Page 2 of 2

I Love to Tell the Story

And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread. (Luke 24:33-35 ESV)

There is something about good news that cannot be contained. An engagement requires an announcement. A pregnancy demands telling. So it was with Cleopas and his friend. As soon as Jesus had departed from their presence, they departed from their place. They couldn’t wait any longer. Though it was evening and had grown dark–and the trek back from Emmaus to Jerusalem was dangerous in the dark–they got up that same hour and returned to Jerusalem.

This poses a question for you and me: Is the good news of Jesus’s death and resurrection that fresh to us? Who have you told this week? Who did you invite to worship with you? Who came to your mind and you got up from where you were and ran as fast as you could (or drove of course!) and said, “I have something to tell you. I’ve seen Jesus and what he said and did changed my life!” Who has heard your story?

Take five minutes, watch and take in this beautiful rendition of Tell Me the Story of Jesus: 

Invite someone to worship tomorrow to hear the story.

The Power of an Invitation

He walked on water.invitation

He was on the Mount of Transfiguration.

He was the first apostle to see Jesus after he was resurrected.

He preached the first sermon in the early church after Pentecost.

His name was Peter.

How did he come to Jesus? Check this out:

One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter). (John 1:40-42 ESV)

Peter’s brother Andrew invited him. We hear little of Andrew. We know much of Peter.

Andrew brought Peter to Jesus.

Don’t underestimate the power of an invitation!

Bring someone to church tomorrow. Services are at 8 am, 9:30 am and 11 am.

Who knows what God has planned for the person you’ll “bring to Jesus!”

A Different Kind of Fast

“Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of wickedness,
to undo the straps of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to break every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry
and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover him,
and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?  Isaiah 58:6-7

Israel was steeped in sin.  God, through his prophet Isaiah, is calling them out.  He surprises them (and us) by his prescription for revival.  It isn’t a series of sermons.  It isn’t a prayer meeting.  It isn’t old fashioned fasting.  As a matter of fact in verse 4 of this same chapter they point out their fasting to God, and bemoan the fact that he hasn’t noticed it.

So he prescribes a new fast to them.  It’s found in verses 6-10 above.  Is not this the fast that I choose…to share your bread with the hungry?  Israel complained because God didn’t see their fast.  God wanted them to give up food…but for someone else.  He instructs them to bring the homeless into their own homes, to cover the naked (with their own clothes)–in other words he says, “don’t hide yourself from your own flesh (other people).”

What is God saying?  Give up food…for someone else.  Give up a bedroom…for someone else.  Give up clothes…for someone else.

And what will happen when they do what God says?

Then shall your light break forth like the dawn,
and your healing shall spring up speedily;
your righteousness shall go before you;
the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’
If you take away the yoke from your midst,
the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,
if you pour yourself out for the hungry
and satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
then shall your light rise in the darkness
and your gloom be as the noonday.  Isaiah 6:8-10

What is God saying?  Worship me, not only with your words, but with your deeds.  Worship me, not only with your deeds, but with your heart.  Then…(read verses 8-10 again!)

For our First Wednesday fast look for opportunities to feed the hungry, house the homeless and clothe the naked.  Tell us about them.  Without breaking anyone’s confidence whom you help, share them on this blog.  We’ll have a time in the service to share brief stories, to brag on God and the opportunities He has given us.

A Video Your Friends Desperately Need to See

Yesterday in worship we watched a video…three people’s stories of how they hit rock bottom and God rocked their worlds.  If you missed it, you can find the video here. (http://myhopewithbillygraham.org/lose-to-gain/?)  If you saw it, share it.  Below is a brief explanation of My Hope America. (from their own website:  http://myhopewithbillygraham.org/what-is-my-hope/?).

My Hope America with Billy Graham is a nationwide effort to reach people across the United States with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Following a simple biblical model, My Hope America with Billy Graham combines the impact of videos with the power of personal relationships. Christians across America will open their homes this November to share the Gospel message with friends, family, colleagues, and neighbors using one of several new evangelistic programs featuring life-changing testimonies & powerful messages from Billy Graham.


  • Invite

    Invite your friends and neighbors who don’t know Jesus Christ to your home for a meal or dessert—or gather them at your church or favorite hangout.


  • Watch

    Use a TV broadcast, DVD, laptop, or mobile device to show one of several new evangelistic videos featuring life-changing testimonies & powerful messages from Billy Graham.


  • Share

    Next, briefly share how Jesus gave you hope and tell what He is doing in your life today.


  • Ask

    Ask your friends if they would like to make the same decision you did to receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and pray with them.

Please make a list of people you want to invite to your home, or go out for dinner with you and your iPad…so that they can see the video, have an opportunity to talk about what they saw, and turn from their sin to Jesus as their Savior.  If you have family members who won’t come to church, take the Gospel to them. 

Then email Andrew Walker (andrew@graceforall.org) and let us know what God did.  Thanksgiving 2013 will be a celebration of changed lives!

Drawing the Circle Wider

Image

Sea of Galilee at Sunrise (Has nothing to do with the blog…just wanted to share!)

He drew a circle that shut me out, heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.  But love and I had the will to win; we drew a circle that took him in.

Remember using compasses?  Sharp point on one end, short pencil on the other.  A small move of the pencil made the circle much larger.  This is important to remember.  When I preached Sunday about drawing the circle wider, most likely you thought of making sweeping changes.  However, you probably don’t need to make drastic changes.  You’re surrounded by people who need to be “let into” your circle.  They’re the people you buy gas from, the waitress who brings your water, the stylist who cuts your hair.

The problem is that your circle has been so small that you haven’t thought to include them.  You may be assuming that someone else will tell them of the hope you have in Jesus.  Don’t ever assume that.

Some of you know immediately whom you’ve shut out.  They shut you out first, you let the door close behind you and never tried to open it again.  All of a sudden the Spirit won’t leave you alone.  That’s good.  God loves you…and them…and will most likely use you in ways you never thought possible.

Have the will to win.  Don’t give up.  Make a simple goal for 2013…to see (fill in the blank) come to know Jesus Christ, walk through the waters of baptism, and into a brand new life he or she never dreamed possible!