“Fan or Follower”?

Absorbing God’s Word

“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?” Luke 15:4

Applying God’s Word

Roe vs Wade being overturned will be a victory for some and a defeat for others.

Where is God in all of this? He’s right where we would expect Him to be.

God has His arms around every aborted child and each mother as well.

God dreads the loss of any soul. It doesn’t matter who it is or what they have done. He pursues each of us relentlessly. He’s not looking for more fans. He’s looking for followers.

Here’s a seven-minute bonus video by Alan Hunt.

https://www.dynamiccatholic.com/sunday-gospel/06262022-reflection.html

Accounting of God’s Word

Am I a fan or a follower?

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“The Victor’s Crown”

Absorbing God’s Word

“Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules.” 2 Timothy 2:5

Applying God’s Word

Every Sport has its own set of rules. I happen to like watching golf and playing it as well. Maybe because it’s a non-contact sport that enforces very strict rules for both fans and competitors alike.

The game is played out in an arena of accountability. Eyes are watching every move you make to let you know immediately when you break the rules. That’s how the Christian life should play out also, in an arena of accountability.

Initially, accountability was the one thing that kept me from joining the Christian team. I wanted to be able to break the rules when no one was watching. Following Jesus is the most challenging journey I’ve ever entertained, and I want to be part of His team, a team that competes according to the rules for the victor’s crown.

Accounting of God’s Word

Am I keeping the rules? Who’s holding me accountable?

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“Prepared Not Scared” 

Absorbing God’s Word

“The foolish ones said to the wise, “Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.” “No, they replied, there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.” Mathew 25:8-9

Applying God’s Word

The word “Fool” is defined as someone who acts unwisely or imprudently. I sense God is asking me to be the fool in this writing and yet only time will tell who the real fools are.

I prepared for Y2k, and nothing happened. I lost about 35% in my IRA during the 2008 crash, because I didn’t see it coming. I’ve been the fool on both sides and here I am again. 

I do believe we are presently in a recession and that conditions are getting worse by the day. Louise and I are not scared, because we trust God and are thankful that He has given us the insight to prepare for possible food and supply shortages. We are making sure that we have at least 3-9 months of medications, food items that are not perishable, toiletries and some extra cash on hand.

If this downturn lasts longer than expected, folks will realize they don’t have enough oil for their own lamps let alone enough oil for the lamps of others. Therefore, we are encouraging our family, friends, neighbors, and all of you not to be scared but to be prepared. 

Accounting of God’s Word

Is it foolish to prepare or foolish not to? What kind of fool am I?

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“Sincerity”

Absorbing God Word

“Brothers, what shall we do?” Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 2: 37-38

Applying God’s Word

I’ve lived through a bunch of Pentecost Sunday’s without asking God for His forgiveness. I’ve lived through a bunch more without receiving the gift of His Holy Spirit. When I did acknowledge my sins before God and asked for His forgiveness, nothing seemed to change. Nothing changed because there was a lack of sincerity on my part.

Surrendering has never come easy for me. What finally penetrated my heart was a realization that Jesus is, in fact, the Son of God and that He died for me. God knew all my sins; He was just waiting for me to sincerely ask Him to forgive them. As soon as I did, the gift of the Holy Spirit became manifest in my life. For the first time ever, the words in the Bible spoke to me personally. The rest as they say, “Is History.”

Louise and I have been praying for you to have an extraordinary Pentecost, a miraculous Pentecost.

Accounting of God’s Word

Have I sincerely asked God for His forgiveness? Do I want the gift of His Holy Spirit?

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“All Together”

Absorbing God Word

“When they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying. They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.” Acts 1:13-14

Applying God’s Word

During the forty days after Jesus’ death, it was His multiple appearances that convinced the apostles He was who He said He was. They were so certain, that they returned to the upper room to pray and wait for Pentecost.

Not all churches celebrate Pentecost. Maybe because they considered it too ritualistic. Our church celebrates the forty days prior to Christ’s ascension and the ten additional days prior to Pentecost.

Louise and I pray daily, but especially during the days prior to Pentecost. We want to relive the excitement and anticipation of Pentecost. It’s a perfect time to renew our yes to God and our commitment to share Him with the rest of the world.

Join us this week in continuous prayer as we ask our Lord for an abundance of His Holy Spirit. The world has never needed an outpouring of the Holy Spirit more than now.

Accounting of God’s Word

Do I dedicate time each day to spend with God? Am I praying and waiting for Pentecost? 

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“Turn The Tables”

Absorbing God Word

“Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!” John 2:16

Applying God’s Word

Who will turn over the tables of the money changers or chase the cattle and sheep out of the temple areas of our world? No one can do it better than Jesus, but where does He start?

I’m pretty sure Jesus wants to start with me. He can’t help me, though, unless I am willing to open my eyes to the things that need change. Jesus is continuously asking me to remove those things that He finds offensive; things like pride, sloth, and judgments of others to name a few.

My eyes have been opened but they must be opened wider. That’s only possible if I open the door and let Jesus in. It’s by spending quality time with Him that we discover areas that still need work. If I allow Jesus to get me cleaned up, I know that there’s hope for everyone else.

Accounting of God’s Word

Is Jesus teaching me how to clean up the corners of my temple?

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“Direct Connection”

Absorbing God Word

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

Applying God’s Word

Prior to the Holy Spirit in my life, unique happenings, visions, and mental suggestions were, to my mind, just coincidences. Now, I recognize those things as God-incidences.

For the longest time, I struggled to believe that God would ever use me like He did Jesus and the disciples. God not only wants that from me He expects it. We can all have a direct connection with God. Jesus’ life, death and resurrection made it possible for each of us to be empowered by His Holy Spirit.

I am getting messages and instruction from God through the Holy Spirit continuously. We all are. I can’t count the times I’ve ignored or missed the prompting of God’s Holy Spirit. It’s one thing to hear the Holy Spirit and another to put into action what we hear.

Accounting of God’s Word

Do I trust the Holy Spirit and put into action what I hear Him asking of me?

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“I Will Send You Out”

Absorbing God Word

“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him. Mark 1: 17-18

Applying God’s Word

God starting using me to write the weekly “Challenge” back in April of 2001. It was sent to a dozen friends via email and ended up growing to over 200 readers. In April of 2011, a friend developed a website for me, which has allowed the “Challenge” to do even more for Jesus. www.act-ministries.org

The website has a picture of an open bible with the light of the sun shining on it. The Lord had put it on my heart to find a picture of a bridge. I scanned hundreds of pictures of different bridges. In my search, I came across the picture I ended up using, because it said to me that His word is the bridge between Him and His people.

Below that picture is a man standing in the ocean casting a net. That was the other thing that the Lord had put on my heart after giving me the scripture reading in Mark 1:17-18. He calls each of us to fish for more followers.

I remember when God said to me, “Jack, come follow me.” I wish I could say that I dropped what I was doing immediately to follow Him, but instead the invitation left me paralyzed. I finally agreed to follow, but not to fish for others. It took me a while to figure out that the two go together.

Accounting of God’s Word

Have I said yes to follow Jesus? Have I said yes to cast His net? 

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“Who Are You?”

Absorbing God’s Word

“Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord.” John 21:12

Absorbing God’s Word

Prior to Easter, I agonized over the death of Jesus. Since then, my focus has been on the multiple appearances that He made after His death. Jesus didn’t always show up as the person He resembled when He was alive. He came as someone looking completely different.

That’s how Jesus shows up for me and everyone else who believes. He comes to us looking completely different than our expectations. Jesus has allowed me to meet Him face to face through the lost, the broken, the homeless, the angry, the happy, the discouraged, the suicidal, the forgotten, the blind, the deaf, the mute, the sick and the dying. He’s also shown Himself to me in the shy, the proud, the arrogant, the humble, the wealthy, the poor, the accepted, the rejected, the unloved and the loved. That’s how Jesus has revealed Himself to me.

Interesting, huh? I used to expect Him to appear as the beautiful Jesus. Instead, He appears as the crucified Jesus, the human Jesus. What a blessing that has been for me.

Accounting of God’s Word

Who has Jesus used to reveal Himself to me?

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“Blinders”

Absorbing God Word

“If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth.” 1 John 1:6

Applying God’s Word

It was April of 1987 and life was good for myself and my family. My wife and I were involved with our church, our daughter was attending a private school, we lived in a beautiful new home, we drove nice cars and my business was thriving. On the surface, it appeared as though we had found the secret to happiness.

The pressure to uphold that type of image was staggeringly difficult. I was like a racehorse with blinders on. I was only focused on my own goals, which left little room for God.  Living that kind of lie kept me in the dark.

That April, I attended a Christians in Commerce retreat weekend. It was the first time I really heard the words in 1 John 1:6. They shook me up because I knew that I was not living the truth.

It’s been 35 years, this month since that first retreat. I’m still a work in progress, but the blinders are off and I’m running a different kind of race. I run for Jesus.

Accounting of God’s Word

Do I claim to be friends with Jesus but still walk in darkness?

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