Tell Me a True Story


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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Sharing Jesus with Tracts


Passing out the Good News
Jesus has always been real to me, especially when at the age of nine; I invited Him into my heart.  Sometime later I requested to be baptized in water.

At age twelve I received the Baptism of Fire and was filled with the Holy Ghost, and spoke in tongues.  Since then, I have used tongues as a prayer language, and have exercised the gift of prophesy.

Young people in the church need something to do so they can feel a part of the church.  Our Pastor was a believer in helping his members find a place to work for the Lord.

Besides the assignment of the Primary Sunday school class, our Pastor took me aside and showed me the tract box at the entrance of the church.  He told me to notice that it is partially empty and the tracts are not neatly arranged.

He was holding a small cardboard box with a supply of tracks as he spoke and said, “I am putting you in charge to keep the tract box tidily filled, but first there is something you must do.”

He continued, “I want you to read each and every tract in this box, so you are familiar with all the good ones.  If you discover someone has slipped in a pamphlet that is not according to the Bible, you may remove it.”

Reading was something I loved to do, so pouring over all those tracts was a pleasure not a burden.  Many of my questions were answered by reading and digesting those mini sermons.

Passing out tracts is not a popular thing to do and those who leave a tract without a tip at the restaurant are not leaving a good example of a Christian.

A tract can be given to a homeless person, but be sure to include at least a couple dollars along with it. 
 
Slip a tract in the envelope when you pay bills or write a letter to someone.

Perhaps your church does not have a tract box, because it is an old fashioned method of distributing the Gospel.  Because of the Inter-Net, many share their faith on Face Book and Twitter, or even by writing a blog.

Whatever method you use to share the Gospel, let Christ Jesus be made known. 
 
What so ever you do in word or in deed, let it be done as through you were ministering to Jesus.

 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Explain the Improbably, Incredible, Implausible !


Can This Be True?  It sounds Impossible !
 
Pastor Jerry read first from Matthew 28:10 the account of the resurrection of Jesus and the angel appearing to the women with the declaration to God and tell the disciples He is not here but He is risen.

Acts 10: 34-40
Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right. You know what has happened throughout the province of Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached— how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.

“We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a cross, but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen among many.

Pastor told a true story about a group of soldiers on a secret mission to train the peasants to fight and change their allegiance for the insurrection.  That night Mike, the leader had a premonition that all was not well.  Into his Walkie talkie he quietly spoke in a whisper giving their coordinates.  The next morning the peasants turned, capturing and torturing them.  They felt they would be killed soon, but then the noise of a helicopter signaled their deliverance.  The pilot could not sleep that night and took a smoke break and in the silence he heard the whisper and realized he needed to act.

Quite often the voice of God is only a whisper but if we are listening then it is time to take steps to obey.

The story of Easter is familiar to us, about the frightened disciples and women who heard the ONE Word that changed their lives.  “YES”  yes it is true as He said.

Unto ALL Nations !!
All of a sudden their mission in life was changed and now the message became universal.

The God movement showed no partiality and every Nation was included.  This was a radical change in the Jewish traditions and a tremendous difference that the Gospel was for all people.

God revealed to Peter in a vision that the gentiles were included, and he found Cornelius and his family hungry for the truth.

Human kind killed Jesus, but God raised Him up alive. 

Where can we go to get away from God’s divine love?  The answer is plain; there is no place we can escape even when we exhaust ourselves trying.  God knows where we are and nothing is hidden from Him.

Pastor told another story about a group of High school students who prepared a beautiful float for the Home Coming Parade.  Vandals burnt it in the night, and the next morning it was too late to repair it.  The students decided to use the burnt ashes and add some greenery and allow the float to enter the parade showing death and life.  It did not win first place but did come in second.

We are called from death unto life and are to be Christ Like. 

Stay open to the spirit’s whisper and go forth in life. 



 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Easter Story with Visual Aids


 
As a young girl of 12 years old, my Pastor decided I needed to be given a job, so I was assigned to teach a Sunday school class of Primary children.

The teacher’s quarterly told the story, gave the Bible verses to study, a memory verse for the children to learn that day and flannel figures to place on a board to illustrate the lesson. 

Copies of hand work were made for the children to color and take home along with a picture card of the lesson.

As Easter approached, I was asked by the Sunday School Superintendent to tell the Easter Story using the Flannel figures as a finale to the children’s program.

I knew the story well and also was able to project my voice so all could hear.  It was Resurrection day, so the cross was behind us and the tomb was there with a large stone sealed and covering the entrance, with the body of Jesus inside.

I proceeded to tell the event of the women weeping and arriving at the tomb to find the stone rolled away and an angel sitting there announcing “He is not here, for He has risen as He said, Go and tell the others the good news.” 
 * * *
A group of young boys visiting from the Bible School sat three rows from the front - - and during my story they began to whisper to each other and smile with a silly quirky laugh.

Their rudeness completely threw me off guard and I rushed to quickly finish my story.

I wonder if those boys grew up to become preachers and ministers and experienced smiles and laughs about their preaching. 

I had allowed those young men to get to me and there are times even today that a remark or an inference can rattle my cage.  Then I realize ‘who’ is behind this and understand it is an attack.

When God gives us an assignment, it is time to let the unkind words and gestures roll over our shoulder and off our back.  It seems there is always some one to throw wet blankets on what we endeavor to do for our Lord.

Jesus often received the brunt of criticism by those he taught and walked with.  Misunderstanding was open and fresh among his disciples.  His very words were often twisted to mean something else.

So what to do?  When you receive an assignment, simply do the best you can and allow the chips to fall where they may. 
 
Realize that most are not being critical - - and they are receiving the good ministry you are planting and the seeds you sow will grow and bring forth good fruit.

 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Ugly Beautiful Cross 2




The cross of Jesus Christ was ugly splintered wood, spattered with blood, sweat and possibly other body fluids.

Not a pretty sight, but that was not the most horrible part.  Other unseen things happened that affected you and me.

The sins of all mankind were placed on Jesus as he hung on that cross and the sky turned dark with grief causing the most terrible thing to happen!

Because his father God could not stand to look down on this sight of Jesus carrying our guilt and our sin any longer; God turned his back on Jesus!

"Father why have you forsaken me?" cried Jesus.  When his friends and all others ran, Jesus could take that, but not His heavenly father.  That was too much to bear and it broke his heart.

Jesus proclaimed that what He had been sent to do was done.  "It is finished" he cried.  I did it for you (your name here) the thoughts were in his mind and he could see into the future and view all those his sacrifice was for; You and Me!

It was then he died, and the temple curtain that blocked access into the Holy of Holies was torn from the top to the bottom by the finger of God.  Now we can enter boldly into the throne room and cry Abba Father.

That cross reminds me of a horrible death, but I am go glad the story did not end there.

We know that Jesus rose again on the third day, full of life, power, forgiveness and love.

During the next 40 days he proved to his friends and others that He was truly alive.

On the mountain top, He gave instructions and another promise; I will return, but until then I am sending you a Comforter and guide.  The Holy Spirit will abide IN you and be WITH you and never leave you.

Praise God we can celebrate Easter!! - - It is Resurrection Day, a Glad and Glorious Day.


This post is shared at Charlotte’s Spiritual Sundays

This post is also shared with Jennifer Lee Dukes at Tell me HIS Story
 
 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Who Is This?



Who Is This?
     Gleaning from Pastor Jerry’s sermon as he read from Matthew 21:1-11 regarding the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem.   

 Jerusalem was full of crowds of people because it was the celebration of the Pass Over.

    Jesus instructed his disciples where to find a donkey and her colt, but they said, what shall we say if they ask?  Jesus said, tell them that your Lord has need of them.

Matthew 21:9-11  And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.  

And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this?   And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.

Pastor asked, “Was Jesus a Celebrity?”  When we think of present day celebrities, we think of movie stars, award winners, politicians with much pomp and ceremony.

The first century image of Jesus as a celebrity was of him entering Jerusalem riding a donkey and along side was her colt.  It was customary to honor a celebrity by throwing down clothing and hoping to retrieve it for a souvenir. 

Little children danced and the people shouted as they recognized Jesus for his reputation of being a Prophet and Healer.

Some wondered, was He coming into the city as a King?  Or as a troublemaker, and a blasphemer?   The crowd asked and then came to their own conclusion, this is a prophet.

A crowd can turn quickly from one minute to the next.  Hosanna’s were cried on this day, but soon the multitude would shout crucify Him.  Then after a few more days, they would ask, “What must we do to be saved?”

How do you perceive Jesus?  Who is this person to you?

The common people loved a prophet, but the powerful leaders recognized prophets as troublemakers and they were tough on rebels.  John the Baptist was a prophet and you may remember what King Herod did to him.

Many so called prophets were merely “yes men.”   Modern day prophets often get fired for their speeches and scolding rants.  The average person does not enjoy rebuke and admonishments.  There were so many laws that were difficult to fulfill, and Jesus knew that.

That is why you are here in church today, for you do not need scolding, because you have come to see Jesus for He is here.

Speaking the truth is one thing and “Being the Truth” is another thing.  Jesus is the Truth.

There was a shaking up as Jesus entered Jerusalem, an earth shattering moment.

On the cross a few days later there was an earth quake as God turned his back and the temple veil was rent in two from the top to the bottom, allowing us entrance to God’s presence.  Three days later another earthquake opened the tomb releasing the living Christ Jesus

God has become within reach of us.  May we shout Hosanna Save us NOW. 


Then Pastor asked the congregation to join with him in a shout of “Hosanna.”

Can you join with us and shout today,  Hosanna Jesus is Lord!

 

Friday, April 11, 2014

The Ugly Flower Arrangement


Not the Original, but something from my yard!
photo by Hazel
 
Some friends are for a long period of time and Sylvia was one of them.  In the 1970s we attended the same church, and often would pray together over problems you couldn’t talk about with just anyone. 
 

Recently I visited her, and after all these years, she asked me if I had been doing any flower arranging lately.  This story from the past is what she was referring to.

 
Early one Sunday morning, Sylvia mentioned that the Florist who usually supplied flowers for in front of the pulpit was not sending flowers today!

 
I suggested that we take a knife from the kitchen and see what we could find in the yard.  Surely there were some flowering bushes we could make an arrangement that would do.

 
Our search did not bring up much, but we managed to find some interesting leaves and the two of us placed our decoration up front in the church.

 
Before long people began to congregate and one of our dear ladies came up to us and make a startling statement; “I don’t know what is wrong with that florist, because that is the Ugliest Floral Arrangement I have ever seen.”

 
Sylvia and I looked at each other and smiled and silently prayed that next week would bring nice flowers again from the florist.

 
In life, we often are not appreciated for efforts that are not as beautiful as a professional would do it.

 
As we look around at various ministries and authors our feeble efforts may at times seem ugly in comparison.

 
I wonder if God does not judge beauty and excellence by a different yard stick than what we often use.

 
To God, our ugly just might be lovely in His eyes.

 

 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Near The Cross



 
 
As Easter approaches, we are thinking of the Cross and how Jesus died for our sins.    This song keeps running through my head and although it is an old hymn – it is ever new!!

 

Near the Cross by Frances Crosby - - public domain

1.     Jesus, keep me near the cross,
There a precious fountain—
Free to all, a healing stream—
Flows from Calv’ry’s mountain.
       

        Refrain:
In the cross, in the cross,
Be my glory ever;
Till my raptured soul shall find
Rest beyond the river.
       

2.     Near the cross, a trembling soul,
Love and Mercy found me;
There the bright and morning star
Sheds its beams around me.


3. Near the cross! O Lamb of God,
Bring its scenes before me;
Help me walk from day to day,
With its shadows o’er me.

 

4. Near the cross I’ll watch and wait
Hoping, trusting ever,
Till I reach the golden strand,
Just beyond the river.