Those Are Some Bright Lights!

Matthew 5:13-16 – “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.”

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”

It was the summer of 1990. I had just finished my junior year of college and I would spend the summer months on five of the Hawaiian Islands on a mission trip for college students. Talk about suffering for Jesus! That summer was a life-giving summer for me. My call to ministry was affirmed in such vivid ways. I fell in love with ministry to students and began to understand the impact of evangelism in ways that I am still trying to comprehend eighteen years later. (We spent the majority of our time on the island of Molokai, and in that summer over 60 kids came to faith in Christ. The island’s population was a little more than 5000 people. That means that over 1% of the island came to faith in Christ in an eight week period!)

Whenever I read these verses from the Sermon on the Mount, I think back to that summer. Why? Because, I gave my third sermon ever on this passage. We were in an old run down horse ranch. The locals used this ranch as a Christian camp. From that little camp in Molokai you could see the islands of Maui and Oahu in the distance. Save for the kitchen and bathrooms, there was no electricity at this camp. So, at night, the lights from the islands of Maui and Oahu shone brightly. As I spoke to the children at the camp, I told them about Christ’s desire for us to live our lives as bright lights to the world. I told them that we represented God to the world, and that we needed to make God look good. Then I showed them the lights of Maui. There was no mistaking that there was a ton of activity on that nearby island. It could not be hidden. Our lives were not to be hidden either.

What does your life say to others about Christ? Do they see your life and witness your testimony in powerful ways, or is your life like the salt that loses it saltiness and is no longer good for anything? Live your life to glorify God today! When you do, you not only make God look good, you make Jesus glad.

Dear God,

Your teachings in Scripture are so clear. We are to live our lives to glorify You. We are to boldly declare Your name both in action and in words. Help us to live for You in such a way that people are drawn to the Savior. Thank You for being our Savior.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.

VBS at Woodbury Community Church

I was at a meeting tonight at Woodbury Community Church, for our Vacation Bible School, which takes place June 9-13, 2008 from 9:00 AM – 11:30 AM. I can’t wait for it to start! It’s going to be an awesome week!

Vacatian Bible School is free and open to all students from Kindergarten-6th Grade. This year’s theme is Beach Party! Every day includes a great Bible story, fantastic music, crafts, food, friends, and more. Best of all, it’s all going to happen with an amazing beach theme. You don’t want your kids to miss this week! If you have a child in Kingergarten-Sixth grade, and live near Woodbury, I’d encourage you to register your child. You can register, for free, by clicking HERE.

Standing For Christ When The Pressure Is On

Matthew 5:11-12 – “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

Have you ever had a lie spread about you? Recently I was talking with a young woman who had a vicious rumor spread about her. The rumor was completely false. And, even though the rumor was something that would have been completely out of character for the young woman, she was completely distraught because some of her best friends had chosen to believe it.

That is an awful feeling. Sometimes I think that sort of thing happens to followers of Christ because Satan wants to discourage us from living godly lives. Our reputations are precious to us. And, most of us will go to great lengths to protect it. So, when Jesus tells us that we are blessed when people spread all kinds of evil against us because of Him, we may be tempted to pause and say, “Jesus, what are you talking about?! Being lied about is not a blessing.”

But, Jesus would stand by His words. Christians, you will face persecution. If we stand for Christ, Satan stands against us. Did you catch that? Now, read it slowly and let the words sink in. If we stand for Christ, Satan stands against us. Expect the persecution. But, know that even if the world turns against us, Christ does not. He knows what it’s like to be betrayed and denied by those He loved. He chooses to stand by His children when no one else will. And, be assured, He who knows the truth, will reward you in heaven. Your reward will be great.

My wife and daughter like to tease me because I tend to overemphasize the greatness of things that I try and enjoy. If I go to a new restaurant and like the food, it’s The Greatest Restaurant I’ve ever eaten at! “We know,” they’ll say. And then they’ll say, “You said the same thing about the last restaurant you ate at.”

When Jesus says that your reward in heaven is great, He isn’t exaggerating. We can face the persecution and stand in light of the fact that Christ is aware, and will reward. It will happen in His time. He’s promised it, and he never breaks a promise!

Dear God,

We want to stand firm for You, no matter the cost. Help us to follow You unashamedly. You are our delight and we rejoice in You.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.