I am encouraged and challenged by the special relationship between Benjamin Franklin and George Whitefield.
Benjamin Franklin - one of the founding fathers of America, scientist, inventor, author, musician, composer and deist.
George Whitefield - The Great Anglican Preacher, one of the founders of Methodism, major influencer of the Great Awakening, preached over 18,000 sermons, an average of 500 per year and 10 per week, could hold 20,000-30,000 people spell bound with his sermons. (No sound systems in his day).
George Whitefield was known as the man whose "voice startled England like a trumpet blast." Everyone in England and America knew of this powerful preacher. Even the deist, Ben Franklin could not stay away when Whitefield came to preach. Being the scientific minded, during a sermon, Ben walked away from Whitefield to measure and calculate how many people could hear Whitefield's voice; 30,000 people in open air.
More importantly, they struck up a relationship. Two men who have differing views about Jesus became friends. Ben published all of Whitefield's sermons. After one of Whitefield's sermons, Franklin noted the: "wonderful...change soon made in the manners of our inhabitants. From being thoughtless or indifferent about religion, it seem'd as if all the world were growing religious, so that one could not walk thro' the town in an evening without hearing psalms sung in different families of every street."(The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin)
We do not really know the full influence and outcome of this relationship whether Ben Franklin fully accepted the gift of salvation Jesus offered. But, it is very fascinating to me how important relationships are for Christians with non-Christians.
Jesus' reputation was a friend of sinners. "The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’"(Matthew 11:19)
How can we become more like our Savior?
How can we connect relationally and in deep conversation with our FAB 5?
Impacting the world for Jesus Christ together,
June 19, 2014
"Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are His dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God." Eph 5:1-2
Jesus loved to create opportunities for people to experience real life.
Jesus loved to create opportunities for people to experience a safe place to wrestle with God's truths versus culture's truths.
Jesus loved to create opportunities for people to experience God.
We see this in every journey Jesus brought His disciples on. After Jesus healed so many, while challenging their thinking, He fed them miraculously. Jesus made the most of every opportunity to show the love of God, to talk about the love of God and to let people experience the love of God.
Paul challenges us, all believers, to imitate Jesus by doing similar things. In other words, God wants us to intentionally provide opportunities for people to experience, discuss and learn about God's love. Throwing a free picnic is a very strategic opportunity for us to imitate Jesus.
When we do this...
Paul continued to instruct Christians, "So be careful how you live. Don't live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don't act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do." Eph 5:15-16
Let's make the most of our neighborhood picnics by praying, inviting FAB 5, risking to go door to door, showing up to serve, build better bro and sis in Christ friendships with each other, build relationships with each other's FAB 5 and 1,000 homes who show up.
Thanks for being on Jesus' mission together. It is exciting to see what God will do to transform us and to rescue others.
Standing in the perpetual long line at Nelson's Ice Cream shop in Stillwater, MN, trying to read the back wall filled with handwritten plethora of unique flavors, I am interrupted by the massive display case full of an assortment of colored ice cream and aromas. Too many flavors, not enough stomach space. Each flavor was intentionally thought about, experimented with, tested and retested until it makes the grade to be sold, served and enjoyed. I always have to test the flavor of the day.
Our hearts, what flavor is flowing today?
Our hearts, what is going on in there?
Our hearts, what is impacting others - verbally and non-verbally?
Our hearts, what is influencing others - intentionally or unintentionally?
Our hearts, the place where God dwells or is absent. The place where we wrestle with the stress of every day. The place where we seek to cover up, be too busy to deal with, ignore because it is too difficult.
I love all the feasts that God's people used to participate in; Passover, Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits, the Feast of Weeks, the Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the Feast of Booths. God instructed them to have corporate celebrations in order to remember what the invisible God has done in their lives. God knows how to throw a great party.
Jesus loved to go to a good party. Remember how he prevented a grand celebration from being ruined by not letting the wine run out.
This past Sunday, we followed the Biblical pattern to pause and celebrate what God had done this past year. The spiritual discipline of Corporate Celebration is extremely important and needed.
The private and personal spiritual discipline of Celebration is equally important and needed. With the ice cream scoop of the spiritual discipline of celebration, we dig diligently and deeply, to practice what we don’t feel like practicing. We savor the mystery and wonder of God even among the misfortunes that pummel our days.
The result, the flavor of our hearts.
What's the flavor of the day for you?
"Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in Him." Phil 4:4
May the flavor of your heart draw others to the beauty of Jesus.
Isa 53:11 (NLT) “When he (The Messiah) sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied. And because of his experience, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he will bear all their sins.”
What a name, “Righteous Servant!” God revealed another name of who He is in Isa 53:11. It is so easy for us to know this. But it is so difficult for us to truly grasp the reality of this. God, The Creator, The King of Kings, The Lord of Lords, The Alpha, The Omega, The Great I Am also reveals Himself as The Righteous Servant. The word servant should never be even closely associated with someone so prestigious, so glorious, so majestic, so mind blowing. God The Father, God The Son, God The Holy Spirit rightfully deserve every knee to bow.
Yet, God Himself seeks to bless us, His creation. We see it again in Numbers 6:24, “May the Lord bless you.” “Bless” literally means to kneel. What?!?! Are you kidding me? The God of the Old Testament teaches His people to pray a blessing on everyone and that prayer is the visual image of God kneeling before us, seeking to serve us, desiring to meet our needs…. Doesn’t it say, we bless the Lord, meaning we kneel before the Lord. No, it says God is the servant, serving us, His creation.
As a response, I say, how can I serve? How can I serve God? How can I serve my family? How can I serve my spouse? How can I serve my neighbors? How can I serve His church?
What is your response?
Breakfast meetings. Staff meetings. Department meetings. Lunch meetings. Church meetings. Practices. Band concerts. Baseball tournaments. Family meetings. Deadlines. Work projects. Meals on the run. Home projects. Entertaining guests. Conflict with co-worker. Conflict with family member. Sickness. Oh, did I just forget an appointment?
An overwhelmed sister, slaving away, exploded, "God, don't you care? My sister is a lazy, good for nothing.... Command her to stop being apathetic and help me!" (Chris paraphrase)
Does Jesus care? Has Jesus moved away from us? Has Jesus changed?
How often have we blamed others during stressful seasons? How often have we built walls of conflict? Do we still have conflict with certain people due to stressful seasons? Holy Spirit, please reveal these relational walls that we have built.
How often have we tried to manipulate Jesus into doing what we want? How often do we pray manipulative prayers in Jesus' name? Holy Spirit, please reveal our in appropriate prayers.
Jesus' response revealed His understanding of Martha's situation. "Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; there is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her."
Jesus painted realistic pictures with these two words, "worried" and "bothered."
"Worried" means to be "pulled in many directions" and to be "divided into many parts." All of us have experienced Jesus' word. We know first hand what Jesus is saying.
"Bothered" means disquieted, noise, trouble. In other words, too many loud voices pulling us in too many directions that causes confusion, stuck-ness, anger, and conflict.
1. "Martha, Martha," personal, comforting and understanding words that reveal Jesus knows exactly what Martha is going through. God has not moved away from us. God is not distant nor unaware.
2. Jesus continued, "There is only one thing worth being concerned about." Being with Jesus. Being? Being. Being? Being.
Jesus patiently waits for us to learn the spiritual discipline of BEING with Jesus. In the midst of being pulled in all directions, how do we just BE with Jesus? Let's let Him teach us.
Sitting at the feet of Jesus together,
Pastor Chris Reinertson enjoys all sports, especially those involving a ball. He loves to hang out with people and challenge them to be Jesus REVolutionizers.