…"But the Word of God is not chained or imprisoned!" 2Tim. 2:9
Love is the greatest power in the universe, and it can also be the most powerful tool, when withheld from someone. Nothing can do more harm and cause more devastation then the power of love.
Loved? Loved. is my 2 word story. For those of you who don’t know what I mean by a 2 word story, I will explain.
On April 16, 2011, the EACH program was set into gear, with the Prayer Walk that was held in downtown Detroit Michigan. 25,000 people from about 500 churches, of all denominations, met in solidarity to pray for the city and pledge one million hours of community service to help those in need and proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ.
EACH stands for Everyone a Chance to Hear. Hear the gospel of Jesus Christ, and part of this program is to come up with your story in just two words. You wear your two words on a t-shirt, button, or a hat, and pray as God will open the doors for people to ask you what those two words means on your shirt, and then you have the invitation to tell them your story of how you met Jesus Christ.
Loved? I was not, as a boy growing up. I was small and not very big, very shy and not assertive at all. I grew up in a home of verbal abuse. I was always told that I couldn’t do anything and that I would just grow up to be a garbage man. If I ever did want to try something, I was told I couldn’t do it because I was to small, or I would break it, or some other reason that my parents had in their arsenal of negative statements.
Words can kill, and I never was involved in any physical abuse, so I don’t know what that’s all about, but I do know that words can hurt and the scares can linger for a life time.
My view of God was some big guy in the heavens just waiting for me to slip up, and he couldn’t wait to bring the hammer down on top of my head. He loved punishment and judgment, and since I couldn’t do anything right, He was having a fun time with me.
Well, needless to say, these things all turned me into other avenues to find validation and love, and they were all the wrong ones. Drugs, alcohol, and women got me in a whole lot of trouble, and there were times, when I look back today, that I should have been dead. I used everyone and I hurt a lot of people.
When I was ten yeas old, I gave my life over to Jesus Christ, while watching a Billy Graham crusade on TV. My mother would always watch him and so we did as well. Something that he said just resonated with me and I got down on my knees before I went to bed, and asked God to come into my life and change me. I meant it with all my heart.
They sent me a copy of the gospel of John and I remember going through it but I don’t think I read it all the way . I never told anyone what I did, and because we were catholic, I never had anyone to talk to about it.
Years later after I was married and my wife was expecting our first son, something happened.
I was working the night shift at one of the big three, and one of my party buddies, was going to day shift. He was my best friend and after being on the day shift for one year, he got bumped back to nights. Well I couldn’t wait for me and him to get back to our party ways.
While he was gone , we used to go all the way up the stairs, to the top of the roof of the building, (a staircase that was only used by the skilled trade guys), to get high. But someone, we didn’t know who, had put a picture of Jesus up there, and we used to use that picture as our code word. When we wanted to get high, we would go up to a guy and say, ” Do you want to go and see the Lord at lunch time?” He would know exactly what we meant.
Well when I say my friend after a year, I took him up to see the Lord. I figured we would start our reunion in the right way. Well, he had other plans.
He told me that he had become a follower of Jesus Christ and that he had put the picture of Jesus up because that’s where him and his other Christians friends, from day shift, would go and have their bible study every day.
He told me all about Jesus dying on a cross to save me from my sins and that He really loved me, and would come into my life and change me.
I got down on my knees again and asked God to come into my life. My friend gave me a bible and I still have that bible sitting in my office.
I think God used my friend to complete what He used Billy Graham to start years before.
I learned that God wasn’t waiting for me to mess up so He could punish me. He punished His son so that I could live. He loved me that much to pay that kind of price, just so I could be free. Nobody has ever loved me like that, and nobody ever can. Only God can do that.
Loved? was the word that I carried around my neck for some twenty years of my life. Now I have replaced it with a new word. Loved. He really does love me and loves me like no one else ever can. Circumstances can change, people can change, and events can change, but His love for me and you will never change.
At His last meal with twelve of His closet friends, right before He went to the cross, He said this to them;
“No one has greater love than this — that one lays down his life for his friends. You are my friends” John 15: 13-14
What’s your 2 word story? Do you have a 2 word story?
Saturday, April 16, 2011, will be a day that the 25,000 people, who braved the rain and cold temperatures, pray will live on for years to come.
The first of its kind, prayer walk, was held at Comerica Park in Detroit Michigan. Thousands of Christians came together to pray for their city, it’s leaders, and also to pledge a million hours of service to their communities.
This all started about two years ago and grew into the E.A.C.H. program. E.A.C.H. stands for; Everyone A Chance to Hear. To hear what you might ask? To hear the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
500 churches, from all denominations, came together in this massive event. There were singers and lots of umbrellas, but most of all, there was the hope and the hearts of thousands of people calling for God to move His mighty hand on this ravaged city of Detroit.
The news media came from all over the country. CNN, MSNBC, and national reporters came from every where to cover this event.
There has not been any kind of event like this since the days of Billy Graham and his crusades that covered all the major cities of America with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The EACH program will be a bit different. Instead of using one man, the entire body of Jesus Christ, His church, is being called on to go out and share the gospel of Christ in word and more importantly, in deed. One million hours of service to communities all over southeastern Michigan. Showing the love of God in the things we do and say to people. Going out of our ways to help out those who are in need with the things that we have.
Easter will kick off a one year program of service by the church and followers of Jesus Christ.
There are billboards, all over the city highways, that have just have one word on them, and after Easter, they will be replaced with two words. The two word story is coming April 24, 2011.
Everyone who is a follower of Jesus Christ has a story. It’s His story and how it has changed people from the inside out. My two word story is; Loved? – Loved. Go to the 2 word story link on April 24, 2011, and read more.
There were extra police officers that were working that day because of the crowd, but all they were doing was shaken hands and having pictures taken with the prayer walkers, and walkers thanking them for all their hard work that they do in laying their lives down for the people of the city of Detroit. They were dumb founded and didn’t know what to say with all the accolades that were being heaped upon them.
As I watched all this and taking all of it in, I thought…what would it be like if our whole city was like this? What would it be like if our whole state of Michigan were filled with people like this? What would it be like if our whole nation was filled with people of this nature?
If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, help get His story out in your town and in your city or state. That’s why we are here!
“Then Jesus came up and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28: 18-20
Webster’s dictionary official definition of the word integrity is; “adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.”
I can almost see and feel the perspiration coming from inside myself and a whole lot of you as we read these words. Words like, moral and ethical principles, moral character, and…honesty? Doesn’t sound like the world we live in today does it? But that’s what the word integrity means in the dictionary, but it has taken on a whole different meaning in our world and even in the church.
What does it mean to have a moral character? What does it mean to have ethical principles? Where does one see honesty anymore?
The word moral means; “the principles or rules of right conduct or the distinction between right and wrong.”
Do you know right from wrong? Do you have a principle or a set of rules that guide you through the maze or what’s right and what’s wrong in this world today?
There are a lot of people in Washington who will give you the principles and rules that they follow, and there are CEO’s and presidents of Banks and large Corporations who will be happy to tell how they divide what’s right and what’s wrong. As a matter of fact, there seems to be a bunch of people who have their own set of rules and principles that they follow according to what they believe is right and wrong, and each and everyone of them is different.
They have to be grounded and based on something. For example, most people will say that it’s wrong to cheat, but just about everyone does cheat at some point or another. One may think it’s OK to cheat on their taxes and another will find nothing wrong with cheating a cashier, when she accidentally gives them the wrong change. The difference, of when these two people think it’s OK to cheat, comes from their moral character. How is our moral character formed?
That’s the million dollar question. I believe it goes all the way back to when we were children. Our parents, and the environment that we were raised in, shapes our moral character, but then you have to look at how your parents were raised and how your grand-parents were raised, and it goes on and on and on.
God says in Numbers 14:18; “‘The LORD is slow to anger and abounding in loyal love, forgiving iniquity and transgression, but by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children until the third and fourth generations.” We live in a sinful world and we’re raised by sinful parents and we go about living our sinful lives in the direction and path that we choose, with no regard for no one else except our own selfish desires.
Honesty is the result of ethical principles and moral character.
Now it’s easy to see, how a world that does not acknowledge or even see God, would come to all these destinations, but what about those of us who claim to be followers of Jesus Christ? Those of us who are Philippians 1:21 Christians; “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” What about us, where do we get our moral compass and who do we line it up with?
I was invited to a business networking event, which was being held at a bar-restaurant. I spotted a few people that I knew from church. If I didn’t know who these people were, you would be hard pressed to identify them from the crowd. Who were the Christians and who were not. They all looked, acted, and talked the same way.
Have you ever been at a traffic light and suddenly you had the weirdest sensation, that you were moving? You quickly pressed down harder on the brake peddle, just to make sure you weren’t rolling. If you were to look at something stationary, like the street light pole on the other side of the road, you would easily see that you were really not rolling.
You see, when we fix our energies and attention on something solid, unmovable, and not changing, we can easily get our bearings straight, and not rely on the forever changing feelings and emotions of the world and our own humanity. They are marred and unreliable.
There are people and churches that live their spiritual lives totally depended on miracles, healing’s, prosperity, and health. They are all based on feelings and emotions, and they are walking in the flesh and not in the Spirit. They have just made unto themselves another law that they have to follow.
“Are you so foolish? Although you began with the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by human effort?” Galatians 3:3
My friend, only the solid and unmovable Word of God, can be trusted to be your stationary post and compass, to guide and direct your thoughts and minds toward God and the path He has designed for your life.
Spend some time every day in it and and talk to God. He’s just waiting to hear from you, and you know what…it will change your life forever.
“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. Matthew 24:35
“For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any double-edged sword, piercing even to the point of dividing soul from spirit, and joints from marrow; it is able to judge the desires and thoughts of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and returns not empty, but waters the earth, and makes it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:
So shall my word be that goes forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” Isaiah 55:8-11
As I look around at the state of the union, our country and the world, I’m not encouraged about the future. Many people feel the same way today. There are not a lot of happy smiling faces around anymore.
Watch the news, and all you see is story after story of the disintegration of our culture. Violence, drug and alcohol abuse, and corporate scandals fill the headlines everyday. Lawlessness and immorality are running rampant right in front of our eyes every where you look.
Want to see the direction we are headed, just take a look at the entertainment industry. That’s always a good meter to read if you want to see where we are going. Vulgarity, nudity, unwholesome innuendos, are what our movies, music, and television are consumed with. It’s almost a race to see who can out do the others for higher ratings. There is no public embarrassment or outrage as they continue to push the boundaries of normal decency further and further out. People have become numb as we spiral further and further down this deadly road.
We have a president and an administration, that’s more liberal then any other in our history. They were dealt a severe blow in the last elections, but the long road we are on is by no means any closer to the end. Many are wondering what new laws are coming that will harm our security, our freedoms, and the sanctity of life and marriage. Especially Christians, who have a growing concern of vocal government hostility, that my hamper the way we worship and our ability to teach and preach the truth of the scriptures publicly.
Mix all these things together and add the “Christian Church” that is trying so desperately to be like the world, and it isn’t hard to see the many unanswered questions that we face today.
One question I hear a lot is, “where is God in all that is happening today?” Is His plans for our country, and for His people, being defused or sidetracked somehow?
That’s a question everyone has had in his heart and mind, weather you want to admit it or not. It’s easy to wonder that, with all this wickedness and immoral conduct taking place all around us, where God is? We are all concerned about the future for our children, and grand children, and what’s it going to be like for them?
You will never find the answer, or any source of truth, in the media or the many talk shows that are on the air. The answer is from God in His Word.
First, God is on the throne. Not a single molecule escapes His notice or operates outside of His immediate control. Despite the way things are going, He remains unchanging, immovable, and supremely in control. This is not some wishful thinking, or some pious platitude – it’s an anchor of truth we can’t rehearse enough.
Quit standing on the premises and start standing on the promises. God’s promises for His people have not changed and they will never change.
Our relationship with Him is irrevocable. This is true for us and every generation of believers that follow us.
Finally, God’s Word is not silent about what He is doing among sinful nations. The Bible offers clear, detailed insight into how He actively accomplishes His sovereign will through the worst expressions of natural depravity. Despite all this, scripture leaves no question about who is in control and what the ultimate outcome will be. God is always moving and working everything toward His ends and to achieve His means.
This should give every child of God, amazing security and comfort in grasping this truth. I pray it does for you.
If you would like to become a child of God, and you’re not really sure what that is and how it happens, click the picture below. We’re all prying for you.
“The Love of God” is an old hymn sung by “Mercy Me” Enjoy and be blessed.