Morning Notes & Stories: True Christianity is More Than Praying & Attending Services/Conferences. The Disciples of Jesus Went Out and Did What They Saw Jesus Doing. Prayer Does Not Replace Action.
If anyone sees a fellow believer in need and has the means to help him, yet shows no pity and closes his heart against him, how is it even possible that God’s love lives in him?
Beloved children, our love can’t be an abstract theory we only talk about, but a way of life demonstrated through our loving deeds. We know that the truth lives within us because we demonstrate love in action, which will reassure our hearts in his presence.~1 John 3:17-19.
Jesus came and fulfilled Isaiah 61. The Spirit of the Soveriegn Lord was upon Him to do something to help others know God, connect with God, be healed, set free, and delivered. Jesus did not go into the Temple and sit down. He did not just teach people. He did not just hold prayer meetings. Jesus took the disciples out and had them do the stuff. Jesus activated the 12 and then they mulitpled. Jesus actually made disciples who replicated His teaching and actions.
Revival is a super buzz word. It sounds amazing. I think people believe just praying will usher in this great societal revolution. What people fail to realize is God partners with human beings to accomplish His will on earth and that moves beyond prayer. If my neighbor has no groceries or is starving, my prayers will not get them groceries. I have to either partner with God to meet their practical needs or ask God to send someone else who can.
I struggle with non participation in circles of people say they desperately want revival.
Last year I spent a year serving with the city and their initiative for the poor. I was the only born again, spirit person on their committee-that I knew of anyway. I asked them why they did not have more churches involved, there are so many in my city. They stated churches often turn them down and refuse to help-they have their own programs to support. We can pay thousands of dollars to have big name people come preach to us or sing to us, and not help the city with poor??? It does not make sense.
If all the believers took just one tiny slice of the pie, it could transform a city. Transforming a city trumps filling buildings and having packed out conferences.
If I am constantly wrecked in the glory of God that does not shift my priorities and heart to care about what He cares about, something is wrong. Either I am not truly connecting with God or I am disobeying God.
When I talk to people about helping the poor or abused, I will constantly get the response, “I am not called to do that,” or “I asked God and He told me not to support your ministry,” those same people (some not all) will come back with ways I can help support their vision, mission, and mandate from God. People love to give money, not so much the time, service, or feet on the ground.
I am not asking people to join forces with me on the street. I do ask people to serve somewhere, do something other than consume, take the Gospel out somewhere, go help someone who genuinely has nothing. Jesus was not a bench dwelling passive person. The early apostles and early church were not passive bench dwellers.
In an age of technology, the Gospel can be shared quickly with hundreds to thousands of people. If cat videos can go viral, why not Jesus? An encouraging text or email is easy to send. Letting someone go first in the grocery line-“God loves you, you go first.” Put blessing bags in the car for the homeless-include an encouraging note or bible. Stop for the neighbor and ask how they have been. Listen when people talk instead of dominating the conversation. Be a great friends instead of a one sided one. Find out what the city is doing to help people and tag along. Start a discipleship group-help people grow in their gifts. There are so many options beyond prayer. If I am starving to death, yes prayer is great. What is better is getting me a sandwich.
I was out last winter looking for people to feed. As we were in the park, we saw a man go into the port o john and not come out. One of the ladies said, “Let’s check on him.” I was reluctant to go knock on the port o john door. Yet would not let her go alone. The man came out of the port o john eating chips. He stated he was in there to block his body from the wind and cold. We offered him more food and winter gear (socks, hand warmers, scarves, etc). He was shocked someone wanted to help him. He was reluctant to take what he needed because he said there were so many in need. I told him to take what he needed. He was so excited about socks. Socks made his day. I could have just offered him prayer and the Gospel. Yet it was far better to demonstrate the Gospel, “God cares about every single detail of your life, including your cold feet and hungry belly.”
I was out one night with a team under the bridges. I met this elderly grandma and her grandchild. Since she had no home, her mom dropped off her child at the homeless camp for visitation. It was below freezing. This little girl had on a spring jacket, not a winter jacket. She had the most joy filled eyes. She was happy to be with grandma. I cried once I left them. I cried and cried and cried.
Love is more than sweet words that escape our lips yet never move us to do anything.
Love is more than warm fuzzy feelings that drive us to do only what is comfortable for us.
Love is more than an anthem we sing that never forces us to shift our perspective or actions.
Love is a verb that moves us beyond talking to doing.
Can we do everything? No. Can we do something? Yes. It amazes me with all the hats I wear how many people will ask me to help them personally or support what they are doing. There are thousands to millions doing nothing but soaking up teachings, worship, and experiences and going home. Some aren’t even paying attention in services or to lessons. There is more in God and it is not about passive or idle Christianity. Revival involves transformation and transformation requires participation.
I have yet for God to tell me to do nothing at all for anyone but myself. God highlights people on a daily basis to invest in them. God is generous, loving, kind, compassionate, looking for someone to bless through us. Love looks like someone, Jesus. Love acts like someone, Jesus. Love is demonstrated in our choices and actions-not just our words.
If you see someone hungry, and you can feed them, feed them.
If you see someone freezing, and you can clothe them, clothe them.
If your city struggles with poverty, and you have the means to help, volunteer/serve/be a blessing to the city.
If someone in your church or fellowship looks discouraged, encourage them.
If you see someone struggling to pay their groceries, and you can help them, help them.
If God highlights someone to you that is hurting, reach out. I will say a silent prayer is not as powerful as picking up the phone and calling, “Hey, you have been on my heart. Are you okay? I love you.”
Love in word only is just noise (1 Corinthians 13).
God give us your eyes and heart. Help us to see as you see. Help us to move beyond just going to services and praying for revival to going out and releasing your goodness on earth. Light a fire in our hearts for transformation. Transform us from the inside out. Transformed people transform cities. We need Jesus in the places He is needed most, all 7 mountains of influence. Heaven come through us to leave the world better than it was before we entered.