I can only imagine how the disciples and the extended family of Christ followers felt sitting in a poorly lit room 7 weeks after Jesus ascended into Heaven. They probably felt defeated and completely drained of all hope. When you think about it, the only instruction they had was to “go back to Jerusalem” and pray. This would have naturally seemed counterproductive, but then again they have seen amazing things happen because of time spent in desperate prayer. But…Jesus was gone now…and it seemed unlikely that anything memorable was going to happen.
They remembered the good ‘ol days when just 12 disciples and their supernaturally gifted rabbi healed, preached, and interacted with individuals with the obvious power and authority of Yahweh. 12 followers grew into thousands of families who longed to be affected by this man who seemed to fulfill all the requirements of the long-awaited Messiah.
The remnant of followers reorganized themselves and scraped together the last set of believers to pray as instructed. Then, something amazing happened. The Holy Spirit came and empowered this marginally talented bunch of commoners and the masses came to faith in Jesus. They simply prayed and then were faithful to what God led them to do. Each person had a role and a small amount of people impacted the world. The events of Pentecost in Acts 2, created a domino effect that has changed the course of history. God’s power was shown and people repented of their sin. The world was beginning to reconcile with the Creator; one person at a time.
There have been 2 movies lately that have impacted my view of God’s call on my life. They have been used as an illustration for my divine purpose.
The first movie is Schindler’s List. If you have ever seen that movie, you know that the main character, Oskar Schindler saved the lives of 1,200 Jews during the brutal reign on Adolf Hitler in World War II. He spent all of his wealth to employ these men, women, and children from death at the hands of the Nazi party. At the end of the movie, Schindler was stricken with grief because he realized there were still things he could have sold to have the money to rescue more Jews. He could have sold his car, his gold lapel pin, etc.
The second movie is a newer one; Hacksaw Ridge. In this movie, Desmond Doss (who was a conscientious objector in World War II) was a medic who saved many men who were injured on the battle field. He single handedly dragged these men and lowered them down a cliff face to safety. Some estimate that he saved over 100 people (true story). While his hands, back, and arms ached heavily as he lowered them to where they needed to be, Doss kept repeating a simple prayer to help him gain strength. “Lord, just one more”, he said over and over. He wanted to save people so desperately, and he knew he didn’t have the strength to do it on his own. He wanted to rescue “just one more”.
There is a theme running through these scenarios. God has shown me that my purpose in life is not to put more butts in church seats, but to help create a traffic jam at the gates of Heaven. I have fervently prayed that God will give me “just one more” person to minister to, and impact for the gospel of Jesus Christ. My heart’s desire is to see people transformed by Jesus. I know I can’t do this on my own, but I can do what I have been told to do.
Can you pray that prayer with me? Can you pray that God will continue to put people in my path to love, serve, and grow with?
If you follow Jesus…I will pray the same for you.
Love you all.
Hello Church Family!
2015 has been a year of ups and downs for our church. There have been great achievements and deep discouragements. This is natural and all apart of what we are called to do and who we are called to be. Jesus never promised prosperity…only asked that we obey.
Lately, God has been getting me so excited about preaching His word, and leading you all as your Pastor. There are hard parts and ones that come more easily, but overall I feel so blessed daily to be a part of a church that loves others so deeply.
As we transition into 2016, I have been prompted by the Holy Spirit to pray in a certain direction. This prayer is specific and covers 10 areas in which I desperately desire to see God move in us. We must allow Him to change us if we are to effectively minister to a dying, broken, and lost world.
In 2016, my desire is that you will:
1. Be bold in Faith
2. Be Ignited with Holy Passion
3. Be child-like in trust
4. Be eager to accomplish His will
5. Be committed to whatever it takes to see people changed for the Gospel
6. Be courageous when the enemy confronts you
7. Be lovers of His word
8. Be committed to prayer
9. Be practitioners of patience and love
10. Be responsive to the Holy Spirit
Let’s face it…we are a small church. When we think about this fact, it is tempting to think we can have little to no impact in the kingdom. The Bible tells us differently. Countless times, we see God changing history through only a few. If we believe the Holy Spirit has the same power today, then we can be confident that we are every bit as powerful, in the name of Jesus, as any other Christ-led assembly. If faith like a mustard seed can move mountains, then a church the size of a mustard seed can change hearts.
The world needs us. We have the antidote. We know where the life giving water is. We know the war is over.
Now…it is time to wake the giant, and show the world what souls on fire can do!
It’s time. Church…Mobilize!
Let’s serve, love, connect, and proclaim in a new way.
Love you all. Merry Christmas!
8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
Isaiah 6:1-8 brings up questions that are hard to avoid. First, what about this vision created a desire in Isaiah’s heart to serve God no matter what the circumstance? Next, what kind of resources was God going to supply Isaiah to accomplish this task?
Isaiah was commissioned to go to the people of Israel and preach a message of coming destruction and the hope and deliverance found through repentance. In a time when idolatry was rampant, and people began to forget about God’s faithfulness, this people group became content with the way things were. A captivity defined by self reliance and purposeless living.
Isaiah had a close relationship with God, and heard from Him regularly. He was not perfect, but God set him aside for a special purpose…to lead the children of God back to Him.
This passage shows us that God gave Isaiah the awesome opportunity to pull back the spiritual curtain and get a glimpse of the business of Heaven. Part of the business of Heaven is what happened to Isaiah…he was forgiven and purified of sin. His repentence and recognition of his depravity led to n authentic transformation. This transformation changed him so drastically that his passion for God to transformed others naturally followed.
What did God give Isaiah to accomplish this task? He gave His servant direct access to Him at all times. God gave Him a dynamic relationship that fanned the flame of love and compassion for his people. We have this same resource available to us.
If you have been changed by God, what does that transformation mean for you? Is it simply a ticket into an elite group of believers? Or, is it the fuel and animates the engine of service. We will please God if our Christian living is resourced by our relationship with the Creator. Do you have the courage to be open to God’s leading no matter the possible outcome?
Keep loving. Keep living. Keep growing.
A couple of months ago I posted a blog that highlighted two organizations that have caught my attention recently. These organizations exist to make their community better and to fill a visible void within their realm of influence. Today, I would like to highlight two more organizations that have inspired me in some way. Their missions are focused and their work is producing great results.
1. Selah House (Anderson, IN) – Selah House is an organization that offers professional eating disorder treatment for women and teen girls. Amos Taylor, the CEO of Selah House has a passion to see transformation in the lives of the individuals he serves.
2. Tear Down the Walls ministries (Indianapolis, IN)– TDWM is a ministry that serves the homeless in downtown Indianapolis. For 10 years they have loved and served the homeless. They actually pursue the homeless where they are in various alleys, tent villages, and on the open sidewalks of the city. They feed, clothe, and provide help getting medical assistance for those in need. This organization goes to these people instead of waiting for them to come. Their main goal is to lead them out of a life of homelessness.
Take a look at these ministries and add them to your prayer list. Partnering in prayer and service with organizations like these are great ways to live the Great Commission in our cultural context.