Our Impossibility: God’s Possibility

He entered Jericho and was passing through. And behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich. And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature. (Luke 19:1-3 ESV)

Luke makes three observations about Zacchaeus that don’t seem to jive:

  • He was a chief tax collector. He was hated, disregarded, despised, reviled. He trained others to be turncoats. You might say he didn’t only do drugs, he sold them. He was the chief tax collector.
  • He was rich. In Jesus’s encounter with the rich young ruler in chapter 18 He revealed the difficulty rich people have in entering the kingdom of heaven.  But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich. Jesus, seeing that he had become sad, said, “How difficult it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” (Luke 18:23-25 ESV)

And then there’s the third observation…

  • …and he was seeking to see who Jesus was. The hated, cheating tax collector was interested in Jesus.

Don’t underestimate the drawing power of Jesus. Don’t miss the rest of the rich young ruler story:

Those who heard it said, “Then who can be saved?” But he said, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” (Luke 18:26-27 ESV)

What On Earth Am I Here For?

Today’s sermon answered one specific question:  what is the purpose of the church?  This forces an equally important question:  what is your purpose as a member of the church?  It is dangerous to hear the Word without doing it.  That’s the point of this blog:  to move you from a hearer only to a doer of what you’ve heard this morning.  For sake of simplicity, I want to provide 3 simple next steps:

  1. Identify your daily mission field.  Parents, your mission field is your children.  Bosses, your mission field is your employees.  Doctors–patients.  Teachers–students.  Recently, Josh Hayes, our Children’s Pastor shared this blog with me (http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2013/december/do-your-kids-know-gospel.html).  Too often as parents we focus on the all-important “conversion” of our children and neglect the all important disciple making of our children.
  2. Set a reachable, measurable goal.  For example, if you have 20 employees, determine to share Christ with one or two a month.  Figure out what works best in your situation.  Set aside a certain amount of time for your children each day to share the Gospel with them.  Be reasonable as you set your goals.
  3. Be willing to go beyond your comfort zone.  In 2014, we have the following mission opportunities planned.  You can find out more information on these by emailing Stan Smothers at smothers@columbiaforestproducts.com.
  • Ecuador, June 7-14 Orphanage, Construction and Medical
  • Ecuador, Fall 2014, Orphanage, Construction and Medical
  • Peru, Fall 2014, Working with the International Mission Board of the SBC
  • Senegal, Africa, Fall 2014/Spring 2015, Medical
  • North American Mission Trips, various times with at least 4 weeks advance notice.

Trust God for the results.  Peter preached, and in one day 3000 came to Christ.  Later in his life, Peter’s preaching would result in his own arrest and crucifixion.  We are not responsible for the outcome–we are responsible for our obedience.

I’m excited to see how God is going to use you in 2014.

Drawing the Circle Wider


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!