My purpose in life is to attract people to Jesus. I have a personal relationship with Jesus by faith in the gospel, and as a result my sins are forgiven, I am adopted into the family of God, and I am given the gift of eternal life in heaven. I know many don’t believe that Jesus is the only way to heaven, but I do because that is what the Bible, the Word of God says. Because I believe that with all my heart I want to do all I can to persuade people to believe the gospel and follow Jesus. What works most effectively to attract people to Faith in Jesus? That is a question I have pondered on for many years. I have come to the conclusion that if people aren’t attracted to me on the basis of my character and behavior they won’t be attracted to my savior. I don’t have to be perfect but I do need to treat people well, to honor them, to meet needs, to be gracious, kind, considerate, patient, self-controlled, forgiving, accepting,and to be basically a nice guy. It is very much like when I was 20 years old courting Patty, I was on my best behavior so she would be as attracted to me as I was to her. So thinking about this from the other side of the mirror that I am using to look at myself to see if I am attractive I know what would make me unattractive and even downright ugly. Obnoxiousness, arrogance, criticalness, being argumentative, judgemental, unforgiving, grouchy, irritable, complaining and grumbling. One of the observable facts of life is that many Christians are not a good advertisement for Jesus. It isn’t because they are bad people, but because they haven’t identified what their purpose in life is. There is a lot in life that God will do, they are His job by His design. God has given us some things to do and the main one is be a witness for Jesus. We tend to do God’s job and neglect our own responsibility. God has given us everything we need to do our assigned job, but He has given us nothing to try and do His.
The Men’s Accountability group that I am in that meets once a week at 5:30 am at Denny’s Resturant went golfing this morning at the Par 3 place on the way to Corvallis. We met first for breakfast at Pop’s Branding Iron and I had sausage, eggs, hash browns and toast. There was five of us but there weren’t many there so they let us stay together as a group. There is a lot more fellowship with Par 3 golf because holes are only about 100 yards from the Tee so we are all within talking distance most of the time so trash talking is easy to do. You only need a 9 iron and a putter so there isn’t much discussion on club choice. We were having so much fun we didn’t even keep score though I think I easily came in last. On the drive home I was thinking what a great group of guys this was and how much I personally profit by my meeting each week with them. We each have 10 goals that we are pursuing and each week we give a report how we are doing. We give encourement, good natured ribbing, and an occasional scolding if someone is being lazy. Many men have struggles living a faithful, responsible life. The difference between living life successfully by yourself compared with living life with a group of friends who really do care for each other and work hard at motivating, encouraging, and praying for each other is truly amazing. So few men are part of this kind of group because of the time it takes, but I can’t think of anything that is more effective in helping me be the person I truly want to be.
I believe every person has an internal desire to make a difference. This desire was put in us by God. This desire has the capacity to grow stronger and stronger inside of us as we feed it, but it also can get weaker and weaker and even die. A key reason this God given desire goes away in many people is from frustration that comes from making no difference even when we try repeatedly. Once we get the impression that we are beating our head against a hard immovable wall we will quit, usually permantly. People who have arrived at this state of living are not happy, have low self worth, grumble a lot, argue, rant, you get the picture. The way to keep this from happening is to have some successes in changing things, making a difference. If I were your coach this is what I would tell you to do so that you became a super motivated change agent for God making a huge difference with your life. First thing, ask yourself if what you are presently doing is making a difference or ever will, if not quit and do something that does. A lot of activities feel good and have a degree of nobility about them but won’t change anything. Second thing is become involved in things that produce a small win, but are sure things. Small changes pile up and become significant accomplishments if one is steady and faithful at working at making a difference. Third thing is to pay close attention to hints and signs that God is giving an opportunity or open door. I believe God wants us to want to do something and look for it so it won’t just hit you on the side of the head. Last thing is to do as much as possible with others as a team. We will accomplish so much more with others. A great example of this kind of opportunity is the “Serve Inc” project on July 11th. The churches in Jefferson are coming together to do a community project of painting some of the Fire Hall, the Community Center, and some landscaping. No big deal, but for those who choose to serve it is a momentum starter or builder depending on where they are on the path to being a world changer.
Somebody in our church who I know well got their facebook account hacked and the hacker sent me a message pretending to be the person I know. They said that they had been awarded $150,000 that Facebook and UPS were giving to people with disabilities. I messaged back that I was super happy for them and congratulations and all that stuff. A bit later they messaged me again and asked if I had gotten my money yet, because they had noticed my name on the list. I responded that no, I hadn’t heard anything about any award of money. They sent me a name of a lady and said “Friend” her on Facebook and then ask her if I was one of the ones that was receiving an award. I thought, “what the heck” let’s see what happens. So I did that and got a reply back that indeed I was one of the people who was given a grant or award of $150,000. I think it was because it was 1:00 am in the morning and I was half asleep that I bit the bait like a stupid fish or maybe it was because we all are wishing we would get some extra money for any crazy reason, it wouldn’t matter but it sure would be nice to have that money. I started thinking what we would do with it. I naturally would give some to the Lord and the kids could use some of it, and I could do quit a bit around the house with some extra funds. Right in the middle of my dreaming about this money I got another message from my new friend giving me instructions on how to get my money. As I read what was written I noticed a number of misspelled words and some grammar that was worse than mine and I thought Oh,oh I don’t think this is ligit. I messaged the Facebook friend who I knew well in our church and asked if they were still up and they responded, yes. I asked if they could call me. The response was that they had lost their phone, so I asked if they could phone me with their husbands phone and I knew it worked because I had talked to him on it just a couple of days ago. No more response. Oh well, I didn’t want that stinky money anyway. Boy I hope I can hook fish the next time I go fishing as easily as I was hooked, sheesh, what a sucker I am.
I make todo lists and schedule each day very carefully wanting to use my time well and to accomplish as much as possible each day. Often something comes up and totally messes up my schedule. When that happens I thank God for the variety that He brings into my life, and the cool challenges that I get to solve. This afternoon my son-in-law from Fairbanks, Alaska texted and wondered if I could drive up to Portland and pick up a pickup that he just bought. They are flying down in September to go on an all family hunting trip to the Steens Mountains with us, and will drive the pickup back home. My son Seth said he would drive me up to get it, so I said OK. Found the place with no problem and checked out the pickup. The guy bought it new in 1973 and is the only owner. Seth agreed to drive it home so I took off in the car headed home while he did all the title stuff and gave him the money. When he started for home the pick up died in the middle of the first intersection. The owner took it back to his shop and after trying to get it running good decided that the gas was bad, the carberator was dirty and the spark plugs needed replacing. Seth called just as I exited the freeway at the Jefferson exit so I turned around to get him. The owner of the pickup brought him as far as Wilsonville but it was still very late when we finally got home. Not much I could have done to have changed much of that situation so I will try to get everything done on my expanded todo tomorrow. You never know, maybe I will.
Love seems to be a big deal right now. Seems like a good thing, but maybe not. The Apostle Paul in his second letter to Timothy who he was training to be a Pastor said this in Chapter 3, “you must understand this, that in the last days distressing times will come. For people will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money….lovers of pleasure, and having an outward form of loving God, but it isn’t real.” Saw some little kids at an event recently and one of them began to fuss loudly. The Mom put a pacifier, one of those things that we called binkies, in the kids mouth and he was instantly good. Those things aren’t the real thing, and they produce zero milk, but they seem to fool the kid. Paul says of these people in verse 8 that they have a counterfeit faith. They think they have the real thing, but it is not real. They have been fooled by the devil, that is what he does. The big deal today is “God loves ____, you fill in the blank. But the big deal ought to be,”do I love God with all my heart, with all my mind, with all my might? In John 14:15 Jesus says, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments, you will be holy as I am holy, you will pursue righteousness” I love the Lord with all my heart and every morning I declare to Him that I hunger and thirst for righteousness and ask Him to help me to please Him in very detail of my life. In the evening I confess my sins to Him and claim the promise of His Word that He will forgive me.
Experiencing His forgiveness motivates me to strive even more for purity of life, not to take advantage of grace and love. This is my life view and belief, I highly recommend it.
It is so nice to live life with total confidence that what I am using as my guide, my standard for right and wrong, my blueprint for success, my description of tomorrow and eternity, my definition of truth is the inspired inerrant Word of God. Some people give lip service to the Bible, I declare that the Bible is living and active and supernatural and the very thoughts of God. I can know God intimately and walk with Him by reading His Word. I can know His perfect will for my life as I look for it sincerely reading and studying the Bible. As the world declares their opinion of what is right and wrong, what is good and bad, what is holy and profane, I look to the Holy, inspired inerrant Word of God for what He says. Because my view of the Bible is so high I read it every day, I make decisions every day using the wisdom that comes from God’s Word, I spend 30 minutes every day memorizing it, I have devoted my life to preaching and teaching it. My relationship with God is based on the truth that He gives me in His Word.