Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God. (Matt. 5:9)
In a day when the boiler plate view of Muslims is “they just want to come over here and bomb us,” there is a fresh reminder that not all Muslims are that way. Most aren’t. Hard to believe. Just true.
Tunisia is one spot no one pays attention to, even though it was the first place the “Arab Spring” started. Egypt blew up. Libya blew up. Syria dug in their heels. But Tunisia kept plodding toward peace. They still make their way in a treacherous situation, but a group was recognized yesterday for their work in bringing peace and stability to their nation.
“We are here to give hope to young people in Tunisia, that if we believe in our country, we can succeed,” said Ouided Bouchamaoui, president of The Tunisian Confederation of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts, a group that’s part of the Quartet.
It’s interesting what can happen when the world isn’t watching… and criticizing.
We are into the second week of our Multiply discipleship ministry and the questions are challenging.
Our reading next week is Matthew 18-28, so in prepping for Sunday’s message I come across this passage:
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. (Matt. 23:3)
Jesus was referring to the Pharisees. “Do what they say, but quit there. They don’t live out what they teach.”
Then, I think of Paul as he boldly says:
Therefore I urge you to imitate me. (1 Cor. 4:16)
First of all, the challenging question is this: Am I worth following?
But then I need a bigger question in my own life answered: Who am I following that challenges me in my walk with Christ?
Do I talk a good game and then pray no one is following?
Or, am I willing to be a life laid on the line and allow people to see the good, the bad, and the ugly?
Am I seeking out mentors who will keep on challenging me in my walk of faith?
19 Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”
20 He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faithas small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matt. 17:19-20)
There are times we rely on formulas. “I’ve hung around Jesus enough, I just say the right words and BOOM! Out comes the demon.”
There are times we rely on past anointing. “I prayed for that last week, so why not now? Easy enough. Right?”
What is always needed is a hungry heart longing for fresh anointing for THIS day.
TODAY can be a day of breakthrough prayer. But the prayer must be prayed. The heart must have a longing. It’s not about yesterday’s anointing. It is about fresh oil today.
Let TODAY be a breakthrough prayer day.
The shootings in Oregon have rumors swirling. Did the shooter target Christians? The media… oh, the oh so accurate media that always want to make sure they get it right… urges “caution.” (Meanwhile, at a county clerk’s desk in Kentucky…)
In our current cultural war mode, it may “play well” to see the hashtag campaign rage on. That’s about the extent of our commitment, though.
Meanwhile, a reminder for all of us is that Christians truly are being targeted in other parts of the world.
THIS REPORT details what happened just last month in Syria.
Friends, let’s not forget the brothers and sisters in Christ we have all over the world who really are targeted. The media won’t play it… but so what. Let US pray. Let US labor. Let US follow Christ.
The Feast of St. Francis was this past Sunday in many liturgical churches. On the heels of Pope Francis’s visit to the U.S., it seemed a bit more meaningful, I am sure. I also was finishing up a reprint and updated edition of My God and My All: The Life of Saint Francis of Assisi by Elizabeth Goudge. The book was initially published in the 1950s. Plough Publishing updated the edition and I received a review copy from Handlebar Marketing.
The Feast of St. Francis is commemorated through the blessing of the pets. Francis was known for his communication to animals. It’s a bit sad, for me, that this is the main way we choose to remember Francis. He was a man who surrendered everything. He stripped himself, literally, to take up the call of following Christ. He learned to completely rely on the generosity of others and in turn became generous with what was passed through his hands.
He set up orders for men, women, and laity so all could follow Christ in simplicity. He was involved in one of the Crusades, trying to mediate between the Muslim and Christian armies.
The book is written in a novel style and is very readable.
It is a fresh reminder of radical obedience. Francis readily admitted that God would demand sacrifice of him beyond his capability, but that was where he found the strength of the Lord. It was in holy obedience he best found the presence of God.
A good reminder.
“2015.10.04 – The Call to Make Disciples by Vicki Higgins” – A sermon from Heights Church
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Discipleship is a necessity in the Kingdom of God. It’s the bravery to say, “I don’t have all the answers. But, I’m willing to be ‘Exhibit A’ in my walk with Jesus if you will follow.”
We can’t be afraid to “blow it.” We also can’t be afraid to “get it right.” I want to follow someone in prayer and Bible study when I see them “get it right” more often than not. I want to be in position for people to want that in me as well.
I just have to be willing to be “Exhibit A,” even in my own mess. God’s grace and his Kingdom are what need to shine through… not my “perfection.”
Live. Real. Now.