Posted by: pastortomvabeach | October 22, 2013

Thought For The Week October 20, 2013

Missions Convention was tremendous. The flow of messages from Tim Case, Will Stroman and Jerry Martin was fantastic. I believe the Lord has spoken to all of us. Sunday’s Faith Promise total was $84,500! That is colossal considering that many of our congregation were out of town or ill that day. We will give you an opportunity to make a Faith Promise for 2014, this Sunday if you were not able to be here.

Jerry and Angi Martin were with us on Sunday, and Jerry shared a message that asked some questions. The first was “What are you risking for Christ?” He read the account from John’s gospel where Jesus left the safety of a distant rural setting, where He had gone to avoid being stoned or worse, and went back to the place where there was danger so he could serve His friends Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. (John 10 and 11)

When Jesus decided to take this risk Himself, Thomas, speaking for himself and the other disciples said, Let us also go, that we may die with him. (John 11:16) Since Jesus was “wanted”, so to speak, being with Him put one in danger of receiving the same treatment He faced.

Why did Jesus and the disciples go to Bethany which put them so close to those who wanted to get them out of the way? Lazarus needed Him. You remember the story. Lazarus was sick and died. Jesus came, by most thinking, too late. The funeral was over, the body buried, the tomb closed. Why risk it? Because Lazarus really needed Him! Jesus took the risk to reveal God’s power over sickness, sin, and death. Because He came Lazarus was raised to life. Jesus did that!

But what of the disciples? Did you know that they had a part? Jesus spoke the words of life, but he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes; and his face was bound about with a napkin. (John 11:44) Immediately Jesus commanded those with him to help Lazarus get free from these stinking trappings of death. Lazarus needed the disciples, too! That’s why they risked going with Jesus.

May I make the correlation that Jerry made on Sunday? There are people all around us, both close by and in distant places who need Jesus and who need us. Romans 10 tells us that they won’t be able to find Jesus without us (How shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard and how shall they hear without a preacher?). In other words, people without Jesus need us!

If we are going to help them to find Jesus and to work through the process of removing the stinky graveclothes, it almost always means we must take some sort of risk. Now not very many of us will ever risk being arrested, persecuted, or harmed by people who are against the Lord like the disciples did. Aren’t you glad about that?

So what kinds of risks do we face today? Probably the number one risk is feeling uncomfortable or out of our element. Most ministry efforts put us in a position to serve someone, interact with them, teach them, speak into their lives, and admittedly, most of us feel uncomfortable and that feels risky. When we venture out to talk about Jesus to friends, co-workers, family members, or others, we risk being misunderstood, rejected, even made fun of for our beliefs. When we accept the challenge to serve kids, youth, adults in whatever capacity we risk being unsuccessful or failing. When we commit our finances to furthering the Gospel sometimes we feel that is risky.

Do you see the point? Yes, there are risks involved in serving the Lord by serving others through reaching out, teaching, discipling, giving Jesus’ love away BUT as the Hebrews writer says, Consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself (Jesus), lest you be wearied and faint in your minds. You have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. (Hebrews 12:3-4). He’s saying to us, what we risk is so tiny compared to what Jesus risked and did on our behalf. If He was willing to give His life for us, how can we not endure some unpleasant feelings or even fear of failure to help those who need Him?

What are you risking for Jesus? Have you considered whom it is within your acquaintance that needs you because they need Jesus? Could you risk personal comfort, leisure time, uneasy feelings on the off chance you might be able to help someone find their way out of the tomb of sin or walk with them through the process of getting free of the stinky grave clothes that accompany our lives before Christ? Where are you in the process of being unbound? Is it possible that risking yourself to help someone else might also help you? Lots of thoughts. Any answers?


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