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.

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Are we irrelevant?

I was thinking about relevancy last night and the question popped in my head “is the church irrelevant?” I think the answer is yes, I mean no, I mean maybe, I suppose it could be.

The message of the gospel is in no way irrelevant. A lot of people are still in their sin and still need a Saviour. God still loves them and has a way for them. Christ still came to seek and save the lost so yes the gospel is still very relevant. But the question is not “Is the Gospel Irrelevant?” the question is “are we irrelevant?” Yes the first sentence said the church and now I say we but they are the same thing after all you and I are the church.

Let me break it down this way. If I were to go into a foreign land to be a missionary and brought all my western ideals, clothes, food, and music then I would be irrelevant to that culture. Relevant is defined as “closely connected or appropriate to the matter at hand.” So if I do not take the time to learn about those I am going to minister to then I am irrelevant pretty simple huh.

The same goes with those around us. If we do not take the time to learn about them, their likes and dislikes, their wants and needs, the sports teams they like, the movies they enjoy or anything else then I am irrelevant to them. I have nothing in common with them as far as they are concerned and I am not connected to the matter at hand.

Don’t get me wrong we should not be part of the world but nonetheless it is those in the world we are to minister to. When Jesus came to minister He became a man. He got hungry, tired, maybe even had a pimple (I am not being funny for humor sake) but He actually experienced life like you and I have but never sinned.

Paul says that he has become all things to all men so that some might be saved. That does not mean he took part in their sin but there is so much more to life than sin. There is music, and movies, and food, and mountain climbing, and rooting for the Cowboys. There are things that we can find commonality on. Paul used their own poets to prove points.

Jesus says in John 17:18 that we are being sent into the world. Once we we accept Christ we belong to a new world (the kingdom of God) and then Jesus sends us back into the world we came from to be His ambassadors. Read Romans 12:2 and John 17 to get the full picture.

So to answer the question of are we irrelevant I would have to say I don’t know are you?

Just a thought,

Mike

A Little Twisted (Caramel Onions)

So it is a little twisted but I have a great game to play with a group of people (I am sure the youth are willing). I call it bad apple trivia.

The rules are simple 6 Caramel Apples & 6 Caramel Onions. You get 5 questions and for everyone you get right an onion is removed. For everyone you get wrong an apple is removed. Once the 5 questions are completed the remaining Caramel “items” are placed on a spinning tray and spun and you choose. The game has begun and is over when you eat.

Twisted yes, however immensely enjoyable for those watching.

Why do I bring up this twisted little game? Simple because everyday in life we are presented with options and choices. It also does not matter how many times you get the answer right there is always the possibility of there being a negative outcome. We can make every right decision and and ever correct choice but it still happens. You didn’t earn it, you don’t deserve it but it happened.

We live in a fallen world and because of that sometimes you get handed a bad apple (or a good onion). That does not mean God has forgotten you, or He is punishing you. It just means it happened. We have to move forward we have to look to God and remember that He is our rock and strong tower. We can and should pray for things to be different but if it does not happen we have to move forward into what God has for us.

Six years ago this week was the last time I saw my grandfather and it still stings a little that I was not around more, but I have to remember to look to the memories we had not the nasty onion taste in my mouth about the absence.

I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth. – Job 19:25

Just a thought,

Mike

I am patient, and other lies.

I am a byproduct of the microwave, drive through, TV dinner generation.  We are not generally defined as patient, and while I am not sure that is true it is a stereotype for a reason.  The interesting thing is my wife and I are not both members of this generation because this generation is not characterized (like most) by age but rearing.

Growing up my family used drive thrus, microwaves, and TV dinners often while my wife was raised making most things from scratch.  Add in the fact that my personality is one of go go go on top of it and I expect things done quickly and correctly.  Alas God and I are often on very different time tables.

A couple of weeks ago I spoke about God being Omnipresent (check it out) and this applies at all times not just when when I want to talk about theology and Him orchestrating the coming of His Son.  Even on a Wednesday afternoon God is Omnipresent.  The general idea is that He is always current and present.  But what does that have to do with me being impatient?  Good question.

There are 16 references to waiting on the Lord in the Psalms and most of them very similar almost like the Psalmist used cut and paste just saying “I wait on the Lord.”  My least favorite is Psalm 62:1 “Truly my soul silently waits for God.”  Uck I mean maybe I could wait but silently come on.

The fact remains that even when it is quite God can and is still working.  I need to learn to take some time to rest in Him and not try (like I could) to rush His process even when I am waiting on Him for things for Him (more on that in a minute).  I have to be able to wait on God when I do not know what to do and when I do know.  Both cases require waiting just in different ways.

When I do not know what to do I have to wait for direction and that is hard.  It is hard to just sit and be still.  To just wait on Him to speak, to just spend time with Him even if He does not say something.  Harder still is waiting when I know what to do and it is for Him (or by Him).

My wife and I are currently trying to take a chance believing that it is a leading from God.  We are as sure as we can be that He is saying to do this thing so we are trying.  The problem is I have microwave patience and God (as well as others) do not.  So instead of making a mistake and getting into trouble I need to wait on Him to act.  That is hard and I do not like being there, but it is the right place to be.

Closing thought – Psalm 40:1&3 “I waited patiently for the LORD; and He inclined me, and heard my cry…He has put a new song in my mouth. Praise to our God; Many will see it and fear and I will trust in the LORD.

This new thing we are trying is so scary that I know there will be pushback from people because it will disrupt their comfort zones.  I need to remember to be patient with them, and trust in Him.

Just a thought,

Mike

That Blows my mind

So I have never technically been late to pick my daughter up from the bus but there have been times when it was pretty close.  I mean look down and go OH CRAP!  I have been late for work once or twice but not often.  I usually miss the right time to say something nice to someone.  I also have a slight tendency to dominate a conversation.  That last one has nothing to do with this article but I thought it best to admit that.

I have these issues and others because I am a little self centered, and a whole lot human.  God however does not have these issues.  He has this amazing ability to be right on time and right on track all the time.  I want to drop three basic theology words on you.

  • Omnipresent
  • Omniscient
  • Omnipotent

Let’s break these words down.  Omni means all.  Present means relating to now or current.  Scient refers to knowing (think science), or aware.  Potent means strength or effective.  When you add it all you get the following statements about God.

  • God is Always Present (or Always Current and that will preach).
  • God is All Knowing (or Always Aware and that will preach).
  • God is All Powerful (or All Effective and that will preach).

I am reading through the Gospel of Matthew right now and I noticed in the first chapter there are 4 fulfilled prophecies regarding the Christ.  It’s like watching a movie huge explosion or when it starts with the main character dying.  You’re like WOW where can it go from here.  That is chapter one in Matthew.  I mean there are like 300-400 prophecies pertaining to Jesus and you get 4 in chapter one of Matthew.  Then there are another 4 in chapter two.  It’s like woe hold on let me get back in my seat first please.

God can do that because He knows everything, is everywhere, and can do everything.  Try and think about not having time.  Go ahead I’ll wait.  Ok done?  I bet you couldn’t.  I know I can’t.  We were created in time so we have that limit.  Try and remember what it was like to be born.  Go ahead I’ll wait again.  Done?  Did you?  No you couldn’t because you have a limited memory and limited knowledge.  Try and pick up the house.  You can’t do that either.

Now I want you to try and think about this.  God exists outside of time.  To Him there is no yesterday or tomorrow, but instead everything is current.  He sees your birth and death at the same time.  I mean it boggles the mind to try and comprehend but He our yesterday and tomorrow are His now.  WOW!  That blows my mind.  What blows my mind even more is God sees me failing and falling short 10 years from now.  He sees it as if it is happening right now, and yet He loves me the same anyway.  That is just amazing.

Now think about this; If the same God who sees everything, and was able to prove the coming of Christ ahead of time can then make it happen can’t He also take care of you.  One of the most amazing things I read in Scripture is when Jesus talks about the sparrows and hairs on your head in Matthew chapter 10.

Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will.  But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.

What Jesus is saying here is actually very profound.  He is saying that the all knowing, all seeing, all powerful God knows you personally so don’t worry.  Again I say WOW!  How can I possibly worry about tomorrow when I know that God says it is in His hands.  My fear is just that I will lose the false sense of control and power I think I have.  I think that tomorrow is in my hands but it is not.  I have no more control over tomorrow then I do control over yesterday.  I mean sure there are things I can and need to do but ultimately it is not in my hands.

We have a saying in my family when life gets all jacked up; Who’s hands?  It is about trusting that God is in control and when He is in control we can relax.  Our job is just to walk out His will.

Right now I am struggling with direction (par for the course).  There is something I want to do but see no way to do it.  I am torn as to if it is my will or His.  If it is His I should and will trust that He knows what He is doing.  If it is me then well lets not go there.  So what do I do?  I trust that the one who knows everything, is everywhere, and can do all things loves me and knows my name.  I trust that if I ask Him then He will tell me when the time is right.

Just a thought,

Mike

Thy word is a head light unto my tires, and a light unto the road

When you were a kid did your parents ever tell you to go tell someone something?  I have four younger brothers so I was always telling them what mom said.  But I was smart enough to only go as far as what mom said.  I do not think it ever occurred to me to go beyond that and add a little extra (I easily could have though).  I could have added a little something for myself like “mom said clean your room and make Mike a sandwich.” or even just a little more for emphasis like “mom said clean your room or you are grounded.”  That sounds like something my mom would say but I knew that if mom said tell your brother to clean his room then I needed to only tell him to clean his room.

It is the same thing with God.  Sometimes God tells us something very specific and we are only to go as far as what He says, and not a little extra for ourselves or for emphasis.  Sometimes the word is an actual word like “tell Tom I love him” or “tell Gina she is precious to me.” But sometimes (and more often than not) it is a directional word like give the church $10,000 and say nothing of it, or drop off groceries to the neighbor, but it could be a million different things.  Whatever it may be we are to do it faithfully and only to the extent of the direction given.

There is a story in Mark chapter 11 that helps us with this.  It is known as the Triumphal Entry and before Jesus enters He tells two of His disciples to go into town and get a young colt and tells them that if anyone asks just say “The Lord has need of it,’ and immediately he will send it here.”  They had direction and words.  What I find interesting and great is that they followed the direction and spoke the words with no more or no less than what was given.  They could have thought that they needed to add a little more to it, maybe a little payment or something to grease the wheels.  But they did not do that.  No instead they did as Jesus said to do.

It echos another story John 2 where Jesus’s mother tells the servants to “do whatever He tells you.”  Again there is this theme building where Jesus gives commands or direction and we are to follow it to the letter.  There is a lot that can and has been said about that right there but I want to just focus on only going as far as the direction.  If God says take 2 steps then take two normal standard steps.  Do not take small or large steps but just take two standard steps.  We can easily want to and think we need to do a little more or add a little something to it when God speaks but His words are true and accurate.  Some of the biggest trouble I have ever gotten myself in is because I have done a little more or a little less than I was directed to.

Psalms 119:105 is a great verses to memorize.  I have it memorized in the King James for some odd reason “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”  No we do not walk around with lamps or even flashlights often but most of us drive so we could think of it like this “Thy word is a head light unto my tires, and a light unto the road.”

When you drive your car you only drive as far as the headlights will let you.  Yes they are always present before but you cannot out drive them.  If they stop working you stop driving because you cannot see.  You also drive a little slower in unfamiliar territory because you have to only rely on your lights.  You have not been there so you cannot go too fast.  You need the lights to illuminate the road you do not know.  Even on roads you do know you need the headlights to make sure you are staying in your lane.

That is the Word of God and a word from God.  You should only go as far as directed.  Not faster than needed and not slower than needed just two standard steps.  This is also why daily Bible reading, prayer, and worship is not only healthy but necessary.  It is light shining on our path that we walk every day.

My wife and I are working with a church plant right now and there are so many paths and directions we can take.  So many ideas and thoughts but the ones that are important are the ones God wants us to take.  We need to wait for a word from Him and then take that step just as He directs.  Not a little more and not a little less but just two standard steps.

Just a thought,

Mike

The who and how of discipleship.

Who can be a disciple of Jesus?

We have looked at what a disciple was and why we should be calling disciples.  We have seen that the call to disciple is not an option but a mandate, and looked at some examples of what happens when it is not done.  We have I hope scratched the surface of what it means to be a disciple.  We have discussed that we should be raising Gods children so that when they are old they will not depart.  I hope we covered that we should be teaching them to eat solid food and how to walk out their salvation.

Today I want to pick from where we left off with that discussion and see who can be a disciple and how to reach and disciple them.

The who is really an easy question but one I always enjoy answering.  I enjoy answering it because I think the Bible enjoys answering it.  Some verses to name a few Joel 2:32, Acts 2:21, Romans 10:13, Romans 11:17, John 1:12, John 10:16, and others.  These verses all echo the statement from Jesus in Matthew 11:28:

“Come to me all you, who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest”

If you want to come to Jesus then you come.  If you want forgiveness then you come, if you want to trade your sorrow for His joy then you come, if you want healing then you come.  Come and not only receive Jesus come and be His disciple.

If we look back through Biblical history we see this constant reverberating message from God saying I am calling people who are not a people to be my people.  Look at the longsuffering of God with the Canaanites, the forgiveness He offered to the people of Nineveh.  Matthew starts his Gospel account with a genealogy and he is sure to include Tamar, Rahab, and Ruth all gentiles.  Bathsheba may have been a Hittite but at bare minimum she is known for what?  Cheating on her husband.  God says over and over again, I want you.

If we look at the disciples Jesus called we can see from the start of His ministry on earth that is calling all people unto Himself.  Here is Jesus’s starting lineup.

Peter, fisherman, Andrew fisherman, James the Elder, fisherman, John fisherman, Philip fisherman, Bartholomew (Nathanael) probably had some money and did not work, James the Lesser or Youner, Jude, Thaddeus, or Lebbeus, also known as Jude the troublemaker, Matthew (Levi), he was a publican or tax collector, Simon, the Zealot another troublemaker, Thomas Didymus aka the doubter, Judas Iscariot, the traitor.

Jesus choosing His team chose 5 fisherman, a socs, two troublemakers, a tax collector, a nobody, a doubter, and a traitor.  I think it is safe for us to assume He will take anyone.  On the cross He tells one of the two men that will be with Him in paradise.  So I say again If you want to come to Jesus then you come.


It is not always easy to call disciples.

A mother went to wake her son for church one Sunday morning. When she knocked on his door, he said, “I’m not going!” “Why not?” asked his mother. “I’ll give you two good reasons,” he said. “One, they don’t like me. Two, I don’t like them.” His mother replied, “I’ll give you two good reasons why YOU WILL go to church. One, you’re 47 years old. Two, you’re the pastor!”

There are many different ways to go about fulfilling the Great Commision.  There are different tactics (schools, feeding the poor, clothing, etc) we can take, differing opinions on the best way to fulfil it.  Groups like Samaritan’s Purse, Gospel for Asia, Compassion International, and New Tribes just to name a few all these groups have different focuses and different methods but they all share a similar trait namely seeking, saving, and maturing Christians.

Because it is hard I sometimes wish it was called the minor commission, or the the little job, or even perhaps the if you get around to it commission, but instead God chose to place a major emphasis on us reaching and maturing people.

I often looked at the calling of the disciples as a single event almost like gym class.  Jesus lined up everyone against a wall and said you, you, and you.  However once again the Bible corrects my thinking and I see something different.  When I look at the Biblical narrative I see something unexpected.  I see something challenging.

I see five different types of disciples.  Now at different times in peoples lives they can move from one stage or another and some actually cross over into different groups, but by and large you have five. With there being different groups different tactics need to be used to reach and teach them.

The first is a group I have called the Saved Seekers.  John 1:35-39

I place John and Andrew in this category. These are typically your Christians who are saved and trying to grow.  They are serving, ministering, and always on the hunt to do and learn more.  They typically do not need a lot of guidance, but instead they need opportunity to use their gifts.  They need someone to point them in the right direction someone to hold them accountable, someone to minister to them when they reach out for it, but for the most part they are ready to go batteries included born again men and women of God.  These are those who seek out ways to grow.  They are by far the easiest group of people and often the smallest and rarest to find.  If you do happen to find one it is actually more likely they found you.

The next group I have dubbed Multistage Mullers

Peter is in this group all by his lonesome.  Peter is usually in his own group if you notice.  There is a lot that can be said about Peter, but for this lets just focus on what it took for Peter to become a disciple of Jesus.  If you think Peter was just called and responded correctly then you have not paid attention to Peter’s life.  Peter denied Christ, was rebuked by Jesus, fell asleep in the garden, and got scared and sank.  Peter was not a model of active obedience at first.  To see what it took to call Peter you need to look at John 1:40-42, Matthew 4:18-22 (Mark 1:16-20), and then Luke 5:1-11.  If we read them we see that there was time in between these different events.  Some people take time.  For some you need to really get in there and work them like old clay.  For some reason life has made them a little harder, a little rougher, a little more off. You need to add some water here and there and mix gently.  You need to be easy and rough.  You really have to work at with these people.

It starts in John 1:40-42 where Jesus just introduces Himself.  The next event is Matthew 4:18-22/Mark 1:16-20 where Jesus tells Peter, Andrew, James, and John to follow Him and He will make them fishers of men.  Then we have Luke 5:1-11 which occurs after Jesus heals Peter’s mother-in-law, and after Jesus teaches the fisherman to fish and Peter says to Jesus “Depart from me for I am a sinful man O Lord.”  Peter finally got it.  It was a good day.

Sometimes it takes time.  Some people need a lot of coaching and encouragement.  You need to be diligent with these people.  They are not just jump in people, they are watch and see what happens people.  They are not the entrepreneurial type.  No they want to make sure it is the real deal before signing on.  You need to be honest with them, they do not work well with flakey.  But if you look at Peters life after the resurrection there was no doubt he was in.  Peter died upside down on a cross.  That is commitment and an understanding of what it means to follow Christ.

The next group I want to look at is the Willing Waiters.

This is the group I place Philip and Nathanael in. Specifically Philip but Nathanael is always there if Philip is.  I think about the kid in the Incredibles who is always hanging out just waiting for something amazing.  When it happens he is all excited and says “that was totally wicked.”  Now I spend most of my time growing up in New England and I can tell you that few things are totally wicked.  Jesus however is.  Philip hanging out somewhere then Jesus comes along and says follow me, he does, and then tells his friend Nathanael about Jesus.  Willing Waiters are no less devoted, no less connected, no less involved they just don’t jump at everything.  They are careful about where they invest themselves.  But when they’re in they are in.  The most popular account has Philip being crucified upside down and still preaching.  Make no mistake these folks are in to win it.  We must realize that there are countless people sitting around waiting to follow the right thing, and there are countless “groups” and “causes” trying to get these people on board.  We should be looking for these people because they are waiting for us.

The fourth group is called the Desperate Destitutes.

Matthew is quickly becoming one of my favorites.  To call Matthew Jesus looked him in the eyes and said “Follow Me” as told Luke 5:27. Matthew did not need much convincing because he had no preconceived notion of self righteousness.  Matthew knew how bad he was, and he was ripe for the picking.  Matthew to me represents all the hurting people.  All those that feel they need to get cleaned up to get right with God.  Those who are very aware of their faults and failures.  I was a Matthew.  I knew how bad I was.  Not proud of it but not unaware either.  Matthew just needed an invitation.  Some people just need an invitation.  Then when they get it they are sold.  They are dedicated.  Think about Luke 7:47:

Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.

The thing about Matthews is they need to know they are accepted.  They just need to know they are wanted.  They need to be told and understand that they are part of the whomsoever that Jesus died for.  They need to know that they can come to the cross just as they are.  They then can become some of the most dedicated disciples you have ever seen. They will quickly become Saved Seekers.

I think it important to look at Luke 18:9-14.  Remember that Matthew was a tax collector and tax collectors were hated by everyone.  No one liked them.  I think but cannot prove that Jesus told this parable for Matthew.  To encourage him. Because the Desperate Destitute need a lot of encouraging in the beginning.  You know what else I notice?  That Matthew the author of a Gospel account does give us a retelling of this parable.  That tells me he got it.  I would imagine that when Jesus told this He looked right at Matthew and Matthew knew he was ok now.

Lastly I want to look at Apollos or the Faulty Fervent.

These people are a lot like Apollos in Acts 18:24-28 who understand portions of the Scriptures and are very passionate but miss certain aspects of the truth.  These people are on fire for God and ready to run.  The Bible literally uses the word hot (zeo) which is used to describe boiling water.  These people love Jesus with all their heart and will drop the Gospel wherever they are but often times they are missing some important things.  They need some Godly people like Aquila, and Priscilla to explain the way of God more accurately to them.  You have to be very careful with these people to not put their fire out but to have it burning the right fuel.  An important thing to note about some of these people is the thing they are usually missing is a little word called tact.  Now I am not trying to say Apollos was missing that but that is something that is usually missing from these fine folks.  They lack the ability to use tact and rightly divide the Word.

Some think that it might actually have been Apollos who wrote the book of Hebrews.  Now whether or not that is true does not mean as much as the fact that he is thought of as the one who wrote it.  He went from needing to be taught to being one who is assumed wrote an extremely important book.  That should tell you what you need to know about these people.

We can see then that there are many types of people who can be discipled and that they can cross groups but the important thing is that we disciple them.  That we spend time with them teaching them more accurately the things of God.  We do this by spending time with them and inviting them into our lives.

We need to keep something in focus here.  We need to remember that the purpose of this thing called Discipleship has only one purpose.  It is not to grow a church, or to lay some shallow claim that we have built something special.  No the purpose of this thing called discipleship is to see lives changed.  It is to see hearts, lives, and minds changed by the power of Jesus.  If that is not the point, if Jesus is not the point then all we are left with is building filled with empty vessels.  We have to remember why we are doing it because it can be a thankless job.  The cost to call them is high and the cost to be a disciple is high.

In the middle of the 19th century a Welsh missionary was working in India where he came across a village and was able by the grace of God to bring one of these men to Christ.  That however is where the story turns.  The villager was brought before the chief and told to renounce his new found faith.  His response was was “I have decided to follow Jesus.”  They pushed him further and threatened his family his response was “Though no one joins me still I will follow.”  His wife was killed and as they executed him he sang “the cross before me the world behind me.”  It is said that his faith led to the conversion of the chief and other villagers.

I close with this thought.  He was only a disciple for a short time but changed the village and countless others because of his testimony.  What can we do with no such threat hanging over our heads and the freedom to preach His name?

Just a thought,

Mike