And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.—Mark 16:15
This week is Missions Conference at our church, so my thoughts are wrapped in what I’m hearing and seeing.
Specifically, I’m thinking on the command of Jesus to share the gospel with the billions of people who haven’t yet heard it once.
And then there’s the lady who lives just several blocks down from my church. She had actually been to my church once and heard the gospel, but she was confused. Very confused. She was also ready to hear God’s Word. Today I had the opportunity to open the Bible and share the sweet story of salvation with her. An hour and a half later, she trusted Christ. Continue reading
In my first month of college, I met a student whose name was Elizabeth (name changed to protect the…well, neither guilty or innocent…just the named). I had heard others call her Liz, so when I actually met her, I asked her which name she preferred.
“My friends call me Liz,” she explained…and then continued, “You can call me Elizabeth, at least for now.”
Wow, I wasn’t quite expecting that. I never did have the nerve to ask her if the “for now” had ended. Frankly, I never got to know her well enough to think I was ready to ask. Elizabeth is a fine name, but in that relationship, it was a bit of a block. Continue reading
Four years ago tonight I received a startling phone call from my grandma.
“Pray for Amanda,” she began. “I don’t have all of the details, but she was in a skiing accident—hit a tree, I think—and is being rushed to the hospital.”
Amanda (pictured above, left, with her sister Allison) is my cousin—my mom’s sister’s daughter. Sixteen years old at the time, she was with her high school ensemble on their way to sing at a youth conference. En route, the group stopped for a planned skiing activity.
A few minutes after that first call, Grandma called again. Before she could even say it, I knew. Through a tight throat and tears she said what none of us ever wanted to hear, “Our Amanda is in Heaven.”
That was four years ago, and I still miss Amanda. Just this past Christmas, as our extended family gathered, I thought of Amanda and her bubbly enthusiasm that would have been overflowing into every activity, every conversation, every event that she engaged in. Continue reading
Several years before I was born, an eighteen-year-old girl was visited in the hospital by an old friend from high school friend named Dody. In the time that had passed since they had seen each other, Dody had changed, and Joanne couldn’t help but notice.
“Dody, your face looks so…so pretty.”
“That’s because Jesus has changed my life. I trusted Him, and He has changed me.”
Dody’s countenance of joy was so compelling that as soon as Joanne was released from the hospital, she made a call to the Baptist pastor of the church where her grandmother had attended and asked for an appointment. Continue reading
Whoever came up with that advertising tagline was clever. Who wouldn’t want to give a gift that would “keep on giving” all year long?
Far better than this tagline, however, is the reality of having a gift that keeps on giving—especially when that gift goes on forever…and ever.
Friday of this past week was my spiritual birthday, and I was able to spend time that morning reading the book of Romans in one sitting. With each chapter, I was amazed anew at the riches of God’s grace, freely given to me—as a gift. It was like reading an ever-growing gift list—not of what I can only wish for, but of what God has already given to me.
In a nutshell, I was reminded that salvation is so much more than a future home in Heaven. It is peace with God through His incredible sacrifice on the cross. It is freedom from the bondage of sin. It is a relationship with God as my Father. It is the opportunity to serve Christ—to make my life count for eternity. It is the power and the liberty to live for God’s eternal purposes. Continue reading