Go Where You Are Needed

From Crawford Loritts https://www.moodyradio.org/programs/living-a-legacy/2017/04-2017/2017.04.09-go-where-you-are-needed-part-2/

April 2017 – Go Where You Are Needed, (2 Parts)

 

After a while Christians have a tendency to hang around Christians.

 

7 barriers that make it hard for Christians to go to/reach out to/be with unbelievers

 

  1. (over time) We Get out of touch with our own neediness.
  2. Fear
  3. Be aware of self-righteousness (becoming a Pharisee – back door Pharisee)
  4. View Christianity as our mission. (Christendom does not equal the Gospel)
  5. We overemphasize the differences that we have.
  6. We are not intentional. (we drift toward a Christian culture)
  7. Diminished relational skills

 

A Pharisee is one who forgets that he needs to grace of God

 

Do:

  1. Look for prepared hearts.
  2. Frequent the dark places.
  3. Make loving and engaging the lost a priority.
  4. Don’t forget how to enjoy yourself when hanging out with non-Christians.

 

(expect criticism)

 

4 aspects of Mercy

Generosity

Forgiveness

Compassion

Extension of healing and help

A Catholic, Baptist, and a Methodist Go to Heaven

A Catholic, Baptist, and a Methodist Die and Go to Heaven

They go before St. Peter at the Pearly Gates.

All three are believers (and strong Christians) so St. Peter is going to let them in.

However, their mansions are not quite ready yet and St. Peter doesn’t have any place to put them.

With no other options, he call Satan and asks if he can send the Catholic, Baptist, and a Methodist down to him temporarily.

Satan agrees and the three go down to hell.

Everything seems to be going fine, but a couple days later,  St. Peter and says, hey, you gotta take these three back.

St. Peter asks, “What’s the problem?”

Satan says that the Catholic is forgiving everyone, the Baptist is saving everyone, and the Methodist has almost raised enough money to install air conditioning.

In divisive times, who will lead? Who will Heal?

Very nice piece by @MJGerson 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/in-our-moment-of-division-who-will-lead/2016/07/11/1a8232fa-4798-11e6-acbc-4d4870a079da_story.html

Gerson gives a good analysis of the current (decisive) political situation. 

He sees a need (as do I) for politicians who do not “immediately fall into partisan ruts, or post Facebook banalities.” 

Another good quote is:

In fact, there are people on the left and right who benefit from encouraging just enough division, just enough fear, to motivate their supporters, without tipping them over into violence. They are playing with fire in a parched and withered land.

Near the end of the piece, looking for potential solutions, Gerson points out that an important foundation of the civil rights movements of the 60’s was the church (MLK was a pastor – and scholar I might add). 

[My comment: the slogans of ‘Make America great again’ and ‘Stronger together’ are nice platitudes, but we are not going to have one America again (like, for example, WW II when every 5th grader saved the foil from a Juicy Fruit wrapper for the war effort).]

There is hope (for leadership and healing) in medium-sized* institutions, such as the church. (*’medium-sized’ is my word).

Quote:

Even if we cannot, as individuals, hope to change systemic racism, most of us have the ability to defy our times and reach out across lines of race and religion. And religious people have a particular calling in this area. 

While Hillary or Trump probably will not be able to do much for our divided country or the disadvantaged of Detroit, MI or Macomb, IL, for me and my house I believe that churches, such at Wesley UMC and Walnut Creek, can make a positive difference in this parched and withering land.

Pilgrim’s Progress Quote

Pilgrim’s Progress Quotes

Christian now went to the spring, and drank thereof, to refresh himself [Isa. 49:10], and then began to go up the hill, saying–

“The hill, though high, I covet to ascend,
The difficulty will not me offend;
For I perceive the way to life lies here.
Come, pluck up heart, let’s neither faint nor fear;
Better, though difficult, the right way to go,
Than wrong, though easy, where the end is woe.”

Christ Jesus, taking the very nature of a servant, humbled himself by becoming obedient to death. Therefore…

Imitating Christ’s Humility

from Philippians 2 (NIV)

5 …Christ Jesus…7taking the very nature of a servant,…8humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death…..9Therefore,….10every knee should bow….11Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.…[and].12Therefore,… 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

My Prayer: Lord, in your power, I pray that I will humble myself and be obedient to will and to act in order to fulfill your purposes. Amen

Dare to be Great

Pastor Howard White’s January (2016) sermon series is title Dare to be Great.

The Dare to be Great Challenge is:

A Great Commitment to the Great Commandments and the Great Commission done with Great Compassion will grow a Great Church (and a great Christian).

The 5 sermons in the series are

  • Dare to Follow
    • Matt 22: 37 He said to him, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. 38 This is the greatest and most important command. 39 The second is like it:Love your neighbor as yourself. 40 All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.”
      • Heart is the center. God is at the center and the thing at the center is the thing we worship. Rom 12:1-2 offering. Jonathan Edwards wrote down 70 resolutions and read them each week.
      • Soul – obedience
      • Mind – focus on God’s will
  • Dare to Care
  • Dare to Serve
  • Dare to Grow
  • Dare to Go

Prudence, balance, thought, and Christianity

http://thefederalist.com/2015/11/19/3-tips-for-a-more-civil-conversation-about-syrian-refugees/
Mollie Hemingway offers 3 suggestions regarding the Syrian refugee issue.  The piece ends up looking at Christian beliefs – for good reason. She makes many good points, all of which I will not try to summarize here.

One take-away (near the end of the article) is that the answer to the question “What should we do?” has two answers. The answer of what the government should do is different from what people and churches should so. The mission trips, mission activities, and UMCOR relief efforts are key, and don’t need to pass Congress.

“I am a human being, not a human doing.”

How To Get Better Perspective (In Just 90 Seconds)

“We consume; we don’t experience. We settle; we don’t savour. All of this means that we “do” productive.

We should “be” productive.”

In order to make this happen, you need to be aware and have focus. (What’s even more interesting is that you need to be aware to have full focus and you need to have focus in order to be fully aware.)

I’d like to offer a 90 second exercise to help you get better perspective, become aware, and find a small measure of focus.

  1. After you’re done reading this piece, just stop and do nothing for 30 seconds. It may help to focus on your breath and close your eyes while doing so. But do this no longer than 30 seconds today.
  2. Once you’re done with the 30 seconds, grab a piece of paper and a pen/pencil and write down everything you think you need to do, ought to do, or want to do over the course of 30 seconds. You should time this. Stop once the 30 seconds is up.
  3. Take a final 30 seconds to choose one of those things to work on today. Commit to working on it so that you can honestly say you have made progress on it before day’s end.

That’s it. That’s all I want you to do. By doing this, you’re being aware. And by working on just one thing intentionally, you’re exercising focus.

“I am a human being, not a human doing.” – Kurt Vonnegut

How To Get Better Perspective (In Just 90 Seconds)

Christmas Presence: Giving What We Need and Want Most by Charles Moore

I came across a very nice Christmas story, titled, Christmas Presence: Giving What We Need and Want Most. It is written by Charles Moore.

Here is an Audio Recording of the story. (.m4a file) (On an iPad, you may need to download it.)

The text of the story can be found at:

http://www.plough.com/en/topics/culture/holidays/christmas-readings/christmas-presence

decorations Food-table Father-SonWalk

I know this is a message I need to remember.

Missions Is Worth the Mess

http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/missions-is-worth-the-mess

Quotes: 

Because we believe in the “already,” we can more readily and joyfully accept the messiness of the “not yet.”

—-

The Scriptures tell me that:

  • I have to lose my life in order to find it. (Matthew 16:25)
  • I have to count the cost of serving him. (Luke 14:25–33)
  • Success isn’t always what we think it is, and seed-sewing is just as important as watering and branch-pruning. (1 Corinthians 3:6–9)
  • Pain is temporary, and is nothing compared to glory. (2 Corinthians 4:17–18)
  • God’s word will not return to him void, but always does its work. (Isaiah 55:11)

——

I’m thankful to be a member of a healthy church that will remind my family and me of that truth. As Christians, the presence of the body is crucial during times like these.

We need to be hugged, cried with, preached to, and resourced to help us start over again. This is why Christianity is not a journey to be taken alone. 

—–
We need to be hugged, cried with, preached to, and resourced to help us start over again. This is why Christianity is not a journey to be taken alone. This is why Jesus saves us as part of his bride.
The more the church cares for my family, the deeper the grief we feel for the peoples of the Upper Amazon Basin who still don’t have one. But the more we look into God’s word, the more confidence we have that God’s mission will still be completed, even though we now know that that means that this particular initiative will be completed without us.

—–

The Already/Not Yet of Missions:

The “already” is there [here], and it’s glorious. The “not yet,” however, is typically much messier. 

—–

Because we believe in the “already,” we can more readily and joyfully accept the messiness of the “not yet.”