Wednesday, 1/22/20 – Pressing on…

Kinfolk Unashamed

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Shame” refers to “a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior.” To be “ashamed” means “to be embarrassed or guilty because of one’s actions, characteristics, or associations.” It can also mean “to be reluctant to do something through fear of embarrassment or humiliation.”

Jesus said “If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.” (Mark 8:38). Luke tells us the same (Luke 9:26).

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Jesus is saying that if a believer is reluctant to do a thing that would identify him or her as a follower of Jesus Christ, as a disciple of His, as one who acknowledges the personal Lordship of Christ in one’s life, for fear of embarrassment or humiliation before others, if that is the case then Jesus will experience “a painful feeling of humiliation or distress” at the thought of granting that soul entrance into His Kingdom!

But there is another scripture that gives us great hope. In another place (Heb. 2:11) Jesus says that because of His atoning death and resurrection, “Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters

Paul boldly announced, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes” (Rom. 1:16). Could you say that… Say that boldly?

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The day is coming when all who may laugh and scorn now will fall to their knees acknowledging their folly and pleading to Christ for mercy. But on that day it will be too late. Scripture is clear. He will say to them “I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!” (Matt. 7:23).

In both the Mark 8 and Luke 9 accounts Jesus had just finished telling how foolish one would be to forfeit their eternal soul for any treasure. He said, “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” (Mark 8:36). Stand tall Christian. There is serious business to be done in this world. Be counted among the redeemed. Whatever consequences such a profession may bring they are well worth the reward of one day hearing Jesus acknowledge that you are not only His friend, but His brother… His sister…

Press on…

To hear Pastor Andrew’s complete message, go to the Lincoln Baptist Church website and look under ‘Sermons Online’ for the Jan. 18 message.

Tuesday, 1/21/20 – Pressing on…

Need a Whack?

woman giving birth to baby via c section

Sometimes suffering serves a completely different purpose in our lives. Sometimes we are not suffering for Christ at all, not living intimately in contact with Him, in fact, not giving Him a thought whatsoever. Sometimes the purpose of suffering has more to do with what we looked at last Thursday – a ‘Whack’ to make us awake!

Again, Sadhu Sundar Singh illustrates…

“A doctor once told me of a child who could not breathe when it was born. In order to make it breathe doctor gave it a slight blow. …he was really doing the kindest thing possible. As with newborn children the lungs are contracted, so are our spiritual lungs. But through suffering God strikes us in love. Then our lungs expand and we can breathe and pray.” – Sadhu Sundar Singh

Sometimes getting knocked down physically is God’s only way of getting us to look up.

The Apostle Paul experienced this. We read about It in Acts 9. Still an avowed persecutor of Christians Paul (then named Saul) was headed to Damascus to imprison in Jerusalem any believers he might find there. As Luke relates it,

“As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?’
‘Who are you, Lord?’ Saul asked.
‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ he replied. ‘Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.’” (Acts 9:3-6)

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The light blinded Paul and he had to be led away by his friends. Paul needed this “Whack” to get him to God. It’s interesting to note that Paul realized he had encountered the Lord God before he was aware that this Lord God is Jesus. “Who are you, Lord?” he asked, calling Him Lord. “I am Jesus,” came the reply.

The atheist believes there is no God, the agnostic is ignorant that there is, the rebel tries to run from God, but the Christian knows that Jesus is Lord. When suffering comes to any of these it may well be that God is trying to get us to gasp! God does not ‘Whack’ us in delight, but of necessity and out of great Love.

More tomorrow…

To hear Pastor Andrew’s complete message, go to the Lincoln Baptist Church website and look under ‘Sermons Online’ for the Jan. 18 message.

Monday, 1/20/20 – Pressing on…

Lesson from a Bird…

20200119_164632A book that was very formative in the early days of my walk with the Lord was a Moody Press pocket paperback The Story of Sadhu Sundar Singh by Cyril J Davey.* I carried the book about with me often and read on the 25 minute bus trips to and from town. On the back was printed this quote:

When we have left this life we will not have a second chance to bear the cross of Christ.” – Sadhu Sundar Singh

That quote affected me greatly, so much so that I can recite it now with ease decades later – and as those of you who know me can attest, memory these days is far from one of my strong points!

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I thought of Sadhu Sundar Singh and this quote as I listened to Pastor Andrew’s message this morning. He spoke of how our suffering and Christ’s suffering are intimately connected. How through these we share in something profound and spiritual.**

Parents know this. They already love their children but something much deeper grows when they must watch them suffer, helpless to alleviate the child’s pain, despair, or questioning gaze. The parent suffers with the child in this and can do none other. Years later the scene may be reversed. Aged parent now suffers as the caregiver child now agonizes with them. They are both made of like substance but in this suffering that union grows deeper.

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It is a privilege to share in like suffering. Choosing it is our greatest gift. Jesus once said this, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13). Singh’s quote above reminds us that it is only now, in this life, that we have such privilege to gift Christ by our patient suffering, perhaps even our life.

On such suffering Singh relates this,

“In a Tibetan village I noticed a crowd of people standing under a burning tree and looking up into the branches. I came near and discovered in the branches a bird which was anxiously flying round a nest full of young ones. The mother bird wanted to save her little ones, but she could not. When the fire reached the nest the people waited breathlessly to see what she would do. No one could climb the tree, no one could help her. Now she could easily have saved her own life by flight, but instead of fleeing she sat down on the nest, covering the little ones carefully with her wings. The fire seized her and burnt her to ashes. She showed her love to her little ones by giving her life for them. If then, this little insignificant creature had such love, how much more must our Heavenly Father love His children, the Creator love His creatures!”

Today Christ agonizes for the lost. “Why does He not do something to save them?” someone may ask. Ah, but He has! He has sent someone to them; He has sent them us.

More tomorrow…

To hear Pastor Andrew’s complete message, go to the Lincoln Baptist Church website and look under ‘Sermons Online’ for the Jan. 18 message.

*To watch a 42 minute dramatization of the life of Sadhu Sundar Singh, click here.

**e.g. Never was New York more united than in the days, weeks, and months following 9/11.

Friday, 1/17/20 – Friday Tough Question

What’s a “Paradigm Shift?”

20200116_181731The film Planet of the Apes (1968) stars Charleton Heston as Taylor, an astronaut who awakens from deep space travel hibernation to find he has crashed on a planet unknown to him. He discovers the planet is ruled by apes who have learned to speak and possess technology. Taylor is captured by them but escapes and explores the planet more fully. Outside the ape city he discovers remnants of a previous but destroyed civilization. Eventually he stumbles upon something familiar. Oh no! Can it Be? Taylor had never left earth orbit at all! He had not travelled through space but through time–to the future. This planet was earth!

In an instant an entirely new world view is thrust upon Taylor. He has no choice but to accept it. I fear this is the fate soon to be thrust upon many who walk this earth today.

20200116_181656During the 18th century and beyond The Great Awakening, spurred by the Spirit empowered preaching of men like Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield, transformed the hearts and minds of many. Eyes were opened to see the true spiritual realities of their existence. Heaven and hell, justification through Christ or eternal damnation, these were the issues of this brief thing we call a lifetime. Souls are eternal. Decisions must be made.

Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.” (John 14:6). Many today discount this. They say Christ was just a man, and they build their philosophy of life on other notions. But the Christian knows that a day is coming a day in which

“at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Phil. 2:10-11).

What Taylor experienced is a “paradigm shift.” What every soul upon coming to Christ experiences is also a “paradigm shift.” One discovers that their whole way of thinking about the world, the universe, life and death is inaccurate and must be abandoned. God is staring them in the face, they surrender and are transformed! This is what happened during the Great Awakening and this is what happens in the honest transformations that result from true spiritual Revival.

Open your heart to Christ today! Don’t be like the one who spends all of his life climbing higher and higher on some ladder of success only to discover that the ladder has all the while been leaning against the wrong wall!

Press on…

Got a question? Want to talk more about this? Use the Contact page.

Thursday, 1/16/20 – Discipleship – Evangelism

Evangelism by Spirit, Abiding, Unity and Communion

man in black holding phone

Today I have something quite different for you, but your time with me may take a few minutes longer. They will be very worthwhile minutes however, about 22 to be exact, but stay with me.

Below you will find a link to a message by Francis Chan. Chan reminds us of Christ’s words on evangelism, and they may very well surprise you.

Jesus speaks of evangelism by our union and cooperation with God the Father and the Holy Spirit…

“The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothingno one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.” (John 6:63…64)

By our abiding in Jesus, the Vine…

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing….This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. (John 15:5…8)

By our supernatural loving unity with other believers…

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” (John 17:20, 21)

And by our sharing together in the Lord’s Supper…

“For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” (1 Cor. 11:26)

Take a few moments and check out Francis Chan on “Rethinking Outreach” (22 min.)

Press on…

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Are you interested in being discipled one-on-one in the fundamentals of new life in Christ? Or, perhaps you would you like to know how to begin this journey, turning from your current path and committing your path to Christ? — Use the Contact page and we’ll get you started.

Wednesday, 1/15/20 – Pressing on…

Fruitcakes!

20200114_071300I like fruitcake … quite a bit actually. But I seldom buy any at the peak of its popularity – those days leading up to Christmas. I buy my fruitcake mid-January. In fact, I bought some just yesterday. One year I snatched up a half dozen selling at Wal-Mart for $1 each. A half-dozen fruitcake bought mid-January can leave you enough change to have breakfast at McDonald’s and still not surpass the price of a single fruitcake sold mid-December!

Of course many people hate fruitcake. Search “fruitcake jokes” online and you find things like the sketch of the loaf on a psychiatrist’s bench confessing “I feel like nobody likes me!” A thought bubble shows the psychiatrist thinking “He’s a fruitcake case!” Or the archaeologists discovering the world’s oldest fruitcake and exclaiming “Its still edible!”

But no matter; though some people think I’m a fruitcake for liking fruitcake I still like fruitcake. Frosted or not, this year’s or last, sliced or brick, it makes no matter. I’ll root for this underdog.

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Some of my best friends are fruitcakes too. No, no, not like that! I mean some of them are society’s outcasts. People pawned off to others, “regifted” to “agencies” not for their perceived value but because the “gifter” doesn’t want them cluttering up their pantry, or taking up space in their fridge.

But “fruitcakes” are not “hot potatoes.” If we could look at this world as Jesus sees it we’d find we are all “fruitcakes” too! We might try to hide under a glaze or thick frosting but Jesus sees what lies below.

Isaiah caught a glimpse of it: “…all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;” he wrote, “we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.” (Isa. 64:6).

We all “fall short of the glory of God,” penned Paul (Rom. 3:23). But God did not toss us aside, He did not “regift” us to the devil, or wash us away. Rather, “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom. 5:8). He paid a price that far out-stripped our worth! So much does He love each one of us. He does not snatch us up at bargain prices, He sells the farm for us, gives His life for us! He intends to make of us something beautiful for all eternity. How thankful we are!

Jesus loves fruitcakes too!

Press on…

Want help connecting with this Jesus? Use the Contact page. To hear recent messages from Lincoln Baptist Church look under ‘Sermons Online’ here at the LBC website.

Tuesday, 1/14/20 – Pressing on…

“Where did it fall?”

It’s Tuesday and something just isn’t right. What is it? Something seems missing… distant…

There’s an easily overlooked little incident in the Bible that I quite like. Perhaps it’s because many years ago I heard a camp speaker tell the story in a way that gripped my soul. It wasn’t really a conviction at the time that latched on to me, rather a warning.

beige concrete buildings on high ground

The incident occurred during Elisha’s ministry. Elisha, as you may recall, was invited by the prophet Elijah to join him as he travelled about the land of Israel (1 Kings 19-21). Elijah likely sensed the need for an apprentice of sorts for he was soon to be taken away. We read of this happening in 2 Kings 2. Elisha was there when God swept away Elijah in a mighty “chariot of fire and horses of fire” (v.11) leaving Elisha with, as he had requested, a “double portion” of the spirit of Elijah.

Well, Elisha goes about doing miracles and counseling kings for about the next sixty years. His ministry and the miracles wrought by God through him had far out-stripped those of Elijah by the time of the incident I want to share with you.

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A sort of school for aspiring prophets had emerged with Elisha at the head and had become so popular that the facilities needed expansion. So the students all pooled together and began to build. As one industrious young student was felling a tree his axhead flew off and into the Jordan river! “Oh, my Lord,” He cried out to Elisha, “it was borrowed!” (2 Kings 6:5).

Where did it fall?” Elisha asked (v.6). The student knew exactly, pointed it out, and the man of God caused the iron head to float! “Lift it out,” He told the student and all was well once again.

Where did it fall?” was the searing question. When something goes missing in our soul we need to return to the spot where it was lost. It does no good at all not admitting to what went flying, the exact spot must be identified. You know where it is.

This day, the missing bit may be that time alone with God, or in congregation with His people, the worship, the challenge, the uplifting. The “missing but” is most probably Jesus!

An ice storm can be a monkey wrench to plans and Christian fellowship, but not to personal prayer and worship… and God can make tools and turns behave in ways miraculous. “Where did it fall?” Put down your device and talk with Him about it now.

More tomorrow…

Note: Read the whole story in 2 Kings 6:1-7.