Internet Archive bookmarks for: despond

Friday, October 09, 2015

Praying for the City of Tyler

"And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ..." Colossians 4:3

Today I took my car to have the AC repaired. I found this shop a week ago. The owner is Leon, an African American man who hums Christian songs all day long. He impressed me the first time I met him after he bid me goodbye with "I appreciate you." I dropped it off in the morning and began to run in the direction of our home which is about 11 miles away. My wife picked me about 3 miles into my run. As I ran I could see so many discrepancies. The place I dropped the car is an area where many of the poor live, many of them minorities. A man sweeping the the sidewalk said hi to me. I thanked God for him. Many buildings and homes I passed were run down. Some showed evidence of being a business in the past. My mind wondered what kind of life people live in that area. I prayed that God would make his name known in Tyler. He sees all of Tyler, everyone in every corner. Those we tend to ignore. He sees them and cares for them. Not too far in my running I reached downtown after waiting for the train to pass by. The business of life was evident and I thought how odd I must appear to others. There were churches and the theater announcing a classic movie. A man spraying bug control chemicals just looked at me as I passed by. I thought, prayed and thanked God for bringing us to the city of Tyler. We are here to serve Him. But I am finding out how blessed we are to be here. I am grateful for Leon, who I found out is also a pastor. He drives 80 miles to preach every Sunday and has been doing it for many years. I shook his hand as I left his shop for a third time. He wished me a good weekend and gave me his blessing. But it wasn't just Leon who blessed me. The lady who cut my son's hair also said "God bless you," as we left. It caught me by surprise. But we are blessed and wish to bless Tyler as well. My prayer is that Tyler may be filled with God's knowledge and presence that comes through faith in Christ. There is no greater blessing than this!

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Grace Español

This coming Sunday Grace Español begins as a Bible Study at Grace Community Church. We arrived here over a month ago. How we got here is a long story but you can read a bit of it here. We are certain that this is where the Lord wants us and we feel at home. In fact, we already love Tyler Texas. What God is already doing here is amazing but why wouldn't it be amazing if God is our guide? 

I have come to believe that the Church in America must take seriously the calling of Jesus in Matthew 28:19-20. The mandate to make disciples wasn't just for the disciples, it was for us as well. This calling involves making disciples of all nations and we have the nations here in America. Our calling to is share the Gospel with every person irrespective of their ethnic background. We hear the news of tragic violence that happens in our country and we often ask why this is happening and what can we do to fix it. As Christians, we know what changes and transforms. It is the Gospel. Paul said in Romans 1:16 that the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation for everyone who believes.

So here we are. Wherever you are, wherever God has put you, pray that we, the Church become serious about our mission to make disciples of all nations. Pray for us as we seek to do that in Tyler, Texas. Our desire, vision and mission is to see many people being transformed by the Gospel into disciples of Christ who continue to multiply themselves as they go into their daily lives. Our vision is to see many more communities around us being reached with the Gospel. Our prayer is to see many
being launched out to other nations as missionaries. Not only here at Grace but in many other churches in America and abroad.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Becoming Useful for God

We live in a broken world. Since sin entered our world, brokenness has been part of it. The effects of broken relationships with God and others are apparent in the world we live in. You probably know some of them or perhaps it is you. But we are not hopeless. The Gospel of Christ offers hope. It offers restoration and reconciliation with God and others. In some cases, it requires restitution.

Philemon is a very short book (only 335 words) found in the New Testament. It is a personal letter written by the Apostle Paul to a believer called Philemon. It deals with a runaway slave named Onesimus (meaning “useful”). In the providence of God, Onesimus met Paul while he was incarcerated for the Gospel. Paul shared the Gospel with him and Onesimus became a believer in Christ. Onesimus was restored and reconciled with God. Onesimus became useful for Paul and for God. But Paul knew that Onesimus had a broken relationship with Philemon that needed to be reconciled and restored. Paul wrote the letter, which Onesimus took with him back to the man he had wronged. In it, he asks-not with apostolic authority but as a brother bound in chains for Christ’s sake-to take Onesimus back not as a slave but as a brother in Christ (Paul points to God’s providence in allowing this to have happened in v. 15). Paul tells Philemon, “… welcome him as you would welcome me. If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to me.” (vv. 17-18) Paul calls for reconciliation between Onesimus and Philemon. There is no doubt that Philemon did as Paul asked and Onesimus made his wrong right.

The Gospel of Christ restores and reconciles our relationship with God and with others. This often requires we make things right with others as well. In some cases, our restitution offers will be denied but our duty remains the same.

Think about your life and those around you this week. How is your relationship with Christ? Are you being useful for him? Are there relationships that need to be reconciled and restored? Seek those opportunities to share the Gospel of peace to those with broken relationships.