Missionaries: Spiritual Bristlecone Pines

bristlecone pine

I read about bristlecone pines and found myself with new appreciation for our precious missionaries that take the Great Commission literally (as we all should).

Bristlecone pines are so interesting. They are highly resilient to harsh weather & bad soils.

“Bristlecone pines tend to occupy new ground. They do very well where most other plants cannot grow such as in rocky soils in areas with virtually no rainfall.” (“The Secret of the Bristlecone Pine” Homiletics, July 2002)[2]Please pray for our spiritual bristlecone pines as they occupy new ground. These men and women thrive where most of us could not. They move to places where God’s Word often falls on rocky soil & they may see very little fruit for their efforts.

Pray for their effectiveness, resilience, & safety.


Ref:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bristlecone_pine

Lutzer, Erwin W. The Cross in the Shadow of the Crescent: an Informed Response to Islam’s War with Christianity. 37969th ed. Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 2013. (Chapter 6)

“The Secret of the Bristlecone Pine” July 2002, Homiletics, pp. 21-23.

Circling the Wagons

oregon-trail-4

You remember in old Westerns, pioneers would be traveling in a covered wagon caravan and then there would be a threat of some kind, so they would circle the wagons to protect themselves?

It was a great defensive tactic. However, the longer they stayed in that circle, the more dangerous the situation would become.  Enemies could mount up, encircle their circle, and wait them out.

Most importantly: Forward progress would be totally stopped.

Have our churches been in a holding pattern of “circling the wagons?” Have we been on the defense to the exclusion of progress? Have we become so obsessed with our own safety, that we’ve lost all forward momentum?

Have we become inwardly-focused rather than outward?

Look, I know that we are under attack today. God’s Word makes it unmistakably clear that we are engaged in a spiritual war whether we realize it or not (2 Cor. 10:3-6; Eph. 6:12). Circling the wagons is sometimes necessary, but it should only be a temporary move, not a permanent one!

Yes, we get together (the infamous “holy huddle”), pray for each other, and help each other (Gal. 6:2): REGROUP!

But then, we are commanded to head “West” again with the Gospel message!


Ref: John Simmons, “Circle The Wagons?” Dec/Jan issue of the WV Baptist Newsletter 2017/18.

Thank You, Billy Graham

Billy Graham Takes His Crusade To New York City

Billy Graham; the very embodiment of 2 Tim. 4:7, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.”

What an inspiration, encouragement, and model for every Christ follower!

Thank you, Billy Graham for a life well lived in the service of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Well done, good and faithful servant; enter into the joy of your Lord!


Ref: http://www.faithwire.com/2018/02/21/legendary-evangelist-billy-graham-dies-at-age-99-heres-his-incredible-life-story/

Shoes

no shoes

Take a second and look down at your feet. Do you have shoes on? I have prayed a lot of prayers, but never once have I prayed for God to give me a pair of shoes. Have you?

In fact, I have lots of shoes. I have more shoes than one person needs or should have.

Could it be that we are spoiled? God has so richly blessed us and now we are spoiled rotten? We are so incredibly blessed; just look in your closet and weep at God’s provisions.

“God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” – 2 Cor. 9:8

Rather than bickering and complaining like little kids about all the things God is not doing for us, let’s try to thank Him for the mountains and mountains of blessings He has already given us.

In your prayers this morning, did you ask God to please give you some shoes so that you could stop going barefoot? Yeah, me neither.

“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.” – 1 Chronicles 16:34. 

Thank you, Lord Jesus. Thank you.


Ref: https://www.oneplace.com/ministries/pathway-to-victory/listen/the-cure-for-complaining-637445.html

Are You Getting Jesus or the CliffsNotes?

cliffs-notes

Remember CliffsNotes? I’m not sure if they still even have them now or not. Kids probably just use Google. But anyways for those too young (or for those who actually DID do their homework), CliffsNotes were the abbreviated version of literature classics. If you didn’t read the actual thing, you could buy the CliffsNotes and get the gist of it.

Are you getting Jesus or the CliffsNotes?

“The right understanding of Jesus Christ is essential to understanding many other vital truths, particularly the gospel and salvation. There’s no good news apart from Christ.” – John MacArthur

Let me give you just one verse. It is short and easy: “I and the Father are one.” – John 10:30.

I was at a restaurant once and they poured my Ginger Ale over a ton of ice. I could hardly taste it. It was gross, really. I have harsh words for anyone who waters down the Gospel to make it easier or more user-friendly.  Its gross, really.

MacArthur also admonishes those who make their faith a “private” matter: “If your faith is ‘a private thing,’ it’s not the Christian faith.” I have heard this defense as I’m sure you have too.

Nothing about the Great Commission sounded “private” to me.

“And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among people by which we must be saved [for God has provided the world no alternative for salvation].” – Acts 4:12 (AMP)

Don’t make that private. Make it public!

Don’t settle for an abridged rendition of Jesus. Demand the full version!

Don’t read the CliffsNotes. Read the original!


Ref:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CliffsNotes

MacArthur, John. Good News: the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Reformation Trust Publishing, 2018.

Special Delivery

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I ordered a pizza. The pizza delivery guy did something weird. He put a big red bow on my pizza. But that’s not it, He also attached balloons to it. Then he kept on and on about how much I was going to enjoy this pizza and how this pizza was better than the pizza from the shop across town.

Not really. What he actually did was deliver the pizza. No song and dance.

We are called to deliver the Good News of Jesus (Matt. 28:19,20). We don’t need to dress it up. We don’t need to put a bow on it. The message is powerful enough on its own.

May God’s Love be with you

Up To You

Acts 26:28,29
Acts 26:28,29

It’s not my job to get you to believe in Jesus.

It’s not my job to “sell” you on Him. It’s not my job to make Him as appealing as possible so maybe, if I’m lucky, (fingers crossed!) you’ll give Him a try.

It is my job to tell you about Him. It’s my job to help you realize what Paul realized when he said, “Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” Phil. 3:8 (New Living Translation)

It’s really up to you.

  • It’s up to you if you’ve continued reading this far.
  • It’s up to you if you think this is all nonsense.
  • It’s up to you if you let Him into your heart.
  • It’s up to you where you will spend eternity.
  • It’s up to you, not me.

King Agrippa told Paul that he was “almost persuaded.” (Acts 26:28,29) Almost doesn’t cut it. “Almost” might as well be “Not At All.” Paul gave his witness and then it was up to Agrippa. The ball was in his court. And he dropped it. Big time.

It’s not my job to get to you to believe in Jesus, but I’d be happy to help! Jesus is with me to the end of the age. (Matt. 28:19-20) Is He with you?

May God’s Love be with you always