Living in Canaan

As a Pastor, I often wonder, how do Christians impact culture and society with the Gospel and faith. More than knowing the Word and understanding the truth, but relating the Gospel of Jesus and the Kingdom of God to the rest of the world.

As the Children of Israel left Egypt, they were heading toward the Promised Land, ancient Palestine, aka, Canaan. The land was filled with pagan people who worshiped false gods like Baal, the moon-god, and Asherah, his female counterpart, Moloch, and others. Their worship involved deviant sexual conduct, sacrifices of children, and many other atrocious practices.

Christians as people of the Book (the Bible), carefully trying to discern the times, it seems appropriate to consider that the church is living in a modern form of ancient Canaan.

The society we are a part of carries out the practices of the ancient pagan religions. It is a very self-centered (narcissistic) rather than god directed society, but the values and practices are not a whole lot different. Sexual deviation is obvious. Just watch anything media based and it’s almost impossible to escape some form of sexual expression. Sex is not about pleasing a god, but satisfying the self. Abortion is the modern child sacrifice, and the altar is women’s rights. Lying, tolerance, becoming rich, being a celebrity, being important, and more are the norms.

The church in a sense is living in Canaan.

Remember that Israel was told going into Canaan to eradicate the pagans living there. Run them off, destroy them and rid the land of pagan worship. Don’t let it be a temptation to you. Our dilemma is not that we are in the promised land, that is in the future when God brings the saved into heaven with him after the return of Christ; we have the God-given responsibility to live among the pagans. Their values and influence are powerful and many Christians have compromised their faith, mixing Christianity with the unholy and ungodly practices of the rest of the world.

How do we live in the world and not be a part of it. We can’t separate from them and live on an island and not be an influence to them. We can’t change the laws and force them to believe or at least act like Christians. We can however, present the Gospel of Jesus Christ to them, living by faith, guided by the Bible and the Holy Spirit, showing Christ’s love, fellow-shipping with other believers, and letting God protect our souls while we risk our lives to lead them to Christ.

Too many believers have forsaken the task, holing up in their church buildings and homes, protecting themselves from the influence of the world and making a small almost immeasurable impact for Christ.

The Bible is clear, we are on a mission, a spiritual mission, a war for the souls of people. They are not the enemy, as one preacher (whose name I’ve now forgotten) I heard a long time ago say, “they are captives of the enemy.” The enemy is the devil, Satan himself and he has captured the hearts and souls of the majority of people in the world. For the Christian, it is as if we have moved into Canaan without pushing out the pagans.

The way, is to hold to the truth and be aware of how people accept truth and gain understanding. That is the hard part. The truth is easy. God the Creator loves all people and wants so see them saved (John 3:16; 1 Timothy 2:3-6; 2 Peter 3:9), and sent Jesus (John 3:16-17) to save the world through faith in him. And as Peter said, “there is salvation in no other name given among men (Acts 4:12), we have the answer.

Learning how to relate the answer means we need to learn how the modern, spiritual Canaan may relate to and accept the answer. That’s the hard answer.

As we are told, preach the truth in season (when it is popular and acceptable) and out of season (when people don’t want to hear it and even try to stop the preaching of the Gospel).

Do I have the actual answer to every circumstance? No! But God’s Spirit and the teaching and leadership of others who know the truth and have listened to the Spirit can lead into being able to living in Canaan and be obedient to the mission God has called us to in Christ.

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Salvation for Everyone

There is less than a 10% chance that a person will ever accept Jesus Christ and be saved after they become an adult.  As people get older their outlook becomes more entrenched in the worldly, away from God, without Christ.  It is very important to reach people before they become a teenager, to reach them with the Biblical worldview so that they have the seed planted which can grow into belief and acceptance and salvation.  Churches and ministries have realized this and concentrated on young people and they should.  But what of those who have become adults that have not accepted Christ?  What of the younger generations of adults?  What about my generation, the Baby Boomers?  What about yours?  Have we admitted defeat when there is victory to be won?  Have we concentrated on the obvious to the exclusion of the difficult?  The Gospel message and the salvation of Jesus Christ is for everyone, not just the most likely ones.

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Reasons New Churches are Popping Up

“The reason churches are springing up all over is that there an extraordinary need for people to hear the gospel.”

Michael Curtice, director of ministry and missions and teacher at Central Christian College http://www.cccb.edu/ reminded the Lake Ozark Christian Evangelizers Fellowship last night of the reason that we plant churches and the focus of the Christian and the church.  People still need to find Christ.

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Where to Draw the Line

Recently I read the book, The Future of Faith by author and Harvard theologian Harvey Cox (http://browseinside.harpercollins.com/index.aspx?isbn13=9780061755521).  I am curious for the sake of the kingdom of God what the future of faith is.  I mean, as a Christian, as I grow as a disciple of Jesus Christ, I am reaching out to the lost souls of this world and I should be as Jesus said, shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.  You know, understanding and working within the mindset of the people I share Jesus with while be holy and undefiled like Jesus.

Mr. Cox makes some very interesting observations and as well as some disturbing interpretations of the future.

Click on this link to read a PBS interview of Mr. Cox about the  book;http://www.pbs.org/wnet/religionandethics/episodes/september-25-2009/harvey-cox-extended-interview/4342/.

I have to admit, what he believes about the Bible and truth was somewhat unexpected.  For instance, he claims more than once that the creation account in Genesis is a creation myth as well as many other accounts in the Bible.

He believes that we are moving away from dogmatism into a time of faith, in an era he is calling the age of the Spirit.  There is a shift away from dogmatism and creeds.  Denominationalism is fairly dead.

It appears that the idea is a move away from the full understanding and teaching of scripture and a complete reliance on faith and the Spirit, regardless of truth and Biblical teaching.

One thing this denies is the connection of the Spirit and the Word.  They work hand-in-hand.  I will have faith.  I will be practical.  I will be Biblical.  But I will not give up the clear teaching that the Holy Spirit has given us, the Bible.

The answer, if this is the trend for the next couple of decades is what has been termed “Biblical-Theology.”  Let the Bible be the doctrine and creed, not this man-made crap such as Calvinism, Catholicism, Arminianism, etc.

Let the Bible be the Bible and the rule and guide of our faith, just like the concepts the Restoration Movement has touted for a couple  of centuries

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Significance and Evangelism

The past 50 years has seen a major paradigm change in American.  Used to be, we were satisfied with settling down to life as it existed.  It may be college, or a factory or service job.  Most of us got married and had kids, bought a house, and lived life enjoying the stability.

The paradigm change has been that people search to find meaning in their life instead of letting meaning rest in them.  They want to make a difference.  I encountered this with a young man who was going to graduate from high school last year and he was worried that his life would be nothing more than “I think therefore I am.”  My body functions, my mind has thoughts, and I live with my desires and the environment I am in, but does it make a difference.  A sad thought if that’s all life is.

Recently, Relevant Magazine presented an article about how the search for significance can also have a negative side (http://www.relevantmagazine.com/god/deeper-walk/features/20665-trapped-by-the-search-for-significance).  It is worth reading.

People want their lives to be more than just existing.  As the Relevant article begins, “I have an insatiable need to feel extraordinary….”  That’s where we’re at in our culture.  I want to make a mark and be remembered for something significant and feel that I have done something significant.

We are significant to God and our lives no matter how extraordinary we feel, are just that, extraordinary.  I get a sense of satisfaction when I impact someone’s life positively.  I work with teens who have attachment disorders (For a definition and description click on this link; http://www.helpguide.org/mental/parenting_bonding_reactive_attachment_disorder.htm).  My main role with them involves as many as three elements; leading spiritual time and dealing with spiritual issues, being an encourager, and at times counselling from a Biblical perspective.  I see change in some the students and I understand that I have impacted some of them.  That makes me smile, because I know I have been able to help them, but I do not do it because I am searching for any sort of significance.  I get my significance through God and Christ.

I want to make a difference because God intends to redeem the world. The impact I want to make in this world is what God is doing. “The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent,” (New Living Translation).  God wants to save everyone.  His desire is to redeem each individual.  My satisfaction isn’t that I have done something that impacts someone, but that I have been saved by God, gifted by his Spirit, and he does incredible things in and through me and sometimes without me.

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Exploring Religio-Spiritual Themes

Okay, so technically I am not a theologian.  I mean I do not have a theology degree from a seminary or university, but if we are working through, studying and figuring out theology, aren’t we then in realistic ways, theologians.

I got this definition from http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/theology

the·ol·o·gy

[thee-ol-uh-jee]

noun,plural-gies.

1. the field of study and analysis that treats of God and of God’s attributes and relations to the universe; study of divine things or religious truth; divinity.
2. a particular form, system, branch, or course of this study.

Even by definition #1, I qualify as a theologian, though I don’t get paid for it.

At the moment, I am exploring a handful of things that are related to theology:

  • Biblio-theology and all that means
  • Where the church and religion is headed
  • The need for and way of spreading the good news of Jesus Christ
  • Even how history still plays a part in the future of church and religion

I have a lot of questions.  Maybe they’re not your questions, and maybe you have the answers to the questions I am exploring.  Pass them on if you have them.

It’s a Biblio-Religio-Spiritual-Theology Safari.

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What About Jesus?

Just say his name.  “Jesus.”  There is something in that name.  Jesus – that’s the Latin form that is so common and well-known.  His name, if we follow a more Biblical approach should be “Yeshua.”  Read a number of articles by Ted Weiland at http://www.missiontoisrael.org/.  He constantly calls him Yeshua.

Yeshua, “The Lord is Salvation.”  The Christ is Savior.

But this isn’t about correcting an obvious mistake in the church’s history, this is about the one called Yeshua.  His life so (in alphabetical order)

  • Awesome
  • Beautiful
  • Caring
  • Daring
  • Eventful
  • Full
  • Godly
  • Holy
  • Immanuel
  • Just
  • Kind
  • Loving
  • Master
  • Name above all names
  • Overcomer
  • Prophet
  • Quench’s spiritual thirst
  • Righteous
  • Son of God
  • Teacher
  • Upright
  • Victor
  • Water of life
  • X-factor (the unknown quotient)
  • Yahweh
  • Zealous

Jesus is the Alpha and Omega, first and last beginning and end (everything in between).  The Bible uses so many terms and word pictures to describe Jesus, it would take a book to list them.  Oh yeah, it did.  It’s called the Bible.

There are many things that we can learn about Jesus.  I have chosen 5 aspects of who Jesus is that are important for people to know to become his disciples.

  • That Jesus is our Healer
  • That Jesus is the Son of God
  • That Jesus is our High Priest
  • That Jesus is the Risen Savior, Our Redeemer
  • That Jesus is the Coming King

Is there more?  Yes.   And time gives us opportunity to look at more.  But we’ll just start with these for now.

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To Those Telling About Jesus

Directing Others to Jesus

I’d like to share yesterday’s message with you from our series, Jesus said go! This message is called “Being Prepared…What to Say. I hope this encourages the evangelist that every Christians is supposed to be. You can listen to the message at http://www.newtestamentchristianonline.com/Sermons.dsp. You can access the messages at New Testament Christian Church after noon on Mondays. Here is yesterday’s sermon. All Scripture quotations are from the New International Version of the Bible unless otherwise noted.

It seems like all that we know is the five-finger exercise that Walter Scott taught as he went around preaching 170 years ago. Pointing to each finger in succession, he would teach people what they needed to do to be saved. “Hear, believe, repent, confess, and be baptized.” Sometimes, that’s about all we know.

How many of us have been in a situation where we didn’t know what scriptures to use or what exactly to say?

Let me share one moment from my own experiences. Larry Huebanks our minister and I were sharing with Linda and her husband, Joe. They had been coming to church for a while and were interested in becoming Christians. Larry and I went to their home one evening, but I didn’t know what to say. Not only that I was nervous, scared and embarrassed that I didn’t but I grew up with it. I grew up going to church and hearing this stuff. I went calling with Brother Kenny and the elders and deacons and other men on calling night. I went to Bible college. I hadn’t had personal evangelism class yet, the stuff just wasn’t there. I was an active part of the church, a leader in fact. I couldn’t do more than “believe-confess-repent-be baptized. Larry carried the conversation. In spite of my inconsistency, Linda and Joe were baptized a couple of weeks later. Their boys were baptized about a month after their parents.

But, can you imagine the commercial for someone like me? “Hi, Bruce Bunsen here; whenever you try to evangelize somebody, do you get scared and tongue-tied? Do you ever forget the words you’re supposed to say? Are you afraid of being rejected? Well, have I got a salvation presentation for you. You’ll never wonder about what to say again. You’ll be soooo confident everyone will want you to baptize them….

Today, let’s lose Bruce Bunsen’s attitude and be reminded of some important and even essential things that will be a part of sharing Jesus and leading someone to salvation in Jesus Christ. But remember – You have been sent; “Go and make disciples of all people, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit” Matthew 28:19. (also, Romans 10:14-15 & 17). You have been given a message; “We preach, Christ and Him crucified.”  1 Corinthians 1:23 (also, 2 Corinthians 5:19b-20). You have been given aid; “God will give you another Counselor, the Spirit of truth – But you know Him because He lives in you.” John 15:16-17.

Can you say with Paul, from Romans 1:16, “I AM NOT ASHAMED OF THE GOSPEL BECAUSE IT IS THE POWER OF GOD FOR THE SALVATION OF EVERYONE WHO BELIEVES?”

We MUST preach Jesus. Any time you tell anyone about Jesus Christ, you are the preacher. You’re not preaching a speech like preachers do on Sunday’s when we’re standing behind these pulpits. When you tell about Jesus, you become the preacher.

You’re life, you’re righteous life is a light that draws people to Christ, like a moth drawn to light. But, simply being a faithful Christian without telling people about Jesus, is limiting the message and people won’t understand. Compare this with nature.

  • Nature declares that there is a god.
  • But nature doesn’t tell us who God is, he has to be more than discovered, he has to tell us who he is and he has in Jesus Christ, in what he does in and through the followers of Christ.
  • If God left it up to nature without a declaration introducing us to himself, than we wouldn’t know God at all and we’d come up with all kinds of other man-made concepts about God. And we have.
  • As a Christian, God in his Spirit is in you. You are righteous and holy.
  • Without some explanation, people will not understand, they will not know Jesus, they will assume you’re like a lot of “good people” they encounter that are good from several beliefs and concepts and sources that are not from God.
  • They have to hear the message too, why it is that you’re good.

So . . . what do you preach?  What is it that you say?

  1. PREACH JESUS

That’s what they want is Jesus. There aren’t too many people that you and I will encounter who will dislike or even hate Jesus, but there are those who will not know about him and those who won’t accept him. Remember, they love Jesus but it seems, they don’t care too much for the church.

Let me suggest you read through the book of Acts this week. There you will find several messages presented at the right opportunity about Jesus, about what God is doing in this world through Jesus and through Jesus’ disciples.

  • Explaining what appeared to be drunken babbling and it was the work of the Holy Spirit.
  • Explaining the healing of a lame man who had been crippled since birth.
  • Explaining the Scriptures when an Ethiopian official was curious to understand what he was reading.

They preached Jesus in every single case. What happened were opportunities presented to Jesus’ followers and they preached Jesus, without fear, and with passion and conviction.

The first message about Jesus we have recorded is in Acts 2, curious circumstances that are interpreted by somes as a bunch of guys being drunk. It was the work of the Holy Spirit and their curiosity and accusation offered the opportunity for Peter (and the other apostles in this case) to tell about Jesus.

ACTS 2:11b-12 – “We hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?

Not only were there those who accused them of being drunk, some were amazed at what they heard and how they heard it.

1st) They Heard the Wonders of God in Their Own Language

The Israelites were supposed to tell their children about the wonders of God. God did some significant and mighty things on behalf of the Israelites. Such as when they crossed the Jordan River and entered the Promised Land. They built an altar with 12 stones from the river bed to memorialize that moment. Then the they could tell their children, when they asked about the altar, what amazing thing God had done.

Let me suggest some of the amazing things that you might share with people.

Jesus:

  • Who cares for people (he healed bodies and souls, hearts and minds)
  • Who is the Son of God showing God to the world, who he is and what he is like
  • Who is our high priest, mediating on our behalf with God
  • Who died and rose again to redeem us from our sins
  • Who is coming back as King with salvation as the reward for the believer.

Jesus in you:

  • How he reached you and you chose to accept and follow Jesus
  • How he brought peace into your heart and life
  • How he helped you overcome sin, addictions, fears, etc.

There can be more. When you examine Scripture and your own life, you will see a lot more clearly the things that you can share and what will reach one person may not impact another. If you prepare yourself, what you know and understand, you provide the Holy Spirit with the tools in your life which He will use to reach out to others. Always remember what 1 Peter 3:15 tells you. “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”

What happens is that they hear the wonders of God in their own language. You get to help them see what God has done and in a way that they can understand.

Here’s one way to illustrate it. Those old water pumps you use by hand, would often need to be primed with a little water to be able to draw water from the well. Your life primes the well of their lives which makes it possible for them to hear the message that will quench their thirst.

That’s where what Peter said in Acts 2:14 comes into play.  “Let me explain this to you.”

Helping them understand what they are seeing.  It is God at work.  It is about Jesus Christ.  It is for your salvation.

As the commercial goes, “But wait, there’s more.

2. Explain Salvation

There are those who will want to pursue this faith that you know and profess. They will ask a question or respond to an invitation that answers the question for them, the same as was asked on the day of Pentecost to Peter. What shall we do?

They’ll want to know what to do to be saved. And you can teach them the elements involved in faith. The things that must happen in their life to receive salvation and forgiveness and eternal life and the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Peter’s reply was based on something that had already happened.  They believed in Jesus.

Believe

When they hear the Gospel they will either believe or not. But belief is never enough, because belief is not commitment. It is understanding at some level. It is acknowledgement of Jesus. It is the beginning of faith. You could even say in an example of being born again, it isn’t birth, but it is conception. It is where they start, believing in Jesus.

Here, at New Testament Christian Church, we believe in Jesus, the Son of God, the crucified and risen Lord. John 3:14-14 & Romans 10:8-11

Repent

And they will want to repent. It should be natural to do since we are all guilty of sin. Just as Peter said, “Repent….” When we realize we have offended God and it means condemnation, a guilty verdict against us, we are going feel sorry for being so bad, so we will want to make a change, we will want to be different. Repentance is necessary because what it does is prepare the heart to receive grace because we have become humble before God, we realize our weakness as humans and that only God can handle the mess we have put ourselves in. 2 Corinthians7:10-11; Acts 3:19

Confess

If someone wants Jesus, they’re going to want to tell about him.  \We call that CONFESSION. “I believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” That’s what we lead people to say as one form of confession when they are being baptized. It’s Peter’s confession. It’s the truth about Jesus accepted into the life of that person wanting to be saved.

It is admitting the need for salvation. It is admitting that they need Jesus. It is admitting that only God can save them. It is admitting a lot about who they are and who Jesus is and what Jesus will do in their life. Romans 10:9-10; Matthew 10:32-33

Be Baptized

Everything to this point is preparing our life for the salvation God wishes to grant us. It is received in baptism. “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.Of course that is Acts 2:38. Immersion is that point of contact with the death and resurrection of Jesus. It’s when God does his thing on your life, forgiving you of your sin guilt against him.

Every account of any one being saved in Acts shows us baptism. Jesus was baptized to obey God.  Baptism is submitting to God’s will, obeying his requrement and command. Romans 6:1-10; 1 Peter 3:21

Quickly, once they hear, in order to be saved, one must believe in Jesus the risen Son of God, repent of their sin to God, confess Jesus risen from the dead and the Son of God, and be baptized for the forgiveness of sins.

Not too hard.

But the power is not in you personally. It’s not in your actions, or your speech – the word you say, it is the power of God at work through you. He is at work to draw people to him. He is at work calling people to salvation to his Son and you are his hand and feet, his voice and his representative.  He has sent you, not in your own will and power, but in his grace and he is in you to reach and preach Jesus to those who you will encounter with THE message of truth, life, and hope, which is the message of salvation.

One thing I have learned is this. When someone believes, we must invite them to accept Jesus and be baptized.

Joe had been coming to church for a few months. I met Joe when I was going door-to-door inviting people in our little town of 411 to a revival Joe had been coming and Joe was going through a very difficult time in his life. He was disabled and unable to work so he was living on a very limited disability income. He had custody of his step-son who was a handful to say the least.  And Joe had been arrested for buying marijuana which he used as a sleep aid because of his back problems and inability to sleep otherwise. His world was difficult and appeared to be falling apart when we met.  He came to the revival, was welcomed by the people of the congregation and began a journey toward Christ.

Joe had a brother-in-law who was a minister in a charismatic church, but resisted that message because it seemed they were more interested in being judgmental about a person’s life than in the real change that comes from knowing and accepting Christ. That’s how Joe perceived it.

Joe and I would visit in his living room and in my office and talk about faith and life. He believed in Jesus and was really feeling guilt about failing God. One day when he came into the office to visit, I think he was just seeking reassurance that the circumstances of his life would be alright. Shortly after he set down and we began to talk, I sensed that I needed to ask him a question.  I said, “Joe, do you want to be baptized?” We had talked about believing and the need for repentance and salvation and the Holy Spirit prompted me to ask Joe to accept Jesus at that moment. And without a bit of hesitation, Joe looked right into my eyes and said “Yes, I do” and asked when. I said why not right now. With a huge smile he said, “Yes, why not now.”

We called Helen and Marsha and Glendola to come and share in his immersion as witnesses and encouragers and we baptized Joe that morning. Immediately after coming out of the water, he raised him hands in the air, looked up to God and with joy and passion thanked God that he had been saved.

Ask them. Invite them to accept Jesus. The Spirit will let you know when. He knows their heart and he leads your mind.  Ask them.

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PS: This video was shown at the beginning of the service in relation to the message.

How Much Are You Like Jesus?

There’s a saying that’s around that goes something like this, “They don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”  Most of the time I’ve heard that phrase has been in a sermon or a discussion about evangelism.  This isn’t about a way to complete some project in the church of winning so many people to Christ or adding numbers to the church totals, this is about reaching their heart with what will save their life.  That’s what it’s about, “For the Son of Man (Jesus) came to seek and save the lost” Luke 19:10.

I got see the group Jeremiah People at the National Youth Leaders Conference sponsored by Ozark Christian College http://www.occ.edu/ and Christ in Youth http://www.ciy.com/ several times in the 70’s.  Jeremiah People used music and humor to get spiritual points across.  One sketch from the 1975 album, First Love was called “Numbers.” They sang, “Numbers, numbers, numbers is the name of the game. Just get them coming through the door, no matter why they came. If building your enrollment is the only room to fame; you know the biggest and the best they are really just the same. Yes, numbers, numbers, numbers …” Interspersed singing and skits causing a person to think about the reasons we tell about Jesus.

One of the little skits has a couple of teens talking and Judy is excited that she won a youth group contest in which she brought 3 people to the Lord in 9 months. Jim asked her, “Hey, that’s great Judy. Tell me, are they still growing in the Lord?” Judy’s reply, “How should I know? That wasn’t part of the contest” (First Love, by Jeremiah People, Copyright 1975, Lexicon Music, Inc., page 21).

Is this just some project or are we like Jesus, really caring that people are lost, “like sheep without a shepherd” (Mark 6:34)?

Consider this, there were two things that Jesus did that “amazed” people.

1.) He helped people in their need (healing, curing leprosy, casting out demons, etc.)

2.) He talked about the kingdom of God.

Those are what cause people to be in awe about Jesus. They wondered is this a man or God?  Thumb through the gospels for a few minutes and read the results after Jesus helped people and when he taught people and when he did both.  They were in awe of Jesus.

Here’s another quote.  You’ve heard it spoken, you’ve heard it sung in various forms.  “We are His hands, we are His feet, we are His voice.”  If you care about people, you are going to be Jesus to them.

Read this excerpt from the August 21, 2008 Relevant Magazine ( http://www.relevantmagazine.com/index.php ) article; More Than a Follower:

“Dan described a trip to Tijuana, Mexico, with Pastor Von. (Von has been ministering to the poor in the dumps of Tijuana for years). Dan didn’t speak of the awful living conditions of those who made their homes amidst the rubbish. What impacted Dan the most was the relationship he saw between Von and the people of this community. He spoke of the compassion, sacrifice and love that he saw in Von’s words and actions as he held these malnourished and unbathed children. Then he made the statement that sent me reeling:

“The day I spent with Von was the closest thing I have ever experienced to walking with Jesus.”

Dan explained that the whole experience was so eerie because he kept thinking to himself, “If Jesus were still walking on earth in the flesh, this is what it would feel like to walk alongside of Him!” After that discussion, I kept wondering if anyone had ever said that about me—“The day I spent with Francis was the closest thing I have ever experienced to walking with Jesus.” The answer was an obvious “no.” Would any honest person say that about you?”

Has anyone ever said that about you?  We have to be Jesus to this world and we have to be involved with the people of this world where they live.  In their struggles and difficulties, even the ones that may seem insignificant. If we don’t care about them, where they’re at, as one young man named Matt said; “Christianity is for simple-minded people.  When they talk to you they act as if you are a robot.  They have an agenda to promote, and if you don’t agree with them, they’re done with you.”

If we are like Judy and winning people to Christ is a project to win a contest, or it’s a way to increase your membership for what ever other reason than that the lost need Christ and he adds them to his church, than we are not being Jesus, we are something else and I hate to think what that is.

1 John 2:6 says, “Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did (TNIV)

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PS: Let it Show