Tag Archives: Great Commission

The Source of Light

Lloyd Ogilvie, pastor and one-time Chaplain of the U.S. Senate, originally came from Scotland. One evening, he was walking outside without a flashlight. It grew dark. He tripped on a rock and fell down. He put his hand forward to push himself up and felt—nothing.

Sensing danger, he stayed where he was until the dawn revealed himself at the edge of a ravine. One more step, and he would have fallen to his death. Light can make the difference between life and death.

“Thy Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path,” wrote the Psalmist. Maybe he had an experience like Lloyd Ogilvie’s, and it taught him deeper truths. Jesus Christ is the Word, we read in John 1. In John 8, Jesus also says, “I am the Light of the World.”

In what ways is Jesus the Light? He tells us in chapter 8:
• He comes from the Father (God).
• He speaks with the authority of the Father (God).
• He is going to the Father (God).
• He does nothing on His own, but everything comes from the Father (God).

Everything Jesus is and does He owes to God the Father, the One who knows us before creation, who knows each hair on our heads, who makes a way where there is no way, who keeps all His promises, who overcomes evil in our lives with good.

To me, this sounds like light in a dark world. What other person can rightfully dare to make such claims? What other person can claim a healing ministry like that of Jesus? What other person has overcome death like Jesus? What other person has transformed lives like Jesus? What other person answers prayers like Jesus?

Who else has promised to destroy the works of the devil? So many people in India can claim deliverance from the satanic possession and oppression, from addictions and strongholds when they put their trust in Jesus Christ. He intends to deliver the whole world from this darkness.

As the Light of the World, Jesus is not just a local deity. He is not a western god, or an eastern god, but God of the world. He is King of kings and Lord of lords. He is for every time and place.

But Jesus does not just want us to know Him as the Light of the World, but to experience Him as the Light in our own lives. That means we must follow Him, not as an idea or teaching, but as a Person. He wants us to relate to Him as His original disciples related to Him—as friends.

Jesus revealed to His disciples things about themselves they did not especially want to hear. He did this, not to tear them down but to help them fulfill their human natures. He enabled them to become more human, not less. He enabled them to do great and mighty things that resonate in our own day. He wants to do the same in and through you and me.

Jesus came not as a light but as the Light—the Light comes from the very one who made us and for whom we were made.

As we remember His sacrificial death and resurrection this month, let us bear His Light into a darkened world waiting for the Light.

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What Makes Jesus Mad?

What makes Jesus mad?

In John 2, we find Jesus cleansing the temple, driving out merchants, moneychangers and cattle. He must have shown real rage that day. By Himself, he drove out all of them with only a small whip. We find similar accounts in the other three gospels. Most of the time, we don’t think of this angry side of Jesus—nor do we like to.

In his book, “What Made Jesus Mad?”, Pastor Tim Harlow observes the recorded times when Jesus showed anger. Pastor Harlow notes that at no time does Jesus exhibit anger against “sinners,” but only against religious people and His own disciples.

In every case of Jesus’ recorded anger, we find him directing His wrath against those who claimed to know God but blocked others from God’s grace. When we examine the accounts of the temple cleansing in detail, we find that the Jewish religious people were blocking God’s grace from “the nations,” or Gentiles. He rebuked His disciples for blocking the children from seeing Him.

Jesus’ love does not permit anyone to turn away those who need Him. That is also the message of the torn veil in the temple—all peoples have access to a holy and loving Father.

How do we block others from God? We block them by judging them less than worthy when they don’t meet our standards. We create spiritual “elites.” We block others by legalism, by trivializing what is essential and making essential what is trivial. We block them by pretending to be holier than we are—the word is “hypocrites.” Jesus had a lot to say about that.

Do our own churches block others from hearing the gospel? Our churches should be filled with homosexuals, prostitutes and the homeless. Why do we so rarely find them? Our churches should be sharing the light and bringing people out of darkness, but most churches do not support missionaries to the unreached. Are we examining the reasons for this failure to win others?

Do we block the Good News from those who have never heard? “Unreached peoples” are “the nations” of our own day—those who cannot hear the gospel until someone goes to them (or are sent by those with kingdom vision). They cannot absorb the gospel by osmosis from neighboring cultures. According to Bethany Global University, 3.14 billion people remain “unreached.” Of the 400,000 missionaries worldwide, only about 13,000 focus upon reaching “unreached peoples.”

What about the churches? Bethany Global University finds that 99.99% of all church money goes to causes other than reaching the unreached. Here, Jesus’ people have dreadfully failed, and yes, Jesus has every right to be mad.

Isobel Kuhn, missionary to the unreached Lisu people of China, has written, “I believe that in each generation God has called enough men and women to evangelize all the yet unreached people of the earth. It is not God who does not call. It is man who will not respond.”

The Pharisees did not learn their lesson. Instead, they rejected the rebuke of Jesus, and the temple was destroyed. The disciples, slow to learn, finally learned their lesson. The Spirit-filled church expanded throughout the known world, and you and I are their legacy.

What will future generations—and our Lord Jesus—say about us in our generation?

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Pilgrim Fathers

This month, as we thank God for His many blessings, let us thank Him for the
Pilgrim Fathers.

Many people argue whether or not America is an exceptional nation. I believe America is an exceptional nation especially because of the prayers and Great Commission spirit of the Pilgrim Fathers. Indeed, their prayers may yet make the difference for the future of this nation.

When the Pilgrims landed in the winter of 1620, they wrote the Mayflower Compact, binding themselves to a society of laws “for the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith.”

In this age of low commitment to anything, many (including Christians) find it hard to believe that the Pilgrims meant it, but they did. Their decision to come here was based upon many years of prayer and sacrifice to make a way for continued spread of the gospel. I can’t think of any other nation with beginnings so specifically centered upon the work of Jesus Christ and His Great Commission.

William Bradford, Mayflower passenger and governor of Plymouth Plantation, writes of this more fully in his detailed account of those early days. Yes, they meant it—totally.

Obviously, over the past 400 years, things have changed. No dedicated believer can claim that today’s America comes close to glorifying God or advancing the Christian faith. Often, it appears that godless forces hold America helplessly under their thumbs.

But God does not forget the prayers and sacrifices of His people to accomplish His purposes. Half of those Pilgrims died that first winter, giving their lives “for the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith.” They were aware of that possibility long before they left goods and kindred behind to make that dangerous voyage.

As survivors of that bitter winter mourned deaths of loved ones in a forbidding wilderness, they never dreamed that their feeble beginnings would lead to a nation stretching “from sea to shining sea.” That is no accident, but the work of God.

As America has risen, Satan has worked overtime to confuse the purpose so firmly established at the beginning by these warriors of the faith. In our dismay over the present madness, let us take heart that God has not yet had the last word.

“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints,” the Psalmist tells us (Psalm 116:15). As God’s children, we are not just cannon fodder in the spiritual battle. He never forgets the prayers and sacrifices of His people. In His eyes, those tearful and agonizing prayers of the Pilgrims are just as present now as they were 400 years ago.

Neither does He forget your prayers and mine. In the end, God always defends and advances His holy name and purposes. Let us remember those words of Martin Luther:
“And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us.”

Through us! In spite of all our weaknesses and sins! But only a mustard seed of faith is enough to move mountains!

This Thanksgiving, let us pray for America and also for India “for the glory of God and for the advancement of the Christian faith.” Already, many people from India and beyond have given their all for this great purpose. God’s timing and ways may not be ours–but He never forgets.

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