November 9, 2015

I was thinking this morning how we tend to focus on the few negatives in our life rather than on the many positives. It's like when you have a knee that aches and hurts all the time. It's hard to be thankful that you don't have cancer or heart issues or intestinal problems, etc. All we can think about is how much our knee hurts. Let me encourage you this morning, not to ignore the hurts in life, but to fully recognize and appreciate all the blessings in your life! Make this Monday morning a thankful and grateful moment!
I was reading an article this morning that gave some insight into the issue we are dealing with here. How do we become culture changing Christians? How do we intentionally live out our faith? Are we being believers who are invested in impacting others for the Kingdom? My belief is that we will truly become who God wants us to be as individuals and as a body when we get out of our little comfort zone and seek to be "agents of change." We do this in a number of ways but primarily it means to begin to think about others more than ourselves. As yesterday morning's passage says, "in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but to the interests of the others." (Phil. 2:4)
We have to actually "see" them first. This is part of our "100 Happy People" challenge. We have to notice people and then interact with them. We seek to bring some joy and happiness into their lives. We seek to "serve" them in some manner by going the "extra mile." But the first step in being ambassadors for Christ is to notice people and interact with them.
We also have to seek to understand people. We must understand and truly love them as human beings. Jim Denison says, "Believers need to speak prophetically and work boldly to counter the moral and spiritual degeneration of our day. But we must love those we are called to serve. We are no better than they. Their struggles are likely not ours, or ours theirs. We are beggars helping other beggars find bread. When we seek to understand those we seek to persuade, our compassion reflects the transforming grace of Jesus."
As we serve others we begin to know them and understand them and hopefully even love them. I love the quote from Todd Adkins that I posted on our church's Facebook page last week. He says that you and I should, "Invite people into your life then invite them to church. They don't come for great coffee or music, but because a friend invited them." It starts with building a relationship and then it culminates by bringing them into a loving culture and body of believers. It is in that process that Christ can become real to them. It is in that series of events that their life is changed. This comes by each of us impacting lives around us on a daily basis. Let me encourage you today to be a part of God's plan for reaching this world!
Please be in prayer for our Good News Clubs as they conclude their fall schedule this week. Pray that we will continue to impact these children and their families. Pray that we will have even more volunteers as we continue to reach out into our schools in the spring!
I also want to say a big thank you to all our Veterans this week. Wednesday is Veteran's Day so let's all remember to say thank you for those who have helped to protect us and to give us the freedom we enjoy every single day. We say thank you to each and every one who was willing to lay down their life for us!