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A Word from Pastor...

Friends of Faith,

“O give thanks unto the Lord for He is good..” Psalm 107:1

      I like the Thanksgiving holiday because it’s a time for families to be together. It’s also a time to slow down and remember all that we can thank the Lord for, a chance to meditate on His goodness. Certainly on the top of that list is the fact that God gave us Jesus, the Savior. I’m so thankful that I can have forgiveness of sin because Jesus paid the penalty for sin. I’m thankful I can have eternal life because Jesus conquered death. I’m thankful I can live my life here on earth with hope because Jesus has prepared a place for me in heaven.

Are you down or depressed? The cure is to have a thankful heart. Start thanking God for all He has done and is doing for you and your spirit will be lifted and you will begin to rejoice. Thanksgiving is a good time to “Count your blessings” as the hymn writer says. You can do that literally, take a piece of paper and list the things you are thankful for. Leave it out on your desk or kitchen counter and add on to it as the Lord reminds you of things to be thankful for during the month of November. On Thanksgiving day take your list and humbly bow before the Lord and give thanks for all He has done.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

Pastor Paul

 

Serving God and Others

Recognizing How Any Old Bush Will Do!

      I’ve heard it said, “Whether these are the best of times or the worst of times, it’s the only time we’ve got.” That’s a good reminder for us as God’s ambassadors. This is our moment in history. We must serve the Lord daily during the time we have now. But how can we serve? What characterizes a genuine and successful ambassador for Christ?

Many Christians believe that if they work hard enough and pray long enough, then they’ll be successful. But that’s the essence of legalism. This was the case with Moses when he killed an Egyptian who was beating a Hebrew slave. Moses relied on his own power--the weapons of human strength.

This was my situation when I came to the United States in 1960 to further my biblical studies. I had big dreams I wanted to see quickly accomplished. My impatience led me to rely on my own power, not on the Lord’s.

During one of the last chapel services before Christmas break, our speaker was Major Ian Thomas, founder of the Torchbearers in England. His theme was “Any Old Bush Will Do, As Long As God Is in the Bush.” His reference, of course, alluded to God’s choice of a burning bush to speak to Moses.

He pointed out that it took Moses 40 years in the wilderness to realize he was nothing. God was trying to tell Moses, “I don’t need a pretty bush or an educated bush or an eloquent bush. If I am going to use you, I am going to use you. It will not be you doing something for Me, but Me doing something through you.”

Major Thomas suggested that the bush in the desert was likely a bunch of dry sticks with hardly any foliage, yet Moses had to take off his shoes because God was in the bush.

I was like that ordinary bush. I could do nothing for God. All my reading, studying, asking questions, and trying to model myself after other people was worthless. Everything in my ministry was worthless unless God was in me. No wonder I felt so frustrated: Only He could make something supernatural happen.

         When Major Thomas closed with Galatians 2:20, it all came together: “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.”

I realized that I needed to depend on the indwelling, resurrected, almighty Lord Jesus Christ and not on myself. I had tremendous peace because I didn’t have to struggle anymore. God was finally in control of this bush.

Perhaps that is your situation today. Remember, our inner resource is God himself because of our union with Jesus Christ (Colossians 2:9-15) Out of this understanding comes a godly sense of self-worth. You’re God’s child. His servant!

Dreaming Great Dreams

When I was about 17 years old and beginning to take the bible seriously, one particular verse bothered me. I couldn’t believe that it meant what it said. I checked several translations to see if I could find a better rendering. But the verse is worded essentially the same in each translation:”Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” (John 14:12)

That is a fantastic, almost incredible promise from the lips of the Lord Jesus, and it has been proven many times. Have you proven it true in your own life?

As a teenager growing up in Argentina, I felt frustrated about evangelizing those who did not yet know Christ. Lord, there are millions of people in this country without Christ, I thought. Yet here we sit, Sunday after Sunday, the same people doing the same thing, seeing the same minimal results, We have to reach out.

Some of my dreams were so wild that I didn’t tell anyone except my mother about them, and I didn’t even tell her all of them. She encouraged us, saying, “Come on! You don’t need a special message from the Lord. He gave the order centuries ago to preach the good news to everyone. So go. Don’t keep waiting for more instructions.”

         So we began to evangelize, slowly, in a small way. Now I am constantly amazed how the Lord has fulfilled so many of our great dreams of sharing the gospel over the past thirty years. “Praise the Lord!” we’ve said again and again. “It’s happening! The gospel is being spread!”

Today Christ is calling you and me, His ambassadors, to dream great dreams, because anyone who believes in Him can do the great works He did, spreading a message that reconciles people to God.

How is that possible? The key to this promise is twofold.

First, because Christ was going to the Father, He would send the Holy Spirit to indwell us. Now that the Spirit indwells us as believers, Christ does His works through us!

Second, Christ adds a condition to His promise: “Whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing” (italics added). The Lord challenges us to have faith--not necessarily to have more faith, but faith in Him. It is an ongoing faith. Another translation puts it this way: “He who continues to believe in me will also do the works that I do.”

Have you stopped seeing great things happen in your life? Recognize that with God, “any old bush will do,” and have faith that He will work through you, continuing Christ’s work.

Taken from the Discovery Series “God at the Center...Habits for Spiritual Growth”               by Luis Palau

 

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