Listening

Do you ever just stop when reading your Bible? You’re reading and moving along and then all of a sudden your read something and it makes you slam on the brakes? I love it when that happens because it reminds me that the Bible, this amazing book is more than just a book of stories. It is more than just a record of what happened. It does more than just communicate the past because it is alive.

Hebrews 4:12 says that the Word of God is alive and active. In the NLT it says “it exposes our innermost thoughts and desires” which is pretty amazing when you think about it. The words in this book can in an instant expose our innermost thoughts, desires, and fears.

This morning I was finishing up the book of John for the hundredth time and I read John 20:16 where Mary is looking for the body of Jesus. Mary is confused and crying, not know where His body was. Jesus was there with her but in her pain and confusion, she could not see Him. That changed when He called her name. Just her name from His mouth made her see.

How many times in my own life do I miss Christ and think that I cannot find Him because of my circumstances? How many times do I miss the Lord? Yet the whole time He is right there. Something changes when He calls our name. When He speaks our name, we can see anew and come alive. Jesus called Mary’s name and she could see Him and was comforted. Jesus called Lazarus’ name and he came out of the grave. Jesus called my name this morning and my worry ceased. Something happens when Jesus calls your name, we just need to be listening. Are you listening?

Just a thought.

Mike

Advertisements

France Missions

John 3:16

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son so that whoever would believe in Him would not die but have everlasting life.

There is a constant theme that runs throughout the Bible that God has been and is calling people to Himself. He desires a relationship with creation. That is His desire and His will. That is the reason behind the sending of Christ to live, die, and rise again.

I want to show you the reason that France needs churches. So, we are going to compare Houston and Paris because they have the same population.

In Houston, there is 1 church for every 1,000 people. These are people who have the opportunity to gather together to rejoice, find love and hope, they can come and hear the words of life, they can come and sing songs of praise to their creator. They can serve the community. They have the opportunity to find the truth and be Gods called people. This is beautiful and wonderful. This is powerful and we should celebrate that this is a possibility.

In France, there is 1 evangelical church per 30,000 people in France. This 1 lone church for 30,000 people is overwhelmed. These are people who do not have the opportunity to gather together to rejoice, find love and hope, they cannot come and hear the words of life, they cannot come and sing songs of praise to their creator. How can we expect this 1 church to reach 30,000 people? It does not have the resources, the people, the funds, the time, the energy to do this. On top of that to do it on hard soil.

France is often called the missionary graveyard because of how hard it is. In France, most people have no idea about the Christian faith. They have never heard basic Bible stories and in times of trouble, hardship, fear, and doubt they have nowhere to turn. In France, it is a battle for the hearts and souls of people. This, of course, does not even touch the problem they face with Arab refugees. Men and women who have had to leave their homes because of wars and political uncertainty. People who have lost everything and fled to France for safety. Thousands who left everything and now live homeless in a new land where they cannot speak the language and have little to no access to help. In some areas, there are children as young as 10 wandering around in groups who have no parents no structure no hope. That 1 church cannot help. There is just too much to do. Their world is just too hard. Just as we should celebrate the situation in Houston, we should mourn the situation in France.

Missions can and should be a lot of things. It can be digging wells, creating education programs, job training, teaching English or French or whatever. It can be medical and psychological help. We know that because we can look at Jesus and see that He did many of these types of things. Jesus was amazing at medical missions. It can be all these things, but it must also first be Jesus. It must first be for God so loved the world that He gave His only Son. If missions is anything it is first a message of reconciliation to God.

Julie and I more or less grew up in New England under the shadow of post-Christian and secular ideals. We were like those who did not care for the things of God but because of what God brought us through we are called to go and serve those who not only know nothing of the great and mighty Savior but also those who are alone and left to fend for themselves. We are called to go and minister to the lost, the hurting, and the left the behind. My question is seeing this need can you call yourself called along with us. If you are, then click here and partner with us as bring Christ to France.

Just a thought,

Mike

But wait there’s more

Have you ever heard the saying your attitude determines your altitude? It’s an OK saying, and when things are going ok and sometimes when it is a matter of focus it is helpful. In truth, our attitude does determine a lot of things and when we have the wrong attitude or cannot get our focus right, we generally keep sinking. I think having the right attitude is very important but sometimes life is too heavy for just the right attitude. Sometimes the weight and heaviness of life are crushing, and we cannot think ourselves into a better situation. Thankfully we don’t have to.

In Ephesians 1:20-21 Paul talks about Jesus and says that God raised Christ from the dead and now Christ is seated in heaven above every power, ruler, and authority that was, is, and will be. Jesus is above everything. There is nothing that is higher than our risen Messiah. No political party, no recession, no fear, no doubt, nothing is higher than Christ. He is supremely above everything. Bad things still happen on earth. Loved ones still die. Wars still occur. The church still fails at times. But in all of it, Christ is still above all these things. No matter what is happening here on earth Jesus is above everything.

That is awesome and so helpful to remember. To know that in our situations, when things are so bad we can hardly stand, we still have a Lord who is above everything. To remember that the love that has been poured out on us was poured by the one who is above and sustains all things can give us peace in the midst of the storms. It can remind us to look to Christ and not our own ability. It can give us the courage to keep pressing on. I would say there is nothing better than that, except Paul says there is something better.

Paul tells us this and it is supposed to give us peace. It is supposed to get us excited about how great Jesus is. It is supposed to elicit a specific response of amazement because then Ephesians 2:4-6 says that we are now with Him! That’s right we start with this feeling of awe and sense of the greatness of Christ being above all things and then Paul hits us with the fact that our place is in Him in heaven. Now obviously we are still here on earth but our position, where we belong, is in Christ above it all.

I remember when I quit a bad job one time. I thoroughly disliked that job. Most of my days were spent very annoyed and aggravated with the company, co-workers, and the tasks themselves. I was given an opportunity to take a new job, so I did. I remember when I gave my notice it was the best feeling. For the next two weeks, I still worked that bad job, with the bad co-workers, and the dysfunctional management but it did not bother me as much because I knew my proper position. I was still there but I had a different place I belong to. I understood that the time I had was short and then I would be where I really belonged.

In the same way, but much more, we belong in Christ and that is where we are headed. Our placement is set. We have been sealed with the Holy Spirit. The notice has been given and now we go about whatever it is we are doing with an understanding that eventually we will be where we belong. Stuff still happens. Life still gets hard. Things still break. Shoulders are still sore but praise God Hallelujah this is not our final stop. Wow, am I glad.