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Posts tagged ‘Faith in Action’

The Righteous Warrior – Faith in Action

Faith in Action 2The religious leaders were in a bind. They thought they’d put an end to Jesus. But now his disciples claimed their miracles were performed in the power of the resurrected Jesus. Peter and John’s bind was different. They’d been arrested, held in jail overnight, and called on the carpet by the Sanhedrin, the nation’s highest Jewish ruling body.

Interact with God’s Word:  Acts 4:7-22

  1. Do you think the authorities arrested Peter and John for healing the crippled beggar or for their witnessing afterward?
  2. Did Peter back off at all here (v. 10) from his impromptu message to the curious after the healing (3:9-26)?
  3. Why (v. 13) were the council members amazed by Peter and John?
  4. How did the Sanhedrin respond (vv. 17-21) to their defense?
  5. How did the two respond (vv. 19-20) to the Sanhedrin ruling?
  6. Why (v. 21) were Peter and John let go instead of being sentenced?
  7. Would their response have been different if the outcome had been more drastic? (See vv. 29—31.)

Spend Time in Prayer:  Ask God for the wisdom to know when and how to take a stand, and the courage to carry it out.

Acts 4:7-22

7 They brought in the two disciples and demanded, “By what power, or in whose name, have you done this?”

8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers and elders of our people, 9 are we being questioned today because we’ve done a good deed for a crippled man? Do you want to know how he was healed? 10 Let me clearly state to all of you and to all the people of Israel that he was healed by the powerful name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, the man you crucified but whom God raised from the dead. 11 For Jesus is the one referred to in the Scriptures, where it says,

‘The stone that you builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.’

12 There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.”

13 The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training in the Scriptures. They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus. 14 But since they could see the man who had been healed standing right there among them, there was nothing the council could say. 15 So they ordered Peter and John out of the council chamber and conferred among themselves.

16 “What should we do with these men?” they asked each other. “We can’t deny that they have performed a miraculous sign, and everybody in Jerusalem knows about it. 17 But to keep them from spreading their propaganda any further, we must warn them not to speak to anyone in Jesus’ name again.” 18 So they called the apostles back in and commanded them never again to speak or teach in the name of Jesus.

19 But Peter and John replied, “Do you think God wants us to obey you rather than him? 20 We cannot stop telling about everything we have seen and heard.”

21 The council then threatened them further, but they finally let them go because they didn’t know how to punish them without starting a riot. For everyone was praising God 22 for this miraculous sign—the healing of a man who had been lame for more than forty years.

Prayer for the Week: Give me the courage, Lord, to take a bold stand for truth and justice, even when it’s risky.

 

The Righteous Warrior – Showdown

Faith in Action 2Key Bible Verse: The Son of God came to destroy these works of the Devil. 1 John 3:8

Bonus Reading: Ephesians 6:19-20

Five gringos approached the Chiapas, Mexico, maximum-security prison to encourage 80 wrongfully incarcerated brothers. Ten years earlier, local mob bosses, angered by the Christians’ refusal to pay for pagan rituals, had had them framed and convicted.

Guards searched us and inspected our gifts: toothbrushes, soap, and toilet paper. Steel doors were unlocked and relocked as we were escorted inside and told to wait. A half hour later, a warden’s assistant announced we could only visit ten inmates at a time. Time constraints, we realized, would prevent us from visiting half the men. This was spiritual warfare!

We fired back that we represented these prisoners’ families, demanded to visit all 80 together, and insisted on seeing her boss. She disappeared; we prayed. Ten minutes later, the warden appeared. He was new, it turned out, and unaware of these men’s histories. We filled him in. “I’m an evangelical too,” he replied. “Come to the main courtyard. All the prisoners may meet with you!”

Keys clanked, doors slammed, men in orange jumpsuits emerged, weeping and hugging us. A throng of curious prisoners hung on every word as Alan, Hector, and I spoke, reminding these Word-starved brothers that nothing can separate them from Christ’s love.

—Kenny Luck in Dream

My Response: I’ll stand up for the gospel or justice by …

Thought to Apply: When good people cease their vigilance and struggle, then evil men prevail.—Pearl Buck

Adapted from Dream (WaterBrook, 2007)

Prayer for the Week: Give me the courage, Lord, to take a bold stand for truth and justice, even when it’s risky.

 

 

The Righteous Warrior – Risk Factor

Faith in Action 2Key Bible Verse: “I will go into to see the king. If I must die, I am willing to die.”  – Esther 4:16

Bonus Reading: Esther 4:5-17

Speaking out carries a risk. But sometimes not speaking out carries the greater risk of violating one’s integrity. Bill, a division manager of a Fortune 500 company, faced such a choice. He was deeply concerned about succession plans at his company. The man who’d been groomed to be the next CEO had failed to gain the respect of several senior people in the company, including Bill.

After soul-searching and prayer, Bill decided he must take his concerns to the current CEO, a forceful, and at times volatile, leader. To his relief, the meeting went remarkably well. Bill’s years of effective service, coming up through the ranks, had earned his boss’s admiration. But the seed of caution planted was only a first step. It took more analysis, more meetings—some confrontational and most requiring Bill’s direct involvement—and ultimately a board no-confidence vote.

In the end, another leader was appointed, a person who brought the right balance of competence, knowledge of the company, and rapport with others. In the years since the decision, he’s proved to be an ideal CEO. Bill, with great courage, grace, and tact, had quietly guided his company through its most critical decision moving into the twenty-first century.

—John Beckett in Mastering Monday

My Response: How can I build credibility now that could give me a future hearing?

Thought to Apply: Moral courage is the rarest ingredient of character.—Felix Frankfurter (U.S. Supreme Court justice)

Adapted from Mastering Monday (InterVarsity, 2006)

Prayer for the Week: Give me the courage, Lord, to take a bold stand for truth and justice, even when it’s risky.

 

 

The Righteous Warrior – …and Keeping It Up

Faith in Action 2Key Bible Verse: Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but to trust the Lord means safety.  – Proverbs 29:25

Bonus Reading: 1 Peter 3:13-17

[continued from yesterday]  The teachers lounge became a hostile place for weeks. Someone would begin a sentence, stop, look sidewise at me, and say, “I guess I shouldn’t say anything; spiritual Mr. Ingram is here.”

My colleagues seemed to turn on me. When approached alone, these teachers knew they had been way out of line. They had agreed privately. But because of the way they’d responded to me publicly—with criticism, ridicule, and rejection—I lowered my flag and fled. I stopped going to the teachers lounge.

But I began to realize that the biblical challenge to be salt and light comes with no assurances like “Be salt because the world will enjoy the way you taste,” or “Be light because people will immediately thank you for pointing out their sin.” Jesus’ words, “In this world you will have trouble” (John 16:33), suddenly had a personal ring.

So what if they don’t like me, I thought. I can’t control that. But they do need to respect me. After ten days of avoiding the teacher’s lounge, I decided to return and live with the ridicule and criticism so that there’d be a believing teacher in that school.

I went back. I didn’t have to flap the flag of my faith in their faces, but people knew I had boundaries.

—Chip Ingram in Holy Ambition

My Response: When have I sensed profound respect behind surface ridicule?

Thought to Apply: When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened.—Billy Graham

Adapted from Holy Ambition (Moody, 2002)

Prayer for the Week: Give me the courage, Lord, to take a bold stand for truth and justice, even when it’s risky.

 

The Righteous Warrior – Running My Flag Up…

Faith in Action 2Key Bible Verse: The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John.  –  Acts 4:13

Bonus Reading: Acts 4:7-22

My first teaching job also involved coaching. One day, I walked into the teachers’ lounge and overheard three or four coaches and one teacher huddled around a table after lunch was over and the women had cleared out. They were talking in a crude way about some of the more attractive female students of our school. I could not believe what I was hearing. I thought, How can they sit here and make explicit sexual comments about 16-and-17-year-old girls they teach?

Finally, as calmly as I could, I said, “Hey, gentlemen, I know that I’m the brand-new teacher here and the youngest in the room. But what you are saying is absolutely unprofessional and uncalled for. Imagine being a father of one of these girls listening to how you are talking about them! I think this needs to stop and stop right now.” It got very quiet. Before anything else could be said or done, the bell saved me and I left the room.

Later that day I went to each teacher and, trying my best not to come across as self-righteous, said, “I’m not down on you personally, but I think this was inappropriate. I have real convictions about this.” [continued tomorrow]

—Chip Ingram in Holy Ambition

My Response: Have I ever moved from privately held conviction to taking a stand publicly?

Thought to Apply: It is important that people know what you stand for. It is equally important that they know what you won’t stand for.—source unknown

Adapted from Holy Ambition (Moody, 2002)

Prayer for the Week: Give me the courage, Lord, to take a bold stand for truth and justice, even when it’s risky.

 

 

The Righteous Warrior – I Blinked

Faith in Action 2Key Bible Verse: For I live in eager expectation and hope that I will never do anything that causes me shame, but that I will always be bold for Christ. Philippians 1:20

Bonus Reading: Hebrews 11:24-26

Shutting my office door behind him, my boss said, “I think Mike has a nose problem. I heard that he’s heavy into cocaine. I want you to get some dirt on the guy and fire him.”

I was taken aback. Mike had been one of my best salespeople for years. My first reaction was to do the right thing: I wanted to talk honestly to Mike. If, in fact, he did have a problem, I wanted to help him get his personal and professional life in order.

But when I mentioned this approach to my boss, he blew up, saying, “I don’t care how you do it, just get rid of him. I want him out of here now!” I was caught between a rock and a hard place: I could do what was right and risk being fired myself, or choose not to make waves by being a “team player,” as my boss would call it, and do the dirty work he had demanded I do.

Well, I copped out and made the easier decision, the wrong one. I saved my job by unjustly taking the job of another. My boss’s ego and my fear of unemployment hurt the entire staff. Not only did we lose a good employee, we also lost the trust of our sales team. The decision may have saved my job, but I lost a piece of my soul.

—Larry Julian in God Is My CEO

My Response: When has fear kept me from doing the right thing? How would I respond differently now?

Adapted from God Is My CEO (Adams Media, 2001)

Prayer for the Week: Give me the courage, Lord, to take a bold stand for truth and justice, even when it’s risky.

 

 

The Righteous Warrior – No Flinching

Faith in Action 2Who Said It…John Piper

John Piper was raised in South Carolina and majored in literature in college (he’s now a prolific author who still writes poems).

He proceeded with biblical studies at Fuller Seminary and the University of Munich, and taught courses at Bethel Seminary for six years.

But sensing “an irresistible call to preach,” John shifted to Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, where he’s been senior pastor since 1980.

What He Said…No Flinching

Christian courage is the willingness to say and do the right thing regardless of the earthly cost, because God promises to help you and save you on account of Christ. An act takes courage if it will likely be painful. The pain may be physical, as in war and rescue operations. Or the pain may be mental, as in confrontation and controversy.

Courage is indispensable for both spreading and preserving the truth of Christ. Running from resistance in evangelism or teaching dishonors Christ. There’s a kind of cowardice that tells only the truths that are safe to tell.

Martin Luther put it like this: “If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved, and to be steady on all the battlefield besides is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.”

Adapted from Taste and See (Multnomah, 2005)

Prayer for the Week: Give me the courage, Lord, to take a bold stand for truth and justice, even when it’s risky.

 

 

The Difference One Can Make – Just Imagine!

Faith in ActionWho Said It…Richard Land

Richard Land is president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, which works to keep the public informed on critical issues facing the family and the nation.

He was also appointed by President Bush to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

Dr. Land has also served as pastor, professor, and adviser to a former Texas governor.

What He Said…Just Imagine!

What if just half of those Americans who claim to be evangelical Christians were truly to practice their faith in their local communities as responsible citizens?

Every volunteer social organization in the country seeking to meet the needs of less fortunate people would be transformed overnight.  There’d be so many volunteers they’d have to be put on waiting lists.

The databases of crisis pregnancy centers and prison transition ministries and foster-care agencies would be crammed with the names and numbers of families ready to take in young women and ex-cons and children who need hospitality, practical help, and loving care. Food pantry shelves would overflow.

Homebound senior citizens would never be isolated.  School children would have mentors for literacy programs and reading enrichment, and adults committed to staying involved in their lives. Nursing-home residents wouldn’t pass time in empty days, neglected by family and ignored by society.

Even those not influenced to accept Christ by such radical, positive changes in society would live better lives.

Adapted from Imagine! A God-Blessed America (Broadman & Holman, 2005)

Prayer for the Week: I’m available, Lord, for any assignment. Use me to make a difference in Your Kingdom.

 

The Difference One Can Make – The Chattanooga Challenge

Faith in ActionKey Bible Verse: “He can win the battle whether he has many warriors or only a few!” 1 Samuel 14:6

Bonus Reading: 1 Samuel 14:1-16

During the 1970s and ’80s, Chattanooga, Tennessee, was decaying. Divorce was rampant.

Half of all births were to unwed mothers. Single women, many living in poverty, were the sole providers in 30 percent of homes.

Five local businessmen decided to do something about it.

In 1997 they formed the nonprofit organization First Things First. It provided classes to help couples prepare for marriage, strengthen families, reduce teen pregnancies, and encourage father involvement in the lives of their children.

Some seminars offered: “Before You Say I Do,” “Boot Camp for New Dads,” “Fighting for Your Marriage.” DVDs and videos can be checked out from its resource center.

When businessman Brad Rymer was exposed to the state of Chattanooga families, he says, “I went home and prayed, ‘Lord use me to help You save marriages.'” He ended up selling his business and assuming a mediation role with fractured families.

The results? As of 2006—less than 10 years since the program began—the city’s divorce rate has gone down by 25 percent. Cases of children having children have gone down by 26 percent. Fathers, more aware of their crucial role, spend more time with their children.

—Julie Baumgardner in Focus on the Family

My Response: What goal dare I pray for God to empower me to achieve for Him?

Thought to Apply: Attempt great things for God. Expect great things from God.—William Carey (missionary to India)

Adapted from Focus on the Family (8/06) and First Things First (www.firstthings.org)

Prayer for the Week: I’m available, Lord, for any assignment. Use me to make a difference in Your Kingdom.

 

 

The Difference One Can Make – Urban Field of Dreams

Faith in ActionKey Bible Verse: “The King will tell them, ‘I assure you, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!'” Matthew 25:40

Bonus Reading: 2 Corinthians 4:5-7

On his way to work one day, Chicago insurance broker Bob Muzikowski saw a derelict ball field full of trash in a gang-infested neighborhood.

The kids there could use a real Little League to play in, he thought. He teamed up with a friend to create the Near North Little League. In “pretty wild” early practice sessions, coaches dealt with 250 boys long on enthusiasm but short on fundamentals.

Each game began with a prayer. Cursing was strictly forbidden.

“While I had no illusions that I’d change the world, I had no doubt that God wanted me to play baseball with these kids,” said Muzikowski , converted not long before. “My faith had taught me that being a Christian means truly believing what Jesus said about loving my neighbor.”

The next year, 400 kids joined the league.

Today 900 fatherless kids in 100 Little League teams are learning self-respect and community values. Reporters wonder why a wealthy white businessman lives among the poor, coaching other people’s kids.

Muzikowski answers, “Jesus didn’t say, ‘When you’ve paid someone to do it unto the least of these. … ‘ What He said was, ‘when you have done it. … ‘”

—Charles Colson in How Now Shall We Live?

My Response: One way I could directly serve a marginalized person in my community is …

Thought to Apply: Christianity demands a level of caring that transcends human inclinations.—Erwin Lutzer

Adapted from How Now Shall We Live? (Tyndale, 2004)

Prayer for the Week: I’m available, Lord, for any assignment. Use me to make a difference in Your Kingdom.

 

The Difference One Can Make – Faith in Action

Faith in ActionThe Philistines’ well-supplied army dominated Canaan, conducting raids at will.

And they enforced a monopoly on that era’s advanced technology: iron blacksmithing.

No wonder King Saul’s badly outnumbered, demoralized troops were stalled in defensive position at Gibeah, making no effort to retake the Philistine-controlled Micmash pass.

Interact with God’s Word: 1 Samuel 14:1-16, 1 Samuel 14:20-22

  1. In the Israel/Philistine face-off (see 1 Samuel 13:5, 15, 22) what were the human odds?
  2. How did Jonathan view these odds (v. 6)?
  3. Why do you think Jonathan didn’t alert his father to his plans?
  4. How did Jonathan allow for God to abort this thrust if it wasn’t in His will (vv. 8-10)?
  5. What exertions were required of Jonathan and his armor bearer (vv.13-14)?
  6. How did God turn a skirmish upset into the route of an entire army (v. 15)?
  7. How did Jonathan’s initiative motivate his fellow Israelites (vv. 20-22)?
  8. What overwhelming odds do you think need turning around in our society?
  9. What counter-measures could you take for starters? What resources could you commit to this venture?

Spend Time in Prayer:  Ask God to give you the courage to tackle a daunting problem, using your efforts to trigger events leading to victory.

1 Samuel 14:1-16, 20-22

1 One day Jonathan said to his armor bearer, “Come on, let’s go over to where the Philistines have their outpost.” But Jonathan did not tell his father what he was doing. 2 Meanwhile, Saul and his 600 men were camped on the outskirts of Gibeah, around the pomegranate tree at Migron. 3 Among Saul’s men was Ahijah the priest, who was wearing the ephod, the priestly vest. Ahijah was the son of Ichabod’s brother Ahitub, son of Phinehas, son of Eli, the priest of the Lord who had served at Shiloh. No one realized that Jonathan had left the Israelite camp.

4 To reach the Philistine outpost, Jonathan had to go down between two rocky cliffs that were called Bozez and Seneh. 5 The cliff on the north was in front of Micmash, and the one on the south was in front of Geba. 6 “Let’s go across to the outpost of those pagans,” Jonathan said to his armor bearer. “Perhaps the Lord will help us, for nothing can hinder the Lord. He can win a battle whether he has many warriors or only a few!”

7 “Do what you think is best,” the armor bearer replied. “I’m with you completely, whatever you decide.” 8 “All right then,” Jonathan told him. “We will cross over and let them see us. 9 If they say to us, ‘Stay where you are or we’ll kill you,’ then we will stop and not go up to them.

10 But if they say, ‘Come on up and fight,’ then we will go up. That will be the Lord’s sign that he will help us defeat them.” 11 When the Philistines saw them coming, they shouted, “Look! The Hebrews are crawling out of their holes!” 12 Then the men from the outpost shouted to Jonathan, “Come on up here, and we’ll teach you a lesson!” “Come on, climb right behind me,” Jonathan said to his armor bearer, “for the Lord will help us defeat them!”

13 So they climbed up using both hands and feet, and the Philistines fell before Jonathan, and his armor bearer killed those who came behind them. 14 They killed some twenty men in all, and their bodies were scattered over about half an acre. 15 Suddenly, panic broke out in the Philistine army, both in the camp and in the field, including even the outposts and raiding parties. And just then an earthquake struck, and everyone was terrified. 16 Saul’s lookouts in Gibeah of Benjamin saw a strange sight—the vast army of Philistines began to melt away in every direction.

20 Then Saul and all his men rushed out to the battle and found the Philistines killing each other. There was terrible confusion everywhere. 21 Even the Hebrews who had previously gone over to the Philistine army revolted and joined in with Saul, Jonathan, and the rest of the Israelites. 22 Likewise, the men of Israel who were hiding in the hill country of Ephraim joined the chase when they saw the Philistines running away.

Prayer for the Week: I’m available, Lord, for any assignment. Use me to make a difference in Your Kingdom.

The Difference One Can Make – Waging Peace

Faith in ActionKey Bible Verse: Now that their father was dead, Joseph’s brothers became afraid. “Now Joseph will pay us back,” … they said. Genesis 50:15

Bonus Reading: Genesis 50:14-21

William Rodriguez, a kickboxing champion as well as a black belt in karate, knew how to fight and win.

Even so, when gang members killed his son, Rodriguez refused to respond violently. Instead of seeking revenge, he sought a just and lasting reconciliation.

After learning that one of his son’s convicted killers was wrongly sentenced, Rodriguez asked the judge for mercy on the young man. “I just believed it was the right thing to do.  That’s my faith,” he recalled.

As a result of involvement in his son’s murder trial, Rodriguez began to orchestrate peace treaties among warring gangs. The kick-boxer spoke to feuding groups about living for the future rather than in bondage to the past.

Seeing that Rodriguez was living that message, many gang members listened. Soon, to his own surprise, Rodriguez was hosting reconciliation meetings.

Rodriguez’s peacemaking illustrates human beings’ overarching vocation as followers of Jesus Christ.

Just as God cares for His entire universe, we’re called to be caretakers of His world. God calls us to love Jesus by caring for and about our neighbor, participating in Christ’s renewal of all things.

—Quentin Schultze in Here I Am

My Response: In what situation should I respond compassionately instead of instinctively protecting my status?

Thought to Apply: It is idle for us to say that we know that God has forgiven us if we are not loving and forgiving ourselves.—D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (Welsh preacher)

Adapted from Here I Am (Baker, 2005)

Prayer for the Week: I’m available, Lord, for any assignment. Use me to make a difference in Your Kingdom.

 

The Difference One Can Make – Hanging Tough in the Tenderloin

Faith in ActionKey Bible Verse: “Everyone will know that the Lord does not need weapons to rescue his people. It is his battle, not ours.”  – 1 Samuel 17:47

Bonus Reading: 1 Samuel 17:32-37

Leaving his job in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district one day, Roger Huang discovered that he had a flat tire.

While waiting for a tow truck, he watched a group of teens pick on a younger boy and wondered what he’d do if it were his son.

For the next eight years, Roger worked two jobs to support a rescue mission that he leads there. He also started a Christian school.

The 35-block neighborhood has at least 48 liquor stores and 14 porn shops. Some 10,000 homeless pass through it every night. Tenderloin averages three major crimes per hour.

Tired of it all, in 2004 Roger decided to get city leaders’ attention. He sat outside city hall on a hunger strike.

Prodded to action, Mayor Gavin Newsome initiated a “scrubdown”: the police department assigned more officers to walk the streets to detain those suspected of drug-related activity. The public works department ordered more sweepers to clean up.

One city supervisor studied limiting liquor licenses; another introduced legislation to prohibit new strip clubs and porn shops within 1,000 feet of schools, playgrounds, and daycare centers. After 33 days, when he felt the city had made enough progress, Roger ended his hunger strike.

—Rob Moll in Leadership

My Response: What should be turned around in my community? Where could I start?

Thought to Apply: God is always calling on us to do the impossible, [but] anything Jesus did here on earth is something we should be able to do, too.—Madeleine L’Engle

Adapted from Leadership (Summer/04)

Prayer for the Week: I’m available, Lord, for any assignment. Use me to make a difference in Your Kingdom.

 

 

The Difference One Can Make – Borderline Situation

Faith in ActionKey Bible Verse: Those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of goodness. James 3:18

Bonus Reading: Nehemiah 6:1-13

Aqeela Sherrills lived in Watts, a part of Los Angeles ravaged by feuding youth gangs.  His neighborhood was wedged between a district dominated by the Bloods and another by the Crips, with bystanders often caught in the crossfire.  He escaped Watts by going east to college.

But there Aqeela became convinced that he was created to make a difference in gangland. So he returned to L.A. in 1989 and organized members of his neighborhood to agitate for “Peace for Peace’s Sake.”

“Both gangs tolerated us,” Aqeela said, “allowing us to march, even listening to our rhetoric.” At first nothing changed. But they joined forces with football great Jim Brown to form Amer-I-Can.  In it, older men began mentoring younger men, steering them toward positive goals.

Then Aqeela and his brother, Daude, held a meeting to motivate the group to appeal directly to the gangs. “We were afraid for our lives,” Aqeela said. “But I said to the group, ‘We’re on the border. So we should be the ones to stand between the Bloods and Crips and bring the neighborhoods together.’

We committed to march into both territories with a message of reconciliation.”  Their intervention led to a “peace treaty,” and eventually to reconciliation.

—Everett Worthington Jr. in Forgiving and Reconciling

My Response: I’ll ask God to show me for what I was created to make a difference.

Adapted from Forgiving and Reconciling (InterVarsity, 2003)

Prayer for the Week: I’m available, Lord, for any assignment. Use me to make a difference in Your Kingdom.

 

Faith in Action!

But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”  Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.James 2:18

FAITH IN ACTION is coming to Beaver County on April 15, 2017.

Faith in Action is an interfaith ministry that utilizes volunteers to provide rides for those 60 years and older who need to get to the doctor and medical appointments.

Those in need can call 1-800-207-6701 two weeks prior to the appointment , follow the prompts and someone will get back to schedule your ride asap.

Volunteer drivers are needed in the Big Beaver, Chippewa, Darlington, Patterson, Beaver Falls , New Brighton and  Rochester areas.  To volunteer call 1-800- 207-6701 and hit prompt #5.

 

 

 

The Righteous Warrior – Faith in Action

Faith in Action 2The religious leaders were in a bind. They thought they’d put an end to Jesus. But now his disciples claimed their miracles were performed in the power of the resurrected Jesus. Peter and John’s bind was different. They’d been arrested, held in jail overnight, and called on the carpet by the Sanhedrin, the nation’s highest Jewish ruling body.

Interact with God’s Word:  Acts 4:7-22

  1. Do you think the authorities arrested Peter and John for healing the crippled beggar or for their witnessing afterward?
  2. Did Peter back off at all here (v. 10) from his impromptu message to the curious after the healing (3:9-26)?
  3. Why (v. 13) were the council members amazed by Peter and John?
  4. How did the Sanhedrin respond (vv. 17-21) to their defense?
  5. How did the two respond (vv. 19-20) to the Sanhedrin ruling?
  6. Why (v. 21) were Peter and John let go instead of being sentenced?
  7. Would their response have been different if the outcome had been more drastic? (See vv. 29—31.)

Spend Time in Prayer:  Ask God for the wisdom to know when and how to take a stand, and the courage to carry it out.

Acts 4:7-22

7 They brought in the two disciples and demanded, “By what power, or in whose name, have you done this?”

8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers and elders of our people, 9 are we being questioned today because we’ve done a good deed for a crippled man? Do you want to know how he was healed? 10 Let me clearly state to all of you and to all the people of Israel that he was healed by the powerful name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, the man you crucified but whom God raised from the dead. 11 For Jesus is the one referred to in the Scriptures, where it says,

‘The stone that you builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.’

12 There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.”

13 The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training in the Scriptures. They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus. 14 But since they could see the man who had been healed standing right there among them, there was nothing the council could say. 15 So they ordered Peter and John out of the council chamber and conferred among themselves.

16 “What should we do with these men?” they asked each other. “We can’t deny that they have performed a miraculous sign, and everybody in Jerusalem knows about it. 17 But to keep them from spreading their propaganda any further, we must warn them not to speak to anyone in Jesus’ name again.” 18 So they called the apostles back in and commanded them never again to speak or teach in the name of Jesus.

19 But Peter and John replied, “Do you think God wants us to obey you rather than him? 20 We cannot stop telling about everything we have seen and heard.”

21 The council then threatened them further, but they finally let them go because they didn’t know how to punish them without starting a riot. For everyone was praising God 22 for this miraculous sign—the healing of a man who had been lame for more than forty years.

Prayer for the Week: Give me the courage, Lord, to take a bold stand for truth and justice, even when it’s risky.

 

The Righteous Warrior – Showdown

Faith in Action 2Key Bible Verse: The Son of God came to destroy these works of the Devil. 1 John 3:8

Bonus Reading: Ephesians 6:19-20

Five gringos approached the Chiapas, Mexico, maximum-security prison to encourage 80 wrongfully incarcerated brothers. Ten years earlier, local mob bosses, angered by the Christians’ refusal to pay for pagan rituals, had had them framed and convicted.

Guards searched us and inspected our gifts: toothbrushes, soap, and toilet paper. Steel doors were unlocked and relocked as we were escorted inside and told to wait. A half hour later, a warden’s assistant announced we could only visit ten inmates at a time. Time constraints, we realized, would prevent us from visiting half the men. This was spiritual warfare!

We fired back that we represented these prisoners’ families, demanded to visit all 80 together, and insisted on seeing her boss. She disappeared; we prayed. Ten minutes later, the warden appeared. He was new, it turned out, and unaware of these men’s histories. We filled him in. “I’m an evangelical too,” he replied. “Come to the main courtyard. All the prisoners may meet with you!”

Keys clanked, doors slammed, men in orange jumpsuits emerged, weeping and hugging us. A throng of curious prisoners hung on every word as Alan, Hector, and I spoke, reminding these Word-starved brothers that nothing can separate them from Christ’s love.

—Kenny Luck in Dream

My Response: I’ll stand up for the gospel or justice by …

Thought to Apply: When good people cease their vigilance and struggle, then evil men prevail.—Pearl Buck

Adapted from Dream (WaterBrook, 2007)

Prayer for the Week: Give me the courage, Lord, to take a bold stand for truth and justice, even when it’s risky.

 

 

The Righteous Warrior – Risk Factor

Faith in Action 2Key Bible Verse: “I will go into to see the king. If I must die, I am willing to die.”  – Esther 4:16

Bonus Reading: Esther 4:5-17

Speaking out carries a risk. But sometimes not speaking out carries the greater risk of violating one’s integrity. Bill, a division manager of a Fortune 500 company, faced such a choice. He was deeply concerned about succession plans at his company. The man who’d been groomed to be the next CEO had failed to gain the respect of several senior people in the company, including Bill.

After soul-searching and prayer, Bill decided he must take his concerns to the current CEO, a forceful, and at times volatile, leader. To his relief, the meeting went remarkably well. Bill’s years of effective service, coming up through the ranks, had earned his boss’s admiration. But the seed of caution planted was only a first step. It took more analysis, more meetings—some confrontational and most requiring Bill’s direct involvement—and ultimately a board no-confidence vote.

In the end, another leader was appointed, a person who brought the right balance of competence, knowledge of the company, and rapport with others. In the years since the decision, he’s proved to be an ideal CEO. Bill, with great courage, grace, and tact, had quietly guided his company through its most critical decision moving into the twenty-first century.

—John Beckett in Mastering Monday

My Response: How can I build credibility now that could give me a future hearing?

Thought to Apply: Moral courage is the rarest ingredient of character.—Felix Frankfurter (U.S. Supreme Court justice)

Adapted from Mastering Monday (InterVarsity, 2006)

Prayer for the Week: Give me the courage, Lord, to take a bold stand for truth and justice, even when it’s risky.

 

 

The Righteous Warrior – …and Keeping It Up

Faith in Action 2Key Bible Verse: Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but to trust the Lord means safety.  – Proverbs 29:25

Bonus Reading: 1 Peter 3:13-17

[continued from yesterday]  The teachers lounge became a hostile place for weeks. Someone would begin a sentence, stop, look sidewise at me, and say, “I guess I shouldn’t say anything; spiritual Mr. Ingram is here.”

My colleagues seemed to turn on me. When approached alone, these teachers knew they had been way out of line. They had agreed privately. But because of the way they’d responded to me publicly—with criticism, ridicule, and rejection—I lowered my flag and fled. I stopped going to the teachers lounge.

But I began to realize that the biblical challenge to be salt and light comes with no assurances like “Be salt because the world will enjoy the way you taste,” or “Be light because people will immediately thank you for pointing out their sin.” Jesus’ words, “In this world you will have trouble” (John 16:33), suddenly had a personal ring.

So what if they don’t like me, I thought. I can’t control that. But they do need to respect me. After ten days of avoiding the teacher’s lounge, I decided to return and live with the ridicule and criticism so that there’d be a believing teacher in that school.

I went back. I didn’t have to flap the flag of my faith in their faces, but people knew I had boundaries.

—Chip Ingram in Holy Ambition

My Response: When have I sensed profound respect behind surface ridicule?

Thought to Apply: When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened.—Billy Graham

Adapted from Holy Ambition (Moody, 2002)

Prayer for the Week: Give me the courage, Lord, to take a bold stand for truth and justice, even when it’s risky.

 

The Righteous Warrior – Running My Flag Up…

Faith in Action 2Key Bible Verse: The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John.  –  Acts 4:13

Bonus Reading: Acts 4:7-22

My first teaching job also involved coaching. One day, I walked into the teachers’ lounge and overheard three or four coaches and one teacher huddled around a table after lunch was over and the women had cleared out. They were talking in a crude way about some of the more attractive female students of our school. I could not believe what I was hearing. I thought, How can they sit here and make explicit sexual comments about 16-and-17-year-old girls they teach?

Finally, as calmly as I could, I said, “Hey, gentlemen, I know that I’m the brand-new teacher here and the youngest in the room. But what you are saying is absolutely unprofessional and uncalled for. Imagine being a father of one of these girls listening to how you are talking about them! I think this needs to stop and stop right now.” It got very quiet. Before anything else could be said or done, the bell saved me and I left the room.

Later that day I went to each teacher and, trying my best not to come across as self-righteous, said, “I’m not down on you personally, but I think this was inappropriate. I have real convictions about this.” [continued tomorrow]

—Chip Ingram in Holy Ambition

My Response: Have I ever moved from privately held conviction to taking a stand publicly?

Thought to Apply: It is important that people know what you stand for. It is equally important that they know what you won’t stand for.—source unknown

Adapted from Holy Ambition (Moody, 2002)

Prayer for the Week: Give me the courage, Lord, to take a bold stand for truth and justice, even when it’s risky.

 

 

The Righteous Warrior – I Blinked

Faith in Action 2Key Bible Verse: For I live in eager expectation and hope that I will never do anything that causes me shame, but that I will always be bold for Christ. Philippians 1:20

Bonus Reading: Hebrews 11:24-26

Shutting my office door behind him, my boss said, “I think Mike has a nose problem. I heard that he’s heavy into cocaine. I want you to get some dirt on the guy and fire him.”

I was taken aback. Mike had been one of my best salespeople for years. My first reaction was to do the right thing: I wanted to talk honestly to Mike. If, in fact, he did have a problem, I wanted to help him get his personal and professional life in order.

But when I mentioned this approach to my boss, he blew up, saying, “I don’t care how you do it, just get rid of him. I want him out of here now!” I was caught between a rock and a hard place: I could do what was right and risk being fired myself, or choose not to make waves by being a “team player,” as my boss would call it, and do the dirty work he had demanded I do.

Well, I copped out and made the easier decision, the wrong one. I saved my job by unjustly taking the job of another. My boss’s ego and my fear of unemployment hurt the entire staff. Not only did we lose a good employee, we also lost the trust of our sales team. The decision may have saved my job, but I lost a piece of my soul.

—Larry Julian in God Is My CEO

My Response: When has fear kept me from doing the right thing? How would I respond differently now?

Adapted from God Is My CEO (Adams Media, 2001)

Prayer for the Week: Give me the courage, Lord, to take a bold stand for truth and justice, even when it’s risky.

 

 

The Righteous Warrior – No Flinching

Faith in Action 2Who Said It…John Piper

John Piper was raised in South Carolina and majored in literature in college (he’s now a prolific author who still writes poems).

He proceeded with biblical studies at Fuller Seminary and the University of Munich, and taught courses at Bethel Seminary for six years.

But sensing “an irresistible call to preach,” John shifted to Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, where he’s been senior pastor since 1980.

What He Said…No Flinching

Christian courage is the willingness to say and do the right thing regardless of the earthly cost, because God promises to help you and save you on account of Christ. An act takes courage if it will likely be painful. The pain may be physical, as in war and rescue operations. Or the pain may be mental, as in confrontation and controversy.

Courage is indispensable for both spreading and preserving the truth of Christ. Running from resistance in evangelism or teaching dishonors Christ. There’s a kind of cowardice that tells only the truths that are safe to tell.

Martin Luther put it like this: “If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved, and to be steady on all the battlefield besides is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.”

Adapted from Taste and See (Multnomah, 2005)

Prayer for the Week: Give me the courage, Lord, to take a bold stand for truth and justice, even when it’s risky.

 

 

The Difference One Can Make – Faith in Action

Faith in ActionThe Philistines’ well-supplied army dominated Canaan, conducting raids at will.

And they enforced a monopoly on that era’s advanced technology: iron blacksmithing.

No wonder King Saul’s badly outnumbered, demoralized troops were stalled in defensive position at Gibeah, making no effort to retake the Philistine-controlled Micmash pass.

Interact with God’s Word: 1 Samuel 14:1-16, 1 Samuel 14:20-22

  1. In the Israel/Philistine face-off (see 1 Samuel 13:5, 15, 22) what were the human odds?
  2. How did Jonathan view these odds (v. 6)?
  3. Why do you think Jonathan didn’t alert his father to his plans?
  4. How did Jonathan allow for God to abort this thrust if it wasn’t in His will (vv. 8-10)?
  5. What exertions were required of Jonathan and his armor bearer (vv.13-14)?
  6. How did God turn a skirmish upset into the route of an entire army (v. 15)?
  7. How did Jonathan’s initiative motivate his fellow Israelites (vv. 20-22)?
  8. What overwhelming odds do you think need turning around in our society?
  9. What counter-measures could you take for starters? What resources could you commit to this venture?

Spend Time in Prayer:  Ask God to give you the courage to tackle a daunting problem, using your efforts to trigger events leading to victory.

1 Samuel 14:1-16, 20-22

1 One day Jonathan said to his armor bearer, “Come on, let’s go over to where the Philistines have their outpost.” But Jonathan did not tell his father what he was doing. 2 Meanwhile, Saul and his 600 men were camped on the outskirts of Gibeah, around the pomegranate tree at Migron. 3 Among Saul’s men was Ahijah the priest, who was wearing the ephod, the priestly vest. Ahijah was the son of Ichabod’s brother Ahitub, son of Phinehas, son of Eli, the priest of the Lord who had served at Shiloh. No one realized that Jonathan had left the Israelite camp.

4 To reach the Philistine outpost, Jonathan had to go down between two rocky cliffs that were called Bozez and Seneh. 5 The cliff on the north was in front of Micmash, and the one on the south was in front of Geba. 6 “Let’s go across to the outpost of those pagans,” Jonathan said to his armor bearer. “Perhaps the Lord will help us, for nothing can hinder the Lord. He can win a battle whether he has many warriors or only a few!”

7 “Do what you think is best,” the armor bearer replied. “I’m with you completely, whatever you decide.” 8 “All right then,” Jonathan told him. “We will cross over and let them see us. 9 If they say to us, ‘Stay where you are or we’ll kill you,’ then we will stop and not go up to them.

10 But if they say, ‘Come on up and fight,’ then we will go up. That will be the Lord’s sign that he will help us defeat them.” 11 When the Philistines saw them coming, they shouted, “Look! The Hebrews are crawling out of their holes!” 12 Then the men from the outpost shouted to Jonathan, “Come on up here, and we’ll teach you a lesson!” “Come on, climb right behind me,” Jonathan said to his armor bearer, “for the Lord will help us defeat them!”

13 So they climbed up using both hands and feet, and the Philistines fell before Jonathan, and his armor bearer killed those who came behind them. 14 They killed some twenty men in all, and their bodies were scattered over about half an acre. 15 Suddenly, panic broke out in the Philistine army, both in the camp and in the field, including even the outposts and raiding parties. And just then an earthquake struck, and everyone was terrified. 16 Saul’s lookouts in Gibeah of Benjamin saw a strange sight—the vast army of Philistines began to melt away in every direction.

20 Then Saul and all his men rushed out to the battle and found the Philistines killing each other. There was terrible confusion everywhere. 21 Even the Hebrews who had previously gone over to the Philistine army revolted and joined in with Saul, Jonathan, and the rest of the Israelites. 22 Likewise, the men of Israel who were hiding in the hill country of Ephraim joined the chase when they saw the Philistines running away.

Prayer for the Week: I’m available, Lord, for any assignment. Use me to make a difference in Your Kingdom.

The Difference One Can Make – Waging Peace

Faith in ActionKey Bible Verse: Now that their father was dead, Joseph’s brothers became afraid. “Now Joseph will pay us back,” … they said. Genesis 50:15

Bonus Reading: Genesis 50:14-21

William Rodriguez, a kickboxing champion as well as a black belt in karate, knew how to fight and win.

Even so, when gang members killed his son, Rodriguez refused to respond violently. Instead of seeking revenge, he sought a just and lasting reconciliation.

After learning that one of his son’s convicted killers was wrongly sentenced, Rodriguez asked the judge for mercy on the young man. “I just believed it was the right thing to do.  That’s my faith,” he recalled.

As a result of involvement in his son’s murder trial, Rodriguez began to orchestrate peace treaties among warring gangs. The kick-boxer spoke to feuding groups about living for the future rather than in bondage to the past.

Seeing that Rodriguez was living that message, many gang members listened. Soon, to his own surprise, Rodriguez was hosting reconciliation meetings.

Rodriguez’s peacemaking illustrates human beings’ overarching vocation as followers of Jesus Christ.

Just as God cares for His entire universe, we’re called to be caretakers of His world. God calls us to love Jesus by caring for and about our neighbor, participating in Christ’s renewal of all things.

—Quentin Schultze in Here I Am

My Response: In what situation should I respond compassionately instead of instinctively protecting my status?

Thought to Apply: It is idle for us to say that we know that God has forgiven us if we are not loving and forgiving ourselves.—D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (Welsh preacher)

Adapted from Here I Am (Baker, 2005)

Prayer for the Week: I’m available, Lord, for any assignment. Use me to make a difference in Your Kingdom.

 

The Difference One Can Make – The Chattanooga Challenge

Faith in ActionKey Bible Verse: “He can win the battle whether he has many warriors or only a few!” 1 Samuel 14:6

Bonus Reading: 1 Samuel 14:1-16

During the 1970s and ’80s, Chattanooga, Tennessee, was decaying. Divorce was rampant.

Half of all births were to unwed mothers. Single women, many living in poverty, were the sole providers in 30 percent of homes.

Five local businessmen decided to do something about it.

In 1997 they formed the nonprofit organization First Things First. It provided classes to help couples prepare for marriage, strengthen families, reduce teen pregnancies, and encourage father involvement in the lives of their children.

Some seminars offered: “Before You Say I Do,” “Boot Camp for New Dads,” “Fighting for Your Marriage.” DVDs and videos can be checked out from its resource center.

When businessman Brad Rymer was exposed to the state of Chattanooga families, he says, “I went home and prayed, ‘Lord use me to help You save marriages.'” He ended up selling his business and assuming a mediation role with fractured families.

The results? As of 2006—less than 10 years since the program began—the city’s divorce rate has gone down by 25 percent. Cases of children having children have gone down by 26 percent. Fathers, more aware of their crucial role, spend more time with their children.

—Julie Baumgardner in Focus on the Family

My Response: What goal dare I pray for God to empower me to achieve for Him?

Thought to Apply: Attempt great things for God. Expect great things from God.—William Carey (missionary to India)

Adapted from Focus on the Family (8/06) and First Things First (www.firstthings.org)

Prayer for the Week: I’m available, Lord, for any assignment. Use me to make a difference in Your Kingdom.

 

 

The Difference One Can Make – Urban Field of Dreams

Faith in ActionKey Bible Verse: “The King will tell them, ‘I assure you, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!'” Matthew 25:40

Bonus Reading: 2 Corinthians 4:5-7

On his way to work one day, Chicago insurance broker Bob Muzikowski saw a derelict ball field full of trash in a gang-infested neighborhood.

The kids there could use a real Little League to play in, he thought. He teamed up with a friend to create the Near North Little League. In “pretty wild” early practice sessions, coaches dealt with 250 boys long on enthusiasm but short on fundamentals.

Each game began with a prayer. Cursing was strictly forbidden.

“While I had no illusions that I’d change the world, I had no doubt that God wanted me to play baseball with these kids,” said Muzikowski , converted not long before. “My faith had taught me that being a Christian means truly believing what Jesus said about loving my neighbor.”

The next year, 400 kids joined the league.

Today 900 fatherless kids in 100 Little League teams are learning self-respect and community values. Reporters wonder why a wealthy white businessman lives among the poor, coaching other people’s kids.

Muzikowski answers, “Jesus didn’t say, ‘When you’ve paid someone to do it unto the least of these. … ‘ What He said was, ‘when you have done it. … ‘”

—Charles Colson in How Now Shall We Live?

My Response: One way I could directly serve a marginalized person in my community is …

Thought to Apply: Christianity demands a level of caring that transcends human inclinations.—Erwin Lutzer

Adapted from How Now Shall We Live? (Tyndale, 2004)

Prayer for the Week: I’m available, Lord, for any assignment. Use me to make a difference in Your Kingdom.

 

The Difference One Can Make – Hanging Tough in the Tenderloin

Faith in ActionKey Bible Verse: “Everyone will know that the Lord does not need weapons to rescue his people. It is his battle, not ours.”  – 1 Samuel 17:47

Bonus Reading: 1 Samuel 17:32-37

Leaving his job in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district one day, Roger Huang discovered that he had a flat tire.

While waiting for a tow truck, he watched a group of teens pick on a younger boy and wondered what he’d do if it were his son.

For the next eight years, Roger worked two jobs to support a rescue mission that he leads there. He also started a Christian school.

The 35-block neighborhood has at least 48 liquor stores and 14 porn shops. Some 10,000 homeless pass through it every night. Tenderloin averages three major crimes per hour.

Tired of it all, in 2004 Roger decided to get city leaders’ attention. He sat outside city hall on a hunger strike.

Prodded to action, Mayor Gavin Newsome initiated a “scrubdown”: the police department assigned more officers to walk the streets to detain those suspected of drug-related activity. The public works department ordered more sweepers to clean up.

One city supervisor studied limiting liquor licenses; another introduced legislation to prohibit new strip clubs and porn shops within 1,000 feet of schools, playgrounds, and daycare centers. After 33 days, when he felt the city had made enough progress, Roger ended his hunger strike.

—Rob Moll in Leadership

My Response: What should be turned around in my community? Where could I start?

Thought to Apply: God is always calling on us to do the impossible, [but] anything Jesus did here on earth is something we should be able to do, too.—Madeleine L’Engle

Adapted from Leadership (Summer/04)

Prayer for the Week: I’m available, Lord, for any assignment. Use me to make a difference in Your Kingdom.

 

 

The Difference One Can Make – Borderline Situation

Faith in ActionKey Bible Verse: Those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of goodness. James 3:18

Bonus Reading: Nehemiah 6:1-13

Aqeela Sherrills lived in Watts, a part of Los Angeles ravaged by feuding youth gangs.  His neighborhood was wedged between a district dominated by the Bloods and another by the Crips, with bystanders often caught in the crossfire.  He escaped Watts by going east to college.

But there Aqeela became convinced that he was created to make a difference in gangland. So he returned to L.A. in 1989 and organized members of his neighborhood to agitate for “Peace for Peace’s Sake.”

“Both gangs tolerated us,” Aqeela said, “allowing us to march, even listening to our rhetoric.” At first nothing changed. But they joined forces with football great Jim Brown to form Amer-I-Can.  In it, older men began mentoring younger men, steering them toward positive goals.

Then Aqeela and his brother, Daude, held a meeting to motivate the group to appeal directly to the gangs. “We were afraid for our lives,” Aqeela said. “But I said to the group, ‘We’re on the border. So we should be the ones to stand between the Bloods and Crips and bring the neighborhoods together.’

We committed to march into both territories with a message of reconciliation.”  Their intervention led to a “peace treaty,” and eventually to reconciliation.

—Everett Worthington Jr. in Forgiving and Reconciling

My Response: I’ll ask God to show me for what I was created to make a difference.

Adapted from Forgiving and Reconciling (InterVarsity, 2003)

Prayer for the Week: I’m available, Lord, for any assignment. Use me to make a difference in Your Kingdom.

 

The Difference One Can Make – Just Imagine!

Faith in ActionWho Said It…Richard Land

Richard Land is president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, which works to keep the public informed on critical issues facing the family and the nation.

He was also appointed by President Bush to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

Dr. Land has also served as pastor, professor, and adviser to a former Texas governor.

What He Said…Just Imagine!

What if just half of those Americans who claim to be evangelical Christians were truly to practice their faith in their local communities as responsible citizens?

Every volunteer social organization in the country seeking to meet the needs of less fortunate people would be transformed overnight.  There’d be so many volunteers they’d have to be put on waiting lists.

The databases of crisis pregnancy centers and prison transition ministries and foster-care agencies would be crammed with the names and numbers of families ready to take in young women and ex-cons and children who need hospitality, practical help, and loving care. Food pantry shelves would overflow.

Homebound senior citizens would never be isolated.  School children would have mentors for literacy programs and reading enrichment, and adults committed to staying involved in their lives. Nursing-home residents wouldn’t pass time in empty days, neglected by family and ignored by society.

Even those not influenced to accept Christ by such radical, positive changes in society would live better lives.

Adapted from Imagine! A God-Blessed America (Broadman & Holman, 2005)

Prayer for the Week: I’m available, Lord, for any assignment. Use me to make a difference in Your Kingdom.