What about you? Who do you say Christ is? This week we debunked the spiritual myth that there are many ways to God. In our street interview video we were faced with the harsh reality that far too many people, even people in our own backyard, on our streets, who do not know the one and only way to heaven. Jesus is the real deal. He is THE way, he is THE truth, and he is THE life. (John 14:6) When I stop and think about how awesome that is and everything my Savior did for me I’m at a loss for words. I loved the quote from Martin Luther that Ski included in his sermon this week: “Learn to know Christ and him crucified. Learn to sing to him, and say, ‘Lord Jesus, you are my righteousness, I am your sin. You have taken upon yourself what is mine and give me what is yours. You have become what you were not so that I might become what I was not.’” (Martin Luther) Wow! Christ took my sin and GAVE me his righteousness. Because he became sinful and shed his blood I can become sinless in the eyes of God.
Jesus is my friend. Jesus is my shelter from the world. But most importantly Jesus is my Savior. Who is Jesus to you?
Do you ever stop and marvel at the interconnectedness of humanity? Maybe that idea seems far to deep and abstract for some of you, but seriously, just try thinking about it if even for a brief moment. It baffles me really.
Here at The CORE today we have had 8-15 people from one of the homeless shelters in Appleton stop in. They’ve been fed, given something to drink, and of course heard that Jesus still loves them and forgives them in spite of all of the mistakes they have made. And can I tell you something? Each of those individuals has now made an impact on my life. Perhaps it is a very small impact, but nonetheless an impact because we are all connected. At the end of the day, we are the same. We are poor miserable sinners in need of a Savior. And if you think otherwise, sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but you are missing the truth.
I am someone who remembers people, I remember experiences, I remember conversations, I remember faces. And when I stop to think about all of the people I have come into contact with in my life I can’t help but thank God for those experiences and deeply regret the times that I wasn’t aware of the others, that I thought myself too good to interact with certain people. He uses people to do his work here on earth, how humbling is that!
Have you stopped to thank God lately for the people he allows to come into your life – Even if for a very brief moment?
“Never underestimate the importance of simply being physically present in the place God wants you. You may not be asked to perform some dramatic ministry, but simply being there is a ministry.” – Warren Wiersbe
We have had tons of different people in and out of The CORE in the last two days. For me, this means lots of people watching – or people observing if your prefer that term. Call it what you want, but I pay attention to people’s actions, to their body languages; perhaps almost more than their words at times. And let me tell you what, God has blessed us with some amazing people around here. People who live the quote above, people who may not perform some dramatic ministry but participate in ministry simply by being in a certain place at a certain time.
Yesterday, I sat and watch a 70+ year old man walk up and make conversation with a stranger who walked into our building. A stranger who may not have a home, who probably hasn’t showered in a couple of days, who may not be in a right state of mind. I took note of that 70 year old man’s actions. His actions tell me there is something different about him.
I sat and watched a middle aged man sit down and make conversation with a young woman visiting our building. She sat in our building for hours and very few people walked up and talked to her. That man may have made her day.
I am someone who always wants to be doing something, always wants results. I want the “dramatic ministry.” I have to stop and remind myself that I am God’s tool. He will use me in the way he sees fit. And sometimes, that may mean talking to a stranger who walks into our building. Because bottom line is, those people are looking for their Savior too. They are watching his people – their actions much more than their words.
What would people think of your actions? What ministry are you doing by simply being present in a place?
“It’s not you, it’s me”
That phrase came to mind as I listened to Ski’s sermon about making disciples this week. Now, typically, that phrase evokes sadness, anger, bitterness, disappoint, and a whole host of negative emotions. But, when that phrase is spoken by our Heavenly Father, it’s a different story. Ski said in his sermon, “It’s not about you, it’s about what is behind you.” How true is that. We have God on our side and his Word behind our attempts to spread the Gospel. He continually whispers in our ears, “It’s not you, it’s me!” Remember that the next time you want to pass up an opportunity to share the Word out of fear.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. – Joshua 1:9b
Do you ever just get tired of it? Do you feel time to time like throwing in the towel, finding a safe hiding place, and sleeping your life away? Or at least hiding out for a couple of days? Can I be honest with you and admit that I do? From time to time I do get tired of it all. I get tired of the critics, of the long-hours, of the “job is my life” lifestyle. Sometimes I don’t want to be nice, I don’t want to be helpful. I want to think about me and only me, I want more “me time.”
I inevitably ask myself, “Why am I feeling this way?” The simple answer: Satan is at work. He wants all of us to have those thoughts. He wants us to give up because God is using us to do great things for his Kingdom. I think it is easy to forget that at the end of the day, while we all have bosses and earthly authorities we must answer to, our ultimate authority, the only one who truly matters, is God. Galatians 1:10 says, “Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not a servant of Christ.” Wow! That last part is like a punch in the face. Trying to please people, working only for people means we are not servants of Christ. You see it’s easy to get discouraged and want to give up the fight if we are focused on winning the approval of people.
Although it is easy to forget, I think when we want to surrender we have to remember our Savior and everything he endured. Hebrews 12:3 reminds us, “Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Christ knows what criticism feels like. His job was his life. He worked long hours. He knows and in fact promises that following and serving him isn’t going to be easy. It’s going to be difficult. It’s going to be exhausting. There may be times when we want to give up. But it’s at those times we have to remember who we are working for, who we are serving, and who promises to be there as a refuge and support when we are weary. And that person every time is our Friend and Savior Jesus.
So if you ever feel like throwing in the towel, know that you’re not alone. But also check yourself. Ask yourself why you are feeling that way. And remember all your Savior endured for you. Remember that he feels your pain and he promises to be there, to get you through if you will lean on him.
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
– Galatians 6:9