Thursday, September 30, 2010

September 30, 2010

"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going." Jesus the Way to the Father Thomas said to him, "Lord, we don't know where you are going, so how can we know the way?" Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." John 14:1-6
Jesus was preparing His disciples for his impending death and departure.
First, He wanted to get them focused beyond the grave. Death brings separation and seems very final to those who lose loved ones. Jesus wasn't looking forward to being separated from them and He knew they were not ready to be separated from Him. This was going to be some difficult days. Jesus was about to be arrested and abused and saddistically murdered. If they are not focused beyond death and the grave they will be devastated.
Second, He wanted to give them a big picture idea of where He would be and plant in their spirit the possibility of them being able to come and join Him some day. Just as He would have a safe and serene place to be for eternity, so would they if they will follow Him. Just as they believed in His life they must believe in His death and His "happy ever after".
We are the beneficiaries of this assurance Jesus gave to His disciples. Over the next few days we will learn about this eternal place where Jesus went and where the disciples have subsequently joined Him. Understanding that this place exists, what it is like and how to get there is crucial to having peace when death invades us to steal a loved or when it stares us in the face. When we can look beyond death to a better destination we can take courage to face death.
There is a very real sense in which Jesus came to live to teach us how to live. But He also came to prepare to die. He prepared us to die by assuring us that real life begins on the other side of death. And just as the Father created a beautiful place for us to live our 70 plus years, He also has created an unbelievably incredible place where we can live our eternity.
Don't you want to know about THAT place?
Stay with me the next few days! It will be "Heavenly"!

September 29, 2010

"He answered, 'Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father's house, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.' "Abraham replied, 'They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them." 'No, father Abraham,' he said, 'but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.' "He said to him, 'If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.' " Luke 16:27-31
For the past few days I have been sharing about the topic of urgency. God has been pushing this button in my heart since I studied this text for my message Sunday. As I prepared for Sunday morning I was moved and challenged by these last four verses of chapter 16 which picture the formerly rich man trapped in hell. It wasn't until he found himself condemned to this horrible fate for eternity. It was almost to unbearable but he was moved with an urgency to reach his loved ones and spare them his terrible fate.
I had to examine my own sense of urgency toward spiritually unprepared people. As I meditated on this condemned man and reflected on my own experience, I realized that the enemy of urgency is complacency. So, I asked myself, "What turns urgency to complacency?" I came up with three attitudes that rob urgency and faster complacency.
The first is success. Being successful can be cause complacency especially when you presume that your success is a direct result of God's blessing you. You reason that since He is blessing you then you must ok spiritually. Once you buy into that thought you begin to become careless.
The second we talked about was excess. Once you get too much "stuff" it distracts you from your primary purpose and passion for living. With all that stuff you have to guard it and grow it and get more of it. If success = blessing and blessing = stuff then the more stuff the bigger the blessing. That happened to the rich man and it can happen to you!
Thirdly, complacency can replace urgency because of access. This rich man had access to have compassion and help Lazarus, but he didn't. He remained detached and unaffected by the needs of this desparate man. Because he was unmoved by the needs of the man, he became complacent.
Everyone of us who want to live with passion and urgency need to stay connected with spiritually needy people. We need to have some good friends who are spiritual seekers. We need to befriend those who have an interest in spiritualility but who have not yet been exposed to the gospel. The only way to get an urgency or a burden to reach spiritually lost people is to spend time with them. Make time in your schedule to play golf with them or have coffee with them or go fishing with them or hunting with them, etc. Spend time in their world so you learn how to connect with them and lead them in to our world.
I am glad someone had a sense of urgency about my salvation. I want to be that for others.
How about you? How is your urgency for the lost?
If you don't care enough about lost people, get into a civic club or a golf league or a bowling league, some place where you can spend time with non-believers and begin to reach them for Christ. That will generate a sense of spititual urgency that is healthy and necessary to complete the Great Commission.
Fight complacency. Fuel urgency. Access lost people.