Jesus of all things to him? What about John 3:16? Did the man hear that verse a few times in his life? Did he use to quote it?  We will never know this side of eternity, what that man thought of the rest of that day. I can only imagine because of what I know about God. Small it may be, but I know that He is always pursuing people with His love and giving them many opportunities. And His love has to do with His Son Jesus (Jn 3:16). God also makes no mistakes in everything he does.

Do you think it was just a coincidence that he was searching for a lake that had its name “lost?”

In the right sence, may this man not be at rest until he makes his peace with God through Christ. Eternity is too long to be without Christ.

I WAS THE GUY IN THE YELLOW SHIRT. Do you think it was just “happen chance” that this happened?

All I knew, was that I was on a prayer walk after parking my car at a remote park that was back down the road. Why was I standing there on the side of the road? Why didn’t I just keep walking, or cross the street?

I must admit, that it was strange to watch the guy slow down way up the road, then shut his motorcycle off and coast like a magnet right up to me. Fortunately, I knew that it was a “divine appointment”. Sometimes I miss it.

This is what I enjoy in life. Watching God at work. Investing in the Kingdom of God for eternity. Trying to always be aware of what is going on with people around me. Looking forward with anticipation. Nothing else in life comes close to experiencing God at work. Nothing

The demonstration of God’s Righteousness

September 2, 2011

….being made right (righteous) with God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all who believe. Why? Because all have sinned and fallen short… Justified without any cost, by His grace. How? Through the redemptive work of the Christ, whom God set forth as The Atoning Sacrifice, by His blood, and only through faith. And why was all this so? For God to demonstrate His Righteousness, so that He might be Just. And also, that He would be the Justifier of all who have faith in Jesus, The Christ. (taken from Rom.3:22-26)

Transcending Love in action

August 6, 2011

What a God, that gives people countless opportunities to hear about His Son. And the awesome thing is….that it is all motivated by His love.

Even when one is not completely coherent, God can transcend the music, the drug ,the alcohol, and even if there is a mental problem going on. He certainly is all-powerful! Nothing can prevent Him from doing what he wants to do, or how he chooses to do it. And the awesome thing is….to be able to watch it in action. Really, indescribable when you come right down to it.

Today again, was one of those experiences.

The Spirit showed me a corner that I haven’t been upon in over 6 months. So, I boarded the train and headed there. It wasn’t far from another corner that I had been that afternoon. It took all of maybe 10 minutes to get there by train.

I got there and had to use the restroom, so I walked a block and did that. I returned to the corner where I had believed that He wanted me to be. After about 20 minutes, with a few relatively light and small conversations, I looked to my right across the street, and noticed a guy doing a little jig to the music that he was listening to on his iPod. My eyes followed him for a bit, and noticed that he might not be all there, or possibly high on alcohol or drugs. This of course, is no big deal out on the streets. We see it all the time everywhere we go. It’s all too common, unfortunately.

So, about the time I’m thinking in my mind, “is he going to come over here?” As I do from time to time, I held out a tract towards him, as if to say, “here it is, come and get it”. Hoping that the Spirit would move on such an individual. He makes a one-eighty, and turns and crosses the street and heads straight towards me.

He is boppin along, and I reach out to him and say, “here, this is for you!”. He says, “what is it!” Before I could say what it was, he says, “read it!” I said, “do you know what it is?” He said, “I don’t care! I just want you to read it out loud to me. And it better be loud”, he said.

Now this was really cool. He stood a little off to the side, about 6 feet in front of me. And, as usual, there were people around listening and walking by. So, I began to read it line by line. “John 3:16” “For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son,”……………

As I was reading, “he said louder!” He said, “are you sure that you are reading every word?” I smiled and said, “Oh yeah!” He said, “make sure you read every paragraph too”. So, I took full advantage of his request and read loud and slow.

Now, one might think here that he was just being comical, or messing around with me, right? One might think that also because he had his iPod on, that he wasn’t hearing a word I was saying, right? Also, do to the quite obvious, that he was high, he wasn’t paying attention, right?

But, as I read it to him, he begins to repeat some words of the Gospel. Now, we all know that in the natural, one can comprehend more of what they are hearing when they repeat it to themselves, right? This is just what God had him doing. Just as he was. There was no need to have him sobered up. The power of God can transcend all human barriers. Thus it was so.

After finishing one side of the card, I turned it over and said, “do you want me to read the other side?” He said, “sure! Keep it going!” I smiled and kept going. He would make comments like,”is that so? wow, really”

Take a moment out like I did afterwards, and try to comprehend what  actually took place here. Here is a man who I am sure had no idea that day that he was going to hear about Jesus that day, let alone have a guy on a street corner read to him, God’s plan of salvation for his soul. How about what ever he did that day to get high? Was he thinking that God through his Spirit would try to reach him that day?

I love to see God meet people right where they are. The old hymn, “Just as I am” was very fitting.

Well, I would like to tell you that man bowed his head there and received Christ into his life, but that did not happen at that moment. I did not get to see it. I am OK with that. Sure, I would have liked to see that more than anything, but that moment was not in tha plan for whatever reason. What I did get to see, was a man who God loved much, and that he gave him another opportunity to hear. That was His love in action.

How many times has he heard? How many times will he hear? Only God knows. But, I know that God is full of opportunities and that His love is relentless.

After reading 3/4 of the card, he said that he must be going. He didn’t take the card with him, but got to hear sufficiently, the Gospel. As he bopped down the sidewalk, I prayed for him. I looked all the way up to the next block, and could still see him. A young couple moved out of the way, as he passed by. Maybe a little staggering?

The Gospel story doesn’t stop there. The young couple walk by me, and I made a comment about the man who was staggering as he went by them. They stopped, and we engaged in a beautiful dialogue about Christ. After about 20 minutes, they took a tract and said that they needed to get to where they were going for the night. The man believed that God was in everyone, and everything. The girl however, was listening very intently, as I have seen before, usually in a group setting. It usually comes down to one in that group.

The streets. Wouldn’t trade it for the world. Or anything for that matter. Experiencing God while your living! That’s what it is all about! It involves people and telling them about the Christ, the life that you have.

“Jesus rides the subway”

July 3, 2011

“Jesus rides the subway
With the junkies and the freaks
Jesus rides the subway
With the hustlers and the creeps
He rubs shoulders with the thieves
And he looks a lot like everyone he sees
Jesus rides the subway
While the pretty people sleep, and he says…
You can lay your burden down
You can lay your burden down
Oh, maybe you’ve been kicked around
But you can lay your burden down
Jesus strolls the sidewalks
On the wrong side of the tracks
Jesus strolls the sidewalks
That poverty attacks
He makes his home among the shacks
Where the fatherless have fallen through the cracks
Jesus strolls the sidewalks
While the righteous turn their backs, and he says…
You can lay your burden down
You can lay your burden down
Oh, maybe you’ve been kicked around
But you can lay your burden down
Jesus went to church on Sunday
Sat in the back and sang the hymns
Jesus went to church on Sunday
But they didn’t recognize him, and he said…
You can lay your burden down
You can lay your burden down
Oh, maybe you’ve been kicked around
But you can lay your burden down”

Song by Trevor Morgan

http://youtu.be/SmLhLxYf0hU

Who’s to say?

May 1, 2011

Barring in mind that God is about eternity, which has to do with people, would He cause or allow certain things to happen in our lives so that we would affect people for Him and his kingdom?

If this is true, and we would see life more this way, would life take on a whole new perspective? Could we look for the good more out of the unfortunate situations?

What if :

Your car breaks down on your way to work? Now the first response would be, “Oh no, I can’t miss work”. Or, “Great, how am I going to get to work now”. Or, “What about my car?”. While these are natural responses, and yes, they need to be addressed, but we must look to God as to why.

Ok, if I believe that God is about eternity and people (souls), what is going to be my response now? Is somebody going to stop on this roadway that I am on and offer assistance? Is this going to be a person? A soul bound for eternity? If so, am I ready for the encounter? Or, am I all wrapped up in my problem to be of no use to God or his kingdom?

How about the tow truck driver? Is he or she a person? A person that God loves and gave his Son for? Or do we not see that? Is all we see is that “How long will it take to get here?”

What if :

A storm comes in the night and blows your fence down? Do you stop and consider who are the people who are going to be involved in this accident? What about the insurance agent? What about the guys that they send out to repair the fence? What about the neighbor that you have never met? Would this be a opportunity to share Jesus? Do we believe that unbelievers are not going to make it into the Kingdom? If so, does it move us? Are we concerned?

In my outings as a street minister, I have to be reminded also.

My part-time work at a local retailer posts its schedules online. Two weeks ago, I noticed that I was not scheduled for this weekend. A week ago, I noticed that I was not scheduled for next weekend. So, by the grace of God, I prayed and sought him out regarding this. I called my supervisor and he informed me that there was no available hours in my department. He suggested that I talk to another person in another department. So, long story short, I was unable to get a hold of the supervisor Saturday morning. So, by faith I got ready to head out the door for downtown. I knew that there would be some brothers out ministering in a certain area, so I took off.

I get to the light rail train, and there waiting for the next train, I hear this yelling going on. I walk over to see what is going on. Two men were arguing about Jesus. It sounded like they were arguing about what skin color he was. One man was a caucasian man, the other was a Afro-American. I think it had something to do with it. Soon, the train came and myself and three others got on. One of the guys was the Afro-American man who was involved in the yelling.

So, as it turns out, the three of us all have opportunity to share on the train. Jesus was lifted up, to God be the glory. The other man who was arguing with this man on the train, never got on. He took off walking, so I never had a oppertunity to meet him.

So the day started off well. When I got to town, I did one prayer walk. After, I called my supervisor, in hopes that she would be in. She never answered the phone. Oh well, here we are and there is people everywhere. It’s a beautiful day and with the outdoor market staring me in the face as I look down upon it from the bridge above, I continue my prayer walk.

Soon, the brothers are sharing and I am across from them handing out Jesus tracts. I go to a couple of different areas and follow what the Spirit is leading me to do. He leads me to a very busy area where they cross the street. He shows me to do something a little different then I have done in the past. Stand there and smile, hold out one in each hand. This came from a vision He gave me when I was standing off to the side waiting for the next move.

So, the response was very good with some stopping by to share. Towards the mid-afternoon, I was led to hop on the train and head back home. I also sensed that I was to go into work and personally see the supervisor to see if I was to work tomorrow.

So, I get on the train, and as I always try to do, I look around at my surroundings. I noticed this young guy on my right, up a stair or two. I was impressed to say hello and give him a tract. He graciously took it and said thanks. Soon he stepped down in front of me and started to read it, word for word as the train moved down the tracks. When he finished and raised his head, I asked him what he thought. And for the next 15 minutes, we had an awesome dialog, sharing together.

He said that he was raised in a believing home, but they didn’t go to church much. I had a opportunity to encourage him that he needs to have other believers that he meets with on a regular basis. He agreed. I asked him to pray that God would send them. I also invited him to our fellowship. He seemed to be really blessed that he had this “God encounter”. (Remembering, that God is Spirit, and that he is everywhere, and that he is all about people). I also reassured him about Jesus, as being the only way.

Now, just as an example, who’s to say that my work schedule was all mixed up for one reason? Was it for the above guy on the train? Was it for the guys at the beginning of the trip? How about the 30-40 tracts that were passed out? Was there maybe one that God had specially prepared for the day? How about the guy that I gave  two quarters to, on the corner that I was sharing? He was blessed with the quarters, yes. But what about hearing the Gospel one more time in his life? Was that worth having a day off with no pay? What did it matter in the eyes of eternity?

So, may we all, by God’s grace, began to look more at each day from God’s perspective, which is “Eternity and souls”. God bless you all!

Noon time Gospel

April 15, 2011

I was passing by on my usual prayer walk downtown going through the crowd of people ordering their food at the local food trailers, I heard, “would you be willing to stand there and share the Gospel?” Well, of course I would. That’s one of the things that I do. But, because of the weakness of my flesh, and because it was a new spot, and of a different type, I heard, “you are going to have to die to self, before you can”. I thought, “why would that have to be?”. Then as I was finishing my prayer walk, I thought, because I would be standing right in the middle of people who had nothing to do except to wait for their food and listen to someone “preaching”. Also, because it was a new place for me, and kinda small and up close and personal.

So, I came back around from my walk and landed right in the middle, between the block. It took no time at all to sence that this was not going to be the typical, raise the voice so that many could hear approach. No, this was close to a normal voice, yet strong enough to be found clear and convincing. We started with reading from the scriptures, then went with what the Spirit gave us. And as usual, God placed those who He had pre-determined to hear once again.

The nice thing about this spot was that besides its close proximity, there were several who stayed around and actually ate there. I believe that the Spirit had me speak in a tone that did not run them off. There was no need to share with those who were down on the corner. He had me in the middle of the two corners, sharing with those who were close by. There were maybe 10 to 15 at any given time.

After having noticed a couple of men who were obviously listening as they ate, I picked up on two ladies that were right in front of me, about 10 feet away. They were eating off of the lip of a trailer that had been closed because of the owner having gone to Cuba for the last three weeks. It was convenient for them to use as a table, as they stood there. And yes, all the time, they got to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ once again in their lives. How awesome is that!

A lot of what I do, is just giving people another opportunity to hear. Most don’t go to “church”. And, if they did, would they hear the Gospel? They should be able to hear it if they went, right? Most, are not going to hear the Gospel in a given week, outside of a “street preacher” sharing it with them. All I see in it all, God’s love, letting them hear of His Son one more time in their life time. Believe it or not, that’s love. Why? Because God is always pursuing mankind with His Love. He loves mankind so much that He let’s them hear about His Son, who He gave for them, that whoever would believe in Him, they would not perish because of their sins, but would receive forgiveness of their sins and receive everlasting life.

So, towards finishing sharing the message of Christ, I particularly noticed the two ladies in front of me. They had been there the longest, and they were the closest to me. I was getting close to finishing, when I noticed them saying good-bye to each other with a hug and a kiss.

When it was all over, I sensed God had filled his bucket with love and poured it out on those who He had there that day and time. He had them there because of his love for them. Bless the Lord!

Dying while your living

April 1, 2011

When you turn to Jesus there is a whole lot of dying that must take place. It is a life long process of dying. It is a continual process of dying to ourselves. Dying to our desires. Dying to our ways. Dying to our dreams. Dying to our fantasies. Dying to our wants. Dying to our needs. Dying, dying, and more dying.

And the reason for all this dying? So Christ in us may surface to the forefront, so that the world would see Jesus, and we would be about The Kingdom of God.

There is however a real danger that can happen along the way of dying. What is that? Looking back. Looking back at all the stuff you have given up for God and His kingdom. Then it becomes regret. Satan plants seeds just like he did in the garden. “Has God really said that?” “Did God really require that of you?” The doubts began to overcome all the advances that were made for the Kingdom. Soon, one is drawn back into the world, and with time, the things of God become a distant memory.

The deceiver has struck again!

I have not regretted one thing that I have given up for God. Oh, at times there was some sort of grieving that took place, but when it was all said and done, the blessings for out weighed the giving up. In order for one to fulfill the call of God on their lives, He will show you personally what must go. It could be very minimal at times, other times it could be things that are very big in our lives.

It could be our jobs. It could be our homes. It could our families. It could be our business. It could be our church. Whatever He shows us personally along the process of our lives, that is what we need to give up. We give it up so we can move along on the tracks of His plan and purpose for our lives. We must be reminded that God is all about eternity. He sees the beginning from the end. He has eternity in view all the time. Whatever can be given up for Him and His Kingdom so that it can advance for eternity, is worth it to Him. We are here so very little of time that it should be no shocker to us to give our all for Him and Kingdom work. That is if we are indeed sold out for Him. This is if He is Lord.

I will not list all the things that I personally have given up for Him, except to say, it has been worth it all. Life with Him is a continual life of forsaking all and dying to ourselves. It starts the moment one is “born again”. You and I are called to die the moment we are born. And the question must go out…… how are we doing with it?

This all comes from The giver of life, Jesus the Christ. Read the gospels, if you doubt what has been written here.