NEED HELP? 072015

Group of passengers on airplaneWhen I was about 50, I figured out God wants me to ‘make disciples’ for Jesus.  What does it mean, ‘make disciples’?  It means two things: [1] tell people what they need to do to have a personal relationship with God, and [2] teach them what they need to do to grow and develop as followers (disciples) of Jesus.  I’m 66 now, and I’m starting to get number ‘2’ down.  I’m really learning to teach people to “observe all things [Jesus] has commanded us.” Matthew 28:19-20. Sometimes we have a real ‘victory in Jesus’ in that area. PTL!

But I still struggle with number ‘1’.  I never quite know what to say to start a conversation about God.  Most of the time I ask questions like ‘Where are you from?’ or ‘What do you like to do?’  Pretty soon you stumble on something you have in common.  All the time I’m kinda praying that God will intervene and show us something He wants us to talk about.  Once in awhile I think about a short message I heard once on a YouTube video.  It was Franklin Graham at a crusade for teens and young adults in Denver.  He said something simple like this: “What is your problem?  Are you hooked on drugs or alcohol?  Are you the victim in an abusive relationship?  Are you separated from your parents and your family?  Are you pregnant and don’t know what to do about it?  Have you flunked out of school or lost your job and you’re afraid to tell anyone?  What is really bugging you about your life? .  .  .

“Are you ready for a change? Are you desperate for a change?  Are you ready to do whatever it takes to get some help?  If you are, have I got news for you!  I don’t care what your problem is, God can fix it.  Yeah, I know that’s a big claim, but it’s the truth.”  Well, Franklin kept on talking for awhile, assuring those kids [1] that God really does love them; [2] that it really IS possible to get some help; [3] that there really IS hope. [4] You really can get some relief.  The kids came down the aisles in droves; I mean hundreds of kids, bawling their eyes out, coming down to talk to the counselors about turning their lives over to Jesus.  WOW!!!  They even interviewed some of the kids afterwards, and the effect on their lives was profound.  They really needed help, and they found it!

When I think about that scene, I still get a lump in my throat.  I just have to tell whoever is in hearing distance that this message is THE TRUTH.  That God really can fix whatever is wrong with you (and me).  ‘Course the immediate question is, “What do I have to DO to get God’s help?”  Do I have to go to church every time the doors are open?  Or pay a bunch of money? Or make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem?  Or surrender for full-time service as a pastor or a missionary?”  None of the above will do.  You only have to do one thing, you only CAN do one thing: COMMIT: Commit your life to God.   When you commit, God sees what is going on in your heart, and He starts helping you. You may or may not be familiar with all the ‘Christian’ things you’re supposed to do to stay  in good graces with God.  You can do all those things til you’re blue in the face, and it won’t help you, unless you have surrendered yourself to God with all your heart.  When you do that, God puts His Own Spirit in your heart to help you and to fix your problems.  Your problems, the ones you were worried about, and all the others that come along later, just melt and run away, because God will continue to work in you by His Own Spirit.  Oh, it’s not easy; there’ll be times of pain and sacrifice, but in the end God really does fix it.

I’m with Franklin Graham.  I don’t care what’s wrong with you (or me), God can fix it.   I don’t care about the what ifs and the whynots.  If you truly surrender, God will make all the other stuff happen, when, where and how it’s supposed to.  That’s all part of number ‘2’, and God’s people are standing in line waiting to help.

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