Move it along!

After watching a variety of news events from throughout the night, the title of “Move it Along” came to me. What happened next was my prayer to try and determine what God might want me to write about.

Soon, the passage came to me:

If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that house or town.  (Matthew 10:14 HCSB)

I started thinking about WHY this passage.  Then, I began thinking about Pastor Carter’s message this past Sunday on questions to ask when reading the Bible.  The main question that kept running through my head was “What is the Big Picture?”  What does God want me to get from this passage.  So, I had to go back to the story:

Jesus sent out these 12 [disciples] after giving them instructions: …. 6… go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, announce this: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those with skin diseases, drive out demons. You have received free of charge; give free of charge. Don’t take along gold, silver, or copper for your money-belts. 10 Don’t take a traveling bag for the road, or an extra shirt, sandals, or a walking stick, for the worker is worthy of his food.”

11 “When you enter any town or village, find out who is worthy, and stay there until you leave. 12 Greet a household when you enter it, 13 and if the household is worthy, let your peace be on it. But if it is unworthy, let your peace return to you. 14 If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that house or town. 15 I assure you: It will be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town.”

Each person may get a different Big Picture from this story.  My Big Picture continues to focus on the last section which directly emphasizes either being part of a house or village, or separation from a house or village. I believe, therefore, that when we find people willing to obey God, we are to fellowship with them, and share our blessings (peace) with them.  However, when we find people who are unwilling to obey God, then we are to separate ourselves from them.*

I believe this Big Picture follows teaching throughout the Bible of separating ourselves from sin.  When people don’t obey God, they are in sin, and our presence near that kind of behavior can negatively influence us. Therefore, we should flee from sin and those who don’t open themselves to the Truth of God.

As you live life, spend time with those who love Christ.  As you find people who continually deny Christ, Move It Along!

* NOTE:  Please understand that I am NOT saying that “we should not witness to the lost.”  On the contrary,  I totally agree with the Great Commission.  We MUST go into all nations and preach the Gospel.  In fact, the passage I listed above even quotes Jesus telling the disciples to “go to the LOST SHEEP” (emphasis mine).  But let’s not forget that while we are to share the Gospel in Love, we are not to associate with sin.  Therefore, it is our job to love others, tell them the truth about God, but also to shield ourselves from sin (our body is a temple where Jesus lives – 1 Cor 6:19-20).

 

Do you have to do that today?

Each of us have busy lives; I get it. With a recent move in my past, I can attest to busyness. I have so much to do, and only 24 hours in a day.  Thankfully, NOT everything has to be done today (although it sure would be nice to get it all done and relax tomorrow).

Because we have limited time on our hands, we must establish priorities.  Unfortunately, I am one that even if I establish a list of priorities, I still seem to miss the boat, and get distracted by other things that need done.  This happens whether I am at work, or at home.

So, what is the best way to focus on our priorities? Well, a lot of experts will tell you to start by making a list of everything to be done. Then, focus on the important, not necessarily urgent items. What’s the difference? A good example of an important task is feeding your family or paying your bills. An urgent task on the other hand is answering a ringing phone (wait, does it really need answered right now? – most times the answer is “no”). Focus on the important things first! [Of course, some will say you don’t know if the phone call was important unless you answer it; this is correct, but how many times are phone call topics urgent? Not very often.]

I’d like you to read the story below and see what you think about the importance and urgency of the tasks the shepherds had to do:

8 Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. [note: important and urgent task]

9 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: 14 “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” [note: urgent task]

16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. 17 Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. [note: important task]

18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them. [note: important task] (Luke 2:8-20 ASV)

Do you agree with my assessment: important vs urgent?

Did you find that the shepherds left their important task [tending sheep] to answer the call of the angels [urgent task]? Was it important for the shepherds to visit the Babe in the manger?

. . .

Further point to ponder, prior to today’s reading had you ever noted what the shepherds did in verse 17? They told others about Jesus’ birth [was this an urgent or important task], and then in verse 20, they returned to glorify and praise God [important task].

Is it urgent or important that we tell others about Christ?

Who me?

Ever been asked to do something and your initial response was one of total shock? “Who me? You want ME to do ______?”

Well, it’s not uncommon to see the same message in the Bible because God calls ordinary men to serve. Jeremiah was called as a youth:

“Ah, Sovereign LORD,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am only a child.” But the LORD said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a child.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you.  Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the LORD. – Jeremiah 1:6-8

In Judges, Gideon was called to save Israel:

 “But Lord , ” Gideon asked, “how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.”  The LORD answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites together.” – Judges 6:15-16

And finally, one of the most popular men, Moses:

But Moses said to God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” And God said, “I will be with you….” – Exodus 3:11-12

If you look closely back on these passages you see two common themes:

  1. The “ordinary” person felt unworthy
  2. God declared “I am with you”

Don’t feel that you are unimportant! Don’t think that you are not worthy. Don’t think that God doesn’t want you to help serve. God chooses people all that time that are “ordinary.”

At the same time, don’t wait on God to call you. The best way to determine what plan God has for you is to start quickly. As you take on different roles, you will discover which ones God has determined for you. You will quickly find yourself with even more possibilities than you ever dreamed. He will open your eyes to needs that you will feel led to pursue. Don’t wait on him, and don’t dare say “who…me?” He is with you…fear not!

Go and Tell…

Ok, so you’ve heard the Great Commission (“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations… – Matthew 28:19)


Mark 16:15 repeats this “He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.’

Yet, how many of us do this? Well, I’m happy to say that Sunday night, 4 students took some steps forward to do this. I was honored, and I’m sure God was too, when some students came forth and gave their testimony during church.

Public speaking is probably one of the hardest things to do, next to witnessing to someone. And this weekend gave me great hope in the youth of our generation as they came forward not only to speak, but to speak about God. They are taking the first steps toward speaking out TRUTH in our nation. 

In the news today, there are so many anti-Christian remarks and rulings that makes me wonder what happened to the country our forefathers established in America. What happened to our Freedom of Religion? Or Freedom of speech?

Just today in the news is an “outrage” concerning a Penn State T-shirt that may resemble a cross design on the front (see http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,569665,00.html?loomia_ow=t0:s0:a16:g2:r5:c0.076740:b28529225:z10 for the story).

“It’s just sad to see that in this day and age, the most offensive thing on a shirt can be what people see as a religious symbol,” said Stephanie Bennis, a senior at the school who designed the shirt.

Think about this:

We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Well, there it is in black and white. We want to secure the blessings of liberty! It was said a long time ago, I just wish it was still true. So, how do we continue to secure these blessings? By speaking out to the government. I think too many times that we Christians sit down and are quiet because we fear it is wrong if we cause an “uprising” to support our cause. Well, every other non-Christian group is speaking out, so it is now our turn to speak out.

Go and Tell! Tell the world (and our nation) that we believe in God and that we want our religious freedom back. We want our liberty! Without liberty, democracy is in jeopardy. Without democracy, our government may become communist or a dictatorship!

“It’s just sad to see that in this day and age, the most offensive thing on a shirt can be what people see as a religious symbol,” she said.

Did Adam and Eve really have it that easy?

Genesis 2:15 – “The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.”

I find it interesting that even in the opening book of the Bible, God didn’t tell man to “have fun,” but to work and keep the Garden of Eden. Here, in what is probably the second best area to ever live (Heaven being the best), man is told he will have to work. He is given a mission, and fails miserably at it.

Recently, I read that when you hear of someone else that has fallen, don’t judge, but first realize that you too are a sinner – just as capable of falling into the same sin that the other person has. Here, Adam, as one of us, the first man, proved that failure is going to happen. What matters next is how we respond to it. Later in the book of Genesis, we see how Adam responded (by hiding from God). We too, are so guilty of trying to hide from God. Why can’t we learn from other’s mistakes?

Furthermore, in Genesis 2:19 we also see that it was Adam’s mission to name all the animals. Today, we sometimes take “mission” work to the extreme and think we have to “go” somewhere to do God’s work. But there is MUCH work to be done in our hometowns. Please let’s not forget our hometowns. Sometimes I wonder how the poor people near our churches feel about us going elsewhere to care for others when there are so many within just miles of our church that need help.

Go and make disciples, but don’t forget to start at home! Adam and Eve had a mission to carry out that God gave them. Just like you and I, God wants us to succeed. He knows that we might “miss the boat” (so to speak) on occassion, but if you do, get back up, and start fresh again.

Try to follow God in everything you do. It isn’t always easy, but it is always worth it!