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I have been reading the New Testament lately with special reference to the aggressive spirit of original Christianity. And as far as I can see, we come infinitely short by comparison. “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to all creation.” Look at what is implied in this commission. I believe that no generation since that first century has yet fathomed the meaning of this divine commission. Look at it! Would it ever occur to you that it really meant, “Go and build chapels and churches, and invite the people to come in, but if they won’t – leave them alone”? “GO!” To whom? “To all creation.” Where am I to get at them? WHERE THEY ARE. “All creation.” This is the extent of your commission. Seek them out, run after them, wherever you can get at them. “All creation” – wherever you find a creature that has a soul – there go and preach the Gospel to him. If I understand it, that is the meaning and spirit of this commission.

In another commission to Paul, God says “…I am sending you to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God.” (Acts 26:17-18) They are asleep – go and wake them up. They do not see their danger. If they did, there would be no need for you to run after them. They are preoccupied. Open their eyes, and turn them around by your desperate earnestness, intense persuasion, and moral force. Oh! It makes me tremble when I think of how much one man can do for another! ‘”Turn from darkness to light, and from the dominion of Satan to God.” How did Paul understand this? He says, “We persuade men.”(II Cor.5:11) Do not be content with just putting it before them, giving them gentle invitations, and then leaving them alone. Paul ran after the poor souls, and pulled them out of the fire. Do the same! Take the blindfold off their eyes which Satan has bound them with; knock and hammer and burn your words into their poor, hardened, darkened hearts with the fire of the Holy Ghost, until they begin to realize that they are IN DANGER! Go after them. If I understand it, that is the spirit of the apostles and of the early Christians.

Sure it’s okay to build churches and chapels; we should invite the people to them. But do you think it is consistent with these commissions to rest only in this, when three-fourths of the population utterly ignore our invitations and take no notice whatsoever of our buildings and of our services? They will not come to us. That is an established fact. Jesus Christ says, “Go after them.” He says, “Go out into the highways and along the hedges, and compel them to come in, that My house may be filled.” (Luke 14:23) I will have guests, and if you can’t get them in by nice, civil measures, use military measures. Go and compel them to come In.

Oh! People say you must be very cautious. You must not push religion down people’s throats. What! Should I wait until an unconverted, godless man wants to be saved before I try to save him? Am I to let my unconverted friends and acquaintances go quietly down to damnation, and never tell them about their souls until they ask, “If you please, I want you to preach to me!” Is this anything like the spirit of early Christianity? No! Therefore we must make them look, and if they run away from you in one place, meet them in another, and let them have no peace until they submit to God. This is what Christianity ought to be doing in this land, and there are plenty of Christians around to do it. Why, we might give the world such a time of it, that they would get saved in self-defense – if we were only aggressive enough and determined that they should have no peace in their sins.

Men are preoccupied with many things, and we need to bring this subject of salvation powerfully to their attention. There is some one soul that you have more influence with than any other person on earth. Are you doing all you can for their salvation? Take them lovingly aside and say, “My dear friend, I have never spoken to you closely, carefully, and prayerfully about your soul.” Let them see the tears in your eyes, or if you can’t weep, let them hear the tears in your voice. Let them realize that you feel their danger, and are in distress for them. Then God will give His Holy Spirit so they can be saved.

 

 

 

 

 

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LSU outreach

Special thanks to our sweet friends Terry and Joan McMorris for hosting us at the LSU outreach yesterday. They provided sweet fellowship and yummy food.

Billy brought the cross and we walked it through the campus on the way to our normal evangelism spot. I wish I had video of the responses. Everywhere we went people stopped what they were doing to watch the cross go by. As soon as we stopped, we had people approaching us and the three of us (Me, Billy and Charles) had nonstop opportunities to share the gospel until we left. It was a good day. Praise God!

 

Burning Words

Catherine Booth, wife of Salvation Army founder William Booth, travelled much due to their ministry. She heard some of the greatest preachers of her day and yet she still cried out, “Burning words! That’s what I’m looking for. I travel all around and I hear oratory; I hear clever preaching. But what I’m searching for is something that will burn my heart like the men on the road to Emmaus.”

Luke 24:32 And they said to one another, “Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?”

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I came across this picture today and I remembered Catherine Booth’s quote. And I realized that this picture illustrates the reality of what she was looking for….the burning words come from the burning heart of the captive made free.

Really, our hearts are filled with so many things….many things that compete with and quench our love for Jesus. And so our words have no fire because our hearts have no fire. And the cold, dark world around us remains cold and dark.

We need to hear the voice of Jesus just as the men on the road to Emmaus. We need Him to open the Scriptures to us and make these eternal things real to us again. We need to walk with Him and listen to Him and love Him….and burn for Him.

Colossians 2:6 As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him

We began by grace. We must continue by grace. We can burn for Him by grace. He is willing. Are we?

The unconditional yes

The unconditional yes….is that in your heart towards the Lord? Anything He wants you to do. Anywhere He wants you to go. Or does your yes have conditions….stipulations….exclusions? Is there a “yes Lord” in your heart or a “mostly yes Lord”? The reality of a “mostly yes” means that somewhere there is a “no Lord”. There is a line you will not allow Him to cross….things you will not permit Him to require of you….a point where His Lordship in your life ends.

Beloved, the one who knows and loves us perfectly and who has washed us in His own blood can be trusted with an unconditional yes. We have nothing to fear except the misery of a life not fully surrendered.

May the Lord search our hearts, demolishing every barrier we have erected against His complete Lordship. And may we give to Him a deeper and unconditional yes.

Moving Forward

I was driving home from work today. It was wet and rainy and there was water standing on the side of the road everywhere. A couple of cars in front of me was an 18 wheeler who was trying to make a right turn and he made it too tight and ended up going off the road a little bit with his back tire. From my vantage point I could tell that he could’ve made it if he had just kept going. But I guess he could sense that something wasn’t quite right so he stopped and got out to look and see what was going on. And because he did that, he lost all his forward momentum. The only option now was to call a tow truck to help. Valuable time would now be lost and whatever he was delivering would be late.

He could’ve made it if he had just kept going. I actually said that out loud as I passed him on my way home.

Believers, we are on a narrow path. Sometimes life takes a turn that we didn’t quite expect. We lose our balance…we feel stuck. Something just doesn’t seem right. So we stop everything to get out and look. All our forward momentum in the Lord comes to a halt as we keep walking around the trouble, the trial, the pain, trying to figure out how we’re gonna get back on the path. Some of us even stop to build a monument to the derailing event, visiting it so often that we never can quite get back on the path. Meanwhile, valuable time is being lost.

No doubt life can be very hard at times. We get blind sided by pain and trouble. But we don’t have to get derailed. If we will just keep moving forward we are going to make it.

Let’s pray for one another and help one another to continue moving forward in the Lord.

 

Life is a vapor

About five months ago I met Billy at an event called Live after Five. I gave Billy a gospel tract and talked to him about Jesus. He had been in a life of addiction but was getting back on his feet, had just started a new job and was on his way to being independent. But he was currently staying in the homeless shelter and only had 20 minutes to get there or he wouldn’t have a bed for the night. There’s no way he could make it in time. So me, James Goss and Billy power walked to my car and drove with purpose to the homeless shelter with a few minutes to spare. The whole way there Billy was thanking us and marveling that God would show him such mercy. He said he wanted to come to church but I tried to contact him for several weeks afterwards and he never returned my messages.

While I was on my way downtown to Live After Five yesterday afternoon I was remembering my encounter with Billy, so I thought I would just check his Facebook page to see if he was still in Baton Rouge and try to follow up on him again. What I found was that Billy died two weeks ago of a heart attack.

Life is a vapor.

 

 

I need just such a friend

Jesus knows all my wants and weaknesses; all my sin and misery. He knows the malice of my enemies, and the foolishness of my heart. He has power to subdue my whole nature to Himself, and to defeat the wiles and machinations of my foes.

His grace is all-sufficient.

His love is infinite.

His wisdom cannot be defeated.

His power cannot be resisted.

He has all power and strength–and I am very weak. He has all the knowledge to understand my whole case, and all the wisdom necessary to direct everything concerning me. He makes no mistakes. He is never deceived. He is never outsmarted. He knows all things.

He knows my weaknesses. He knows my sorrows. He knows my heart. His wisdom never fails. He is never confounded or perplexed. He has as much mercy and kindness as I need. His loving-kindness is so great that we cannot fathom its top or the bottom–the length or the breadth of it. The ocean of the Divine love is boundless and inexhaustible! It is infinite!

I have no sorrow to which He is a stranger.

He sympathizes with me in all my sufferings and temptations.

I need just such a friend.

(William S Plumer)