Life is a lot like baseball. In order to play you just need to understand a few rules, get down the fundamentals, and then practice. How much you practice has a big bearing on how you get along. A coach in Texas used to make his players follow the “Rule of 100″. Every player had to throw 100, catch 100, hit 100 balls EVERY day. Sounds like work. But he produced some great baseball players and some great teams. Went to the State championship a lot of times.
Life in Jesus is like that. To be a follower of Jesus you just need to learn the rules, get down the fundamentals and then practice. What are the fundamentals? Talk to God, listen to God; trust God and obey Him. EVERY day. Pretty simple, but not easy. Takes practice. The more you do it, the easier it gets. The reward is that you develop a personal relationship with the Creator of the Universe and He comes to live in your own private heart. Life just can’t get any better than that.Like I said. It’s like baseball. When you get on a losing streak, what do all good coaches recommend? Get back to the fundamentals. When you stick with the fundamentals, it’ll turn your game and your life around. Thanks Tex
In Romans 1:19-20, Paul talks about how God has put the knowledge of Himself in men’s hearts; to the point that they cannot deny that God exists. They are without excuse. They will have to acknowledge Jesus as Lord on ‘that Day’. Reminds me of times when my kids were young, maybe 10 and up, what church people used to call the ‘age of accountability’, when kids really did know right from wrong.
Once in a while, they’d get to go skating, or to the mall for a party, where they’d be largely unsupervised for an hour or two; they’d even have a little spending money to buy a coke or some popcorn, or play a video game. Kinda exciting, get a little buzz doing new things they hadn’t done much; meet kids they didn’t know. There would be adults around, but not enough for close supervision; like at the movies, or at the swimming pool, or at the park.
I’d usually tell them, “I just want you to do what you know is right.” It was positively amazing. I think God must’ve put those words in my mouth. Sometimes they would even groan. They’d say, “Don’t saaaay that; now we can’t have any fun.” Continue reading →
In Acts 5, it tells the story of what happened after Pentecost in Jerusalem. It says, beginning in v12, “And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; . . . And believers were added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women, so much that they brought the sick into the streets, and . . . they were healed every one.
Then the high priest rose up, and put them in prison. But the angel of the Lord opened the prison doors at night and let them out, and said, “Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life.” And when they heard that, they entered into the temple early in the morning, and taught. But when the high priest figured out what happened, he sent soldiers to the temple to get them. And they brought them before the council: and the high priest asked them, “Didn’t we tell you that you not to teach about Jesus? Look, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.”
Then Peter answered and said, “We ought to obey God rather than men. God raised up Jesus, whom you crucified. Continue reading →
Hi, This is Tex. My calling is discipleship: knowing, being, making and teaching others to make disciples for Jesus. A big part of being a disciple is in being involved with “extra-church” activities, where you develop relationships with people who are NOT your garden variety church-goers. Prison ministry is one of those activities. I’ve been involved in prison ministry for about 16 years now, and the Holy Spirit moves in prisons in a way He hardly ever moves in traditional church. Below is a letter from Jim, a brother of mine in the Jubilee Prison Ministry. This story is about a prison ministry weekend that happened a few weeks ago near Houston.
I have been serving in prison on Jubilee or Kairos weekends for 17 years. Many of you have supported my efforts over the years (thank you!) and have often asked me what happens on these weekends. So I thought you might enjoy the following story – I’m a CFO, cynic and pessimist but this story is miraculous (or very close to it).
I was the leader of Jubilee #1 at the Scott unit in Angleton 3 weeks ago. One of my jobs was to assign the 25 or so talks to our volunteers. Most of the Scott #1 volunteers were new, so I didn’t know them – so had little insight to help assign the right talk to the “right” person. So I asked God to somehow intervene as I made “random” talk assignments. I assigned the “Forgiving Others” talk to Joseph, one of 3 volunteers who came from San Antonio to serve. Joseph is a relatively new Christian, and is also an ex offender, so when he heard about Jubilee he believed God had called him and agreed to participate. Our weekend started early Friday morning. Joseph’s talk occurred Saturday afternoon. Here is a summary of his talk:
“My little brother was murdered on April 1st. I was very close to him, and was unbelievably upset, angry and full of hatred at the man who killed him. I started planning my revenge – when, where and how I was going to kill the man who murdered my little brother. But then I agreed to serve on this Jubilee weekend. Continue reading →
1 Thessalonians 2:14 says, “14 You too brothers and sisters, became imitators of the churches in Judea, because you suffered the same things from your own countrymen, even as they did from the Jews, 15 who killed our Lord Jesus and the prophets, and have driven us out. . . . 1 Thess 3:2, “We sent Timothy to encourage you in these afflictions; . . . 4 in fact we told you in advance that you (we) would suffer persecution.”
We haven’t had much persecution against Christians here in the good ole U.S.A. in the past 250 years; but in the last few decades, there has been a steady stream of attack from some adherents of other religions. Sometimes they claim responsibility, other times the circumstances speak for themselves. In a few instances in recent years, people, right here in America have been required to recant their Christian beliefs at the point of a gun or be killed. Some have stayed the course, stood fast for Jesus, and gone on to glory.
In all my nearly 70 years, I have never been required to make such a decision. The worst I’ve had is for someone to tell me that I was stupid to believe in Jesus. But I expect that if we’re real Christians we American Christians will “suffer real affliction for Jesus” in the coming days, as Christians the world over are already suffering. Continue reading →
“Work toward unity, live in harmony; don’t be snooty; make friends with humble people. Don’t think you’re better or smarter than them; you’re not.” Rom 12:16
How do you ‘work toward unity and live in harmony’ with each other? Well, you don’t seek the company and the approval of the high and mighty, the rich and famous. You make friends with working people; you enjoy the company of regular people. You don’t think you’re smarter or better than them; you’re not.
How ‘upside-down’ can you get? The world says, “Get rich, get famous, get power, get control.” God says, “Humble yourself, be like Jesus; be an obedient servant.” If you want to have a close, personal relationship with Me and with others, quit thinking you’re smarter and better than other people, especially the tired, the poor, the uneducated, those who are struggling. Don’t just try to help them ‘from above’; make friends with them where they are. Change your attitude about what’s important! Then you can have unity and harmony with God, with others, and with yourSELF.
Prayer is not mostly about asking for stuff. It is about seeking God for Himself. It’s about hearing and knowing what God thinks. It’s about experiencing who God is.
It’s like having an old friend (an older friend) and saying, “I’m having this issue, this problem, and I want to know what you think about it. I want to know how you’ve dealt with this problem in the past. I don’t exactly want you to fix it. I just want a little wisdom about how to look at it in a new way: to see it from a new perspective.
God can be that person. He can, and will, and does, share what He knows, Who He is, in that exact situation. Often, it’s when we didn’t even know we were asking; and we come to a new realization of who we are in that situation and in our relationship with God.
Now, go read Romans 12:1-2 in light of this idea: that God really wants to be, really is: your wise old friend.