Monthly Archives: August 2017

Is the Church Leading the World to Jesus Christ?

“Dear friends,
I’ve dropped everything to write you about this life of salvation that we have in common. I have to write insisting—begging!—that you fight with everything you have in you for this faith entrusted to us as a gift to guard and cherish. What has happened is that some people have infiltrated our ranks (our Scriptures warned us this would happen), who beneath their pious skin are shameless scoundrels. Their design is to replace the sheer grace of our God with sheer license—which means doing away with Jesus Christ, our one and only Master.” (Jude 3-4, The Message Bible)

I look to the church to lead the world to Christ. What I see baffles me! I remember well how when I received a call to Christ and Christ’s gospel, I went to my beloved Willard W. Allen Lodge No. 108 and bid farewell to my brothers. They were happy for me that I had discovered my life’s calling and understood my decision to fully commit myself to the of preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Is the Church transforming culture or is culture transforming the church? Are the two so intertwined until they are no longer singularly recognizable? Grambling State University has the Bayou Classic, a game that alumni and well-wishers look forward to each year. I daresay they have supporters committed to going to this one game even if they miss all the others. They prepare for it in advance to include budgeting, putting in time off at work, scheduling reunions, etc. It is of the utmost importance to them.

Do you as a supporter, no as a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ have that one service, that one day you have committed to the Lord and refuse to substitute for anything else? For me, it is the Holy Communion Service. Despite what I have going on, it is my commitment to be at my church partaking of the Lord’s Supper with my members. I do whatever I can to keep this commitment above all others.

Jude warns us of confusing our commitment to Christ with that of our worldly pursuits and aspirations. I love the Lord and the Lord’s Church; never would I forsake her for obligations to any other group I’m affiliated with. Do you have such loyalty to your church?

The world stands in need of disciples of Jesus Christ leading the fight for their souls. They do not need associates, friends, comrades that flock to the same worldly pursuits as themselves. They who have not God, need those who do to become recognizable and distinct from any other group. The world needs our light to shine its brightest at this very moment in history. I urge you to consider whether your witness leads others to Christ or to something someone, some place, else.
In His Service,

Make This The Year of Execution!

 

People often decide to move forward with their plans after they reach a certain degree of certainty that their plans will be successful.  However, when it comes to moving forward in the things of God, that is not always possible.  God frequently leads us to the next step after we’ve completed the first.  God seems to insist we walk by faith and not by sight.  And often, God does not fill in all the blanks; God leaves certain details out of his instructions and still commands us to move.  See Numbers 13 where God challenged his people to move forward into the promised land with only His Word as guarantee that they would inherit the promise.  But they hesitated; they balked; they were paralyzed with fear not because of what they knew but because of what they didn’t know.  They didn’t know how God would act and so they refused to move forward.  God did not provide all the details.

“. . .. So when we are confronted by indecision, we need to move forward despite our doubts or confusion. We need to move forward, even if we’re only taking small steps. Those steps, regardless of which direction they go in, are likely to give us new information and experience. Our actions send ripples into the world. The situation may change or reveal itself in a new way once we have moved to a new vantage point.  Think of your life as a movie you are watching. You are midway through the movie and you don’t know what is going to happen. But you’re not supposed to know what is going to happen. The movie is not over yet. This is the challenge posed by the demon of indecision: Can you move forward in the face of uncertainty? Can you co-exist with confusion and not-knowing and take the next step?”[1]

God is calling us to move forward; to execute the plans he has given us for ministry in our several contexts.  I challenge you to obey God and do just that.  This year let us resolve to act; to act in concert with the known will of God and then to expect God to show up and show out. Each of you have dreams and aspirations of God making your life better.  You have prayed about it, you have discussed it in great detail; yet, you have not acted in line with your conversation.  You have procrastinated, hesitated because all of the blanks have not been filled in. You may ask can we do it? Who will help us? Where will the money come from?  Among others.  You declare you’re waiting on God and I declare God is waiting on you.  Make this the Year of Execution in your church, in your life, and in your community.

Trust God’s Word found in Jeremiah 29:11, “I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord. They are plans for peace and not disaster, plans to give you a future filled with hope.”  Amazing, God has planned for your success; the question is “Why haven’t you acted based on God’s plans?”  Perhaps you’re afraid or perhaps you just can’t handle of the stress of not knowing.  However, when you do not move in concert with God’s plans, the stress of indecision, the stress of inaction, becomes even greater. The truth is we often try to wait until we feel like moving; rather than simply moving in faith.

Trudy Boyle confesses “My number one stress creator is not completing a task I have set for myself or following through promptly. The stress is compounded when I take on more than I can deliver in the allotted time. And my final penchant, which makes up what I call my “stress triangle” is to ignore the whole lot until the last sixty seconds!  How do I let this controllable stress occur? The honest answer is that I sometimes let my feelings boss me around. One of the puzzling lessons I have learned is that, more often than not, I do not feel like doing most of the things that need doing.[2]

Margie Warrell[3] gives us seven (7) strategies for moving past the fear that causes us to procrastinate which leads to our inaction.  I challenge each church to use these strategies as you plan your agenda for the upcoming conference year.  Here are the strategies in a nutshell:

  • Write down your goal and give yourself a deadline.
  • Break your goal into small pieces.
  • Visualize the future you want.
  • Harness fear.
  • Build accountability.
  • Reward progress.
  • Act bravely daily. Starting today

Finally, understand that God rewards action based on his Word.  His Word will not return to God void.  If it doesn’t work, the lessons you learn by doing it will be immeasurable for your future action.  Don’t allow the fear of failure to keep you from your destiny in God.  Make this “The Year of Execution!”

 

 

[1] Krech, G. & Anderson L. (2003). Defeating the Demons of Inaction: Indecision Retrieved from http://www.todoinstitute.org/library/public/defeating_the_demons_of_inaction_indecision.php

[2] Boyle, T. (2003) The Stress of not Getting Things Done. Retrieved from http://www.todoinstitute.com/library/public/the_stress_of_not_getting_things_done.php

[3] Warrell, M. (2013). Why You Procrastinate, and How to Stop It. Now. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/margiewarrell/2013/03/25/why-you-procrastinate-and-how-to-stop-it-now/#3b4e73481837