Gospel Legacy

A couple of Sunday’s ago I was asked to speak at my local church, and decided to preach about Gospel Legacies. I had discovered that a recent survey suggested that 2 out of 3 baby boomers said they had no plans to leave any legacy and wanted to get on with living their lives and enjoying what they have.

There is even a group you can join of likeminded individuals called skiers. Spending The Kids Inheritance.

Anyway, the point is we looked at how the Apostle Paul intentionally invested his life into a gospel legacy and in particular with a bloke called Timothy. I talked about investing in the gospel, being sold out for Jesus and making him and his rescue mission everything to us, gospel multiplication, salvation for all! The sermon was ok, nothing amazing but what happened afterwards was fan-flippin-tastic!

I finished speaking, which was good news for many, and a wonderful elderly lady from South Africa got up and approached me at the front for permission to share a word. She didn’t need to really ask me at all, but she wanted to and up she got.

She said this. ‘I have been sitting here and I believe someone here is needing to start a new life with Jesus, you can be transformed, forgiven and all the shame and guilt taken away. You can be a prince or a princess, a son or daughter of God.’

At the end of the service she got up again and stood at the front just looking out, eyes scanning the church to see. She knew the Holy Spirit had spoken and was ready to receive that person home. Amazing……but nothing happened, no one rushed to the front, no big rush from the seat at the back somewhere, people just got up and walked away for tea, coffee and a Hobknob.

As people left, I could see 3 older women at the front of church, including our South African friend now, praying and worshipping God as a lady was giving her life over to Jesus. (I’ve actually got tears in my eyes writing this!) This is what its all about! Gospel legacy, people being rescued from the gates of Hell!

These ladies have invested in this ladies life, spent years with her, explaining the Bible, praying, caring, supporting, building faith.

What about you? Who are you investing in? Who is your Timothy? Maybe it’s your children, maybe a mate from work or someone at church you are building up. Maybe you think you have nothing much to give, or the time to make this a priority. Perhaps start with the desire to build gospel legacies, start with the willingness to be THAT bloke and see where God takes it. OK, the tears have dried now, I need to go and break something.

What Would Make You Change Your Mind?

A friend and I were having a conversation recently. “I was so left,” he said, referring to his political persuasions. “That was my background,” he explained. “When I then, later on, began to ask why I thought that way, I began to change my mind on a few things.”

This interested me. My friend (now self-identifying as more moderately left) had examined what he believed, questioned why he believed it, and ultimately changed his mind under that examination. It was, I thought, an act of honesty and bravery.

Why We Believe What We Believe

I suppose we believe all manner of things for all manner of reasons, but many of the big things we believe are in large part shaped by our communities – our families, our friends, our colleagues etc. These social groups can produce strong feelings of loyalty, and to change our mind can sometimes feel like a betrayal of the people we are closest to.

There are of course natural break points in life where we are afforded chances to examine our beliefs. Going off to university for many brings a cessation – or at least a pausing – of old community ties and an introduction to new ones.

When our families grow – marriage, children, grand-children – we can re-evaluate a number of things closest to us.

But for most of the time we continue to operate as we have, more or less, always done.

Collisions With Reality

Have you ever noticed that within many sadness’s there’s often a secondary, deeper pain? When the man in his 50s is made redundant it is sad, and it is proper for he and you and I to grieve his loss. But the grief is made more protracted when this pain causes him to question his place in the world or lose his sense of value and purpose.

In another way, we might never think long about what happens after we die, until someone close to us passes away.

At the exact moments that our belief frameworks need to stand strong in the face of massive disruption, they all too easily collapse. Our loss then becomes total loss to us.

Testing Our Beliefs

Unless we want to run a similar risk to the man who suffers a heart attack brought about from poor diet and lack of exercise, we need to begin doing the right things now. We don’t want a shock in the future to cause us to think if only we had changed something in the past, the present would be avoidable or made more bearable.

Ravi Zacharias, the Christian thinker, is fond of saying that there are three ways we can test a belief or thought to see how strong it is.


Firstly: is the belief logical? Does it confirm to the laws of logic? Secondly: does it make sense? Does the belief contradict itself at any point? Thirdly: does it work? Does it fit with our observations of the Universe and our experience?

We can hold a belief for many reasons: it’s popular, or it’s traditional, or it’s new or fashionable. But there is only one good reason for holding a belief: is it true?

Faith and Truthfulness

It’s entirely possible to hold to beliefs that are true, but for bad reasons. A Christian, the Bible says, is to be prepared to answer questions of faith asked of him by anyone, and so the question is: do you know why you believe what you believe? And do you believe for good reasons?

Truthfulness is not just for the believer of course, there are many seeking truth that don’t see faith in God as a warranted belief. But if you don’t believe in God because you think the Christian position is not truthful I’d say, take another look and ask yourself, why don’t you believe? There have been many people who, upon second glances, have come to see that their reasons for not believing weren’t as strong as they at first supposed.

It takes an act of strength for anyone to change their mind. It’s humbling, sometimes humiliating, but when we take a step back and compare the value of our pride and ego against truth itself, well, the honourable pursuit of truth gleams much brighter than the dim bulbs of our own self-value.

THE KING turned up at TG16.

If you came to our Gathering this year then you will know about this and what it was all about. (No not Elvis the King, he was last year!) But if you were not with us, let me explain.

At the end of June, 2,300 men descended onto a field near Swindon for CVM’s annual men’s festival. We had sport, beer, axe throwing, cars, bikes, inflatable’s, an ice cream van and even a kebab stand. The point of doing all this stuff is to create a weekend that we actually want to be at, and a place where we can meet Jesus.

Over the last few weeks since the Gathering, we have been washing mud off clothes, resources and equipment. We have been processing paperwork and paying bills, but above all, and the most exciting bit for me, are the stories I have been reading.

These stories are from the men who came to Gathering and met with King Jesus.
Guys who have been through tough times, and good times, men who didn’t even think they needed to know this King Jesus but met him in a field. Reading this stuff is incredible. These are men who felt the presence of God at the Gathering, men who had heard the Bible teaching, the prayers, the worship, the seminars and have given their life to Jesus. Not only is this amazing now, it will still be the best news 10,000 years from now when these lads are in glory!

Remembering back now, on the Saturday afternoon at the Gathering a load of the team had got together to pray. We stood around praying and I was praying too but asking God for some sort of picture. I don’t get a lot of pictures in prayer but sometimes God does give them, so I ask for them.

On this occasion I had this picture of Royalty visiting the Gathering, but this was no Queen, or even a prince … the King had shown up. Sounds a bit strange I know but I had this picture of the king turning up to a field near Swindon.

Whilst this was going on the group had started to pray for Mike Vickers, who was also due to speak that day. I went over and put a hand on his shoulder to pray and as I did he gasped, I saw it and felt it, bit weird. Straight after the prayer time he came up to me and said that gasp, was at the precise moment he had a picture of King Jesus walking through the tent putting His hand on the shoulder of men.

Why am I sharing this? Well that night it happened! Over 150 men came forward to accept Jesus as Saviour or to recommit themselves to this King. Amazing! The build up, the weekend, the mud, the fun, the mayhem, the cowboy hats, the whole thing is ultimately about one thing, to see the King arrive and do what ONLY He can do: change lives and bring forgiveness of sin.

Radical Giving

So recently I went out to Brazil to spend some time with Everton, our CVM man in Brazil.

Everton has a faith that inspires you and challenges you whenever you meet him.
I remember on one occasion he came to stay with me in the UK at my place. His flight was long and delayed and he arrived exhausted. We had planned to get up at 6am to walk and pray together for an hour, just encourage each other but with the flight and sitting up late chatting, he was worn out.

I woke up at 6am in a bit of a rush, went downstairs and it was all quiet. I thought to myself, ‘ah, he’s slept in, don’t blame him.’ As I turned into the living room he was sitting on my sofa, bible open in prayer and he’d been their since 4:30am.

This deep commitment to prayer is so tangible in his life, once a desperate drug addict and criminal, he has found a source of life that he just wont neglect, even when he’s exhausted.

On this recent trip to Brazil he informed me that he had be given R$3,000. That’s a good lump of cash for a bloke who lives on R$600 (£1500 a month.)

He set about spending this money quickly and I was absolutely speechless at his radical generosity.

He booked a venue for the weekend, invited over 50 families, ordered all the food, then drove around picking anyone up who couldn’t get there. He worked and worked all weekend, up first to bed last. He paid for it all, no one had to pay a penny. They arrived, relaxed, played with the children, swam in the pool, sat and heard the gospel. A few of us spoke about families, relationships, marriages and the truth of Jesus Christ. I shared our winning men vision and CVM’s heart for winning men to Jesus.

But behind all this I was so humbled watching Everton serve others. He could have legitimately pocketed that 3K and sorted out some of his own financial needs. I asked him about it, and why he did this, and his reply was ‘I want people to meet Jesus Nathan, that’s all.’

I was silenced fellas, I have seen men of God get edgy with each other over 3 Euros change on a meal out. In truth, at times I have been driven by this too, and we must guard our hearts when it comes to money.

Keep your heart soft for the gospel and spend yourself on championing Jesus in any and everyway you can. If it costs you and your pocket then do it. The amount of times I have seen one bloke foot the bill for a men’s event, silently paying the bill because it’s about getting men to hear about Jesus.

Lets operate with a radical generosity, that sometimes hurts us to do it if it means men hear about Jesus.

Hadn’t planned for that!

Every man on earth is always self-conscious of having a Doctor looking at their testicles.
However, I was one man who bravely took a step of faith to let my Doctor look at them and it turned into the best decision I made. Finding a lump is always a concern as there are always so many excuses for what it is. “It’s only a cyst, a bacterial infection, a skin tag etc”. For me however, a little more concerning: testicular cancer. A 26 year old with testicular cancer. I’m too young for this, or so I thought. Studies had shown most common cancer amongst men between the ages of 15 – 35 is testicular cancer, to which the goal posts have recently moved to 15 – 44.

I had always been proactive in checking my tackle and had never found anything for concern. However, the lump wasn’t as read in text books; it was more of a bulge located posteriorly. I only found this lump from checking in August 2015, when out of the blue, I was struck by a voice and had an overwhelming urge to have a talk with my Doctor about this lump (as if God was telling me to go call the Doctor). I instantly got up from my chair at work and booked an appointment.

Hardest part done, just needed to go to the Doctors to be told that everything will be ok, then carry on with life. Honestly, I won’t lie that it’s weird having a Doctor look at you balls but they see a lot worse. He said it was a bacterial infection, take some tablets but he’ll send me for an ultrasound to be on the safe side. Good news! However, the ultrasound wasn’t so positive with an abnormality found and 1 was referred to a specialist urologist. I had some time prior to the consultation to which I gave all my worries to God, who placed a real peace on me. When we met with the specialist, he confirmed that I had testicular cancer. Fortunately, the consultant said it was unlikely to be fatal as I had a 97% chance of being cured from the surgery alone.

This felt like an absolute blessing, not the fact I had cancer, but the statistics were in my favour. My surgery was 2 weeks after the consultation (whilst also doing the necessary deeds in-between) which was quick and since the operation, I had one mop up of chemo and I’ve had the all clear. I just have 5 years of check-ups that become less frequent as time goes on.

I know it seems like a daunting prospect of finding a lump and being told it’s cancer however, throughout this whole episode, I trusted God’s will for me and my life is so much better than before when I thought ‘life was going well’. God knew better, has greater Plans for me (and you) beyond what we can imagine.

There is plenty of advice online and some great charities supporting this cause:
myoddballs.com
Orchid-cancer.org.uk
itsinthebag.org.uk
ballboys.org.uk

Image Credit: Patrick Pilz

Getting excited about the gospel

Have you ever been to a game or been at an event where you have really gone for it? Not worried about who is around you and what they might think, you just shout out or lift your hands, punching the air and giving it some?

British culture can be a little bit, well, stiff upper lip old boy. Self-restraint in the face of emotion, fortitude and courage in the face of adversity. I love all that stuff but actually, sometimes we need to just give it some!

Let me explain.

We are building up to the Gathering now, and there is one thing I love to see there, it blokes giving it some in worship and wonder at how amazing God is.
I remember a young guy came to the front at last years Gathering to kneel at the foot of the cross for the first time. As he did so, behind him were four fellas, his uncles. They were giving it some, in a big way! Punching the air, face full of tears and just celebrating at how amazing the grace of God really is.

Why don’t we see that more? In our churches, factories, building sites, prisons, on the street and in the boardrooms? Maybe you do see it?

As I am writing this I am at the HUB, I was getting updates on Instagram, and a mate of ours called Simon Edwards had just put up a photo of him sharing Jesus in a Prison. 27 fellas gave their life to following Jesus!

That made me pumped, like I had just lifted 130kg deadlift in the gym! (I did this on one occasion and seriously hurt my back, ended my heavy lift career early)
When I read this post, I wanted to scream out, ‘yes LORD, what a result! HAVE IT!!!!!’ But I clicked on the little like button instead, ‘ah that’s nice, well done boys.’

What’s going on? This is the best news ever and we need to get excited about this stuff because Jesus saves! He transforms the hardest of hearts and calls to the deep in us to come alive. That is flippin exciting.

Last weekend I went to the Message Trust where Beechy and Andy Hawthorne are taking ground like there’s no tomorrow. 100 evangelists, all ages, all backgrounds came together to get seriously excited about Jesus and his message of hope.

It was amazing, why? Because this is what we are about, if we follow Jesus our
Captain and friend he is excited about people finding him, so we need to be too. If you have lost that passion, then recapture it’s urgency, the drive and passion for seeing people saved from sin and an eternal separation from the most wonderful creator who made them for more.

Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today and forever.
Hebrews 13:8

Photo Credit: Andre Hunter

A Christian Vision For Politics

The political landscapes of two countries I love greatly are currently swaying like a suspension bridge in an earthquake. On my side of The Pond a referendum on membership to the European Union is to be held this coming Thursday. The implications of this vote are potentially huge.

Across the Atlantic and, 8 years on from then-Senator Obama’s first successful run to the White House, the Democrats and the Republicans see gaping fault lines within their own ranks as they summon the courage to unite under banners they just simply can’t all believe in.

The votes cast in June in the UK and in November in the US could be hugely divisive.

The rhetoric being deployed to promote particular campaigns is much the same across the board. On matters like the economy, immigration, national security, and sovereignty we are told there are disastrous consequences if we go one way, and a terrible future if we go the other. We are informed that it is a bold move to vote [Out|In] or [Hilary|Trump] because [your choice] is the only way forward for our country. And Woe! to us if we vote [against your choice], for calamity is lurking at our doorsteps.

Searching for a Vision

“Where there is no vision, the people perish.” The Bible says it and we trot this out in at moments like this, to support a strategy and endorse an idea. We use this verse in our personal lives, when we feel that our our own outlook has stagnated and it’s time to refocus. We use this verse to help support the pastor’s strategy for the new direction of the church. And yes, we can use it when our national political viewpoint is contested.

And right now I think this verse is indeed apt, although not perhaps for assumed reasons based on first glances. This verse is not really talking about personal, church, or national strategies at all. It is talking about a revelation of God and His law to His people.

Interesting, this oft-quoted verse from Proverbs 29:18 is usually rendered in the King James vernacular (although we seldom use this version in our churches or personal study any more). The NIV says, “Where there is no revelation, people cast off restraint”, and the ESV puts it this way, “Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint.”

The verse is really a warning to heed God’s commands, to follow the vision of the Lord because, as the second part to the verse tells us, “blessed is he who keeps the law (ESV).” If the Bible is God’s primary revelation, then nations who turn from it do indeed “cast off restraint” and unrestrained by this life-giving governance they drift, at best uncertain, and at worse under misguided zeal leading to despair.

Our Political Decisions Should Serve Us; They’ll Never Save Us

I am alarmed by what I see in our countries right now. I am alarmed by the state of the discussion, the level of conversation, the tactics being employed to convince swathes of voters to lean one way or the other. I am concerned by the standard of debate, because it so rarely seems to approach a state even remotely close to being generously termed ‘debate’.

The Bible I believe does speak about politics and Christians should be keen to get involved. Our politics should serve our human flourishing, something Christians ought to be deeply concerned with. Our politicians serve as our leaders, individuals the Bible without qualification tells us to pray for. The economy, immigration, national security, and sovereignty – not to mention the many other issues – concern people, concern the planet, concern a world that the Bible quite clearly demonstrates repeatedly that God cares for enormously.

Our politics are important because people are important, and people are important because God made them and made them in “His image”. We are immensely valuable, which means that the decisions that we make about our lives and our futures are indeed deeply important.

But politics won’t fix our broken world. A certain individual elected and given more power, or a certain decision reached over national governance, these won’t fix our world. Broken people voting for broken leaders with imperfect abilities and imperfect desires can’t bring us to the promised land.

The Bible tells us that the root problem in our world is not political, but moral. And that each person in this world is affected by the problem. Pardon me for sounding trite and overly-simplistic, but if as a nation we all got on our knees before God and repented for our individual selfishness and pride and pleaded for mercy would we not be more likely to be united?

If our individual hearts were more bent towards God’s would not our corporate gaze spot the injustices, the brokenness, the problems more quickly and act with greater compassion to heal them?

Democracy, moulded by Christian thinkers over centuries, seeks to restrict evil intentions and promote good; limit abuse and release healing. It acknowledges that the human heart is fickle and that humanity has a problem. It is not naive in thinking that all we need is a little more effort, a little more education, a little more this and that and we will see great happiness in our time. Nor is it pessimistic in thinking that people from all walks of life and from all beliefs can’t make a positive difference for us all.

Democracy is not a perfect system, but a system suited to a broken world. Democracy doesn’t change the core state of the world, but deals with the condition that we find ourselves in. Therefore democracy – or any other form of rule or government for that matter – will never heal our deepest wounds. The condition that affects us all is beyond our own ability to fix, and therefore all our efforts, of which our politics is a part, have no potency in the matter.

A Christian Vision for Politics

The issues before the voters in the UK and the United States this year are large. They are important and I believe we should get involved. How we do that and to what extent is probably a matter of conscience for each Christian.

As for me, I know I don’t pray enough for my leaders. I know I don’t know enough about the matters at stake. I know I’m not gracious enough in how I respond to different views.

So: pray more, learn more, and show more grace. That’s my personal Christian political vision going forwards.

Pray More

Prayer acknowledges that we have limits, that we don’t know everything, but that God does know everything.

Prayer puts me in closer relationship with the Creator of the Universe, who holds the master plan.

Prayer properly aligns my allegiances.

Prayer brings me to task over my shortcomings as I hold my life openly before God.

Learn More

We have a rational God who communicates to us rationally. Therefore Christians have affirmed the use of the mind for centuries (many great universities of the world serve as markers of rich historic Christian heritage).

We have a sure foundation for trusting our thinking, because we believe there is ultimately a rationality to this universe. We believe there are rational reasons to our existence – it’s not blind chance – and we can know them and communicate them.

This foundation supports our learning. Because we can know, we can learn. We have a firm base from which we love the Lord our God with all of our mind by increasing our knowledge and wisdom of the world and so bringing the mind of God to all matters around us.

Grow in Grace

If there’s one thing above others I ask for more of that my life might reflect more of God, it’s grace.

Extending deeper grace to others can only be supplied by my leaning on a deeper grace that I have received myself. To show more grace, I must rest on God’s grace more.

Too often I lean on my own perceived strengths and abilities, too proud to continue to acknowledge my unceasing need for grace.

To bend the knee before God to receive salvation by grace was a defeat to my proud soul. My old self is dead, yes. I have new life in Christ, but my soul does not always know this. I encounter acts of prideful rebellion that seek, with the passing of time, to justify that one act of humility by proving myself worthy.

My soul believes that Jesus death for me was deserved.

How utterly disgraceful. In grace we were saved, in grace we live our lives. By the power of Christ’ Spirit were we raised from death to life, and by the power of Christ’ Spirit we are to live this mortal life to His glory.

I need more grace, to give more grace. And more grace in how I deal with people is going to be more winsome and thus aid – nay, fuel – my goal to share my faith more than all my other designs and plans.

With grace and by grace Christians can enter the political fray, indeed any part of this created world, and demonstrate something of the nature and character of God who holds all the answers to all our problems.

Some of us are called to be politicians, some of us will campaign, some of us will pontificate on Facebook – all of us will give an account for our activities and will be asked whose kingdom we were building.

Reformation and Revival

The history of these two great nations is replete with times when after much prayer God poured out His Spirit – Revival – causing many to return to Him and the study of His Word – Reformation.

A people with a redeemed heart and a renewed vision of God’s truth have sought to inform politics, the arts, business, education – all areas of life – to demonstrate and reflect God’s great love for all that He has made.

If we think we’re beyond this now, know that there were those who went before who faced the same doubts. But by faith and great prayer and great effort much was accomplished that now stand as examples to us in history.

The challenges our countries currently face can be the alarm that awakens us to the need for a true vision, that spurs us to repentance, revival, and reformation.

I believe there is a present opportunity to bend the knee, call out to God, and by His grace add a chapter of success to our nations histories. Let us not miss it.


This post was first published on jonathansherwin.net

Gambling can be dangerous

A friend revealed to me recently, that although she was a primary school teacher she too had been caught up in gambling.

It seemed to her that a trip to the bingo offered a night out to enjoy herself with her friends but unfortunately as time passed those feelings passed by and the thoughts of gambling started to consume her, She had also started playing on the machines as well as playing bingo within a relatively short period of time she had amassed debts of £7000.

You see gambling does not affect just those who want to try and get themselves out of poverty but it can affect anyone at anytime irrespective of their status.

She received the Love and support from a Christian couple at church who reminded her that

Romans 8:1
“So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus”

Ian Bartlett
GamServe
+447814 147156
www.gamserve.org.uk
gamserve_logo

Putting God First

There’s a book on the shelf in our daughter’s bedroom that has been a favourite of all four children. Not Now, Bernard, by David McKee, tells the story of parents too preoccupied to notice a monster has eaten their child.

Like Bernard’s parents, there are so many things that compete for our attention: work, families, hobbies, the list goes on. Unquestionably we have a real challenge preventing them from becoming more important or more of a priority than our relationship with God.

Jesus said, “Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only” (Matt. 4:10) It’s true we don’t set out with the intention of ‘worshipping’ these other things, but they can easily control our thoughts and energies. Allowing God to hold the central place in our lives keeps these things from turning into gods.

But in a world that encourages ‘self’ how do we live a life with God at the centre? The world tells us men to be someone, to achieve, to live the good life. However, the life of a Christian is characterised by selfless service to God, flowing from a love for Him and our neighbour. Any success, influence or talents we are blessed with is set aside for building the Kingdom (Matt. 25:14-30).

Perhaps foremost is the discipline of daily prayer and time reading our Bibles. By spending time in God’s Word we’re able to draw on wisdom, encouragement, comfort and inspiration for every conceivable situation we could face. Making God our first port of call enables us to face all things in His strength.

But putting Him first is also revealed in how we answer some simple questions:

Is God first in our relationships?

Can our love for God sustain a difficult relationship, with a partner, child or sibling? Can we still extend unconditional love to that person at work or across the street who we really don’t like? “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death” (1 John 3:14).

Is we are in work is God first in the workplace?

No matter where our workplace is: home, office, factory, building site, behind the wheel, we serve God, who expects our work to reveal integrity and true diligence. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men” (Col. 3:23).

Is God first in our church life?

Each of us has been blessed with unique gifts. By humbly serving in our church we’re building up the Kingdom of God. “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it” (1 Cor. 12:27).

Is God first in the giving of our time and money?

Do we have a generous spirit? Inviting God’s sovereignty over our finances and time brings fullness and contentment. Jesus says, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matt. 6:33).

Is God first in our leisure?

Hobbies and interests help us to unwind from the routine of life; to relax, to let off steam, to be entertained, and that’s great, we just need to be wise with our choices, ensuring we’re not preoccupied in the pursuit of the next buzz, the next rush. “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil” (Eph. 5:15-16).

Ultimately it’s not a case of ‘God first then focus on the rest of our lives’. But rather that God is in everything and in every way a part of our daily living. Its being intentional about making God’s agenda our agenda, God’s will our will, caring about what God cares about; because we live every day with an awareness of the presence and power of Him. “‘For in him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). God is worthy of our attention in everything we do, in everything we say, and in everything we think.

Think about how our time reflects our relationship with God. Are we too busy for God? What needs to change in our lives to devote ourselves more fully to Him? How can we better lead our families? How can we better set an example and be a witness to our colleagues? Is God, like Bernard, vying for our attention, warning us of a monster? Are we too preoccupied to take notice?

Image Credit: Bhavyesh Acharya

Stand Up, Step Out and Saddle Up

I came across this quote from John Wayne the other day and it really got me thinking. “Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway!” For some of us the thought of evangelising to our mates or work colleagues can scare us to death.

What will they think of me? What if they ridicule me? What if they laugh at me? What if they ask me questions that I can’t answer?

Often we get scared and don’t saddle up and share our faith. But it is our faith that enables us to stand up, step out and saddle up. Throughout the Bible we see great examples of faith working miracles in the impossible situations of life. I love Hebrews 11 and how Paul looks back at some heroes of the Old Testament and how they achieved amazing things because of their great faith. Guys like Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses and many more. Verses 16 – 18 in the Message translation sum it up perfectly:

Each one of these people of faith died not yet having in hand what was promised, but still believing. How did they do it? They saw it way off in the distance, waved their greeting, and accepted the fact that they were transients in this world. People who live this way make it plain that they are looking for their true home. If they were homesick for the old country, they could have gone back any time they wanted. But they were after a far better country than that—heaven country. You can see why God is so proud of them, and has a City waiting for them.

Each of these people could stand up, step out and saddle up because they lived out their faith as a lifestyle. They didn’t rely upon or trust God in the big things or the important decisions but in every area of their life, no matter how big or small.

As we begin to live out our faith as a lifestyle we can be ready to stand up, step out and saddle up when God asks, not just when it suits us! We will become ready to share our faith with our mates no matter what the results are or even the ridicule that may follow.

Hebrews Chapter 11 also says this (v 11-12):
By faith, barren Sarah was able to become pregnant, old woman as she was at the time, because she believed the One who made a promise would do what he said. That’s how it happened that from one man’s dead and shriveled loins there are now people numbering into the millions. (Message)

It takes faith to stand up, step out and saddle up, but when we do amazing things can and will happen.

Photo Credit: Christian Spies

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