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Equipped to Reach the Lost

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One of the truths proclaimed in this past Sunday's sermon was that God equips each of us to "connect every life to Jesus".  Pastors Jim Chamberlin and Miguel Lara were demonstrating that truth in action by using their gifts of preaching and language as they taught their message by interpreting each others words between English and Spanish.  They have obviously discovered they have a gift to communicate across what would be an insurmountable language barrier for many of us and have used that gift to connect people to Jesus  across cultural barriers.    Discovering our own gifts is an important part of our spiritual growth.  When people ask where to begin in this discovery process, I often ask them what is it that you like to do, what gives you pleasure and gives you a sense of purpose?  Sometimes people will be discouraged and say things like, well I'm only an office worker in cubical land, or I'm just an usher or greeter on one Sunday a month.  Look, in God's Kingdom you are not just a...fill in the blanks.  No matter what we do we are always surrounded by or in contact with people, people that need to know the God that loves them and has a purpose for their lives.   You and I have been created to be relational beings, and just as our faith in Jesus  as Savior and Lord has restored our relationship with our creator, God has given us along with our unique set of gifts and talents, the ability to communicate and build relationships with those around us.     

So let's say you have a good grasp of your gifts and talents and are ready to take the next step but you're not sure how to get involved. Maybe you think that "I'm not Billy Graham and I'm just not very good at approaching people about faith".  Well if we have to wait for the next Billy Graham to show up at our church and do all the work of reaching the lost, God's Kingdom isn't going to amount to much.  How about an everyday example that doesn't require us to fill a stadium.  Think about the contacts you have with people that serve you everyday.  The check out cashier at the grocery, the teller at the bank, and all the others you chance to meet on a given day (and yes I never use self check out and I stand in line for a chance to say hello, just ask my wife!).  Think what it would be like for the person behind the counter looking at face after face just passing by if you looked them in the eye, notice their name tag and greeted them with their name and sincerely asked them how their day was going with an attitude that gave the impression that you really cared.  Here's a hint, turn off your cell phone as a starter.  Nothing says that I could care less about you when you are answering your phone while someone is serving you.  And while I'm on that subject, we are so wedded to our digital masters we don't even notice that the "marriage" has made us dysfunctional in our human relations.  You can't have a relation and show you care in a text message or even by facetime.  Engage people in a way that shows that you really care.  Who knows, if you keep running into the same people over time that chance to witness about faith may open up.  It could be as simple as inviting them to a special service at church, who knows where the road may take you if you extend yourself to others.  

To help us in building relations God has given all of us who believe the greatest gift of all to help us in that mission, the gift of His Holy Spirit. The apostles of Jesus were just ordinary men who by the power, leading and guidance of the Holy Spirit were able to bring God's message of redemption and change nations.  That same Spirit is in all of us today and we need to pray each and every day for the Holy Spirit to help us to reach those around us with the message of God's forgiveness and His incredible love.  We are called, we are gifted and we are sent so let's continue this journey of faith together connecting every life to Jesus.

 

 

Posted by David Jacobs with

Hurricane Harvey Mission Trip

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It’s been forty-six days since the ocean stormed the East Texas coast and the skies dumped upwards of 60 inches of rain. I remember watching the news coverage with tears in my eyes and being sure the plans I had to travel to the Texan/Mexican border were changing with each drop that fell.

 

Little did I know at the time the people God would move to join me and the people who were suffering then that I would meet two days ago.

 

The first face I met was Rosa, then, Estaban, then Alex. In broken English, she told me she has 5 children, while we peeked into her home, without doors, without a floor. She, her husband and her daughter spent one month throwing away everything they owned, right down to the carpet and floorboard. We shook hands, we embraced, we promised to return in the morning.

 

Our team, who grew to 14 with the addition of another friend from Washington, left early in the next day, measuring, cutting, tacking, and nailing sub-flooring, while others made up “Basics Boxes” filled with donated toilet paper, paper towel, cleaning supplies and hygiene items. We delivered them door to door with the help of Liz, Rosa’s daughter, a mother to two little girls herself.

 

We finished that floor today with a little ambivalence. There is so much devastation yet we left that neighborhood with tearful goodbyes, now joined by a few more friends from Georgia.

 

 

Our bodies are tired tonight, but our hearts are full. We overflow with stories of triumph and loss, heavy burdens and birthdays, pain and hope because as my friend Luis said today, “I’m like that tree. I can’t be moved. I have roots that are deep. I have good soil that gives me strength.” He says this as we stand in front of his condemned home, reading John 15 from the Bible he keeps in his truck, where he now lives.  

 

We’ve completed the job in this neighborhood, moving on to other places tomorrow that include a home that has not been touched in 46 days. We’ll throw out things connected to memories that speak about a life. We’ll wonder how things came to rest where they did, what things are there that don’t belong. We’ll come back tired and hungry with more stories to tell and experiences to share, a night spent in prayerful preparation for one more day.

 

It’s been 46 days and hundreds if not thousands have received no help. This will only happen when people from Washington, Georgia, Colorado, Maryland and Indiana come. This help will come when you come and take it back home, this mission to notice, to act, to pray and return.

 

It’s what we do, those who call themselves followers of Christ. We come and serve, we go home and serve. We’re thinking about this, the going home, even while we are here, and how it will continue past a few days under the hot Texas sun.

Today, a man got to nail the last floor board into the corner of his home. His family celebrated his granddaughter’s birthday with strangers that became fast friends, while prayers were offered for the future to be filled with those he loves and a home complete.

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