A Place Called Grace

The person who doesn’t love doesn’t know God, because God is love. God has shown us his love by sending his only Son into the world so that we could have life through him.

1 John 4:8‭-‬9 GW

Now, the effects of the corrupt nature are obvious: illicit sex, perversion, promiscuity, idolatry, drug use, hatred, rivalry, jealousy, angry outbursts, selfish ambition, conflict, factions, envy, drunkenness, wild partying, and similar things. I’ve told you in the past and I’m telling you again that people who do these kinds of things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

But the spiritual nature produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There are no laws against things like that.

Galatians 5:19‭-‬23 GW

So when you give to the poor, don’t announce it with trumpet fanfare. This is what hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets in order to be praised by people. I can guarantee this truth: That will be their only reward.

When you give to the poor, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.

Give your contributions privately. Your Father sees what you do in private. He will reward you.

Matthew 6:2‭-‬4 GW

Can I let you in on what one of the enemy’s main strategies is?

Isolation.

Think about it.

If you are living in isolation, separated from other living beings, how can you love and receive love?

Even worse, if you do not have a relationship with God, perhaps you’re estranged, you are in spiritual solitary confinement.

Even in the natural, being sent to the hole is the worst form of punishment other than physical death.

Now, look at the wide world of consumer products.

They are designed to isolate and enslave you.

I was recently out on the streets, feeding and serving the homeless with a bunch of other believers.

At one point it seemed like almost everyone who came to serve was watching the scene unfold through their cellphones.

We have this digital filter on our lives.

If I can’t post it to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, did it really happen?

The homeless getting food weren’t posting pictures of their delicious meals and drinks, freely provided by the grace of God and His humble servants.

Nope.

They simply enjoyed them, shared with their friends, and told others about the blessings they had received.

As a former IT worker, I know the dark underbelly of the beast.

Nothing is secure.

Everything is being monitored.

You’re basically opting-in to 24 hour surveillance so that corporations can better target ads to you so that you will buy more products and services.

Consumerism is an addiction.

Being chained to your phone or computer is an addiction.

If you get anxious when you can’t use your phone, perhaps you have a problem.

Jesus isn’t on Facebook.

He’s on the streets.

There’s a benefit to having ministry resources available online, don’t get me wrong.

But the real work of ministry is in loving people not creating content and consuming information.

It’s time to wake up and get back to basics.

I don’t have a television.

I don’t have Internet in my home.

God has already given us everything we need for life and for godliness.

It’s time to put digital on the back burner and start living the analog and spiritual life that God created you for.

Technology has to keep innovating to remain profitable.

Competition, pride and greed drive it.

It’s an unsustainable system and it will fail.

This isn’t Star Trek, where some new technology will save the day.

Jesus saves.

Remember why you’re here.

To live a life that has God’s approval, not the most likes and retweets.

Honestly, the world is going to hate you.

If they crucified our Lord, and He was the perfect expression of God in man on Earth, what more can we expect?

The Kingdom of God is where love, mercy and grace rule the day.

You enter by faith.

You remain there by obedience.

When you disobey, you fall away.

When you repent, you get restored.

All of the promises of God contain conditions.

They are like if then statements in programming.

If you turn from your wicked ways and acknowledge God, then He will bless you.

Else, you’re out in the cold.

In the dark.

All alone.

Like a homeless and hungry person on the cold, dark and damp streets of Anytown, USA.

That’s someone’s son.

That’s someone’s daughter.

God loves them.

They aren’t trash.

They’ve been treated like garbage.

Love them unselfishly.

Give to their needs.

They can’t repay you.

But God in Heaven knows what you’re doing and He will reward you when you get home.

Your home is in Heaven.

It’s a place called Grace.

None of us deserve to be there.

But God, in His infinite love, saw it fit to have Jesus die in our place so that we could inherit eternal life in Paradise.

May the love of God guide you in all that you do and say, today and always.

And may His Grace abound even more everyday.

In Christ’s Name, we pray.

Amen.

Unique Identifier

“I’m giving you a new commandment: Love each other in the same way that I have loved you. Everyone will know that you are my disciples because of your love for each other.”

John 13:34‭-‬35 GW

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.

Colossians 1:15 GW

Let the person who has ears listen to what the Spirit says to the churches. I will give some of the hidden manna to everyone who wins the victory. I will also give each person a white stone with a new name written on it, a name that is known only to the person who receives it.

Revelation 2:17 GW

The Christian faith is unique among the religions of the world in many ways.

We serve a God who saves us.

Jesus Christ Himself came to serve and not be served.

He washed His disciples’ feet.

The feet are the lowest part of the body.

They touch the earth.

Jesus uses the truth to wash away the influence of the world.

Those same feet, now clean and holy, carry the same message to the rest of the world.

That is how we are known.

We love one another and rejoice in the truth.

It’s a lot different from what the world teaches.

The world teaches us to serve our own selfish interests and to conceal the truth and present a false front.

That is not the way of Jesus.

Jesus is unique.

He is identified as the Son of God.

He was conceived by the Holy Spirit in a virgin’s womb.

God truly is His Father.

And yet, we too, when we become born again have the same Father.

Faith in Jesus and the finished work of the Cross, birth us into the Kingdom of God.

We don’t get born again as mature Christians.

As in the natural, there is a development process.

But let me tell you, even a baby Christian is more powerful than the wisest unregenerate man.

You hear a baby cry?

Someone will feed and care for that baby.

Our spirits cry out to God with groans too deep to be heard.

We yearn for the liberation from our bodies.

Yet, we persist.

Living temples.

Living stones.

A word of the Word.

Each one of us uniquely made and purposed by our Creator.

We will never achieve our purpose in Him while we’re seeking our own selfish ambition.

We must lay our lives down to truly live.

Another unique identifier of the Christian faith is prophecy.

More specifically, fulfilled prophecy.

In times past and even today, God speaks and reveals things to His servants.

Jesus fulfilled Messianic prophecies, some of which were uttered hundreds, if not thousands of years before His birth.

I don’t remember the specific facts and figures but I did read the research and I was more than convinced.

Of course, I came to faith when I was alone with no outside influence except for the Spirit of God.

But it’s good to build your faith.

God knows each one of us individually.

He’s not a cold and distant God.

Quite the contrary, our God is a consuming fire.

He takes everything that we were and have, and uses it to glorify Himself.

Why do I have struggles?

So that through God I can overcome them.

God knows those that are His.

He knows just how to get your attention.

He knows just how to get His message across.

His message is the Cross.

Jesus has made peace for us.

Who doesn’t want peace of mind?

A true peace, not the false peace that hooks you to consume more and more to get less and less of a reward.

We do not know yet what we will be.

But as we walk in obedience, we get closer and closer everyday.

Jesus commands us to humbly serve others.

Service motivated by love.

Want what’s best for them and give it to them.

It starts with the truth.

Do not be ashamed to share the Gospel.

It has the power to save.

God is in control.

He will work everything out in time.

We just need to be faithful and obedient.

Our eternal future is secure in Christ.

Spread the word and share the love of Jesus with everyone you meet!

Amen.

Power Evangelism

God didn’t give us a cowardly spirit but a spirit of power, love, and good judgment.

2 Timothy 1:7 GW

“These are the miraculous signs that will accompany believers: They will use the power and authority of my name to force demons out of people. They will speak new languages. They will pick up snakes, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them. They will place their hands on the sick and cure them.”

Mark 16:17‭-‬18 GW

The disciples spread ⌊the Good News⌋ everywhere. The Lord worked with them. He confirmed his word by the miraculous signs that accompanied it.

Mark 16:20 GW

I like to say that you can’t judge someone into the Kingdom.

For those outside the Body, we engage them with self-sacrificing love, as Jesus did.

He was a friend of sinners.

For those inside the Body, we hold each other accountable to God’s standards.

We do it gently and let the Spirit convict them of sin.

The best way to do that?

Have a small group Bible study.

There’s nothing better in my book than reading the Bible for refreshing one’s mind.

Whether one on one or with a handful of others, reading the Bible outloud together and discussing its application to our daily lives is the bedrock of discipleship.

We must continually be renewing our minds with Scripture.

The voice of this world wants to drown out the voice of God.

And when God speaks to us, it’s in that still, small voice.

You need to eliminate all distractions to hear it.

Silence, solitude, stillness.

Practice those spiritual disciplines to better tune your ear to hear what the Spirit is saying.

Why am I talking about discipleship in an article about evangelism?

Because they are inseparable.

The purpose of evangelism is to make disciples.

You can’t make a disciple if you’re not a disciple.

I like to infuse everything I do and say with the Gospel message.

Love, love, love.

That’s the message.

God is love.

God loves you.

He desires your love in return.

The turn or burn crowd is preaching to the wrong audience.

Their message of correction should be aimed at themselves.

If they spent more time in Scripture they would learn the truth.

Religion never saved anybody.

Jesus saves through relationship.

Spiritual transformation is what we’re after.

First, we get restored back into relationship with God by believing the Good News that Jesus Christ is the Messiah.

Then, our lives and lifestyles progressively change as we spend more time with God.

As the saying goes, you are what you read and who you hang around with.

Basically, you are what you eat.

If you consume a steady diet of marketing messages, carnal minded entertainment, and gossip, you’re going to be worldly.

There’s a better life to be had.

And those of us who got the life need to be out in the world sharing it.

Holy huddles on Sundays are good for equipping the team before the game on Monday.

Are we talking truth and tactics?

Or are we just full of hot air?

Sermons should be training us for righteousness.

Just like all Scripture is.

Wow, I’ve really digressed.

My point is we need to go in the love and power of God into our respective communities and areas of influence.

Evangelism is a lifestyle of living for Jesus.

Sometimes you preach.

Sometimes you heal.

Sometimes you give what you have to those without.

You recognize that we’re all one family.

Those that are lost are hurting and broken and need a touch or a word from God to bring them back.

We are the love of God.

We have the power of God accompanying us as we go.

Just being there should change the atmosphere.

We go where angels fear to tread.

If God is for us, who can be against us?

Only the enemy.

And he has been defeated.

Walk victoriously.

Love fearlessly.

Be the change this world so desperately needs.

We have the message living inside of us.

It’s not meant to be hoarded.

It’s meant to be shared freely.

God has given us everything to enjoy.

Even this day.

Make it a little brighter and share the love of Christ with a friend who used to be a stranger.

Do the work of an evangelist.

They are the front line soldiers in God’s army.

You’re going to have to force out some demons.

You’re going to have to speak the words that the Spirit gives you to speak in the moment.

You’re going to be persecuted, slandered, and endure suffering.

But what is truly worth fighting for?

Stuff that you can’t take with you when your mortal body dies?

Or love which is eternal and never dies?

The Kingdom of God is the Kingdom of Love.

Those who do not love, do not know God.

We are perfected in love.

We are exactly like Him in this world, with regards to love.

Jesus was the prototype.

Conform yourself to His image and likeness.

He showed us how to live.

He showed us what is important.

Follow Jesus.

He’ll never lead you astray.

But He might make your path cross a stray soul that needs shepherding back into the sheepfold.

Be blessed, Church.

And be a blessing.

May the God of all grace be with you all.

Amen.