Have You Been With Jesus?

Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marveled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus. Acts 4:13 KJV

After the resurrection of Jesus, His disciples went everywhere preaching the Gospel with boldness. These were not well known or politically connected men and women. None of them was wealthy or even had a formal education. What stood out to others was the fact that they had been with Jesus. If we were arrested and brought before a courtroom, what would people notice about our Christian lives? Might they be impressed with our nicely remodeled homes or the car we drive? Would folks be amazed by our educational credentials or the well-connected people we were friends with – or would they first take notice that we had been with Jesus?

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In the book of Revelation, Jesus tells one of the churches that He was knocking on the door of their hearts. That’s right, Jesus was knocking on the church door, because as they lived their daily lives, they had left Him locked outside. Maybe this morning – with Easter right around the corner – we might pause and ask ourselves, What difference has Jesus Christ made a difference in our lives today? If we’re not sure then the good news is that He is still willing to change that. All we have to do is go to the door and invite Him back in. He has a peace to share that nothing in this world can touch and a joy that no one will take away. Stress and fear will not be able to stand in the presence of the one who loved us enough to give His life on the cross so that we could forever be with Him! Have you been with Jesus today?

What is Your Treasure?

And he said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house, who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.” Matthew 13:52 ESV

It may surprise you to learn that I began Bible story telling, not with my special friends at nursing home, but with 5-8 year old boys at church. Royal Rangers was a program similar to the Boy Scouts, that our denomination offered and one day I came to sign our son up for class. Now I am not the parent who just drops his kiddo off, so I stayed to see what was going on. The man who leading the group was so delighted to have another adult around to help, that he disappeared on the third week and ta-da, I became their new leader!

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Needless to say my transition from, hey I want to help, to “Whoot there it is!” you’re in charge, was rough. Kids climbed up walls, bounced off each other and in general made me crazy. But in the midst of the mayhem when I was getting ready to tear out my hair, God began to teach me how to get and keep their attention with stories. In today’s scripture, Jesus gives us the inside scoop on how to teach others about His kingdom, and He calls it giving away our treasure.

So what makes something our treasure, and who are those scribes instructed in the kingdom? Now, I’ve been to college and have a piece of paper somewhere that will prove it, but what I really treasure is those lessons learned from when God answered my cries for help in the storms of life. He seems to specialize in using our problems as His classroom and in each one He gives us a treasure of grace to share with others. Also notice that Jesus points out, we need both new and old treasures. So don’t get too comfortable where you are because life is rarely smooth sailing for long. The Biblical weather forecast is for new storms on our horizons because each one offers us a new gift of God’s grace. So whether you are trying to keep the attention of a classroom full of eight year old’s, or are having a zoom session with seniors who can’t seem to figure out where to click so they can see the video, God wants to use you in ways to spread His treasure around. So what is your story? I know there are lots of great teachers out there among my readers, so why not share one of your treasures with us today?

Making The Ladder Fit

To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. 1 Corinthians 9:22 ESV

A friend of ours told us a story about how his elderly father asked him to put a ladder into his tool shed. The problem was not that they didn’t want to help but that the shed was just too small.  No matter how they turned and twisted the ladder it wouldn’t go all the way in. But all through the struggle dad kept insisting that they keep trying! The message of about Jesus is a lot like that ladder. It is long enough to reach all the way to heaven but we need to present it in a way that fits into the shed.

Between the Coronavirus, cancelled church services and protest marches, people have a lot of stuff going on in their lives. We need to catch their attention in a hurry. A lot can be said about the shallowness of comments on Twitter but I love that it forces us to get to the point. In the same way if the gospel is going to be heard then we need to cut out unnecessary words; make a clear point and do it creatively. We have the best news in the universe – the love of God in Jesus Christ. There is nothing even remotely boring about His forgiveness or gift of salvation and eternal life. We just need to ask God for a way to share it that will be like a ladder short enough to fit into every heart!

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