Tag Archives: evangelism

Proclaim Something Worth Proclaiming

READ
Matthew 9:35-10:23

REFLECT
I am really bad a proclaiming the Good News – or at least making it a priority in my everyday life. I have to admit it. I become distracted and do a great job at proclaiming other things – mostly what I think about things.

We all do a good job at proclaiming what we believe about society, culture, politics, about this or that asinine things a celebrity did or said. We have our opinions on which sports team is best, who deserved or didn’t deserve the Oscar – whether Apple or Microsoft is better. Iphone or Android. You get the picture.

The reading from Matthew reminds us what we ought to be proclaiming in word and deed – The Good News. We who believe are the ones Christ is expecting to be the laborers in the ripe fields.

The next time you want to spout off (or I want to spout off) with some great life-changing, world-saving bit of wisdom about things that will pass with time take pause. Proclaim rather that which is really important and that which is eternal: Christ died for your sins so that you might be with him for eternity.

PRAY
God, by your Spirit come to me and guide my heart and my mouth to proclaim the greatness of you and the greatness you have shown to mankind in the salvation the Son, Jesus Christ. Help us to be laborers and proclaim that which truly matters, AMEN.

Advertisements

The Real “Never Ending Story”

READ
Matthew 28:16-20

REFLECT
The story of Christ is a hard one to tell chronologically when you try to fit it in the church year. It would be nice if we had a way to fit Jesus and the Gospel into the traditional form of a story: beginning, middle, and end. But when we hear of Jesus throughout the year it just doesn’t work that way. It’s all jumbled up.

The year begins with Advent – great. We are awaiting the birth of the King, the Messiah, Jesus. But we are also looking toward the return of Jesus – the second coming of the King. We also have John the Baptist proclaiming the Messiah – so Jesus is already born and an adult. The timeline is all out of whack here. Okay, let’s start at Christmas. We go along good for a bit: baby in the manger, but closely linked to his is the story of the Magi at Epiphany – which is really three years or so after Jesus is born.

This could be very frustrating if we are hoping to see the Gospel as a story, like some novel, but it is not. It doesn’t begin at Christmas and end at Easter. Jesus does not “ride off into the sunset” so to speak. It doesn’t end at the Ascension, because Pentecost comes and Jesus – though his earthly ministry is finish – remains with us by the power of the Holy Spirit. Be God’s grace he comes to us physically in the Lord’s Supper.

The story never ends. It is ongoing AND IT IS ONGOING IN OUR LIVES. The “book” is never closed and put back on the shelf, and we are not simply readers but participants. The Great Commission in Matthew 28 and Jesus admonition to “Go, Make, Baptize, and Teach” calls us into the story with Jesus. We are in this together.

PRAY
Lord God, by the power of your Holy Spirit help me to always remember that I am part of the Gospel story and that the Gospel is really not a story at all. It has no beginning, middle, or end – it is eternal, just as you are eternal. Help me to participate fully with Jesus in making the world know your grace and mercy. AMEN.

Don’t Be a Dusty Bible

READ
Matthew 4:12-23

REFLECT
“Jesus Begins His Ministry.”

That is what the subtitle says in this section of the Gospel in my super-duper 500th Anniversary of the Reformation ESV Bible (with genuine leather cover and gold-leaf edging – thank you very much). It is truly a wonderful thing to behold – not quite an illuminated manuscript, but Hey! I didn’t have years to wait and didn’t have any unemployed monks handy.

Bottom line is the Word of God rest in nicely appointed covers with nice shiny edges on the pages. In Jesus, God’s Word found a far more beautiful home, for He was the Word Made Flesh – the eternal Word of God, truly God and truly man and much more fantastic than my anniversary edition of the Bible. Why? Because Jesus didn’t keep the Word contained. That is what ministry was all about – making God’s Word known to those who so desperately need to hear it. This is what Jesus calls us to do.

We can either be like my Bible and keep the Word locked up within us or we can be like Jesus and preach that Word to the world that needs it. That is what ministry is all about, at the end of the day. Feeding, clothing, paying rent, giving food vouchers, whatever it might be are all nice things but are part of something bigger: Making God’s Word Known.

So go be like Jesus and not like my super-duper 500th Anniversary of the Reformation ESV Bible (with genuine leather cover and gold-leaf edging). By itself that Bible could just lie on the table and gather dust. Jesus on the other hand didn’t sit around gathering dust.

Be like Jesus.

PRAY
Your Word tell us that, “In the Beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” By the power of your Holy Spirit, O God, help us to be proclaimers and doers of Your Word, rather than dusty containers upon a shelf. This I pray in Jesus’ name – AMEN.

Give the Gift of God’s Word

READ
John 1:1-14, Isaiah 52:7-10

REFLECT
What is Christmas all about? I am not going to get down on the whole secular Christmas deal. I love trees, lights and jingle bells as much as the next guy – so I am not going there. So the question I ask what is Christmas about? It’s Jesus birthday comes to mind. It is a time of peace. Christmas is about giving, about family. There are probably a lot we can say Christmas is about.

Ultimately Christmas is about the Word of God. That is what Jesus is: the Word of God incarnate – that is “in-the-flesh.” The Word became flesh and dwelt among us,” John says.

Okay. Fine, well, and good. But what then. Well, we know that God sent his son to save us from sin, death, and the devil by His precious blood upon the cross, but what then? What do we do with the Word – not just this Word made flesh, but subsequently the written Word of God – Holy Scripture.

Isaiah tells give us an answer.

“How beautiful upon the mountains
    are the feet of the messenger who announces peace,
who brings good news,
    who announces salvation,
    who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”

We often think about what we can get or what we got because of Christmas. We think of salvation (or maybe some choice Christmas presents). Isaiah refocuses us to what we are to do and not what we get. Isaiah tells us that the righteous, the blessed, the ones pleasing to God are those who bring His Good News. Jesus is the Good News and we are called to announce Him and His peace, His Good News and His Salvation, which is for us.

So this Christmas give the gift of God’s Word and continue to do this throughout the year.

PRAY
Heavenly Father help us to bring the message of peace, Good News, and salvation to all those with whom we come in contact, the same we you brought us the these things in the person of Your Son. This we pray in Jesus name. AMEN.

All Things to All People

READ
1 Corinthians 9:19-23

REFLECT

Being all things to all people makes a person sound a bit slimy in my book – at least at first blush. It conjures up in my mind a politician who promises everything, agrees with everyone to get the vote and then goes about doing whatever he pleases. Perhaps this idea of being all things to all people brings to mind a spineless person with no real opinion on anything – a person who works really hard never to disagree with anyone on anything. But this is definitely not St. Paul.

Paul was certainly not duplicitous nor was he a person without an opinion or strong beliefs. Needless to say Paul probably would not be able to run for office today, were he here and so chose to do so. Paul was genuine and loving – though sometimes his love was a tough love. Paul did not waver in his conviction and his dedication to the Gospel but he had an uncanny ability to draw on his experiences and use everything in his “arsenal” to connect with people wherever they were and whoever they were. Paul had that rare ability to be himself yet appeal to many people who were different from he.

PRAY
Heavenly Father open our hearts and our eyes to the myriad of people that surround us, especially those who do not know your Son Jesus Christ. Give us the wisdom to speak to these people in a non-judgmental way, yet remaining true to your word and Gospel, so that they might know you and your gift of salvation and abundant life. AMEN.

In to Our Hands is Placed a Treasure

READ
Matthew 24:14-30

REFLECT

As Christians our Lord and master, Jesus Christ, has left us with a precious treasure. In our hands He placed not only His Gospel message; but also the commandments to love God and neighbor and the Great Commission. It is not only a duty but a privilege to be tasked with bringing forth and increase on behalf of God.

The Lord does not call us to bury what we have been give, in essence to keep it for ourselves. Rather, we are called to bring forth and increase for Him, for what we have been given is does not belong to us but has been give to us to hold in trust.

PRAY
Heavenly Father, help us to see that all we have is held in trust for you. All that we have been given comes from you. All our time, talent and possessions are to be used to your glory. The most important these things given in trust is the Gospel message of your son, Jesus Christ, our Lord. Let us not bury this treasure but rather give us the courage to “invest” it in our fellow-man that he might come to know Christ and your glory may yield an increase. AMEN.