God is Among Us

You know every time that you, by the Holy Spirit, open your mouth to share the Good News of Jesus Christ, you should expect that something eternal is going to happen in this persons life. One of the signs of faith is that you simply believe in the power of the Word of God, the power of the Holy Spirit, and the power of the words that He gives you to speak. God is at work at that moment and therefore you expect something grand to happen, something eternal, something of significance- that eternity itself will never erase. There shall be results, because God is speaking through you.

I love 1 Corinthians 14:25, it says that “the secrets of his heart will be laid bare, he will fall down and worship God exclaiming, God is really among you.” And you know thats one of the results that we all hope to see when we share the Good News, isnt it?

And yet we feel so incapable in ourselves- so impotent, so to speak, to do the job- but the Holy Spirit of God does His part, and when you share the Good News, simply believe and expect, by faith, because the Bible says so, that the person listening would say, “God is really with you. God is really here and Hes speaking to me.” He may not fall on his face physically, but in his heart he will repent, and honor God.

Never Beyond Hope

When it comes to reaching tough kids, one of my favorite stories is that of Nicky Cruz. Nicky was a Puerto Rican teenager who moved to New York City and joined one of the most violent gangs in the city.

To anyone who knew him, Nicky seemed beyond any hope of change. He was angry at his parents, angry at himself, angry at the world, and angry at God.

But then God led a young preacher named David Wilkerson to New York City. David had a passion to reach gang members for Jesus Christ. He saw beyond their tough exterior, and knew that deep down, their hearts were desperate for love and healing.

When David met Nicky, he knew the only thing that could reach Nickys heart was the love of Jesus. Eventually, because of Davids persistence, and the power of the Holy Spirit, Nicky received Jesus into his life.

Through the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ, he became a new creation. And today, Nicky Cruz leads a ministry that shares the Good News with inner-city gang members!

Is there a teenager you know who seems beyond hope? Try finding ways to show Christs love to that young boy or girl. Pray, as Paul did for the Ephesians, that “the eyes of their heart would be enlightened.” And remember, no one is beyond Gods reach.

What Really Matters

A few winters ago my wife and I got a phone call from a ministry in our hometown. They were collecting used blankets and sleeping bags for the homeless. So we gathered up a bunch of sleeping bags to donate. Throughout our marriage we have always made it a priority to reach out to those less fortunate than us.

Reaching out and caring for peoples physical needs is good; Jesus often healed the sick! But He always shared the Good News. Whenever Jesus met a physical need, He also told people the Good News – meeting their spiritual need also. Our Lord knew that its vitally important for people to have a life-changing experience with Jesus Christ. Without a conversion experience, theres no hope for true, lasting change.

God tells us in Isaiah 40: “Surely the people are like grass. The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever.”

The Lord reminds us that the only enduring thing in the world is His Word — His Good News! As we reach out to help the helpless, lets never forget that without a relationship with Jesus Christ, nothing else matters. Reach out with compassion, reach out through community service, but never never forget to also share the Gospel.

To Taste of Calvary

These last five days Ive been talking to you about an old hymn that touched my life when I was young, and still does today. Here is verse 5, “So send I you to hearts made hard by hatred. To eyes made blind because they will not see. To spend, there will be blood. To spend and spare not. So send I you to taste of Calvary.”

You know when Jesus Christ sends us out to give the Good News of His son, in some ways, you are dying to yourself. In many ways, you are dying to the flesh, to the world, and to the devil. And sometimes, its hard. But you know, its worth it all. Even if you and I should have to shed our blood, God forbid, but if we had to, and we did it in His power, we would never regret it.

Jesus Christ died on a cross for us, whose hearts were hard, some of us were filled with hatred. Some of us were blind because we didnt want to see. But Jesus Christ nevertheless, died for us on the cross. And when we share the Good News, with a neighbor, with a friend at work, with somebody at school, whoever it may be- in a way we are identifying with Jesus Christs dying on the cross and we are hurting and suffering in a way for the person that we want to lead to faith in Jesus Christ.

So rejoice my friend. I hope this week has helped you. “As the father has sent me,” Jesus said, “So I send you.” There is no greater calling in the whole world. Fulfill it, and you will never regret it.

Strength in Christ

Gods best isnt always what the world considers best. One of my favorite illustrations of this truth is the story of Joni Eareckson Tada.

Joni was paralyzed in an accident when she was a teenager. But instead of being bitter, Joni settled her disappointment with God and said, “OK, the Lord somehow has a plan for my life that is better than my dreams.”

Joni eventually met and married a fantastic guy. Today she sings, and she paints beautifully with a brush in her mouth. Joni also ministers to people in a way she never could have if she still walked. Shes being used of God to touch millions of disabled people, all over the world.

Is there someone, or something, that has crushed your hopes and dreams of a perfect life? God doesnt make mistakes! Whatever youve gone through, whatever your disabilities, or insufficiencies, or insecurities, God can use them for His glory!

In Second Corinthians 12 Jesus says to the apostle Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Ask God to use your weaknesses in a way you could never imagine for his Kingdom.