Tag Archive | Matthew 25

Agreement at Work: #ALSIceBucketChallenge

For a couple of months now, I have been mentioning my new book (co-written with my son Ronnie), The Power of Agreement. We have appeared on numerous TV shows, radio programs, and magazine articles discussing how agreement with God and agreement with each other is the key to Kingdom living, and opens the doors of blessing in our lives. God Himself understood the power, positive or negative, that was contained in agreement when He stated (in reference to the building of Tower of Babel)…

If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. ~ Genesis 11:6

Well, unless you have been living on a secluded desert island for the past couple of weeks, you are seeing these principles play out right before your eyes.

Exhibit A: The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

imageYou cannot venture onto social media for 2 minutes without seeing a video of someone getting a bucket of icewater dumped on their head. The ALS Icebucket Challenge has become one of the most successful fundraising campaigns in recent memory, raising awareness about the horrors of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease). From July 29 to August 22, the ALS Association has raised more than $50 million through the Challenge. As a point of reference, during the same period last year, they raised approximately $2.2 million. Actors, musicians, prominent business people, and politicians (including former president George W. Bush) have joined the ranks of “the rest of us” and can be seen taking a bucket of icewater over the head, all for the sake of standing in unity for a cure for those afflicted with this awful disease. People from all walks of life, religious persuasions, ethnicities, and social statuses have come into agreement and said this is something we can all get behind.

So what are some other things the church can get behind?

What are those things that, in spite of our differences in theology, we can come together on and make a difference in the world? We may never totally agree on dispensationalism, worship styles, or methods of baptism. But can we set aside our differences about such things to come together on issues that are going to make an eternal difference in the destinies of the people in our communities, countries, and world? What are some things we can choose to agree on, and find agreement with God about, that will affect those around us?

imageAn intriguing question? I’d be curious to hear your thoughts.

Here’s some thoughts from Jesus to help you start the process…

“When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’

“Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You?  Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’

“Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink;  I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’

“Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’  And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” ~ Matthew 25:31-46

 

 

 

 

For Whom The Bell Tolls: Chico, Mork, and an Expendable Life

Looking Glass

One can hardly watch television, surf the internet, or drive down the street without seeing some form of advertising for the new movie The Expendables 3. A popular movie franchise that began in 2010, The Expendables movies feature casts of popular action stars (I hesitate to say, of “yesteryear”) including Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, and many others. The premise is that this group of mercenaries are hired to do the dangerous jobs others can’t, for government agencies that “can’t be involved”, and should they fail in their quest, it’s an acceptable risk — after all — these guys are all “expendable”. Who’s going to miss them? They have no families, few friends, and no real “roots” to speak of.

While these movies may not delve deeply into the psychology of “expendability”, it poses and interesting question:

Who among us is expendable?

Is our value as an individual measured in awards, accolades, the number of Facebook “friends” we have, or the size of the contact list in our iPhones? Is our worth to society determined by our popularity, our job status, or the number of people who will or won’t miss us when we are gone?

A week ago today, we learned of the tragic suicide of actor Robin Williams, who had incredible success in his career. Yet, the success, the awards, and the love of so many people could not still the struggles within him.

In 1977, the young star of the popular television show Chico and the Man died from a self-inflicted, single gunshot wound to the head. While struggling with depression, drugs, and personal problems, Freddie Prinze (22) was at the height of his fame when he took his own life.

Ernest Hemingway won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954. Considered by some to be one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century, Hemingway committed suicide in 1961 after battling alcoholism and health problems for years.

So if these men (and many other celebrities like them) could not find peace and contentment in their vast successes — making the decision to end their own lives — what about the rest of us?

What makes us not expendable?

It’s simple… the words of Jesus. In Matthew 25, Jesus is talking to His disciples when He tells them a parable, and says to them…

… ‘I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’

“Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You?  Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’ ~ verses 35-40

“The least of these, My brethren.” Societal stature didn’t mean a hill of beans to Jesus. He placed GREAT value on the individual, and considered the way we treated those society considers “the least” as a personal statement of how we treat Him. He views each individual — each member of His creation — as a personal extension of Himself…

“… Inasmuch as you did it to the least of these, My brethren, you did it to Me.”

Jesus sees the person inside. He sees the potential. He sees the diamond-in-the-rough. He sees the Kingdom-heir, just waiting to step into the promise and future available to all of us who put our trust in Him.

Maybe you have low self-esteem… Jesus says you are highly-esteemed.

Maybe you feel expendable at your job, an insignificant part of the corporate machine… Jesus sees you as an individual of great worth and value.

Maybe your family, friends, or church have made you feel insignificant and unimportant… If you had been the only one, Jesus still would have come to this earth to save you — He thinks you are THAT important.

So if you are looking for acceptance and significance, look no further than the open arms of Jesus. He is waiting for YOU.

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. ~ Matthew 11:28

You are NOT expendable… You are loved.

Pastor Ron