Sunday, February 26, 2012

GO! (or, let me ask you a question)

I was talking with a friend earlier tonight about the church. We talked about many things ranging from complacency to 1st world/3rd world differences to "Country Club" church culture in the Western world. One big sticking point to which we kept returning was the idea of complacency and what we should be doing.

Regarding complacency, we talked, talked, and talked some more and we came to the point of realizing that we couldn't peg down what was the key cause of complacency. We tossed up Western culture, status as a Christian nation, wealth, comfort, and a multitude of other options. We also couldn't figure out why some individuals dedicate so much time to the church, learning, growing, and serving, yet they rarely talk of Christ or Christianity outside of church and then usually only in the context of their church.

Let me ask you a question. In a legal setting, if someone knows critical information about a case under investigation/trial, but refuses to divulge this, what happens to the person?

Now, let me ask you another question. If you knew a specific person was going to die today, would you tell them and try to avert their death? On whose head would the blame lie if you don't tell and the individual dies?

Let me bring to your attention the words of God:
"As for you, son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel. When you hear a word from My mouth, give them a warning from Me. If I say to the wicked, 'Wicked one, you will surely die,' but you do not speak out to warn him of his way, that person will die for his iniquity, yet I will hold you responsible for his blood." - Ezekiel 33:7-8
Now, let me ask you a third question. Readers who associate with the Christian faith (i.e. you who call yourselves Christians), when last did you convey God's warning to the people around you?

"What warning?"
Why, the warning that every man is born sinful and destined for eternal death and hell.  Yes. I just said hell. It's a real place and it's where anyone who hasn't accepted Christ as their lord and their saviour is destined to go.

Let me ask you yet another question, or rather, let me allow Penn Jillette, who, at the time of this clip, was not a Christian (I don't know if he currently is one) to ask the question.

"How much do you have to hate someone to not tell them about Jesus?"
"Okay, fine, but please tell me this, why should I go and tell some complete stranger?"
It's a direct command from Christ.

  • Matthew 28:18-20
  • Mark 16:15
  • Luke 24:46-47
  • John 21:20
  • Acts 1:8
These are 5 different accounts of Christ's last words before His ascension. Nowhere in them is there the idea that this is an option. It is a direct command to preach the Gospel to the world. You don't have to go to some foreign country either. You can start right now at the 7-Eleven down the road.

"But evangelism isn't one of my spiritual gifts!"
Well, fortunately for you, evangelism isn't a spiritual gift. Romans 12 nor 1 Corinthians 12 speak of evangelism as a gift. It is an imperative action. It is something we must do.

"But I'm saved by grace, not by works."
Correct you are, but let's check out James 2:14-26. (verse 26 below)
". . . 26 For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead"
Evangelism, being a work stemming from one's faith, is an integral part to Christianity. Evangelism is the vehicle by which word of God is spread. Were it not for evangelism, Christianity would not have spread all throughout the Roman Empire in a few hundred years.

Penny for your thoughts?

For more information about missions, evangelism, and unreached people groups worldwide, check out these sites:

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Point of Exchange

Have you ever had a moment where you said to God, "I have no clue what to do or how to do it."?

I can say most certainly that I have. I'm sitting here, on my dorm floor, thinking and praying about each of the guys in my prayer group and I come to realize that many things that are happening in their lives are things beyond my experience. Sure, I could give speculative advice or advice to seek other, wiser counsel, but I cannot give advice from my own experience. It's a sense almost like futility when you realize that something is beyond you.

But, that being said, it is precisely at this point where I realize that I need to hand this over to God. I have reached the point where I can do no more and that everything is in God's hands. Come to think of it, it's most definitely better that way. I'm a fallible, flawed, finite individual whereas God is infallible, indefectible, and infinite.

It's a humbling experience, and a breaking one at that, when you realize your limited capability, but  the sense of peace that is present when God says "I got this." is breathtaking. My guys are in good hands - God's hands

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

New-ish Blog Developments

In case some of you were wondering exactly what some of the new changes on the blog were, here's a basic rundown:
  • Regarding the new images on the side panel: each of those is two things. 
    • Each is an image representing a charity I endorse and, when money's a bit more available, support.
    • Each image is also a link to that organization's website, allowing you to read more of what they do as well as giving you the option to donate (this isn't the first time, either - see Happy Thanksgiving, Pay It Forward)
  • Regarding the page tabs up top, those are, respectively:
    • This blog, 
    • Information about and a link to my devotional notes blog, 
    • Information about and a donation link to the missions trip of which I'm a part, and 
    • The newest page is about and contains a donation link for Restore Rwanda - an initiative started by my school to build a school in a "Widow's village".
So, yeah. Check all of this cool new-ish stuff out!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Good News (of great joy)!


(Well, all of my portion, anyway)

If you can't tell, I'm kinda over the moon about this, which is why I announced it in block caps and followed it with a clip of the most awesome Yaaay-er saying "Yaaaaaaaaaay."

In all seriousness, though, I am extremely grateful to God for bringing together everything I needed for this trip and I am thankful, also for each person/church who contributed:
Michael Kiley
Jamie Soto
Pam Brownfield
Joan Barylski
Dave Evans
Russ King
Jono Warning
Doug & Louise Lee
Living Word Baptist Church
Brittany Ehret
Rodwin Spruel
George Sisson
Broadus Memorial Baptist Church
Sheri Shaw
Bryce Erickson
Eldorette Isaacson
Peter & Barbie Anderson
Flo Meintjies
Martha Moses
"Puchie" Mantlo
Black Creek Baptist Church
Paul & Kimberly Rush
Edna Arnold
Carina Keyzer
Nancy Wicker
First Baptist Church, Somerville, TN
(I also have this niggling feeling that I may have forgotten someone or -two. my apologies and many thanks!)

Let me encourage you, also to not stop donating. any excess money I raise helps other teammates raise their money. Or, you could even donate to them directly. The "Missions Trip" page, above, has instructions on how to donate and you can find the rest of my teammates here.

Second lastly, please continue to pray for this trip and our team as we finish training and fundraising. Please pray also, from 14-24 May, for this trip - travels, health, evangelism, etc.

Lastly, Liberty University is raising money to build a school in an impoverished village in Rwanda that's still suffering the aftereffects of the 1994 massacre. We need to raise a minimum of $22000 to build the school and pay for the students' 1st year. For more information or to donate, check the Restore Rwanda page tab, above!