Last Man Standing
Has there ever been anything in your life where you were the last person between any of the below:
a. Between your family and danger
b. Between you and a friend's demise
c. Between you and a stranger's disaster
d. Between you and defeat in any form
If so, then you will understand how important it is when there is only you who could make a difference, there is no one else around. In real life we may have only a handful of these opportunities, and when they come God speaks to our heart that we must stand between good and evil, victory and defeat, regardless of the cost. It is both exciting and scary but it is a chance for us to make a difference.
Just think what might have happened if Joseph of Arimathea had not assumed the responsibility to bury Jesus. His body may have been tossed in an open grave with other common criminals. Instead it was placed in a tomb that was sealed where no one could question the Resurrection. He was the Last Man Standing between us and the Christian belief.
We can also be that person who helps someone who no one else cares to help (The Good Samaritan), or be like Rahab who protected God's people from abuse and harm (Jericho). There will be opportunities for us to be that person if we keep our eyes open and always be aware of others needs. All we need is the courage to trust the provision of an ever mindful God who loves it when we do good. He has our backs.
Of course this is also the last woman standing (Mary, Ruth, Mother Theresa) and in my case a single mom who loved her son a lot like God loves us. As Mother's Day approaches, let us not only honor the courage of our male heroes, but let us celebrate the women who gave birth to them who may have passed on that ability to make a difference!
The One Thing
Today, I would like to start the blog with the words from John Ortberg's book "The Life You've Always Wanted" and as you read let them sink into your heart and soul and see what they speak to you:
We possess singleness when we are not pulled in opposite directions and when we act without wanting something further for ourselves. Our inner drives do not conflict; they are aimed in one direction. The motives we appear to have are the ones we really have. Our inner focus is unified and our public posture corresponds with it. We are not, in short, divided.
In short, we are about The One Thing and whatever that one thing is dominates who we are. For some, it may be the pursuit of excellence, others the pursuit of fame or money and still others just simply the pursuit of good. There are many other choices, but let's just examine the one, the pursuit of good.
What Ortberg pointed out was the scripture, "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added unto you".
Doing good is more than just being good, it is putting into action a life plan that acts like a Japanese Maple tree. You look at it, see it's beauty and admire its flowing branches that continue to grow. As it grows it spreads good shade and blossoms into a tree that stands out as so majestic when viewed among others that you just want to go up to it and hug it.
We, as the people of God can do that one thing, do good to as many people, as many things, as many circumstances that he may present to us as often as we can, and in so doing a remarkable glow grows inside of us that others take notice of. When they ask us why, we let them know that God is always good, we are just trying to be a lot like him.
Simple, do one thing, do it right, do good, everything else falls into place. That's The One Thing!
Someone asked to follow Jesus one day and wanted to know where his home was. In short his answer was that he didn't really have one here on earth, but he already knew he had a magnificent one in heaven. Jesus was always on the move in his ministry, trying to find new folks to talk to about the good news, so that they might join him in his real home later on.
I take heart in this with all the changes in my life this past year. Lots of Moving Day experiences, thus the feeling of no earthly permanent home. And as if that weren't enough, there are the emotional feelings of going through everything you have to decide what to keep, what to give away, etc. Things that I have accumulated to live with are not nearly as important as the pictures, the things that belonged to your kids, the things that bring back fond memories of happier times.
All that said, what I have learned in this past year has helped solidify my faith and desire to tell others. Not that important are what treasures we have stored up for ourselves on earth, but far more important are the people we have loved, influenced positively, and taught about that good news. In reality , Moving Day is more about how we have moved others souls, from lost to found, than where to move that sofa.
Jesus may never have owned any furniture, home or animals in that time, but he was the ultimate mover of people's hearts. He set quite an example that we sometimes forget about when we think of our three bedroom homes with fine furniture, clothes and constant comfortable temperatures.
Yesterday when loading things to send to Atlanta Inner City Ministry, one of the men who helped kept asking for these really non important things that I had planned to give away. There was an old carpet laid down in the garage that he said he would take to his friend who lived on a pallet, and that would make him a softer place to sleep. This was a man who had witnessed his brother, whom he had never lived more than a mile or two away from, shot and killed.. He was still dealing with the trauma.
Made my day seem that much smaller. It was a Moving Day for sure!
Ready, Set, Go Ye
Many years ago the wonderful men who taught me about the Lord had a mindset that once you received the salvation of your soul, once you had met the man they called Jesus, you would certainly never be the same again. Not only would your life be turned inside out, but you would also be continually urged to spread this wonderful message of hope around to others.
Go ye says the gospel in Matthew, and it is echoed in Step 12 of the 12 Steps (we tried to carry this message to alcoholics). You cannot really keep what you have been given unless you practice what you have received by telling others, in fact the Spirit is constantly prompting us to Go Ye a little farther.
Many years ago when we had first become Christians, we began a Bible Study in our apartment complex and a man who later became a preacher, Fred McLure, and I went knocking on doors to invite folks to come. We were a little terrified at the response we would receive, but we went anyway and actually a few came. God blessed us with a large group and multiplied those who came to the Lord and were baptized. We were certainly blessed because of it.
Now in the modern day, the door has been opened for the ATB Ministry to Go Ye at Step By Step Recovery in Lawrenceville, Georgia in a big way. Not only do we now have a Tuesday afternoon 12 Step meeting there every week, but we have now been invited to do a Spiritual Celebration/Worship of our own design at their facility. Not only that, but it will be after their community meeting where attendance is at the maximum of 35-40.
That's not all. Bridget, the director, is willing to invite the surrounding community, and the facility is two doors down from the Gwinnett Room where they have AA/NA meetings. Go Ye indeed!
I have a small team assembled for that first Celebration (April 20, 6:30-7:30 PM, Thursday night) but need some future volunteers, prayers, and a whole lot of courage to bring these diverse folks the powerful message of redemption. You are welcome to join us.
The point, just Go Ye and the Lord will provide the Therefores! (Matthew 28:19, KJV)
Glenn is an ex-Marine Viet Nam vet who is also a recovering alcoholic, clean and sober for 30 years. He has been involved in start up and ongoing recovery ministry at North Atlanta Church and Campus for the last two decades. He has a passion for outreach and to spread the message that the answer to lasting and fulfilling recovery from addiction is in a relationship with Jesus Christ. He and the ATB team are available to assist in your questions or needs on an individual basis and will do so maintaining complete confidentiality. You may e-mail him at email@example.com.