God’s blessing was never meant to be only for a few. In His promise to Abraham in Genesis 12, God said, “all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” God did not intend his message of salvation to be only for Israel or Judea. He intended His salvation to reach the ends of the earth: to Spain, to England, even to the “New World.”
So what will make the nations glad? The scriptures are clear that the nations (all people) will be joyful and fulfilled when we worship the creator. It is for our good that God wants us to delight in the One who can bring us true joy. We were created for his glory, and when we reject the idols around us and embrace him, we will be glad.
This gospel story would be “preached among the nations” and Jesus would be “believed on in the world.” Our lives in Orlando might feel small, and we might even feel helpless in a chaotic world. But our story has a meaningful place in God’s plan.
As followers of Christ, we believe that it is only the Great Physician that can bring ultimate healing to the people of Orlando and to our great city. Let’s pray to that end.
Our idols are not made of marble, but we are just as guilty of placing created things on the thrones of our hearts. What idols does your heart hold dearly? We cannot expect restoration in the city, full of folks who do not know Him, until our own hearts yearn for the Father.
When we look at the world around us, imagine the difference a generation of Christ-centered, Spirit-filled, and gospel-driven young people could make in our city, nation, and world. God is at work among these future leaders and we have the opportunity to make a difference in their lives through our prayers.
The refugees are in such a place of desperation and vulnerability that the hope and love of Jesus is the only truth that can impact their current situation in a positive way.
In an age where a quick tweet or Facebook post allows us to offer a critique of our leaders, God’s Word instructs us to instead pray for them. The role of the Christian is to lift up our leaders—spiritual, civic, or otherwise—before the God who sees all and knows all.
It’s been said that work is the gracious expression of creative energy in the service of others. Your work matters to God! Redefine your boss and then do your work whole heartily, as unto the Lord!
May we be reminded today of His enormous generosity in Christ Jesus. Every way that He has made us rich—community, love, time, resources, finances, giftedness, job, family, ministry—we in turn may be rich in our generosity on every occasion to the glory and thanksgiving of God. May we at LBC be a generous people who have hands opened wide with His good gifts.
We each have the opportunity to serve others in our community. Whether it’s picking up trash in our neighborhood, volunteering at a local school, serving with a local ministry that cares for the under resourced or joining a once/month team at LBC, we can model God’s love for others through the way we serve them. It might cost us a little time and possibly a little sweat, but the eternal difference our service can make is worth it.
The truth is that when God saves young people, it is not for them to sit around and wait until they’re ‘old enough’ to do something for the Kingdom, but that each young person has the potential to set the example in faith and devotion to those around them.
The Kingdom is not just for grown-ups, for those who have their lives and acts together. Christianity is the most inclusive movement the world has ever seen. CEOs and custodians, lawmakers and criminals, doctors and invalids, PhD’s and people with special needs, singles and married couples, locals and internationals… and yes, little children.
In the short-term, sanctification can easily be a discouraging process. Sin’s influence in our lives is deeply ingrained and won’t easily be defeated. However, this is where the great hope of the gospel comes into play. Paul tells us in Philippians that God will be faithful to finish the good work he began in us.
A disciple is simply a follower of Jesus. The word does not refer to an elite group of Christians who have achieved a special status, and it’s not about being perfect. Otherwise, there would be no need for spiritual growth toward maturity.
The real reason we can’t achieve the “greater” righteousness alone is that it must be pursued in a community, with others. It is impossible to obey the Sermon on the Mount by ourselves!
We live in the light of that gospel day, after Jesus’ death, resurrection, ascension, and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit! How do we worship in spirit and truth?
We want the church to be beautiful, but it’s actually broken. We want the church to be full of saints, but it’s full of sinners. We want the church to be the image of a radiant bride, but really we’re just a band of misfits.
But Jesus loves the church like a good husband loves his wife, both at her best and her worst. That is good news.
We see in this passage that when we are rooted and grounded in a lifestyle of steadfast prayer, it is God who provides opportunities for evangelism and grants us wisdom as we interact with our friends and neighbors.
This is the nature of the Christian life: Trust, obey, follow Jesus.