“And when the blood of your martyr Stephen was shed, I stood there giving my approval and guarding the clothes of those who were killing him. Then the Lord said to me, ‘God; I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’ The crowd listened to Paul until he said this. Then they raised their voices and should, ‘Rid the earth of him! He’s not fit to live!’” (Acts 22:20-21 – Call to Evangelize)
Crisis moments call us to God. Paul was not converted by Stephen’s preaching. He took up he persecution of the church (8:13). The witness of Stephen’s martyrdom deeply influenced Paul. It was a first step to his personal call to witness to Gentiles. God’s calls lead each of us to a specific evangelistic task. We are responsible to carry out that task that God god calls us to. As we do, we are to use every opportunity to share Christ Jesus with others.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY:
Precious Abba, my first call was to volunteer at a MHMR facility with children in 1965. Since then, I have volunteered in community projects most of my life. When God called me to ordained ministry, it was to be a representative of the church to the community that I was working in and now I’m moving towards semi-retirement but still know my work is not finished. I challenged each of of you to ask God to reveal your call for Him for each one of you. My prayer this day is that if you honestly ask Him to reveal it to you, He will respond in His time, and that something new will present itself to you Today we continue to pray troops serving in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, that a peaceful solution might be found and let the fighting be silenced. We also pray for those who are suffering in body, mind, and/or spirit, with friends, family, for those we don’t know. Amen
THOUGHT OF THE DAY:
“Be strong in the faith that you have and more will be added!”
“All though I am less than the least of all God’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.” (Ephesians 3:8 – Call to Evangelize)
Paul always reveled in his call to reach the lost for Christ. In principle, that call comes to every believer. We thus should revel in the fact we can share the gospel and help others to our Lord. Of course we are not worth; it all comes from His grace.
“Sanctify them by the truth, your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world” (John 17:18-19 – Call to Evangelize)
Beloved, the Father sent Jesus to provide salvation. Jesus totally dedicated Himself to the mission giving up His own life. Jesus, in turn, sends us after the lost. He calls us to the same dedication He showed to people 2,000 years ago. I have been known to take up left over bulletins from Sunday services and drop them at doctor’s office waiting rooms or at hospital waiting rooms. Why you ask, because people will read them. They have information about the church, but it is also has the Scriptures for that Sunday’s service and there have been times when people show up at church because of a little thing like reading a bulletin in a waiting room. The lost are everywhere, they be indigent or may they have thought about seeking another church home, and it gives them a connection to what our worship services are like. It’s a simple thing, but it works.
2ND THOUGHT OF THE DAY:
“Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing then in the name of he Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’” (Matthew 28:18-20 – Call to Evangelize)
A call to evangelize was Christ’s last message to His disciples. That is our primary calling. This commission involves all the ingredients to the successful work of the church. Christ’s authority provides power to he Holy Spirit. Christ sends us to lead others to follow Him. New disciples are to be integrated by baptism into the church to so spiritual growth can take place. They are to be taught the Lord’s ways. Jesus promised to be involved in the task with us. We are to carry on until the end of the age. When God’s people take this passage seriously, world evangelization will flourish.
In our society right now, we have kids killing other kids and even adults. There are always exceptions, but I believe that most of these people who are using guns, do so because they are lost themselves. Time after time we hear, no one suspected this person to take a gun to a school or a church and kill people. I submit to you, that in almost every situation, there were serious signs that people simply overlooked or didn’t act on. Why, because they didn’t want to believe that their child could do such a thing. 50 years ago, it was common to go into high school parking lots and see guns handing in back windows of pickup trucks. What has changed? We used to teach the “Golden Rule,” we taught the 10 Commandments, we held people accountable for their actions and this is no longer something that we do. Yes, we have a mental health crisis on our hands, and you can trace it back to funding from Congress being taken away from the State’s and they could no longer operate their mental hospitals. Where did those people go? They went home or on the streets, and our minimal homeless population went through the roof! I believe in responsible gun ownership and yes, sometimes legally purchased guns are used in these horrible attacks in our society. However, no one to come to a table and take off their hats of elected officials, citizens, school officials, parents, professional counselors to work of solutions. Instead it is always someone one else’s fault. We will never solve the problem until we recognize that this is all of our problems, and we must be willing to set aside agendas, in order to find solutions. It breaks my heart every time one of these shootings take place and the only response is gun control. That may be part of the problem, but it is not “THE PROBLEM.” It is part of the problem, but there are many other factors. It is high time that we seriously address the problems that we have and come up with solutions.