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Saturday, August 30, 2014

Do You Hold a Grudge?

 On October 2, 2006, a gunman entered a schoolhouse in Nickel Mines, PA, and shot 10 young Amish girls. Charles Roberts, 32, a non-Amish milkman known to the children, shot the girls and then killed himself. Five of the girls died; the other five were seriously injured.

This shocking violence caused great anguish to the Amish Community. But, they did the unimaginable and chose to forgive their children’s killer within hours of the tragedy. While their hearts were broken, they expressed tangible acts of love and kindness for the gunman’s family. They didn’t just talk the talk; they walked the walk of forgiveness. They let go of nursing grudges and seized the opportunity to make their faith real.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Consider Becoming a "Drive-by" Jesus

A homeless man stands at a busy intersection holding a cardboard sign. The large printed letters unashamedly display his cry for help.  “I’m hungry.” Or, “Out of work.” I hear Jesus whisper, “He’s one of the least of these.” Compassion rises and begs a question. “How can I help him?”

Called to be Jesus’ hands, feet, and mouthpiece in this situation requires God’s wisdom. I think, if I hand him a few dollars, he’ll probably waste it on alcohol. Giving him a gospel tract might appease my conscience, but what if he can’t read? Words don’t fill an empty stomach, anyway. I have 30 seconds, at best, to make a positive difference in this lost soul’s life. I usually pray for him.

My friend, Julie, shared with me how she makes a difference. It’s practical, personal and simple. Put a few non-perishable items in a plastic bag. Include food in cans with flip tops and a plastic utensil, plus bottled water.  As the food is given, bless them in the name of Jesus.

This mercy act idea has taken hold in David’s heart. He recently shared his excitement:

Yesterday evening, I dropped off Leah at soccer practice, and then I went to Wal-Mart over on K-7 and Santa Fe in Olathe. As I turned into the parking lot, I saw a man standing at the corner holding a sign that asks for food. Psalm 37:7 says, “be still and wait for God to work.” As I did, the Lord snapped me awake and told me to pull over to get one of my "drive-by Jesus" bags out of the trunk.

 I drove around, pulled up next to the guy, and put the window down. I handed him a bag that included a 7-pack of white t-shirts and a box of Fiber One bars. He was so excited about getting these items! This is what he said. ‘I was just thinking I needed to head in and get some t-shirts!  All I have is this shirt [the shirt he was wearing]. This is just what I needed. This is totally unexpected! Thank you, man!’”
Steve Sjogren, an author and expert on servant evangelism, reminds us that it’s the kindness of God that leads people to repentance. (Romans 2:4) God’s kindness can be expressed through us by offering a word of encouragement, a prayer, or a "drive-by" Jesus bag. Steve notes that it takes 15-20 significant kindness nudges to help people come from where they are into relationship with Jesus. We could be the first nudge or the fifteenth nudge. It doesn’t matter if we’re the one who sows or the one who reaps (John 4:37). It matters that the Kingdom of God is brought to someone else through a practical means, through an action of love.

*Another forgotten, shunned people group, the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) community, is having their Olympic games Aug. 9-16, in Akron, Ohio. Nine thousand participants are expected. Many believers are there to bring them the light and love of Jesus. Pray for the believers’ boldness, for the Lord to come in power, for healing and deliverances. Pray the Lord enlighten the LGBT community to God’s love for them. May His love lead many to repentance. 

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Sally Deserves Better!

Sally’s news shocked me. Cancer cells have invaded her body. She’ll receive six rounds of chemo treatments causing severe nausea, baldness, and for Sally’s family, financial strain. I heard myself thinking, Sally deserves better.

I admire Sally. She and her husband love God and serve Him in the hard places. They have lived in Kabul, Afghanistan, and Amsterdam, Holland for more than 20 years. Currently, in South Africa, they tell people about Jesus, make disciples, and train leaders. I've always thought Sally deserves nothing but God’s best.

That same thought was expressed, shortly after, by someone pleading others to pray for her co-worker. “He’s an amazing guy and brilliant and was in a bad car accident. He’s having brain surgery. He doesn't deserve this.”