MY STORY CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE

Many of you know my story.  I made a commitment to Christ at the age of six when my father prayed and led me into a relationship with Christ.  At the age of nine I felt a genuine feeling that I would be in ministry as an adult.  At age twelve I was baptized in the Holy Spirit.  At age nineteen my calling into ministry was confirmed by a fleece I had placed before the Lord and with immediacy God responded.  This Christian journey that I’ve been on has been interesting, rewarding and challenging.  Christianity is not for wimps.  But I would not want to do life any other way.
 
Now that’s my simplistic story, but let me remind you of another.  In John 9:1-11, 24-25, 35-38, we find the story of the healing of the blind man.  It shows us how our ordinary actions can lead to eternal impact.
 
As Jesus was walking along …” (v. 1).  He meets a blind man who has been blind from birth.  His disciples wondered of the sin that must have been committed to bring about this curse.  Jesus replied by stating that neither his parent’s sin or his was the cause of his malady.  But behind all of this was that this man who was walking in darkness would meet the One who is the Light of the world, (v. 6).  The blind man received his miracle and sight was restored.  Others wanted to know how his story changed?  They were asking essentially theological questions and the once blind man responded, “This I know, I was blind, and now I can see.”
 
The blind man didn’t have all the answers.  He just knew that Jesus had made a difference in his life.  This wonderful story reminds us that we don’t have to know everything or have all the answers, we just need to tell others what Christ has done for us. 
 
Here’s the deal.  If you are a follower of Christ … you have a story to tell.  When you tell that story in your everyday life, it can have an eternal impact.  Here’s what I want you to say …
 
“My testimony is a powerful tool that God can use to impact someone else’s life for eternity.”  
 
When you dissect the story of the blind man you find a number of results:       
       
(1)  His neighbors were surprised            
(2)  The Pharisees were angry.            
(3)  The Blind man worshipped Jesus            
(4)  Others were influenced for eternity.
 
Here’s something very interesting about your story.  Nobody can argue with it.  It’s your story.  Your friends and family will be interested in your story.  And most importantly God will use it every time.  1 Timothy 1:16 tells us, “But that is why God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of His great patience with even the worst of sinners.  Then others can realize that they too can believe in Him too and receive eternal life.”

~ Pastor Greg


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MY INVITATION CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE

Wow!  We are just two weeks away from our Celebration of the Resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ.  I just want to remind you how important you are.  Simple actions on your part can make an eternal difference in someone’s life.  Just by giving an invitation to someone to come to church with you can have eternal impact.
 
We give invitations all the time.  We do e-vites, sometimes, electronically.  We send friend invites on Facebook.  Sometimes they don’t accept them … but that’s another story.  We also have times in our life when we send out bigger invitations:  Graduation invitations or wedding invitations.
 
Here’s an actual wedding invitation (blooper):  “On Saturday the 14th we request the honor of your presents.”  Did you catch it?  Not presence, PRESENTS!  We knew all the time that’s what it was all about.  (LOL)
 
Look, invitations matter.  We live in a culture where people expect invitations; they receive invitations, all the time!
 
In John chapter 1, verses 40-49 we find two invitations that has had eternal significance.  In verse 41, Andrew went to find his brother, Simon, and told him, ‘We have found the Messiah which is the Christ.’    And then there is Philip who responded to Christ’s invitation to follow Him and he immediately looks for his friend Nathaniel and exclaims, ‘We have found the very person Moses and the prophets wrote about.  His name is Jesus … come and see for yourself.’
 
As a result of Andrew’s invitation Simon, who would come to be known to us as Peter had his life turned inside out and he turned the world upside down and became the leader of the early church.  Nathaniel also becomes a follower of Christ as a result of an invitation.
 
Your invitation can make an eternal difference!  If Philip did not invite Nathaniel he probably never would have become a follower of Jesus. 
 
Here’s what I know:  Jesus changes lives.  He changed mine.  2 Timothy 1:10 states “Jesus broke the power of death and illuminated the way to life and immortality through the Good News.”   
 
Jesus wants you to influence people around you towards Him.  Have you ever asked yourself?   “Why am I here?”  You are where you are because God wants to use you there.  Paul tells us in Colossians, “Live wisely among those who are not yet Christians, making the most of every opportunity”  (4:5).  Let’s bring others to Jesus.  Let’s rock the house on Easter Sunday.  “Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full” (Luke 14:23, NIV).  Who are you inviting?  It can change their life!  It can change their eternity!

~ Pastor Greg

 


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Fear Not

Christmas is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year; everything and everyone is decked out!  There are parties to attend, joyful music on the radio, food and gifts galore. Unfortunately, there is another side to the holidays.   For many, Christmas can be a time of deep loneliness and stress and fear.  Maybe you’ve lost someone.  Maybe you are going through a divorce.  Maybe you are worried about how you’re going to keep the lights on, let alone put presents under the tree.  The pressure to keep up with society’s version of the holidays can be overwhelming, triggering anxiety, depression and fear.   However, these feelings are not unique to our current culture.  Worry and fear have been lurking in the shadows since the very first Christmas.  The characters in the Christmas story had everything to be afraid of.  Joseph was afraid. Mary was fearful.  The shepherds, and the wise men lived in a scary world filled with uncertainty.  God knew this and sent his messenger, the angel Gabriel, to deliver the news of a Savior.  Each time Gabriel brought the message, he started with this phrase, “Do not be afraid.”   Why?  What can we take away from this?
  • First, I’m certain angels are terrifying or they could be. I’ve never seen an angel.  And I’m not sure how I would respond if I did.  But I’m sure it would bring some sense of dread.
  • Second, even in the most frightening of circumstances, God has a plan.
  Herein lies the power of Christmas.  Jesus, born in a manger, in the middle of the desert, under the rule of a tyrant, was the hope of all humankind.  This is what we celebrate.  No matter what is going on in our lives or in the world around us, Jesus is our hope.  We can overcome fear.  The message is clear in all of the uncertainties around us!  Jesus is here.  “God with us.”   “God does not give us a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind.”  These were the words to Timothy, Paul’s young protégé.  That’s one of your Christmas gifts!  Receive it!  Open it.  Live in it!
 
 
~ Pastor Greg

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