Do you feel ordinary? Does your life seem insignificant? Do you sense your own commonness? Has your church-driven life become routine? Good! That makes you a candidate for the transforming grace, power and influence of a mighty Savior!
What is the single most important ingredient for a life of spiritual power and authority to be used by God to change your community and the world? Is it seminary training? Raising support as a "missionary"? Impressive church programs? A polished presentation? An attractive building? Brilliant marketing schemes? Starbucks coffee? Is it all about "you"? Is it all about your church? No, I tell you! Even the spiritually bankrupt Sanhedrin (like a council of today's seminary graduates and "professional Christian" leaders who hold degrees in theology and church studies and lead and control the visible church) perceived the true source of genuine spiritual power! In Acts 4:13 the religious elite marveled over the boldness of Peter and John, who, unlike themselves, were "uneducated and untrained men" They drew a very insightful conclusion. They recognized the key to the tremendous holy influence of the humble fishers of men;
"And they realized that they had been with Jesus."
Beloved, notice that the scriptures don't say "And they realized that they had been to church" or "And they realized that they had been to seminary" or "And they realized that they had been to a retreat " or "And they realized that they had been to a Christian conference? or "And they realized they had been to a crusade? or even "And they realized that they seemed like nice and decent synogogue-going fellows" . What first brought the lost to any observations of the disciples in the first place was their behavior. Were they struck by the fact that the disciples gathered together from house-to-house? Were they impressed that the Christians worshipped pleasantly and in tune? Were the community leaders impressed by their fellowshipping? By their bible studies? Were the unregenerate taken aback by the fact that the disciples were taking the Lord's supper? Were the lost bowled over by the zeal of the disciples psalm-singing? Were they discussing the prayers of the followers of Christ? Were they abuzz that they had just filled a Coliseum? No, dear brothers and sisters. To be sure, all of that behavior could have been for the glory of God and the benefit and spiritual nourishment and preparation of the disciples --- but what the Lord used in the lives of the lost community was the behavior of Christians on the street. The children of the devil were impressed by the courage and ready witness of these humble fisherman as they intentionally came face-to-face to engage a hostile (and religious) world with the eternal words of the gospel:
"Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out!"
Being with Jesus is the origin and the destiny of all of those who have been redeemed and are being sanctified by the Truth. We have reason to be confident and courageous! Don't stay in your church pews and pot-luck suppers! There is a battle going on! Our church services and myriad fellowship and bible studies are to be like bootcamp, preparing us to embark on our mission as ambassadors for Jesus Christ to our own Jerusalem, our own lost cities. The church buildings are the barracks, but as Catherine Booth, co-founder of the Salvation Army said: "A barracks is meant to be a place where real soldiers were to be fed and equiped for war not a place to settle down in or a comfortable snuggery in which to enjoy ourselves. I hope that if they, our soldiers, do settle down God will burn their barracks over their heads!"
The souls of countless millions of lost neighbors hangs in the balance! The means that God has chosen to awaken those who are dead in their trespasses and sins is the spoken gospel of Law and Grace through the instruments of His own redeemed sons and daughters. Jesus deserves, indeed our King COMMANDS to be visibly, verbally glorified outside the four walls of our church, seminaries, Christian colleges, bible studies, singles, youth and old-folk ministries. Our culture is full of sin, death and wickedness. Amen?!
Beloved, it is a moral and spiritual disgrace that babies are methodically slaughtered at abortuaries in Orlando through all nine months of pregnancy in the shadow of a thousand church steeples. Our city and our world sorely needs to be invaded by men and women who have been with Jesus. How long must we feather the nests and stroke our beards in the comfort and safety of the local church? When will we have enough of "retreats" and "advance"? Our Savior has already, once and for all, given us the Great Commission to "Go!" (Mark 16:15). I'm afraid that by-and-large those who attend church intentionally spurn Jesus' command. In the sin of the Great Omission we have insisted on obeying the whisper of the world, the flesh and Satan himself to "Stay!"
How many sermons must we hear before we "Go!"? Is there a magic number? How many Sunday School classes must we attend before we "Go!"? How many worship songs must we sing, how many bible studies, how many home fellowships must we attend, how many retreats and conferences, how many biblical degrees must we obtain before we obey the command of the Master and "Go!"?
Let us not be ashamed of the gospel. Press into the Savior today and I beg of you, do not stop there! Follow the example of Jesus! Go out with boldness sharing the Gospel, having confidence that like our uneducated, untrained brothers Peter and John, that Jesus, our Immanuel (which literally translates "God with us") will be with you still. For hath not Christ promised ...
Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.
WHY WAIT? Orlando Gospel Opportunities abound NOW!
Sanctuary Ministries: We have been providing a "ministry of presence" and witnessing to abortion-bound women and men (and abortionists and clinic workers as well) on the sidewalks outside Orlando killing places for over 13 years. Join us this week and every week as we engage those who are perishing outside our city's most notorious child-killing bu$ine$$:
Thursday 8:15am-10:30am (late-term labor-and-delivery abortion day)
Saturday 6:15-9:30am (biggest baby killing day of the week)
Many opportunities to serve, including online counseling ministry and follow-up gospel presentations. Contact Patte Smith at ProChristi@juno.com for information and to be added to e-mail updates.
The Great News Network: Christopher Owen Local Leader in Orlando has helped organize and leads several evangelism teams going out every week. Contact Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to his e-mail updates. Go to his webpage at: WWW.thegreatnews.com/localleaders/US_FL_Orlando.html
Weekly College Campus Outreach: Scott Smith (also associated with The Great News Network) A team of local Christians meets and engages students through one-on-one witnessing and open-air preaching. Contact Scott at ProChristi@juno.com
Get equipped to share the gospel today!
Listen to The Fire & The Hammer radio program with Dr David Downs (pastor of Cornerstone Church in Oviedo) on 1520AM Mon-Fri @ 8:30 & Sat @ 8:30am on 950AM. Pastor Dave personally leads Christians out to witness to their neighbors door-to-door every Saturday morning. Visit Cornerstone for worship on Sunday at 10am. Call 407.568.2688 for directions to the church.
The Way of the Master: Go to www.wayofthemaster.com and watch episodes of the award-winning evangelism televsion program hosted by Ray Comfort & Kirk Cameron. Listen to Way of the Master radio online as well. See www.livingwaters.com to order tracts and listen to powerful teachings on evangelism such as "Hell's Best Kept Secret" and "True & False Conversions".
From Ordinary to Extraordinary
4/25/2006 2:54:12 PM--> God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise,
& God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty;
& the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen,
& the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are,
that no flesh should glory in His presence.
I Corinthians 1:27-29
... while the disciples were ordinary in one sense, they were also extraordinary in another sense. As far as their innate talents and their human backgrounds are concerned, they were genuinely ordinary, and deliberately so. It was only Christ’s work in the disciples’ lives that gave them such remarkable power and influence, so that what they became was something quite uncommon—and what they accomplished ("These who have turned the world upside down ..." Acts 17:6) was something truly extraordinary.
Most of them were unremarkable in and of themselves. They were ordinary, common, and in some cases shockingly low-caste — In each instance, what made them extraordinary was a memorable, life-changing encounter with the God of the universe.
In other words, all these ... ultimately became extraordinary not because of any natural qualities of their own, but because the one true God whom they worshiped is great, mighty, glorious, and awesome, and He refined them like silver. He redeemed them through the work of an extraordinary Savior—His own divine Son—and conformed them to His image (Rom. 8:29). In other words, the gracious work of God in their lives made each one of these ... truly extraordinary. They therefore stand as reminders of both our fallenness and our potential. Speaking together as one, they all point us to Christ. In every case, He was the One to whom they looked for salvation ... Every one of them therefore testifies to us about Christ. My prayer for you is that ... you will share their faith, imitate their faithfulness, and learn to love the Savior whose work in their lives made them truly extraordinary. Your life can be extraordinary, too, by His wonderful grace.
~ Above are excerpts taken from a recent article by John MacArthur, which together with the Word of God and Ray Comfort's book "How to Win Souls and Influence People" inspired me to write the article "Burn Down the Barracks!"