To preach is grace. To preach the gospel is amazing grace. I sat thinking of the enormous gift I have been given to do something that is truly worship for those who are wired in a similar fashion as me. I started to wonder what people walk away with after our time together. These are those reflections:
Have you ever spoken a word of the gospel to anyone at my workplace? In my imagination, I see an interview about my evangelistic fame. I REALLY saw my past coworkers respond, “Huh? PC? Famous for WHAT? Well, I don’t know….PC was a great guy. I mean I knew he was a Christian, but he didn’t come in here preaching or anything. He was pretty cool about it. He knew I was an alcoholic, and he still laughed with me.” “You know,” says another, “now that I think about it; I can remember times when the store was crazy, and PC kept working hard to help where he didn’t really HAVE to. I don’t know how many times he helped us in a bind. I never noticed it then, but in retrospect, that guy really did work hard.” “Yeah,” chimes another. “He knew my husband was killed in a car accident last year, which left me to raise 2 teenagers alone, and PC listened to me every time I was stressed by kids, pained over my loss of companion, or just tired of work. You know what? I really think he cared about what I was going through, and I think he shared the joy somehow.” Similar stories go around in this hypothetical interview of my coworkers. Then the journalist goes to the coffee shop I ALWAYS go to. He talks to ALL my friends and family…Christian and NON-Christian.
After its over the imaginary article reads, “PC Walker was an evangelist. PC writes in his book, “Christians are so devoted to speaking the gospel (God's love) to or at people instead of living the gospel toward people.” (pg. random #, see footnote). His living out of the gospel reached more people than all the sermons he ever preached, more than any book he has ever written."
I hope that, in reality, I will be remembered by everyone I will have moved on and left in my past as a man who lived the gospel better than he preached or wrote it…..
7:15-20 - So a false teacher could NOT produce fruit...yet we like to attack people who are doing great ministry leading people to Jesus and discipleship, and we call them false prophets
7:24-27 - Storms come to ALL of us, but the question is, "What is your foundation?" And its good to answer that question before the storm comes.
CHAPTER 8 8:4 - Only a priest could determine a person's reintegration into the religious community. Jesus knew that and wanted this man to be reintegrated
8:20 - Homeless Jesus! Where is THAT Christmas card? Where is THAT Christian imagery?
8:23 - The disciples followed him. What kept any members of the crowd from following him? What kept a mass of people from trying to be one of those on the boat with Jesus whom they were all following and listening intently to?
8:29 - I'm always stricken by the fact demons know Jesus so well! I think, possibly, demons KNOW Jesus better than a lot of Christians.
CHAPTER 9 9:2 - Amazing that FAITH is trusting hope in what we cannot SEE and yet Jesus can SEE our FAITH and perceive our thoughts (9:4)
9:4 - Why do you THINK evil in your HEARTS? - I wonder why we've so easily disconnected our brains from our hearts
9:11 - "Why does your teacher eat with...sinners?" I wish people would ask that about me, but alas, I'm often too afraid to eat there. I'm a pastor, for cryin' out loud! Think of the implications!
9:14-15 - Jesus' ministry provides what fasting seeks: communion with God's presence, forgiveness, salvation, guidance
9:18-26 - FAITH says, "If God...then it WILL happen." I am not so sure I have much faith in light of todays reading.
9:35-38 - It seems if it's not one thing its the next for Jesus in these few verses and these three chapters. Jesus is just going, going, going. Sometimes even while he's talking, someone comes to him in need. He is teaching, proclaiming, curing, and healing. He is curing EVERY disease and EVERY sickness.
When it would seem burnout is impending, you read verse 36.
"When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them BECAUSE they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd."
Basically he realizes the outrageous amount of hurt, disease and NEED in the human condition.
Then verse 37-38
"The harvest is plentiful" = there are A LOT of hurting people everywhere...always
"Therefore ask the Lord to send laborers" = ASK the Lord in faith and prayer that he would send people to serve the harassed, helpless, and hurting
BEWARE: Don't think you can pray for laborers in order to skirt your responsibility to BE a laborer