“Hey, kid, help me with this, will you?” The voice came from the man who was repairing his car on the street. Although I grew up in that neighborhood, I did not know many of the people who lived there. This man was one of those I never met. In fact, not many people knew him, nor wanted to know him. He was a peculiar fellow, not always clean and not always friendly. Yet when he asked me to help him, I felt compelled to do so. As I walked up to the car that he was working on, I knew that this is not the type of person that my parents would want me to associate with. I felt a certain boldness and walked up to him anyway.
As I helped him with the task, we began to talk about many things. Although I was much younger than he, I noticed a willingness in him to open up and talk about things that you wouldn’t share with a stranger. He told me about the struggles that he faced at work, and with his family. We discussed about the neighborhood and the problems we faced with crime at night. As we continued to work and talk, I noticed a relationship being built with him.
After that incident, we greeted each other whenever we met. We were no longer strangers or just mere acquaintances. We were now “friends” to a certain level of the word. In his book, The Cell Church: Preparing Your Church for the Coming Harvest, Larry Stockstill speaks of a “partnership” that develops with those you serve. He mentions Jesus’ statement to Peter “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me” (John 13:8). Stockstill says that Jesus was essentially saying “If I don’t serve you, we are not partners.”
Too often, people refrain from relating with the community. Our purpose is not to survive in their midst as a “peculiar people.” Rather we are to lend a hand, work with them, and be a part of the community. We must be willing to give of our time, energy and money to those who are in need. We can look at others with the same humility that Jesus exemplified when he bent down to wash the feet of his disciples. Let’s open our eyes and look at those around us. What is their pain, what are their needs? How can you offer yourself to serve those around you? When we are able to do this, we are certainly on the road to developing a compassion like that of Jesus.
about some of the young people in his church. He visited some of
their web sites and blogs and was shocked to read what they were
writing. Their ideas, perception of the world, parents, school,
friends, etc. are of a nature that one would not expect.
Really they are good kids, but you would never imagine that they would
ever express themselves in such a shocking manner!
What is the problem? Is the internet the villan that destroys our
young people? They certainly have many temptations from friends,
magazines, movies, and numerous other sources. But the internet seems
the most far – reaching and vast of all available media. It gives so
many opportunities for good and evil. James writes: “but each one is
tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.
Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when
it is full grown, gives birth to death” (James 1:14,15). It is clear
from this verse that the ultimate responsibility for our actions lies
Teaching on the 21 irrefutable laws of leadership, John Maxwel quotes
a statement from Bill Perkins’ book, Awaken The Leader Within You:
“When Jesus taught us to ask God not to lead us into temptation, he
was not suggesting that God would ever lead us into sin. Nor did he
mean that temptation can be avoided altogether. Instead, I interpret
his words to mean that we should ask God to prevent us from having the
inclination and opportunity to sin at the same time” What a great
concept. Everyone has the inclination because of the human nature
within us. Although we may not have direct control over it, we can
build up the “inner man” through prayer and meditation on the Word of
God. As we do that, we can first minimize the opportunities for
temptations, and then overcome the effects of the ones that remain.
So who is the real villan?
Finally it is here, the completion of 40 years of life God has given me. Does it feel like life has begun? (There is a saying that life begins at 40 – for those who don’t know.) Everything seems the same so far, except that I woke up before my alarm.
For the last two years, I’ve had a lot of expectations regarding this phase of my life. My most significant request to the Lord was that I would have the privilege of focusing most of my time and energy on the things that I’m “made for.” What am I made for? Turning people to Christ, discipling them and making them soul-winners. I want to train others to reproduce this process many times over throughout their lives. I guess it’s a simple request.
God has been gracious to me during my brief life-span. Early in my teenage years, He took a hold of me. The verse that inspired me from that time on was Jeremiah 20:9b “…his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.” He called me to be in his glorious ministry, and to come along and be a part of that call he’s given me my wife Annie(Joy), and my children Nathan and Sharon.
OK, God, another 40 more!
Alexi E. George
20 June 2006
Traveling across our state, Kerala, we see many eye-catching sights along the way. One of the most daunting sites is the many unfinished foundations. Obviously someone had set out to build their dream house, but couldn’t finish. Now, it has all sorts of things growing, including grass, shrubs, and some have small trees growing too.
Through the growth, you can see the foundation and the layout that was planned for the house. Someone had a dream. Money was spent to purchase the land, family members gathered to draw up a plan: The living room here, bedrooms on this side, kitchen and dining area next to each other, etc. Each family member had an idea to contribute, and their ideas converged to form the final plan.
But something went wrong. Certainly it was unexpected, but the unexpected often seems to come when there are big risks involved. Unexpected situations have a drastic effect on our focus. We begin the task with lots of planning and determination, only to back off with fear and give up all our hopes. The Psalmist faced a similar situation when he said: “The seas have lifted up, O Lord, the seas have lifted up their voice; the seas have lifted up their pounding waves. Mightier than the thunder of the great waters, mightier than the breakers of the sea – the Lord on high is mighty” (Psalm 93:3-4). The all-consuming, overpowering waves represented his unexpected situations which have a severe debilitating effect on our lives. But the Psalmist realized that the Lord, who is mighty, is mightier than the waves. Consider the reality: the waves are mighty, but our Lord is mightier. Your broken dreams may seem to consume you, but our God is mightier than your brokenness.
We would all love to live a life completely free from problems. But we know the reality: by the time we solve one problem, another one is brewing and ready.
Then the big question: Why? The apostle Paul writes in 2Corinthians 1:4b “…so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” God’s aim is to develop us so that we can be a comfort to others. Our problems are in the overall plan of God for our lives.
How does this happen? Paul goes on to say that “…just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.” Just as Christ was patient and obedient to the Father in His sufferings, we are to patiently endure. Not only because of his example, but because it is in the overall plan of God for us. As we suffer, he comforts us. The more sufferings we endure, he fills us with more comfort. As we are continually filled with his comfort, we begin to overflow with comfort. We become the agents of God’s comfort in a hurting world.
Some become bitter as a result of their sufferings. The desired result of “overflowing with comfort” does not seem so common for many. What is the determining factor? I believe when we have the proper perspective that we are “sharing” in our sufferings, the desired outcome will be seen in our lives. Paul said “If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation.”
So be patient in suffering. Reduce the complaining and grumbling. Submit to the One who suffered so much for us. He will develop us to be agents of God’s comfort in a hurting world.