Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The Least of These 

Matthew 25:40 - what does this verse really mean Jesus?  Who are the least of these and what must I do to help them?

I have a Christian t-shirt that simply says, "Religion is easy....Love is hard!"  What happens when a church as a whole just doesn't care for others.  Practicing religion, yes!  Loving others, no!  I am reminded of a situation in our community that concerns impoverished children that is very dangerous.  It is an issue of neglect, an issue of sorrow and frustration.  Trying to find a solution here on earth through the proper authorities who already are overwhelmed with loads of cases to care for.  We pray for the parents but what happens when the parent is a problem.  These children are the least of these.  They have no way of helping themselves.

We are called to Love God and Love others.  The Least of These are the others.  The needy who are overlooked.  Those who need our help.  Those around us in the community where we live.  Those who are our neighbors.  Therefore, there must be faith and there must be action!  Michael Wilkins writes, "This does not absolve a general mercy that Christians must demonstrate toward all in need."  Leon Morris writes, "Everyone in need is to be the object of Christian benevolence."  Mercy requires action on our part, but it is our faith that gives us a foundation to care in the first place.  Love is the same way!

So think about this....."Whatever you do unto the least of these you do unto Me."  Whatever we do or don't do in action towards the "least" we do to Jesus.  We must DO SOMETHING!  We must ACT!  I hope your faith is up to the task.  --Sleepy Disciple

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Simple Bible Talks with your kids

A few weeks ago during a lesson with children during a church meeting, I asked them what they thought the definition of church is.  Of course, most of them had the same answer...."Bro. Brian, it is the building that we are in."  We had to learn from the Scriptures that this is not true, that "we are the church".  The Church is the People of God and can meet anywhere.

When planning for children's and youth ministry in the church, we plan on what we would like to teach and present so as any younger person ages, we pray this teaching will stick with them.  The teaching about the church is one of the important foundations of Scripture.  But as the preacher said last Sunday morning, "If the only Bible you get is on Sunday morning from the pastor, then you are biblically malnourished!"  The same can be said with children's and youth ministries.  Parents, we must disciple our children at home with the Word of God and begin with the basics.  

How do I do that?  I don't have the time?  I don't do it right? - trust me, I have heard them all.  It is taking a few minutes or more out of your day to "teach" major points of the Christian faith to your children.  Start the conversation by asking questions to see what your children know.  They may have already learned a truth and have it down.  Have them share what they know with you.  Gently, teach the right answer if they have it wrong.  Make sure you have a Bible to show them where they can find it.  Guess what that means?  You better know where it is in God's Word, so you need to study up!

The other night with my 16 year old, we are doing a devotional (10 minutes) together with our Bibles and she is reading out of Experiencing God: Student Edition.  We began a conversation about the Holy Spirit.  We already know what Jesus taught in the Gospel of John (chapter 14-16), but there is more to know.  We just talked about the work of the Holy Spirit and the other places in Scripture to find it (1 Corinthians, Romans, Acts, etc).  We ended up talking for more than 30 minutes about the Holy Spirit and His great work in our lives.  From all of this, it is comforting to know that my children will know the Bible and are growing in their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and walk in truth!

Get Started - "if you aren't teaching your kids about life, the world will,"
---Sleepy Disciple---    

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

A Simple Dentist Visit

Wow!  I recently moved to a dentist that is closer to me to travel and made the first appointment.  They did the usual x-rays and checkup which revealed something interesting.  I have been grinding my teeth at night.  Not to a headache or jaws hurting type grinding, but a habit that is slowly working on my big teeth in the back of my mouth.

Concern! Go to the store and based on the dentist's suggestion buy a mouth guard.  Yikes!  This looks like something a football player uses.  I need to get on this right away because the check up revealed that I need few crowns as a result.  Enough of the Personal Dental Visit....right?

Well, I realize that I maybe kinda sort of have a stressful job as most people do.  Shocker, I know.  At night I seem to be restless and awake because I am thinking of the multiple things that need to be done tomorrow or during the week or month.  Can we all say the magic word....ANXIOUS!

I read Philippians 4:6-7 and "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God."  but WAIT!!  v7:  "And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

I realize that I am humanly trying to handle all this stuff without God.  Yes, I believe in Christ as my Savior and Redeemer.  Then, why am I ANXIOUS?  Because I am not submitting and surrendering to Him in prayer.  I pray daily but normally for forgiveness of my sin and everyone who has a prayer request and some other things.  That's not good, because in my life I need the peace of God that will guard my heart.  So, now I pray before bed thankful to the Lord for the day and it's wonderful blessings and for PEACE so that I may stop being ANXIOUS.  Grace and Peace to you, Sleepy Disciple

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Simply Trust Me

In trying to minister to others and in the community to those we don't really have a relationship built with but desire to do so in the future, what do we have to have to move forward?  What is the single ingredient that is needed to build a foundation of help, care and encouragement with each other?  Even in your circles of influence?  Even in the closest of relationships you have with others?  We may have love or compassion to build on but is it the bedrock of the relationship?

BAM!  that is it!  This is the answer!  This is the solution!  The big word!

I believe that you can have a love for others but if you don't have trust in each other it makes any relationship difficult to move in any direction.  Jesus sums up the commandments in Matthew 22:37-39 by teaching, "Love the Lord your God"...then...."love your neighbor as yourself."  We call this the Great Commandment as it sums up all the Law and what the prophets of old were saying to God's people constantly.

However, before this teaching way back in Proverbs 3:5, there is a wise saying from the writer: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding."  Trust is defined as reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing; confidence. Being confident in someone else and their abilities. What a concept!

You have to measure how much trust you have in God and in others on a daily basis. If there is no confidence that God has the strength, ability and surety to be a part of your life, then simply you don't believe in Him and what He is capable of doing. If there is no confidence that others to have the strength, ability, and surety to be a part of your life, then simply you may not have very many trusting friends and can be very lonely.  What are the obstacles of your trusting in God and in others?  Can you simply trust?

Sleep on that some.....Sleepy Disciple

Monday, January 12, 2015

Bible Engagement...the new buzz word

I was interested today in reading research on Christians and the frequency in which they read the Bible. Lifeway research has done some studies, Christian Post has reported on it, the Barna Research Group has done some polls and studies as well.  Something interesting that I found was that Bible Engagement is the new buzz word for this type of thing.

The Christian Post writes an article which quotes the Director of Lifeway Research:

"Bible engagement encompasses more than just Bible reading. It measures the extent to which individuals interact with the truth of Scripture and allow it to permeate their thinking and influence their actions,"

Interesting that we are no longer researching just Bible reading but we are now measuring the INTERACTION of the truth of Scripture with our lives. Something that pastor's, minister's, mentors or teachers have been trying to get disciples of Christ to do for centuries. And the result of this interaction causes one to think and be influenced by the Word of God. AMEN!

But the real question should be is how hungry are we for the Lord and His Word? The Truth? Not only to read it, but to ENGAGE with it so that it will change our thinking and influence our lives.

When we are doing these things, here is where we will find God, Jesus, Holy Spirit, Redemption, Salvation, Repentance, Relationship and Satisfaction.  When we are engaging in the Word of God to get to know God every day.  Will you be another statistic?

-Sleepy Disciple

The article I referenced linked here:

Monday, January 5, 2015

Are you a CONTENDER?

I find that many people I meet and talk to say that they know the Lord and I wonder if that is just in name only.  It is a mindset that that we are all good and we know the name of the Lord is the ticket for having faith.  This is misconception of what faith truly is.  J.R.R. Tolkien, one of my favorite authors has said, "Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens."  We cannot have faith as a light switch that is turned off and on at a moment's notice.  With many cases, our faith may be in the "OFF" position.

I believe that when we read the Scriptures we find that faith is often partnered with trust.  Many who have known the Lord and may have placed their faith in Him often still do not trust in Him.  Proverbs 3:5-6 gives us great wisdom in placing our trust in the Lord and Luke 9:23 gives a command in discipleship at the beginning to "deny myself" which would be placing my complete faith and trust in the Lord for all things.

Looking at Isaiah 43, we find the Israelite's in captivity and the simple reason for this is that they lost their faith in God.  They had abandoned God in their relationship with Him.  But God still desired a relationship with them - it was part of their covenant agreement,  God declares who He is, what He had done for them in the past, but also declares that He will do something new for the future.  If they would return, He would care for them as He did in the past.  If they would have faith and trust in Him no matter what there will come time of refreshment and renewal.

In Jude, we read in the third verse that we are to "contend earnestly for the faith."  This gives me an idea that faith is something that I fight for daily to keep fresh in my life so that I will not abandon it.  When I read of the struggles the Israelite's had in the Old Testament, they should be lessons for me to "contend" even more, trusting in the Lord and placing my faith in Him everyday.  What are you fighting for in your faith?

-Sleepy Disciple