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)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.
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.
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!
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.
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?