Monday, August 19, 2013

It's Not the World's Fault!

It is easy as Christians to become dismayed by cultural changes that seem to be rejecting God and infringing on our religious freedoms.

But in the past several weeks I have found encouragement and hope from a statement by present-day Jerusalem pastor Wayne Hilsden.
He said, “The early Christians did not say ‘Look what the world has come to.’ Rather they exclaimed ‘Look what has come to the world!’” 
In our case it is WHO has come to the world!

My question is, are we willing to proclaim the answer to most world problems to those that do not know WHO the answer is?

People are willing to listen IF we are willing to talk. Evangelism is another area where the church is in a slump. We are often willing 

At United yesterday I explained the situation like this:

  • Romans 3:23: "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God"
  • 2 Peter 3:9: "The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance."
If we have all sinned and fallen short of God's expectation for us, and He is not wanting anyone to perish, to die without His grace, then WHY aren't people standing in lines to repent? Why are there so many empty seats in sanctuaries? 

I wonder if the problem lies at the feet of Christians, those that actually know Christ? Look at this verse from the Apostle Paul to the Romans:
  • Romans 10:14 "But how are they to call on one in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in one of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim him?"
Billy Graham has always kept evangelism pretty simple. Many people have called it "Napkin Evangelism." 

Here is a very simple worksheet if you are willing to be the one that God uses to "proclaim" Him and the salvation He offers:

Remember: It is not the world's fault if we aren't proclaiming His great salvation! Be blessed as you share Christ this week.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Some People Cannot Forgive and Here is Why

We are all in the same boat: We have people that mistreat us, disrespect us and are jealous of us in various ways. Many times, this translates into words and actions of meanness from those we see every day. Wow! Now we have to listen to the Apostle Paul in the Bible as he tells us how to deal with this:

Colossians 3:13 "Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others."

Forgiveness is not minimizing the seriousness of the
offense against you. 
-It’s not an instant restoration of trust from someone who has wronged you.  
-It’s not resuming a relationship without any changes.  
-Forgiveness isn’t even forgetting what someone has done to you, because if you literally
forgot it and never remembered it, you’d also forget the lessons you were supposed to 

Forgiving others takes a type of love that says:
"You don't owe me anymore!"

To this, we may say: That doesn't seem fair, just to let someone off the hook for what they have done to me! 
You are exactly right! Unless, you have experienced forgiveness and let off the hook by God Himself through His Son Jesus Christ!

The more you have been forgiven, the more you
understand forgiveness.

In the Bible Jesus went to the house of a man named Simon.  The custom at that time was to greet your guests with a kiss, provide water so your guests could wash their feet, and anoint their head with oil as a blessing. 
But Simon didn’t do any of that for Jesus.  But a woman who was a prostitute did all of those things and more for Jesus. She didn’t wash his feet with just water.  She washed his feet with her tears.  She didn’t just greet Jesus with a kiss, she continually kissed his feet.  She didn’t just put oil on his head, she used the most expensive perfume made and poured it on his feet.  Why? Let us look at what Jesus said:

Luke 7:47  Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven--for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.  (NIV)

Now I understand part of the reason why many cannot forgive others: Perhaps, he or she has not experienced the freedom of being totally forgiven by Jesus Christ. 

We can experience a complete forgiveness in Christ and that will give us power to forgive others!

Psalm 103:12  How far has the Lord taken our sins from us? Farther than the distance from east to west!  
Isaiah 1:18  …no matter how deep the stain of your sins, I can take it out and make you as clean as freshly fallen snow. Even if you are stained as red as crimson, I can make you white as wool! 

My friends, I really believe this is so huge in our walk with God. Jesus even takes it to another level when He said: 
Matthew 5:43-44  You have heard that the law of Moses says, 'Love your neighbor' and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! 

In closing, I leave you this story of our responsibility of forgiving and loving others, no matter what the circumstance:
ILLUST: There’s an old story that tells of a man who went to a Christian counsellor about his marriage. When it was emphasized to him that the Bible tells husbands to love their wives, the man replied that he and his wife hardly speak any longer or do anything together – it is like they are strangers. In response to that, the counsellor flipped in his Bible to the passage that says to love your neighbor. The man then responded that when he and his wife do talk, it usually takes the form of fighting. The counsellor flipped in his Bible again, and said “Now I understand, I have just the passage for such a situation.” He stopped flipping and read “Love your enemies.”