LIVING IN MIGHTY STRENGTH

In a time when we are constantly hearing of the dangers of the Covid-19 virus and being warned to stay out of the crowds, to stay at home and to keep at least 6 feet between you and everyone else, it is easy to fall into a mindset of weakness and fear. It is in such hours of fear that God reminds us that we serve a Lord and Master who not only has unimaginable power but that He makes that power available to us as his children. In Ephesians 1:15-23 Paul prays a powerful prayer on behalf of Christians. He prayed for our enlightenment that we might have wisdom and revelation so we might know God better. “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly reams, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.”

God’s power has been demonstrated in a million ways through the creation and sustaining of the creation. But it wasn’t creation or even the amazing miracles Jesus had performed while walking on this earth that God had Paul to appeal to in helping his people grasp the power available to us as his children. He turned to one event and the power that made it possible to show us the things we need to keep clearly before us all the time. He pointed to the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. He prayed that we would know of that power and grasp that it is his incomparably great power that is for us.

As we look back at the resurrection of Jesus and thrill over the fact that death and Satan couldn’t hold Jesus, it is vital to see what that means to us in regular life as a Christian. It is wonderful that our sins can be totally forgiven through Jesus and that we have full hope in death, either of our loved ones or of our own death since we are promised resurrection like Jesus. He was the first fruits of those who slept. “As in Adam all die, even so in Christ will all be made alive, but each in his own order. Christ the firstfruits and afterward those who are Christ’s when he comes.” In Philippians 3:20 the Holy Spirit led Paul to write, “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we look for a Savior, who will change our lowly bodies that they may be fashioned like his glorious body.” The promise that the grave can’t hold us any more than it held Jesus is a tremendous promise.

But in looking at what will happen in the resurrection of the body, we must never take our minds off the amazing resurrection power that is available to us all the time. We don’t live in our own human weakness and fear, but should live in the faith given by resurrection power in us all the time. That same power that raised Christ from the dead, seated him at the right hand of the Father and gave him to be the head of the body, the church which is the fullness of him who fills everything in every way. The very Spirit that raised Christ from the dead is the Spirit who lives in us a God’s children. As a matter of fact, if we don’t have the Spirit of Christ, then we do not belong to him Paul declared in Romans 8.

If there is one verse in the Bible I wish today that we would all memorize and say out loud every day it is in Ephesians 3:20 as part of another prayer Paul prayed for the church. “Now to him who is able to do immeasurable more than all that we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” No wonder he goes from that to say, “to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever. Amen.”

it is a great thing to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. But if all I do is think about the reality of what happened then and fail to see the promises that rise from that resurrection, I’m not getting but part of the message. If there is ever a time we need to live in strength it is now. The world is crying out for faith that won’t wilt when problems arise around us that we don’t have all the answers for. It is a wonderful time to focus on the God of all power who makes his power available to work in and through us every day. LIVE IN HIS MIGHTY STRENGTH!

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WHAT COMES NEXT

Can you imagine how you would have reacted if 6 months to a year ago someone had told you that people would be staying at home to try to keep away from some kind of virus? Can you imagine what you would have said if they had talked about people wearing masks when they went to the grocery store or Walmart? What would you have thought if they had told you that it would become the norm for churches instead of meeting together and greeting each other with handshakes, hugs and getting as close to each other as possible if instead, people would be worshiping at home, watching classes and worship by means of Livestream or on Facebook Live? I suspect I would have thought the person making such predictions was some kind of nut and they were trying to promote panic in the world. I might have said, “”I’ve been around a long time and have preached for churches in a lot of situations, but I can’t even imagine the kinds of things you are talking about.”

One thing that stands out is that LIFE CHANGES. It also should stand out that just because we are in the United States and other people are having such problems that the thought it can never happen here, is sadly mistaken. We are not immune to the problems, challenges, and sicknesses that face the world as a whole. I hope and pray that what we are going through will serve some powerful spiritual purposes such as bringing people to realize we all have more things in common than we have that are unique. Living in one country or even a better neighborhood won’t isolate me from the diseases and problems going on in life. I hope that as people see the problems and frailties of life that we do learn to appreciate one another and what people are willing to do to benefit others. It should amaze us all to think of the amount of sacrifice so many are ready to go through to be able to help someone whom they don’t know but they know their need is real. It should amaze us how many huge companies are willing to change their whole operations in order to produce products that are needed for those who are sick and need things like gloves, masks or ventilators.

But the greatest hope I have in the middle of this whole thing is that it will lead to massive amounts of people turning their lives over to God. Wouldn’t it be tremendous if people not only began to seek God, knowing that he promised that if we search for him with all our hearts we will be found of him? Jesus said, “Seek and you will find, ask and you will receive and knock and the door will be opened to you.” If we simply believed that Jesus was telling us the truth and that the God of the universe longs to be found by us, it could change the world in a wonderful way. Perhaps, if we all really began to seek God and follow His will it would cause us to stop seeing many of the things that we are so ready to condemn in the lives of others. Remember this message from Isaiah the prophet: “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them and to our God, for he will freely pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth so are my ways than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it” (Isiah 55:6-11).

God’s word is living, powerful and sharper than a two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit and joint and marrow. “It judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:12-13).

I don’t know what will be the next thing that happens in this whole world-wide crisis. But I know that nothing is beyond the power of sight of God. I also know that the more we push God to the side, no matter what the problems may be in life, the greater the problems become. Listen to the news this evening or anytime for that matter, and notice how often the answers sought to the problems in the world are from humanity. We will figure out the medicine, the right shots to take to become immune to the problems. See how many times you hear anyone mention God and HIs power or his ability to help if we turn to him. I certainly am ready for any medications that help us because I know that whatever healing there is comes somehow from God and the wisdom he offers us. But, until the day comes when we realize the need for God and stop thinking all the answers are some how in our hands, things won’t improve.

God longs for us to turn to him, to call upon him and to follow his lead. He can overcome any challenge the evil one throws our way. The question is, will I turn to God or try to make myself into some kind of little god that can solve all my own problems.

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BLESSINGS OUT OF TROUBLES

Why do you suppose Jesus used so many different ways to describe for us the Holy Spirit? Maybe it is because there always seemed to be more mystery about the Holy Spirit than the Father and Son. Every personality of deity is Spirit. Only Jesus took on human flesh to live among us and be able to go through the challenges and problems we deal with in life. He was made in all points to be tempted as we are so that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God. Even though it is extremely difficult to understand how Jesus can be both 100% God and 100% human at the same time, it is clear that He is one who can have it said of him that “In him dwelt all the fullness of deity in bodily form” (Colossians 2:9).

God the Father is spoken of in a ton of different ways, but it seems that if there was one word He wanted us to get about him it is that He is not just the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, but he is our father in heaven and that he loves us as our Father. In John 4:23-24 the Samaritan woman was trying to understand the whole topic of worship. She wanted to know if Jerusalem was the place for worship or was it on this mountain where her ancestors had worshiped? Jesus said, “Woman, believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and truth.”

But, when it comes to the discussion of the Holy Spirit, there are all kinds of mystery and intrigue on the topic. Focus on John 14, 15 and 16 to see some of the ways Jesus described the Spirit. In 14:15-19 he said, “If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever – The Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I love, you also will live.” Notice Jesus pictures the Spirit as our advocate, our lawyer, the one who will stand beside us to present our cause. He also, wants us to know that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth. His message is one of truth, not just feelings or wishes. In verses 25-27 he said, “All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace, I leave you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

Paul calls the Spirit our helper in Romans 8:26 who helps us in our weaknesses. He illustrated its point by talking about his not knowing what to pray for as he should the Spirit interceded for him with groans he couldn’t utter. In verses 14-16 he said, “For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves so that you live in fear again; rather the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him, we cry, ‘Abba’, Father. The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit, that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then wec are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”

As strange as it seems to us, it is often in the midst of suffering, difficulties and problems that God works through the Spirit to help us to grow in the greatest ways.

No other book of the New Testament talks as much about feeling puzzled about all the problems we go through in living for God. It made no sense to Paul that he had poured out his life for the church in Corinth and loved them with everything in him. Yet they seemed to feel that he was not the real thing and that he wouldn’t be having all the problems he was having if God was really on his side. It didn’t make sense that God would give him a thorn in the flesh so he would glory in in the ways God blessed him. Yet God answered his prayer for relief, three times in a row with a NO! “My strength is made perfect in weakness.” He said he now gloried in his weakness. and was leaning on the Lord through it all.

We are facing troubling times in the world and much of it we don’t understand. But God knows all the reasons why we have the struggles and He can bring about amazing blessings and opportunities through the struggles. We must never forget that God the father of our Lord Jesus Christ is “the father of compassion and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in all trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.”

In the middle of suffering, there is also, comfort, healing and the presence of God. We never face life alone when we follow Christ. Keep leaning on his everlasting arms!

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WHO IS IN THE BOAT WITH YOU

It makes all the difference in the world, when we are facing difficult or scary situations who is with us or who is beside us in the situation. If you were asked about the most frightening situation you ever faced, what would come to mind? Would it be when you were in the middle of some kind of storm and had no idea what to do to be safe? Would it be a time when someone threatened you, perhaps with a gun or with a knife. One morning I was needing to get some work done at my office at the church building so I got up at 4:00 in the morning and got dressed and went to the building to get the things done that I thought had to be done quickly. It was still dark when I pulled under the driveway and started to go into the building to get to my office. I didn’t notice until I was already out of the car and had started toward the front door, that another car had pulled up right beside mine. Suddenly, out of the dark, someone called out, “Preacher” and I turned to see who was there. To my surprise, there was a man sitting in the car with his window down and the lights on in the car, with a rather large handgun pointed at me. My first thought was that it was some kind of joke and that the person was going to take a picture of me there in the dark, and afraid.

But it only took a moment for that thought and any idea of a joke to pass right on by. When I saw the man’s face, it was more frightening than the gun. I then thought he was going to rob me, but that thought passed on quickly as well. He said, “You know I could kill you right now and it would be three or four hours before anyone would find you.” For some reason, out of the blue, I said to him, “Yes, I’m sure you could do that. And if you do I will go right on to heaven and rest in the presence of the Lord. But the Lord will sure know who committed the crime and if you think you will get away from him than you are badly mistaken. Whether anyone in this world ever learns who killed me or not, the Lord will know and he will send you to hell to be punished eternally. So, if you want to go to hell, then go ahead and shoot, but I’m going on to my office to get some work done.” I turned around and walked to the door, unlocked it and went on to my office. I don’t know what happened to the guy. When I looked back out he was gone. To say the least, it was after the whole thing was over and he had driven away that the real feelings of fear hit me. After that, I stopped making a habit of coming to my office extremely early in the morning.

In Luke 8:22-25 Jesus and the disciples were sailing across the Sea of Galilee to the other side of the lake. As they sailed, Jesus fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so hat the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Master, Maser, we’re going to drown!” He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided and all was calm, where is your faith? he asked his disciples. In fear and amazement they asked one another, who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.”

Let’s face the fact, it isn’t the size of the storm that determines the danger. It is who is in the boat with you. In a minor storm if we are alone, we have reason to be afraid. What if the boat tips over or the waves come flowing into the boat. Suddenly, I am in grave danger because I am facing it alone. But if it is a Tsunami or a massive earthquake or hurricane, and Jesus the Master of the Universe is beside me then there is no reason to be afraid. He can handle whatever may come and do so in a moments time.

I know there is a world of fear rushing the world today with the news giving fresh reports on the spread of the Corona Virus growing all the time. The sense of hysteria seems to become stronger all the time, It is of extreme importance in this time that we remember who is in the boat with us. He is so calm in the midst of the storm he has laid his head down and gone to sleep. When our fears press him to awaken and see the storm, his question is “Why are you afraid?” Don’t you know who I am and what power is in my hands? He speaks and the storm calms down. Today, the storm is massive and fear runs deep. It is a powerful virus. But there is no reason for you to be in the boat alone. Jesus is always ready to ride with you and he controls the storms of every kind. Just don’t go out on the sea alone.

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LIVING IN CALM

How many of the things that have worried you almost to the point of sickness ever actually happened? We are certainly in a time when there seems to be a panic a day to concern people. If it isn’t the fear of the Corona Virus, it is that the stock market is going up and down every day over some bit of news from some other part of the world. I had to be at the hospital a few days ago for a treatment and was amazed at all the people wearing masks and when I sat down in the waiting room that probably held 75 people an employee came in to speak to all of us. Just about everyone was already sitting down but she begins by saying before you sit down you need to get one of these anticeptic sheets and wipe down your chair. Then you all need to be wearing masks. Every time you touch a door knob you need to apply sanitizer to your hands. The speech went on for about five minutes and most of us ignored the whole thing and went on as normal.

Do we live in a world of danger? Certainly, but when has that not been the case? Could some dreadful disease or horrible crime be committed against us or our family? Yes, it certainly could, but again, when has that not be true? If we live every moment in fear of catching something or having something awful happen to us, we will live a miserable life that is a far cry from peace of mind.

I think one of the reasons God had many of the stories in the Old Testament recorded for us is to remind us that in a world of danger and challenge we need to look up and I’m not talking about the government. Picture the scene in recording in 2 Kings 18-19 when Hezekiah was king of Judah. In the fourteenth year of his reign, Sennacherib king of Assyria attacked all the fortified cities of Judah and captured them. Hezekiah gave him all the silver and gold available even stripping off the gold which covered the doors and doorposts of the temple of the Lord to give to him. But that didn’t satisfy. He sent his representative to shout out in the Hebrew language that they should stop trusting Hezekiah and give themselves to the king of Assyria. When Hezekiah heard it he tore his clothes and put on sackcloth. He sent for the prophet Amoz to pray for the remnant that still survived. The officials came to Isaiah who told them to go tell Hezekiah that “This is what the Lord says: Do not be afraid of what you have heard – those words with which the underlings of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me. Listen! When he hears a certain report, I will make him want to return to his own country, and there I will have him cut down with the sword.” Sure enough, the rumor came and the army went back to Assyria. But he sent a letter to Hezekiah saying that he would return and like all the other nations he had taken he would take Judah. Just as their gods hadn’t been able to deliver them neither would his God deliver him. Hezekiah took the letter to the temple and laid it out before the Lord and prayed to God about it. He asked God to deliver them. God sent Isaiah to tell Hezekiah his prayer was answered and that God would take care of the army of Assyria and it would never set foot in Jerusalem.

That night the angel of the Lord went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand in the Assyrian camp. When they arose the next morning dead bodies were all around. Sennacherib the king of Assyria broke camp and withdrew. He returned to Nineveh and stayed there. One day, when he went to worship his god Nisrok, his sons Adrammelek and Sharezer killed him with a sword and escaped to Ararat.

Let’s face it, this is one story of a multitude of others where the people were all in a panic and everything seemed hopeless but God stepped in and the problem was solved. If we are true to the Lord and put our trust in Him we can live life in calm knowing that God is with us all the time. His Spirit lives in us and He is more powerful than any enemy that we may face. Does that mean no tragedy will ever befall us if we are true to Christ? No, but it means we will never face a tragedy alone and that even if it ends in death it is a huge win for us in that we are delivered to a life in glory with God.

It is a great time for us to remember and live by these words from Philippians 4:6-8: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.”

I don’t know what tomorrow holds, but I know who holds tomorrow.

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CHURCH ROLES

It seems to me there is a constant discussion going on among churches about what the role of one group or another may be in the church. Most of the time when we talk about “in the church” we are really discussing what can be done in the church gatherings rather than in the church at all times. I would like to think with you about church roles in a slightly different way today. Most of what the New Testament or Jesus teaches about roles have to do with our Christian lives in the world and what all of us are to be and do as his children.

In Matthew 23 Jesus was with the twelve but was talking to the crowds and his disciples when he said, “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses seat. So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them. Everything they do is done for people to see.”

“But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth ‘father’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah. The greatest among you will be your servant. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted” (Matthew 23:1-5a; 8-12).

Lay alongside this the reality that Jesus in the great commission will begin by saying, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” (Matthew 28:18). We worry about our role or someone else’s role but I don’t see tons of people asking to just be a servant and be seen as one of the brothers or sisters in the church. Too often we struggle with the same spirit these religious leaders had of wanting the recognized places for others to see our role as the vital ones. By the way, this wasn’t an occasional idea of Jesus. He made the point to the apostles when James and John wanted the right and left hand spots in the kingdom that the greatest was the servant of all. He made the point in John 13 when he washed the disciples feet and challenged them to follow his example to wash each other’s feet and they would find the real roles that were vital. When was the last time you even heard of someone running for the role of foot washer in the church.

The New Testament is far more prone to the idea of the vital work everyone is supposed to do as part of the kingdom of Christ. I love the teaching found in 2 Corinthians 5:16-21. He made the point that if anyone is in Christ they are a new creation. The old has passed away and all has become new. “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. WE ARE THEREFORE CHRIST’S AMBASSADORS, AS THOUGH GOD WERE MAKING HIS APPEAL THROUGH US. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

God makes us friends with him all over again even though we have sinned and fallen short many times. He makes us altogether new. One result is that we don’t see people the same way we once did. Paul said he once even judged Christ from a physical point of view but not so any longer. He actually gave to every person that is in Christ and made new the ministry of reconciliation. Does that mean that every Christian is to be a minister? Of Course, it does. We are not only ministers, we have a specific ministry and it is one of reconciliation which means to be made friends again. Our ministry in the world is to lead all we can to turn from their sins to God. But it isn’t just that. It is to build reconciliation among people in the world toward each other. When we see our work as one of dividing folks up and deciding who is right and who is wrong we are missing our ministry by a million miles. Our job is to be ambassadors for the Lord who represent him in the world with the message of reconciliation. God so wants people to be saved from their sins and reconciled to him that he made his own Son to be sin for us, SO THAT IN HIM WE MIGHT BECOME THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD. Can you even imagine a more important work or ministry or role to have in Christ than to be his ambassador, carrying his message of reconciliation to a lost world so people around us can be reconciled to God? This isn’t a role to be carried out only in a church assembly or even primarily there. It is a job to be done every day and in every relationship I have as a Christian. I can’t put on my ambassador hat when I start to church on Sunday. It is a life I am to live all the time.

Besides that, when we are by one Spirit baptized into the one body of Christ, whether Jews or Gentiles, slaves or free, we are all given the one Spirit to drink. “Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many. Now if the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body, it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, ‘because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body” (I Corinthians 12:13-20). Every follower of Christ is a part of the body given the very gifts God determines for us to have. The very notion that some parts are more important or we are less because we can’t do some things is missing the whole point of what Paul is saying. We are to give greater honor to the part that lacks it. “If one suffers all are to suffer with them and if one rejoices all are to rejoice with them.”

One other huge point on this matter is this, every Christian is a priest of God. In I Peter 2:4-5 it says, “As you come to him, the living Stone – rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him- you also, like living stones are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” Then in verses 9-10 it continues: “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” Jesus is the great high priest but every Christian is a priest of God. As a matter of fact, we are a royal priesthood. The first and greatest sacrifice we make to God is our own bodies as a living sacrifice that is holy and acceptable to God as spiritual worship (Romans 12:1). What is our role in the church? Be priests that are both taking people to God and representing God to the people. We are Christ’s representatives in the world.

Every child of God has an amazing and special role as a Christian, a disciple of Christ. Just think of God calling us his own special people, a chosen people, who have the mission of declaring his praises to those in darkness. There isn’t any bad roles in the church. They are all vital and we need to thank God for the opportunity to be part of that body of Christ.

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WHO DO YOU TRUST?

It would be very easy to turn this question around and ask, “Who trusts you?” So many things in life are built on trust. What chance does a marriage have to thrive or flourish if either person in the marriage can’t be trusted? Have you ever tried to build a business partnership with someone you don’t completely trust? It won’t work unless something happens to change your trust for them. Would you vote for someone for an important office that you didn’t trust? What about in church, what happens if you don’t trust the ones in leadership or the one who preaches to you or teaches the class you are a part of? The truth is if we don’t have trust in our friendships, or family or businesses or government we are in deep trouble. If we don’t have trust in church then just about anything that is done will be questioned, doubted and receive almost no real commitment to be a part of the people.

In Luke 16:10-12 Jesus said, “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. So if you have not be trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?” Think about just how powerful this point is. If you can’t trust a person with a dollar, why in the world would you give them $100.00? One of the huge lessons every parent needs to get across to their children is that you must demonstrate trust in the little things in life to ever be trusted with anything of importance. Can you even imagine a college recruiting a student, much less offering them some kind of academic scholarship if it is part of their record that they cheated with regularity on their tests? Too often people get the idea that some things are so small and so unimportant in life that it won’t matter if I don’t get this job right. But when I have a really important work to do, I will make certain to do it right. But trust is only built by one being trustworthy in all aspects of life.

One thing that stands out to me in this whole topic is that Paul in describing love that is the greatest of all virtues declared that love always trust ( I Corinthians 13:7). In reading a book recently by Stephen M.R. Covey on the topic of “The Speed of Trust” he makes the point that trust is built on two major foundations. In business, church, family or recreation trust demands both character and competence. When it relates to character if one is not honest, then they really can’t be trusted in anything. But with regard to competence, one might be very trustworthy in some areas of life where they have talents, or have prepared themselves well for a job but would not be trusted at all in some other area where they had no experience and no real ability to perform. One can be as honest as the day is long and still have no ability in playing basketball. Would a coach put one into the game to play for the championship who he knew had character but who was 5’2″ and couldn’t run up and down the court without stumbling?

Building trust then demands first that one be a person of character, honesty, and dependability. These things often have to do with training and with conversion to Christ to live like him every day. But when it comes to being competent, it has to be learned and developed in whatever area one longs to have the trust. Too often we wish to put people into some position for which they have no training or special ability and then are frustrated when they don’t succeed in the task. I have lots of friends whom I trust in all kinds of situations. But if I am having chest pains, I want to get to a person who has been trained as a cardiologist and knows what they are doing to take care of a heart problem.

You can be one who is trusted in integrity and you can be one trusted in areas where you have given the time and effort to learn how to do a job you are called on to do.

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