Saturday, May 21, 2011

Friends in the Alley

Ok so there was this group of homeless guys. They always hung around together in the same dark alley. One day they noticed that one of their friends, Chris, was gone. Life went on as normal for all of them until one day they noticed a man walking down the alley toward them. They could see right away that this man did not belong down here with them. He was clean, dressed in clothes that were not torn, smiling. As he got closer to the group, they all began to recognize him. It was Chris! They were all happy to see him, at first. But he had a couple things to tell them. The first thing was that a law had been passed that anyone found in this alley would be arrested and sentenced to life in prison. That didn't make them too happy at all. They resented the fact that they would be condemned for just being who they were. Fortunately, Chris had good news for his friends in the alley. Apparently a local man had died and left money to build a house for homeless people in the area. This house had room for all of Chris' friends. They would be given clothes, food and money to get back on their feet. Great news indeed for this group of down and out people. All they had to do is humble themselves, see their need for help, and come ask for a spot in the house. Matt was the first to speak out, "That can't be true! Bad things happen to good people so I don't believe in your house!" The rest followed with similar nonsensical retorts. "I'm perfectly happy with my life, being dirty, and eating garbage in the alley here!" "What about the guy in Africa who never gets to hear about this house?" "I don't believe in men dying and leaving houses to people!" "I'm glad you've found something that makes you happy, just don't push it on us!" After a while, Chris finally told his friends that the window of opportunity to accept a room at this house would be closing but he did not know when. The "friends" continued to ridicule him and not believe his claims despite the visible changes in his life and proofs he had shown them such as money in his wallet, new clothes and even a copy of the last will & testament of the man who had left they house to the community. "That will was written by man so why should we care what it says?" Jerry screamed as he hurled a garbage can at Chris. This final comment and action was all Chris could think about that night as he prayed for his friends. Chris went back all the time, up until the house wasn't taking anymore people, to tell his friends about the new life they could have.

Now I know that this isn't a perfect analogy but it's pretty close. I see my friends on facebook and on the streets not only getting these ridiculous rebuttals but getting garbage thrown at them, cursed at, etc. We have good news for people who have lied, stolen, lusted, blasphemed, hated and not put God first in their lives. These are people who one day will be judged for these things and the place of punishment for the guilty is indeed Hell. However God demonstrates His love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us! Jesus lived a sinless life and died on a cross for all of our sins. He rose again three days later defeating death so that if we repent and trust in Him we will have eternal life and escape the punishment due us in Hell. We can go to our new "house" in Heaven when we die because God made a way for that to happen. If you are a non-believer reading this right now, I wouldn't be so concerned with what happens to what you deem "good" people or the guys in a jungle somewhere who haven't heard the good news. You've heard it and what have you done with it?? I'd really be more concerned that if you've ever told one lie, you're a liar and that all liars will have their part in the Lake of Fire. But, as mentioned, God has made a way for you to be forgiven of that lie through the blood of Jesus Christ. Just like the house giving out rooms in the above story, the window of opportunity is closing to accept this free gift God has given to us. No one knows the date or time of the Lord's return. I wouldn't want to not be ready. For you believers, let your light keep shining among men. Show them joy unspeakable. Not because life is a bowl of cherries but because your name is written in the book of life! Also, most importantly, don't quit sharing the good news verbally. As famous atheist Penn Jillette said, ""How much do you have to hate somebody to not proselytize? How much do you have to hate someone to believe that everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?"

John 14:1-3 (English Standard Version)

1 "Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.

Monday, May 16, 2011

George Street Sermon

This is a very encouraging story for you evangelists out there. Maybe you are not seeing any fruit from your laboring in the harvest field but that doesn't mean that there isn't any. Listen to this amazing story of one faithful man who used gospel tracts to witness to people. Also remember that Jesus, our example, did not get a decision when He witnessed to the rich young ruler. The ruler ran off, money still being his god. Keep up the work guys. The harvest is plentiful and the laborers are few. Don't quit!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Luke 17:32

While reading the Word today, I was stopped dead in my tracks by a verse I've read over numerous times. It's an easy verse to overlook because it is so short. Not "Jesus Wept" short but it's also not much longer. In fact it contains only three words. I can still hear the voice of the Lord booming the words of the titular verse, "Remember Lot's wife"! Not sure why this hit me so hard today. I mean, I've been in the Word daily. I've been trying to be in prayer more often. I've been doing the regular witnessing. So why the reminder of Lot's wife from the mouth of Jesus? Perhaps because of my excitement over the new Call of Duty maps or the Gears 3 beta. Could be because of my over-excitement for the release of Brink on the Xbox today. Could be because of how badly I would like to go see Thor in the theaters at some point this week. For these and I'm sure many other reasons, Jesus wanted me to understand something today. The living God, Jesus, is quoting the Old Testament as historical fact for us to learn from. Thankfully, the Bible, as always, has shown itself to me as the living breathing Word of God. Like Lot's wife, I was looking to the world and worldly things and God has just disciplined me with one of the shortest verses in the entire Bible. Yet it screams volumes. Genesis 19:26 says, "But Lot’s wife, behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt." Now her crime wasn't looking back, it was looking back longingly. She wanted to be back in the world, not escaping from it. I indeed was looking to worldly things this past month or so. Maybe not longingly, but looking nonetheless. I am very thankful for His "slap on the wrist" because He disciplines those He loves. I am also thankful that He did not deal with me by making me a seasoning. I just felt compelled to share this with you all because there is a danger for all of us to look back to the world because these days, lets face it. We are utterly and eerily surrounded by distraction after worldly distraction. So my encouragement to you is not to get wrapped up in all of this surrounding nonsense. Stay focused on the Lord. Yes we have to be in the world but we are not to be of the world. Now, I'm not saying something crazy like not to play games or watch movies. Just be mindful of your affections towards the things of this world and make sure your main focus is on Christ. God bless.

John 18:36 (English Standard Version)

Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world."