What can we do?

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I recently attended a memorial service that was put together for the sole purpose of singing God’s praises and reflecting on the memories of people who had passed.  It was not set up for any particular person and those gathered generally did not know the names of all those being remembered.  When the songs were being sung people were invited to come to the front of the sanctuary and place a small cross, with their loved one’s name, on a tree as a symbolic memorial. As I listened to the songs, prayers and poems my mind turned to three men I know who are very ill.  I sat staring at the tree as it filled with crosses and knew I did not want to be sitting in a similar setting in the near future talking about any of these men in the past tense.  Prayers for their physical healing have been said.  All who prayed certainly wanted God’s name lifted up but some of their thoughts were focused on these men getting better.  We all want our ill family and friends to get better because we are afraid.  We fear for their families, their friends and even for ourselves.  We are afraid because, throughout the process, we keep asking what can we do?

During the service one singer sang Kari Jobe’s Healer and it quickly refocused my mind.  As she sang these words “Jesus you’re all I need, more than enough for me, Jesus you’re all I need” it reminded me that none of the men had a relationship with Jesus.  None were saved as far as I understood.  Like others who know unsaved ill people, we know that the most important thing the lost need, even above their healing, is Jesus.  To the ill person that seems an illogical statement to make and they definitely would not agree with that truth.  In fact, they might question a believer’s faith because they seem more concerned about what happens after death and not what is happening now.  When we visit our unsaved sick friends and relatives we are afraid that their illness will overcome them before they have a chance to call Jesus their Lord. We may be afraid that when we speak with them we will be inadequate and say things that would scare them away from any thoughts of God.  But we know Jesus is all they need.

The women who sang Healer shared words from Jeremiah 17:14 which states “Heal me, Lord, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise”.  It hit me as to what we can do – trust God to be in control.  God wants all of his creation to come to know Him and He will give each an opportunity to call on Him.  Maybe that means you or I will be used by God to share some hope or maybe God will call out to them in the night as He did with Samuel. Whatever happens we must not fear or worry about what we can do because, God is in control.

What can we do? We can give it over to God and trust His will to be done.  We can be attentive to the Holy Spirit who will call us to pray or even interact with the lost.  We can be there for our ill friends and shower them with our love and trust God will set up the divine appointment where they will hear His truths.

Pinched by the Spirit

Pinched by the Spirit 2016-04-22

Have you ever found yourself in a situation that seemed so perfect you wanted to pinch yourself to see if you were dreaming?  Your expectations were being met, you had a sense of accomplishment, and others may have been acknowledging you as a contributor to their own happiness.  Whatever was happening seemed unreal probably because too often people, including Christians, go about their lives expecting the worst, or at least something less than perfect, to happen.  Many enter their world daily, expecting a glitch to derail their plans, relationships or even their moods.  So when something good occurs, other activities of the world become white noise.  For a few moments they don’t see or hear anything else.  PINCH ME moments are not ongoing occurrences for many and so when they happen, many struggle to accept them..

Jesus stated that after He ascended to the Father, a counsellor would come along side believers so that they could live for Him.  The helper would enable His followers to understand and interpret God’s word.  God’s Holy Spirit is this helper and He wants to encourage and exhort us. We know that He comes bearing gifts for believers so they can function as the body of Christ and be His ambassadors to the world, showing His grace and glorifying Him.  This helper also transforms us by harvesting His fruit in our lives; the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Most importantly this counsellor has come to pinch us throughout the day.  He wants to stir us from the thoughts that our jobs, our families or even our ministries are the final destination.  He pinches us so as to disrupt our dreams that suggest the world is the place to be.  He pinches us so that we open our eyes to see God’s will before us.  He wakens us up to His reality revealing how much of God is actually around us daily and how we can be part of His service.  The Holy Spirit pinches us to wake us so we will look at the path we are on.

Paul reminded the Galatians that since we have been given the Counsellor we should look to fall in line with Him; we should anticipate and react to His pinches.  The Holy Spirit has taken up residence in our lives and He performs all His miraculous functions as He dwells within us. His presence is not just for a few movements throughout the day because He dwells with us forever. He will never leave or forsake us and as long as we react He will continue to pinch.  Our challenge is to not only thank God for the precious gift of the Holy Spirit and His work in our lives but to keep in step with the Spirit so that we can recognize His pinches and see God’s glory. Our challenge is to respond to the Holy Spirit.

Pray the Holy Spirit will pinch you often today and that you will be able to recognize it and respond.

Step UP & Step IN

When Jesus made the statement in Matthew 9:37-38 to His disciples, He had been travelling from town to town preaching and healing. He witnessed the daily lives of the people and seen their helplessness.  He knew they need to hear His message and shared that so many need God and yet so few are sharing His truth.  When Jesus told His disciples to pray that more people are sent out to share the gospel, He was not speaking to His generation but was addressing future generations, like ours.
When we choose to become disciples of God, we must not forget that we also choose to become missionaries for Him to carry out His mission.  We choose to become involved in the harvest as seed planters, those who feed the crops, or those who gathered up the crops.  We choose to become involved in sharing the gospel to the helpless, those who need Jesus.
I recently heard an Andy Stanley sermon where he spoke about individual involvement in sharing God’s hope.  He challenged all generations listening, to ask themselves what kind of disciples had they become.  Are they continually seeking to grow their relationship with God, are they living as followers of Christ outside the church doors, and are they reaching out to family and friends and telling them about Jesus?  He said if we are not actively engaged in those activities, then we need to Step UP and Step IN.  The mission is not over because God has not called us to glory.  There are people in desperate need of hope and we have that message within us to share.  We need to step up our game, revaluate our individual role as a disciple and get involved because the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.
What can you do?  Firstly, take Jesus’ advice and pray.  Pray for your church.  You know that with a little bit of thought you can identify those in your church who have become bystanders.  Many are probably long time followers but somehow have lost their love of the mission.  Pray that revival comes into their lives.  Pray you are also revived and so are refocused on what God has called you to do.  Pray God gives you strength and courage to step up to become the disciple He desires.
Next, adopt a missionary attitude.  Recognize your neighbourhood, workplace and the places you shop and go to be entertained as your mission field.  This is not only the food bank where you serve at or the seniors’ home where you may sing or volunteer.  It is the community where you live and where helpless people are wandering through life with no hope.  There is no retirement from kingdom work and so STEP UP and ask God to show you where to STEP IN.

Keith’s Perspective on the Book of John

The writer
Keith Magee

Some time ago I met Keith Magee, a former member of the Royal Canadian Navy. Keith served in the Navy as a “Rating” (radio communications) from 1965 to 1970. After his service Keith went on to study mechanical engineering and to get married. A few years later Keith became the youngest teacher at the BC Institute of Technology. Keith was responsible for preparing students in overland conveyor design intended for the Tumbler Ridge coal mines. At that time, both the department head and a fellow instructor were Christians. These two individuals would openly share Christ with Keith, and within a few months Keith brought a Bible to his office and started reading it in his off-hours. Bill (Department Head) and Gary (fellow instructor) always seemed to be close at hand to answer Keith’s questions. Within four months (Dec 28, 1983) Keith confessed his sins, repented, and accepted Jesus as his personal Saviour and Lord. Keith joined the local Baptist Church, and was baptized within the year.  Read more