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March 16, 2019
Laborers of the Harvest
In the past 6 weeks, I had the opportunity to work in one of the long-term Skilled Nursing Facilities in town as an interim director of nursing. In such a short period of time, I noticed that nurses and staff alike were so busy catching up with deadlines, routines, and chartings that they did not have time to build relationships nor listen to the patients. As a result, individual needs were not addressed and complaints abound.
What would Jesus see and do if He visits that facility? Jesus will see needy people and will show compassion for each of the residents. Matthew 9:36 says, “But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.” Jesus will keep the residents His priority.
I had several opportunities to visit residents in their rooms and listen to them. Many of them were` helpless, wheel-chair-bound, if not bedridden. Some have no relatives to visit them. Coming inside the room just to say hello and to ask how they were doing created big smiles on their faces. These gestures gave me a chance to build friendships and allowed me two opportunities to share the gospel. One of them prayed to receive Christ; the other is already a Chris-tian but needed assurance of his salvation.
I realized that beyond all their physical and health needs, they have deep spiritual needs. And they need the Lord. Steve Green expressed this need in his song, People Need the Lord: (if you get the chance please listen to this song on YouTube)
Every day they pass me by, I can see it in their eyeEmpty people filled with care, headed who knows whereOn they go through private pain, living fear to fearLaughter hides their silent cries, only Jesus hears
People need the Lord, people need the LordAt the end of broken dreams, He's the open doorPeople need the Lord, people need the LordWhen will we realize people need the Lord?We are called to take His light to a world where wrong seems rightWhat would be too great a cost for sharing life with one who's lost?Through His love our hearts can feel, all the grief they bearThey must hear the words of life only we can share
Jesus makes people His priority. He says, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” (Matthew 9:37-38). When you look out into your neighborhood and community, what do you see? And what would you do?
March 10, 2019
You Can Change Your World
Psalm 5:11-12 - But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you. (12) For you bless the righteous, O LORD; you cover him with favor as with a shield.
You don’t have to listen to the news cycles for very long to realize this world needs some changes, but most people look to the wrong places, people or parties to provide that change. Lately, at the Grace Baptist College/Career group (called “Refuge”) we have been talking a lot about changing the world. One thing I love about working with young folks is their enthusiasm to want to change the world. They have not yet become as cynical and jaded as us, “old folks”.
Yet, when you look at the world, the task of bringing repair, redemption and change seems impossible. It is easy to give up, become cynical and get jaded. We have encouraged “Refuge” by saying, “you may not change the whole world, but you CAN change your world”. This is how Jesus set out changing the world, by making one disciple at a time. If we are disciples, imitators of the Master, then we should look to that example.
While the task may be enormous, the Psalmist tells us we have a refuge, protection and shield and that we can rejoice, sing and be blessed as we love Him and serve Him in righteousness. We do not engage this task alone. Empowered by the Spirit and walking together with our brothers and sisters in Christ, our world becomes a better place. And if not the whole world, then at least our piece of it.
If you’re in the college/career “category”, come join us Thursday nights at the Price house. Dinner is at 6:30 pm, prayer, music and bible study to follow and then whatever (questions, discussion, games, fellowship, ???) until the old folks can’t hang. Door is always open. Let’s change the world…
March 01, 2019
What Can I Do?
I’m so grateful for the challenges we are receiving from Pastor Andy encouraging us to share the Gospel, with much instruction on that which we are commanded to do. Connect time with Bob and Tennie has been encouraging, instructing us in our prayer time.
That is encouraging me in my prayer life and different avenues of prayer. One of the things both of these lead to is, serving – getting out of our comfort zone and obeying – where are you serving? There are so many opportunities going on at GBC to plug in to and we are blessed with so many choices:
- The activities at Grace like Easter Egg Hunt, VBS, Fall Festival etc.
- Missions such as Belize, Philippines
- City Serve We have many options and lots of excuses, but our excuses keep us from seeing God at work, being a part of His work, and seeing His work accomplished
For most of this last year I have been volunteering at Bakersfield Pregnancy Center (BPC) and fulfilling a spark that God planted in my heart years ago. I am so blessed to be a part of where God is working. There is much need for help (prayer, bodies willing to give time and effort, baby and mom supplies, and financial donations).
This week at Women Of Grace we will be having a Baby Shower for BPC to help fill the needs for these mommas and babies. They do a Baby Shower once a quarter for those who are due around that time. This blesses the mommas and babies, and it blesses us to see them feel like they are of value, having a party for them, and showing God’s love all around.
Think about where God wants you serving, who He wants you praying for, and to whom you are to share the Gospel with today (plant a seed, water it, and watch to see how God grows it).
February 24, 2019
Greeting With A Desire For The Fire
In today's culture, our greeting of one another takes different forms depending on the situation. It is based on how well we know the person, and the length of time we have known them. When we pass a stranger on the street, we may smile, just nod, or say a reserved “hi”, but that is about the extent of it. We tend to not look them in the eye for fear of overstepping the invisible, but widely known, boundary of invading their personal space. The better we know someone, the more that invisible boundary line disappears, and turns to welcoming open arms, big hugs, words of encouragement, and, for those extra special people in our lives, all of the above, plus words of affection and kisses.
In the early church, it was like the latter ALL the time. The love that the church showed to each other was a truly exemplary greeting of each other with a deep desire for the fire of Jesus. When they met together they showed their passionate love of Christ by the way they greeted each other. In 1 Corinthians 16:20 it says, “All the brethren greet you. Greet each other with a holy kiss”. In 3 John 14:14 it states, “Peace to you. Our friends greet you. Greet the friends by name.” In Titus 3:15 it says, “All those who are with me greet you. Greet those who love us in the faith.”
As Christians we are called to do what the early Christians did, but extend it to ALL in our day-to-day encounters by greeting everyone with the fire of Christ in our hearts. We need to let our light shine brightly and boldly for all to see, but especially the lost and the worldly. As the song and scripture state, “They will know we are Christians by our love!” and “Let your light shine before men”, Matt 5:15.
As we greet others, we need to stand out and share our passion for Jesus with everyone, not just our fellow Christians. The non-believer needs to see we are different, and that we love everyone with a passionate desire in our heart that comes from Jesus. It is that first encounter that could be the catalyst for sharing the Gospel with them. This is why the greeter ministry is so important. We are the first “hello!” they hear and see, and it is laying the foundation of a future relationship with them that could lead them to salvation. They must see the genuine love we have in our hearts for them by the way we welcome them and make them feel at home, here at Grace.
February 17, 2019
The Heart of Worship
The heart of worship is just that…it starts with our Heart. We are blessed here at GBC to have so many talented musical people that share their gifts and minister to us all in leading us in music and song. But we have so many opportunities to Worship God with our church family. Sundays we can come together at 9 am and pray together, then at 9:30 we study God’s word together, followed by our corporate worship service at 10:30 am. Then throughout the week there are so many opportunities to connect with others in the body through small groups and age-specific ministries. Our worship should never cease. In everything that we do, we should be giving honor and praise to God. We are so blessed at GBC to have the opportunity to worship through loving God, loving others, and reaching the world.
“Let everything that has breath praise the LORD! Praise the LORD!” Psalm 150:6 ESV
February 08, 2019
They called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah.
When I look up in our sanctuary and see a wall covered with names, names that represent lost souls that are being prayed for, names who have been written by people who intend to be stretched and go share the gospel with those names… I find myself with a sense of great hope.
I often think of what could be. What would happen if we looked away from the waves and gazed upon our Savior? What would happen if we majored in the majors and minored in the minors rather than vice versa? What would happen if we betrayed our allegiance to our king of comfort and bowed our knee to Jesus and His great commission?
I know part of the answer is the gospel would be shared Biblically to many more lost souls in Bakersfield and beyond.
Those names on the wall call us to a fork in the road. We have two choices. We can yield to the Holy Spirit or yield to the flesh. We can leave behind the meaningless things of this world and witness the Hand of our great God working through us as weak vessels or we can exchange that joyous, life altering experience for what’s comfortable and easy. What a shame it would be to choose the latter.
We have an opportunity before us. It’s not simply to participate in the next Grace event. It’s to walk with our Lord. It’s to put our ear on His chest and respond to the calling of His heartbeat. It’s to lock our eyes on The Word who became flesh and unabashedly follow and dare to take joy in whatever consequence comes our way. What a joy it is to suffer disgrace for His Name. What a joy it is to be a messenger with good news!
Contact me if you’d like more information about our Evangelism group. We love and support each other in praying, evangelism training, and actually sharing the gospel together. We meet on Monday nights and are working on putting together additional options for those with less time to commit.
February 01, 2019
Working for the Lord
And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not
to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the
reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.
Colossians 3:23-24 (NKJV)
Let’s face it, work can be frustrating. We may not feel appreciated, paid enough, or think others work as hard as we do. You may also feel as though you are not making much of a difference in the world in your line of work, and as though you could be doing so much more for the Lord. These are all feelings we have probably felt at one time or another; or might even be wrestling with today.
The church in Colossia had a mixed group of members; some of them were even slaves. Paul specifically addresses the slaves in Colossians 3:23. He tells them to work heartily because they are really working for the Lord. Think about this for a minute and let it sink in.
No matter what you do, you are working for the Lord! You don’t have to be a missionary or a staff member at a church. Where you are right now can be used to serve the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. The reason we can say this, and be joyful in this, is because our reward is not a promotion or pay raise. Our reward isn’t being employee of the month or a bonus. Our reward is our inheritance in Heaven. This reward can never be taken away, and has much more value than anything that could ever be purchased or accomplished here on earth.
When you just want to quit or stop doing your job, remember today’s verse. Stop and say a prayer and thank Jesus for making a way for you to have the ultimate inheritance through His death on the cross. Take a few deep breaths and remember that you aren’t working for men but for the greatest boss ever, Jesus.
Whether you are volunteering at church or a CEO, remember
who you are working for.