Don’t Let it Go

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Oh my goodness. I was looking up the lyrics to the popular song “Let It Go” for a different blog post (which will still be coming one of these days) and found something so worrisome, I just have to share it.

You see, little girls (and even quite a few little boys) are singing this song at the top of their lungs across this nation. As Christians, most of us tend to view Disney as fairly innocuous. And before you think I am on some vendetta against Disney, let me assure you that is not the case. I love stories with princesses and happy endings as much as the next guy.

But reading these lyrics made me realize that they are not neutral when it comes to what is being pushed on all of us in this nation. And what is that? It is that there are no absolutes. We are all free to decide in our own mind what is right and what is wrong.

Here are the lyrics I found–

It’s time to see what I can do
To test the limits and break through
No right, no wrong, no rules for me
I’m free

I know that many of you will think I am –as the cliche goes–making a mountain out of a mole hill. Others of you will shrug your shoulders and not care. But please keep reading.

Am I suggesting that we ban Disney movies from our homes? No, that is not my point. That is between you and God.

What I do want to talk about is teaching our kids discernment.

If you see something on any kids’ movie that is completely opposite of biblical truth, do you speak to them about it? Do you discuss it and share with them why this does not agree with God’s Word? Even two year olds can understand that mommy and daddy want to honor God and this song or phrase doesn’t do that.

But are we even having the conversations?

These conversations are pretty easy and productive when your children are small. They are like little sponges and it is a wonderful time to fill them with the resources they need to live a life that pleases God. However, as they grow older, it takes a little more courage, because you will get ridiculed and teased by teenagers and they will think you are very annoying and maybe even a little crazy.

Just keep going back to the Word of God.

You see, it’s not my opinion or your opinion that matters. The only opinion we should care about is God’s. If we can teach our kids that from the time they are little we will be well on our way to raising young people who put their faith in God.

Now to go on a little rabbit trail–

I know that some of you are probably thinking that it is hard to even know what God’s Word says with all of the interpretations out there. And I agree with you. I have seen, in the last few decades, the flood of scriptural “interpretations” and confusing commentaries on scripture that have been let loose on the church so that even we Christians can get confused about what God’s Word says exactly. This is when I go back to history– what has the true church taught for thousands of years? Because, let’s be honest, God’s Word didn’t change 50 years ago to give a carte blanche on man’s sinful desires (2 Thessalonians 2:15).

So, instead of using the “Bible is confusing” as an excuse to avoid good discussions, why  don’t we commit right now–today– to study the Bible ourselves and see what the Holy Spirit has to teach us? If you don’t know where to begin, then click here for a great website to get you started on studying God’s Word.

It is only by doing this that we will have the knowledge necessary to combat the attacks against scripture that are coming from all sides– even in the form of an “innocuous” Disney movie.

 

 

That was me. That could be me. That will be me.

452511_91991606I was tired and ready to go home. It had taken me at least ten minutes to return two items of clothing at the busy wholesale club, which was my last stop in a long list of errands that afternoon. As I piled the items from my full cart on to the conveyer belt, I saw her. She looked so frail. She was with someone younger than her, maybe a daughter or niece. As she was making efforts to pay, I felt slightly irritated. She was writing a paper check (people still actually pay at a retail store by writing a check?!) and was having some trouble understanding the instructions of the clerk. This was all happening in–what seemed to me at the time–slow motion. Each step or arm movement seemed to take minutes instead of seconds. But then I caught the eye of her companion. We exchanged smiles. And I continued to watch that tiny, frail old lady with a little more patience because around that moment, it hit me.

That is going to be me someday.

And I started to think about the different people who so easily frustrate us in life–

The mom with the sick infant that won’t stop screaming in the store or on the airplane.

That was me at one point in my life.

The driver, on their way home from a really terrible meeting or visit, who cuts me off because they are just so distracted.

I’ve been there.

Or the woman paying with food stamps in the grocery store line.

That could be me but for the grace of God.

And I realize that we should really extend so much more grace to people. Why are we so easily frustrated? We could be just like them. Perhaps we were just like them. Or we will be just like them one day in the future.

How do you want people to treat you? That’s the way we should treat others. It is so basic and yet so important.

Do you want your co-workers to tell you the truth? Then extend to them the same courtesy.

Do you want the person behind you in line to be patient as your credit card gets rejected for the third time for some unknown reason? Then do the same when you are that person in line.

What about the overwhelmed waitress? Does she deserve kindness? Would you want kindness if you were in her place–perhaps as new to the job or in a restaurant that is understaffed? God calls us to treat her the way we would want to be treated.

Jesus tells us this basic truth so clearly in Luke 6:31. So why do we struggle so? Why are we so gossipy and easily angered? Why do we backbite and hold grudges? Or sigh and throw tantrums?

I fail at this so often. I don’t mean to, I just get so caught up with my own little, selfish agenda and, woe betide anyone who gets in my way. But for some reason, the elderly lady really made me stop and think. How do I want to be treated when I can’t move as fast as I once did? Because it’s coming. Whether I want it to or not. It’s coming for all of us one day, if we are blessed to live a long life.

You know, if we all followed Luke 6:31 the world we be such a better place. In fact, I believe if Christians followed this commandment, churches would find themselves with few problems.

Of course, that’s in an ideal world, which is certainly not where we live. But it can start with us, can it not? Today, let us be the ones who treat others as we want to be treated. Let’s try to make a difference, however small, by extending grace and kindness to all who cross our path.

 

 

What is the Gospel?

crossWith Easter almost upon us, it may be a good time to review just what the true gospel of Jesus Christ is, as written in the Bible. The other day I heard a supposedly Christian young man on a radio program answer a question about how he would share the gospel. It got me thinking about my own answer to that question, as he proceeded to give all of the selfish, shallow reasons why someone should “follow” Jesus.

Maybe it’s a good idea to first talk about what the gospel is not–

The gospel is not an all-encompassing panacea, solving all of our worldly problems.

The gospel is not our guide through life’s trials and tribulations.

The gospel is not to fill us with a sense of purpose.

The gospel is not designed to teach us that we are beautiful and worthy.

The gospel is not an insurance policy to protect us from a hell.

So exactly what is the gospel?

The gospel is the term used in scripture to depict God’s plan of salvation, available to all mankind. The plan of salvation cannot be understood unless we first understand that we are sinners (Romans 3:23). We cannot truly understand salvation until we truly understand our need to be saved.  Repentance of sin is absolutely necessary for true salvation. In fact, without it we cannot even be saved (Luke 13:5).

Once we understand our sinfulness, we can then understand the quandary we are in. We can never be good enough to meet God’s standards (Isaiah 64:6). God cannot tolerate any sin and we can never be perfect (Isaiah 59:2). So how can we be at peace with God?

The answer is in the marvelous plan of salvation, designed by our loving heavenly Father, who sent His son Jesus to make himself a propitiation for our sins by dying on the cross. That is a big word, but it basically means that Jesus bore God’s wrath for our sins, indeed making a way for us to be reconciled to God (I John 4:9-10).

But it did not end there. Three days later, Jesus Christ rose from the grave, victorious over sin and death (I Corinthians 15:55-57). He has promised that those who accept this free gift of salvation will live with Him forever in heaven, where He has prepared a place for us (John 14:2-3).

Salvation comes when we believe with our hearts what the Word of God says (Romans 10:9). Of course, with true belief comes the transformation that can only come from the Holy Spirit’s working in us, paired with a deep desire to please God with all of our being.

Wonderfully, when we do put our faith in Jesus Christ and experience His life-changing power, we do get the benefits of peace, guidance, and purpose that come along with being a true Christian. But these are not the reasons we follow Jesus, they are only by-products of the choice to put our faith in Him.

So, why am I writing this? Most of my readers already are familiar with the gospel. Isn’t this a bit redundant?

I don’t think so, and here’s why: If you aren’t caught up in a few lies about the gospel, chances are pretty high that many others around you are.  Mark 13:22 tells us that in the last days even the elect would be deceived, if possible. I believe we are living in those days. And that means there are a lot of variations on the true gospel.

It has been twisted into various forms. A few popular ones I can think of are the self-centered form — we come to God for material wealth, answers to selfish prayers, or happiness. We expect Him to fix our lives just the way we want. Another very popular form is filled with “extra-biblical” things we need to do in order to be saved — such as pray to Jesus’s mother or special saints, witness door-to-door, or follow certain rules. Any time there is anything other than faith in Jesus Christ alone, the true gospel has been twisted irreparably.

My dear friends, I pray that you know Jesus as your personal savior today. If you do not know Him, then I pray that you will soon! How I wish I could truly express the deep love I feel for Him and what He has done for me. The older I get the more I realize just how sinful I am. While I can see myself becoming more like Jesus in certain areas (an outworking of the Holy Spirit in my life), my eyes are also opened a little more each day to the depth of my sinfulness. Oh, how thankful I am for the sacrifice Jesus made for me! Jesus just grows sweeter and sweeter to me each year. How I long for you to have that salvation, and the peace and joy that comes along with it, as well!

If you do know Him, then I pray that you would want to share this with your world. Don’t be shy! Easter week is a great week to share the gospel with your circle of unbelieving family, friends, and acquaintances. Many are terrified by what they see happening in the world and even their communities. Many are without hope, seeing no sense of purpose or reason to what’s going on in their families, their work places, and on the news. But if you follow Christ, you have answers! Don’t be afraid to share them.

I end here with the chorus of a familiar hymn that reminds us of the great blessing of the cross. May we live in the victorious glow of it each and every day–

Calvary covers it all
My past with its sin and stain;
My gilt and despair Jesus took on Him there,
And Calvary covers it all.
 

Oh, praise God, Calvary cover it all!

 

If you like this post, I would appreciate  it very much if you would share it with others. That is the only way I know of getting the word out. Thanks so much! :)

 

 

The Dialogue Deception

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I don’t really consider myself a deeply philosophical person. I cannot look deep within movies and books and find themes. Nor do I really want to.

But I can spot a big fat lie when I see one. And it is about time someone exposes this one–The Dialogue Deception.

We have heard this typical excuse for the lack of discernment for years now. But with the current fascination Hollywood has with biblical tales, it has become even more prevalent.

“I know it misrepresents scripture, but it starts a dialogue.

Come again?

It starts a dialogue?

SO you mean to tell me that we cannot talk about the marvelous gift of salvation without a movie? We can’t start a conversation about the eternal stuff of life without some help from Hollywood? Do we realize how pathetic that sounds?

It’s not that we can’t, we just don’t want to.

You see, many years ago, right around the time I was in college, we were sold another big lie–we need to be relevant to reach the world. Now, nowhere in scripture can this be found (those who want to use I Corinthians 9:20 as a defense for this philosophy clearly do not understand context), and yet, the church as a whole, desiring for an excuse to continue in their worldly ways, jumped on this bandwagon in full force.

Fast forward thirty years. We are in a culture that literally hates true, biblical Christianity and anyone that follows it-- for Christianity actually has the audacity to follow a Book that includes absolutes and moral standards and teaches that there is a literal hell and only one way to heaven. These are in direct opposition to the post-modern philosophies so prevalent today.

And so, with our minds firmly sold on the relevance lie, we recognize the possibility of looking very uncool if we clearly state we believe in God’s Word. And cool is everything. Look– I am right there with you. It is so much easier for me to casually mention a movie about God than to ask the question “If you die tonight, do you know, without a shadow of a doubt, where you would go?”

And so we skirt around the issues and casually try to work our way to the plan of salvation. The funny thing is that we see none of this skirting the issues in Paul’s epistles, or even the life of Jesus. They were straight forward and to the point. Loving, yes. But never vague. And certainly never needing a helping hand from a worldly practice (unless publicly denouncing it) to start a dialogue.

In all of the days of my almost fifty years, I have never seen the world so lost. The consequences for leaving biblical standards are tremendously painful. In just my little world alone, I know of many who have walked into the gay lifestyle, a few suicide attempts, and countless struggling marriages–and that is just the very small percentage of situations that have made their way to my ears. People and even entire families lie broken in the ash heaps of these sinful choices. This world is hurting!

Do we really need a movie to talk about the hope that is within us?

I don’t think so. In fact, I think that this lie of dialogue is hurting Christians far more than it is helping unbelievers. With each step away from a commitment to biblical doctrine and the inerrancy of scripture, we find ourselves with harder hearts and a growing lack of discernment.

Satan is no fool. He knew this would be a very effective way into the church and he was right.

It is time for thinking Christians to stand and fight. Let’s have the courage to stand for the Truth. And let’s bravely start the conversations that offer hope. Yes, that means we may be ridiculed. But we are talking about eternity here.

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So What Is Your Life’s Project?

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What is the main project of your life? The answer to this question is a very important one. There are really only two answers to this question–

Your Happiness

or

God’s Glory

If we are a believer then, according to scripture, our life’s main project becomes bringing glory to God in all that we do. If we are still in darkness and unregenerate, then our project is, by default, our own happiness (which takes its form in many different ways, depending upon our personalities).

The problem is that many of us Christians tend to behave like we have not been transformed by the renewing work of the Holy Spirit. Most of us still tend to default back into the “my happiness” mode. Of course, it doesn’t help very much that much of the Christian media is pushing us to keep our own happiness as our primary project.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this because I recently read a book entitled Under His Wings. The only thing I knew about this story was that it was about missionaries in Vietnam during the war there in the 1960s. I don’t even know how I found it on Amazon or why I was looking for it. But I can tell you that this book has presented a great challenge to my “American” view of godliness.

I won’t tell the story here (you can read it for yourself here) but the thing that struck me most was the fact that these people went willingly into a very dangerous country because of their love for Christ and their desire to share the gospel with the lost. They gave up conveniences, comfort, health, family, and eventually their lives for this purpose.

After I finished reading it, I felt so ashamed. These missionaries soldiered on through major illnesses and serious problems as they continued on about the Father’s business.

Me? I cave at the smallest thing. I give God my excuses as to why I can’t do this or that or why I haven’t been able to make time to pray. I was disgusted with myself after reading that book. And I have to ask myself a question: am I as impassioned to give God glory and to share the gospel with the lost as these amazing missionaries? I know the answer is no.

And I become fully aware of just how much my life focuses on my own happiness rather than on God’s glory. It is a constant battle for me.

But a sense of comfort comes in the fact that it is a battle. If there is no battle in the heart of a believer between their selfish desires and the desire to please God, it is an ominous sign that perhaps we are not saved at all.

But while a battle is a good sign, it doesn’t change the fact that, more often times than not, my life’s project is definitely my happiness.

Sometimes after I read a story like Under His Wings, I am tempted to conclude that there are just some super spiritual people out there. People who are just really special. They are the ones who will be wearing the most decorated crowns in heaven.

But is that true or have these ordinary Christians just completely and utterly surrendered their lives to Jesus?

And then comes the next question– if I am not called to the mission field (and most of us are not), how does selling out completely for Christ look right where I am right now?

Perhaps it isn’t just the big things we do and life-changing decisions we make. Instead I believe it is the small ways we are faithful each and every day– resisting the temptation to yell at our spouse or our kids; smiling while we do the work we have been called to do; spending time studying God’s Word on a daily basis; taking that opportunity to share the gospel with that person sitting on a park bench or in the doctor’s office. It’s how we make a choice to not watch a movie or TV show everyone is watching because we know it would not please our heavenly Father. It goes on to include how we spend our time and our money. Being sold out for Jesus encompasses everything. After all, surrender means sacrifice. And true sacrifice occurs every single day in the life of a Christian. It’s not about that mission trip that was a week of our life or the few hours we spend in church on Sunday.

And so, perhaps by the faithful and sacrificial things we do each day, people will see that our life’s project is to bring glory to the great God who saved us. And As we fight the battle between our flesh and our new life every day, may we stand strong in the power of His might! For my weakness is made strong by His strength! (2 Corinthians 12:9)

 

Searching for Spring

Totally spontaneous post here but today was a bit more seasonable and, between the weather and my illness, I have been yearning for a little sign of spring. I mean when it is time for spring, even winter weather can’t hold it back–not forever, anyway. And so I took my camera with me on a little walk outside to see if I could find some proof that spring is definitely on its way. I thought I’d share a few shots with you. I find them a wonderful reminder of Ecclesiastes 3– to everything there is a season. So thankful for the season of SPRING!

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De-Sensitized

797579_79492994SO…I spent most of the past week battling some type of cold or flu. Not sure what it was, but besides making me all around miserable and even a permanent resident of my sofa for a couple of those days, it also made me lose all sense of taste and smell. While I can recall having bad colds and flus before, I cannot ever recall losing almost all sense of taste and smell. It’s actually really weird.

It first started with my morning coffee one day last week. It just tasted…off. I dumped it down the drain and tried a different k-cup. Maybe the first one was old. But, no, it was the same thing with the second cup. Coffee is usually one of the first things to go when I have a cold, so I wasn’t all that surprised. But then my fruit-infused water tasted off and basically anything I put in my mouth had no flavor. I could just barely taste salty and really sweet things.

I am still not tasting very well. It makes it very easy not to eat. Maybe someone should look into this for a new weight loss technique?

But, of course, as usual, it got me thinking. Why doesn’t anything taste good? Because I’m sick. Why can’t I smell anything? Because I’m sick.

And I started thinking over the years of my life and how my hunger for God’s Word has grown in the recent years. As a young person, I had a really hard time sitting down to read the Bible. And I wonder if I wasn’t a little like my physical body–sickened spiritually by all the junk I was taking in or the sinful habits that had ensnared me, that I was de-sensitized to the beautiful, life-changing Word of God.

I think sometimes we wonder why God’s word doesn’t “taste” good to us (Psalm 119:103). We sit down and try to read it and we find it dry and boring. I have been there. But now I realize that it is me– not the Bible– that is the cause of my lack of interest.

If we are making a conscious effort to please God, with a humble heart and a deep desire to be holy, then, while we will make mistakes and still sin (obviously), God’s Word will fill a deep hunger inside us that will be nonexistent otherwise. And it will taste wonderful. Like life-giving water.

I’m still growing and still learning, so this is just a theory. I still have some days where I am reading the Bible and I grow disinterested or distracted. But, after this week’s experience, I may just take my spiritual temperature on those days because it is probably my problem. It certainly isn’t God’s.

You know I believe a very large part of the problem in the modern day church stems from biblical illiteracy. If we don’t know our Bibles we can not really even know God, we won’t be able to discern and defend truth, and we will fall prey to any wind of false doctrine that comes along. If Satan can trap us in a sinful habit or busyness or worldly entertainment, he knows it will diminish our hunger for the bread of life.

Wow. The things you can learn from being sick. I’ll just think about this while I sip my coffee that still tastes like…not much of anything. I am very much anticipating the return of my taste buds!

SEE–
2 Timothy 3:16
Hebrews 4:12
Psalm 119
James 1:21-22
 
 

 

 

My Four Mirrors

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When I had babies so many years ago, I don’t think that I fully realized something.

Wait– let me rephrase that. I know that I absolutely did not realize something.

Each one of my babies– in one way or another– would mirror some of my own worst sinful traits and most annoying habits.

They say that kids change you. And that is certainly true. And, quite honestly, I expected to be changed. It was coming face to face with my own sin on a daily basis that I wasn’t quite expecting.

I have great kids. I am so blessed. But almost every day, I will spot a bit of selfishness or anger or backbiting or gossip, and, while with my mouth I am “encouraging them” to stop what they are doing, inside I am frustrated because I know–as sure as I know the sun will rise again tomorrow– where they learned that behavior.

It is rather interesting to me that, as parents, we often have the toughest time getting along with the kid(s) that are just like us. Could it possibly be because of this dynamic? These kids that are like us force us to come face to face with our sin almost every day. And we don’t like that. It irritates and frustrates us. Our pride is hurt over and over again, because we know we haven’t conquered this sin in our lives and now we’ve condemned our children to struggle with it for the rest of theirs.

Could that possibly be part of the reason?

Whatever the reason, I do believe that, instead of growing frustrated, we need to humble ourselves and recognize the sin in our own lives, while we do the necessary task of raising our children.

How important it is that we do not pretend we are perfect while we discipline our children, while all involved — children, spouse– knows full well we are not.

Life is changing now for me. My kids are young adults and my role looks quite different. And the mirrors grow so much clearer. I can see some of the struggles and battles they are going to face because of the example I set. And I feel like a failure.

But, then I remember God’s grace and the victories over sin I have experienced through the work of the Holy Spirit in my life. No, not perfection, but victories. I am not the same person now that I was twenty years ago. God is slowly, but surely, sanctifying me and making me look more like Jesus.

And I know that, through their obedience to God’s Word and the supernatural working of the Holy Spirit in their lives, my much beloved children will also have that same victory in their lives as they mature.

Now my main job is to pray.

 

If you like this post and believe it would be an encouragement to others, I would very much appreciate if you would share it. Thank you! :)

 

But Why, God?

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Something terrible happened over the weekend to a really nice family. I don’t know them all that well, but I do know that, from my purely human point of view, they certainly didn’t deserve this tragedy in their lives.

I found myself really questioning the goodness of God as I tried to sort through all of this in my mind. Bad things happen to godly people. We know this is a fact of life. And, yet, sometimes, it just hits us and our spirit cries out to the Lord, asking “But why, God?”

It wasn’t that I was questioning Him. I know (in my head) that He is good all the time. And I know that He loves this family and that hasn’t changed because He has allowed this tragedy in their lives. But my heart was having a really hard time wrapping itself around the why. What good purpose could this possibly have?

I don’t have the answer to that. Just like good purposes and lessons learned do not always show forth through the hard moments and difficult times in my own life, I may never know why this family has suffered so.

But God knows. I try to remember that He sees the whole tapestry, while I only see a tiny speck of it. One tiny dot in the scope of all of time in the whole world. I can’t help but realize that I really know nothing and should not judge God based on my very limited perspective.

As I was pondering all of this, I just “happened” to read the following in a *fiction book I am reading–

“See, typically we measure goodness by whether we like something or not. I like this, so it’s good. I don’t like that, so it’s not good. We can do this with God, pretty easily, in fact. If He does something we like or agree with, then He’s good. If He does something or allows something we don’t like, we’re not so sure anymore. We won’t usually say it out loud; that would be impolite. But we can go there in our hearts. And once we do, we start to pull away from the Lord . Do you think that could have happened here?”

And this–

“God doesn’t just do good, Shawn. He is good. His goodness flows from his very nature. Because we don’t always understand what He’s doing, some of it doesn’t seem good to us. But that’s where our faith comes into play. We must believe, as Paul says, that God is working all things together for our good. In time, His goodness and good purposes will become clearer to us. But it can take time.”

Wow. A sermon to me right in the middle of a novel, just when I needed it. And people say there is no personal God? I beg to differ.

Of course, that last sentence — about His purposes becoming clearer in time–while that is sometimes true, it isn’t always true, is it? Sometimes we will never find out this side of heaven.

But how convicted I was by that first thought— Wasn’t I judging God’s goodness based on my perception of what is good? Only God knows the ramifications of any tragedy. He knows whose hearts will be touched and what seeds will be planted. He knows the spiritual growth that will take place and the relationships that will be changed. We can’t see it all, because we are limited by time and our own perspectives. I keep coming back to that word “limited”.

And I realized something — how dare I judge God based on my own limited and humanly flawed knowledge? How dare I? Who do I think I am, anyway?

I remember a friend once saying that she believes it is actually a sin to question God and to ask why. I am not sure about that, but I do believe that if we don’t come to a place of utter submission to His will after our initial and natural questioning, we will struggle all of our lives in our relationship with Him. It is about sovereignty and submission. Very very unpopular words in this culture we find ourselves.

And, interestingly enough, as I was thinking through all of this, another friend who is going through an extremely difficult time in her life shared with me a really amazing way she has seen the Lord take her tragedy and bring someone to Himself because of it. Now if that isn’t an encouragement to keep trusting, I don’t know what is.

But, no matter what outcomes we do or do not see, scripture teaches us that we are to keep submitting and trusting, knowing that our heavenly Father loves us and will keep us in His care, no matter what we face (I Peter 5:7; Lamentations 3:25; 2 Corinthians 1:3-4).

 

*Walsh, Dan (2010-06-01). Homecoming, The: A Novel (Kindle Locations 3581-3584 & 3588-3591). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

The Best Christian You’ve Never Heard Of

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Yesterday, I watched this very amazing video. It was a man singing a very popular song, using 21 different character voices that he plays in Disney movies. As he would change singing voices, a little picture of the character would pop up to match the voice. It was so interesting and this guy is unbelievably talented!

And yet, while many of us are more than a little familiar with many of the movies he takes part in (especially if we have kids), most of us have never even heard of this guy. We wouldn’t know him if he walked by us in the street. We would not recognize his name.

It reminded me of something I heard in a question and answer session I just listened to online the other day. The speaker was Paul Washer and he was speaking to students of Master’s Seminary who hope to become missionaries someday. Unbeknownst to me, Paul Washer was a missionary before he ever became an evangelist. And, while I know some of you out there do not care for his style, this session was really helpful for any Christian — whether you are going on the mission field or not.

One of the things he talked about was that many of the best preachers and missionaries will never have any fame or glory. We’ve never met them or even heard of them. They preach amazing sermons to six people in the jungle or give selflessly, at risk to themselves, when they see a need. He went on to talk about the brother (or brother-in-law) of Jim Elliot. I was completely unfamiliar with him or his ministry, which was exactly his point. This man had labored–had died to himself and his own desires–every day for sixty years on the mission field and no one had ever heard of him. But everyone has heard of Jim Elliot. His point was well-taken.

There are men and women all over the world in the Lord’s service who sacrifice their wants, their desires, and their health for the sake of the gospel every day. And yet, we don’t even know their names.

And, since few of us reading this are official missionaries, let’s bring this closer to home. This isn’t just about being a missionary on a foreign field. In this fame-fascinated world we live in, we can start believing that we can’t possibly be of true use if we are only ministering to a few. We start thinking that, unless we are pastoring a mega-church or writing to an audience of thousands, our work for the Lord is pointless. Bigger is better. Is that really true or is could that just be our failed human mentality?

God asks us in Romans 12:1-2 to be a living sacrifice for Him. There are no conditions on how many, who, or where in these verses.

Did you know that there are most likely amazing living sacrifices as part of your life in your world right where you are? Parents who bring unloved children into their homes, loving them like Christ commands, without any expectation of reward or thought of glory. Faithful Sunday School teachers who pour their hearts and souls into teaching children and adults the Word of God every week. Nurses and doctors who selflessly give to the sick and the elderly,  taking every opportunity to share the hope that is within them because of Jesus. Men and women who bravely tell the truth in a world that loves lies. Men and women who faithfully minister to the sick and needy of their church families.

I guess the Christian life really isn’t about fame and glory, after all. It is about doing well the work that has been set before us, the daily work that has to be done, and responding to the needs that have been placed upon our hearts. It’s about doing the right thing, no matter what the world thinks (John 15:19). It’s about knowing God by studying His Holy Word (Psalm 119:105-106). It’s obedience (I John 2: 3-6) and striving to live a holy and pure life (I Peter 1:15). It’s about whole-heartedly loving others (I Peter 1:22). It’s about ministering sacrificially for the sake of others (James 1:27) And It’s about sharing the gospel (Matthew 28:19-20). This is sacrificial living.

And, while there are some really wonderful “famous” Christians, I am guessing that many of the most decorated crowns in heaven will be on the heads of some you’ve never even heard of.