Friday, April 27, 2012

The Importance of the Gospel

“For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.” - 1 Corinthians 1:21
John Peton was a missionary to the New Hebrides Islands in the South Pacific in the mid 1800’s. Peton desperately desired to preach the Gospel even though the natives were cannibals. Shortly after arriving to the Islands his wife and son died. Faced with the decision to leave the Islands and work of the Gospel, Peton determined in his heart to stay and see all the natives come to know Christ. This decision came about as he slept countless nights on the graves of his family so the cannibals he was trying to reach would not dig them up and eat their bodies. Talk about a love for the Gospel of Christ and those who desperately need it! Because of Peton’s commitment and love, thousands became Christians.
Often we neglect to share the Gospel of Christ with others out of petty and even selfish reasons. Fear, lack of knowledge, misplaced priorities and even wasted time keep us from being highways the greatest news ever can travel across. The Gospel is powerful and should be displayed daily in our lives. We need to get over our fear, gain knowledge, reprioritize, and structure our time for the highest calling and best news ever. How powerful is the Gospel? It doesn’t matter if you are educated or illiterate, rich or poor, young or old. The message of the Cross and Resurrection of Christ can change anyone and must be vocalized and displayed in our daily lives.
Some might say they are waiting on the right opportunity or a “divine appointment”. Let me tell you how to recognize a divine appointment – it is the next person you come in contact with! People need to hear your personal testimony and eye-witness account of how Jesus has saved you. What else in life is more important than telling others about Christ? Paul said, “For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified" (1 Corinthians 2:2). The message of the Gospel is not Christianity or religiosity – it is Jesus Christ and His power over sin and death. People don’t need religion, they need relationship.
This week, one of our employees led a truck driver to the Lord while he made a delivery to our church. He didn’t just pray for his obvious hurts. He didn’t tell him to just listen to Christian music or read His Bible. He led him to the Gospel and shared his personal experience and relationship with Christ. I led a man to the Lord this week and told Him about a new beginning in Christ. I told him how he could be “reborn” (John 3) and become a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17).

If we love our family and neighbors then why do we withhold the words of life from them? If today is the day of salvation, what if tomorrow never comes for those without Christ? If we are fishers of men, then why are we just making fishing tackle and pointing the way to the bank? We should cast out our nets until they are filled! If Jesus sought the lost and Paul was in agony over the unsaved, shouldn’t we be as well? As Christians we must give an honest, sincere, prayerful effort to win others to Christ. The Gospel is important to you, shouldn’t it be to others?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Never A Failure In Christ

How would you like to set the major league record for strikeouts with 1316? If that wasn’t bad enough what if you also set a record for five consecutive strikeouts in a World Series game? Many of you might say “what a failure!” It may surprise you to know this “failure” was the great homerun legend Babe Ruth.

Babe Ruth wasn’t afraid of failure. He swung for the fence every time and didn’t let those failures make him a failure. There is a difference in someone who says, “I have failed three times” and one who says, “I am a failure”. One never gives up.

Well what if I fail? That question is asked frequently especially when it comes to living out your faith. What if I fall short? What if I jump in over my head and drown? Fear of failure immobilizes many from attempting great things for God. We must remember that He who has called us is faithful and will do it (1 Thessalonians 5:24). Is failure possible? It depends on your perspective. Henry Ford, Walt Disney, and Donald Trump all went bankrupt but never gave up. Even more important than success in your finances is success in your faith. Jesus said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).

I’m not saying you will never fail. It is possible to have setbacks - that is why they call it risk. But here is the confidence you can have: If God is for you then who can be against you (Romans 8:31)! When we attempt great things for Him we will not be disappointed. When we risk it all for His Kingdom, we will not come up empty.

I don’t know about you but I would rather drown in deep water attempting great things for God than never get in the water. We have to get out of the shallow end of the pool and plunge over our heads in the deep end for God. Why? Who wants to drown in the kiddie pool? How embarrassing! How can we say we are doing great things for God if we are only wet up to our ankles? Why not dive in and abandon ourselves to Him? The greatest failures in life are not the ones attempted – it’s the ones never attempted at all.

Some say they don’t want to be embarrassed in failure. But what is more embarrassing? An adult with floaties on in the kiddie pool or one who cannonballs in the deep end? I’ll take the cannonball anytime. Maybe failure occasionally will embarrass you. But if you never attempt anything great for God how much do you think that embarrasses the One who created you to do great things for Him?

Success is just getting up one more time than you fall down. Don’t give up! In 2 Corinthians 12:9, Jesus tells us, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” The power of God is the perfect solution to your weakness. The perfect person God wants to display His power and glory through is the one who knows their weakness and ability to fatally fail apart from God. Relying on God for success showcases God’s greatness and grace, which are available to all who trust in Him. Your weakness is God’s stage for success.

Monday, April 16, 2012


"Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom." - Psalm 90:12.  That has always been a verse I have kept close to my heart.  It is one that I think about daily, especially as I walk out the door each morning.  Often I sit in reflection of my day and wonder if I fulfilled the purposes God set before me.  Time is the raw material of everything. With time, all is possible.  Without it, nothing is possible.  The time we receive each day is truly a miracle.  We wake up each morning with the gift of twenty-four hours of an undetermined, unmanufactured substance that shapes the world.  It is like putty in our hands, given as a platform by and on which we mold the calling and will of God for our lives.  It is our most precious possession - one that cannot be stolen from us.  It alone is ours to waste.

Time, it is said, is God's gift and way of keeping everything from happening at once.  It is the filmstrip in which dreams, passion, and goals play out.  Yet, we can squander this precious treasure.   We can spend time foolishly or we can spend it wisely.  We either learn to master our minutes or they enslave us.  We either use time or it uses us.  Time is wasted in minutes, not years.  Everyone notices the bucket of water that is kicked over in an accident.  What a huge mess!  But the small leak that subtly empties the bucket is often left unchecked.  Either way, the bucket is emptied. 

A day to the Lord is like a thousand years and a thousand years like a day.  An eternal God doesn't want us to waste our time.  Each moment He gives us is a precious gift.  Who among us would willingly waste the next six months sitting at a stoplight?  Who would spend the next year on the phone on hold?  What about three months opening useless junk mail?  Over the course of a lifetime this is the average.  We must make life count.  It begins with effectively managing the twenty-four hours we wake up to each day.  If we cannot learn to arrange that we inevitably will waste a lifetime.  Teach us Lord to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.