This Thursday night join us for Encounter, a time of prayer and an opportunity to use your spiritual gifts to build up the body of Christ. We plan on doing this once a month. This Thursday, October 22nd at Richard Clingerman’s house, 6 PM. We would be honored to pray for you and with you no matter what your needs are.
This Sunday we are going to be praying for and with each other. If you’re part of The Redeemer’s Church, and you won’t be there Sunday, expect a call around 10:50 AM from one of us. Then you can practice praying for and with someone else. I think I’m going to preach from John 17 wherein Jesus prays for his disciples. If you’re not part of The Redeemer’s Church, and you want someone to call and pray for and with you, send me a message, and we will call you. Love you all. Rich
In June of 1988 I was about to leave Northern Kentucky to spend 10 weeks in Southern California serving as a missionary for the Baptist church . I told my dad that I was going there to “just love all those people in California .”
My dad said, “Well, if that’s all you do, you’ll be very much disappointed . You ought to think how you can let them love you. “ I didn’t understand. Dad said: “Most people have the ability to show superficial love, but few people allow others to love them.” In my journal from that day, I wrote: “I still don’t understand (what he means) but I shall.”
I know that Jesus not only loved the people that he met as he walked on the earth, but that he let people love him. One sinful woman met Jesus at a Pharisee’s house and wiped his feet with her hair and her tears. She kissed his feet—signs of her love that brought on the scorn of the religious people. Jesus told a parable and then said, “Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.”
Are you making yourself available to be loved ? One of the ways that I’ve found that I can connect with people right now is not only by offering help but by asking for help. I’ve often made myself available to love others. Maybe I should equally focus on making myself available to be loved .
If you desire to be like Jesus, then open your arms and let people show you love, affection, and care.
One time that God affirmed his love for me was when I was praying in my office and imagining that Jesus was coming to visit me that evening–coming for dinner . As I imagined myself setting the table for dinner, I had a vision . I looked up from the dining room table, and I saw Jesus Christ in the front doorway of my house. Beside him, through the windows and through the doorway I saw that the rest of the world was on fire . In the vision, before I knew what to do, Jesus came to me, picked me up and hugged me . That was the whole vision . There were no actions for me to take , no rebuke, or warning for the nations , but God in his great kindness came to me to show me the depth of his love for me . I wrote a song about that vision: “If the rest of the world is on fire, and I’m with you, I’m fine.”
When I think about Jesus meeting Peter after the resurrection, I know that Jesus affirmed , redeemed, and rehabilitated Peter’s broken spirit . If you or I had been in Jesus place, and we had a chance to confront our friend after he had denied even knowing us, we would not have responded like Jesus . I might have said something like “You’ve got a lot of nerve,”’ or I might have taken a sarcastic jab: “It sure looks like you know me now.” But Jesus gave Peter three chances to affirm their relationship and to be affirmed. Jesus said, “Peter, do you love me?”
I hope that you have had some experience of affirmation from the Lord , something in addition to agreeing that the way of Christ is good and right. I pray that Jesus has come into your life and spoken deep into your heart , not only that he loves the world, but that he loves you.
Would you be willing to lead a small group Bible study? Would you like to find out if you’d like to lead a Bible study?
For the next several Wednesday evenings we will be studying Bible passages that speak to some of the qualities of a good small group leader. The topics will include hospitality, listening, coming up with good questions, sharing leadership, spiritual gifts and shepherding. Wednesdays at 7 at Rich and Jenny’s house.
Mark 4: 35 On the evening of that day, he said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side of the lake.”36-38 So they sent the crowd home and took him with them in the little boat in which he had been sitting, accompanied by other small craft. Then came a violent squall of wind which drove the waves aboard the boat until it was almost swamped. Jesus was in the stern asleep on the cushion. They awoke him with the words, “Master, don’t you care that we’re drowning?”39 And he woke up, rebuked the wind, and said to the waves, “Hush now! Be still!” The wind dropped and everything was very still.40 “Why are you so frightened? What has happened to your faith?! he asked them.41 But sheer awe swept over them and they kept saying to each other, “Who ever can he be?—even the wind and the waves do what he tells them!”
With our kids going back to school soon, we are going to struggle with even more anxiety than most of us have had during COVID. Someone on the bus is going to test positive, or someone in homeroom or a sport’s team will. In this biblical account of a storm, the disciples became desperate and scared. They were especially scared when the water came in the boat. Like them we are about to experience water in the boat. COVID has been down the road from us, but that is likely to change. It is time for all people who know the LORD who calms storms to calm the storm inside of us. It is not just what COVID might do to us that matters, but where we put our faith in times of trouble. In Luke’s gospel, Jesus’ question to the disciples is “Where is your faith?”
Christian, your real life is hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3). It is important that you meditate on that and show it to your neighbors as you interact with them. You are safe inside the hand of God whether things get better or worse this fall.
The NBA has let its players put social justice messages on the back of their jerseys for this second part of the season. Some of the messages are “Black Lives Matter,” “Justice,” “Education Reform,” and my favorite, “I am a Man.” When I saw those jerseys I did not like them much at first, because I’ve seen so much virtue signaling in the past year or so. Virtue signaling is when you make sure that people know that are behind the cause that everyone else seems to be supporting, so that you stay in the stream of being a good company or a good person.
The sayings on the back of jerseys not only reminded me of other people’s virtue signaling, but also of my own. I am working on being just one person, but sometimes I am a hypocrite, just as you are.
Jesus had a lot to say to the Pharisees about hypocrisy. He points out that they tithed from their spice rack, but neglected more important things, justice, mercy and faithfulness. Jesus said that they were more concerned about the outside of the cup than the inside. Jesus said they were like whitewashed tombs—presentable on the outside but full of death on the inside.
If you want real change in your life, it will have to start from the inside and work its way out. Recently, I desired to become more generous. I took some time to remember that I am fully loved and accepted by God through his grace. I reflected on the ways Jesus was generous when he walked on the earth, and how he has been generous in our relationship. I asked Jesus to be generous in me—nothing short of a miracle—the living Christ giving through me. After all that I felt comfortable reflecting on some of the reasons that I am tempted to be stingy. I can think about those things more soberly because I’m not condemned, and I won’t be rejected. What do you want to change from the inside out?
One of the best things to happens to me, and it happens often, is when someone who has been in church for a long time, been a Christian for a long time, realizes what grace is and how God has been applied it to them.
The Good News that Jesus Christ has come into the world to save sinners is not just a message for the lost and dying, but for the saints as well. If you’re a Christian, you need to keep applying the Gospel message to yourself or you will continually become more proud, more entitled, less compassionate, and less bearable.
Jesus’ parable about a Pharisee and a tax collector in Luke 18 reminds us of our state apart from God and our mindset when we forget that we are in need of great grace now. The Pharisee praises himself and thanks God that he is not like to lowly tax collector. He goes on to list his righteous deeds. The tax collector won’t even look up, but he beats his chest and says: “God have mercy on me, a sinner.” Jesus says the tax collector went away justified. The Pharisee did not.
The Good News is that because of what Jesus has done for us on the cross we can be born again as the children of God. As you hold that thought in your mind, don’t forget that God is still applying daily grace to you. The work that God began in you through depositing the Holy Spirit inside of you is still advancing.
In this time of disunity, look at your political, spiritual, cultural opponents and ask God to help you apply the same grace, an ample amount of grace to your enemies. Remember that you are one of the sinners that Jesus came to save.