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Something Radical! After the “but”

January 9, 2011

Lead like Jesus!

Live like Jesus!

Act like Jesus!

Think like Jesus!

As followers of Christ, those are our goals and objectives!  To emulate Him is what we should be striving toward. In our heart of hearts we know, we will probably fail, but …     That’s it!  It is what comes after the “but” that determines how seriously committed you are to faithfully following your Savior.

I was just sitting here thinking, and observing the various Facebook posts about the pending snowstorm.  Some are praying for it to divert our area; some are advising about potential loss of power and to “stock up” on necessities that don’t require electricity; others are complaining about the cold and looking forward to a fireplace or snuggling up with hot chocolate with the family.  Then I read a post about the homeless guy in New York with the “golden voice.” 

With just a little bit of attention from the Today show, this man’s life has been suddenly transformed. He’s received job offers and even a place to live.  HE gives the glory of this to God because he said that every day he woke up, he prayed and thanked God for another day to live; HE thanked Him for providing for him just one more time.  Sure does tug at your heartstrings!

I’m sitting here now thinking … that we have homeless people all over Cleveland. The Cleveland Emergency Shelter can only house so many (about 20) … what about the rest? 

In thinking about the homeless, Holy Spirit reminded me of what Jesus said about himself …  “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”  Luke 9:52

And automatically, I recalled Jesus’ reference to judgement and the Sheep and the Goats:

The Sheep and the Goats

    31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

   34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

   37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

   40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Now … don’t forget what He says to the ones on the left!

   41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

   44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

   45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

   46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

Back to the matter of leading, living, acting and thinking like Jesus … how committed are we to following Him? Would you go share your evening meal with a homeless person?  Have your ever used your leadership skills in your church or family to coordinate serving food at the Emergency Shelter?  If some folks are turned away tonight, (and they will be) would you make arrangements for someone to stay in a local motel or better yet, stay in your home? 

As a church … why are our doors not opening up tonight for anyone who needs shelter from the storm?

Is there a “but” that’s keeping you from radically surrendering to the call of our Father and His Son … to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, might and spirit, and to love your neighbor as yourself?

Hmmm?

Years ago, there was a mantra that people “spouted” out as a challenge when making decisions in life. “WWJD — What would Jesus do?”  Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of the matter!  “What are followers of Jesus going to do?”

Imagine the impact on this community if we abandoned the “buts” and did something “RADICAL” like “taking up our cross and following Him.”    Better yet, don’t imagine … Experience it for real!!!

The number to the local shelter is 423-478-1458.   They open at 4:30 PM … people must leave at 8 AM.  Where will they go in the snowstorm???

Lord God, forgive me for my ignorance and my arrogance when it comes to following You. Forgive me that I am so self-absorbed in making my own preparations for the storms ahead that I disengage from the world around me.  Forgive me Lord for the times that I’ve driven past someone who needed just the simple necessities of life. Forgive me for the judgement that I have passed … when I have no authority or even a gavel to do that.  Forgive me for not showing the grace and mercy that I have been shown.  Forgive me, Lord, I beg you.

Today, this day … show me how to lead, live, act and think radically like your Son, Jesus.  Help be live out the TRUTH of Who and Whose I claim to be.  Help be not be afraid of “what might happen” or to be thwarted by the “buts” … and not follow your direction in Matthew 25.

God, I’m sorry … I really am sorry for my own lack of follow-through. There is an old saying that the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and Your Word in Matthew confirms this.  Not for my sake though, Lord … instead for YOU and for the person who needs to know that YOU ARE REAL and YOUR LOVE and MERCY are REAL … use me this day! 

I won’t pray for you to open a door … I know that all I have to do is walk out my own door and find that the field is WHITE … White today even before the snowstorm cometh. 

As Jabez cried out in 1 Chronicles 4:10, I too cry out … “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me …”

I pray these things in the Precious Name of Jesus. Amen.

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