Undesirables of Jesus

“The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.” Luke 7:34 (ESV)

 Undesirable people 1

 

How many of us would condemn a person who spent their time partying with the low-life of humanity? (There is no low-life in God’s eyes; but from mankind’s perspective, there is).

You would of course need to define low-life. In Jesus’ time, if you were not living the high-life, then you must have been considered the other.  The high-life would be the people who had all the material aspects that life makes available. They would be seen high on the social ladder. They would be formally educated and successful in what they did. They would be recognized throughout the community. They may even be highly respected in the neighborhood. On the other hand, the low-life would be the undesirables of their day. In Jesus’ time, that would include women, children, and the elderly. It would include slaves, the physically challenged, and the religiously inept. One doesn’t grow up dreaming of becoming a low-life; life happens. The result generally is a life without great purpose, meaning, or self-sustenance.  One has to rely on stealing, prostituting oneself, or obtaining help from others just for the basic necessities of life.

Yet Jesus not only conversed with the undesirables of his time, He loved them. He enjoyed spending time with them and was accused of being a “glutton and drunkard.” His circle of friends and acquaintances included tax collectors, prostitutes, adulteress’, criminals, and the working class. His greatest supporters were women who provided for Him from their means. In Jesus’ day, most women had no rights, couldn’t own property, and were treated as collateral on the household books. Yet Jesus loved spending time with them.

He didn’t spend time with them for a few moments as a political campaign video. He ate with them, drank with them, and conversed with them as a friend and teacher.  He healed them. He fed them. He cared for them. He shared stories, laughter, and tears for them. He demonstrated the love of God, the service of God, and the heart of God with everyone He met. He treated others with respect and dignity. Wherever and whenever He could, he changed their world for the better.

How about you and me? Who are the undesirables in your world? What can you do today to impact the life of another that you wouldn’t normally associated with in your daily walk?  What if the next time you drove to work or went out for lunch, you took a closer look at the people you came into contact with. Maybe you can ask God right then and there how you can participate with Him in the life of another. Just be ready for another adventure.

We are always rooting for you!

 

Yours in Christ,

Dr. Mike

Executive Chair, Consultant, Encourager
Marketplace Bible Institute
& Resource Center, Inc
Author of e-Books:
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

Learn. Integrate. Grow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Our Power Is In Christ

brick window 1

What price do you put on eternal life? What price do you put on having a relationship with the Almighty God? What price do you place on a righteous soul? What price do you place on freedom?

Every one of us has a price. We all have the tendency to place a monetary value on everything. Ask yourself, how much would you be willing to receive in exchange for committing a small sin? Not a “serious sin”, but a “small one.” What if someone would give you $10,000 immediately with no strings attached if you would only throw a brick through your neighbor’s large, living room window? You have no time to give him any warning, no time to negotiate with your neighbor, no time to exchange any information. You are not allowed to recompense him in any way. Just do it because you could profit from the situation. Now if $10,000 is not worth the inconvenience, how about $100,000, $500,000, $1,000,000, $100,000,000? You tell us at what price you place on righteousness and we will tell you how much value you place on godliness. We could easily justify the situation and convince ourselves that breaking a neighbor’s window is not a major crime. No person really was hurt. Unless, a person was sitting by the window when you threw the brick and the shattering glass stuck into the person’s body causing him to bleed profusely to his death. But, that would change the scenario around. Or would it?

We recall a story from a friend that occurred in his first year on the job.  His company sold some real estate and money was being transferred all around the country. He had wire transferred several million dollars before the end of the day prior to leaving the country that evening on vacation. The next day he received a phone call from his boss informing him that the money was missing. They retraced the steps and were able to locate it in an account of one of the banks. The financial institution misread one of the digits on the wiring instructions and the money was sitting in someone else’s bank account. However, it didn’t dawn on him until he came back to work that his boss had a little thought that he had absconded with the money. They laughed about it afterwards. But it made him ask the question, how much? How much would we have to steal and leave the country to make it worth the crime?

What we all soon learn is what Jesus taught us. What does it profit if you could have the whole earth, but lose your soul? What is of greater value? In this world we are slaves to the greed around us and within us. But as disciples of His, we have His assurance that He is always with us to the end of this age. He will provide for our needs. There is no monetary price on godliness. Godliness is priceless, and so are we. How does that compare to your value system?

OUR PRAYER

PRAY 9

Our Righteous Dad, thank you for revealing your truth to us. Thank you for sharing your godliness with us. Thank you for revealing the fruit of righteousness in our life.  Great you are and greatly to be praised!

Help us in destroying our self-righteousness and replacing it with your righteousness. Help us to sprinkle your traits of godliness with all the people we meet. Let your godliness have its full empowerment within us. Help us to live a holy and righteous life. Let the joy of your salvation spring out lividly through your righteousness. Let godliness have its way with us.

Let Jesus also have His way with us. We ask all these things through Him and because of Him. Amen.

Yours In Christ,

Dr. Mike

Coach, Consultant, and Encourager

Author of Great Business Emulates a Good God
Portal: Be Radical…EnjoyLifeInChrist.com

Recruit, Commit, Coach

 

The general mission of the church is recorded in the last chapter of Matthew; to actively make disciples, to baptize them into the universal church, and to educate them in total surrender of Jesus’ teachings.great commission 1

In addition to the main mission, we each have our personal ministry. Depending on the season of our life and God’s Plan, it may change over time.  For most of us, our personal ministry is first with the immediate family and then to the building up of the church. The Church, of course, is not necessary the local faith community but the universal body of believers.  It would include the people from the local church that we attend on a regular basis and also the other churches in our community.  It would also include God’s work in the marketplace.  Again, our mission is to make disciples and to buildup fellow saints of God.

Since most of us are only a little, baby toe in the body of Christ without a visible, publicly noticed ministry, our work is done only visibly to our Lord who we serve.  This toe only touches the people who it comes into contact with.  It doesn’t seek public recognition, but believes that privacy has its greatest benefits in serving the body of Christ.

Now some of our brethren believe their mission is to win souls to the Lord.  We have a problem with that approach since the soul is a difficult portion of the body to evaluate.  The making of disciples is an easier concept to manage.  It is something that we have a greater control over to make happen than changing a person’s soul.  We believe conversion and sanctification is God’s department.  Our part is simply to recruit people who want to follow Jesus, coach them to acknowledge their commit to follow Christ, and then to teach them the Word.  The process of regeneration and salvation is the Lord’s.  That depends on the person’s relationship with God.  It depends on a person’s personal commitment.  We could recruit one hundred people who desire to become Christ-followers.  That doesn’t mean that all one hundred are going to faithfully endure to the end.  We are sure most will.  But there are always a few that would rather surrender their soul to this temporary world and its leader than to the Lord of eternity.

great commission 2

We likewise have great difficulty believing that all those people who have lived the past six thousand years without hearing about the gospel of Jesus are doomed for eternity.  That doesn’t sound like the loving God we have come to know.  Because someone hasn’t been told, how can they be held accountable?

No, we believe the Son is the only way of salvation.  However winning souls is our Heavenly Dad’s responsibility who calls us to a relationship with Jesus (Jn6: 44) and the Holy Spirit that works in us today.  Our mission is clear: Recruit (Seek + Disciple), Commit (Baptize), and Coach (Teach).

OUR PRAYER

PRAYER 1

Dear Merciful Dad, your plan from the beginning of creation was to reconcile all people to you.  You selected the nation of Israel as your initial people to work with and to reveal your ways.  Eventually. you sent us Jesus to open the door for all people from any nation, culture, ethnic group to become one with you.  Your plan is simple and straight forward.  Help us to be a part of it.

Help us to share the gospel of Jesus with others.  Help us to reveal you as we have come to know you.  Help us to teach your ways of abundant living to others.  Help us to direct others to a deep, personal relationship with you.

You are the source of our strength.  You are the passion of our life.  You are the desire of our dreams.  You are the hope of our future.  Let your life be revealed through our thoughts, actions, and deeds.  Let all we do be done for your glory.  Let others come to see your awesomeness as you have revealed yourself to us.

Everything is yours.  Thank you for sharing everything with us.  Help us share everything with others.  In Jesus we thank you and always pray in His name and authority.  Amen.

Yours In Christ,

Dr. Mike

Coach, Consultant, and Speaker

Author of Great Business Emulates a Good God
Portal: Be Radical…EnjoyLifeInChrist.com

Lord, Help Us Follow Your Lead

holy spirit lead

Who do you depend on in times of trouble?  Who do you turn to when you are unsure of a pending decision?  Who always proves faithful to you in good times and bad?  The theoretical answer is the Holy Spirit.  But is that your truthful answer?  Are you honestly following the lead of the Holy Spirit through life, or do you just think you are?  Have you totally surrendered your personal agenda and are willing to follow the lead of the Counselor of God?  If you are like most of us, the honest answer is no.  We probably have failed miserably.  Yes, He is always reliable.  Yes, He is always faithful.  Yes, He is always dependable.  But, we are not.

We may want to follow His lead in our life.  We, like many of our brothers, seek through prayer and meditation and in the Word for direction in our life, but slowly end-up pursuing the dreams and desires of our heart that we think are good for us.  And of course, over time we discover that we are off the trail again and need help to refocus in the direction that is best for us.

Our Guide is reliable, but we are not.  Our Guide is dependable, but we are not.  Our Guide is faithful, but we are not.  Our problem is to learn how to focus on His lead in our life every single moment.  It’s to be walking with Him in a single line following the path that He is making.  It’s to listen to His instructions and commands.  When you hire yourself a guide to lead you through the jungles of Africa, you seek out the best.  After you find the best, you place your trust in that person to lead you through the appropriate paths.  You don’t deviate off the paths because you have been warned of the dangerous animals and terrain that could severely harm you.  You stay close to your guide and follow all his advice.  Isn’t it the same with the jungle of life?  Our Guide is there to help us make it through the jungle of life.  He has proven Himself over time in assisting many people.  We have now learned to pray regularly, asking help to follow the Counselor’s lead in our life; help to focus on His route; help to be a real disciple of His.

OUR PRAYER

PRAY 8

Our Heavenly Dad and Holy Spirit, thank you for giving us a Counselor, Guide, and Trainer in your Spirit.  Thank you, Holy Spirit, for making yourself available to us in leading us to Jesus and to the things of God.  Thank you for being patient with us and for having our needs in good hands.

Help us to learn how to follow your lead in our life.  Help us to see your work in our life.  Help us to submit to your lead in all we do, in all we seek, in all we think.  Help us to surrender our life to you and always to ask you to fill us with the seeds of your character.  Let us abound with your abundance.  Let us live as your servant and as your ambassador.  Show us how you communicate with us and help us to listen to your nudges.  Give us the faith to act on your instructions.  Help us in our unbelief.  Reaffirm your direction in our life in mercy and in compassion.

Let this life be your success story.  Thank you, Jesus, for caring.

Yours In Christ,

Dr. Mike

Coach, Consultant, and Speaker

Author of Great Business Emulates a Good God
Portal: Be Radical…EnjoyLifeInChrist.com

Our Most Intimate Companion

 

“…but I have called you friends,…”

John 15:15

companion 5

When you walk with God, you have the ultimate companion.  You have someone who is always there when you need them.  Someone you always are able to depend on. Someone you know is your friend independent of the situation.

When you follow Christ though, you quickly come to realize that you are not the most popular person in the world.  You are not a rock star, or basketball superstar, or a famous Hollywood movie star.  You are unique.  And your uniqueness turns many people away from you because you are not acceptable to world standards.  Yes, the righteous will find you uncomfortable to walk with.  The rich will find you a stumbling block.  The powerful will find you threatening the status quo.  The experts will question your credentials.  The elders will find you rebellious.  The sinner will accept you as one of them until they realize your abhorrence to sin.  The naive will consider you their messiah until they find that you preach acceptance of personal responsibility for your actions.  The minority will push their agendas on you until they realize you have no distinction between races, sexes, or political affiliations.  The right wing will consider you a liberal while the left wing insists you’re a conservative.  Your pastor thinks you are uncommitted.  Your family says you’re a little strange.  Your neighbors love you but can’t seem to accept you as you are.  Your coworkers respect you but wonder when you are going to become normal.  Your children honor you and accept your eccentricities as part of the aging process.  And you wonder how come your companions are few?

Jesus selected twelve disciples that where the closest to him.  Of the twelve, three where the most intimate with him, Peter, John and James.  Jesus didn’t have a physical wife or children of His own.  His companions consisted of those who walked with Him on Kingdom’s mission.  He ministered to them while they ministered to Him.  His companions came to Him by His Dad to start the work that He was prophesied to complete.  Not everyone was excited about the Kingdom of God.  Only those people whose passion towards the Kingdom came alive did Jesus bring close to His bosom. and one of them was going to betray Him.  Many of them didn’t even capture the real vision of the Kingdom during His ministry.  Yet Jesus chose them, ministered to them, taught them, loved them, played with them, and worked with them, giving them the best years of His life including the ultimate, life itself.

The best companion we all have is Jesus and the friends He brings to us while sharing the gospel of the Kingdom.  Our companions are few, but true.

OUR PRAYER

PRAYER 1

Oh Loving Dad, thank you for bringing Jesus into our life!  He was God from the beginning of time.  He emptied himself to become a human person, and humbly died on the cross.  Yet today, you raised Him up and glorified Him.  You made Him King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Savior of Saviors, and Friend of Friends.

Jesus, you are our King, Lord, Savior, and Friend.  Thank you for loving us from the beginning of time and revealing to us your love now when we most need it.  Help us to learn from you.  Help us to live with you.  Help us to love you.

Live in us as the Father lived in you while you walked this planet.  Let your love abound in us.  Let your peace surround us.  Let your majesty precede us.

Thank you for hearing and interceding in our prayers.  Thank you for all your help.  Thank you for always being with us as a true friend.  Help us be a friend for others as you are for us.  Thank you, Jesus.

Yours In Christ,

Dr. Mike

Coach, Consultant, and Encourager

Author of Great Business Emulates a Good God
Portal: Be Radical…EnjoyLifeInChrist.com

Our Buddies

expressway 1

There are those in our youth who may express disappointment to have no other choice but the long and narrow roads of life. Generally, youth wants the four lane freeways of life to allow more room to maneuver and arrive at their destination quicker. Though as youth matures, that concept seems to change.  Today, maturity would rather have the narrow road, the road less traveled. The single lane country roads are more fun than the modern, multi fast lane expressways of metropolitan areas. As we age, speed isn’t as important as timeliness.  We rather drive and enjoy the view of the countryside rather than the cement of buildings and streets. The roads may not have the best directional signs, but the experience is much greater and positive.

Our modern freeways are a wonder of travel. You can travel anywhere in the country without a map by simply following the road signs. We know people who once traveled driving through the night from Detroit, Michigan to Madison, Wisconsin without opening a map. They simply headed west and followed the major signs. But try that through the country roads and they would probably still be driving. You would literally have to stop and ask for directions every few miles to confirm that you where moving in the proper direction. The speed limits would also make a thirteen-hour drive into a thirteen day drive. But the experience, the people, the sites, the flavor of the countryside, the feel of small town America, the beauty of the rural areas would make it all worthwhile. Again, in our youth when time was of the essence, the freeways of life were probably our first choice.

Today, as we mature with time as our companion, the narrow country roads of life are our buddies.  To paraphrase Jesus, narrow is the door that leads to life and wide is the way to destruction. If the majority of people feel something is acceptable, we then immediately feel that it is so. Likewise, if only a few agree, then it must be wrong. How often have we fell into that way of thinking? If fact, the reverse can also be true. Just because the majority agree doesn’t make it right or wrong. The number of people in agreement doesn’t weight the scale. The scale is weight by God’s Word as best as we understand it.country road 1

One of the hardest concepts of living that took awhile to sink in was this simple truth: that the majority could be wrong. We are not saying that they are always wrong, but if probability is our god, and depending on the situation, it could easily lean in that favor. It doesn’t matter if we are talking politics, parenting, or religion. The majority isn’t always right. You have to search for the facts and discover the truth (small t). If God allows, He may even reveal the real Truth (large T) to you. To take the narrow road is against human nature. We feel more comfortable taking the wide road. It looks safer. It looks more exciting. It feels right. It allows us more room to maneuver and make choices. It’s the road well traveled. How can anyone go wrong? But the narrow road looks so lonely. It forces you to focus and concentrate. It feels cramped. What can you possibly discover traveling down such a spooky route?

One person once stated that perception is everything and truth (small t) is what you perceive it to be. You create your own reality. If you perceive the narrow path or the wide road as the best route for you to take, your perception is the truth. However, being a disciple of His, we also try to balance our perception of truth (small t) with the larger Truth (large T). Whenever we are in doubt, we lean towards faith in Him and Truth as He has revealed to us.  Part of that process has been learning over time the joy and rewards of traveling down the narrow roads of life. We still have the hurts, marks, and pain from traveling down the wide freeways of life as our reminder that narrow roads are better for His disciple.  If anyone hasn’t tried them yet, we will gladly share our experiences. And if our experience isn’t enough, we can locate many others who would likewise agree. All of them are ourbrothers and sisters in Christ. For a Christ-follower journeys the narrow road less traveled.

OUR PRAYER

PRAY 8

Awesome Dad, thank you for revealing your plan of salvation to us. Thank you for giving us your Word to read, to understand, and to come to know you through. Thank you for sharing with us your creation. Thank you for revealing the joys and beauty of walking with you. Thank you for being there when we need you. Thank you for sharing the journey  with us. Thank you, Jesus.

Yours In Christ,

Dr. Mike

Coach, Consultant, and Speaker

Author of Great Business Emulates a Good God
Portal: Be Radical…EnjoyLifeInChrist.com

Does God Make Sense?

When Job lost his family, and his earthly possessions were taken away, plus his health destroyed with boils, did he consider that time in life to make any sense? When Joseph was taken into slavery to Egypt and locked up in jail for over ten years, did he make sense of his current situation?  When the apostle Paul found himself left stoned to death, shipwrecked, beaten, pursued by his enemies of the cross. did he consider his current situation to make any sense?

When we stop and look at our present time, do we ever ask if it makes any sense?  Though most of us are not a Paul, Joseph, nor Job with no major specific mission in life; where history will not record our accomplishments to the masses. In fact, most of our lives are quite normal and most the time uneventful. And frankly, most of us enjoy it that way. But, does it make any sense?

We live in America, the Disney Country of the planet earth. We have the choice to live anywhere that is affordable for us. Wehave the opportunity to educate ourselves at any university if we apply our self. We could pursue whatever occupation interests us. We have the opportunity to select our own mate and have as many children as physically possible. We also have the opportunity to worship at the church of our choice. We probably have more than enough in physical comforts and may even begin to feel guilty whenever we acquire more. But does our present situation make sense?

If tomorrow we lost everything we own; if our world fell apart and we are taken into prison for something we didn’t do. If we are beaten and left .for dead, would our present situation make sense?

The answer of course is that as a disciple of His, everything makes sense. Nothing will separate us from the love of God. As His disciple, He is the center of our universe; the center of our life. He makes our situation make sense. No matter where we find ourselves, no matter what the situation, no matter what the outcome, He is in control. Our agreement with Him is to surrender all and He will make sense of it all.

He is creating a masterpiece in each one of us and collectively in His universal Church. In our almost forty years following Christ, no matter what ignorant decisions, actions, or events that have taken place, He has always been with me. When evil surrounds us or death knocks at our door, we may not have fully realized it at the time, but in hindsight, He is always around and in control. There is a great purpose being worked out here below and we are a part of it. Yes it takes faith. But isn’t that one part of the armor of a Christ­ follower? And shouldn’t a disciple of His be wearing that armor every day?

Does your present situation make sense? Or maybe the question really is, “Does God make sense?”  Only when we faithfully answer that question, will our present situation make sense.

OUR PRAYER

PRAY 9

Dear Purposeful Dad, thank you for being in control. Thank you for taking care of the small details of life. But mostly, thank you for being involved in our life.

Help us to yield ourselves into your hands, to trust you in all of life’s circumstances and situations. Help us to see the circumstances that you present to us as opportunities to witness to your great power in our life. We pray, glorify your name by creating your masterpiece in us. Take the circumstances that we find ourselves in and change our heart to be like yours. Change the heart of those around us to be like yours. Change the circumstances if you believe that to be the best solution, but more importantly, take the present situation and reveal your Greatness through it. Let others see your magnificence. Let us see your magnificence. Let others know that you know us and care for us. Let your life abide in us and in you.

Let us not try to make sense of the situation we are in. We do not ask why. Instead we ask that you take our present situation and magnify yourself through it.

Let your glory abound. Let your Word abound. Let the Holy Spirit abound. Let your  Kingdom abound. Help us abound for your name’s sake.  In Jesus we ask. Amen.

Dr. Mike