A Little More Action, Please!

In my previous post, I talked about Jesus focusing on His ministry & the work His Father wanted Him to do. Jesus didn’t get caught up in government issues. I would think He cared about the things going on around Him. He just didn’t waste His time or energy on it. Instead, He took care of the people & developed leaders that would carry on when He was gone. And carry on they did!

As the verse above shows, the early, very early church did many good works in the community. They took care of the people that needed their help & they didn’t care if they were followers of Jesus or not. In fact, when the church leaders decided to install deacons to minister to the needs of the people, one requirement they had was that some of them needed to speak Greek. This enabled deacons to minister to Gentiles. They ministered to ANYONE THAT NEEDED HELP!

The Apostles got busy right away providing services to those in need. They didn’t sit around talking it to death.  When they saw a need, they found a way to take care of it. AND THEIR NUMBERS GREW! The actions of the early church led to tremendous church growth. Yes, the teachings were powerful too. However, those teaching weren’t just empty words. They backed the words up with action, with good works. 

As Jesus ascended, He instructed His followers to “Teach them all I have SHOWN you!” He wanted them to know that His teachings, His words were important but His ACTIONS were the most important thing for them to remember & share. The way He healed the sick. The way He fed the hungry. The way He treated people of other nations & beliefs. The respect He showed to women. Love God. Love your neighbor. Very simple. 

And remember, charity was not an accepted practice in the days of the early church. Providing for those in need was unheard of. The Roman government provided no services yet they collected a lot of tax dollars from the people. People in need just suffered until Jesus changed all that. And then He told His disciples to continue His work. 

So, perhaps these days we need a little less conversation & a little more action. Time to quit bickering. Time to quit discussing things. Time to quit complaining. Let’s get busy doing the very thing Jesus asked of us & let God take care of the rest. 

Little Less Conversation

When Jesus was born, Rome was in charge of Israel. Israel had asked Rome for protection from their enemies & Rome agreed. In exchange, Rome would collect taxes. The census would give Rome an idea how many people there were & how much to tax. Yes, this is a very simplified version of the story. Just want you to get the idea.

Israel didn’t really like Rome being in their country but there wasn’t much they could do about it. They prayed for a deliverer like Moses or a warrior like David, someone that would return control of the Holy Land to God’s people. Some people thought this was what Jesus was going to do for them. They thought Jesus would raise up an army & drive Rome out of their land. He didn’t. He had other work to do. 

In the Gospels, Jesus doesn’t talk about the Romans. Oh,  a year once or twice but He had other things to do. Jesus focused on doing the work Hid Father wanted Him to do. He healed people. He fed people. He taught people. He developed leaders. He showed tremendous respect to women in a society where women had no voice, no rights. Jesus focused on loving God with all His heart & loving His neighbor as Himself.

Here’s the thing: Jesus didn’t waste time complaining about what the Romans did or didn’t do for the people. Jesus didn’t waste time talking about how SOMEONE should do something. Instead, He did things to make life better for others AND He taught His followers how to care for the people when He was no longer around to do it Himself, in person!

Now, I wonder what we can take from this?

New Year, New Look!

God has called me to get busy building our ministry in 2017. He wants us to have a national audience & impact by the end of the year! 😮 I have no idea how this whole thing will progress but I have every confidence in my Lord that called me to this work so many years ago.

Anyway, busy times call for easy care hair. Plus, I like standing out from the crowd! Always have, always will!

Now, Lord, what’s next?!

God’s Goals for 2017: Step Up & Serve

I was once invited to preach in a church on the Sunday the church honored the women in the congregation. When I arrived, I was given a beautiful corsage. After the service, I was presented with a dozen red roses & then escorted o the Fellowship Hall for a luncheon prepared by the women. The members of the committee in charge took me over to the buffet line, pointing out all the delicious food. When I go to the end of the table, I reached for a plate, eager to enjoy all that food. “No, no, Pastor,” one of the women told me, ” we’ll fix a plate for you!” She then called someone over, telling her to “fix Pastor a plate!” The woman was tickled pink to have the honor of preparing my lunch for me.

I was then escorted to a table & as I waited for my food, every woman I. The church came over to have her photo taken with me! Lunch was delicious & when I finished my main meal, another woman was called over & asked to bring me dessert. My coffee cup was never empty & I thought I would have to be ROLLED out of the hall after lunch. On my way home in the car, I remember thinking I could easily get used to that treatment! Perhaps I needed to rethink my Call (or lack of one) to pastor a church!

Pastors work hard & preaching takes a lot out of you. I think it’s great when church members take care of their pastor, doing things for her. The shepherd needs tending too! However, as I learned in the story above, pampering & attention can become addictive. It can be easy to come to expect special treatment as a pastor, something we must try hard to avoid.

Look again, or perhaps for a first time, at the verse in the graphic above. I love the statement Jesus made. “I, the Son of Man, the Son of God, did NOT come to be served but to serve.” The Lord wanted to make it clear that even HE didn’t expect special treatment. HE didn’t want people waiting on Him, doing favors for Him. NO! Instead, He came to serve others.

This was such a radical idea! First, that someone like Jesus was willing to serve others. The Temple priests sure didn’t spend their time serving others. They wanted to be served. Plus, this was a society where WOMEN served others,  not men. Finally, this wasn’t a society where people took care of one another. They might help out their family & a neighbor occasionally but the thought of ongoing service to others in the community was unheard of! Yet Jesus was saying that this was exactly why He came. To serve others. 

Jesus set an example that continued in the early church & through the years to today. Unfortunately, we, as Christians have lost our dedication to service, our passion to help others. We may do it as the fancy strikes, at Christmas for example but many of us have gotten comfortable letting someone else take care of it. For many of us, we just don’t know how we can help, where to begin, how to serve.

In 2017, I want to help you understand our need, our innate need as Christians, to serve one another as Christ served & still serves us. I plan to help you identify the gifts & talents you have to offer, help you develop them & discover ways you can use those abilities to serve the church & community. Jesus told us the harvest is great but the laborers are few. Let’s all work together to serve one another, to serve everyone as Jesus serves us. It is the least, the very least we can do. 

Goals, Not Resolutions

I really don’t like resolutions. Well, it’s not that I don’t LIKE them. I just don’t think they work. They remind me of my college days. As soon as I told myself that I needed to pull an all-nighter, I became incredibly tired & needed to go to bed. I found those words worked wonders those few times I couldn’t sleep! Anyway, there’s something about resolutions that make them almost impossible to keep. Perhaps it has to do with they open timeframe. A resolution implies an ongoing process with absolutely NO END! It just stretches on forever & ever! Sigh!

Rather than making a resolution, I like to set goals. Goals usually have a specific destination built in. So, rather than creating a resolution to eat healthier, I would rather set a goal to give up soda for a week. Or set a goal to include more fruits & vegetables in my diet, naming a specific number for each day. Goals seem more user friendly.

Throughout January, I plan to take about setting goal for the new year. However, this week, I want to talk to you about making a few resolutions. I know, I just went on & on about my dislike resolutions & now I want you to make a few. Hmmm. Ok, let me explain.

Sometime there are goals we set that are ongoing & somewhat vague. The 3 resolutions I am suggesting this week are not necessarily vague but they are questions you need to consider over time. These questions are:

  1. Am I called by God;
  2. How can I serve God;
  3. Am I called by God to lead.

Let’s set these resolutions & then we can set goals for the year!