Below is an e-mail conversation yesterday between myself and an unidentified friend in sequential order...
E-mail sent by me yesterday to some of my friends:
Last week after Mckenzie Wilson passed at age 15 unexpectedly on Wednesday, 71 people gave their lives to Jesus at the Church service that is regularly held on Thursday night and Mckenzie's funeral on Friday morning (which over 1700 people attended) - I went to Church on Sunday and I have never seen it so packed... God works in mysterious ways!
A good message below from our senior pastor...
E-Devo from Pastor Jerry:
"All Out Search and Rescue"
Then Jesus told them this parable: "Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.' I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. "Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.' In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents." Luke 15: 3-10
Jesus' audience is the religious crowd who are whispering among one another of their disdain for Jesus because of his relationship with the "tax collectors and sinners". Instead of just coming right out and saying "Get over it....I have come to seek and to save those who are outside of your religious circle; those who acknowledge their brokenness and utter dependency on only what God can do", he tells them three stories and allows them to make the connections for themselves. Vintage Jesus! In the first story, he speaks a truth about shepherds. Every single sheep matters to the heart of the shepherd. A lost sheep is a sheep in extreme danger. The shepherd of one hundred sheep leaves the ninety- nine safe sheep to rescue the one that is lost. When the sheep is found, there is great rejoicing! In the second story, a woman has ten coins and loses one. Even at the most inopportune time, this woman turns her house completely inside out to find the one lost coin. Afterwards, she celebrates with friends. Jesus makes several key points regarding why he hangs out with people far from God: 1) While not valued much by the church people, they are extremely valuable in the eyes of God. 2) To recover them..... an intentional, all out effort is made. There is no complacency or life as usual when something or someone extremely valuable is missing! 3) When that which is lost is found, there is a great celebration! Jesus is pointing to the heart of the Heavenly Father who is like the shepherd and the woman. To Him, lost people matter! An all out search and rescue mission must take place in order to recover them! There can be no playing at church or religion when lives hang in the balance for all eternity. And finally, whenever someone who is lost is found, a great celebration ought to break out among the search and rescue team!
Sometimes we have been guilty of complacency when it comes to reaching out to those who do not have a relationship with Christ or His church. We are good at worship, Bible studies, and church dinners but "indifferent" to the reality that billions of people on this planet are currently destined to an eternity of suffering and death without Christ. With the untimely death of a young teenage girl (Mckenzie Wilson) in our church who just gave her life to Christ five weeks ago at one of our services, I have been profoundly shaken by the lack of urgency I have had in my own heart at times in reaching those who do not yet know Christ. Not anymore! Every day you and I wake up, as recipients of God's grace in what Jesus did at the cross, we are search and rescue workers in our schools, places of work, and neighborhood communities. While we work, eat, sleep, worship, and play, it is the search and rescue efforts that matter most. In one hundred years from now, nothing else will matter except for helping lead people to Christ. Wherever you go today, this is God's appointed mission field that requires an all out effort on your part and mine.....to reach out with the love of Christ and through our words and actions, point people to Jesus.
Today, I will not forget my mission. I will not forget the value of those who have yet to know You. I will not grow complacent when many around me are far from You. Break my heart for what breaks Your heart! Amen.
E-mail message reply from the unidentified friend:
I have not checked my email lately and signed off on facebook.....I have been feeling lost lately and anxious and not in the word like I should be. Thank you so much for sending this email to me...it is exactly what I needed to hear today! I am sorry to hear about Mckenzie...my prayers were with her...I know she is in good hands now. Much love to you my friend!
In Love and Peace
It's the Devil, he is trying as hard as he can to attack Christians now because he knows his time is near - the Devil knows that the time for him to make you miserable will soon be at an end, Jesus will return soon and so the Devil is doubling his efforts to raise havoc on Christians - he will to do everything he can to make you feel "lost and anxious" in the hopes that you will turn against God or comply with the world and all of the evil in it, instead of focusing on what really matters - eternity in Heaven! In the Bible whenever Jesus approached a "possessed" man or was seen by a demon, the demon accurately identified him as our savior Christ and then lashed out at him saying "it is not your time yet, leave us alone" - that was almost 2000 years ago and now, very soon it will be His time! I know that you have heard this before from me, but we are experiencing the "end times" and the Devil is real and is focusing his efforts on every Christian - why would he even bother with the other people of this world (i.e. atheists, agnostics, or people who follow other religions) - the Devil already has those people them right where he wants them - with him, not Jesus. Do not to worry about worrying or being lost, everyone Christian is feeling it too (trust me, I am as well) - just constantly keep your guard up against the enemy and keep the faith!
Ephesians 6:10-18 (New International Version)
The Armor of God:
"10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints."
Jesus is coming soon and his reward is with him!