Monday, August 25, 2014

Follow Me 8/25/2014 (rp)

"The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you." Philipians 4:9

In today's social media driven world, one of the things by which people are known and sometimes evaluated is by how many followers they have. Whether it is the number of friends on Facebook or followers on Twitter, it says something about your fame and popularity (or lack thereof). For this reason, we are constantly invited to "friend," "like," or "follow" individuals, companies and institutions. The question, however, is why?

When you follow your favorite athlete, singer or actor, what is the benefit? You may be among the first to know about their next event. You may be a part of the "in crowd" that learns what happens to them before the news media blasts it all over the world. Mostly what you will get are their opinions (qualified or not) about other people and their circumstances. It is virtually an every day occurrence that someone is forced to apologize for something they said about someone else our of anger, retribution, jealousy or influence of substances via social media because so many are following them.

Beloved, the apostle Paul made an audacious yet qualified "follow" request 2000 years before it was the mainstream thing to do. He was able to do this for three very important reasons. First, he was personally commissioned by the Lord to do it (Acts 9:15). Second, the example he offered was one designed to benefit the follower (Galatians 2:20). And finally, the destination of the follow-ship he requested was not himself, but Jesus (1 Corinthians 11:1).

Let us be mindful of who we follow, why we follow them and most importantly, where we are allowing ourselves to be led. Jesus once famously said, "If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit" Matthew 15:14b.



Monday, August 18, 2014

Will You Be Made Whole? 8/18/2014

" And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years.  When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, 'Wilt thou be made whole?'”  John 5:5-6


I just returned from the International American Medical Mission's latest mission trip to Jamaica.  The theme of the mission and the accompanying gospel meeting was "Will You Be Made Whole?" This was designed to capture IAMM's  goal of promoting and bringing about health, hope and healing.  We accomplish this by building and transporting a team of doctors, nurses, pharmacists and various medical support personnel to meet physical/health needs, counselors to meet psychological and emotional needs and evangelists to meet the spiritual needs of those in the communities and countries to which we travel.

I am pleased to report that 640 were served by medical doctors, 240 by dentists, 78 by counselors and many by ministers (resulting in 2 baptisms with 2 more pending).  The people of New Kingston, Jamaica were very appreciative of the outpouring of love demonstrated by this gifted team of individuals who traveled there at their own expense from all over the US.  In return, they shared their love through hugs, holy kisses, shared lives and stories and some of the best authentic Jamaican food available.

Beloved it was a blessing to be able to leave the confines of the church building and "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all [that was commanded by our Lord Jesus]," Matthew 28:19-20.  It is an awesome privilege and responsibility to do for others what the Lord does for us every day.

Please keep the people of Jamaica, Haiti, Iraq, Ferguson, MO and everyone who desperately needs the healing touch of the Lord, in your prayers.



Monday, August 4, 2014

God Still Speaks 8/4/2014 (rp)

"God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world." Hebrews 1:1-2

Many people claim that God has spoken to them and told them to do this or that. Many more people wonder if God has ever spoken to them. Most people assume that He has not, does not and will not speak to them. In fact, God has a long and varied history of communicating with man. In the Garden of Eden, He spoke with Adam and Eve directly. He spoke similarly to Noah. Abraham was spoken to directly as well as through the angel of the Lord. Moses was spoken to directly and through a burning bush. Joseph was spoken to by dreams and Peter had visions. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but the point is that God speaks to us. And while some would ask, "Of course he spoke to all those guys thousands of years ago but what about me today?", the answer is that He still speaks!

Beloved, God desires that we get to know and love him. The only way to accomplish this is through communication. He has the power to choose whichever means to communicate that suits Him. Some will tell you that He no longer expresses Himself in dreams and visions. I am not prepared to limit God. He can do whatever He wants however He wants to do it to whom He wants to and whenever He wants to. But scripture is clear that despite all other means, discussed or not, He communicates through his word. 2 Timothy 3:16 says, "All Scripture is inspired [breathed] by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness." The same breath that made us living souls literally authored the Bible. Further, we know that he has communicated through his son but did you know that Jesus is also known as "the Word?" John 1:1 informs us that, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." It is incontrovertible that God, Jesus and the Word are one. It is through and by this fact that God yet speaks to all of us to this day.

There is more to be said about hearing God's voice through the Spirit, circumstances, the words of others (such as sermons, songs and conversations) and various other ways. We must learn to tune in. Nevertheless, his voice is never farther away than your nearest Bible. Listen to what God has to say to you today.