In Ephesians 2:10 it says we are "God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works". So we could stretch a little and think that God has made us a poem for others to read, a sonnet of good works that show the love of Christ to everyone we meet. Every day a new verse is written that rhymes with God's will for us to do.
Yesterday I met an incredible woman in church, a recovering alcoholic who has a street ministry which has led five people to Christ in the last week or so. To say she is on fire is an understatement, but to get here she had to walk through the valley of the shadow of death so to speak.
Her poem was like one of David's Psalms with the ups and downs of despair and joy, but all the while walking through that dark valley hand in hand with God. It might read something like this..............
Oh Lord I feel you near
But I have so much fear
The pull of my past is so strong
Yet I know you have forgiven my wrong
You are close you are far
Sometimes I wonder where you are
Then I feel an unspeakable joy
And I know that life is but a ploy
To draw me nearer to your heart
To make me strong, make me smart
Each day I want to share so loud
I want to tell them all, every crowd
Who you are and how you forgive
How you have loved me and let me live
Despite my wrongs you have made me right
And if you were to take me home to your house tonight
I would look back and my life and say
You were with me every step every day
We are truly God's poem, what is yours to write? Folks like this woman, like me, like we who have seen the darkness first hand, know how to write a sonnet on our hearts that will be read by others. And when they do, they will see the greatest poetry mankind has ever known, one of forgiveness, redemption and grace.
Write us yours, we'd love to hear it.
Have you ever wondered why you were suffering despite the fact that you had done good things? And if you did, maybe you were a little upset with God, or angry or rebellious, or just plain tired of everyone persecuting you about this or that. Maybe it was a deterrent to building a relationship with the Lord and caused you to live on the wrong side of life?
Or possibly you believe being a Christian means retreating to your prayer closet, praying for everyone but never involving yourself in the often difficult daily human grind. Just maybe this has happened to you or possibly you always wanted to know what the Philippians' letters Paul wrote were really all about?
Whatever the reason we will search for some answers in the 1st quarter of 2015 in our ATB Sunday class. We will study from Max Lucado's book study of Philippians, beginning next Sunday, January 4th and have books to study on your own time available. Let's follow along with Paul as he teaches us how to have joy no matter what circumstance in life we are in.
I will be there, and I hope you will be too! Glenn
f we look back at the birth of Christ there are several messages that it provides including the most popular mantra of today's world, "Peace on Earth, Good will towards all". There are also the humble beginnings, the perseverance of Joseph and Mary, the significance of God becoming one of us through natural birth, and the concept of giving gifts.as well as many others I am sure you can think of.
To me, that original thought, peace on earth would be God's number 1 wish, but in reality much of the world is in opposition to His message of salvation and forgiveness. Therefore, very little peace and not much goodwill toward all. But that doesn't mean we, where we are wherever our lives may be at, cannot do something about it. We are Christ's ambassadors of peace in a world of chaos (think of being one in the middle east and it creates a clearer picture). If we are to be His shining stars, then we need to be accepting, loving, humble and kind to as many people as we can be.
This is my Christmas wish: That anyone now or in the future associated with our ministry will remember these humble beginnings of our savior, that he understands our trials because he spent time in our shoes, and that no matter how much chaos is in our lives or of those around us, we are to strive to find a level of peace and goodwill. That means we should remember where we came from, don't forget who brought us out of that slimy pit (Psalm 40), and make sure we give back the gifts we have so freely been given (especially grace) to all others we meet.
That's is a big wish, but one person at a time we can truly make a difference even when it looks like the world is falling apart. The key is to look at how that little baby in a manger lived for 33 years and made every one of His days on earth count. And if we look deeply we see someone who cared about everybody, good, bad or indifferent, and when he spoke to them offered a way to be at peace.
To you and your families, "Peace on Earth, Goodwill toward All". Have a beautiful Christmas!
Anyone who has driven in ATL traffic is aware of the danger in changing lanes. You can put your turn signal on before you do but often it is ignored and even mocked as someone drives past you with a rage in their eyes that you would even think of cutting in front of them.
As I drove this 2015 Hyundai Sonata Sport (yes we sell them) yesterday on Interstate 10 between Daphne, AL and Pensacola, FL I placed that turn signal on to change lanes and heard beeping and a warning. Another car had turned before me, sped up and if I had turned there would have been a major collision. But because of that warning the danger was avoided.
When we are thinking about changing lanes in our lives, whether it be relationships, moves, jobs, or any decision that involves major change, God is always there for us to provide encouragement to do so or a warning that it may not be right to do so. When an addict is using the turn signals are usually ignored, God is rarely consulted, and often the result is a major wreck.
On the other hand, when we are in step with the Holy Spirit decisions like those can be like buttering bread, easy and comforting to know that the Lord has our back to step out in faith. The reason is that we are humble, teachable, reachable and willing and open to listen for the right voice. Often he provides a warning beep or a positive sign that gives us a clear vision of our direction, and we feel that peace that passes all understanding about it. If not, beware.
God is providing that clear path for me right now and on January 1, I will be changing lanes, but not leaving the highway. I won't be battling that ATL traffic as much but will instead be taking on these fanatical Alabama fans who ride around with 27 Roll Tide stickers on their cars and wave Crimson Tide flags while driving past you at 90 MPH. Daphne will be my base of operation working as the corporate used car guy but I will still be in ATL at least once or twice a month to visit.
Not leaving the ATB ministry, just operating in a different lane in a reduced capacity., and will still be a part of it and Campus. I thank God that so many other folks have stepped up to lead it that we are now in absolutely the right lane with great directional control. This is a great new opportunity for me that has been in the works for over a year but until now that warning beeper was going off. The owner of the dealerships has made me an offer I could not refuse, and the signs are everywhere that God is leading me here (did I mention it is near the beach).
Now there is a clear path to change lanes, new adventures to take, new blog subjects to write about, but the same God who goes before me, around me and behind me doing the steering. But sorry, no Crimson Tide change of allegiance for me, I will always be a Dawg at heart!
I have been called many names during my lifetime as I am sure you have as well. Most cannot be mentioned in this blog, and it hurts to remember that we may have been any of those names in the way we acted.
Tuesday I bought a Dodge truck from a dealer who is a Christian and knows that I am as well. One of the ladies at the auction overheard them talking about the guy who bought that truck, and they referred to me as "The Christian Guy."
When I heard this it made me realize again the effect we can have on our fellow man. Of all the things they could call me, that description would be my number one choice. I am honored that they would use that phrase to describe me.
Which brings up the question, what would they call you? It is such a blessing when others take note of our faith by how they see us rather than our words. We are a walking talking book of human nature that can speak much louder than our words.
We can easily see the effect we have on our fellow man by how they respond to us. My prayer is that those great words like that, The Christian Guy, will be uttered much more often than those others. And, that they see the light that lights my path and want to walk in the same direction.
Never be afraid to ask yourself that question that would describe who you are, and you will never again doubt your faith because there's not a doubt in your mind or anyone else's as to who you really are.
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.