The culture has conditioned us to take for granted the great gifts God has given to us. There are times when we look at what people are doing to make millions and we can’t help but say to ourselves, “I could do that.” It is true. We could do that – whatever “that” is. The problem is that we didn’t think of it. The other person did. All we do is get on board. It doesn’t matter how stupid it is, if it becomes fashionable, we jump on board. Take Post-Its as an example. It’s just a square of paper used to record a note and has a fourth inch of glue at the top so it sticks wherever you want it. (I’m making it sound more complex than it is). It’s simple and practical. That’s the power of a good idea.
The problem is we underestimate our own ideas. Ideas are powerful; if pursued! According to legend, an apple fell from a tree and thumped Isaac Newton on the head and from that ordinary event came the laws of gravity. Now he could simply have rubbed his head and walked away. But no, there was more to that apple falling from the tree than we usually suppose. As a result of this simple ordinary event, Newton pursued his inquisitiveness and now we understand why what goes up must come down.
In these days when a job as we have traditionally understood it no longer exists, we’re going to have to come up with our own ideas to provide for ourselves.
Jesus tells the story of a man who was given a talent by God. The only thing he could think to do with it was to bury it in the ground. He looked at it and against the larger back drop of life it seemed so insignificant that the only thing he could think to do with it was to bury it.
Unfortunately, that’s what most of us do with our talents and ideas. We think so little of them that we bury them. We’re always asking God for money or something else, but sometimes God’s answer is to give us an idea. Ideas are money! Don’t bury them. Pursue them. Develop them. Implement them. It’s a big world out there. Work your idea. Somebody’s waiting to jump on board.
When Levi, who became Matthew the disciple of Jesus Christ, accepted Jesus’ invitation to follow Him, he immediately went home, arranged a luncheon, and invited his friends and co-workers to come to his house and meet Jesus. This wonderful excerpt out of St. Matthew’s life is recorded auto-biographically in the gospel that bears his name.
In Matthew 9:9 and following, we are told that Matthew left his lucrative tax collecting business behind and set his life in a new direction by following Jesus. He was so excited about the new direction his life had taken that he couldn’t keep it to himself. He decided that this change in him was news he needed to share with others. And so, he hosted a luncheon with Jesus as the invited guest and he and all his friends and co-workers kicked it with the Master.
You might call this FRIENDSHIP EVANGELISM. It is simply sharing with those persons who are in your circle of relationships what Jesus has meant in your life. As simplistic as it may sound, it is in fact, the best form of outreach (evangelism). In this age of market driven religion, we’re prone to think that high powered PR campaigns is the slickest, easiest way to fill up the church with new people.
To be sure, there is a place for PR. But the best most effective way of filling up the church is word of mouth; or friendship evangelism. High powered PR campaigns promise more than they can deliver. People who respond to them come looking for the Hollywood production they’ve seen or heard at the church, and when this doesn’t happen, they don’t come back – ever! And when gimmicks get them in, gimmicks is the only way to keep them.
On the other hand, friendship evangelism is simply inviting someone you already know, with whom you’re already comfortable and who is already comfortable with you and bonding them to the larger Body of Christ.
In this high tech age, we need not think that the simple Bible principles that worked in Jesus’ day will not work in our day. They will. All we have to do is take them seriously enough to do them. Oddly enough, all of us have friends, family members, neighbors, or co-workers with whom we conversate every day, but for one reason or another, we don’t share with them the news about what Jesus means to us and what He can mean to them!
Be a true friend. Share Jesus and help your girlfriend or homey get saved! REAL FRIENDS SHARE JESUS!
In the life of Christendom everywhere, today is Palm Sunday. Historically this day represents the last week of the Lord’s earthly life. We take too little time to sit down and meditate on the awful experience our Lord went through to secure our salvation. He did not have an easy time. His entrance into Jerusalem on the orginal Palm Sunday was not a vacation. He went into a deeply hostile environment. He was cruelly treated by the religious establishment. He was tried on false charges. He was sentenced to die even though He wasn’t found guilty of any crime.
To truly meditate on what Christ went through for us ought inspire us to a higher level of living. He died that we might live. For the past 40 days, we have been observing Lent. But have we truly taken it seriously? Have we truly sought to draw nearer to Him in our spiritual life? Are we truly committed to His cause in the world.
Our holy days are all too often celebrated as ordinary days. The reality of Palm Sunday ought motivate us to become better disciples. We need to take our relationship with the Lord more seriously.
Palm Sunday is not an announcement that Easter is next Sunday. It is the announcement that “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
Let us take this fact seriously and demonstrate our gratitude to God for loving us enough to give us life. Let Palm Sunday inspire us to live for Him.
The Christian faith is one of hope. In a world where evil abounds, the resurrection of Jesus Christ is God’s announcement to the world that ultimately evil does not have the last word. No matter how bad things get in our lives and in the world, God has a way of bringing life out of death; good out of evil; hope and renewal out of what appears to be a hopeless situation.
In these days when we hear about other religions declaring war in the name of their god, our faith reminds us that the greatest battle has already been fought and won. On Calvary, God In Christ conquered the powers of darkness and evil. And on Sunday morning when He got up from the grave, He declared for all time that He and He alone has all power in his hands.
We can be encouraged today. No matter what is going on in our lives, if we surrender ourselves and the situation to God, He can lead us through it and give us the victory over it. No matter how dismal world events are at this time in history, God will bring His will to earth. Our faith encourages us not to be nervous, but trusting; not to be fearful, but believing. Christ is risen from the dead! This gives us the blessed hope that no matter how hopeless things may seem for us, with God all things are possible. Only believe. His resurrection is not just a hope that we can believe in after we die, it is hope that lives in our hearts from day to day and inspires us to keep on living and looking for the best. Be blessed today and always for Christ is risen. Let Him live in your heart and He will give you a hope to hang on to and a song to sing on your way.
Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!
I am sure that all of us want to please God. There are some people who actually think they do. They keep a running score of their good works and no matter how often you tell them that salvation is a matter of grace, they still think that their good works somehow cuts them some slack with God. There is no question but that we ought strive to do good works. A Christ-centered life ought be reflected through good moral deeds. But it must be understood that we do not do good works to be saved or to win some brownie points with God. We do good works because God lives in us and motivates our behavior.
Some people think tithing (giving 10% of one’s income) is what God wants. They boast that they have tithed all their life. And, sad to say, they do not even recognize that they’re really admitting that they haven’t grown very much spiritually. Tithing is where God wants us to start giving. It is never where He intended us to stop giving.
The problem of pleasing God has been an issue for spiritually minded people ever since we have existed. Men gave of their first fruits, their flocks, their money. Some even went so far as to engage in the sadistic practice of offering their own children to please God.
What does it take to please God? This is the question a young man asked Jesus as He left the scene of a service one day. And Jesus’ reply was: “Love the Lord, thy God with all thy heart, soul, might and strength. . .”(Matthew 22:37). In other words, God won’t be pleased until He has 100% of you. God wants all of you; not a percentage. You can only be blessed and have peace and sweet rest as you yield Him your body and soul.