July 2021

Closeup of a creative African man reading a bible with his workspace blurred in the background

Making Disciples

Disciple-Making Movement

From my last post, I wrote about our duty to Jesus to be makers of disciples. Perhaps you’ve heard of or are participating in the Disciple Making Movement. Outside of the United States, DMM has experienced astounding results. In this post, I’m just going to provide an abbreviated synopsis. To do a deep dive, I recommend that you visit Discipleship.org.

As Christians, we need to be making disciples since that’s the last command Jesus gave us during His earthly ministry (Matthew 28:19).

Making disciples

Perhaps the most significant difference between DMM and most other Church initiatives is that DMM calls people to become active makers of disciples immediately. No, it’s not some pyramid scheme. You need not pay anything to become a maker of disciples.

The Disciple-Making Movements teaches Christians to spread the gospel of Jesus by making disciples who learn to obey God’s Word. The impetus upon new Christians is to make other disciples, disciples who repeat the process rapidly.

Behaving as the Bible teaches

This disciple-making approach places the highest emphasis upon behaving as the Bible teaches us how a Christian should behave. That behavior is breaking away from the things they did before God saved them. In fact, disciple-making is what Jesus expects to find us doing when He returns.

Too many Christians are vaccinated against acting in faith. We love to learn, we like to study, but we rarely allow these to change our behavior. Jesus drew thousands of people without an AD campaign, website, or even a phone number. People came because they heard from their friends and neighbors that God was active where Jesus was – we know that Jesus is the Son of God. DMM follows the pattern that Jesus established.

Right about here, I can feel you getting ready to bail on me. You think this isn’t the orderly process of God; it’s chaos. There is structure, and there are safeguards. I beg that you hang with me through the rest of this post.

Following the Holy Spirit

Here’s the fantastic thing about this movement: it is not a kit that you buy. It is entirely based on the Bible. Also, disciples are not constrained by the plan of a top-down hierarchy – well, we all are constrained to follow Jesus’ agenda 😀 .

Instead of an emphasis upon going through seminary before ministering, disciples quickly become leaders that are laser-focused on obedience to God’s Word. Their tools are:

  • The Bible.
  • Prayer.
  • Fasting (for people with an eating disorder, fasting should not be food).
  • The divine intervention by the Holy Spirit.

Each disciple makes a group of disciples

Every disciple deeply, continually prays, fasts, and follows the leading of the Holy Spirit. Some clerical mentors keep what is taught Biblically accurate.

God does the work! He builds a group of disciples, with the 1st generation disciple as the leader. Together, they have a weekly Bible study. Each time they meet, they work through the same set of questions. The questions are relevant regardless of what topic in the Bible the group is studying.

Creating accountability

First, each person, including the leader, tells the group what he or she is thankful for. Next, each person tells what problem or challenge they are facing – this helps build a community within the group. Then each person tells the group with whom they shared the Gospel of Jesus – this is about accountability. And each person tells the group how effective he or she was in keeping commitments that they made to God and the group – this is another accountability question.

Be patient

Every disciple must wait upon God moving, changing times and circumstances. The nature of a disciple of Jesus is to pray, pray, pray. The DMM approach is a mustard-seed approach (Matthew 13:31–32).

As I previously wrote, each group, each time they meet, does a Bible study. Then the leader asks these five questions taken from Discipleship.org.

1. It says. (What does the passage say?) Write the Bible passage word-for-word in the first column.

2. My words. (How would I say it?) Write out the message or story in the passage in your own words.

3. I will. (How will I obey it?) Write down a few “I will” statements to put the truths into action in your life.

4. What does this passage say about God?

5. What does the passage say about humanity?

Disciple makers

There’s no question whether every Christian should be making disciples; that answer is “yes.” The more pertinent question is this: how’s your approach working? Doing discipleship “addition” will never change the world. Doing exponential discipleship can impact the entire world.

Shodankeh Johnson, a DMM leader in the West Africa country of Sierra Leone, has seen more than one million Muslims converted and baptized into salvation in Jesus Christ over the last ten years. I pray we catch Mr. Johnson’s vision! This primarily Muslim country is being transformed through Christians making disciples.

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Jesus sign with hands raised - what's next

What’s Next?

In today’s post, let’s consider what’s next once we have received Jesus as our Lord and Savior. But, before we can consider this, we need to share a mutual understanding of just who Jesus is.

“I am trying here to prevent anyone from saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him [Jesus Christ]: ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God.’ That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic—on a level with a man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon; or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God. But let us not come up with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that option open to us. He did not intend to.”

Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

Who is Jesus?

Jesus’ work of redemption has provided the exclusive way for a person to be reconciled to God (1). He is the Son of God, and the Son of God is spirit. We know this because “God is Spirit(2) and God is trinity – Father, Son, Holy Spirit (3). We know that Jesus came from heaven (4), He ministered as the Son of Man (5), and He ascended back to heaven (6). And He told His disciples to stay in Jerusalem and wait to be baptized by the Holy Spirit (7).

They stayed and were baptized in the Holy Spirit (8). This event was the birth of the Church, the Bride of Christ (9). Before Jesus ascended into heaven, He told His apostles, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. (10)” In this, Jesus told His apostles that His human nature (His manhood) had received all authority. His Divine nature could not receive anything, for He is God.

Do we make disciples?

As followers of Jesus, we have been baptized into the name of God, the triune name. There is one name into which we are baptized because there is one God. He is triune, Father, Son, Spirit, yet one. “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. (11)

We have placed our faith in this Jesus that God’s Word has declared. And, like an officer in the military, we have been commissioned. So, what’s next? I’m not referring to eschatology – the study of the end times). I’m asking this: what do we do after being born again. (12)

Jesus gave His apostles, and through His apostles to us, the Great Commission: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. (13)” Great. How do I “make a disciple?” I’m glad you asked. 😉

What’s next?

In my next post, I will provide some practical guidance. It is the kind of approach that even the most ardent introvert can use. I hope you join me next time!

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  1. Romans 3:23–26, John 14:6
  2. John 4:24
  3. Matthew 28:19
  4. John 6:38
  5. Mark 14:62
  6. Acts 1:11
  7. Acts 1:4-5
  8. Acts 2:1-4
  9. Revelation 19:7, Ephesians 5:27
  10. Matthew 28:18
  11. Deuteronomy 6:4
  12. John 3:1-21
  13. Matthew 28:19-20
The most powerful word in the world pops up everywhere. Ironically, this is on Sandown Pier on the Isle of Wight (UK) — a place that has not changed for 30 years.

Prayer Changes Things

Several years ago, my wife and I were members of a terrific church in Ocala, Florida. One of their initiatives was 24 hours of prayer. From time-to-time, the church would post a sign-up sheet for people to pick a time on a specific day to come to the church and pray for an hour.

These 24-hour prayer times were wonderful. I think we picked 1:00 AM – 2:00 AM. When we walked into the sanctuary there were people on their knees, praying. I went to the front pew to kneel and pray and my wife selected a pew towards the back, and we prayed. We didn’t leave until the next shift arrived.

As we walked to our car, we began talking about our prayer time. To our amazement, the Holy Spirit had impressed on both of our hearts that we should move from Florida to Oregon. A company that I’d worked with for ten years had asked me to join them as an employee; neither of us were keen on the idea. But as we prayed for others, God spoke guidance to us.

Remember who you are

It seems to me that many Christians have forgotten that Christianity is beyond-nature; Christianity is divine. We serve Jesus, the one who redeemed us and seated us in heavenly places. (Ephesians 2:6) Our daddy is Father God.

For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”

Romans 8:15

Now I know that there is a false teaching held in the hearts of many Christians. It says that prayer doesn’t actually change anything. Everything that happens was inevitable. This belief can be dressed up to look quite godly. When this teaching is embraced, believers feel less of an imperative to pray prayers that require faith. After all, it really doesn’t matter if you use your faith. God will do it anyway, right?

Prayer changes things

Well, let’s consider something that Jesus taught His apostles:

Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a Sabbath.

Matthew 24:20

Jesus is giving clear direction to His apostles about the end-times. And what He tells them is to ask God to change the timing of an event. If the time was set, pre-ordained, then Jesus would be telling His apostles to pray against God’s will. No way!

So, why even bring this up if the time for the event is immovable? No doubt, there were plenty of other things the apostles (and us) should be praying for. No, the only reason for Jesus to say this to His apostles was to tell them to pray, in God’s will, about the timing of this event – to ask God to withhold this event from happening in winter or on a Sabbath.

Likewise, when we pray, we should anticipate God intervening for us. God created nature, God created the laws of physics, God created everything, both seen and unseen. (Colossians 1:16) So let’s remember to:  “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

Good News

Pray simple, specific prayers because God changes times and circumstances in response to our unselfish, loving, obedient, faithful prayers, prayed in the name of Jesus.

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From Caretakers to Disciple Makers

The lost relevance of local churches

It has been decades since we have witnessed widespread Christian revival in churches in Europe and America. During this time, the Church has quietly but methodically transitioned from proclaimers of Good News to caretakers and groundskeepers.

For the most affluent or financially endowed churches, their exteriors have been maintained and upgraded into beautiful edifices with sumptuous gardens, marvelous stained-glass windows, and meticulously manicured woodwork. Yet, these churches echo when one enters their sanctuaries, for they are devoid of humanity.

For the less affluent churches, they simply crumble and are being sold off for homes, business offices, or torn down to make room for parking lots. Indeed, the Church universal has been bleeding membership for such a long time that we now have several generations of people that have never set foot in a church except for a wedding or funeral.

These millions of unchurched people have woven their own religion by taking bits and pieces of everything from Buddhism to Marxism. But this decline is ending. Jesus no longer allows His Bride to be a prostitute, selling Herself to anyone at any price.

Past Christian Movements

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

Matthew 27:19

In the 1700s, Charles Wesley and two students started the Holy Club. Charles’ brother John joined them. The result was a movement that transformed England and was transplanted in America, resulting in a dramatic growth of relevant local churches with Biblical veracity. In the 1800s, a movement led in part by D.L. Moody swept America with comparable results.

During the 1900s, America and the world experienced multiple renewals. First, In 1905, William J. Seymour, a one-eyed 34-year-old son of freed slaves, began preaching in a shack located on Azusa Street in Los Angeles. Out of this tiny church was birthed the Holiness Movement and revitalized Baptist, Mennonite, Quaker, and Presbyterian denominations.

Then, in the mid–1900s, Billy Sunday and Billy Graham came on the scene. From the services of these evangelists, churches across America and England saw dramatic growth and renewed vigor. From 1967-1976 the “Word of God” community was birthed. In the early days of the renewal several Catholic covenant communities were formed beginning in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Towards the end of the 1900s, the world experienced terrific revivals in Toronto, Canada, and Pensacola, Florida.

Now, during the 2000s, astonishing church growth is witnessed in such unexpected places and Sierra Leone and Albania. This new move of God is taking hold in America. It has surfaced in Arkansas and a few other places. But it’s time for Christians across America to come into this movement. It’s time for us to stop being caretakers and become disciple-makers.

From caretakers to disciple makers

The word disciple means a follower or student of a teacher, leader, or philosopher. Every Christian is a disciple, for we follow Jesus and continually strive, as dedicated students, to learn more and apply more of God’s Word in our lives.

And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

2 Timothy 2:2

As a disciple, Jesus has equipped us to make other disciples. The old way, like “pact a pew,” no longer works. However, people are more desperate than ever for a personal, relevant relationship with the one true God. We have the right message, and Christ has commissioned us for this work. What remains is for us to physically get up and go out and do it – to make disciples of Jesus.

Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.

John 14:12

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Faith’s Good News

In Monday’s post, It’s About Faith, we considered faith’s merit, faith’s purpose, and faith’s condition and test. And in Wednesday’s post, Faith Comes from God, we considered faith’s attributes and learned that faith comes from God. Today we will learn about faith’s good news.

Faith’s result

When we look back on the history of the Church, we often focus on her mistakes, her failures, her hurtful actions, but to stop there would be pretty foolish. The Church has done more than any institution or social movement when it comes to championing women’s rights. During a time when wives could be easily disposed of, with no liabilities to the husband, by a simple letter of divorce, written by her husband, Jesus said, “no” to no-fault divorces (Matthew 19:9).

During this same time, the conviction of adultery was a death sentence (Leviticus 20:10). Still, Jesus said that if a man even looks at a woman lustfully, that man has committed adultery (Matthew 5:27–28). Can you imagine the impact Christ’s declaration had on his fellow Jews when He said this?!

The Church championed education (Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, Yale, University of Edinburgh). Most Christians have forgotten that for hundreds of years, theology was called the “queen of the sciences.” If you’d like a brief article that explains this truth, in context, read How is theology “the queen of the sciences”?

The Church has built and operated hospitals worldwide (By the mid–1500s, 37,000 Benedictine monasteries cared for the sick. Also, a Swiss Christian businessman started the Red Cross).

And let’s not forget that the Church led the battle to end slavery in Britain and America (Charles Spurgeon, William Wilberforce, Theodore S. Wright, George Bourne, George B. Cheever).

All these works of the Church and countless others came from individuals in the Church acting in God’s faith.

Faith’s Good News

Faith’s good news is that we are saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8–9). Faith is the conduit, the garden hose, through which God’s grace enters a person and applies Jesus’ work of salvation for the regeneration of that person. Yet, even with all that God has built into faith, Jesus’ question haunts us.

And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

 Luke 18:7–8

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Macro of various tape measures and rulers

Faith Comes from God

In the previous post, “It’s About Faith,” we considered faith’s merit, faith’s purpose, and faith’s condition and test. Today, we will consider faith’s attributes and learn that faith comes from God.

Faith’s size

From what Jesus said in Matthew 17:20, faith has the characteristic of amount or quantity. Jesus told us that even the smallest amount of faith can move mountains.

The amount, size, or quantity of faith we each have is unique. We are told in Romans 12:3, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.” And Jesus said to Peter, O you of little faith, why did you doubt? (Matthew 14:31)”

Therefore, faith can be tiny or little. It can also be great. We know this from Christ’s encounter with the Roman Centurion: When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel! Matthew 8:10 NKJV The Greek word for “great” that is used in this verse means: So great, so large, so long, so many.

Since we know how great Peter’s faith became after he received the Holy Spirit in Act 2, we know that God can increase our faith. 1 Corinthians 12:1–12 NASB tells us about the use of Spiritual gifts, and verse nine states that the Spirit gives to some the gift of faith. 1 Corinthians 12:9 NASB, “to another faith by the same Spirit

From God’s Word we see that faith comes from God. We can’t create it. Faith can be tiny or large. God distributes faith to His children in the specific amounts that pleases Him. And the Holy Spirit can increase our faith, and that He also gives to some the gift of faith – an unusual faith for God’s word.

Faith’s antonym

Just as faith connects us to God, unbelief separates us from Him. We learn this from Jesus when He visited His hometown.

And he [Jesus] did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief.

Matthew 13:58

Unbelief does not tie the hands of God! Nothing can hinder God. It’s helpful to remember Psalms 115:3: Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases. Unbelief is not a hinderance to God, but it seems to withhold His favor.

Faith’s connection

Faith is like the air hose for a scuba diver. As long as the hose is connected to the air tank, the diver can live underwater. However, unbelief disconnects that air hose. By faith we are connected to Almighty God.

And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He [Jesus] said, Come.”

Matthew 14:28–29

When we act in faith, we act in God’s will. Perhaps, it’s better to say it the other way. When we act in God’s will, we are acting in faith. When Jesus walked on the water, the apostle Peter asked Jesus to call him to the place where Jesus stood, and Jesus said, “Come.” Then Peter walked on the water until he put more faith in his understanding than he did in Jesus.

To summarize Peter’s experience: Peter prayed. Jesus gave Peter his request. Peter, by faith, received and acted on his answered prayer. Then Peter allowed unbelief to enter into his answered prayer. Peter’s answered prayer was lost because he couldn’t believe what God [Jesus] was doing. The amount of Peter’s faith, at that time, wasn’t sufficient to receive what he prayed for.

Faith’s attributes

So, we have now seen that faith is not something that we either have, or don’t. Faith comes from God, and He distributes faith to individuals based on His purposes. Perhaps, the most important attribute we’ve seen about faith is that we need to have sufficient faith to receive what we pray for. This doesn’t mean we should be praying “smaller” prayers, rather, we should ask God for greater faith.

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Bible with letters that spell 'faith'

It’s About Faith

Today’s post is about faith. Actually, this week’s posts are about faith. There is no purpose for faith if the faith God gives us isn’t first used to receive God’s salvation through faith in Jesus. For guidance for salvation, click here: Salvation

Faith’s merit

We have no hope without faith (Hebrews 11:1). We cannot be delivered from God’s coming wrath and judgment without faith. We cannot ask God for anything without it. We cannot please God without it. We can have no affiliation with Christ’s Church without it. In fact, we are told in Hebrews 11:6a, And it is impossible to please God without faith.

Now faith does not have some intrinsic value, itself. Instead, its purpose is to enable us to invite God into what we do, think, say, and pray. A better way of saying this might be to say that God invites us to join Him, and we join Him by faith. First and foremost in our faith-walk is our faith in Jesus (Romans 10:9–10).

God is always the focus, never faith.

Faith’s purpose

Now consider this: God is indivisible. Neither you nor I can have a piece of God. When we are reborn and reconciled to God, we don’t get a piece of God living in us. No, God lives in us; all of God, the indivisible God – God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit (John 14:19–21). God lives in us. Faith is how we interact with Him.

You may ask, “How can all of God be in you and in me?” God is infinite. If we consider God’s nature mathematically, we understand that infinity cannot be added to, subtracted from, multiplied, or divided. So, when God enters what we do, think, say, and pray, nothing is impossible for the all-powerful God is in it (Matthew 19:26). In fact, Jesus told His disciples, and through them to us, that if we have even the tiniest of faith in God, then nothing is impossible for us. Matthew 17:20

Why would Jesus make a statement like this? Yes, it is true, but what assignment did Jesus give to this statement? We can tell that Jesus spoke this truth intending for it to accomplish something.

so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

Isaiah 55:10–11

By reading chapter seventeen in the book of Matthew, we understand that Jesus’ intent was not to empower His followers to rearrange the earth’s terrain. Now we have two statements from Jesus: 1) nothing is impossible for God and 2) nothing is impossible for faith. Therefore, faith must be the thing which connects our prayers to God (Mark 9 connects Matthew 17:20 with prayer).

Faith’s condition and test

When it comes to Jesus saying that faith can move mountains, I can hear you saying, “Hold on there, Mister! Jesus didn’t mean what He said. Well, He meant it, but it was spiritual. Well, not even that. Jesus was just trying to get His disciples to have some faith.” I disagree.

What Jesus said, He meant. Regarding our wielding of faith, God has given us a condition that must be met and a test we must administer. We find God’s condition in James 4:3: You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. And the apostle Paul tells us how we must test our use of faith.

And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.”

1 Corinthians 13:2

That is the extent of God’s constraints. Our faith must be submissive, loving faith, under the authority of Jesus Christ, our Lord.

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Rare Chevrolet Bel Air, Ocean Drive in Miami Beach. Florida. USA

A Very Rare Thing Indeed

If the Bible reveals God’s will for me to do something, then I need to get off my backside and do it. If He’s already said it, he will not likely show me a sign or write it in the sky.

“Unless you people see signs and wonders,” Jesus told him, “you will never believe.”

John 4:48 NIV

A very rare thing

I often fail to act on my faith in Jesus because I over-think and under-faith the thing about which the Holy Spirit is speaking to me. The well-known Christian author, Oswald Chambers, said:

“Waiting on God to act is fleshly unbelief. It means that I have no faith in Him. I wait for Him to do something in me so I may trust in that. But God won’t do it, because that is not the basis of the God-and-man relationship. Man must go beyond the physical body and feelings in his covenant with God, just as God goes beyond Himself in reaching out with his covenant to man. It is a question of faith – a very rare thing.”

Oswald Chambers

Mr. Chambers makes an unusual statement in this quotation. He says, “I wait for Him to do something in me so I may trust in that.” Ouch.

Faith in an act of God instead of God

I know there have been times in my life when I was guilty of seeking to put my faith in an act of God instead of God. It’s the Gideon’s sheepskin trap (Judges 6:37–39). Gideon lived before Jesus ascended back to heaven and gave the Holy Spirit to all those that accept Him as Lord and Savior.

Let’s not forget what it means for Jesus to be our “Lord.” We need nothing more.

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bee in a flower

Like Bees to Honey

All my life, I’ve heard people say, so-and-so was attracted like bees to honey. This metaphor is the phrase that came to mind while reading about Jesus calling Matthew to be His apostle.

It turns out that bees are not attracted to honey. Bees make honey, but bees are attracted to the nectar of certain flowers. When you think about it, this makes perfect sense. So, let’s create a new metaphor. I’m attracted to swimming pools like bees to nectar. I think it works! It might catch on!

Bees to nectar

Now, let’s consider two verses in Matthew, chapter nine:

9 As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him.
10 And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples.

Matthew 9:9–10

A good meal is like good nectar

I have no idea how many times I’ve read this passage and never connected the calling of Matthew, a tax collector, with a banquet crowded with tax collectors. This detail isn’t happenstance; the Holy Spirit is telling us something.

I have found that more meaningful ministry takes place around a meal than in any other setting. We see in verse nine that, “Jesus reclined at table.” Why is this? Well, a welcoming meal draws people, just as an aromatic flower lures bees to their food.

A page on Gardener’s Supply Company’s website provides a list of specific flowers that honeybees prefer. So, a delicious meal attracts people like bees to nectar.

Bee-ing attractive

This information means that, given a choice, bees will bypass other flowers to get to the ones that they know will give them the best food. For us to bee-attractive, we need to be winsome.

Jesus had many reasons for calling Matthew, but right out of the gate, Jesus used Matthew’s credentials to attract “many tax collectors.” When other tax collectors saw Matthew, a fellow tax collector, following Jesus, they wanted in on whatever angle he was playing. They didn’t want Matthew to get ahead of the competition. This erroneous conclusion is how the world thinks.

So, when Jesus went to a home for a meal, Matthew attracted “many” other tax collectors and sinners. When the religious leaders began complaining, Jesus said, For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners. (Matthew 9:11–13)

People see your face, but God sees your heart

Tax collectors, at the time of Jesus, were considered crooks. Interestingly, Matthew was not the only tax collector Jesus called. If you remember, Jesus also called out the chief tax collector, Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1–10).

It doesn’t matter what our job is. We may be an elected official, a nurse, a CEO, or a fast-food employee, if we have received Jesus when He calls then God will use us as we are, where we are, to share the Gospel of Jesus. If we allow Him, God will use us to attract our peers like bees to nectar.

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sleeping baby

I Need Some Sleep!

The elusiveness of sleep

Sleep is something that usually doesn’t receive much consideration until you can’t.

In my early years, for half a decade, I worked the night shift, from 11:00 PM until 7:00 AM. During those years, the primary topic of our work conversations was “How much sleep did you get?”

Now that my wife and I are older, sleep has again become a topic of conversation, especially for my wife. She sleeps like a baby; she wakes up every two hours and cries! Well, that’s a bit of an overstatement, but not by much.

Help from God

As bondservants of Jesus Christ, many of us have prayed back to God the words in Psalms 4:8:

In peace I will both lie down and sleep;
for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.

Few of us are adept at sleeping while standing, so we find lying down helpful. If we don’t have our spiritual ears open, we can miss God’s blessing in this small verse. From this verse, we may think that God is just telling us that we can sleep because He imparts His peace to us, and that is true, but that’s not all.

Finding rest

Tossing and turning do not a restful night make. Going to bed with a cluttered mind or a mind that doesn’t have an off switch can make sleep elusive, if not impossible. So, in Psalms 4:8, God gave us two promises that come from a single truth.

“For you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” The Hebrew word that is translated as safety means “A place of refuge.” If we are children of God, then “we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28)” in safety. We may well be facing dangers and difficulties, but nothing can drag us out of our place of refuge in God.

The precision of God

I find comfort, not only in God’s provision for us in this passage but also in God’s precision in this passage. Notice that in this Psalm, David tells us that in peace we lie down and in peace we sleep, and in both of these, we have God’s peace because we are in God’s refuge – we are in a safe place.

God is a precise God. If we lie down in turmoil, if we find ourselves making to-do lists, if we are running scenarios of what may be, then we have not entered into God’s refuge. We all know that worry is worthless, its never changed anything.

God’s refuge is available to all of His children

Yes, many medical conditions can steal our sleep – I have sleep apnea. So we should not heap condemnation upon ourselves if we have a sleep disorder. But even if we struggle with a medical problem, we still need to enter God’s refuge each night. He is our safe place, so enter in!

Photo by Peter Oslanec on Unsplash

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