Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Are You Being "With"?

This was the devotion I led at our recent church business meeting. -- Glenn
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This ministry is always about people, and always about Jesus, and is larger than any one of us.


‘With’ is an important word, a powerful concept.  I’d like you to listen for ‘with’ in these Bible passages:


"Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. 14 He appointed twelve that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach 15 and to have authority to drive out demons." (Mark 3:13-15)

So Jesus chose men to be with him and be his disciples. That “being with Jesus” time had a powerful influence on them:


When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. (Acts 4:13)


The elders have spent some time in the recent months thinking and praying about developing leaders in our congregation – not just for our own boards and teams, but leaders who can influence the world. 

We can do leadership development and training the cheap way or the expensive way.  The cheap way is to spend about $60,000 and send a bunch of people off to cool-sounding week-long training classes and have 'em come back with certificates.  The expensive way is to man up (and lady up) and pour your life into someone by being with them.

Let’s consider some opportunities:


Enormous challenges for teenagers -- they need men and women who will be with them.  They need good families. That's why we invest in youth staff and want to be there for parents.
 

We need to be with our spouse.  We need to be with one another as
believers -- this is why we stress small groups!

Thousands of people who live in the neighborhood we live in are desperately lonely.  These people need someone to be with them.
 
There are over a billion souls in unreached people groups who have not yet heard about the God who wants to be with them.  That's why we're emphasizing cross-cultural missions and sending people from our fellowship.

And when we grow weary, we will remember that we will be with the
Lord.  He is faithful on his part: “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5) 

We are told that we will be with Jesus at the end of earth as we know it:

"They will wage war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will triumph over them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings—and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers.” (Revelation 17:14)


[You can tell the whole arc of the Bible story around the word ‘with’: God created Adam and Eve and was with them.  Sin broke that fellowship.  God worked out His plan to restore relationship so that through Jesus Christ we can be with Him again.]


Sounds great, doesn't it?  Let's be real with one another as brothers and sisters in Christ: it's harder to be with specific, real, imperfect individuals than to talk about it. Much harder.  Many times, it is beyond our capacity and our capability.  The little committee members in our heads say, “Ok, but let’s go be with somebody besides this guy.”


The open secret is that the power to be with people is our abiding

connection with Jesus: "4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch

cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can

you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches.

Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for

apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in me he

is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are

gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7 If you abide in me, and

my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for

you. 8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so

prove to be my disciples. 9 As the Father has loved me, so have I

loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will

abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and

abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy

may be in you, and that your joy may be full." (John 15:4-11)

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John G. said...

Very powerful and wise words to live by. God chooses us to work with him and it's just absolutely a gift we shouldn't ignore. Can't wait for your next post!

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