Archives For July 2012

Getting Advertised

July 31, 2012

I heard about a young boy who asked a pastor if he could get advertised. What he meant was, could he be baptized? But that boy was actually on to something. When you give your life to Jesus, the first step you should take is to ADVERTISE that your life now belongs to Jesus. You let it be known to everyone you can that Jesus is the one who can change you from the inside out.

I’m am always blown away by the number of people who are stepping out in faith to trust in Jesus and following Him in baptism. Check out the video to see what happened on July 22nd at Five Mile Dam when 21 people took the plunge!

If you haven’t gone public with your faith in Christ through baptism, I want to invite you to do it on August 12th. We’re going back out the river that afternoon for the last splash of summer. I can’t wait to see you there!

On Sunday we talked about how to move forward from the problems in our past. When we don’t deal with issues from our past, we carry them into the present and they rob our future. You can use the following questions to apply God’s word to your life this week:

  1. In Philippians 3:12-14, Paul says, “…I focus on this one thing, forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize…” How would you complete this statement for your life, “This one thing my life is most focused on is…”
  2. Read Ephesians 4:31-32. Who are you holding a grudge against? A former boyfriend or girlfriend? An ex-spouse? An employer? A parent? A brother or sister? A teacher? A pastor? Who do you need to offer forgiveness?
  3. Is there something in your past that you wish you could go back and change? Will you accept what happened and release your grief?
  4. Take an inventory of your life. What do you have now that God can use in your future? (examples: your life, your freedom, your education, your finances, your gifts and talents, a relationship, your church family)
  5. Are you carrying around baggage from sins in your past? How have you tried to pay for your own sin? Will you confess that sin to God and let Him remove it? Remember Psalm 103:12 says, He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.”

My girls and I were among the myriads of moviegoers to catch the midnight premiere of The Dark Knight Rises last night. Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy has become one of my favorite movie experiences. The gritty realism along with the very difficult issues that they deal with is compelling. These movies open the door to an underworld of fictional evil that mirrors our own. And it could be that’s where the problem lies.

In our post-911 world, we have a real-life picture of what can really happen when evil runs rampant. And as we watch Gotham explode, the structure of a corrupted police force dismantled, and the threat of a nuclear disaster, I can’t help but wonder if this is as troubling to us as it should be. Have we become callous and immune to such darkness? I hope it bothers you as much as it does me. But in the movies, in the end, the hero triumphs.

That doesn’t always seem to happen in the real world, as we discover that one twisted person in Colorado used this movie release event as a chance to unleash his own hatred on a theater full of victims. Do I think that the media is to blame for this tragedy? No. It’s more of a reflection of what’s happening in our culture today. Art reflects life and life reflects art in a spiral motion. And the ultimate blame is found deep within each of us in a problem the Bible calls sin.

So where is God in all of this? Is He silent? Is He looking the other direction? Is He incapable of doing something about it? Or does He just not care? That couldn’t be more wrong. God is where He’s always been. He still has a master plan that will not be stopped to set things right. As Randy Alcorn writes in If God is Good, “God is all good, all powerful, and all knowing; he hates evil and  will ultimately judge evildoers, and remove evil and suffering after accomplishing a greater, eternal good.”

So, in the wake of tragedy, we must not turn from God, but run to Him. When we look to Him and focus on what is good and right and true, we can also become instruments of His peace and His purpose in our culture. Let’s actively pray for those affected by this senseless violence. Let’s allow the anger and frustration over sin to fuel the fires of change and become the change we want to see in our world. Let’s continue to reach out to those around us with a message of hope in a seemingly hopeless world.