Faith Matters - Current Posts

Thursday, August 30, 2007

A Slave for Jesus

St. Paul was a man willing to do whatever it took to persuade people to become followers of Jesus Christ. Listen to his extraordinary words: “Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law.…To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel.” Paul was a true believer.
During the 19th century the Dutch ruled a part of South America that is now called Suriname. Off the coast of that Dutch colony there was an island that some missionaries wanted to reach for Jesus. Most of the islanders were slaves and the plantation owners forbade the missionaries access out of fear of what would happen if the slaves became Christians. They were concerned that outside influence could cause an uprising. As a result, the plantation owners made a rule that effectively excluded missionaries from their property. It said that only slaves may talk to slaves.
Do you know how those missionaries responded to this edict? They sold themselves into slavery. In spite of the harsh treatment and the tropical diseases, they worked on the plantations for the rest of their lives.
Like St. Paul, they became slaves to reach lost people for Jesus.

Related Scripture: I Corinthians 9:19-23

© 2007 Leith Anderson

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Do You Believe That?

Our American culture says that everyone is good, everyone is headed for heaven and every religion is a way to get there. As a result, the New Testament teaching that non-Christians are lost from God and that Jesus is the only way to salvation, is not very popular.
Jesus said, “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already.”
In 1854 a criminal named Charlie Peace was hung in London. In those days part of the execution ritual was having an Anglican priest read this liturgy as the condemned was led to the gallows: “Those who die without Christ experience hell, which is the pain of forever dying without the release which death itself can bring.”
Charlie Peace shouted at the priest, “Do you believe that?”
Surprised by the unexpected outburst, the priest haltingly replied, “Well...I...suppose I do.”
“Well, I don't,” said the man about to die. “But if I did, I'd get down on my hands and knees and crawl all over Great Britain, even if it were paved with pieces of broken glass, if I could rescue one person from what you just told me.”
If we really believe that Jesus is the only way to heaven and that we can affect a person's eternal destiny by sharing that information, we will tell others.

John 3:16-18

© 2007 Leith Anderson

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Too Important not to Share

The Mercedes Benz Company created a television ad showing one of their cars crashing into a concrete wall. The purpose of the ad was to demonstrate Mercedes’ superior technology in the ability to absorb the energy of the crash so that it would save lives in otherwise fatal car crashes. In the ad someone asks the Mercedes’ representative why they didn’t use patent law to protect their ingenious engineering ideas from being copied by other auto companies. The Mercedes Benz representative answers, “Because some things in life are too important not to share.”
That’s the way it is with the very good news of Jesus Christ. It’s too important not to share. Jesus started out with a handful of followers and today it is estimated that there are almost two billion people around the globe who call themselves Christians. How did it happen? The answer is obvious – Christians convinced unbelievers to follow Jesus. That’s what Christians do. We tell others about God. We explain the gospel of Jesus Christ. We send missionaries. To be a Christian is to act in ways that produce more Christians.
When Jesus returned to earth after his death and resurrection, he told his followers, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”
Jesus expected every Christian to join with him in recruiting new Christians who would be real Christians – disciples who are baptized and learning to obey everything Jesus commanded.

Related Scripture: Matthew 28:19-20

© 2007 Leith Anderson

Monday, August 27, 2007

Building the Panama Canal

As a pastor I’ve experienced my share of criticism in the ministry. And along the way I’ve learned that it’s important to follow both a short term and long term approach in dealing with criticism.
For the short term, it’s important to avoid the temptation to hastily respond to criticism in ways that will make matters worse in the future. For example, don’t lose your temper in writing. It can come back to haunt you!
Another tactic is to try avoiding the criticism in the first place. This is actually a Biblical approach. Because the apostle Paul knew that money matters can trigger criticism, he wrote, “We want to avoid any criticism of the way we administer this liberal gift. For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of men.” Paul made an extra effort to head off the criticism before it came.
As for the long term approach, allow me to share a great story about Colonel George Washington Goethals who worked on building the Panama Canal. Although he faced formidable problems with weather and geography, his biggest burden was severe criticism from people, politicians and the press back at home. A co-worker once asked him when he was going to answer his critics and Goethals said, “When the canal is finished.”
The Bible says, “Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God.” In other words, the best long term response to your critics is a life well lived and a job well done.

Related Scripture: 2 Corinthians 8:20-21 & I Peter 2:12

© 2007 Leith Anderson