Tag Archives: soul winning

Will You be Listed?

“I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea.” Romans 16:1

The final Chapter/Letter to the Romans by Apostle Paul. What joy it brought to my soul this morning to read the names of the servants of God that had served with Paul throughout the churches and the roles they played. I imagined my own name being written down in the books of Heaven as to the service that’s being provided in New Mexico in fellowship and service with Gloria Jones and Dewey Moede.

To say that my time here is a blessing isn’t enough. From the first step inside the sanctuary of the First Baptist Church of Magdalena to the final dinner prepared by Pastor Paul Holt, the Spirit was moving. I wept as my heart was overwhelmed with the music by their worship leaders. I sang and spoke and listened to the sermon being delivered by a man of God who was filled with the Spirit and wisdom of God and thought to myself, “Shari, you are blessed, don’t forget it.”

To be in service to the King of the World isn’t something to be taken lightly. And yet, we do. Or at least I do.  Gloria and I traveled to Silver City, NM for more site seeing of this beautiful State. We witnessed to the people in the shops and left broken hearted as realized that our message wasn’t received as we’d hoped.

When I asked an artist at one local shop about being a Christian, she quickly said,  “I’m Lutheran, that means I’m fine, right?”

To which my reply was “No, being a Lutheran won’t save you, only Christ can do that. She replied “that’s a personal decision.”

“Very personal I responded.” And went on to explain about my salvation experience. She was kind and took my business card. Perhaps some seeds were sown.

Another young woman in another shop questioned why we were in town. Upon explaining about my speaking and singing, she told us she was of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I questioned her about her belief in Christ alone. She said she believed, but that Joseph Smith was a prophet, not to be worshiped but to be believed. She misunderstood that that statement also meant that she was saying the bible was not the only word of God and that it was incorrect according to their belief. She said that “We were all the same.”

We are not. Apostle Paul was commending people who had laid their lives on the line for what they believed. Not for assumptions or for catering to misguided beliefs. The body of Christ must stand strong in our convictions. Having hard conversations like those and others I’ve had this week may seem like I’m losing the battle, but Paul said in 1 Corinthians 3:6 “I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.”

We do not know who may come after us and share the news in a way that turns their stories into testimonies of salvation. All I can do is be faithful to what I know as truth.

I feel the Lord commending my soul today just as Paul commended Phebe and the other men and women listed in Paul’s letters. And I want to encourage you to speak Jesus wherever you are.  For me, oh my stars! It’s New Mexico! What a joy and a privilege to be in this place. The mission field isn’t a foreign land (necessarily). It’s the street you live on, your home, wherever you are. God has a work for us to do. It’s a very real assignment.

Paul listed one after another who had ministered with him in various capacities. Will you be listed? And what will it say? God bless you! We are co laborers in Christ and I want to hear what’s going on in your world. Write me and let me know!

The Fool Hath Said “God Will Wait”

They used to say “There are no atheists in fox holes.” I don’t think that’s true anymore; the arrogance and pride of man is shockingly ignorant.

We’re in the second night of tent meeting at Victory Baptist Church, in Grantsville, WV and while the church in the holler is feeling the Spirit of God move in a mighty way, the world around us goes on, oblivious to the truth of God, that He’s coming back. And you’d better be ready!

Psalm 14

1The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.

The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God.

The context of this scripture does not speak of men in general, but rather a specific group (Sennacherib’s invasion of Judea) to which David is writing and directing this Psalm. Well, I too could write and direct a Psalm toward specific groups of people that I feel fall into the category of fools. But I won’t. They will not listen and my words would offend and do little for the cause of Christ. So I’ll direct my thoughts to those who perhaps will listen, the children of God.

While we would never say there is no God, we will skirt on the issue of foolishness by pretending His return is far, far in the future. So I pose these questions for you and I today.

If Jesus phoned you personally and said, “I’ll be leaving Heaven in 15 minutes to call my children home,” who would be your first call? I have to ask myself that question too. And why haven’t I been more persistent about their salvation?

Would there be any materialistic thing that you’d look at and say, “This is worth staying for?” Mmmm…. Not when I got a mansion there waiting! However, you’d think that some of the things for which I put great value on were worth staying for, because I sure waste enough time on them.

My third and final question is this… “How soon after reading this will we forget the questions?”

3 Things You Need Approved

Then I told them of the hand of my God which was good upon me; as also the king’s words that he had spoken unto me. And they said, Let us rise up and build. So they strengthened their hands for this good work.

Nehemiah 2:18

Get God’s Hand of Approval

Nehemiah encouraged and excited God’s people when he informed them that the hand of God was upon him. He only knew that because he’d been in prayer from the beginning. When Nehemiah heard the condition of the wall and the people of Jerusalem his heart was broken. He took the news to the only One who could change the forecast which was the Lord, Jehovah. Our provider.

Bad news comes in many forms today. It may be a wall that’s falling down, but usually it’s a life that’s falling apart. For the church it’s a world that’s falling apart around us. I don’t know how you feel, but I feel much like Nehemiah. I’m distressed at the condition of the souls I meet.

As Gloria and I traveled down a street in Virginia Beach last week, we happed upon a little lady crouched on the curb. Gloria felt compelled to stop and help her out and tell her about Jesus. We approached her, and it was apparent she was skeptical as to why. I ask her if she knew Jesus. She said she was a part of a certain denomination. For me that’s a bell ringer that she knows church. Not Jesus. We attempted to speak to her about the condition of her soul but she wanted no part of it. We just happened to be beside a Chick-fil-A, and I just happened to have a Chick-fil-A gift card in my wallet. (Nothing really just happens). So we gave her the card and wished her God speed.

I don’t think we fixed any walls, but I don’t know. Perhaps the act of kindness will restore her faith in humanity. Or not. Only God knows. What it did was cause me to be more aware of the curb side people in my community.  We need to take care of our own.

That’s what I hear God saying to me this morning. And I need to do that through my ministry (The Jesus Chick) which is my responsibility. But I also need to do that work through my own church. The local church for which every believer needs to be a part of. To do that I need to

Get Church Leadership’s Word of Approval

When Nehemiah prayed for God’s wisdom on what to do about the decaying state of their city and community, He received God’s words of wisdom. But Nehemiah was a servant, the cup bearer, of King Artaxerxes. So rather than just taking God’s word and running with it, he prayed again and sought the Kings approval for the journey.

I’m a doer. Sometimes to a fault. I’ve on more than one occasion ran ahead of church leadership on projects because I wanted to get it done. And it seldom ended well. There’s an order in life. And I have learned to stand my ground in my place, and allow others that same privilege and respect. Its how the church works best, and the world needs to see the church working in harmony. The only way that can happen is if we respect authority. Nehemiah did it even though it wasn’t the church it was a worldly authority, surely we can allow God’s people to guide.

It’s through that process that we can

Get the Stamp of Approval

“A job worth doing, is worth doing right” is often said, and it’s certainly truth.

Philippians 1:6 ~ Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.

The Jews rose up for a good work because of Nehemiah’s leadership. We need that today! We need the congregations of God to rise up and do a good work that we can be proud of for the Lord Jesus Christ. We need to start by rebuilding the walls in our communities. And by walls I mean spiritually building a fortress around the people through prayer and communication. We need to take back our schools from out of the hands of influences of evil. It’s there. I’ve witnessed it firsthand. We need to be on the streets and roads of our community speaking to those we see about Jesus. We may not have a Chick-Fil-A near by but I can almost guarantee we have some casserole dishes in our cupboard that we can fill with some homemade goodness for someone.

It’s a start. We need it. I need it. You need it. Let’s do it.

Dreams of a Soul Winner

Daniel 12:3 ~ And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.

I am a dreamer! I have goals and ambitions that likely far exceed possibility, but still I dream. Daniel was no ordinary dreamer and his dreams were not ordinary dreams, they were visions far into the distant future; likely a vision into our “now.” Much like the book of Revelation, the book of Daniel reads like a newspaper.

And while I must confess, without the assistance of theological commentaries I wouldn’t know beans about the majority of it, a verse like Daniel 12:3 stirred my soul this morning and so did the notes on the side of my bible page. It may have been a sermon outline, or it may have been my thoughts, I’m not sure of where it came from, but there it was… an outline in the waiting for me this morning as I finished out the last chapter of the book.

Know the Word of God!

The wise men did then, and so do the wise men and women of the day. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” it says in 2 Timothy 2:15.  

I’m always stressing the importance of bible reading to my students. Sometimes I feel like I’m beating a dead horse. Sometimes I’m the dead horse. It’s so easy to get caught up in the world and not read the word of God. Believe me when I say, I get it.

It’s also easy to read it and not divide it. Trusting that what a preacher or commentary said is correct, which may or may not be the case. Also, when reading the word of God it is a living, breathing document designed to speak to you personally. The message never changes, but how you’re to apply it does and you need to be able to read and divide (understand) what God wants you to know.

Look for Evidence

When Daniel interpreted dreams, the interpretation was truth. If there had never been any evidence of what his interpretation was, nobody would have ever believed him.

When winning souls to Christ, and witnessing to our family and friends, they need to know that you know what you’re talking about. Not that you’re a bible scholar, but that you have a relationship with the Lord that means you can hear from Him and understand what He wants you to know. Just as I know people  need proof in the pudding of my relationship with Christ, I want proof in the lives of the people I touch. I want to know that I’ve encouraged them and made a difference. It’s the things my dreams are made of.

Act on It!

When the wise men of Jesus’ day heard that the Messiah had come, they didn’t stand around waiting for a news brief. They went to discover the truth themselves.

And when it comes to Messiah’s return for His church we don’t need to be standing around for a news brief either, that news hit the stands 2000 years ago. We need to be acting on.

The Apostle Paul shared that news in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

The archangel… the same one that spoke with Daniel will blow the trumpet for the Lord Jesus Christ! His word does not change. The end result is still the same. Jesus is coming back and we need to ready and sharing that word with our family and friends.

It is the dream of this soul winner that no one I love is missing in Heaven. Please… be faithful child of God! Tell the world of Jesus.

Do You Care?

We love Him, because He first loved us. ~ 1 John 4:19

There are some people in our lives that are easy to love. My bestie Gloria is one such person, so are countless others. I am blessed with people. Lots of people that I call and mean it when I say they’re friends. And then there are people that I am acquaintances with via life or social media and of those I may or may not have a great depth of concern for.

I would certainly pull them out of the path of a truck. But I might not take them chicken soup if they were ill. That sounds very mean. But it’s not meant to be. It’s not that I don’t care about their health, it’s that they are not on my radar of cares of the day. Nor am I likely on their radar either. So how exactly did God intend for us to love one another?

What is our level of compassion for those outside our immediate family and friends?

For me I only had to think about 1 John 4:19 for a split second before I realized that before I knew God, before I realized what He did for me and when I was just floating around in the world like a bubble on a summer day without concern for my soul or anyone else’s… He loved me.

He loved me when I was out in sin and behaving in a manner that would have made a sailor blush. Yes, I was that kid. I grew up fast when I married and had children, but I still didn’t know Jesus and was as filthy rags, and yet He loved me. He maneuvered my life to get me into a position to hear the gospel in a miraculous way that has me in awe today. He uses me even yet today when I still fail Him miserably.

Now… I ask myself that question again about the people I don’t know. “Shari, do you care?”  I asked myself that question about the people I’m pretty sure I don’t even like. “Do you care?”

I ask, because at any moment God could have given up on me or never thought enough of me to waste His time and yet He did.

This morning I was convicted by this thought because there are so many hurting people that I know via ministry and social media that I don’t care enough about. Ministry isn’t just to the pretty, easy to love people. Its’ for all people. Even the sometimes ugly, grouchy, negative, arrogant,  drunk and drugged up people. The latter of which I have an easier time loving. The grouchy, negative, arrogant people not so much.

I’m wondering who might cross my path today that needs loved on? I’m wearing a new pair of white jeans… I wonder if I’m willing to get them dirty. Isn’t that how we decide?

I have a doctor’s appointment for my knee this morning at 10 a.m. Perhaps it’s there that I’ll answer that question. Maybe it will be on social media, or maybe on an unplanned adventure. Like the one that got me saved.

A Field of Dreams

Windom, Minnesota. I leave every year with new, and sweet memories. Every year it’s different and yet the same. I leave wanting to stay longer, that’s the same. I leave with new friends, that’s the new. I left with a deeper respect for folks like Loretta Jackson, whose tiny little frame stood on the platform of the BARC and gave the gospel, glorified her Savior and let the city know, God makes no mistakes. Even allowing her to battle cancer… again.

My new friend Nita Killabrew, wife of Minnesota Twin Player and Baseball Hall of Fame, Harmon Killebrew blew me away as she proved that God uses humble, God glorifying people. Both of their struggles were awe inspiring and evidence that we are all without excuse for being happy in the Lord and allowing the world to see how He works in our lives! I learned so many that I will forever treasure. I learned the power of humility.

Pastors Rick Frederickson and Phil Anderson preached messages of hope but not without conviction that stirred my soul deeply. They shared the salvation of Christ in a manner that many ministers of today have failed to do because in a world blinded by political correctness and niceties, preaching like that is forbidden and considered offensive. Both men preached on! As well as FGGAM.org’s own Dewey Moede who never fails to share Jesus! I am proud to have been a part of this team. Because the platform may have been filled with varying denominations, but no variance in belief. Jesus. That’s it. Nothing else for salvation!

The Windom Revival touches lives each year and restores the relationship of Christ with His people. It reminds us all that there is a home for which we long for, where we’ll all have the same address. Made possible by the acceptance of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. It’s not Minnesota or West Virginia, but that glorious place called Heaven.

Below is my first night’s message. Windom, really was a field of dreams. It’s where hope came to encourage those seeking. I hope you enjoy the message, and I pray you have people in your life that encourage you each day. God Bless! ~ Shari

FIELD OF DREAMS

1 Corinthians 9 King James Version (KJV)

Minnesota. Driving through this country is not like anything in my part of West Virginia. If there’s an acre of flat ground where I live it’s a miracle. And it usually has a house built on it. Everything else is rolling hills and mountains, which is what I love about West Virginia. But in Minnesota, you can see forever, which is what I love about Minnesota. One field flows into another of crops that someone stands in hope of reaping the blessing of their work. That is my hope for Windom.

John 4:35

Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.

I came here with hope that the fields of Windom are ready to harvest! So what are we hoping to harvest? I’m glad you ask. Because what I want to see harvested in the fields of Windom is some pretty exciting stuff.

I know Dewey is a huge baseball fan. And I must confess, sports ain’t my thing. I go to games to see the people in the crowd, not the athletes. People go to games to see the players. In the life of the church, I’m the player. I’m the one out in the field either striking out, or hitting a homerun for Team Jesus. I’m the one who has the crowds cheering me on in Heaven, and sometimes on earth. And tonight, I’m a player on Windom’s team. In 1st Corinthians Chapter 9, the Apostle Paul says this:

Am I am not an apostle? am I not free? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? are not ye my work in the Lord?

The Windom Minnesota team has worked for months on this event. You being here tonight is our work in the Lord. I don’t ever believe that something just “happens.” There is purpose in everything that is done in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. I’m not an apostle but I am a servant for the Lord Jesus Christ. And tonight Windom Minnesota is my field and I’m gonna work it just like Harmon Killebrew did for the Minnesota Twins. I want the victory!

I’ve come tonight to share my field of dreams for Windom. In that same book of First Corinthians 9, beginning in verse 9 the word of God says this:

For it is written in the law of Moses, thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen?

Your response to that likely is, “What on earth are you talking about?”

The farmers of today, especially with the size field that Minnesota has, likely don’t use an ox to plow the field, they use the technology of the day. But in the time scripture was written, oxen was the technology of the day. And Paul used them as an illustration on taking care of the ministers of the gospel.

You weren’t supposed to muzzle the ox, you were to let him eat of the field, it was his pay. And the same is true of the ministers of the Gospel. They too deserve paid. But this is not about ministers getting paid. This is about why two West Virginia girls would drive 1000 miles to plow the fields of Minnesota that we may or may not even get to enjoy the harvest. Revival may happen after we leave. And that’s okay. I’m here to stoke the fire! My key verse is verse 10

Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope.

I came to Windom to plow the field by sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ, that is my field of dreams. And I’d go anywhere else the Lord lead me to experience a revival. Paul said later on in chapter 9 verse 16

For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!

There were some people in West Virginia that were seriously not happy that I came to Windom. Six grandbabies for starters and my 83 year old mother who may or may not forgive me for missing my family reunion this weekend. Whose closing argument was “Well, I guess we know who you love more.”

I don’t love you more, but I do love you as much. And I came to plow this field for 3 reasons:

Because I’m committed to Christ

17 For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me.

18 What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel.

19 For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more.

I don’t charge anyone to come to Windom. I believe that God will take care of me. And He’s never failed. I come to Windom because there’s a group of people here who want revival as much as I do. Not only for their town but more importantly themselves. Salvation is not about coming to a church service on Sunday and leaving the same way you went in. It’s about a 7 day a week, 24 hours a day relationship that gives you hope in any situation. Apostle Paul was –imprisoned, beaten, and eventually lost his head and he counted it all joy. Nobody here is having that bad a day today. But we all have bad days. How many of you stand in need of hope for something in your life? Me too! And I have the answer for you and me both. Jesus! But we have to work our fields. You cannot get the blessings of Jesus without serving Jesus. That has nothing to do with salvation. You can get saved and sit until glory. But you’ll be a honey dipper in heaven. That’s what they call the people who clean outhouses.

I plow the fields I’m given, and Windom is one,

Because I’m committed to Windom

20 And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law;

21 To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law.

22 To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.

23 And this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.

I fell in love with Windom in 2016. That wasn’t hard. You are genuinely good people. Minnesota Nice! I became, in my mind, a citizen of this city. Paul said he was a Jew for the Jews and a Gentile for the Gentiles. It doesn’t matter what city or state we’re in if we’re children of God we are all working for the same thing!

Because Commitment will Win us a Crown

24 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.

25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.

26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:

27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

I keep running this race and working for the Lord because there is a crown of victory at the end that I can’t wait to reach. I almost did this year when I had three heart attacks and ignored the symptoms until they landed me flat on my back for a double bypass. Just two months ago! I shouldn’t be here for a number of reasons, but one of them is an 8 scar down the front of my chest that healed at a miraculous rate for me to get here. I shocked doctors. And I was privilege to tell them, my Jesus did that! He’s got work for me to do.

It wasn’t easy. But when Harmon Killebrew determined he was going to continue on regardless of what the world threw his way, it wasn’t easy either. But we’re celebrating his life tonight and he is celebrating in Heaven.

I don’t want one Windom friend to miss out on meeting Harmon Killebrew face to face. But more importantly I don’t want you to miss out on meeting Jesus face to face. It’s why I’m plowing this field tonight. I came believing that the fields of Windom were white and ready to Harvest!

If you came here looking to win victory over anything in your life. You’ll find it through Jesus Christ. But first you have to be saved. You have to be one of His children.

That happens only by you accepting Him as Lord and Savior of your life. No works. No field plowing. I plow out of gratitude. Not to be saved.

You are saved by admitting you’re a sinner who needs a Savior. We know as children, crime brings a punishment. Sin was the crime and Christ paid the price of death so you didn’t have to.

Jesus is that Savior and you have to believe that lock stock and barrel. Virgin born, crucified on the cross, risen the third day and now He’s in Heaven as your public defender. And for every sin, past, present and future He tells the Devil. It’s under my blood they’re forgiven.

You have trust what He did as enough.

If you believe that you have won the greatest Victory in your life. If you believe that do something about it tonight. If it’s your first night. Tell somebody on the Windom team. If you’ve been on this team for a while, commit to a deeper relationship and greater service, and tell somebody. Don’t keep it a secret that will keep it from happening.

 

Freeloaders in the Flock

No automatic alt text available.Driving to play music with a secular crowd, I prayed that God would open the door to share the gospel.  Boy did He! He opened it wide open and in true “Jesus Chick” form I walked out on the porch of that opportunity with my mouth wide open and for an hour and a half I debated faith. The opportunity was great, my delivery I’m not so sure about. It’s the problem with being a “leap and the net will appear” kind of gal; not only do I leap and believe the net will appear, I also speak and believe the words will appear. This has on more than one occasion got me into trouble. Only because I don’t slow down to hear what God’s speaking to my soul.

Luke wrote in chapter 12, verses 11 and 12: And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say: For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.

Well, I didn’t give it any thought, I just spoke from my heart. I’m just so doggone passionate about what my Lord has done! I know He’s okay with that, God doesn’t need any freeloaders in the flock. It’s not a works salvation, but James said in Chapter 2, Verse 18 “Yea, a man say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.”  That too was a piece of my conversation. There is no works required for salvation, Jesus did it all, but there most certainly should be some evidence.’

 

My “freeloaders in the flock” statement came from a conversation I had with my friend Gloria about my new critter passion, the chickens. Sue, Glo, Butterscotch and Toffee and 4 everyday variety of chickens I’ve yet to give names. My husband wanted the chickens for what they produce, I wanted the chickens because they make me smile. The little babies “peep peeps,” and the antics of the grown chickens remind me in more ways than one of the flock of God. But my husband, in the confidence of a husband, said “No freeloaders.” I, in the confidence of his wife, smiled.  He knew what that meant. No, chicken killin’. But I understand his theory, if we feed them, they “should” follow that up by rewarding us with an omelet or two.

Well, I believe the same as a child of God. If He provides for me in every aspect of life, both physically and spiritually, should I not produce something in my life for Him?

3 WAYS NOT TO BE A FREELOADER

Win souls

It’s the most gut wrenching, fortifying method of serving Christ of all the ways we have to serve. Gut wrenching from the standpoint that you are standing toe to toe with the devil as he tries to undo every deed you do. For every statement of persuasion I would make for Christ, Satan would fuel the fire with human intelligence and logic. It is during those times that I am apt to speak before the Holy Spirit has a chance to get a word in edge wise. It’s not easy, but it is most assuredly worth the war.

Work the Gospel

I know we are a “no works” salvation. But Jesus worked, and if we’re to follow in His footsteps and live as He lived there is work involved. See a need, fill a need. That was His way and should be our way. We should be praying and watching for opportunities to serve others in the name of Jesus Christ so that others can see and believe He is Lord of our lives and a game changer for theirs.

Worship

In my human opinion one of the worst cases of freeloading is when able bodied children of God don’t find the time to make it to church. They make the time for work, every form of play known to man, they’ll never miss a hair appointment or an oil change in the worst of weather, but when it comes to taking care of their soul, and thanking the very God who created them and saved them, He is the last on their list. Oh, I know… I’m preaching now. But one of the hardest things to overcome when trying to win a soul to Christ is standing in the defense of freeloaders of the flock. There’s no excuses we can offer.

Has the church lost it’s compassion?

Has the church lost its compassion for souls? I don’t really have to wonder. I need only look at my own life for the answer. I get so wrapped up in the “stuff” of the church that I forgo the winning of souls. In n the book of Matthew 9 we see the heart of Jesus that should reflect the hearts of the children of God. When He looked around at the multitudes of people He was moved with compassion. This verse is the precursor to the often quoted 9:37b “The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few.” There is still a multitude, and it is unfortunate that the laborers are still few.

How many souls will we pass today? I’m not always out and about but I thought about the quick run I made yesterday to the local convenience store. Too quick to think about Jesus, I guess. One thing about living in a community the size of ours is we usually know who’s in church and who’s not. The girl behind the counter was not. Where was my compassion?

But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. ~ Matthew 9:36

Three things I see in Matthew 9:36 that stirs my soul today to serve Him.

The Wanderers

The multitudes of the souls that wander aimlessly in search of something, anything that will give them a sense of belonging and purpose. And we have it but don’t bother to share it. The world is directionally challenged because the church’s GPS is on silent. We have the map to direct them to Heaven, but we’re not doing it. Long before I was saved I knew there was a direction I should be traveling, but deed, I couldn’t find it. The church was silent. No one who came across my path bothered to look at the longing in my eyes to be a part of Heaven. I had a family who loved me, but I knew something was missing. I longed for a sense of purpose and I found it when I found the Heavenly Father. I wandered 34 years before a soul compassionate to move the world was moved enough to tell me about Jesus.

The Weary

They’re fainting. You can see it in their eyes. Everyone struggles. We have no idea on the outside what is going on the inside.  I have to wonder today what would have happened yesterday if I had taken the time with that store clerk just to say, I’d like to pray for you if you have a need. I have a feeling she’d have told me, but I didn’t ask.

The Wanting

Just as it was in Jesus’ day, so it is today. The world fills our heads with the vanity of religion. Vanity from the standpoint that it is filled with traditions and obligations as the saints “do what they have to do” for the sake of the church and call it faith. Why would anyone want what the church has today? A body of believers who put God on a schedule and only allow Him to speak to their souls from 11 a.m. to noon on Sunday. A handful come back Sunday evening and Wednesday, but there is a multitude visible to the world who see them having no desire for a relationship with the One called Jesus. The One, who when they’re ask, they’ll say He means everything to them, but in truth doesn’t mean anything to them outside the walls of the church. Why would they want that?

Jesus wept for His community. When’s the last time we wept for ours?

My friend LuAnn drove 5 hours to share the gospel with our community at the barn blast a week or so ago. She has an obedient compassion filled soul. I’ve seen it in the preachers I heard last week and this week. Last night was another night of Revival, week 2 for me. My soul is stirred because I see the compassion in a man to win souls. Tonight is my turn to share the gospel with the teens in my youth group. Tomorrow night is another night of revival. The harvest is plenteous!

Whomever it was that said the eyes are the window to the soul, knew of what they spoke. Take the time to look someone in the eye today, and pray that God would open the door to share the gospel. The Spirit has to lead… but you have to follow to make it happen.

Praying over your lunch… ask the waitress if you can pray for them.

Have a track in your pocket or purse… it’s not doing any good there.

See someone hurting… patch the hole in their heart by sharing a piece of yours.

 

 

I Have an Issue with the Church

I’ve had it for quite some time. I just didn’t know how to verbalize it. But this morning I got somewhat of a grasp on my issue. It’s the same issue I have with my life right now. It’s what happens between the coming out and going in. The a.m. to the p.m. of my day. What am I doing for the cause of Christ? The early church didn’t have that problem, they were too busy trying to keep their heads off the chopping block. They knew what their purpose in life was, TELL THE WORLD ABOUT JESUS. But somehow between the cross and the crazy we call life in modern times we lost the purpose as a church. The church has now become this resting place for children of God. And while Christ did indeed stress the importance of rest, the rest was meant to prepare for the next leg of the journey.

When Apostle Paul got saved he made some people very uncomfortable. After all, he had been the one calling for the Christians to be killed, and now he professed to be one of them. It was no wonder they had an issue with Paul. But that didn’t stop Paul from pursuing the purpose that he now understood to be his, TELL PEOPLE ABOUT JESUS.

Chapter 9 begins Paul’s life post conversion.

He Joined the Church

26 And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple. 27 But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus.

Paul knew that in order to grow in the grace of Christ and understand his new found faith, he needed to be with God’s people. So he joined the local church. That is step one following salvation. Find a local body of believers for whom you can serve with. That means, they too need to be serving, not just sitting.

He Joined the Movement

28 And he was with them coming in and going out at Jerusalem. 29 And he spake boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus, and disputed against the Grecians: but they went about to slay him. 30 Which when the brethren knew, they brought him down to Caesarea, and sent him forth to Tarsus.

Paul didn’t know all there was to know about Christianity, but through the Holy Spirit he was able to speak boldly in the name of Christ and face people who desired him dead because of it. Paul was more than a church member, he was a part of the movement.

I personally don’t see much movement in the church today. I see people going in and out of the buildings but outside of the church, the movement stops. Few are telling others about Christ and the discipling of young saints has all but stopped. If there are any young saints. When Paul began his journey, Barnabas took him under his wing and introduced him to the church and defended him. Barnabas helped to fuel the fire that he had witnessed burning inside of Paul. That is a missing piece in the church, there’s no fuel in the tank. How are we ever going to see a movement if people are not getting fired up?!

He Joined the Multitude

31 Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.

Because of the work of the church, the church had rest. That seems kind of oxymoron-ish doesn’t it. To work for rest? We wonder why this world is so crazy and full of strife? It’s because the church (as a whole) has all but stopped working. Our work is to show people where to find rest, and that rest comes in Jesus Christ. Once the churches of Judaea, Galilee and Samaria heard the preaching of Paul and the others, they obviously didn’t just rest in the pew waiting for next Sunday, it says they began walking and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost were multiplied.

The churches are drying up across America. It seems that at every bend in the road there sits an empty church house with overgrown grass and broken windows and it breaks my heart. The church is no longer a saving station but rather a rest stop. The church has lost touch with its purpose.

So what’s the answer? Give up on the church? Heaven’s NO! The answer is to follow Paul’s example. If you’re not part of a body of believers, you need to be. Once you’re there you need to serve, not sit. And never lose sight of the Mission… Muliply.

We are without excuse

#WithoutExcuse

We’re without excuse. I look about me this morning and I’m grateful for the “raisin’ up” I had in the hills of West Virginia. This is where God placed me and by His grace I was placed in the hands of two wonderful Holy Spirit filled parents. But were I not, I’d still be without excuse. And though I was, that still did not guarantee me to become who I am; a child of God. We all get to grace the same way, by accepting what Christ did; not by being born into a certain family. The world is so full of excuses. This morning I’ve had my eyeballs full…

  • The World says: “So and so made me who I am.”
    • No, “so and so” may have hurt you, but you decided who you are.”
  • The world says: “All religions lead to Heaven.”
    • No religion is just the practice of a learned behavior, Heaven comes from a relationship with Christ. Side note: If you have a relationship with someone, you’re pretty close.
  • The world says: “We control our destiny.”
    • Only so far as God allows. So technically you don’t.
  • The world says: “There is no God.”
    • Those who say that are without excuse because we’ve been raised better.

Gene and Violet Hardway raised me, but God raised me up.

Amos 2:11-13 says

And I raised up of your sons for prophets, and of your young men for Nazarites. Is it not even thus, O ye children of Israel? saith the Lord. But ye gave the Nazarites wine to drink; and commanded the prophets, saying, Prophesy not. Behold, I am pressed under you, as a cart is pressed that is full of sheaves.

It is God who put me in a higher place that I may have the privilege of sharing the gospel. Not because I am great, but because I am His. A privilege afforded anyone who accepts the holiness, sacrifice and will of God. He has a purpose for you just as He had a purpose for Israel, and still does. But they rejected Him. Here God tells them I raised up your sons for prophets. God selected and set into place men of God to shine the light to Israel but they chose to ignore it; continually falling back into the ways of the world until disaster struck and then they’d call on God.  But there came a day when God had been rejected one too many times. (His eyeballs eventually got full too I guess.)

Is America there? God raised up prophets and of those He set aside the Nazarite men, many in the prime of their life vowed themselves to the service of God to the extreme, and today we have as those as well. Sure, there are those in the ministry who do not walk the walk they profess, but there are those who do. They’re not perfect, no man is, but they live what they preach. America is without excuse. I speak collectively. I’m an American, but my country is not here, my homeland awaits on the other side of Jordan.

I understand Amos’ frustration at Israel. That’s how I feel about the arrogant lot of people in my face every day. Those who justify their immoral behavior because of how they were raised or treated. I am truthfully sorry for your heartache… but you’re without excuse. Someone else may have hurt you, but Christ, the Creator of all the earth,  loved you enough to die for you and longs to be in a relationship with you through the Holy Spirit and you have hurt and turned your back on Him. He who is your perfect friend and Father. You are without excuse.

The trash talkers of the waves tell the world that all religions are right. Tell me any other than Christianity who’s God died for them.  None. Tell me any other religion that has the moral standards that every human being in their soul knows is right. None but Christianity. Tell me any other that puts themselves in the role of a servant to a heathen nation that rejects them so they might be saved. None but Christian. … Yes… I’m with Amos!

Our destiny is written in the scripture of old. It’s done. Or in Christ’s words, “It is finished.” The only thing we control is self-will; God has the power at any time to stop the world from spinning and throw us into space. Dwell on that thought for a second. God has put the evidence of Himself through His creation before us and He sent messengers to tell the world of His desire to be our Father. I am one.

Amos prophesied that when judgement came, and it would, it would feel like a cart bogged down with weight to the point it couldn’t move. How many in America feel like that today? I love America… but I do not love what she has become. I love her people… but I’m not fool enough to think that God won’t wipe that arrogance off of their faces through judgement so harsh I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.   Saved and unsaved we are without excuse.

There’s no excuse for rejecting Christ.

There’s no excuse for not telling someone about Him.