July 16th, 2018

I just did a quick calculation this morning and I realized I have lived through over 3000 Mondays. In all honesty I thought it would be more. But in reality I was wondering in my mind if there were any specific Mondays that stood out. Without looking at a calendar and going back over the years it would take me awhile to see if any memorable life events happened on a Monday. But off the top of my head I think back to all the camps and trips that started on a Monday (Pray for our Youth at camp this week!!). I think back to how many Mondays were either good or bad. Though for most pastors Mondays are a day or recovery (ha) and reflection, ultimately Monday is simply another day that God has given us to use for His Glory. I am praying today might be a blessed day for each one of you. I pray it will be memorably good and glorifying and that you might look back tomorrow and think what an amazing day this particular Monday was for the Kingdom!!
I was thinking this morning how difficult it is to persuade others in their thinking and then consequently in their action. Have you ever tried to convince someone of something when you were 100% convinced you were right? Have you ever tried to change their mind and many times for a good cause or maybe even for what you see as their best interest? The word “hard-headed” or “stubborn” gets thrown around a lot. It seems to me that most people are pretty stubborn. The older we get the more stubborn we get (usually), so be careful guys and girls if you are already dating someone who has to have things their way. It’s probably not going to get better. But of course the question is rhetorical in the sense that we all have faced many situations where we try repeatedly to convince an individual or a group that this is the way to think or this is the best course of action. Some people are gifted at persuasion. Some cross over into coercion or manipulation to try to get their way. Those of us as pastors often find ourselves in a constant struggle to convince people of the truths of scripture and how we need to change our lifestyle to match the life of Christ. It is a never ending battle and a war that will never be completely won. But we all have many examples of trying to persuade others to our way of thinking. Often it is in a marital relationship as we try to convince our spouse that we need a new part for our motorcycle. Ummm, maybe that was a little too specific. But marriage is filled with the give and take of persuasion and acquiescence. I remember serving on a jury one time and finding myself as the leading voice in the minority opinion. It was 8-3 in the hung jury and I was the one trying to convince the 8 that they were mistaken. I eventually convinced one person to change their vote. That wasn’t enough. Luckily the lawyers got together and a settlement was reached. But convincing people is a tough task. Trial lawyers specialize in this. It is a valued skill that usually crosses over into the gentle swaying of opinion.
So, what does the Bible say about this topic you might ask? In this limited space I don’t have time to cover this in depth but let me point out two quick verses and some application. Romans 12:18 says, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” For me, where this ties into our discussion is with the idea that we can only go so far. He says, “as far as it depends on you.” Even when we see people who we are sure are headed in the wrong direction we have to understand that our amount of influence and control are limited. Ultimately it is up to that other person and if they will not listen to wise counsel then the responsibility falls on them. We cannot make people do what we want. Oh we can to a certain degree and when they are children we can literally force them but as they become teenagers we quickly learn that we have lost even that ability. We should do all we can, “as far as it depends on us” but if people choose to make mistakes and walk outside of God’s will then that is a decision they will have to live with and not us. It is hard when it is a child or spouse or sibling that we see making poor choices but we can only do so much. We cannot live their lives for them nor can we make all the proper choices.
The other verse I want to bring to bear on this topic is Luke 14:23. I like the NASB version which says, “And the master said to the slave, 'Go out into the highways and along the hedges, and compel them to come in, so that my house may be filled.” I like it because it uses the word “compel.” The NIV says, instead of “compel them” to “make them” which is pretty good as well. What he is saying here is that they should go out and urge them with great effort to come in. He is not saying they should go out and physically drag them in but he is saying that through persuasion they should do their utmost to constrain them to fill his house. So there are times when the utmost persuasion is essential. When someone refuses our help or won’t listen to our advice then maybe there comes a point where we say, “hey, I gave it my best shot and they simply will not listen. The result is their own choosing.” But when it comes to salvation we must continue to strive, we must continue to compel, we must continue to do our very best to persuade others. Not just for their eternal destiny but for the ultimate glory of the Lord!!
If you missed our Picnic yesterday you missed a sweet time of fellowship and some pretty good food. This Sunday night we will be hosting our second “Summer Movie Night” in the fellowship hall. This Sunday night’s movie will be “I Can Only Imagine.” I have already been told to be prepared to cry so come join us for a great movie night together starting at 5:00 PM this coming Sunday!
I close by wishing my daughter-in-law, and mother of two of my precious granddaughters, Ashley Yaple Hixon, a very Happy Birthday this coming Friday, July 20th!
I am ON MISSION Today! Are You?
P.S. I also want to wish a Happy 100th Birthday to Dr. Jim Brown!! We will be celebrating his birthday this coming Sunday afternoon!!