Sunday, October 26, 2008

Who do we invite to our home? Luke 14:12-14

Yesterday (Saturday) we had house church fellowship at my home. During last week my intention was to invite a fellow from the local mobile home park we minister at.
Thursday I went to visit with some of the people we disciple and I stopped at this mans home first. He asked me if I would take him to vote on Friday and I told him I would. I asked him if he would come to eat at our house on Saturday and that I would come over and pick him up. He said yes he would.
All of this has stemmed from the scripture where Jesus said, "When you give a dinner or a supper, do not ask your friends, your brothers, your relatives, nor rich neighbors, lest they also invite you back, and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the ressurrection of the just." Luke 14:12-14
I have been dealing with this scripture for a while, because both of the places I have fellowship here in my city and also in Texas where I am from this was not being followed. We (myself included), would always invite people from our fellowship to our homes to eat and vice versa. I never really new any poor because I didn't go out in an effort to reach anyone who was poor.
I know some may say well the scripture is just a metaphor or something to that effect. I say that Jesus said it and we must follow as He wills. Since coming to Conway that very scripture has been on my mind a lot. Especially when we were invited to another brothers home to eat and of course then others were at our home also.
Now though reality has hit me. I have been doing an outreach ministry every week where this gentleman lives. Which happens to be one the most run down areas of the city. You name it drugs, alcohol, prostitution, homosexuality, drive by shootings and of course the poor. It's all there at this mobile home park. The very people Jesus spoke about who would be amongst us.
Now back to where I started this post. Thursday night after having invited this man to my home reality hit me. When I say reality I mean thoughts and flesh were being hammered by concerns. This gentleman is like an adult version of Pig Pen from the Peanuts comics. His living conditions are not very hygenic as well as himself. He is a very gentle and kind person.
Anyway during the night some concerns came to light as I was sleeping. I was worried about how he would make my house and furniture smell and what if he brought some cockroaches to my house. With all of this going on in my mind I felt the deep conviction of the Lord weigh heavily on my heart. The Lord showed me where I still had an ill will towards my friend concerning how he dressed and looked. He showed me that as long as I was going over to where he lived I was ok being around him. Now that I was going to bring him to my "clean" home that I really wasn't comfortable with that. After all of the praying and seeking forgiveness with the Lord I went back to sleep with a peace from God. Repentance! I had to repent of the issue still buried within me.
Friday morning I went to pick the man up and I had the peace of the Lord in my heart. Granted my nose wasn't happy, but my mind was. I took him to run his errands (he doesn't have transportation) and then we went to the public library to early vote where we stood in line for over 30 minutes. Then he was ready to go home.
Saturday evening I went to pick him up and bring him over to my house. Well, when I got there he wasn't home. So I went to where I thought he might be and he was walking back to his home carrying his big big duffle bag full of clothes. He has to walk over two miles each way to wash his clothes. I pulled over and told him to get in. I asked him if he was still coming to eat and he told me he wasn't feeling good and would have to cancel. I told him that would be ok and we would pray for him. I took him back to his house and said, I will see you Sunday. As I dropped him off he to told me to tell my family hello and that he really misses them.
There it is, God used all of that to show me where I still had pride and needed to repent. I urge you as you read this to go out of your comfort zone and see the needs of those who can't repay.
Don't forget the poor as they need the gospel and the love. I feel we have become to complacent with just hanging out with those within our own circle of friends and fellowship and in turn have neglected the very words of Jesus. How are we to reach out to people if we won't go to them and in turn maybe invite them to eat. Jesus did a lot of ministry eating with the poor so shouldn't we? I praise God for showing me where I still had issues concerning this. Praise God!!!

Monday, October 20, 2008

If you are a Believer are you also a Follower?

Think about that for a minute.
My wife asked me the other day if the word believer was in the bible. I said, I don't know. I do know that the word believe was in there. So I did some research and found some scripture about believers. Some of them are Acts 16:1, 2 Corinthians 6:15, 1Timothy 4:12 and 1 Timothy 6:2. I didn't do any heavy research in the concordances, just what the back of my bibles had. That said, you may say well,what is your point then?
My point is, how many of us who do believe go up to someone and ask people are you a believer in our time of evangelizing? Usually the common answer we hear is yes, I believe in God, especially in the bible belt. Everyone in the bible belt is a believer right? (sarcasm) Anyway in the book of James we read the following: "You believe God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe and shudder!"
A lot of people may say they are a believer for the following reasons; they go to church, they were baptized as infants in the church, they were told they are saved because they said a prayer, or they were born in the United States.
Perhaps it's not always best to ask a person if they are a believer in God when you first meet. Maybe we should say, are you a follower of Jesus. Or maybe we should add, have you been following Him since you believed.
You see a true believer should be producing fruit. I urge you to read the book of 1 John and see what a believer should look like. Listen to this as you read it, 1 John 2:4 "Whoever says, 'I know Him' but does not keep His commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps His word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in Him: whoever says he abides in Him ought to walk in the same way in which He walked." So if you say you believe or are a believer, are you walking in the way Jesus walked when He was on earth?
1 John 5:1f "Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of Him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey His commandments."
1 John 5:10-11 "Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning His Son."
People who truly believe in Jesus are called sheep, followers, chosen, and saints. I am not saying the word believer shouldn't be used, but maybe we should be better at clarifying what we mean. Are you following Jesus since you believed? Is there fruit in your life? If you say you believe in God then you should be bearing fruit. You should be humbly seeking Him and wanting to do His will.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Pray for the Saints.....not dead ones

In the scriptures as I posted before we are to pray for the Lord to send out laborers to the harvest. Well, in this post I would like to show that we are to be praying for one another and just praying to God daily.
1 Thessolonians 5:17 We are to "pray without ceasing"
1 Thessolonians 5:25 says, "pray for us"...
1 Timothy 2:8 "I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting:"...
James 5:13 "Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray.
James 5:16 "Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
You see God has set forth a way we can help each other through prayers. He doesn't need us, but He chooses to include us in His kingdoms work. Pray without ceasing, pray for the our brothers and sisters in Christ. Pray for those who are in chains, prisons, sick and hurting. Pray without ceasing. Means we need to be ready in season and out in all we do.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Pray for the lost and the laborers?

It seems as saints of God we tend to pray only for the lost to be saved. As time progressed I became convinced by the word of God that we are doing things wrong in that area. You see in the scriptures what did Jesus say for us to do?

"The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into the harvest." Luke 10:2 ESV

You see there is an abundance of lost people (harvest), but few laborers (witnesses). So we need to be praying for the Lord to send out more witnesses to present the gospel to the world so that they may be saved.
The scripture also says, " How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him whom they have never heard? And how are they to "hear" without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent?" Romans 10:14-15
So we need to be praying for the lost to be saved Romans 10:1, but also for the laborers to be sent.
Guess who those laborers are? Us, yes we who are called into Jesus' kingdom are the laborers who should be out witnessing, evangelizing and praying. So as we are called we should go. Not just the pastor, or evangelist etc., but all. We are to be praying for the saints (each other) as they and we go out to witness. So there it is now go. Pray for the sick, lame and demon possessed, but tell them about Jesus.