Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Same Kind of Different As Me

Being alike doesn’t mean we agree; it means the stuff by which we disagree is the same. This is important because we need to see that as different as we may appear superficially, deeper down, we have much in common with everyone, and when you encounter someone who is different, it would be good to celebrate both those differences and the stuff that makes us all the same. Because, at the core, we all belong to God. There's a book entitled Same Kind of Different As Me that totally captures the way in which we are different and very much alike. I highly recommend it!!!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Use words only if necessary...

The Gospel is waiting. It's waiting not to be spoken, but to be lived. The Gospel is waiting to be believed and to be put to use in your life and mine. It's not just a static message; it's a living, breathing testimony. The Gospel needs much more than paper to be printed on; it needs a life it can imprint.

"Therefore, since through God's mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God" (2 Cor. 4:1-2).

The success of the Gospel today doesn't depend on how attractively it's packaged, but on how honestly real Christians are living out their lives in the world. It's not just the Gospel that does it. It's not just a message. It's the Gospel in you and in me. Nothing needs to be done to the Gospel except to be lived. In other words..."Preach the Gospel. If necessary, use words."

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Power of Encouragement

They’re walking all around you today. They were walking all around you yesterday. They will be walking around you tomorrow. All around are people whose lives are a mess either because of choices they made or that someone else made that’s impacted them. Think about it, who isn’t messed up in the Gospels? Jesus. That’s it. Everyone else is an absolute mess.

The entire entourage that followed Jesus was a jumble of broken people. Somehow, they found a home with Jesus. Somehow they found acceptance. Somehow Jesus talked past their hurt and anger and spoke to their deepest fears that they really were accepted. That they really were loved. That there really was hope.

The writer of Hebrews deals with this very issue. “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” (Hebrews 3:13) It also says, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

These verses talk about us focusing on others. Notice there is no exception clause there for those people who also have it hard. We’re all supposed to be encouraging each other. Encouraging them onto to “love and good deeds.” It talks about avoiding the hardening effects of sin by encouraging one another. This is the power you have, I have, we have; this is the power that God has entrusted all of us with.

Of course we can all think of ways that other people can encourage us more, but I want to challenge you to consider how you can encourage others. What will that look like for you? What will it look for you to encourage and spur others on to good works? Think of at least one person you can encourage by tomorrow. Then go do it.

May you see the power of encouraging others no matter what is happening in your life, and may you be encouraged today that no matter what is or has happened in your life, God has given you a tremendous opportunity. He has given you tremendous power. You can be a catalyst for those around you to live as God intended them to live.