Silence Leads to Violence

The complacency of fools will destroy them. (Proverbs 1:32b)
One who is slack in his work is brother to one who destroys. (Proverbs 18:9)

We are all limited in our knowledge, to some degree or another. We are all also limited in our service to the Lord, in one way or another, either due lack of ability or lack of faithful effort. Anyone who fails to serve is subject to destruction. Jeremiah knew this full well:
A curse on anyone who is lax in doing the Lord’s work!
A curse on anyone who keeps their sword from bloodshed! (Jeremiah 48:10)

The reasons there are wars & rumors of wars at this time is because of the shortage of those doing the Lord’s preferred work of blessing the nations. If we do not bless, we will be accursed. If we do not build up the Kingdom of God among the nations, we will have to tear down the kingdoms of man called nations.

Ezekiel (3:16-21), who prophesied about the same time, received a message from God that made what Jeremiah prophesied clearer:

At the end of seven days the word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. When I say to a wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade them from their evil ways in order to save their life, that wicked person will die for their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. But if you do warn the wicked person and they do not turn from their wickedness or from their evil ways, they will die for their sin; but you will have saved yourself.

“Again, when a righteous person turns from their righteousness and does evil, and I put a stumbling block before them, they will die. Since you did not warn them, they will die for their sin. The righteous things that person did will not be remembered, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. But if you do warn the righteous person not to sin and they do not sin, they will surely live because they took warning, and you will have saved yourself.”

In other words, if a person does not share the wisdom that God has given them with those who are ignorant, the wise man must execute judgment. Silence leads to violence.

In what was likely one of the first portions of the New Testament that was written down and distributed, Paul wrote in Galatians: As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse! (1:9) Later on in the book, Paul expanded later in the book of Galatians how we are to identify with Jesus’ ostracism from the community of the self-righteous by setting the example: For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (2:19-20) So we see that there is a dying that must take place to identify with Jesus.

Paul went on to make it clear that:
For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.” The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, “The person who does these things will live by them.” Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.” He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit. (3:10-14)
To follow Jesus is to believe that His death on the cross was sufficient to take all the curses that you deserve, so that through the Messiah Who was crushed, you might be lifted up with Him Who is exalted over every other name and so receive the Spirit of God through the promise you trust. We who receive this promised spirit then are able to bless the nations.

Back to an idea in Proverbs about character: Who are we? Paul says, “We are fools for Christ …” (1 Corinthians 4:10a) To be fools for someone means you will do some things that seem foolish because of your attachment to that person. This may seem like a bad idea, but the alternative to being zealously in love with the Lord is not a good one. Paul includes in the conclusion to his letter to the Corinthians, “If anyone does not love the Lord, let that person be cursed! Come, Lord!” (16:22) Whoa! Either we love the Lord or we love the world. There is no middle ground. The world may seem good and full of goods, but God is the Truly Good.

Yet our love for the Lord should lead to a love for the lost that says, “Better I die & go to hell, than that many people would die & go to hell.” Again, Paul testifies in Romans 9:2-4a “I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit—I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race, the people of Israel.” As he was about to go to Jerusalem and then on to Rome itself, he said, “I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.” (Acts 20:23-24) The only reason we live on planet earth after we receive Jesus Christ as our Savior & acknowledge Him as Lord is to make known the Kingdom of Heaven known on earth. God is patient with us so that we might make known His salvation known through our whole life.

Lest we think of this as merely exemplary living, Paul opens his letter to the Philippians with a meditation on his future on earth:
I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me. (1:20-26)

The point of his life is not himself, but Christ who lives in Him. Christ has become our hope of glory. Let us glory not in being right in ourselves or right with the world. Rather, let us boast of the Righteous One who has come to our defense.

Do you lack any joy? Stop looking for joy in special seasons or special saints or special gifts or special sources of happiness. Let all your springs be in the Lord Jesus. Take offense at no humbug this season. Let not death quench your happiness, but let all things lead you closer and closer to Jesus. Let Him be the Word of God to you. Let Him be the Open Door that is set before you. Let Him be your Bread of Life. Let Him be your Resurrection & your Life. Have you lost your way from the path of peace? Look to Him as the Prince of Peace and pledge allegiance to Him alone. Follow Jesus as the Way. Believe in Him as the Truth. Love Him as the Life. He will bring you to the Father from whom all family derives its name and your spirit will mingle with the Very Spirit of God this Christmas.

Let us go out and tell our families, our friends, our neighbors, and yes, even our enemies what the Lord has done for us not only at Christmas, but also on the cross. The devil also needs to hear more about the saving victory of the Lord Jesus Christ who is risen and coming quickly. Marana tha!

Categories: Evangelism, Holiday, Missions | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pray for your Enemies to Make More Friends

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi needs to become a friend of Jesus.What I mean by the title is not merely that you pray that your enemies be winsome people who get more people on their side. Rather, that we must pray that our enemies would repent in order that they might become our friends. This is a risky way to pray.

It means you may have to leave the comfort of your home, your internet connection and go to meet someone you are scared of face to face. It may mean confronting your persecutors with the standards of the law so that they will be ashamed enough to repent … They may not necessarily repent, but if you pray, and pray faithfully, you may persuade God to persuade them to change their heart.

There is a risk you could lose a fortune on your new friends. You could lose the comfort of financial security. You could lose your health by going to people who are diseased or who intentionally infect you and seek to do you harm. You will at the very least have to spend time you could use making money and spending time with easy friends in order to represent the Kingdom of God in “hostile territory.” Indeed, you could die, without winning any new friends from among your enemies in your own lifetime.

Is it worth it?

Yes … if you do it on behalf of Jesus, completing the sufferings He suffered.

He promised that those who are persecuted for righteousness sake have the kingdom of Heaven which is peace, joy, and righteousness. You just can’t beat that deal. But first pray. Indeed, the beginning of the beatitudes is, “Blessed are those who are beggars in spirit, for theirs IS the Kingdom of Heaven.”

You have the treasures of heaven available, if only you will come before the Throne of God and beg, if only you will obey until you suffer. Wow!!

If you were to ask the Gazan Christians if this was easy, they would tell you that they count it all joy. If you were to ask the observers of the character of Christians who fled terror in Iraq, you would hear that the Christians did not respond in kind with violence, but with kindness. The saints violate the normal tit-for-tat way of doing things by forgiving enemies.

This sounds too hard, you say, too surreal. Let me ask you a question: Would you rather suffer a little in this life, or suffer for all eternity apart from the presence of God?

Take up the cross Jesus hands you, or suffer all loss because you do not understand Jesus.

I hope that as you count the costs, and consider the benefits in the long-term of following Jesus, you will follow Him with a glad heart.

Mert Hershberger

Categories: Evangelism, Persecution | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lost & Found on the Ground

This winter has been harsh: lots of snow, snow banks, cold weather locally, lots of people complaining about the worst weather in living memory.

Well, after it thaws, people get grateful. The snow backs away. Things warm up. People are more comfortable and safe on the roads.

There is a parallel in the way I found a small treasure one week: I found over $50 on the ground in just over a week’s time.

Much of it was along parking spots. Two places however stick out in my mind most prominently though.

Once, I was walking along on a near regular routine of picking up my mail after a Monday afternoon class. After I crossed the street at a little different place, I walked along a sidewalk and spotted two bills. I thought they were two new $1 bills. They turned out to be two $20 bills. Still intact. Freshly thawed from the snow. Wow!! I knew I couldn’t keep that and I had already committed to give some funds to a particular ministry or three. In English law, the following applies:
The general rule attaching to the three types of property may be summarized as: A finder of property acquires no rights in mislaid property, is entitled to possession of lost property against everyone except the true owner, and is entitled to keep abandoned property.

This derives from Jewish law in Leviticus 6:

So what if there is no identifying information about whose money or property it is? This money is to be given to the Lord.

A. God is the ultimate Finder. He finds the lost coin and the lost sheep and the lost son in Luke 15.
B. God is the ultimate Owner. He teaches us to profit and all that we have ultimately belongs to Him. (Isaiah 48:17)
C. We should share the first-fruits of what we receive with the Lord and share all good things with our Teacher. (Galatians 6; Proverbs 3:9-10)
D. You didn’t earn it, it is a gift which is for the poor.

This also undercuts the motive of the heart to look for lost property of others in order to keep it for oneself.

Oh, how wicked is the heart. We make a little extra and want to keep it all to ourselves. Instead the Lord says: give & it will be given unto you.

At times I have kept money I found to myself, but in the end it was like gravel until my generosity renewed.

So back to the $40 I found. Sometimes the gifts of God are great in quantity and this is what is so special about them.

Other times, it is the mere fact that the harder we look, the more we find.

This was true one day as I was riding on the bus and elected to transfer. As I waited for my next bus to arrive, I decided to look for coins. I found a few. and then some more. And more. And just as the bus was driving up, I looked behind me, and there in plain view, in the middle of the sidewalk was a slough of coins. Now, they were virtually all pennies. But there were so many that appeared suddenly, that I thought I had a hole in my pocket and that I was dropping them as soon as I picked them up. But no, no hole. God just blessed me with finding a bunch of pennies. The whole time, I meditated on how God looks for the lost and how the harder we look, the more we find.

I was so excited over those pennies that I started to talk to people on the bus about the way God puts treasures in our path for us to find, namely grace. God’s treasures of grace are all along the route every day of the year.

Now, if I was so excited about some silly pennies, HOW MUCH MORE should we be excited about whenever the lost souls are found? We should dance every time someone starts making good decisions. We should be happy every time someone decides to follow Jesus! We should shout every time someone chooses to serve the Lord!!

If finding something small produces pleasure, then finding grace in the eyes of God through our Lord Jesus Christ should produce so much more pleasure.

What have you found lately? Where have you been looking for treasure lately? What have you found joy in lately? Have you found favor in the eyes of God? Have you found the goodness of God in Christ Jesus? Look into his word.

Perhaps you say, “I read a fancy Bible and get little out of it.” It is not the fanciness of the Bible or the fanciness of your interpretation. It is the obedience to what is heard. Let us all obey and share the treasures God gives us with those who have not yet heard.

Categories: Evangelism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Alphabet of People for Prayer in Washtenaw

Here are some of the people

Sing of the nations to the Lord and sing to the Lord before the nations.

Sing of the nations to the Lord and sing to the Lord before the nations.

Here are some of the people that Mert has reached out to in Washtenaw County in Jesus’ Name and who need prayer full grace & salvation

Next time you sing through the Alphabet Song, remember these:

American Indians & Arabs & Asians.
Blacks & businessmen & beggars & the brethren.
Criminals & college professors.
Developmentally challenged & doctors.
English as a Second Language Students & engineers.
French speakers & foreign scholars.
Gay men & government workers & Gentiles.
Hispanic immigrants & the homeless.
Indonesians & Indians & intellectuals from Asia.
Jews & jokesters & judgmental hypocrites.
Koreans & kids with their parents.
Lost souls & lesbians & liberals.
Maninka & Muslims & Mormons & Mandaeans.
New residents & newly married.
Ordinary folks & over-achievers.
Portugese & Pakistani & Pharmaceutical reps.
Quiet leaders & quick salesmen.
Responsive believers and rebellious teens.
Sikhs & Somali & sinners and saints
Teachers & tradesmen & tender-hearted listeners.
Undergraduate students & unrepentant people.
Vain self-seekers and virtuous sisters in Christ.
Watchtwower Society members & witches.
X-ray technician & eX-addicts.
Young Christians & yesterdays’ leaders.
Zanily clothed and zealouts for Jesus.

Now I’ve shared my life with thee, won’t you pray along with me?

Categories: Evangelism, Missions | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thanksgiving: A Rare Fruit

The other day, I was sharing the good news with a person at the bus stop. Others milled about and listened, a gentle dialogue ensued as I tried to direct the conversation away from the theories of good and evil or neutrality of all morality to the facts that we have all sinned.

Just then, a young man I had seen and talked to early, a couple years earlier, walked up to me and said, “Do you remember me? My name is D. You had asked me if I was saved. Well, now I am saved. I am going to [name omitted] Church. I just wanted to tell you.”

Oddly enough, even though the person had interrupted the conversation that had been happening, even though the earlier conversant had become a little antagonistic, when the young man said that they had been saved, the person with all the “hard questions” said, “Yes, that’s good.”

It reminds me of this story from the Gospels in Luke 17:11-21


To paraphrase: 10 lepers (a disease like AIDS) had been sent by Jesus to show themselves to the priests. The lepers were all healed. But only an ethnically diverse healed leper returned to thank Jesus. One in ten. So if only ten percent of those who are born again, ever thank those who witness to them, there are likely others who are now attending church who never took the time to contact me. In fact, I know of others who have taken steps of faith after being challenged.

Have you ever taken the time to thank those who bless you? Have you ever taken the time to thank those whom you ask to pray for you? Have you ever taken the time to thank Jesus for healing you? Are you glad you are alive? Tell Jesus today. He’ll be glad you did, and it will be recorded in the scrolls of eternity.

What am I thankful for today?
A new friend took a book of John and started reading it.
A co-worker was challenged to re-consider a public confession of faith for Jesus.
I can carry on an ordinary conversation yet smell like Jesus with many people.
The word of God is reaching more and more students at the local community college.
Time with my wife.

That is what Peasant Perfume is all about.

Simple words, meaning discovered,
truth discerned, kindness shared.
A dance of lives around the tree
and then reaching out to enjoy wisdom
from on high that brightens heart and opens eyes
… yet is full of integrity
and harmless but for the reminder to get dressed.
Tree of life or tree of knowledge of good and evil?
you may ask.
Yes, the knowledge of good and evil has been chopped down,
life takes root in those once confused.
Leaves from that tree cover souls
and soften steps across holy ground.
Do you hear the sound?
The Lord is walking with us now.
We have crossed the bridge,
there shall be no turning back now.

Categories: Evangelism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Comfort, Comfort, My People Jerusalem

Right now the Middle East remains in an uproar: Egyptians are in an uproar, and Palestinians are raging against the state of Israel. Jordan is facing a flood of refugees. Bethlehem may soon have a few tourists. But I find that the “Jerusalem Syndrom” or “Stendhal Syndrome” to be most interesting of all this: people go to the “holy” city only to find that there are a bunch of sinners there. Sinners needing to be evangelized, so they evangelize them, or at least attempt to, in their own religious versions.

I’ve been there and done that! In 1994, I was a short term worker in Washington, DC. Enjoyed my time, but got a little too isolated from the group and my mind started to wander away from the mission. I started to peregrinate and preach. I dare say, it was fun. I thought the world was going to end in 3.5 days. (Times, time, and half a time, you know.)

Well, it didn’t, and the Lord forgave me for my false prophecy. So I am no prophet. Big deal.

But that does not mean I am not an evangelist. I may not be called upon to bring a final serious message of judgment, but I can bring a message of joy to the world. That joy is found in Jesus. Moral reform is good. Preaching is good. But all cities need this preaching. All souls need the good news. I am not much of a church planter, though my efforts to disciple others have resulted in a small disciplemaking movement.

The reality is though, that my life is marked (or some would say marred) by something else: suffering and disappointment with the worldly and the temporal hopes dreams. I work part time for a government agency that works among the least and among of those in the worst circumstances as a certified peer support specialist. In other words, I’m not just certifiable, I’m certified. I have a plaque to prove it.

That sits at my desk like the the Plaque I once received as a Distinguido Guesped used to at my dorm in college. I was a Distinguished Guest of the governor of Sinaloa State or Mayor Mazatlan there in Mexico, or something like that. Yippee!! Distinguished guest. All I had to do was do a little dramatic interpretation and travel with a bunch of choral members to a podunk, persecuting part of our Southern Neighbor and have a good, clean, moral life as I honored Jesus. The Bible says, those who honor God, God will honor.

What if the Kfar Shaul Mental Health Centre in Israel, were to not issue a certificate of insanity, but of honor to these guests, who like Saul (i.e. Shaul) had a few chips shy of a full bag, with a certificate for their intense interest and compassion for this city of conflict. Imagine how you would feel going on vacation to Hawaii only to find all the natives working in gray suits and ties and all the land given over to the chaos that happens on Wall Street … Doesn’t sound like a vacation.

Just because you went to such an advertized “tropical paradise” that had been corrupted and spoke out for a little common sense, would you want to be called a fool? No.

But Hosea said that the prophet will be called a fool (Meshuggah). When a nice person meets a wicked world which has been worshipped with wonderful words, that nice person might get a little upset when they find out the reality. You would … Right? I hope you would.

So, back to the issue at hand. As these prophets / religiously fanatical tourists recover, why not give them a certificate for wanting the city of Jerusalem to be morally pure and peaceful?? Honor them for their ability to cope again with a sinful world. Commission them in Jesus name to preach peace to all nations.

Use those with Jerusalem or Stendhal syndrome to become Fools for Christ … people who don’t fit in with the world because they love God. Let us be a little loony for the Lord! Let us give him our minds and let us give the world a piece of it too.

Maybe those that the world calls misfits are simply called to fit into another world, a world yet to come. A world that is perfect.

In this world, we will have trouble. BUT, TAKE HEART! Jesus conquered the world!!! He is alive! He’s not dead. He’s not crazy. He’s not lazy. HE really is LORD and HE really dead get up and folded the grave clothes at the tomb. Now, he is busy building a new Jerusalem.

The old Jerusalem is like Sodom and Gomorrah: it distresses the righteous lot who try to live their so much that they can’t stand staying there forever, they run for their lives. Distressed and dispirited. But Jesus is the Good Shepherd. He takes care of souls who go to great cities like Mecca, Rome, and Washington, DC and New York City, only to lose their grasp on “normalcy.” He comforts us with the hope of His return. He is the Messiah. We are not.

Now, what about those who think this world is all there is? I feel sorry for them. They may be in animistic tribes wearing animal parts or they may be in the ‘hood wearing hoodies or they may be businessmen wearing ties and going to fine restaurants or they may be on a campus wearing a backpack or they may be taking care of a posse of kids whom they hope will grow up to be “normal.”

Let’s get real. It is OK if dreams are shattered and illusions are exposed. It is OK to be different. It is OK to preach outside or in the streets. Let the prisoners free! Let the slaves go free! Let the fools go free! Maybe if Jerusalem had tolerated the most Divine Fool she would be a cultivated city today, instead of a city where the past is nearly all that there is to celebrate about it at the present.

Blessings on all who go to Jerusalem to comfort my people: the mentally ill and non-conformists. May God’s people surround the saints restrained with comfort and friendship.

Categories: Evangelism, Peer support, Suffering | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Redeeming the Time – Making the Most of the Moment

In Ephesians, we are exhorted to buy back the time, or as the Holman Christian Standard Bible puts it: “making the most of the time, since the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15-16) http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ephesians%205:15-16&version=NKJV;CEV;HCSB;MSG;NIV

Life is not to be wasted: no frittering away time with cheap sins and silly chatter. Get to the Good News.

This need not be boring. Is God boring? Is God bored? God is interested in your life and thinks about your life all the time. Are you boring? God is constantly supervising a universe that could easily implode were it not for the fact that He sustains the constants and restrains evil.

God is active is redeeming people today. Are you?

Are you redeemed? Are you out of the slave market, or are you always looking for another dollar and another way to serve yourself? Are you confused by all the options that the modern world offers you? OR … Are you free to serve the Living God?

Jesus is calling sinners to repentance. Are you calling sinners to repentance? There are two options, sin or repent and call sinners to repentance. If you think there is such a thing as holy selfishness, you are wrong. If you want to draw near the Lord, labor to share His Name with others. It is not a heavy load.

Jesus is the root of all joy. So when you share Jesus, you are sharing joy. If someone rejects joy by rejecting Jesus, you can keep your joy because you are being honored by suffering the same rejection that they gave to the prophets. If your message of joy in Jesus is received, you have the joy of sharing the Love of your life with another and growing the family of God.

If you receive Jesus as your joy, all of heaven rejoices with you and you will probably want to share Jesus with others.

Are you happy? Are you joyful? Jesus likes it when you look to Him and when your eyes meet His in the secret place, He will smile at you. The smile of King Jesus will give you LIFE!! Oh, friend, don’t look to your own resources. Look to Jesus. Don’t waste your life on lesser things. Let every little detail of your life serve to glorify God.

If you are a carpenter, build up the Kingdom. If you are a plumber, drain away the old ways. If you are a doctor, bring healing. If you are a government employee, admininister justice with mercy. If you are a missionary, go in the power of the Lord and help others find peace with God.

You say, Oh, but you don’t know how much I have to do each day!

Let God help you through the day and you will find your load lighter.

You say, Oh, but you don’t know how much I have sinned and how far I am from God’s mercy!

Did you know that you cannot escape God’s mercy in this life. Seek Him while He may be found. Cry out for His help! He will come to you in a moment.

Do you not understand?

Pray for wisdom.

Are you sick?

Pray for healing.


Jesus loves you.

Every moment, focus on the work God is calling you to do. In those slow times, pray for others or simply thank Jesus that you have found rest for your soul.

My heart is happy because I got to talk to someone about Jesus today. This is my mission in life: to talk to people about Jesus and to listen to God’s heart about those I see. He loves people. So I usually have something to talk to Him about. I must confess, sometimes, I find it hard to be quiet, so I will go do that now: be still and know that He is God. He will be exalted among the nations. He will be exalted in the earth.

Categories: Evangelism, Good News, Prayer, Revival | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Go …

Christians usually remember the Great Commission: Jesus sent out His disciples after He had risen from the tomb and He gave them authority to do what He had been doing. John records these words, “As the Father sent Me, so I send you.” Matthew says, “As you are going, make disciples of all nations: baptizing them in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And Look, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Mark has a fragment of that in a more general blast: Announce the Good News to all creation. Luke 24:44ff is more of a Bible study, which includes the message, the Messiah, the method, and the missions base. Acts details Jesus’ mandate that after the Holy Spirit comes on us, we will be witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea, in Samaria, and to the extreme parts of the earth. Sort of waves of mission activity going out.

But the common action in all these is going. Last night I chatted with 2 guys on the busses I rode. One was a saint and one was interested. With both I sought to make known the Love of God. It really is a simple message when you boil it down.

The problem with boiling down the message is that you will face some heat in the process. Earlier in the day, when eating with a guy who calls himself a saint, a neighbor came up and asked if I was proselytizing. To be honest, I was a little offended. Perhaps my neighbor was being kind and giving me a compliment. However, I don’t see myself as a proselytizer, but as a propagater, spreading propaganda. Whether I am encouraging people to quit smoking or to practice other good health practices, I want to bring Good News to people. Jesus cares about people’s health. If I am encouraging people to be financially responsible, I want to do so in view of the fact that Jesus is financial responsible. The fact is Jesus is so financially responsible that He provides for people food and drink and clothing around the world every day. He even paid the debt of sin we owe to God and gives us an inheritance in heaven. God is good.

So, I don’t see myself as a proselytizer who convinces people to follow me and give up all that they enjoy. Rather, I see myself as a giver: I plant seeds of hope, for both time and eternity. I build trust in the One who is truly reliable. I pour out deliberate acts of kindness.

Some regard kindness as a random thing, but it is not, there is a deliberate agenda behind kindness: to treat people as you would want to be treated in view of the fact that God has treated you as He would have wanted to be treated if He were in your position.

Personally, I think of the many ways I have taken God for granted and ignored His grace, then I immediately want to repent and express each day that I go out: God is good & His faithful love lasts forever, so I am thankful to be alive. I am also thankful you are alive. Maybe you searched the internet today thinking: “How can I die?” “Where can I find a sexy woman?” or just typed in “customer service jobs” or “how to make money” and you read that Jesus can help you with all these … but then Jesus offers something much better: Life after death. Love beyond sex. Managing-self to serve others, and giving money to receive wealth that will never disappoint.

So, go … search the internet and find what this means: I desire to show mercy & not your sacrifice. It is from Hosea, my paraphrase.

Basically, a guy goes crazy, marries an unfaithful woman, he serves her, she takes his money, but then she sells herself as a slave/prostitute, so the prophet buys her back.

You and I are like that woman: foolish & self-destructive. Hosea, whose name means salvation, is like Jesus, whose name Y’shua (from Yehoshua) means the Lord saves.

And if you know Jesus, go, tell somebody else about him so that you can share that joy of your salvation with them. You don’t have to make them conform to your image and proselytize them. Our goal is one of restoration: restoration to the image of God.

Go in peace & serve the Lord.

Categories: Evangelism, Missions | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Jesus is not a Religion, Jesus is the Resurrected Person.

Some object to all talk about Jesus in public life because they say Jesus is controversial. Actually, I don’t see how. Most people will say pleasant things about Jesus.

However there is the religion Jesus and there is the person Jesus. With the religion Jesus you have to do a-z to get in the right mindset. Sometimes this false Jesus just goes under the name mindfulness or muhammed or the book of mormon or some other amount of martyrdom (witnessing.)

The True Jesus is a person, fully God and fully human who heals. There is something about the True Jesus who cannot be contained within the bounds of law or religion. He heals when worthless physicians are off duty. He touches when others would wash their hands clean. He speaks up when others call for plea bargaining. He never tried to start a religion. He simply reminded people of what reality is all about: Loving God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength and secondly about loving your neighbor as yourself.

If you are not loving your neighbor, you are not following Jesus … No matter how much you claim to love God. If you are not loving God, you cannot truly love your neighbor because you may not tell them the historical realities of the resurrection. If you are not telling others about Jesus, you neither love God nor your neighbor.

Jesus is God, so if you love God you will talk about Jesus. Jesus loves your neighbor more than you do, so if you love your neighbor, you will tell them about the One who loves them more than you do.

Some would say that love is religious. So do you call it a religious act when a man loves his wife? Do you call it a religious act when a mother loves her children? Do you call it a religious act when a manager genuinely cares for the welfare of those under their supervision? Do you call it a religious act when government officials show mercy and do justice in their realms of influence?

Perhaps these are all religious acts, in which case, there should be no law against religion or the free exercise thereof (which, by the way, is what the first amendment to the United States Constitution is all about). However, most people around the world see religion as a bunch of rituals done in order to gain favor with god/gods.

Christianity cannot be constructed as a religion by this measure though. The very suffix to the word indicates that it is Christ-like -character-. There can be no law against certain characters or other characters just as there should be now law against honest, compassionate speech.

Let honest and loving speech be freely available to all. And let all the false ideologies and -isms perish. Let the kingdoms of this world become the Kingdom of our God.

False testimony is telling lies about true events which you have observed is wrong. Thus anyone who denies the historicity of the resurrection is guilty of false testimony. The resurrection of Jesus has never been disproven. So to speak of the resurrection of Jesus is a historical act with legal ramifications. It implies that all governments must submit to Jesus as the King of kings, Prime Minister of prime-ministers, President of presidents, Boss of bosses, Lord of lords, etc. He is in charge.

As we anticipate celebrating Resurrection Day around the world, prepare to be a martyr: a witness.

If you are in court during this time, take your day in court to speak of Jesus the great Judge over all the earth. If you speak with a stranger, mention the resurrection of Jesus.

We are, after all, simply talking about historical facts that have humane, daily implications.

Please comment and share stories of how you have spoken freely of King Jesus and what the results have been.

Categories: Evangelism, Good News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Lost & Found: Lessons Learned from a Couple of Gloves

From WikiMedia.

From the Lost & Found

The other day, I visited some saints and shared the good news with some folks who were alienated from the message of Jesus. When I was with the Muslims, I spoke passionately, as did my friend, about the love of God in calling us to obey the truth. However, I myself was missing something, unbeknownst to me. I went to the next place and shared some more. But then as we were getting ready to leave, I realized that I did not have my gloves. I went back and looked, to no avail. I had an appointment to keep, so I had to leave. We prayed and I sang a little song, “I’m a loser, God’s a finder, I’m so glad He found me!”

After singing the second verse, my friend suggested we go to a different locale. So, with his wife in the car, off we went. We reached the place where I had been earlier, and there they were. My friend found the gloves in the very place where we had deduced I must have left them.

So what are some lessons?

You will remember the parable of the lost coin that was found by the married woman. It was the equivalent of a gem in a wedding ring. Here is the passage from Luke 15:8-10, “What woman who has 10 silver coins, if she loses one, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? When she finds it, she calls her women friends and neighbors together, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, because I have found the silver coin I lost!’ I tell you, in the same way, there is joy in the presence of God’s angels over one sinner who repents.” (HCSB)

A. Finding requires a thorough search, so don’t give up when you don’t find the lost on the first try.

B. Cleaning house and sorting through what you have can often reveal the lost. We had to sort through the car and retrace our path, so too, you may have to clean house spiritually to find the lost.

C. It probably required consultation with neighbors to find that coin just as more than one person worked to find those gloves. While God is the Ultimate Finder, when we are looking as the church for the lost, it often requires a host of neighbors to find what we are looking for.

D. Rarely do you find lost things in the first place you look. Don’t get stuck in a rut: be creative, try looking in new places and with new graces. Usually we get so used to routines that we lose our way in the mundane. God reveals the lost when we step out of the routine and look intensely & deeply.

E. The search is worth it. My friend and his wife at one time suggested we just buy new gloves, but then they offered to take me to get the gloves in the last possible place. It was worth it. Less overall cost. It costs less to find the lost than to start all over again. Take the time to look. Looking for the lost is worth it. Finding the lost saves more than what was lost, it saves precious resources and brings peace.

F. When you find, celebrate as a group! They don’t call them search parties for nothing. It should be fun to find! Discovering the resources of giftedness and godliness yet to be revealed to and in the lost is worth going to tell them and telling them again until they come to their senses.

Incidentally, the place where we had the most fun sharing about Jesus was a clothing store. We were able to share about the Lost Son and how he risked everything to be restored. My friend rehearsed the story of redemption with passion. It engaged all of us to engage all of them in a search for the truth. They even received an Arabic-English Bible. God was at work.

Ultimately, we must remember and honor the Lord who reveals the lost and reveals Himself to the lost. He searches them out. He searches their hearts. He finds the treasure planted in the world. He gathers in every grain for His barns.

The Lord Jesus spares no expense to find the lost.

Can we do any less?

Categories: Evangelism, Prayer | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com.