Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Ricky, the Hunter of Wild Pigs

  • I read a refreshing Facebook post from my friend Stuart Green and it said -  "Follow Me, and I will make you" - successful? comfortable? happy? free? a bible scholar? a preacher? nope - "fishers of men".  That is what Jesus said, huh?  Let's work with it a bit. Jesus said many many times for his disciples to follow him, here are some familiar ones...

    Matt 8:22 But Jesus said to him, "Follow Me , and let the dead bury their own dead."  

    Matt 16:24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me

    Matt 19:21 Jesus said to him, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me ." 

    John 12:26  If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me ; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.  

    We've worked these verses over in Sunday School and have decided that basically what it means to follow Jesus is to live a good Christian life. But if Jesus is the master and we are the followers (the disciples) shouldn't Jesus decided what He makes us in to? And Jesus says that what He makes of His followers is fishers of men. So what exactly is that?  

    I've got a friend name Ricky. He is a "hunter of wild pigs". He knows where the pigs are, he knows how to catch them, and he catches them all the time.  He even will take you out to catch 'em  if you don't know how.  It's like that being a fisher of men. You know where they are, you know how to catch them and do it all the time. And you will even take your friend out if they don't know how. 

    Being a missionary where you are is simply being a fisher of men. It is simply looking out for people who need Jesus. It is being aware of the Jesus moment in every life, everywhere, all the time. It  is being ready at all times to give an answer for the hope that is within you.  And you say, "O man that is scary and hard" or  "that's for somebody else, not me".  

    Nope, for each of you who are following Him, that's who He is making you into.  

    How's He doing? 


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Father forgive them, but don't tell me they didnt know what they were doing

Jesus is heading up Calvary’s hill, beat half to death, bloody, weakened and he reaches the top only to be laid down and nailed to the cross and then raised high and dropped with a thud in the hole prepared for his tree. And then it happened, he saw them in full view. The ones who screamed for his death. The ones who had been purposely plotting since he raised Lazarus to put him away, for good. They had managed in a short few days to turn public opinion so vehemently against him that the same people who earlier in the week had thought he was come to be their King were screaming in unison for his head.

But here's what trips me up. When Jesus looked full in their rage filled faces he said “Father forgive them for they know not what they do”. Really?! They had been plotting, even with the devil himself getting involved,  really?! They “know not what they do”? Not so fast Jesus, don't you dare let them off the hook like that. They knew exactly what they were doing. And they don't deserve to be forgiven at all. They deserve death not some pass like they didn’t know what was up.

But Jesus was right about them. He always is. Did you ever think about what he was saying.  The Bible reminds us “we don't wrestle against flesh and blood”, there is something else going on, something spiritual, something other than, bigger than just what you and I are seeing. The Bible tells us when we show people the truth we are setting the captive free. The devil has taken them captive to do his will.

Listen dear friends who were abused as a child or date raped or who got addicted to a drug or lost in a physical affair with someone else's spouse.  Is it possible that the devil was using you to steal, kill and destroy you, to wreak havoc on your family, to destroy generations to come? 

We see people day after day that in their innocence the devil used an uncle or neighbor to destroy their soul and when they finally face this deep wound they almost cannot forgive.  Are you kidding me!? Let him off the hook? He ruined thirty years of my life?!

Friend, if you can hear the words of Jesus today and realize that they were used by Satan to destroy you, that they were blind and dead and wicked and yes, RESPONSIBLE  but could it be that we could see it from Jesus’ perspective...

Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.

Help us Lord, help us see.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

How Homework helps the home work

Crosswind is a part of a group of organizations and ministries that help kids through school.  Our "Homework Club" is a service to children in the neighborhood that don't go to other programs (notably the Lighthouse, Boy's and Girls Club, Project Attention or the State after-school programs). With the help of the apartment owners (who have donated space for this ministry) and volunteers from the community, Crosswind helps children get their homework done. Also, we (with the parents permission) have access to their grades on-line, can follow their progress and be advocates with the parents for the children's success.

One of the side benefits of "Homework Club" is the relationships that are developed between the families and the volunteers.  The structured environment of State School is relaxed and this environment is more like home, in an apartment right next door to home.  And while the kids have to be respectful among other things in school, in a more relaxed atmosphere we help the children to see that these values are good for life, not just school. These values move over into home life and to catch our phrase make the 'home work'.

Additionally and most importantly, the spiritual development that cannot take place in a secular setting takes place at "Homework Club" as we care for the whole person especially the most important part, the only part that lives forever, the heart and soul.

Please take 2 minutes to get a glimpse of Homework that makes the home work.

Monday, February 18, 2013

I've got a friend I'd like you to meet

Crosswind helps folks... and in doing so we quickly learned that we didn't have all they needed.  We weren't lawyers, mental health professionals, policeman, parole officers, or bill collectors; we didn't have much money, we aren't an employment agency, we don't administer food stamps, and on and on. What we quickly realized is that we needed the community's help.  We needed relationships with people who run programs that will help us help others.  Much of our work is simply introducing people in need to people like you who can help them. "I've got a friend I'd like you to meet, maybe they can help you" is what we find ourselves saying more times than not.

More and more in my life as a believer I am finding this same principle to be true.  People want counsel or teaching or wisdom and I realize increasingly that I don't have what they need. Even being a good friend or a good husband or a dad, I just don't have the resources that the people I love need.  But, as with the practical resources above, I find myself saying over and again,  "I've got a friend I'd like you to meet, maybe they can help you". That friend's name is Jesus. He has everything I need, He is everything I need. What if being a missionary is nothing more than introducing our friends to THE friend? Isn't that what Jesus said when He commissioned us to "make disciples"? Go and tell people about a Friend who has all they need.

Gentry Parker is bringing a local missions conference to town on Friday, March the 1st.  It's free to any who attend. Come as long as you like, leave whenever you like. She is hosting it at Crosswind's ministry center here at 703 Tate. There will be a live feed with some of the most sought out speakers in the country like Francis Chan and David Platt as well as some of the best local missions practitioners and minds in the country like John Perkins, Jeff Vanderstelt and Alan Hirsch. It is for God's people who want to grow in what it means to be a missionary in their own town. It  is about how to make disciples of Jesus out of friends who need Jesus. It is for you.