Growing up in rural Indiana with many animals, my brother and I had many chores our peers didn’t have. Regardless of weather (winter lasts four months), all of the animals had to be fed; the barns had to be cleaned; the water troughs needed to be full; and we needed to make sure we had plenty of hay or we’d have to go get about thirty bails from another local barn about ten minutes away.
Whatever you’re dealing with today, God has empathy for you. We do not follow a God who has not been where we’ve been. He’s been tempted in every way. He knows what it’s like to have nothing. He knows what it’s like to have no place to rest his head. He knows grief well. He’s experienced anger and frustration with the people closest to him.
This is one of the earliest expressions of the church we are shown in scripture. What is similar about the church then and now is the devotion to the teaching of the apostle’s, or the New Testament, fellowship, the breaking of bread, and prayer. What is different is noticeable too. For today, let the differences you see in the expression of the church then in comparison to now
It’s hard for me to relate to Thomas. Doubt is not something that has plagued my life. Many peers and friends over the years have shared extraordinary, supernatural experiences while serving in mission around the world and I have never been given any reason to doubt their testimony.
The passage above is the one that we chose when we initiated ESL (English as a Second Language) classes at our church some years ago. It was the guiding principle for that ministry. Yes, we wanted to help people learn English, but more importantly, we wanted them to feel loved, accepted, and respected.
Justice. That word should be pretty familiar to every Christian who has spent any time with scripture. Justice and oppression are concepts that are addressed hundreds of times in scripture. But I’m pretty sure that most of us don’t spend a lot of time contemplating justice and we may even be a little conflicted about exactly what that means.
For 20 years, I have known and worked with Larry Cox and Dr. Nancy Rodriguez-Cox, our ministry partners in Matamoros, Mexico. Dr. Nancy is a Mexican national and was already caring for people in the colonias along the border when she met Larry. At that time, Larry was an American who was exploring a call on his life to serve as a volunteer in mission.
There is a Christian song that says, “Brokenness is what I long for. Brokenness is what I need. Brokenness is what you want from me.” When I first heard that song, I really didn’t like it. I thought of brokenness as weakness and pain and failure and I couldn’t see why God would want that for my life.
These two passages have always been tied together in my mind. In the first, Jesus is speaking to His disciples after the resurrection. In fact, these are the last words He shares with them before ascending. He promises them that, even as He leaves, the Holy Spirit of God will come to abide in them and empower them to serve as His witnesses throughout the earth.
On April 30, I retired from my position at First Methodist Mansfield, having served in our Mission ministries for 24 years. I cannot begin to express the impact that serving this great church in this capacity has had on my life over these years. I have been blessed by the powerful witness of saints in our church, our community, and around the world, in ways that have strengthened
This week we have been looking at how to move past a “good enough” life towards a “greater” life. We have considered how to have a Jesus-like influence on those around us. We made a list of a handful of people close to us, who we most want to influence for good.
As we look at how to move past a “good enough” life towards a “greater” life, we are considering ways to have a Jesus-like influence on those around us. One sure and relatively simple way to influence those around you is to speak life. Speak truth, love, beauty, wholeness, encouragement, wisdom, and healing.
As we look at how to move past a “good enough” life towards a “greater” life, we are considering ways to have a Jesus-like influence on those around us. Jesus valued community. He demonstrated repeatedly how he valued his friends, his followers and his disciples. He wasn’t always with the whole group.
As we look at how to move past a “good enough” life towards a “greater” life, we are considering ways to have a Jesus-like influence on those around us. If we seek to draw people toward Christ, we need to have a Christ-like influence on those around us. Yesterday we looked at Colossians 3, and how we are to “put on” the “clothes” of love.
As we look at how to move past a “good enough” life towards a “greater” life, we will consider ways to have a Jesus-like influence on those around us. Sometimes the first step is to live the right way. By this, I do not mean live perfectly. That would be an impossible goal.