What About the Castaways?

What responsibility do we have regarding the large crowds of people who are leaving the church in search of Jesus?

Every week, many go to their last Sunday Morning Service. Isolated by being seated facing lots of people’s backs and one person’s face, if they are looking for fellowship, they just leave still lonely. If the preacher really is a pastor, and they are looking for instruction on how to live changed lives, the teaching is thin soup, because it is not empowered by the spiritual gift of teacher. The cultural expressions of worship in any given meeting do not match the cultural identities of all of the people who are present. A young person isolated in a crowd of old people, or vice versa, will not feel connected to the Body as a Family.

As children, we probably all experienced a piece of playground equipment that was a large, round platform with rails to hold on to. One or more kids would run around it, spinning it faster and faster. It was either thrilling or nauseating. If you wanted to get off before it stopped, you could just turn loose of the rail and it would launch you spinning into the grass or dirt.

What responsibility do we, you and I, have regarding those who turn loose from the merry-go-round and are just cast out into the cold? How valid is any relationship that we might develop with them regarding being “the Church” to them?

If you know any believers who are not “going to church,” ask the Head of the Church how to bless them and how to invite them to fellowship with Him. They may never relate to a Sunday Morning Service again, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t be part of His Body and doing His work and connected to His people in effective, Life-sharing ways.

Ask Him about the one who has wandered. Be willing to care about them with His love for them. Don’t invite them to church. Embrace them with His fellowship.

Refusal Prevails

By faith, Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter and chose to suffer with the people of God rather than to enjoy the short-lived pleasure of sin.

Although Potiphar’s wife spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her. When his master heard the story his wife told him – “These are the things your slave did to me” – he was furious and had him thrown into prison, where the king’s prisoners were confined. So Joseph was there in prison.

Both of them were able to stand in positions that delivered God’s people in the midst of His enemies.

So, because your God is so merciful, I urge you to present your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God; it is a reasonable offering to Him, and an act of worship.

Don’t be conformed to this age – don’t submit to what doubters and accusers say about you – be transformed into the realization of what Yahweh says about you; let him heal and renew your mind daily.

Then, you will have so much proper discernment that you will be able to not only know what God’s good and perfect and pleasing will is in a situation, but you will be able to prove why it is good and righteous.

A Love Song

Some descendants of Korach wrote a love song that we have preserved as Psalm 45.

The writer of the New Testament letter to the Hebrews quoted a couple of verses of it, and declared that Yahweh spoke them to Jesus, His Son.

The next time someone doesn’t like your interpretation of some Scripture that you have received understanding about through God’s Spirit, and says, “You’re taking that out of context!”, help them through being delivered from that bondage, which did not come from God.

Several places in the New Testament, writers quoted Old Testament passages and stated that they applied to Jesus or someone else. In some of those cases, the context of the Old Testament passage clearly does not refer to Jesus or the someone else. The Spirit of the Scriptures can interpret or apply them in any way He sees appropriate, though. Under His direction, you can, too.

To the Son, He says: Your throne, God, is forever and ever, and the scepter of Your kingdom is a scepter of justice. You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; this is why God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of joy rather than Your companions.

(Hebrews 1:8,9; Psalm 45:6,7)

Your Savior

Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the captives of the righteous be delivered? But thus says Yahweh:

Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible be delivered; for I will contend with him who contends with you, and I will save your children.

I will feed those who oppress you with their own flesh, and they shall be drunk with their own blood as with sweet wine.

All flesh will know that I am Yahweh, your Savior, and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.

Isaiah 49:24-26

Gathering Manna or Picking Tomatoes

Manna came every day. Free. Even if you weren’t thankful or had doubts.

When the nation of Jacob’s descendants entered the land that Canaan’s descendants had been living in, the manna stopped. The invaders had to start harvesting what Canaanites had planted. Then they had to plant their own crops and raise animals and hunt.

On any given day, Yahweh may be pouring out manna for you and instructing you to rest. On another day, He may make you fight for every small morsel you track down.

He may be making you rest at the same time He makes your neighbor fight. Don’t give them bad advice by telling them to rest.

Ask the Spirit what to do and do it. If your neighbor is struggling, ask the Spirit how to bless them and do it.

A Large Flock of Birds

In the United States, I see a small group of people who consider themselves to be Republicans and another small group of people who consider themselves to be Democrats.

Between these bookends, I see a large group of people who are like a flock of birds. They dislike (some hate) both of the ruling parties. After 4 or 8 years of abuse by one party, they will vote for anyone the other party stands in front of them. After 4 to 8 years of abuse by the alternate, they will vote for anyone the first party puts in front of them next.

This year, there is a runner on the track who is misaligned with both Democrats and Republicans. Fear from both parties of being dethroned is reaching a screeching pitch.

I suggest that continuing to allow the couple who has been ruling the nation (Dems and Reps) to work together to produce the continued destruction of the nation in contrast to taking on a different leader who has no allegiance to either member of the couple (or anyone else, apparently) all turns out the same way on one level. It is still leading a government that confesses that it is of the people, by the people, and for the people, not of, by, or for the King of Glory.

The Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL in politically correct cloak) attempting to rule in places where it has power has caused more Muslims to convert to Jesus than had made that decision in the previous 10 centuries. Fearing evil is an inappropriate response to it. Light overcomes darkness. The darker it gets, the brighter even the dimmest light will become.

If we are more concerned with how any event or election or battle will affect and be affected by the Kingdom of Heaven, we will perceive the correct steps to take that will find advantage in the situation.

No matter what, and no matter who, if we align ourselves with what the King wants to do next, then in the place where we stand, His Kingdom will come and His will will be done.

When we stop settling for the low level of thought and value called “our nation,” and rise up to the appropriate level of thought and value called, “His Kingdom,” we will lead and liberate people who are in a great darkness.

Forgive One Another

“Father, forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.” (Matthew 6)

“If you don’t forgive others from the heart, you will be handed over to the tormentors. ” (Matthew 18)

“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another just as God in Christ has forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4)

We have the same power to forgive people who sin against us that our Father has to forgive people who sin against Him: the cross that became an altar.

There is no alternative to forgiveness for sons and daughters of God to respond to others’ sin with. There are additional things I could or must do, but forgiveness is the power of God to build a bride for His Son. We are involved in the process by spreading the power.

You won’t have to think long usually to find your list of unforgiven people if you have one. Forgive them now. And the next time you think about their sin, forgive them again. You have to go through the process over and over as many times as you feel the pain until the pain heals and all you have for them is the agape the Spirit puts in you for them.

You can do it. He says so. He’s always right.

Get Perfected

“Jesus said to him, ‘If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.'” (Matthew 19:21)

Being pitiful (though rich), the rich young ruler didn’t see how the values in the Kingdom could be valuable to him. Good example of how difficult it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom. It puts them out of being in control. Easier to get a camel through a needle’s eye than to get a rich man to submit his life and his riches to the King of Glory.

He told me, “If you want to be perfect, count it all joy when you face all the trials in your life. Let Patience have her perfect work in you, and you will be perfect, complete, lacking nothing.” (James 1:2-4)

What is He saying to you about your maturity? What is the process through which He will empower you with the ability to respond to opportunities and tests with His wisdom and character?

If He doesn’t seem to be saying anything, ask Him.

Never heed the lazy or fearful who warn you, “Don’t ask for patience!” or “Don’t ask the Lord to increase your faith!” One day, instead of giving you bad advice, they will be asking you for good advice.

And you will have it.

Why Does Jesus Want You?

When you are in a bank planning to do business with one of the tellers, a man with a gun suddenly appears and tells you to fall on your face. He wants everybody’s money. When he gets through the scattering of people to you, he points the gun at you, demanding your money. You give him your cards and cash, wondering if he will also want your death.

Some requests for money at religious meetings are pretty similar. If Jesus really sent this guy to demand my pockets be emptied, will He want me dead if I don’t comply? Or even if I do?

Jesus didn’t come to steal. He came to invite us to the opportunity of LOVING Him with all that we are, and all that we have.

If you are sensing that the force drawing on your pocket through a preacher or a beggar is manipulation and gun-pointing, look past them in the scene and find Jesus. He’s always nearby.

Read His face for what He is expecting of you. He already has your death. The life he replaced it with is connected to Him or it wouldn’t really be life.

Ask Him what He wants out of your pocket. Some days He will say, “Nothing.” He wants the next person to learn to empty their pockets, and wants to teach you just to obey that day. Other days, He may want you to love Him with all you have.

Ask & listen & obey.

Leading Well

You are a leader.

Your preparation as a leader may not be complete yet, though. Your relationships with the people you lead may not be clearly defined yet, so that anyone could look on and see that you are leading them or someone else.

Some people we are leading away from what we would like to lead them toward. Our presentation was unconvincing, or they are stubbornly committed to the other direction and we weren’t able to sway them. Or they just don’t like “people like me” and are convinced that whatever I say must be wrong.

The levels of getting leadership right begin with being led by the Spirit. When we start to get Truth and Life through our relationship with Him we have something to share. Jesus didn’t tell the disciples in Matthew 28:18 “Go teach these people what I taught those people.” He said “Go teach them to obey what I taught YOU.”

Next level is loving people enough to stand out a little bit and become both a banner and a target. The banner points the way, the target takes the heat.

A deeper level is taking someone by the hand and pulling them up out of brokenness or surrender or pain or failure into the path of courage and victory. You can get hurt trying that.

A thread leading to success at every level is authenticity. Being genuine, honest, and able to be led yourself give you more brightness and more strength to lead.

Be your awesome self!